January 30, 2018

I hope you’re entering 2018 with as much excitement as I am! We get to do so much good!

We could save a life this year. We could save a little baby’s life. We could save a marriage at the same time. We could save a whole family! With the Lord our God granting it, and with your special financial gift of support, we could!

Can you hear Lisa? She’s just discovered she’s conceived. She’s carrying a new life inside. She hasn’t even told the father yet. She doesn’t believe she can handle it. How will she afford it? What will her friends say? What will her parents do? When will she sleep? Isn’t it going to hurt? Won’t she become unattractive? What if he leaves her? What about her education, her career, her plans? She’s considering aborting.

This is her critical time. This is her crucial moment. This situation will define her for the rest of her life. It’s about to change her forever. It’s going to reshape every relationship she has. It’s going to follow her family for generations. It’s going to influence her marriage for the next 50 years. It’s going to affect everybody she comes into contact with for better or worse. It’s going to impact dozens, even hundreds, of people. It will infiltrate and permeate an entire community, nation, and culture.

We could have a hand in it. You can have a hand in it. You can witness the hand of God in it. You can behold Him carrying out His own heroic miracles of grace and salvation.

Here’s how we’re going to do it: We’re going to equip Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life. We’re going to motivate pastors to speak the truth that every human life—regardless of the circumstances—is His precious treasure and our special privilege. We’re going to offer them resources for preaching and teaching sensitively and winsomely about life issues. We’re going to educate congregations to show the love with which God has deliberately and delightfully created, redeemed, and called each person to belong to His kingdom. We’re going to patiently explain how Holy Scripture and Lutheran doctrine deal directly with these matters. We’re going to activate brothers and sisters to share the grace that God’s activity—rather than anyone else’s own age, appearance, ability, or history—gives all human beings sanctity and significance. We’re going to engage in conversations and arrange visits.

We’re going to declare courage and compassion to desperate hearts. We’re going to demonstrate joy and hope to anxious minds. We’re going to deliver community, opportunity, and purpose to Lisa and the other endangered ones.

And our Savior will make her and the father and their baby a family and a home. They will get married. She will give birth. Baby Jade will be baptized and raised in the name and the knowledge of the Lord.

Don’t you want a front-row seat to this epic adventure? Don’t you want a firsthand role in this grand undertaking? You can! We can do it this year! Please give generously, and we will!

We could do more! We could heal a broken heart this year. We could bring healing to a guilt-riddled, grief-stricken woman’s broken heart and save her life. With our Almighty Maker moving us, and with your offerings, we could!

Do you see Robin? She underwent an abortion 18 years ago. She’s watching her deceased child’s peers get ready to graduate. She’s suffering secretly. Memories and regrets taunt her. Nightmares and remorse torture her. She longs for what she gave up, what she took away. She grows only lonelier hiding. She dreads the future. She obsessively envisions the fate she deserves. She hates herself. She resents everything that hasn’t helped and everyone who doesn’t make her better. She’s considering taking her life.

This is her point of no return. This is a seismic ground zero and a nuclear critical mass. There are going to be aftershocks and fallout. Either she ends here or she starts over, but no one who knows her escapes unscathed. The repercussions of whatever happens next will ripple out everywhere. The reverberations from this one individual will touch so many others to one degree or another. Robin’s become the front lines of the cosmic battle between good and evil. The character of society is about to be irreversibly altered.

We could intervene. You can be involved in the decisive difference-making. You can experience God shifting the course of human history. You can accompany Him as He sets a trajectory toward the new creation’s cosmic victory.

Here’s how we’re going to do it: We’re going to enact and apply Jesus Christ’s mercy and care right to her. We’re going to articulate how He has descended from heaven, died on the cross in her place, and returned again from the dead for her and for her child. We’re going to embody His forgiveness for her sins, for her soul, for her freedom, for her everlasting resurrection. We’re going to notice her, invite her, listen to her and embrace her, and seek the assurance of His throne with her, like we do through our 24-hour Word of Hope post-abortion healing hotline (888.217.2679). We’re going to prepare those close to her to do the same even already in high school and university, through our Y4Life student initiatives.

We’re going to provide the reasons for this faith that finds every human life priceless. We’re going to practice respect and protection for anyone tempted by the devil’s deceptions that death is a solution for difficulty. We’re going to prove to Robin and so many more that even in our weakness and uncertainty, God never gives up, and neither do His people.

And the Son of God Himself will take away her condemnation. Robin will know relief and grow stronger. Her story will serve as a divine instrument to spare several neighbors from similar pain.

Isn’t it worth it to you? Nothing’s worth more to us. And our Father and Savior gets His greatest enjoyment from including you and me in life-saving like this. We can do it this year! Send us your gift, and we will!

We could do still more! We could safeguard the value of human life. We could celebrate how much a man matters—even if he has chronic and terminal disabilities—and save his life. Alongside the dynamic Spirit of God, and with your donations, we could!

Have you met Mark? He’s struggled with schizophrenia and social anxiety disorder all his adult life. He hasn’t held a steady job in years. His wife divorced him for it and took custody of their adopted daughter. He sees her two hours a month under strict supervision. She treats him with teenage distance and dismissiveness. His Social Security gets him a skimpy apartment in a scary area. He naps during the day between collecting thrift-store knick-knacks and staring at the TV. He tosses and turns through the night. He’s been prescribed dialysis for kidney failure from diabetes. He’s considering asking for assisted suicide.

This is his decisive hour. This is his ultimate juncture. Life and death literally hang in the balance.

Decades come down to this. What’s about to go down cannot be undone. His daughter, her mother, his relatives, his landlords, his neighbors, his doctors—their futures and their families will bear weighty burdens or reap great rewards.

We could participate in something superhuman. You can contribute to an extraordinary event. You can catch a glimpse of God drawing back the drapes between heaven and earth. You can join Him in harrowing hell itself.

Here’s how we’re going to do it: We’re going to network and partner in Life Chapters and Life Teams (www.lutheransforlife.org/life-teams), so that when one among us has hurts, we all lament together, and when one among us has happiness, we all exult together. We’re going to take Mark’s hand and walk beside him so that fellowship makes up for what autonomy leaves lacking. We’re going to publish in pamphlets and broadcast in conferences far and wide the many ways the Good Shepherd’s abundant life arrives even amid afflictions. We’re going to advocate for physicians and politicians to defend and preserve human people in all states and stages.

We’re going to proclaim the meaning that God’s image gives. We’re going to make known the meaning that Christ’s cross and tomb bring. We’re going to surround Mark with the encouragement and guidance of the Lord. We’re going to sacrifice and serve however he needs. And the Holy One will sustain him. Mark will receive justification and confidence. He will turn away from control and death. He will walk his little girl down the aisle and pray with his grandsons.

Can’t you imagine it? Doesn’t the possibility stir your soul? You can do this! We’re going to do so much in 2018! Will you please give a special financial gift to support it?

God blessed our efforts in 2017—we had a very productive and effective year. We really want for you to be part of the upcoming wonders He does through us. Just send your gift online. I promise you will not regret it!

Already in 2018, great opportunities to apply God’s Word to life issues have happened! In the photo below, Laura Davis, our Y4Life director, was privileged to share with the youth of Emmanuel Lutheran in Maui their great value in Christ.