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On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. . . (1 Corinthians 12:22 ESV)

On Sunday the saints of Bethlehem surprised us with a party to honor Paul’s graduation!

As Dianne put it, “Friday’s school event was nice, but it was missing ‘this’!”

The ‘this’ was the joy of celebrating God’s intentional design and acknowledging how good he is with our church family who love God and who love how God made Paul; the recognition that we can live ‘as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10 ESV).

I was very grateful that Bethlehem’s newest Church Planting Resident, and my dear friend, Kempton Turner had some words to share:

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On Friday we celebrated another milestone – Paul graduated from his high school program at Bridge View School in Saint Paul. It was a very nice ceremony.

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A ‘rare disease’ is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. There are more than 6,000 of these diseases! Most cause debilitating disabilities.

And God is sovereign over every one of them. No exceptions.

Together, they impact almost one in 20 people. That’s a lot of people!

And a great mission field for the church. Let’s begin by praying that more families experiencing a rare disease become part of our church families – so much so that the next time they make a video they reference families, professionals AND churches!

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A friend who will remain nameless suggested Joe Carter’s post on Down Syndrome be posted here.  So here it is:

9 Things You Should Know about Down Syndrome

In addition to the 9 things, Joe included a link to a study I had seen mentioned a couple of places but never fully referenced: Prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: a systematic review of termination rates (1995-2011).

I haven’t read it yet, but the summary includes the abortion rate for Down syndrome in the United States being 67% rather than the 92% I had seen documented before. Nobody can possibly think that 2 out of 3 babies being aborted is good news, but it is better than 9 out of 10.

Let’s keep praying for 0%.

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I was blown away over lunch today by a presentation from Faith Comes By Hearing and the incredible work they are doing to bring the Bible in audio format to every language in the world.  They have done more than 700 audio translations!

Even more exciting, they recognized that one of the largest unreached people groups in the world, the deaf, also needed access to the Bible.

So just a few months ago they launched a free app in American Sign Language.  Even as they complete this project, they are starting work on additional sign languages around the world.  Here’s an introduction to the app:

Links for Apple and Android devices can be found here.

YouTube versions can be found here.

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On Friday the North Dakota Senate passed two bills:

  • The first forbids abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected.  For some babies, that is as early as six weeks.
  • And the second bans abortions in cases of genetic abnormalities or sex selection!

North Dakota House Bill 1305 passed and is now on its way to the governor.  It is the first bill to specifically protect unborn children with genetic abnormalities in the United States.

I know the likelihood of these pieces of legislation surviving court challenges isn’t great, but it is heartening to have an elected body speak so clearly of their desire to protect unborn children with disabilities.

And we should seek to provide unusual protections for these children because they are unusually vulnerable as they are both not yet born AND because they are disabled.  Two years ago I summarized some secular arguments from disability activists who wanted unborn children with disabilities to be protected; they recognized that this culture denigrates people with disabilities which results in much higher rates of abortion simply because the children will live with disability.

The North Dakota House and Senate took that great extra step in asserting that all children are worthy of protection, disabled and non-disabled, girls and boys.  If we need to start with a heartbeat and a strong statement about not aborting children with disabilities or children who are the ‘wrong’ gender, then lets start there.  But let’s not stop there.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)

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I was delighted to see that the Global Partner of the week at church was Ellie Lundquist, who has committed her life to serving Converge’s deaf ministry in Brazil.

Here was her prayer request:

Pray for the 6 million deaf people of Brazil to know the good news of the gospel. Pray for wisdom and discernment as I think about the next term and what God might be pleased to do through me to reach them. Pray for others to be raised up to partner in this ministry around the world.

Yes, let us pray!

What made it even more fun was that Ellie was on the stage signing as Pastor Sam made the announcement!  She’s in black in the middle of the picture. You can’t see it, but her picture is on  the screen.

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I thank God for you, Ellie!

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