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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

photo (7)

I thank God for you, Ellie!

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Pastor John reminded us that “Mass murder is why Jesus came into the world the way he did.”

You can read his entire post here: How Does Jesus Come to Newtown.

And this was added Saturday morning: A Lesson for all from Newtown.

Please pray.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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I’ve been blessed to have several men who have invested in me and encouraged me over and over again.  But this blog post from Justin Taylor reminded me that I’ve also been blessed by people who did one thing out of love that made a difference:  Preaching the Gospel with a Passion for Particular People

Trilla Newbell has become a regular contributor to the Desiring God blog, and one I look forward to reading.  On Thursday, she delivered a powerful statement about hope in suffering:

I can rejoice in suffering because I know I have a living hope. I know that my hope will bring me to an eternal glory. I will one day rise and be with Christ forever. I can rejoice in suffering today because I know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put me to shame, because God’s love has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to me (Romans 5:3–5).

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The news story from the United Kingdom-based Daily Mail Online was horrifying.  The headline says it all: Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan. (I’m sorry I don’t feel I can link to the story given the other ‘content’ on the site).

I tried to find the article from the British Medical Journal that prompted the Daily Mail article, but it isn’t available online. The comments are, however, including one from Dr. Laura de Rooy, consulting neonatologist at St. George’s hospital who was also quoted in the Mail Online article.

First, her quote from the Mail Online article:

In a response to the article, Dr Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London writing on the BMJ website, said: ‘It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.’

This is her actual response to the original British Medical Journal article.  Emphases in bold are mine:

I read with interest the recent BMJ article entitled: ‘How it feels to withdraw feeding from a newborn baby.’ Although I appreciate that this is an interesting and poignant reflection, I do not believe that the piece represents current practice in the UK, or aligns the case to current UK guidance.

The article references the American and Canadian guidance on the subject, which indeed suggests that it may be ethically appropriate to withdraw feed and fluids under certain carefully delineated conditions. It is interesting to note that the research underpinning this guidance mostly relates to adults, and refers to a lack of hunger and thirst in those who are approaching death. It would be extremely difficult to assume that babies who are facing death because of congenital abnormalities are similar to cachectic adults dying from cancer. It is a huge supposition to think that such infants do not feel hunger, or thirst.

If Dr. de Rooy is correct, then it is not standard practice in the UK.  We have no way to corroborate the assertion by the anonymous doctor that he has overseen the death of 10 children.  I also have no doubt that some doctors in the UK are practicing illegal euthanasia on disabled and sick children in the UK.  And even if it is ‘only’ one child, it must be exposed.

But it was the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics that had this statement in 2009 about American hospitals (emphasis in bold is mine):

Decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from critically or terminally ill children are commonly made in US and Canadian hospitals.

Diekema DS, Botkin JR. Committee on Bioethics. Clinical report- foregoing medically provided nutrition and hydration in children. Pediatrics 2009;124:813-22.

To be fair, the article from Pediatrics is focusing on fairly narrow categories of disability and not all critically or terminally ill children.  But that decisions ‘are commonly made’ is still troubling.

Many of the comments I’ve read on the Daily Mail Online article are predicting this is what will happen to healthcare in the United States under what is known as Obamacare.

Unfortunately, I think it is just as likely that we’re emulating what happened after World War II.  As a country we condemned the horrible eugenic policies of Nazi Germany that resulted in the Holocaust, and neglected to note that the Nazis were taking their ideology and practices from the United States.  This time, let us link arms with our brothers and sisters in the pro-life movement in the UK to condemn such practices here and there.

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This was a great article and video on an emerging technology that allows people with paralysis to walk!  I’ve started the video below at the point where a man who has been paralyzed for 20 years due to an accident demonstrates this technology by walking independently:

Four observations:

1. I’m really glad there are people working on things like this! Who knows how many people will be helped in the future?

2. If you watch the entire 16 minutes, you will hear it described as amazing, incredible, wondrous and miraculous. In the barrage of information coming at us, it is nice to see that even secular news outlets can be (or at least act) amazed about something.

3. It increases the wonder I feel at the miracles of Jesus!  This technology is great, but it took years of study, experimentation and production before it came to reality and is still limited in what it can do.  Here’s how Jesus helped people:

•   Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. (John 5:8-9 ESV)

•   “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all. . . (Mark 2:11-12 ESV)

Jesus needed no technology, the paralysis was gone, and it happened immediately.  Now that’s miraculous!

4. Most of us won’t experience that complete physical healing in this age, so the common grace of new technology is really helpful and also brings glory to God.  But someday, Jesus is going to do something permanent and glorious about every hurt:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (Revelation 21:3-5 ESV)

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The Inclusion Fusion web disability summit includes opportunities to ‘chat’ with the speakers online.

I signed up for 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, November 14 on my topic: why churches should welcome families like ours.

Because it is run through their website, you need to register and then login.  Click on the little button at the bottom of the page labeled ‘Shoutbox Pro’ and you are in.

Lord willing I’ll show up as well, and then we’ll see what God might have for us to talk about.

 

 

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