The Virginia Values Act was a deliberate act by the state government to make Christian organizations (including schools) choose between giving up an orthodox Biblical worldview or shut down. We now face the same threat from the national government. The House of Representatives is preparing to pass the Equality Act which will include gender identity and sexual orientation into the nation’s civil rights laws. They are intentionally excluding religious exemptions. This is a direct threat to Christian schools, churches, and ministries.
Without religious exemptions, all Christian schools, churches, and other organizations will not be able to hire, teach, or adhere to Biblical teachings about marriage and sexuality. Even if religious exemptions are included, this law will still change the landscape of this county. This law will mean:
- A man claiming to be a woman will have access to women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, and battered women’s shelters.
- Secular or religious doctors will be required to provide transgender surgeries and transitional drugs even if they object.
- People will lose their jobs or be fined for using incorrect pronouns.
- The end of women’s sports. Men who transition after puberty still have significant advantages over women. Middle school boys can beat women’s Olympic records.
- Schools (even in Augusta County) have already put in place Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. This law will expand this teaching and mandate punishments for students and teachers who violate the law.
What can you do? You can write your congressman and let him know your position. ACSI has put together a template to make it easier for you. You can click on or cut and paste the following link into your browser: https://www.votervoice.net/ACSI/campaigns/66075/respond
Here are two articles that provide more information:
Please take action for your children, your church, GCS, and women!
Bright sadness doesn’t make sense if we look at it from a worldly perspective. But if we view it through a Biblical lens, it can take on a deep meaning. In Greek, it is the compound noun “charmolypê, variously translated “bitter joy,” “joyful mourning,” or “affliction that leads to joy.” It is a good description of the Season of Lent. A time of darkness, repentance, or mourning that leads to the joy in the resurrection of our Lord! The Son rising on Easter morning!
The following is an illustration about Lent that our pastor shared with us at our Ash Wednesday service last night. If you place a diamond on a multi-colored cloth with a design, the beauty of the diamond is lost in the busyness of the cloth. That is why diamonds are traditionally placed on a black velvet cloth, so you can see the exquisite beauty of the diamond. In our daily lives, Jesus can become lost in our busyness and can be replaced by personal idols. Lent is a time for us to remove our worldly desires and idols and focus upon the most important thing in our lives, which is Jesus Christ. It is a time when we place Jesus upon a black velvet cloth so we can focus upon Him.
I am addicted to candy, cookies, and other sweet treats. These things distract me and sway my desires and control my actions. They take my focus away from my savior. What distracts you from Jesus? That is what you should give up during Lent. When we desire what we have given up, it is an opportunity for us to remember Jesus and what He has done for us. As we approach Easter, all of us need to focus upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ—the pain, the suffering, and the sadness which leads to His resurrection, the brightness, and the joy. This is a season of “Bright Sadness.”
Praying is actually doing something, so I want to encourage you to spend some time this week praying for GCS. At the beginning of the year, we received magnets entitled “Pray for GCS,” and they contain five prayer items. I want to walk through each of them and encourage you to join me in prioritizing these in prayer before the Lord.
1. Gratitude, wisdom, and safety for GCS leaders, teachers, and workers
Our words and prayers matter, so expressing gratitude for our leaders and teachers is no small starting place. You might even consider reaching out and sending a “thank you” note or email to someone who has positively impacted your student or family this year. Expressing our gratitude for one another in prayer to God is an exercise in thankfulness and, sometimes, humility. It also sets our focus on our blessings and away from the frustrations and distractions that so easily monopolize our attention. Let’s pray too for wisdom and safety, especially during these difficult times.
2. Encouragement, energy, and creativity, especially for teachers
February is a dark, cold month, and your student’s teachers are human. If ever they need encouragement, energy, and creativity, it’s these next few weeks of the school year. Praying is doing something, so pray for them and encourage them. Teachers, do the same for your students and their families. We’re in this thing together!
3. Student growth in faith and character
Life as a young person is complicated and difficult enough in 2021 without pandemics, quarantines, and election cycles. There are enough snares and worries without all of that. Jesus said that each day has enough trouble of its own, and any given day in this school year seems to fit that description all too perfectly. Nevertheless, God is at work in their lives. Let’s pray for them and come alongside them as they continue to persevere through a difficult school year.
4. Growing deeper in our knowledge of God and His will for our lives
This is always a timely prayer, but let’s not neglect praying for and desiring to continue to go deeper with the Lord. A community who is growing deeper in its knowledge of God and His will is a community better equipped to reflect His wise care and love into the world around it. May His will be done at GCS as it is in heaven.
5. An environment filled with joy, hope, and love
I pray that GCS will be characterized by a Christ-like environment: one filled with joy, hope, and love. Every classroom, hallway, office, athletic space … may the students of GCS be embraced by the love of God in every aspect of the school and its environment. Praying is doing something, so let’s pray and expect God to move and work toward this end.
“The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
In a recent Breakpoint podcast, John Stonestreet observed that in uncertain times we have a tendency to ask, “Other than praying, what can I do?” How many times have you heard or asked that question in some form over the past year or so? How many times is that our knee-jerk response to a situation: other than praying … When we say that, we generally mean that we don’t want to respond to problems with mere words. Saying “I’ll pray for you” doesn’t seem to carry the same weight and authenticity as, “May I prepare a meal for your family?” Doing something seems preferable to saying something. But Stonestreet nails it when he goes on to say, “Praying is actually doing something.”
It’s easy to get discouraged or overwhelmed with any number of life situations and wonder what our response is supposed to be. “What am I supposed to do?” We’re image-bearers designed to do good things in God’s world, so this question of doing is the right one to ask because being actively involved in the world is part of what it means to be human. Furthermore, the trinitarian God—in whose image we are made—created by speaking. In that context, we shouldn’t be surprised that our words and prayers carry power.
Failing to appreciate and understand just how powerful our words are is one of the problems with the mentality (not the sentiment) of “Other than prayer …” Oddly, despite knowing the damage our words can do, we are not always equally aware of the restoration they can effect as well. But the deeper problem is that true prayer isn’t just saying something—it’s doing something. As Stonestreet concluded, “[Prayer] is a central part of a Christian worldview: that God has made Himself known, and He welcomes that relational communion with Him, not only bringing our requests, but also asking for his help and living out the things we already know.”
As followers of Jesus, let’s not forget that prayer matters and that it actually does something. Other action steps on our behalf are essential, but to neglect prayer is to pass over the first real thing that we can do in any given situation. And it’s in relational prayer to God that we find the proper context and wisdom to do those other essential things.