Judge torpedoes ban on counseling against same-sex feelings

City tried to dictate speech of licensed therapists

A federal judge has torpedoed the city of Tampa’s attempt to block licensed counselors from helping patients overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.

Similar laws have been defeated in other jurisdictions.

In Tampa, U.S. District Judge William Jung granted summary judgment to Liberty Counsel in its lawsuit against Tampa’s ordinance prohibiting “licensed counselors from providing voluntary talk therapy to minors seeking help to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity.”

The ruling, which permanently strikes the ordinance, was based on the fact that cities don’t have the authority to regulate health care.

“According to the city, the ordinance regulates medical professionals and ‘part of the practice of medicine’ within the city limits,” the judge said. “The city is unaware of any child every receiving proscribed SOCE [sexual orientation change effort] in the city. The city has never before substantively regulated and disciplined the practice of medicine, psychotherapy, or mental health treatment with city limits. Nor does the city possess charter or home rule authority to do so.”

The ordinance, the judge said, “is preempted by the comprehensive Florida regulatory scheme for healthcare regulation and discipline.”

Liberty Counsel defended marriage and family therapist Robert Vazzo and his minor clients, as well as New Hearts Outreach Tampa Bay.

The judge also noted: “Nothing is more intimate, more private, and more sensitive, than a growing young man or woman talking to a mental health therapist about sex, gender, preferences, and conflicting feelings. The ordinance inserts the city’s code enforcers into the middle of this sensitive, intense and private moment. But this moment is already governed by Florida’s very broad rights of privacy, something the ordinance ignores. … The Florida Constitution’s privacy amendment suggests that government should stay out of the therapy room. The Tampa Ordinance does not address this constitutional issue, and in doing so the city attempts to occupy a very private space, contrary to a strong statewide policy.”

The judge also pointed out the city’s move “eliminates” a “longstanding parental right without discussion or exception.”

Liberty Counsel chief Mat Staver called it a great victory for counselors and clients.

“The city of Tampa has no authority to prohibit counselors from helping their clients achieve their goals,” he said. “Regulating healthcare is above the pay grade of local municipalities. While striking down the ordinance, the court shredded the arguments used to justify these unconstitutional counseling bans. This ruling dooms every municipality in Florida and is the beginning of the end of more than 50 similar local laws around the country. This ruling also shows clearly why the other statewide laws will meet the same fate as Tampa. The First Amendment will wipe away every one of these speech-restrictive laws.”

A magistrate judge, ruling the city’s ban likely violated the First Amendment, recommended to the district court that the ordinance be killed.

Original here


SBC President: We Failed to Heed Victims’ Voices

At the recent Caring Well conference, J. D. Greear said the denomination mistakenly saw abuse claims as “attacks from adversaries instead of warnings from friends.”

SBC President: We Failed to Heed Victims’ Voices


Southern Baptist Convention President J. D. Greear acknowledged that while sexual abuse survivors have pleaded with leaders for years, the denomination had failed to act on their claims and in some cases, sidelined them as attacks.

“It is wrong to characterize someone as ‘just bitter’ because they raised their voice when their warnings were not heeded,” Greear told the crowd at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)’s Caring Well conference last weekend. “Anger is an appropriate response, a biblical response, in that circumstance.”

Greear praised the outspokenness and ongoing courage of SBC abuse survivors, naming from the stage both those who spoke at the event in surburban Dallas as well as others who have continued to critique the denomination’s response.

After hearing his remarks, “I actually choked up,” tweeted Tiffany Thigpen, whose story of allegedly being attacked by pastor Darrell Gilyard in the early 1990s was recently featured in the Houston Chronicle.

She wrote on Friday, “Yet there is no apology for [church leaders not rushing to defend abuse survivors from the start]. There are hundreds of victims out here in great agony from the secondary abuse & you still haven’t said, ‘We all have taken part and we all failed greatly, and now we are going to show you.’”

At the three-day event, more than 1,600 Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and laypeople gathered to hear abuse prevention experts and survivors share on topics from how to screen church employees and volunteers to how to recognize grooming behaviors and respond to abuse disclosures.

Sexual abuse survivors Megan Lively, Mary DeMuth, and Susan Codone took the stage along with prominent leaders who are also survivors themselves, such as Beth Moore, Kay Warren, and Jackie Hill Perry.

Greear’s statement came during a Thursday night keynote to address myths about abuse in the church. He called out the idea that “Sexual abuse in the church is not really a problem; it’s simply the latest leftist attack against the church,” saying:

Friends, you understand that the problem of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention did not begin in February with the publication of an article in a newspaper.

Survivors and advocates have been calling our attention to this for years. And many, like Megan [Lively] just now, have shown great courage in doing so. Honestly, [it’s] courage they should not have needed to show.

Believing this myth has caused us as a convention to miscategorize the words of people like Christa Brown and Tiffany Thigpen and Mary DeMuth and Anne Marie Miller and Dave Pittman and Jules Woodson and Megan Lively and so many other victims as attacks from adversaries instead of warnings from friends.

It is wrong to characterize someone as “just bitter” because they raised their voice when their warnings were not heeded. Anger is an appropriate response, a biblical response, in that circumstance.

Survivor Christa Brown, whose memoir This Little Light of Mine documents her account of sexual abuse and subsequent coverup in the SBC, tweeted, “For me, the only truth resides in the reality of their deeds. Action is what matters. Action is what will protect kids and congregants. Action is what shows care. I think my view is similar to what [Greear] himself acknowledged.”

Author Anne Marie Miller—whose abuser, Mark Aderholt, went on to become an International Mission Board missionary—tweeted, “Thank you, @jdgreear. As I told you and @ToddUnzicker last year, I will choose to believe the best about what you say. I’m grateful you acknowledged many of us by name, and hopefully you see the thousands of other survivors that walk with us. #CaringWell.”

Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore led a session where she brought up the question of whether complementarian theology fosters abuse.

“The answer’s no,” she said. “Sin and gross selfishness in the human heart cause abuse. Demonic influences cause abuse.” However, she added, complementarianism shaped “a culture prevalent in various circles of the SBC” that has contributed to abuse.

“Complementarian theology became such a high core value that it inadvertently … became elevated above the safety and well-being of many women,” she said.

Sexual abuse wasn’t the original theme for the ERLC’s annual conference. But after the Houston Chronicle reported on over 700 cases of sexual abuse in the SBC, convention leaders changed the theme.

The SBC passed a resolution at its annual meeting in June that names pastoral sexual abuse as grounds for disfellowshipping an SBC church. It also released a 52-page report detailing the failures of the denomination to adequately respond to abuse allegations.

Earlier in the year, Greear requested internal investigations of ten churches, but a subcommittee determined that all but three did not have credible claims of wrongdoing to investigate in the first place. Survivor and advocate Rachael Denhollander said at the Caring Well Conference that this response “undermined everything [Greear] had done … and no one said a word.”

In the eyes of Denhollander and many fellow survivors, the SBC has yet to take sufficient action against sexual abuse. The denomination has made more resources available to churches, but the training is voluntary. As of August, about 750 churches (less than 2%) had signed up.

While attendees received a copy of the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused guidebook, which accompanies the free, video-based Caring Well curriculum, many survivors have also voiced frustration that the resources are provided by an institution that is itself inundated in scandal.

“Behind every statistic, there is a story,” said Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC executive vice president, during his message at Caring Well. According to survivors, the time to listen to each and every story is now.

Abby Perry is a freelancer writer. Her recent Prophetic Survivors series at Fathom Mag featured profiles of survivors of #ChurchToo sexual abuse. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.


VIDEO A.G. Bill Barr: ‘In the Framers’ View, Free Government Was Only Suitable and Sustainable for a Religious People’

By CNSNews.com Staff | October 14, 2019

Attorney General Bill Barr at University of Notre Dame Law School, Oct. 11, 2019. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Bill Barr spoke at the University of Notre Dame Law School on Friday, saying that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that a “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”

“In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings,” Barr said. “Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

“And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills,” he said. “They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

Watch video here

“In short,” he said, “in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles.”

Here is the transcript from the part of Barr’s speech where he said that the Framers believed that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people:”

“So, the founders decided to take a gamble, and they called it a great experiment. They would leave the people broad liberty, they would limit the coercive power of the government, and they would place their trust in self-discipline and virtue of the American people. In the words of Madison: ‘We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves.’

“And this is really what they meant by self-government. It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

“But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values. And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

“In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles

“As John Adams put it: ‘We have no government armed with a power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’

“And as Father John Courtney Murray observed: The American tenet was not ‘that free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.’”


Bill Barr Flames ‘Unremitting Assault’ On Religion, Traditional Values During Notre Dame Visit

Kevin Daley | The Daily Caller October 13,, 2019

Concerted attacks on religious liberty have triggered a moral upheaval that contributes to deadly social pathologies, Attorney General William Barr said Friday at the University of Notre Dame.

“The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety,” Barr said. “It reflects the framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.”

The attorney general said numerous measures of social decline are rising as religion recedes from public life, citing higher instances of drug addiction, mental illness, and suicide. Those outcomes are not random, but the fruit of a dedicated campaign against orthodox religious belief, Barr added.

“This is not decay,” Barr said. “This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Barr said state governments and municipal agencies have been at the vanguard of that effort, noting the board of education in Orange County, California, recently decided religious dissenters may not excuse their children from portions of the school curriculum broaching LGBT issues. Schools are the usual forum for attacks on religious liberty, Barr said.

In that connection, the attorney general noted the Department of Justice recently intervened in a dispute between a gay teacher and a Catholic high school near Notre Dame. The case arose when the Archdiocese of Indianapolis directed Cathedral High School to dismiss a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage or forfeit its Catholic affiliation. The high school did so. The teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott, sued the school in turn.

The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case Sept. 27, arguing that the lawsuit suppresses the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association, and impermissibly asks the court to interfere with internal church matters.

“The First Amendment precludes this court, a state actor, from cooperating in plaintiff’s attempt to stifle the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association,” the filing reads. “The First Amendment also precludes the court from entangling itself in a quintessentially ecclesiastical question: whether the archdiocese properly interpreted and applied Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment commits that question exclusively to the ecclesiastical tribunals of the church.”

Anti-Barr demonstrators picketed near the Notre Dame campus during the attorney general’s visit, according to the South Bend Tribune. Some protesters blew whistles in reference to a whistleblower complaint from the intelligence community concerning President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden’s business interests in Ukraine, and suggested Barr could support that effort. Hunter, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings.

The attending controversy prompted Notre Dame Law School Dean G. Marcus Cole to issue a statement defending academic freedom.

“Notre Dame Law School will neither endorse nor condemn invited speakers,” Cole said. “An institution of higher education must be a place where controversial ideas and points of view are expressed, heard, and discussed. This is such a place.”

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Kevin Daley of The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Original here



VIDEO ‘It’s Just a Sin:’ With Nowhere to Go, America’s Mentally Ill Often End Up on the Streets


10-07-2019 Lorie Johnson

Tens of thousands of people live on the streets of our most beloved cities. It’s unsanitary and unsafe. One psychiatrist who closely examined Skid Row, the notorious section of Los Angeles that has widely become known the worst and most profound depiction of America’s homeless crisis, says many people who wound up there as well as in nearby hospitals and jails are mentally ill and simply had nowhere else to go.

Psychiatrist Kenneth Paul Rosenberg documented America’s mental health crisis in the award-winning movie, Bedlam recently released in book format.

Good Intentions

Dr. Rosenberg told CBN News today’s homeless crisis can possibly be traced back to the last bill signed by President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, the Community Mental Health Act closed America’s insane asylums. While this law meant to end the often barbaric treatment of the mentally ill, to include Kennedy’s own sister Rosemary, who suffered a lobotomy at the age of 23, leaving her unable to speak the rest of her life, the move also led to unintended consequences.

“Well the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I think that’s a great example, the deinstitutionalization,” he said, adding, “The result was, he created Community Mental Health Centers, but those Community Mental Health Centers were not prepared for the sickest people from the asylums. What’s more, President Reagan in the 1980s canceled the funding, the federal funding, for those. President Reagan said, ‘Let’s give this problem back to the state and have the state asylums take care of it.’ Well, the states, they didn’t want it back.”

In short, after the asylums closed, most people who suffer from a serious mental illness, the kind of issue that formerly led to institutionalization in asylums, were never given a viable alternative.

Dr. Rosenberg says while people with serious mental illness were mistreated in the asylums since they closed, people with SMIs today are too often under-treated or not treated at all and end up living on the streets or made “mental illness a crime.”

“We’ve put them in jails and in cages and the streets, Skid Row and all kinds of dreadful places,” he said, “And we’ve relegated them to backward and delegated their care to jails. That’s just a sin if you ask me, and that’s something we really have to correct.”

The Sickest of the Sick

An estimated one in five Americans suffers from a mental illness, such as depression. While these conditions are troubling and warrant attention, health experts say one in 25 Americans have what’s known as Serious Mental Illnesses, or SMI, that renders them utterly dysfunctional. These include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal depression or severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Dr. Rosenberg says an estimated 11 million Americans have a Serious Mental Illness and too many of them end up either homeless or behind bars, often passing through overcrowded hospitals.

“Los Angeles is the epicenter of this crisis. The largest mental institution in this country is the L.A. County Jail,” he said, “The largest collection of people outside is Skid Row. Skid Row is kind of like a day hospital, if you will, for people with Serious Mental Illness.”

Add to this equation, an estimated eight out of ten people living on the streets struggle with addiction. For the mentally ill, that’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.

“We know there are factors that can bring mental illness out of the woodwork, open a window if you will, on serious mental illness that would otherwise be closed,” he said, “What are those factors? Poverty, trauma, going to jail, unfortunately, most of the mentally ill end in jail nowadays, and above all else, substance abuse,” adding, “they self-medicate with drugs to feel better. They use drugs to get away from themselves. They fall into a terrible lifestyle.”

‘They Don’t Know What They’re Doing’

Dr. Rosenberg says there’s a saying within the mental health profession: “Jail is the bed that never says no.”

That means people with mental illnesses that society doesn’t know what to do with, take them to the nearest and easiest place.

“People with mental illness get picked up for petty crimes. They commit minor infractions. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’ll shoplift. They’ll steal but easily get caught. They’ll do some drugs either through self-medication or homelessness and they end up in jail.”

Dr. Rosenberg says police officers on the beat told him dealing with untreated mentally ill people occupies a good deal of their time.

“The sheriffs and the police aren’t trained to be social workers. They didn’t go into law enforcement to take care of people with mental illness,” he said.

For the mentally ill, a short stint in jail for a minor crime can easily escalate to serving hard time.

“They don’t show up for their court appearance. They don’t show up for their probation hearings. Before you know it, they have one, two, three strikes against them and they end up in prison.”

Concrete Solutions

Although this perfect storm may seem hopeless, Dr. Rosenberg offers concrete solutions, starting with community treatment centers.

“These are terrible diseases, but people can get better,” he said, “They may not be curable, but they are very treatable.”

He also advocates expanding the number of mental health courts. “We can mandate treatment for people who are too sick to know that they need it.”

Dr. Rosenberg says the public should demand better drugs to treat mental illness, ones that are more effective and carry fewer side effects than the ones associated with today’s medications such as weight gain, lethargy, sexual problems. Half of the patients with SMIs stop taking their medication during the course of their treatment.

“The medicines we’re using today for serious mental illness today are 70 years old,” he said, “I think that’s absolutely terrible. God forbid you have breast cancer, God forbid you have colon cancer. You’re going to get a treatment that’s two or three years old. Not one that’s 70 years old.”

What You Can Do

An estimated one in five American families has someone suffering from a Serious Mental Illness.  Just as certain lifestyle factors described above can intensify mental illness, others can mitigate the symptoms.

“What makes serious mental illness better?” Dr. Rosenberg explained, “Certainly decreasing stress makes mental illness better. First of all, a healthy lifestyle like good eating, going to bed at the right time, staying away from drugs,” he continued, “Also, having good spiritual practices, being engaged with your community, having good relationships, optimism, having people around you who support you. These things will help a serious mental illness. They may not cure it, but they’ll help significantly.”

Doctors say psychotic illness typically comes on between ages 17 and 21 and the longer the brain goes untreated the worse it becomes. So early intervention is key. Red flags include being disconnected from reality, exhibiting extremely abnormal behavior and hearing voices, particularly from animals or objects.

“There are leaders in your community, in your church in your synagogue who can help you think this through. The clergy are very proficient in understanding how to deal with this and how to send you to the proper health care providers, people who will be consistent with your own spiritual practices.”

Dr. Rosenberg also recommends contacting the National Alliance on Mental Illness through its website or by calling (800) 950-6264.


As past president of an area NAMI affiliate I would also recommend the following organizations in addition to NAMI.

While  president and after being a local NAMI president I worked with and highly recommend the Advocates Jail Diversion Program

Advocates Jail Diversion Program

E Parent

Families for Depression Awareness

Military Connection

Prevention Plus Wellness


Study links gene to children with physical and intellectual disabilities

Increase in Developmental Disabilities Among Children in the United States



Is America Incurring God’s Wrath Over Abortion?

August 4, 2018

[Picture of Longfellow, quoted here]

Is America shaking its collective fist at God through the wholesale slaughter of the unborn?

Some people virtually celebrate abortion.

  • Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood for a dozen years, is leaving her position as a virtual celebrity. Her “legacy” includes 3.5 million abortions by Planned Parenthood during her tenure.

  • Some of the signs seen at January’s pro-abortion-rights march, such as “Abortion on Demand & Without Apology,” prompted lifenews.com to note, “New Women’s March T-shirts Celebrate Killing Babies in Abortion” (1/17/18).

Today we have surpassed the 60 million mark in number of abortions since the Supreme Court’s companion decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which on January 22, 1973, gave us abortion on demand.

What does God say about all this? Through the Hebrew prophets, God declared, “Woe to those who shed innocent blood.” Not only did He tell us to do no murder (which would include the unborn), but He tells us by way of the prophet Isaiah that we should not call evil good and good evil.

Yet today, rather than lament abortion, some celebrate it. A couple of weeks ago on national television Michele Wolf, the crude comedian, made people laugh at the White House Correspondents Dinner by joking about abortion. I suppose we could note that at least she recognized the unborn as a “baby.”

I find it fascinating to reflect on what some of our forebears said about the evils of slavery. Even some of those who owned slaves, like Thomas Jefferson, recognized it as a great sin. Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

George Mason, one of our founding fathers—again, a slaveholder from Virginia—knew that it was wrong. He said, “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a country.”

But someone might say, “Isn’t there a constitutional reason for abortion? The Supreme Court said so, and there it is.” However, they also said, in the Dred Scot case of 1857 that the slave has no constitutional rights. We fought a Civil War over it. Many see that great tragedy as God’s judgment—the judgment of heaven brought on by about two and a half centuries of slavery in America. (Lincoln implied that in his Second Inaugural Address.)

Meanwhile, is there a constitutional basis for Roe?

I once asked that question of former Yale Law professor, Robert Bork, who was nominated to the Supreme Court until he was so lied about by the left that he got “borked” and was unable to serve there. This happened, despite the fact that the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court, says “Bork’s legal competence and personal integrity were indisputable.”

Here is what Robert Bork told me about the infamous 1973 abortion decision: “If you read Roe against Wade, it’s a very interesting opinion.  It’s about 51 pages or something of that sort. There’s not an ounce of legal reasoning in it. He goes through what the ancient Egyptians thought about abortion, he goes through the English Common Law of abortion, he goes through what the American Hospital Association thinks about abortion, what the American Medical Association thinks about it, and then, suddenly, after all this history, which is utterly irrelevant to the issue before him, he suddenly says, ‘Well, there is a right of privacy and it’s broad enough to cover the right to abortion.’ Bang, it’s a terrible opinion.”

Some legal minds (even those who liked its pro-abortion rights outcome) called Roe “Harry’s abortion,” referring to Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion.

Does God sleep? Does the blood of tens of millions of aborted babies not cry out to Him?

During the Civil War, the great American author, William Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a Christmas carol, entitled, “I heard the bells on Christmas day.” In this poem, he struggles with how the bells peal out “peace on earth, good will to men,” but the reality he sees is anything but.

He continues: “And in despair I bowed my head: / ‘There is no peace on earth, ‘ I said / ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song / Of peace on earth, good will to men.’”

How to resolve this seeming conflict? He comes to this great conclusion: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: / ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; / The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,  / With peace on earth, good will to men.’”

Just because evil may prevail for a time, God will only allow it for a while. There will come a time of reckoning. How can America pretend that God Almighty is pleased with the blood of 60 million unborn babies on our hands? Lord, have mercy.


Willing or Becoming


Homer Les August 26, 2019

In Luke 14:33 we read, “So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say goodbye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.” A powerful verse that many misunderstand. The main trouble lies in the words “who does not”. Many want to interpret the verse this way, “So then, any of you not willing to forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say goodbye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.” See the difference?

A long time ago, we attended a small church where a man named Matthew pastored. God was calling us to give up our idols, and the big one for me was the big screen TV. We decided, as a family, to give our monstrosity away. Strangely, ‘Matthew’ wanted our former idol, so we gave it to him. One Sunday night, not long after, God prompted me to speak in the service how He led us to give up our television. After I sat down, Matthew got up and said God wasn’t calling everyone to give up their TVs; it was just God’s leading for us.

Why did Matthew say this?

When we were homeless at the Smiths Motel in New Brunswick a few ladies we knew came to visit us. One lady, Sarah, was kind and helped us a great deal when we were in St. Stephen. In return we shared our story; how we had given up our home to follow Jesus. Moved by our story, Sarah was clear that she said she couldn’t give up ‘all’. Although she was willing, it would be too hard for her.

Why did Sarah say this?

Later in our journey, while still homeless, we lived in Wilton Standard Church for a time. A new pastor, Moody, came to preach after the previous pastor left. We testified to the believers at Wilton concerning our journey of uncompromising faith. The Bible study group, the Sunday School class, and many individuals heard our story. During one of these meetings I mentioned giving up ‘all’ to follow Jesus. After I spoke Moody piped up and said, we didn’t need to give up ‘all’ literally, we just needed to be ‘willing’.

Why did Moody say this?

These questions still bother us. These three people do not believe Jesus’ words and will not live by them. Luke 14:33 does not say ‘anyone not willing to forsake’, it says ‘anyone who does not forsake’. The imperative is clear. Jesus is expecting anyone who follows Him to act on their commitment. Matthew, Sarah and Moody’s comments move this verse from practical action into an intellectual exercise; with no requirement for sacrifice.

Many want the ‘comfort’ of feeling they are following Jesus without the cost. Could you imagine if someone sat down in a fancy restaurant, ate an 8 course dinner and then said, “I will not pay.”? How successful would they be in escaping the consequence? Yet this happens daily when we ignore the injunction stated in Luke 14:33. We live our lives without thought to this most poignant and significant Scripture, hoping God will look away when we indulge our ‘self’ nature.

God only speaks truth that we need to hear; no more and no less. For Jesus to speak these words and have them recorded means this is a critical principle. In Revelations 13:8 God speaks of the ‘willingness’ of Jesus to be a Lamb slain in sacrifice from the foundation of the world. Jesus’ ‘willingness’ ‘became’ the physical cross on earth. Jesus went from ‘willing’ to ‘becoming’.

What if Jesus was only ‘willing’ to go the cross but actually never went?

Would we have salvation? Would we have a path to the Father to allow us to spend eternity with Him? No, we wouldn’t. How come we see Jesus give up everything and yet think God only wants us to be ‘willing’? This makes little sense. In order for real change to take place our ‘willing’ must turn to ‘becoming.’ Why don’t we move from ‘willing’ to ‘becoming’ then? Because sacrifice leads to death of ‘self’. We don’t want to give up anything because we want to preserve ‘self’.

Being only ‘willing’ changes nothing.

Now we must make an important distinction. Read Luke 14:33 again. What is the result of not giving up ‘all’? Simple, one cannot be His disciple. Please understand Jesus is saying nothing of our salvation. He is referring to something different. His point is, if we don’t give up ‘all’ we will miss out on being a disciple. No big deal, right? Isn’t being a believer and a disciple the same thing? Reviewing Christian writings one might think these terms are interchangeable, but this is not the truth. A disciple is someone who gives up everything to follow another, a believer does not. Simple. If we read Luke 14:33 again, we see Jesus stating a fact. Those who listened to Him knew what a disciple was. They understood and accepted the cost.

If anyone only wants to be a believer, God will respect their decision. If they want to be a disciple however, the conditions are black and white. God will not make anyone become a disciple nor will He punish any person if they choose not to; however, there is one small consequence. If someone remains only a believer, they will never be the Bride of Christ. Period. God the Father will only wed His Son to ones who follow Him in character. Jesus gave up ‘all’. This is His character. The only route to receiving His character is to start becoming a disciple; which means to give up ‘all’. There is no other way.

Whatever path a person chooses, believer or disciple, they need to be honest regarding their choice. If someone isn’t willing to give up ‘all’, they cannot honestly say they are a disciple.

Now don’t think for a moment God will not ask for ‘all’ if a person chooses to become a disciple. Sacrifice is the requirement. We may not understand what our ‘all’ is until God call us to sacrifice it. Our family gave up our home, belongings, pets, friends and family in faith. For others ‘all’ means something different. The one constant is Jesus will ask for our ‘all’ if we choose to follow Him and become a disciple.

God was clear in the 10 commandments when He said, “You shall have no other gods before Me or besides Me.” Exodus 20:3.

In the coming days it will not be safe to be only a believer. As the world turns dark, many will be buffeted and their faith will weaken. Only disciples will be able to stand in the day of evil; holding faith when everyone else turns away. To be a disciple costs everything. The testing and trials are more difficult than we can imagine. We do not want to sugar coat the truth, nor do we want to scare anyone from the path of discipleship. Regardless of the cost we stand firm that receiving Jesus is a greater reward than any loss we incur.

Which will you choose, believer or disciple? If you choose to be a disciple, are you ‘willing’ or ‘becoming’? The price and reward are clear. The choice is yours.


Homer and Wanda

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VIDEO Former Abortionists Turned Pro-Life Advocates

Dr. Robinson received abortion training while on the obstetrics and gynecology service during his residency.  Discussion about the procedures or instructions about alternatives was not part of the training.  Performing abortions required so little effort; everyone was doing it, and they didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so neither did Dr. Robinson.  During this time, he met Noreen, was in her second year of OB/GYN residency and married her in 1981.  “It’s a minor surgical procedure,” says Dr. Robinson referring to the D & C (Dilation and  Curettage), which is not just performed for abortions.  They both began moonlighting at the abortion clinic.  Soon after they finished residency, they moved to Texas to start a family practice with just the two of them.  “We didn’t want to be labelled as the community abortionists in Texas, so we didn’t do them,” he says.

On March 2, 1986, Dr. Robinson attended a Leon Patillo concert where he responded to the altar call.  “That was my rebirthday,” he says. “I was blind and now I see.”  Dr. Robinson says when the Lord comes into your life, your mind is transformed.  “If I would have known abortion was wrong on an academic level, I would still not be saved from going to hell.  Abortion is a sin, but I was already going to hell,” he says.  “God used that to build a testimony to save babies now and bring others to the Lord.”

When dealing with mothers having abortions, Dr. Robinson says the women really didn’t want to give up their babies.  “The only reason I was there was for the money,” he says.  “It’s a deep, dark environment and I couldn’t wait to get out of the abortion clinic. It’s not a happy place.”  Today he is a voice for the unborn.  He and Noreen share their testimony nationwide to expose the facts of the abortion industry with 40 Days for Life, a pro-life organization that has saved thousands of babies and empowered 190 workers in the abortion industry to leave the field.  40 Days for Life holds bi-annual community-based campaigns that organize peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics around the world. Their fall campaign starts September 25.  For more info, please visit www.40DaysforLife.com. “For more than 30 years, I’ve had a front-row view of the advances taking place both in the pro-life movement and in the medical field that continues to prove the undebatable value of life inside the womb,” he says.

When they were both practicing physicians, Dr. Robinson says they purchased the now-closed Planned Parenthood building and relocated their medical practice.  “Only God can build a story like that to show the redeeming power of Christ.  Former abortionists now pro-life advocates.”  Dr. Robinson retired from practice in June 2019.