The fact that the lives of unborn children have become a political football is surely a scar the history of America will never be able to cover. I would not be surprised if future generations look back on our generation with the same shamed bewilderment we have when we look back the generations who owned slaves. Will we feel the same deep wound as when we look back on the Holocaust? Or when we think about the genocide in Rwanda? We should.
The Bible tells us that humanity was the crowning point of God’s creation. God made Adam and Eve “a little lower than the angels” (Ps. 8:5). Humans, because we were created in the image of God, are separate and distinct from the animal kingdom. No animal was created in God’s image. As such, followers of God have always considered human life to be sacred.
The writer of Psalm 139 perhaps said it best:
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” (vs. 13-16, HCSB).
In this beautiful poetry, we see the heart of God revealed. Humans have His eye even before we are born. How captivating! How humbling!
And how saddening that so many have so little respect for the unborn.
Satan quickly enticed violence
Not long after entering the human story, Satan enticed one to murder. Cain slew Abel (Genesis 4:1-9) and set the whole course of humanity on a murderous slaughter. If history has revealed anything, it is that humanity knows no limit of violence and carnage.
Murder of our fellow humans, child sacrifice in pagan religions, abandonment, human trafficking, modern day slavery, and myriad other abuses plague our race. It seems there is no lack of people willing to abuse other people for power or the almighty dollar.
Perhaps it has never been more important for God’s people to exemplify what it means for life to be sacred. Culture will not discover God’s passion for humanity without the light of the gospel.
It is up to us
Demonstrating love within our own families, caring for unwed mothers, leading them toward preserving human life, caring for orphans, ministering to war refugees; it’s all speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves. “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy” (Proverbs 31:8, 9, HCSB).
Recognizing and standing for the sacredness of life can be costly. Humanity gone astray, convinced that humans are equal to animals and as expendable as last week’s trash, will not lightly accept the biblical message of humanity’s innate worth. However, faithfulness to stand is what God demands.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
General Editor, Bible Studies for Life
Today, RonnieFloyd.com welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church. Follow Dr. Jeff Crawford on Twitter.
A year and a half ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry was a vision and a dream between Dr. Ronnie Floyd and me; A vision of training next generation leaders for service in the Kingdom and a dream of what that could look like through Cross Church.
Nine months ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry was born. The vision and dream became reality as I said good-bye to my pastorate in Fort Smith, and joined Dr. Floyd to build a School of Ministry from the ground up.
Two and a half months ago, the Cross Church School of Ministry welcomed its first cohort of students. Eleven men from five states, called of God, seeking to serve the Kingdom in worship ministry, youth ministry, pastoral ministry, church planting, and international missions. A vision and dream come to fruition.
But the story of the Cross Church School of Ministry is not over. In fact, it is still in its infancy. And as we begin our third month with this first class of students and are just two weeks away from traveling with the School of Ministry to Venezuela to train pastors, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on what has been learned and project even further into the future.
What I am learning…
The future is bright. What an incredible joy to know these eleven men that God has sent to us for year one to the Cross Church School of Ministry. Ranging in age from 19 to 34, these men are the future of local church ministry and missions. They are enthusiastic. They love Jesus. They are committed to the Word of God. They understand the Great Commission. And they are hungry to learn. In so many ways, they remind me of myself at another season of life. Nothing is impossible to these men. They’ve not yet been told, “You can’t do it,” and so they are swept along by a God whose ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
What our church is learning…
Cross Church has always understood the value of investing in future leaders, but the Cross Church School of Ministry is pushing us to new territory and breaking old boundaries. These men are not just learning from us, they are also giving back. Cross Church is stronger as these men pour their raw enthusiasm and boundless energy into our body of believers. Whatever investment we have made into building the Cross Church School of Ministry, it is coming back to us ten fold. We can’t help but feel that we are developing a new model for how men and women called of God prepare for ministry.
What our students are learning…
These men are learning what ministry “in real time” looks like. The speed of the game is fast, the demands are high, the stakes are life and death, and they have a front row seat for the whole thing. Some are learning that they don’t know as much as they thought they knew. Some are learning what a strong work ethic truly looks like. All of them are learning how to walk with Jesus while leading others to do the same. The goal of the Cross Church School of Ministry is to prepare leaders for life, ministry, and Gospel advancement globally.
What all this means for the future…
All of this put together means the future is limitless. In the immediate future, the Cross Church School of Ministry will be traveling to Venezuela on mission. We covet your prayers for our trip November 13-21. After the holidays, we will travel to work with church plants in Portland, Maine, and Seattle, Washington. We are going coast-to-coast…literally. Already, we are preparing for year two, asking God to bring to us whom He wants. Prayerfully, we will have 20 God-called leaders for 2014-15. It is my personal prayer that our second cohort will include women and international leaders. And thinking even further down the road, the possibilities become very exciting. Could we have a second center located in another country? How about auxiliary “classes” for laypersons? Would God allow us to develop a Cross Church Network of leaders (former School of Ministry students and others) who return to Cross Church on an annual basis for fellowship, re-connection, and further training?
I was once told that the word “potential” just means you haven’t done it yet. For all we are doing with the Cross Church School of Ministry, the potential is even greater. But all that means is that we haven’t done it yet. But we will. Our God expects it. Our faith demands it. The Kingdom needs it. And a lost world deserves it.
Dr. Jeff Crawford
President, Cross Church School of Ministry
Teaching Pastor, Cross Church