Criticism over President’s invitation to Notre Dame

I saw this story yesterday and thought it was very interesting.  It hasn’t been getting a lot of attention yet, but I think it needs to.  The story centers on an invitation given to President Obama to speak at their upcoming commencement ceremony.  It’s been a tradition going back to Jimmy Carter.  However, as a result of the President’s strong stance on pro-abortion and his new legislation to allow federal funding for embryonic cell research, there has been an increasing swell of support to retract the invitation because of the conflict of moral beliefs.  In reality, the university will probably not rescind the invitation, for fear of alienating the new administration, but this no doubt will be a hot topic as the date for the commencement approaches.  The link to the full story is below.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090327/D976AMMG0.html

The GIVE Act and SERVE Act

Sounds like a good idea right?  Well, if you were looking at it from a biblical viewpoint it would be, just one problem, it doesn’t have biblical roots.  The GIVE Act actually is an acronym (shocking I know) for Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education, and is actually an amendment to the National and Community Service Act of 1990.  Combined with the SERVE Act, Supporting Emergency Responders Volunteer Efforts, will cost taxpayers about $6 billion dollars.  Wait, 2 volunteer programs are going to cost $6 billion?  It’s volunteer!  Or is it?

An excerpt from the Bill HR1388 states that:

 (6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

Mandatory Volunteering?  Here’s the problem with this legislation; America has always been a very giving nation, both monetarily and through acts of service, when you make giving and service mandatory it turns people off.  When the government begins to implement mandatory service programs we lose sight of the heart behind the act and it becomes more like a chore or job.  Don’t mistake these Act’s for goodwill, they are a create-work, money pit.

Just as I mentioned last week in the Service Post, we Christians should perform acts of service to allow the Light of Christ to shine.  It is an outward expression of an inward connection that allows others to see how God works in the life of a believer.  Our intent behind service should be like the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:12, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”, not for the glory of man. 

All our offerings, whether of music or martyrdom, are like the intrinsically worthless present of a child, which a father values indeed, but values only for the intention. — C.S. Lewis

Heaviness of Soul

I was flipping through a collection of readings by John Wesley early this morning, and came across a message that fits in perfectly with the post I made yesterday.  His sermon is based on I Peter 1, in which Peter discusses various trials and temptations that befall us.

I Peter 1:3-9 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Here is the message from Wesley on that passage:

There is a near relationship between the darkness of mind in the wilderness state and heaviness of soul, which is more common among believers.  The resemblance is so great that they are frequently confounded together.  But they are not equivalent terms; far, far, from it.  The difference is so wide and essential, as all the children of God need to understand, to prevent them sliding out of heaviness into darkness.

The manner of persons to whom the apostle Peter wrote the above words were believers at that time.  He expressly says (I Peter 1:5) you are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.  Again (I Peter 1:7), he mentions the trial of their faith; and yet again (I Peter 1:9), he speaks of their receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.  So, though they were in heaviness, they were possessed of living faith.  The apostle prays (I Peter 1:2) not that grace and peace may be given them, but that it may be multiplied. 

They were also full of a living hope.  For he speaks (I Peter 1:3) of their living hope of their inheritance that fadeth not away. In spite of their heaviness, they still retained a hope full of immortality.  And they still rejoiced (I Peter 1:8) with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Their heaviness, then, was also consistent both with living hope and inexpressible joy!

Our God is good.  It’s through this message by Peter that God tells us we are kept by His power through our faith unto salvation.  No matter the burden, trials, temptations, or sins, Christ died for us once, for all. I Peter 3:18 Satan wants the burden of our sin to cast doubt with our faith to lead us into darkness, but we are given the living hope through Jesus and as such we should be rejoiceful, not disheartened.

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"