Sanctity of Human Life

“For you formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; My soul knows it very well.”–Psalm 139:13-14

Every year Christians across the country take one Sunday to dwell on and speak to the sanctity of human life. In the midst of the dehumanizing culture we live in, we must look to the Bible, God’s word, to tell us what is the beginning, meaning, and purpose of human life. We must protect human life, foster a life well lived, and live a life of truly eternal purpose. These big and important questions begin with the simple question of, “When does life begin?”

During recent Supreme Court oral arguments related to abortion law, Justice Sotomayor worked hard to cloud this question. She said the nature of life and when it begins has been debated by philosophers, scientists, and religion for millennia and there is no clear agreement. Her line of reasoning is meant to cast doubt on when life begins, to help relieve the guilty conscience, and give moral ground to killing unborn children through abortion. But everyday people know in their hearts what the Bible teaches – life begins at conception.

Determined pro-abortion activists have sadly made much headway under the Biden presidency in making abortion more available by pill. This pill will usually kill the unborn baby, but must be taken early, soon after conception. These abortion advocates know that life starts at conception. If that life is not quickly snuffed out, it becomes increasingly difficult to kill the baby medically and politically, and for the conscience of the mother. Modern medical technology constantly produces images and data that make clear an unborn child is not an undefined blob, but an individual human being with a beating heart, distinct DNA, and their own little personal fingerprints. Often when you look at 3-D ultrasound images of a child in utero, you ask yourself, “How could anyone think that is not a child?” Yet, abortion advocates all across this land argue passionately that abortion is a medical right of the mother for any or no reason, all the way up the point of full-term birth.

Even if you struggle with the idea of life beginning at conception, no true Christian can be at peace with a full-term baby being purposely cut to pieces inside their mother’s womb. Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) exist all across this country and every day effectively bring these premature children into healthy adult lives. Intentionally ending such a life is not a right, it’s murder.

The Bible speaks to how we, as a culture, can end up in such an astonishingly conflicted place. How doctors coming out of the same medical school can work to save prematurely born children or kill them, depending on the mother’s choice. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul begins his explanation of the gospel where the explanation must begin, explaining the sinful depravity of humanity. He writes that sinful people “suppress the truth” (v.18) actively. They reject God and hate His ways. They are aware of the divine nature of God, but they do not honor or obey Him. Because of this, “they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (v.21-22).  God is truth and His ways are right and good. When we reject God, reject His truth, and reject His morality we end up in a conflicted and self-destructive place. We end up living a life that leads to death and is full of contradictory decisions.

This futile and contradictory thinking begins before pregnancy. The Lord created men and women, and He created sex to produce children by design. According to the moral will of the Lord, sex is not to be entered into before, or outside of, marriage. Inside of the bonds of marriage the God-blessed sexual relationship of marriage is designed to produce children, resulting in family. In this context, children are to be rejoiced over and can be nurtured, protected, educated, and raised in hope.

However, in our era, every advance of science possible has been brought to bear to divorce child-bearing from sex. The ungodly want to have sex with anyone they choose, any time they choose, with no consequence. Sex is no longer seen primarily as a means of creating family, but an event of personal pleasure. But God will not be mocked, and His creation purposes cannot be shut out. By the tens of millions around the world each year, despite their best efforts, couples having sex get pregnant and they don’t want the child. The child is seen as a serious roadblock to their personal goals of affluence (accumulating more money and possessions), completing an educational degree, disrupting their career, or (yes, this was seriously argued this year) would get in the way of playing sports.

The obvious answer here is to advise people to be abstinent. Abstinence equals no pregnancy. But the ungodly desire sexual sin. They run to the darkness and fan into flame their sinful passion – and very literally – they are willing to kill as many children as necessary to continue their sexual hedonism. This is the hardened, deceived, and (as the Bible describes it) lost place so many people live in today.

What are we to do with this situation? We are living in it every day. How should we then live? First, we must clearly define, and never give up on, biblical sexual morality. We cannot accept the salvation of Jesus and reject the ethic of Jesus. When we declare “Jesus is Lord” we submit to His mandates for how we should conduct even the most personal aspects of our lives. We MUST hold the line on virginity before marriage and faithfulness in marriage.

Second, we must celebrate marriage and children. In the church we must not shy away from, overly delay, or overly hinder the path from singleness to Christian marriage. In the church, we must celebrate children, cherish their coming, and work together to raise them up in Christ. We must understand that entering into marriage, and the good privilege of sex, means accepting the possible responsibility of having a child. If you are not ready, in a basic way, to have a child, you are not ready for marriage.

Third, as families and as the local church, we must actively and sacrificially support marriage and children. The Lord designed us to function in the communities of extended family and the local church. These communities are a two-way street. We must not separate or estrange ourselves from family or the church, and then as members of these communities we must help each other. My wife and I have been, and are continually, helped in material, emotional, and spiritual ways by our extended family and local church. This help is usually with caring for children. As we sacrifice to help each other, we show love and bonds of friendship are built. This is entirely different from paying a worker to do something for you.

Fourth, from a position of strength in family and the local church, we must help those in need. We must have compassion on the lost and those experiencing unplanned pregnancies. This can come in the form of a teenager, a college student, or a married couple. In each case we must speak to them about the good truth of God and help them. They need to hear about the mercy of Jesus, be called to turn away from sin (repent) and ask for forgiveness. When all seems lost, we must press such people to not add death to an already difficult situation. There can be hope from the ashes. There is life in the cross of Jesus Christ, hope through repentance and faith. We need to direct those with unplanned pregnancies to excellent local Christian crisis counseling centers (Choices Women’s Center). We must truly be willing to open our homes and adopt unwanted children that are not aborted but are born with no home.

In closing, some speak lightly on this subject desiring to remove a “stigma” related to it. Let me be clear, we can lie to each other about the subject of abortion, but the “stigma” will not be removed. The guilt we feel being party to killing an unborn child is laid on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. There is only one way to remove such guilt and have true peace. You must recognize your sin before God and call out for forgiveness. You will find Jesus to be a merciful Savior, a Redeemer that will heal your broken heart and set you on a new path of life.

Human life is sacred before God. Let us never give up fighting for the life of every unborn child, adopting every orphan, and pointing every broken sinner to Jesus the Savior,

Pastor Vic

Storm Damage

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”–1 John 3:18

              This has been another week of struggle for many of our church members. The newsletter almost did not go out this week, because Christine just got power restored today! We have various forms of sickness, power outage (yes church members still lack power!), and storm damage all over the church. It’s very important during times like this that we draw together to help each other in actual hands-on service. When a physical need is present that we have the power to meet – let’s ACT in true Christian love.

              The first step to meeting a physical need is the person with the need expressing that need and being open to help. If you need help cutting up downed trees and branches, repairing storm damage, or just a place to take a hot shower as you wait for power to come back – please express this need. Please call a deacon, call an elder, call a small group leader, call someone! As you express your need church leadership will begin to consolidate the needs we have and start working the various needs. We have a long list of people who have already raised their hands to help meet physical service needs in the church. We want you to experience the love of Christ through the real service of friends helping friends in the local church.

              If you have a chainsaw, a trailer, and/or are willing to help others dig out from this mess, please let a deacon know.

              Also, we continue to have many sick in various way across the congregation. Please pray for healing, for wise treatment options, for patient caretakers, and for full recoveries. Please call those you know are sick and encourage them. Pray with them over the phone. Write encouraging notes. Consider bringing by a meal.

              It’s a blessing to serve others! It’s an antidote to selfishness. Let’s not forget the words of Jesus, that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

May every need be met! See you Sunday,

Pastor Vic

Bible Reading

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”–Psalm 119:105

“The grass withers, and the flower fails, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”–1 Peter 1:24-25

I want to encourage our church in three ways this week. First, please pray for the sick and struggling in our church, and in the community. We have many people in the church and in our community that are sick right now. After extended times of need we all run the danger of feeling “compassion fatigue.” This is when we have reached the end of any natural compassion or desire to help and pray for those in need. However, the compassion of Jesus Christ is never ending because His compassion flows from His love. When we feel our compassion for others running dry, it’s important that we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us again with love and concern for others. This is especially necessary for our fellow brothers and sisters in the church. As needs arise, let’s draw together praying for each other, filling needed meal trains, and meeting every need. May the world know that we are Christians by the way we love one another.

              Second, I want to press our church to focus in on the theme of Christian love in the new year. The world speaks often of love but does not have a true definition of this essential virtue. I’m asking for the church to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 as a memory passage for the month of January. These verses are familiar to us, but so often not applied. As we memorize these verses, the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind in our daily living with each other. We’ll be reminded to be patient, to turn away from irritability, to not insist on our own way, and to endure in hope. We’ll take this one verse per week. As you learn a verse, come see me or another elder at church and quote the verses you have learned. I would like to make a series of voice recordings each week to put out with the newsletter to encourage us toward memorizing this entire passage. May the Lord be at work in our midst to teach us to love one another as Jesus would have for us to.

              Third, we are almost to the new year. Your devotional study of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, will be essential to your spiritual health in 2022. I want to press you to choose a Bible reading plan that will structure and guide your reading next year. Go to the website, click on the “Resources” tab, then choose “Bible Reading Plan.” There you’ll find some direction and encouragement on how to read your Bible every day. There are several plans available. The goal is not to check a box each day, but to systematically read the Bible. Following a plan will guide you to read through entire books of the Bible and to read parts of the Bible you would not normally read. Marking off one passage at a time from a printed plan will also allow you to not lose your place. When you miss a few days for whatever reason, just pull your plan out and keep plowing forward.

              It takes months to develop new habits and acquire new tastes. I very much remember what it was like to be new to the gym. I didn’t know how to use any of the weights or machines. I didn’t know any of the exercise movements. I was out of place and out of shape, but I had a written plan that a fit friend had given me. By determining to alter the routines of my life to make personal fitness a priority, new habits were developed.

Sadly, reading as a habit is being wiped out by technology. As Christians we cannot allow this to happen in our lives. God has recorded His revelation and action as a book for a reason. Writing is the most specific form of human communication. Particular words are carefully and intentionally chosen to convey specific meaning. Important written documents are examined and approved before being released for others to read. The careful author works to make sure the written words conveys their meaning. This is more true with the Bible than any other document in the world. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is God’s perfect word to us.

Reading is an active mental activity. You cannot zone out and read. You cannot be distracted and read. To rightly comprehend what you are reading, you must intentionally shut out other distractions and intentionally focus on understanding the written word. This is very different from an audio book or watching a video. Listening and watching are passive activities. Yes, you can actively listen and watch, but when you lose concentration (which happens often) the audio and video keep playing. As you fade in and out of concentration you miss much of what is being conveyed. When you’re listening to a novel or watching a movie, it doesn’t matter if you catch the details. But the details of the Bible are too important to speed past. Missing the details will lead to wrong conclusions and wrong doctrine. Reading is an exercise of the mind. We are commanded by Jesus (Luke 10:27) to love the Lord our God with all our mind.

If a passion for entertainment has grown up in your life and choked out your habit of Bible reading, then it’s time to start reading the Bible again. If you have never read large passages of the Bible with regularity, this is the year to start. If your life has gotten so busy that you only occasionally listen to the Bible while rushing from one place to the other, it’s time to give priority to meaningful Bible reading. Lastly, if reading the Bible is “boring” to you, it’s time to recognize that that the Bible was not written to entertain you. It was written to reveal to you the nature of God and His salvation. As you read the Bible you will find that God does not exist to entertain you. Instead, you exist to glorify Him! May we each devote ourselves to the study of God’s word this year.

May you grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ this year,

Pastor Vic


“Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And called his name Jesus.”–Matthew 1: 20b-24a

              Christmas is that joyful time of year we set aside to focus on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Incarnation means, ‘in flesh.’ We must not take for granted the astonishing goodness of God to send His only Son, Jesus, to live in humility with us. He came as the long awaited and long foretold Messiah. God with us, Immanuel. The prophecy quoted here by Matthew is from Isaiah, written approximately 800 years before Matthew wrote his gospel. The faithful in Israel never lost heart in hoping for God to send a Savior, one who would fully and truly make a way for the sins of God’s people to be forgiven. But there was mystery. How could a virgin bear a child? How could the fearful God of Moses who often displayed His presence as fire in the Old Testament, come and live in our midst?

              Yet, at the appointed time, there was a shift from waiting for, to accomplishing God’s will. Everything began to change. An angel appeared to Zechariah. Elizabeth pregnant in her old age. An angel appeared to Mary. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. Suddenly, the normal patterns of life are altered by the Lord breaking in to accomplish the salvation of His people! I want us to see the continued pattern of the Lord to involve and work through normal faithful believing people to accomplish His perfect will.

              Who were Joseph and Mary? They were not exalted special people. They were not at all the type of people that any of us would choose if we were writing this story! They were poor, working-class people, from a little-known town, from families of no particular importance during their lifetimes. They were not people of great learning or great accomplishment. How is it that God chooses to send the mighty angelic messenger, Gabriel, to visit young Mary and proclaim to her, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary is naturally terrified of this angelic messenger, but also seems confused, trying to understand what this all means. She doesn’t see herself as one greatly favored of the Lord. Nothing about her physical life indicates that she is greatly favored of the Lord.

              Why is the eye of the Lord, which is constantly looking upon the earth to see and strengthen the righteous (2 Chronicles 16:9), turned toward this betrothed couple of no earthly account? From the accounts of Joseph and Mary we learn a number of important things about them. First, they were poor. They had no earthly wealth to give Jesus, such that He was born in the poorest possible situation – with animals in a stable. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary present Jesus at the temple for “purification.” They present two birds, instead of the prescribed lamb. This is a permissible sacrifice, but the sacrifice prescribed in Leviticus 12:8 specifically for the poor, who cannot afford a lamb.

              Second, Jospeh and Mary had no earthly status. Though Joseph is in the linage of King David, to fulfill prophecy, but at the time of Jesus Joseph is far from royalty. Instead, he is a working-class man. We assume that Joseph was a carpenter because Jesus was trained as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Joseph is a working craftsman, who teaches Jesus to also work with His hands. Third, Joseph and Mary are not people of any educated status. Throughout the ministry of Jesus the crowds marvel at His theological learning, because he did not come from a background of formal education.

              If nothing about their lives points to worldly “favor,” why are these two people so blessed of the Lord? The overriding answer is that they are appointed by God for this task, but in that appointment, they live out what is most valued by God. Jospeh and Mary are both humble, devout, godly, and pure people. The Lord does not look to the outward appearance but looks to the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). First, the heart of Mary and the heart of Joseph, are both earnest in their love for the Lord. Their earnest godly hearts are proved out in the same way as every other truly godly person. Their devotion is proved by their obedience, “he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” For Mary, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). By faith they believed and obeyed the Lord. Second, the various passages about them speak directly to their sexual purity. Part of their obedience to the Lord before this calling was their obedience to the sexual morality that the Lord had commanded. This purity was part of why the favor of the Lord was upon them.

              In the same way that the favor of the Lord came to Joseph and Mary for spiritual reasons, the favor that was granted to them was of a spiritual nature. In the birth and life of Christ, earthly favor does not seem to be upon Joseph and Mary. They lived a working-class life, with a large family (Mark 6:3), in a small town, and apparently Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry began. Gifts worthy of an earthly king were only given once early in Jesus’ life. The rest of the time there was daily work. There was no palace. There were no servants. There was no luxury and ease. The kingdom of God is not of this world.

              It’s likely that Joseph never understood the ministry of Jesus, but he believed and obeyed. We still now struggle to understand the spiritual work of Jesus in our time. We naturally want to see a very visible work, a work that fully transforms the here and now. But now as then, the work of Jesus Christ continues to be primarily a spiritual work. The salvation of Jesus is a work that begins in soul, transforming that most important part of us – the seat of our person. From the salvation of the soul the entire person begins to change. That change is certainly real, and the salvation of the soul changes all our priorities. Whereas once we were people of a worldly mind, loving the things of the world, we become by the grace of Jesus, people who awaken and look to heaven with new eyes. By the Spirit of the Lord, we understand new realities and live in a new direction. The Lord promises to provide our physical needs, but accumulation of what the world offers is no longer a priority. The Kingdom of God is compared to a mustard seed, beginning so small and only much later growing into an overwhelmingly large reality.

              As we look to Christmas this year – over 2,000 years after the heavenly visitation of Jospeh and Mary, long after the birth and ministry of Jesus – is the Lord still accomplishing His saving work? We have been met late this year with unsettling news of dramatically rising violent crime, the lowest per capita attendance in Christian churches that has ever been recorded, young people abandoning Christianity, the lowest rate of marriage ever recorded in America, fear of disease, fear of war, and fear of crumbling social structures. And yet there is the promise of Jesus, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

              In the midst of the struggle of our time the Lord Jesus continues His spiritual work of salvation! Not among the rich and powerful, but in our very midst. Amidst the struggle of my life and yours. For such a time as this the Lord Jesus has formed our local church. A local church where many people may hear the good news of the salvation of Jesus in the midst of endless angry rhetoric. A place where people may experience the real peace and safety of Jesus in the midst of rising turmoil. A work that has more than doubled in the past year instead of fading away. A work that displays the power of the Lord instead of the weakness of humanity. A work where youth gladly proclaim, “Jesus as Lord” and are not ashamed to live for Him. A church where marriage is held in honor and sought after (I’ve performed five weddings in three months, and as a church, we have four more on the horizon. Rejoice!). A church that is pressing outward to new places to new people. A church that loves the weak and is not ashamed of the poor. A church not characterized by fear of the world and division, but one filled by the fruit of the Holy Spirit which brings love and unity and joy.

              Yes, the salvation work of Jesus continues in our time! Come near. Be a part of what Jesus is doing in our time!

May Jesus be exalted in our hearts this Christmas,

Pastor Vic


“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” John 6:35

              The Lord has many themes that He uses to teach humanity about His person and His work. One of those wonderful themes is manna.

              We first see manna appear in Exodus 16, not long after the Lord brings the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. They have passed through the Red Sea on dry ground and have been but a short time in the wilderness, when the people begin to grumble and complain against Moses, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (v. 3). How quickly the people forgot their many prayers for deliverance from slavery where their boys were being put to death and their lives made bitter through hard labor (Exodus 1, 2:23-24). The people of that generation were continually complaining and hard-hearted; nonetheless, the Lord supplied their needs.

              Each day the Lord sent “bread from heaven” (16:4). Israel called it manna. Each morning in the desert wilderness it appeared like frost on the ground. Each day there was enough for everyone, and it tasted like a wafer made with honey (16:32). The manna was provision for food and the powerful beginning of an enduring object lesson on faith. The manna, by God’s providential working, only lasted one day. The people were instructed to gather what they needed for one day. If they gathered more than needed, the manna would stink and be full of worms the following day. However, on the day before the sabbath day of rest and worship, the people were to gather a double portion and that portion would last two days. This providential process went on for forty years while Israel wandered in the desert under judgment (16:35).

              The daily manna was a powerfully real way for Israel to learn daily dependance on the Lord. The Lord always desires for His people to be dependent upon Him day by day. We naturally want independence and long-term predictable stability, but these things lead us away from the Lord to self-reliance. Not long after the manna began to fall daily, the Lord instructed Moses to set aside a jar of manna to be kept through the generations as a reminder of the Lord’s miraculous daily provision. Hebrews 9:4 speaks to how this jar of manna was one of three objects placed inside the Ark of the Covenant to never be forgotten by Israel. This jar was a physical reminder of how the Lord had provided in the past, day by day, and would continue to provide, day by day, into the future.

              When we turn to the New Testament, manna is again intentionally engrained in the ministry of Jesus. In Matthew 6 when Jesus teaches the people to pray, part of His instruction on prayer is for them to pray for provision from God for “daily bread” (v. 11). This is the exact same picture of manna carried over from the Old Testament. It was a picture that the Jewish people would absolutely have understood. Part of our pattern of prayer should be going to the Lord daily with our real physical needs, believing by faith that He will provide those needs day by day.     

              However, in the New Testament, Jesus extends the picture of manna to His own person. In John 6:22-71, the day after Jesus had fed over 5,000 people with just a few loaves and fishes, the people come again to Jesus for food. Jesus rebukes them for coming to Him for physical food when they should be coming to Him for spiritual food. But the people want a miraculous sign from Jesus, stating that in the past the Lord showed His reality through the provision of manna. Jesus states, “The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world … I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” In the past, Israel ate the daily bread of God from heaven (manna) but died in rebellion and discipline. However, those who look to Christ Jesus and believe in Him, will share in His everlasting life. Those who daily look by faith to Jesus Christ will have their sins forgiven and find in Jesus nourishment and hope for their soul that will never end. Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven to nourish our souls (John 6:51). But in keeping with the manna example, Jesus would have us come to Him every day with our weakness and struggles. He would have us confess our sins every day, and every day find fresh mercy and provision. He is the living Bread of Life that will sustain us far beyond the forty years of Israel. The resurrected life of Jesus will sustain you every day of this life and for all eternity.

              There is one last extension to this powerful theme. One that will carry the church until Jesus comes again. In the later part of John 6, after Jesus proclaims that He is the Bread of Life come down from heaven, he extends this metaphor and tells the people they must “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood.” This was a hard saying that caused many to turn away from following Jesus (v. 66), but at the time of the last supper and following the resurrection of Jesus it became clear what Jesus spoke of. In Matthew 26:26-29 Jesus makes clear that the elements of the Lord’s Supper are to symbolize His body and His blood. As we regularly partake of the elements of bread and juice, we both remember the cross of Christ and symbolically partake of the Bread of Life. We acknowledge that apart from the life of Christ we would have no life. Jesus Christ is our life. He is our daily, sustaining bread.

              May you pray this week in daily dependence on Jesus. May you go to Him for the strength your soul needs to carry on one more day. You will find that what you need will be supplied, and for this you should give thanks!

The righteous will live by faith,

Pastor Vic