An Italian organization, CoorDown, created this exceptional video of people with Down syndrome answering a question from a pregnant mother.

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21 (3/21 – get it?).

Let’s make sure people don’t just know about Down syndrome, but actually get to know people who live with it by letting the babies live, welcoming them into our churches, and letting their gifts be expressed for the glory of God and the good of God’s church.

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind (or with Down syndrome)? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11 ESV)

At Desiring God today they put up a post I wrote which they titled, “Four Kinds of Churches Worth Leaving.”

My original title was “Pastor, if you claim to believe the Bible and you say this to a family like mine, I will personally punch you in the nose.”

The content editors at Desiring God appreciated my passion, but wisely made the change. They also took a 1400 word post and shaved it down to 600 words. That was a good thing as well. There was a lot more heat than light in what I sent them!

I hate, to my core, the stories of churches that tell families like ours to leave – until I started thinking about the churches where that would be a kindness and came up with four.

For the churches who do dumb things out of love, I have a lot more patience. May God grant us the wisdom to see when churches and leaders are pursuing our good in wrong-headed ways out of love for God and affection for us and confidence in the Bible! And may we respond with kindness and confidence that God is good – along with a thought or two about what might actually be useful.

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!

Sometimes I read things that just make me want to stand and cheer at their insight and clarity on hard issues. Tim Challies, discussing a new technology designed to eliminate genetic abnormalities, does that by reminding us that God has a perspective on this issue – and it is glorious and good!

We do well to end suffering when we are able to. We do well to cure disease and eliminate curable pain. But we dare not step into God’s place as those who will design babies according to our plan rather than his. We dare not trust our goodness ahead of his goodness, our wisdom ahead of his wisdom. Sometimes God’s good and wise plans involve something we would not choose and would never design, such as a child with a severe genetic abnormality. But when we trust a good and wise God, we rejoice that the works of God might be displayed in all of these. (Emphasis mine)

You’ll want to read the entire article by Tim Challies, The Dawn of the Designer Babies.

The conference is only for women, though. Bummer for me, but I’m still excited she’s coming back to the Twin Cities.

In addition to writing one of the most helpful books on suffering and God’s sovereignty, Holding on to Hope, and regularly speaking on the topic of suffering, Nancy Guthrie and her husband, David started a ministry for families who have lost a child.

And if that doesn’t convince you, please read this interview with Mary Horning on the impact Nancy Guthrie has had on her life.

The Bethlehem Women’s Spring Conference, is Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, 2014. Nancy Guthrie will be speaking on, “Be Holy For I Am Holy; Growing in Holiness…How?”

More information and online registration can be found here.

At the 2014 Desiring God Conference for Pastors last week, Sinclair Ferguson offered a great vision, and challenge, to churches around communion:

Do you agree? And do you think we could actually pull this off?

The entire panel discussion can be viewed here.

In the busy-ness of my week I nearly missed this post by Vaneetha Rendall Demski at Desiring God, and it is too powerful to miss!

Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves.

If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently. Not one of those phrases would be included. Each line represents something hard. Gut wrenching. Life changing.

But now, in retrospect, I wouldn’t erase a single line.

You can read the entire post here: When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For

One of the most frustrating, repeated arguments I hear about killing some people – the unborn, the frail elderly, those with disabilities – is that they have no real value. Only productive people have value in that twisted view.

Writing for Bethlehem College and Seminary’s weekly update, Joe Rigney points out that NONE of us has value in ourselves – but we still have real value:

. . . Edwards knows that human sinners, in our quest for autonomy, love to affirm creation from nothing while smuggling in some notion of our own inherent value and worth. Edwards insists in the strongest possible terms that we have nothing apart from God. We have no autonomous or independent value. When it comes to God, we bring nothing of our own to the table. He gives to all things, life and breath and everything else, including value. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks (1 Cor. 4:7).

At the same time, Edwards does not leave man as a nothing. We may not have any autonomous, intrinsic value, but we do have real value. And we have value because God values us. Our worth is derived wholly from the fact that God makes us and calls us good. Even in our fallen state, we still retain the remnants of God’s image, an image that God is restoring in Christ. What’s more, in Christ God has given himself to us, so that his Holy Spirit now dwells within us and enlivens our thoughts, affections, and actions. Though we are nothing, God has invited us into his own triune life, extending his fullness and glory to us in the gospel.

Joe RigneyAssistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview, Bethlehem College and Seminary

God values us! God makes us! Yes, this is much better news than believing we – or any human being of any size, ethnicity or ability – only have value as long as we are productive.

On a weekly basis members of Bethlehem College and Seminary provide helpful commentary and insights from their disciplines and observations. I highly recommend subscribing to their weekly email, which you can do here.

Pastor John and Pastor Jason do not handle the issue of abortion in a trite way. They bring deadly seriousness to it, appropriate to how we should consider this murderous practice.

Yet, a happy, deep ‘yes’ welled up within me as Pastor Jason reached into his pocket, much as Pastor John had done four years before. You’ll see what I mean in this 3 1/2 minute video:

Symbols have power in our lives, and that little reminder of an unborn baby has had a huge impact on my pastors, and they have a huge impact on me.

So I wonder, if a little model can have that kind of impact, what sort of impact does a real child have on my leaders at my home church?

Actually I don’t wonder about it at all. I know the love and regard my pastors have for my son. I know my son has had an impact on how they think about the little ones who come who are different because of disability.

And I know they won’t even hesitate when asked if their pro-life stand includes unborn babies with disabilities and the ones who will die – in fact, they will up the ante significantly by proclaiming, ‘yes, they are GIFTS!’

May all pastors everywhere say the same about the little image-bearers with disabilities in their churches!

I attacked a giant pile of paperwork over the weekend. Most of it was related to insurance, Social Security, and legal issues. I scanned more than 70 documents and probably filed an equal number – and I like to think I stay organized!

But I did find something fun in all that mess:

Bible Passages

I wish I had dated it; it was in the late 1990’s given some other things around it.

My Bible reading must have been in 1 Kings when the thought came to document disease and disability in the Bible. And at the time I missed 2 Kings 5 – one of my favorite chapters on God’s sovereignty over disease!

But it was a start. That crumpled piece of paper eventually turned into a spreadsheet with more than 400 references to disease or disability in more than 300 Bible verses – and I didn’t include 1 Chronicles 26:10. I’ve puzzled many times over many verses!

Don’t believe anyone who tells you God isn’t interested in disability!

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