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March 25, 2004

Dear friends, Jesus embraces His cross (from The Passion of The Christ

When our bloody, brutalized, exhausted Lord was forced to carry his cross, he willingly embraced it. His act of sacrifice was rewarded by mockery from one of the thieves who was also being led to the crucifixion site: "You fool! Why do you embrace your cross?" This was the central moment of "The Passion of the Christ" movie experience for me.

The cross is foolishness to the world. Sacrificing ourselves to help another person doesn't come naturally, even for Christians. Every week, we encounter Christians who refuse to carry the cross, even to save their own child (a child conceived because of their own willing participation in an act of "love"). All too often, we encounter church leaders who proclaim a false cross-less "gospel."

Recently Terri encountered a pastor's daughter outside the abortion chamber. The young woman admitted to Terri that she didn't have any serious reason to consider abortion; she just wasn't "ready" for another child. Her pastor father said, "it's your decision; if you decide to have an abortion, God will forgive you." Terri sent her to the LifeHouse, and our daughter Amy showed her a video about abortion. After watching the video, this pastor's daughter came out with tears in her eyes, saying "I could never do that to my child." In a few months, this pastor's heart will be filled with joy as he holds his precious grandchild for the first time. I wonder if he will think about the words of "forgiveness" he spoke which almost led to this child's death.

A few weeks ago we received this e-mail message from another pastor's daughter:

I was reading online about you and what a person like myself should say to my parents about me being preganant. I am 20 years old, my dad is a pastor of a church he just started at .... I know my dad and I know when he finds out, he will probably resign. This breaks my heart. He's been pastoring for over 30 years and just moved to IL to take a church from TN.
If you have any advice, please let me know. I've always been the "screw up" rebelleous child of the family and finally-TO THEM, on the outer part of me, it looks like my life is all together, but I've been hiding my sin and ultimately have just been screwing up like before, just hiding it better....
Ps. Abortion to me has never been an option, but its looking easier to take that option.

After exchanging several messages with us, she decided to give birth to her baby, and to abstain from further sexual activity. Soon this family will be filled with joy over their new family member.

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). As we follow Jesus' command to take up our cross and follow Him, we too can know that joy waits for us, just over that hill.

So often when we're out on the sidewalks, people mock us, saying "get a job!" Quite candidly, I often wish I could take their advice. I don't always want to embrace my "cross." But even though I resist the shame of being on the sidewalks, there is no greater "job" in the world than having the opportunity to be used by God to help save so many precious children. Thank you for helping us to be there as Christ's ministers for those who are being led away to the slaughter!

We will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of LifeSavers Ministries with a banquet on Thursday, June 17. Please mark this date on your calendar. We also hope to prepare a video/DVD featuring twenty of the most inspirational stories of babies who were saved over the past two decades.

Next week, Franklin Graham will be here in Bakersfield for the only evangelistic festival his organization will hold in our country this year. Our family will be there, rejoicing in the opportunity to help others come to Christ. Please pray with us that those who come forward will receive the full Gospel--not the modern, cross-less "gospel" which promises forgiveness without repentance.

In Christ's service for those who cannot speak for themselves,
Tim Palmquist
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