Author Archives: Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield

Houston Mayor Withdraws Subpoenas, but Political Intimidation Continues

HOUSTON, TEXAS., October 28, 2014 — On Sunday, November 2, Family Research Council (FRC) will host a nationwide, live simulcast event from Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas. Called “I Stand Sunday,” the simulcast will reach into over 2,500 churches and home groups nationwide. “I Stand Sunday” will provide churches across the nation the opportunity to stand with the pastors and churches in Houston, Texas who have been targeted and harassed by the city’s Mayor because they publicly challenged her efforts to advance policies that are in direct conflict with biblical morality.

FRC President Tony Perkins will serve as host for the simulcast which will also feature former Governor Mike Huckabee, Duck Dynasty’s Phil and Al Robertson, the five Houston pastors who have been targeted by the Mayor’s subpoenas, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, who serves as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, along with many other national and local Christian leaders.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments regarding the Mayor’s announcement today and Sunday’s “I Stand Sunday” simulcast:

“Standing together across the nation, Christians have sent a strong message to Mayor Parker. While we are encouraged by this evidence that the Mayor is responding to pressure and withdrawing her unconstitutional subpoenas, this is about far more than subpoenas. As we have stated since the beginning of this intrusion into the private affairs of Houston churches; this is not about subpoenas, this is not about sermons, it is not even about biblical teaching on sexual immorality, it is about political intimidation and the bullying by Mayor Parker that continues.

“Despite the fact that the citizens of Houston gathered over 50,000 signed petitions in 30 days, which is 30,000 more than required by the city charter, the Mayor has refused to allow the people of Houston to vote on her unfair special rights ordinance that discriminates against religious freedom within the city and endangers citizens by declaring that public bathrooms can no longer be limited on the basis of a person’s actual biological sex.

“The citizens of Houston have a right to vote, and Mayor Parker has denied them that right. America must see the totalitarianism that accompanies the redefinition of marriage and human sexuality, which results in citizens being denied their most fundamental rights.

“This Sunday night, thousands of Christians from across the nation will join ‘I Stand Sunday’ to support the pastors and Christians in Houston, Texas and their fundamental rights of religious freedom, freedom of speech and the right to petition their government,” concluded Perkins

Prior to the simulcast, FRC President Tony Perkins, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Pastor Steve Riggle, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, and local church leaders will hold a 4:00 p.m. CT news conference at Grace Community Church where they will offer a preview of the event.

WHO:

Former Governor Mike Huckabee

Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty

Alan Robertson, Duck Dynasty

Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

Steve Riggle, Founding Senior Pastor, Grace Community Church, Houston, TX

Khanh Huynh, Senior Pastor, Vietnamese Baptist Church, Houston, TX

Dave Welch, Executive Director, Houston Pastors Council

Hernan Castano, Pastor, Iglesia Rios de Aceite, Houston, TX

Magda Hermida, Founder, Magda Hermida Ministries, Houston, TX

Willie Davis, Senior Pastor, MacGregor Palm Community Baptist Church in Houston, TX

Dr. Ed Young, Pastor, Second Baptist Church Houston, TX

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President, Southern Baptist Convention

Todd Starnes, Host, Fox News and Commentary; Contributor, FOX & Friends; Author

Dr. Rick Scarborough, Founder and President, Vision America

David and Jason Benham, Benham Brothers Companies

Erik Stanley, Director of the Church Project and Pulpit Initiative, Alliance Defending Freedom

WHAT: News conference and simulcast event: “I Stand Sunday”

WHERE: Grace Community Church

14505 Gulf Freeway Houston, TX 77034

WHEN: Sunday, November 2, 2014

News Conference: 4:00 p.m. CT

Simulcast: 6:00 p.m. CT

Prison Ministry Opens Campus in Puerto Rico

NAGUABO, Puerto Rico, Oct. 28, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI) is thrilled to announce the launch of a new satellite campus in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (USA). This fast-growing campus has already enrolled ninety-two students and trained over forty Instructors under the direction of long-time prison chaplain Madeline Garcia.

CBI has served Puerto Rican students for many years, due largely to Garcia’s efforts to personally distribute and collect lessons throughout the island’s prisons. However, without indigenous support, these lessons had to be processed through CBI headquarters in the United States, which nearly doubled lesson turnaround rates. Garcia eventually realized that establishing a self-sufficient satellite campus would be the best solution to streamline lesson processing.

“When Madeline approached us about starting this campus, we were excited to see how this move could help grow the ministry,” said Sandra Chang Raak, CBI’s international coordinator. “We believe training local Instructors is the best way to empower Puerto Rican church leaders in the area of prison ministry.”

Statistics suggest that there is a great need for the long-term discipling of prisoners in Puerto Rico. The territory has an incarceration rate of about 332 per 100,000 people and cocaine trafficking has nearly quadrupled in the last seven years, leaving a devastating trail of corruption, violence and addiction in its wake.

Garcia has worked passionately for many years to address these problems and bring rehabilitative programs to Puerto Rico’s prison population. CBI Puerto Rico will serve as a key piece in this mission, specifically at the two rehabilitation centers Garcia founded for newly released prisoners. Garcia is already incorporating CBI’s discipleship program into each person’s treatment plan and facilitating weekly sessions in which students can complete lessons together in a classroom setting.

“CBI Puerto Rico truly embodies the vision for holistic healing that lies at Crossroad’s core,” remarked CBI president Dr. David Schuringa. “Our growing international program—with twenty established and seven emerging campuses—reminds us that the need for long-term discipleship and reentry support in America is also present in prisons all around the world.”

CBI is a nonprofit prison ministry with 45,000 active students studying through satellite campuses on six continents. The program is provided at no cost to prisoners and their families. Visit www.cbi.tv for more information.

To Serve Others

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield

Short of salvation itself perhaps the greatest gift God ever gave us was each other. The reason I say this is because God put us all here so we could serve each other. Not serve in the sense of being slaves to each other, but rather to reinforce and empower each other. We are all interconnected and for very good reasons. Look at what the Bible says about our connectedness “so that there won’t be divisions in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (CEB) Notice what it says about how we are to suffer together, and celebrate together. We are not meant to be separate but part of one mutually supporting whole.

Not not any one of us can solve every problem for every person. This is why there is more than a few of us. So that each of us will have the help we need at hand when we need it. Of course we sometimes are blind to the help that is right at our fingertips ! God often makes provision for our needs through the people around us.

What is interesting is we are being called to selflessness, but in many ways service is as much about us as it is about those we serve. Service to others can bring about a great feeling of happiness, and satisfaction ! Albert Schweitzer certainly knew about service. He served others as both a physician and a minister. He had this to say on the topic of service, and happiness “ I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” I find it interesting that he makes a point of saying your destiny does not change the fact that true happiness comes only from serving others.

Serving others is our way of bringing God’s love into the daily lives of those around us. Now I’m not saying you have to be a medical missionary to Africa like Dr. Schweitzer. For many of us God looks only for us to serve our families, and those immediately around us. Some are called to greater things, some to smaller, but they are all equally important ! We are all uniquely suited to the service God has called us to. Look to what people God has placed in your lives. Look to the talents he has made you a master at. These are your clues to when, where, and how God has chosen you to serve.

Service is not a once or twice a lifetime thing. It should be an ongoing part of our lives as Christians and who we are. Ponder what Charles Wesley had to say about the importance of service and its role in our lives, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. “ So promise God and yourself from this day forward to make service a part of all that you do.

Federal Commission Begins Deliberating in Effort to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

BURLINGTON, Vt., Oct. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF) began deliberations today in Burlington, Vermont in advance of issuing a report to President Obama and Congress on a national strategy to eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities.  The meeting took place one day after the Commission heard from local, state and tribal stakeholders from the Burlington, Vermont region.

The Commissioners met as a body for the first time to begin deliberating on key questions related to how federal, state, and local governments define and count child abuse fatalities.  Some of the key questions they reviewed include:

  • What are the purposes of counting child abuse and neglect fatalities?
  • What data on child abuse and neglect fatalities are currently collected?
  • What are the limitations and economic impact of our current data collection efforts?
  • What strategies could be implemented to improve the counting of child abuse and neglect fatalities?
  • Does defining child abuse and neglect fatalities need to be standardized?

According to Dr. David Sanders, Chairman of the Commission, “We are beginning our deliberation process with a focus on counting, because we all agree that we cannot solve a problem this complex until we agree it exists. And that begins by defining exactly what constitutes a child abuse or neglect fatality. When we understand how these deaths occur, we can develop more effective strategies to prevent them. It is not enough to agree that a death occurred. Information about the circumstances around that death shows us which risk factors were present. These risk factors can then be used, in conjunction with real-time data, to identify other children who are at increased risk of harm — and to prevent future deaths by offering timely services to their families or moving the children to a safe environment.

Commissioner Teri Covington summarized the data that the Commission has received to date on how to quantify child abuse and neglect fatalities. “It is estimated that the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), which defines cases of child abuse and neglect based on state-specific statutes, currently undercounts the number of fatalities by as much as fifty percent, according to numerous studies,” she noted. “There is little consistency in which fatalities are being counted, which affects both the validity and reliability of the current system. Our challenge is to identify ways not just to more accurately count fatalities, but to verify data through multiple sources and a multi-disciplinary approach that is standardized across states and localities.”

The Commission discussed the contention that while most instances of “physical abuse” were readily identifiable, it was the category of “neglect” deaths that was more difficult to define and classify. They also discussed the recommendation suggested by many experts and stakeholders who presented to the Commission that the development of uniform, operational definitions for child maltreatment fatalities based on a public health model would be an important step to more accurately counting those deaths. They concluded their initial day of deliberations with a focus on the issue of confidentiality and the challenges it presents to a more cohesive system of data sharing.

CECANF was established by Public Law 112-275 (112th Congress), the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, and has spent the past six months gathering detailed information and insight related to federal policy, research, and practice associated with child abuse and neglect fatalities. To date, the Commission has hosted public meetings in San Antonio, TX; Tampa, FL; Detroit, MI; and Denver, CO. One more public meeting is planned for 2014, to take place in Burlington, VT on October 23-24, 2014.

The commission is charged with the study of:

  • The use and effectiveness of federally funded child protective and child welfare services
  • Best practices for and barriers to preventing child abuse and neglect fatalities
  • The effectiveness of federal, state, and local data collection systems, and how to improve them
  • Risk factors for child maltreatment
  • How to prioritize prevention services for families with the greatest needs

The legislation mandates that the commission submit a report to the president and Congress on these issues within two years (with the potential to extend the deadline by an additional year). The report will detail specific recommendations for strategies to better track and eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities.

About The Commission
The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities is a federal agency established by legislation to study and make recommendations on eliminating child abuse and neglect fatalities.  The Commission was formed as a result of the “Protect Our Kids Act” and is made up of six Presidential appointees and six Congressional appointees. For more information, please go to http://eliminatechildabusefatalities.sites.usa.gov.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140603/93735

SOURCE Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Combatting Fear-Bola: Anxiety Expert Cautions Against Spread of Ebola Hysteria

EDMONDS, Wash., Oct. 24, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The irrational fears surrounding Ebola has given way to what mental and behavioral health specialist Dr. Gregory Jantz believes is a much more widespread problem: Fear-bola. Fear-bola refers to the irrational fear of the Ebola that has rapidly spread across the United States.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, nearly two thirds of Americans are concerned about an epidemic outbreak in the U.S. Another recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that 45% of people are afraid that they or a family member will contract Ebola.
Dr. Jantz, Founder of The Center – A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, has spent the past 30 years helping people recover from a wide variety of behavioral and mental health issues, including overcoming fear and anxiety. His concern is that for people already struggling with worry and stress, Fear-bola can become yet another layer of fear. For these people already struggling with various stressors or anxieties, buying into the Fear-bola epidemic can aggravate their symptoms and cause additional complications.
In a recent interview on Fox News, Dr. Jantz cautioned viewers, “Be careful about your thinking. We can lose our rational thinking and begin to see things that aren’t there. Use normal precaution, but the reality is that if fear takes over, it can have a ripple effect…and our rational thinking goes out the window. Don’t let fear take over. You can develop free-floating anxiety that begins to extend to other areas of your life.”
For those struggling with worry and fear of Ebola, Dr. Jantz recommends to take a calm approach, and to not jump to any rapid conclusions. Fear evolves into anxiety once a person becomes physically affected. Physical signs of anxiety can include sweaty palms, increase in heart rate, impacted sleep patterns, and in extreme cases panic attacks. It is not uncommon for people to revert to coping mechanisms like alcohol or disordered eating patterns. When this level of anxiety is present, an individual should consider seeking professional support.
Dr. Jantz has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, NBC and CBS and is available for immediate media interviews and discussions on this important topic. Please contact Beth Chapman at 816.835.0306 or bethc@aplaceofhope.com to schedule appearances.
Resources from Dr. Jantz regarding depression:
Depression Treatment at The Center – A Place of HOPE: youtu.be/DW3xn7GuHc4
Dr. Gregg Jantz:

CAIR Releases Results of Muslim Voter Survey in 6 States

THIS ARTICLE PROVIDES SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS ON ISLAMIC THOUGHT GOING INTO NEXT MONTH’S ELECTIONS. NOTE THAT THE STATES POLLED ARE SIX OF OUR LARGEST ! -PASTOR CRUTCHFIELD

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released the results of a survey indicating that 69 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 4 and that more than half will vote for Democratic Party candidates. Domestic issues like the economy and health care continue to top the Muslim voters’ list of priority concerns in this election. Growing Islamophobia in American ranked as the third most important issue for Muslim voters. CAIR’s poll of more than 1500 registered Muslim voters in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked three questions:

  1. “Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election?”
  2. “Which political party do you support in the upcoming election?”
  3. “What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election?”

Survey Results: Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election? Plan to Vote 69% No Plan to Vote 16% Decline to Answer 14% Which political party do you support in the upcoming election? Democrat 51% Republican 15% Libertarian 2% Green 5% Other 4% Decline to Answer 23% What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election? Education 7% Civil Liberties 10% Islamophobia 15% Health Care 17% Economy 24% Foreign Affairs 5% Other 5% Decline to Answer 16% “American Muslims continue to play a key role in our nation’s elections, with 69 percent of registered Muslim voters planning to turn out in the midterm election – compared to the 37 percent of all voters who went to the polls in 2010,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “The more than half of Muslim voters who express support for Democratic candidates reflects that party’s greater openness to the Muslim community and its issues.” McCaw said Republican candidates and officials should take note of this data. CAIR will release survey results for each state beginning tomorrow. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Evangelism Study Bible Designed to Help Christians Confidently Share Their Faith

EvanTell Helps Believers Present the Gospel Clearly and Simply
DALLAS, Oct. 20, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — EvanTell, a ministry that trains and equips Christians to share the gospel clearly and simply, has brought a fresh perspective to the essential ingredient for evangelism – God’s Word — by publishing The Evangelism Study Bible.
The Evangelism Study Bible, coming October 27th from Kregel Publications, has thousands of notes, devotions, tips and other features that will help believers overcome fear and guilt and make them confident and joyful witnesses for Christ.
“Christians need to be taught how to share the gospel clearly and how to do so with an accurate and careful handling of the Scripture,” said EvanTell Founder and CEO Dr. R. Larry Moyer, the general editor and primary contributor to the study material in The Evangelism Study Bible.
“Sometimes, well-meaning Christians put believers on guilt trips and teach things that can be detrimental to their evangelism efforts. The Evangelism Study Bible is our way to give clear and biblical teaching about sharing the gospel and encourage people to do so out of grace, not guilt.”
Last year, a study by The Barna Group showed that although 73 percent of born-again Christians said they had a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, only 52 percent of them said they actually did in the past year. In Moyer’s more than 40 years of evangelism experience, he has found that the two biggest challenges Christians face in witnessing are fear and not knowing how to tell the Good News to unbelievers. The Evangelism Study Bible will serve as a resource to help believers overcome fear and learn how to share the gospel.
Reflecting back on the process of producing The Evangelism Study Bible, which took almost six years, Moyer commented, “I was reminded as we worked through the Bible how God’s love for the lost is seen throughout the Scriptures. At first, we were going to just do the New Testament, but we decided it was important to focus on the entire Bible because God’s heart for those who don’t know Him is seen in the Old Testament as well as the New.”
Each book begins with an introduction that focuses on its evangelistic themes and includes various features and study notes throughout the New King James text.
Moyer hopes that as Christians read The Evangelism Study Bible, their passion for spreading the gospel will increase.
“If their skills are enhanced, and believers consistently talk to the lost and not simply about the lost, the purpose of this Study Bible will have been achieved,” Moyer said.
EvanTell Vice President David Souther and Communications Coordinator Sarah Bowler served as contributors and associate editors on the project. An outside team reviewed The Evangelism Study Bible for style and accuracy.
It has been endorsed by influential spiritual leaders such as Dr. Tony Evans, president and founder of The Urban Alternative; Dr. Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. J. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute.
EvanTell, founded in 1973 by Moyer, focuses on training Christians to present the gospel — clearly and simply – and touches millions of lives each year through a wide variety of programs, materials and training. For more information, visit www.evantell.org.

The Trap of First Impressions

I was checking headlines, and emails getting ready for this morning’s service when I saw a picture of the cruise ship which departs from Galveston about 50 miles from here. My first thought was “what an ugly ship !” Its outward appearance didn’t appeal to me at all. It was kind of disappointing because I love boats, and ships and such.

My second thought was ” I bet its absolutely beautiful on the inside.” The ship’s designers were likely thinking more about capacity, than beauty. It was then that I was reminded that too often we do the same with people. If we cannot look past outward appearance, we will miss many, many people who are absolutely beautiful on the inside. The loss would be ours, not theirs. Think about it, would you rather marry someone drop dead gorgeous that treated you like garbage, or someone plainer who treated you like a king or queen ? Outer beauty fades, inner beauty can sustain you for a lifetime !  How many people who could help us have a happier, more prosperous life are we missing out of through this mistake ?Even worse, how many times EVERY day are we doing this ?

We must not forget, we are all made in God’s image. Maybe the person you are looking at had a rough night, or a rough life. Either way they could have more to teach us than we realize ! Maybe their designer (God) had other things on his mind than how “cute” he could make them.

In our world we place a lot of emphasis on making a good first impression, and we intend to expect the same from others. As Christians we stand to loose out on a lot if we fall into that trap !

Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation

Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Message of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation” (5-19 October). The speakers were Cardinals Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, delegate president; Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Commission for the Message and Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India. The full text of the message is published below:
“We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.
The preparation for this synod assembly, beginning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, helping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.
We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”. On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of becoming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.
We recognise the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.
We think also of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.
We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.
We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wandering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and exploitation, victims of human trafficking, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their development, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and burdened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity deadens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us”. We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.
Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.
***
There is also the evening light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest residences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wedding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says, when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.
This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigour and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved. In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.
This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.
This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.
Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, strangers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the meaning of life.
The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all”. In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.
We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:
Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.
Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy”.

Twitter Blocks New Faith Driven Consumer Campaign Supporting Subpoenaed Houston Pastors Minutes After Launch

After famously blocking Faith Driven Consumer’s #IStandWithPhil campaign earlier this year, Twitter is back at it again – blocking the group’s new petition drive #HoustonWeHaveAProblem at HoustonProblem.com minutes after launch this afternoon

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Faith Driven Consumer™, the group that emerged on the national stage last year with its #IStandWithPhil campaign that played a leading role in Phil Robertson’s return to Duck Dynasty, continues to serve as an advocate for more than 41 million consumers who spend $2 trillion annually.

Today, the group launched a major petition campaign,#HoustonWeHaveAProblem, using the website HoustonProblem.com – demanding that the City of Houston immediately “cease and desist all bullying and other offensive actions” against a group of pastors who are victims of an aggressive harassment effort at the hands of the city government. The city is demanding that a group of pastors turn over any sermons – including personal correspondence such as emails – “dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor” as reported by Fox News.

Minutes after its launch, Twitter blocked the campaign—meaning that supporters cannot Tweet the petition.

“There is a deeply troubling pattern of censorship with social media companies when people of faith speak out. From Kirk Cameron, to Mike Huckabee, to our own #iStandWithPhil campaign earlier this year, faith voices have curiously been blocked during critical times as they seek to be heard. We are asking Twitter to immediately unblock thousands of people who have already flocked to our petition and want to spread the word from coast to coast,” said Chris Stone, Founder of Faith Driven Consumer.

Faith Driven Consumer’s new #HoustonWeHaveAProblem petition campaign reminds everyone that “pastors have been at the very center of American society since even before our founding as a nation, and they remain an integral part of the lives of untold of millions of Americans today,” that “our First Amendment protects freedom of speech and religion” and that “we…live in a society that values equality, including the notion that everyone has the right to publicly express deeply held beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal.” Signers at HoustonProblem.com desire that “the City of Houston, in their quest to provide protection for LGBT citizens, to equally and explicitly acknowledge and ensure the equal rights of people of faith to live and express openly their deeply held religious beliefs.”

Read the full petition at HoustonProblem.com.

About Faith Driven Consumer
Faith Driven Consumer™ leads a movement of more than 41 million Americans, 17% of the adult population, who spend $2 trillion dollars annually. The group educates, equips and motivates Faith Driven Consumers to action in the marketplace of goods, services and ideas—offering resources for making more faith-conscious decisions, including reviews of companies and entertainment products. Recognized for its #IStandWithPhil, #OpenZilla, #FlipThisDecision, #IStandwithHobbyLobby and #NoahMovie campaigns, the organization continues to serve as an advocate for people whose faith informs their daily decisions in the marketplace. For more information go to:
www.faithdrivenconsumer.com.

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