Fathers in 3D: Destiny, Design, Duty

Friday, June 24, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Psalms 13:13, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.Compassion is “love in action”

Proverbs 17:6, Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.
Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;

FATHERS IN 3D
1 - A Father’s Destiny (Purpose)
2 - A Father’s Design
3 - A Father’s Duty

Our responsibility to our fathers is to:
Listen to him
Learn from him
Lean on him
Love him

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Fathers: Men of Compassion — Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for June 22, 2022

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.) 

Psalm 103:13, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Father's Day was Sunday, June 16. I was blessed to celebrate another Father's Day with my 85 year old dad, Horace Bryan Hudson. He is the greatest man I've ever known, and a man of great compassion. He was my model in being a father to our four wonderful children, and now, three grandchildren.

Our youngest son experienced his first Father's Day when he became a father as his wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl in February. My son, along with another first time father, shared reflections on their early experience of being a father. We also heard from two experienced fathers who were also grandfathers.

In our culture and community, we value those whom we call "father-like-ones," such as relatives, coaches, educators, and men in the church community. One of our men who spoke, a former high school principal and teacher, reflected on having served as a father-like-one to more than 3000 students in the course of his career.

As a pastor and community leader, I've also had the experience of exercising compassion in serving young men and women, especially through 39 years as a pastor to our congregation and for 20 years of conducting summer media camps for youth.

I share all of this to highlight something about fathers that we often overlook: When we look at compassion as only an emotional response, we have difficulty seeing fathers in that light.

However, when we understand compassion in its more proper definition, we can see fathers in their true light. The best understanding of compassion is "love in action." When we think about the actions that men and father's take for their children and others, we can clearly see the compassion filled role of the father.

David compared the compassion of fathers to the compassion of God. In this we find one of the most significant purposes of fathers: To properly and lovingly represent God before children and others. God is a God of compassion. He is a God of action, which He proved by sending Jesus Christ to be are Savior and Lord.

When we consider the lofty and seeming overwhelming requirements of fathers, I like to always remind men of this very important truth: Whatever God requires, He provides.

So brothers, embrace your assignment of compassion because it is not only about emotion––which we have. It is more about love in action...and you know how to do that!

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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God’s Excellent Ones (Scholars) — Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for June 15, 2022

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.) 

Psalms 16:2-4, O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Last Sunday, my wife and I recognized some young scholars as part of our church service called, Scholar's Sunday. Patricia had the idea to encourage students and graduates with a special recognition. Once again, we witnessed the power of encouragement. Included among the group of students advancing to higher grades where a high school graduate and a college graduate.

I shared a special sermon in their honor, we presented each scholar with certificates of recognition, and enjoyed refreshments afterwards. My wife noted that many students had missed out on in-person recognitions the past two years because of COVID, so this spring was a return to celebrations and commencements.

Their response to the recognitions confirmed in importance of empowering, recognizing, and giving words of wisdom to young people. In Psalms 16 God called His people, "Excellent Ones" and said that He delights in them. Excellent comes from the word, "Excel" which means "Go Beyond."

Some of the keys I shared to going beyond in commencing and advancing in education included.

1. Stand in your space. Earn and demand respect.

2. Commit Yourself to God: Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

3. Trust the Lord more than your own understanding: Proverbs 3:5-10 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

4. Work for God, not only for people: Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

5. You were built for purpose: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Here is a link the entire message on podcast and video on YouTube.

Let's make it a point to encourage young people as life long learners and scholars. It goes a long way towards motivating them to Go Beyond.

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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”The Excellent Ones” - Scholars’ Sunday Message by Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

Sunday, June 12, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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Psalms 16:2-4, O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

How to Commence and Advance

1. Stand in your space. Earn and demand respect
1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

2. Commit Yourself to God
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

3. Trust the Lord more than your own understanding. Honor the Lord
Proverbs 3:5-10 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

4. Work for God, not only for people
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

5. You were built for purpose
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

2022 Graduates & Scholars
Congratulations!


Your college degree, high school diploma, or passing to a higher grade is evidence of learning.

Your college degree, high school diploma is neither a shortcut in life nor an emblem of privilege. You still have to become skillful in your field and earn the professional respect of people who know and do more than you.

Don’t settle. #GoForward

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What Does Change & Transition Look Like? | Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for June 8, 2022

Tuesday, June 07, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.) 

This Saturday, June 11, I am one of the speakers at a leadership conference online. The link to the event is in this post, join us if you can. The theme is “Change and Transition.” (Conference info here)

There are many ways to think about change and transition, but I want to offer an example from David's life. In Psalms 42:3,  David spoke of change in the negative. He said: My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” The pain of what he was going through felt like having tears for food day and night. He also said that others mocking him in saying, “Where is your God?”

I remember these words from a webinar that I was a part of a couple of years ago. Paul Scanlon said: 

• Change is in inevitable. Transition is intentional.
• Change is an event. Transition is a process that we enter into.
• Change is unchosen. Change happens to us. Transition is how we respond to change.


David did not choose the negative change that happened to him, but his positive response became part of his transition out of the difficulty.

He said in Psalms 42:4, When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a holy feast.

David spoke of pouring out his soul within himself, which is a reference to casting his care on the Lord and putting his trust in God. Then he spoke of going into the house of God with others. He understood that transition always involves God, and it also involves others––but not just anybody. David said he would go into the house of God with those who had “The voice of joy and praise."

Notice when the negative change happened to David, 1) he transitioned to a place of focusing on the Lord, 2) connected with encouraging people, and 3) found his voice of joy and praise.

Following is a link to my message from Sunday on this topic: How Joy Comes -- Finding Your Voice of Joy & Praise

Your change might be unchosen, but you transition through it by what you decide to do.

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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How Joy Comes - Finding Your Voice of Joy

Tuesday, June 07, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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Psalms 42:1, As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Happiness is refreshing like lemonade, but the Joy of the Lord is your strength!

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
Joy is an artifact.
Joy is a result of something else.Joy cannot be manufactured
Joy does not come by song, faith, or prayer
Joy is already present in the hearts of Christ Followers
Joy is a giftJoy is inevitable (it has to come)

How Does Joy Come?

Joy is revealed through the Holy Spirit

Joy is revealed through favorable circumstances
Joy is revealed through encouraging people and encouraging environments

Philippians 4:4, Rejoice in the Lord always [at all times]. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

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Hear, Pay Attention, Create a Standard, and Increase | Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for June 1, 2022

Wednesday, June 01, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

Mark 4:24 ESV, And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.”

Today, we don't lack information. We are literally flooded with all types of information as well as mis-information (which are inaccurate things), and even dis-information (which are things intended to mislead and deceive).

One of the keys going forward in life is deciding what and who to pay attention to. Jesus indicated that the measure, or standard of attention, that we use becomes the determining factor and standard of what we get out of life. When it comes to paying attention to the Lord, this is especially important for getting the most out of your walk with Christ.

We all know what happens when we hear, but don't pay attention. In this season of graduations and academic advancement, we know there is no progress, no good grades, and no graduation, without paying attention to subjects. The measure or standard that a student uses leads to a higher standard of performance. Long ago I realized that students who we call “smart,” are people who pay attention and create a high standard for themselves. This is something we can do at any age, in any area of life.

The reward of hearing, paying attention, and creating a standard for yourself, is living your life at a higher level.

In what ways do you need to go from hearing to paying attention? What measure or standards will you establish for yourself? As Jesus said, the outcome will be, “More will be added to you.”

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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No Longer a School Teacher, But an Educator for a Lifetime | Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for May 25, 2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)
This is a very special week in the life of my wife and best friend Patricia Ann Hudson. On yesterday, May 24, she said goodbye to her students for the school year. Every teacher knows that feeling.

Not only did she say goodbye to students she has educated since last August, she also said goodbye to a 41 year teaching career at Indianapolis Public Schools.

It occurred to me today that while she said goodbye to being a school teacher, I know she will continue to educate at one level or another. Educators are lifelong learners and communicators of knowledge and understanding.

This fruitful career was her journey, but Patricia did not travel alone. I was blessed to share in that four decade journey. We met and fell in love when she was an education student at Ball State University. We were married as 22 year olds and began to raise our first child, Michael.

Patricia's first teaching assignment was fourth grade at Henry W. Longfellow Middle School #28. At that time we lived in far Northwest Indianapolis and the school was in Southeast indianapolis. Every day, with one car in the early days, we made that long drive to take Patricia to her school, our son to his grandmother, and I went to work. We reversed that journey every week day in the late afternoon.

41 years later, we are blessed to have four children, all through college and in careers, and three grandchildren. One of our children, Jonathan, is an educator. Patricia also has hundreds of other children that she has loved and nurtured one year at a time. God has been faithful to her and to our family!

The last two weeks have been full of tributes to my wife from educators, friends, family, New Covenant Church family, and students. It's very difficult to find the words to fully express the positive impact she's had on the lives of children and future educators she has mentored.

I've shared with family and friends photos and videos of Patricia's career and in person tributes from the past two weeks. These are now memories and a legacy that will live in the hearts of minds of students, many now all grown up, for a lifetime.
 
Well done Patricia and THANK YOU!

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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Higher Thoughts. Higher Ways. – How Thinking Leads to Good and Tragic Outcomes

Sunday, May 22, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

A lot of things, occasions, and holidays were designed to influence our thinking and actions.

• Do you know why the National Anthem is sung at sporting events? 

• Do you know why “In God We Trust” is on our currency?

• Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 in support of slave-owning church members. James Boyce, the SBC seminary’s first president and a slave owner. He was chaplain to the Confederate Army.

• The “Lost Cause” and Confederate Monuments were establish to re-cast Confederate defeat as a moral victory. 1,747 monuments erected to honor defeated Confederate rebels and portray them as heroes, affirming white supremacy.

• Anti-Critical Race Theory actions are another example of influencing thinking. People brand CRT as “Marxist” There is work to “sanitize” (re-write) history and ease “guilty” feelings.

Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. https://alsoacarpenter.com/2021/06/06/crt-commonplaces/

2 Peter 1:3, As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

The “knowledge of God” as a relationship opens all kinds of doors.  Things that pertain to “godliness,” come from relationship with God.

Some Higher Thoughts (From The Obstacle Is the Way - by Ryan Holiday)

1. See the opportunity within your obstacle: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
2. Failure shows us the way—by showing us what isn’t the way.
3. Everything we do matters
4. Think progress, not perfection.
5. Can we see that this “problem” presents an opportunity for a solution that we have long been waiting for?
6. Nothing can ever prevent you from trying. Ever.
7. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it
P8. ersistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter of will. One is energy. The other, endurance. And, of course, they work in conjunction with each other.

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Sharpen Your Saw | Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for May 18, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

Have you ever woke up feeling tired? Do you feel tired and tense over all?

Ecclesiastes 10:10 reads, "If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success."

Imagine if you needed to cut wood with an ax or a saw. A dull tool would make that task more difficult and tiring. We know what it is like to use a dull knife in the kitchen, which can be a little dangerous. There was a dialogue between two people that went like this:

“How long have you been sawing that tree?"
"A long time!"
"Why don’t you sharpen your saw?"
"I’ve been too busy sawing!”


Sharpening your saw, resting well, and taking care of yourself, is one of the best things you can do to overcome the feeling of tiredness and tenseness. As Solomon said, "If the ax is dull, then he must use more strength." What we need is the strength of better habits and God's grace helping.

We read in Psalms, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." Think about this as an invitation, not something we have to do because of a crisis. As Solomon said, "Wisdom brings success."

Sharpen your saw. Some things you can do to help yourself includes getting good rest and developing better habits.

For your encouragement, I've included a link to my teaching entitled "Habit: The Faithful Servant - Seven Key Habits"

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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Habit: The Faithful Servant - Seven Key Habits

Sunday, May 15, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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Your Constant Companion

“I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am at your command. Half of the tasks that you do you may just as well turnover to me and I will do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed, you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done. After a few lessons I will do it automatically.”

I am the servant of all great people, and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. And those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a person. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin, it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will lay the work at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am called habit. Habit is my name.” (author unknown)

"A habit is the intersection between knowledge, skill and desire.Common sense is not always common practice." Stephen Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

"Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters." ~ Nathaniel Emmon

Having an appreciation of time is a good habit.
chronos (clock time) and kairos (opportunity time)
Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV, Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity [Kairos], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE
By Stephen Covey

1. Be proactive, not reactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win Win
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the Saw
"If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success. "Eccl. 10:10

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Inspired by Mothers and Mother-Like-Ones | Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for May 11, 2022

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

Mothers are so inspiring! On Mother's Day in our service, we listened to reflections from mothers and adult children about their mothers. Here is a YouTube link to those talks

We also reflected on those whom we call in our community, “mother-like-ones.” Those are aunts, grandmothers, and mentors will fill the voids in a child's life who did not have the presence of their mother.

My mother, Gaynell Hudson, passed away 20 years ago, at what we now consider the young age of 65. As I shared last week, she was a towering figure of compassion and love, with this words, “Be Encouraged!” Last November I celebrated my 65th birthday. 

 All the inspiring reflections caused all who were gathered together, and who watched on live stream, to reflect on our mothers and motherhood.

One major blessing of having been mothered, is a deeper sense of care and compassion for others. There is also the strong sense feeling protected and, and the willingness to do anything for your child, and for other loved ones.

One of our young mothers reflected on the parallel between how a mother loves her child and how Christ loves us. She shared how much more clear God's love became after giving birth to her own child.

Maya Angelou wrote: “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

This captures the almost indescribable impact of mothers, and mother like ones. We love our mothers and their memory.

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.
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Looking at the Heavens, A Lifelong Passion

Friday, May 06, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

 

In recent months, I embarked upon an endeavor called “Astro Photography.” There has been a lifelong interest in looking at the heavens and studying all things related to astronomy. As a teenager, my parents purchased one of those telescopes we've all seen in stores, that end up at Goodwill and in garage sales after loss of interest. However, my interest never waned. Before my cheap telescope broke, observing craters on the moon, stars, and the fuzzy outline of Saturn's rings was enough to get me hooked. This was called “Visual Astronomy” because no photographs were taken, only observations of bright objects in the night sky.

Growing up in the city, I had no real appreciation of the night sky, as city lights (also called “light pollution”) prevented observing objects such as the Milky Way. It was not until I visited family in rural Tennessee that I encountered the night sky without city lights. It was an overwhelming experience! I saw a haze in the sky that I later learned was the Milky Way. Later still I learned that the Milky Way is an arm of the galaxy in which we live, of which our Sun (a "yellow dwarf") is only one of millions of other suns.

Our high school had a planetarium, which was remarkable for an urban high school. I was one of the few kids that was actually interested in the teacher's presentation of constellations and heavenly bodies projected on the dome ceiling in the darkened room.

These experiences shaped a lifelong interest in astronomy. The same experiences affirmed a strong sense of the reality and power of God. Long before I became a follower of Christ, given what I understood about the universe, I could not conceive of anybody not believing in God. Of course, I learned later that many people explain the creation of the universe as a result of chance, matter, and gravity. That still seems like nonsense to me, though I do not subscribe to the notion that the entire universe is only 6000 years old. (And I fully understand fundamentalist biblical arguments to the contrary)

As a Christ follower for the past 44 years and as an avid photographer, my experiences photographing nature for decades and now astro photography have elevated my appreciation for God's creation! The video below is a compilation of some of my best astro and landscape photography since 2017. In August of that year I saw the greatest thing in nature I had ever seen, a solar eclipse. I traveled to Nashville Tennessee to witness and photograph the total eclipse of the Sun by the Moon (here's a video of that experience).  

Compilation of Astro Landscape Photography 

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The Politicization of Abortion

Thursday, May 05, 2022 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments


PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post

[NOTE This article was written in August of October of 2020]

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19) 

For Christ Followers, the issue of abortion is front of mind. It is part of the discussion about biblical justice and social justice.

In the 1990's, many of us participated in activities to discourage the option of abortion and to encourage choosing life. Unfortunately, what we thought was a “Pro-life” movement was actually a political movement in disguise. In 1979, Rev. Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority. This was an American political organization that Falwell described as pro-family and pro-American. 1 They talked about promoting Christian conservative social values, notably outlawing abortion, pornography, and gay rights. The Moral Majority disbanded in 1989, but the movement served to establish Conservative Christians as a force in American partisan politics.

During that time, I was among those who considered any “morality” movement a necessary alternative (in hindsight, because being Christ’s Church was not enough). The Moral Majority tapped the "moral outrage" part of my self-righteous mindset. I later learned that moral outrage was highly selective in nature. High profile concerns were addressed, while other less visible concerns such as domestic abuse and systemic racism were overlooked by groups such as the Moral Majority. These movements proved to be politically motivated, more than focused on biblical righteousness (justice).

Context always brings clarity

Only weeks after “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, during which peaceful protesters who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge were beaten by State Troopers, Rev. Jerry Falwell gave his response during a sermon;

“Believing the Bible as I do, I would find it impossible to stop preaching the pure saving gospel of Jesus Christ and begin doing anything else—including the fighting of Communism, or participating in the civil rights reform...Preachers are not called to be politicians, but to be soul winners.” 2

This was the position of many conservative Christians of the era, including those who opposed the efforts of Dr. King, the Civil Rights movement, and the pursuit of Black Americans seeking equal rights. Later, Jerry Falwell reversed course and stated; 

“The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”  3

The Moral Majority was founded on the idea that engagement in politics and influencing government to do the bidding of Christians was the way to “save” America. Many might disagree with my assessment, but this became my conclusion after years of engagement with persons involved with the Moral Majority and related movements in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Since the demise of the Moral Majority, the focus of politically motivated Christians has remained the same. The aim seems to be “run the country” using partisan political action and developing systems such as “Christian worldview” based curriculum to inculcate their values into traditional and non-traditional education. It is the right and duty of all American citizens to participate in politics, but in the 21st Century, conservative Christians became increasingly intertwined with the Republican Party, white supremacists (wittingly and unwittingly), and partners with immoral persons such as Donald J. Trump. Voting for Republican candidates and against Democratic Party candidates became an article of faith.

Within this context, we return to the issue of abortion. My anecdotal evidence of many years engaging with conservative Christians suggested that the embrace of saying, “I am Pro-life" did not focus on saving unborn lives, but a strategy to gain and hold political power. When engaging in discussions with persons who claim to be “Pro-life,” it is my practice to inquire about what actions are taken to prevent abortion. The response usually only amounts to voting for Republican Party candidates, something which suggests that the premise of using the tragic issue of abortion is for political gain.

After 1973 when the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide (it had previously been a state-by-state matter), political activism on the part of politicalized Christians went into high gear.

The stated goal of conservative Christians has been to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal. The strategy has been to “stack the Supreme Court” with justices who are persuaded by Republican politics. It is not certain if this strategy will succeed in creating a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade since Supreme Court justices sometimes become unpredictable. What seems certain is that conservative Christians will bind themselves to a single political party and to its candidates regardless of their personal morality, competence, or harmful positions on other important matters.

The Presidency of Donald Trump from 2016 to 2020 exposed conservative Christians in this regard (he received votes from 81% of such persons). The term Evangelical Christian became conjoined with a single political party (leaders in the Civil Rights Movement did not make that mistake). Because of this politicization, many with the wider society reject the Evangelical Christian part of the church. This partisan political fixation, to the exclusion of many other important issues, has damaged their witness for Christ among the unchurched and groups such as millennials and African Americans.

No Christ Follower favors abortion. For this author, the political tactics employed by conservative Christians have been disappointing and have not dramatically reduced abortion rates according to reports compiled by the Centers for Disease and Control that track legally induced abortions. 4 From 2008 to 2016, the rate of abortions declined 25% (interestingly, during the presidency of Barack Obama). The decline was attributed to improvements in access to healthcare and better use of contraceptives. 5 The decision to abort is often linked to the prospect of a lack of affordable healthcare.

Non Partisan Actions to Save the Unborn

Escaping the politicization of abortion by politically motivated Christians must first involve answering the question: What is the most effective strategy for saving the lives of the unborn?

Those who hope to overturn Roe v. Wade and who say abortion is “murder” must resolve what to do with women who obtain abortions. I know of one Christian attorney who says women who get abortions deserve the death penalty after conviction. This is a contradiction to the “Pro-life” moniker, but as stated earlier, the objective of conservative Christians seems to be gaining political power more than exhibiting Christlikeness.

Voting for a Republican candidate may not prevent abortions, but it will likely garner financial support, put persons into positions of power (some of whom may not otherwise be qualified to govern), and provide a career with great employment benefits.

What Actions Save Unborn Lives Today?
1. Teaching young people and all people to live right, serve God, and not to engage in illicit sexual activity. 

2. For women who experience an unwanted pregnancy, counsel them to “choose life” by not getting an abortion. 

3. Assist those who “choose life” with their healthcare, pre-natal, and post-natal care. 

4. Help mothers and their children to be productive and fulfilled. Mentor the children.

5. Hold young men and men accountable to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions. 

6. Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers as front line people and organizations that provide alternatives to abortion. 

7. Because abortion is legal, it is a choice. Helping people “choose life” is vital. 

8. Focusing on making abortion illegal is impractical in the short term and making it illegal is not the final solution in the long term. If or when abortion becomes illegal, many women will seek to self-abort or resort to other methods of abortion. 

9.  Teaching people to value life is the best solution. This is what conservative Christians should focus on doing rather than wasting their time and forfeiting their credibility, compromising with politicians.

Article Addition, May 5, 2022:

As I write, there has been an unprecedented leak from the United States Supreme Court of a draft of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade. What is unfortunate about the leak is the  politicization of the Supreme Court, which had been regarded as non-partisan. In light of President Donald Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell's efforts in “stacking” the court with three appointees (notably the unconstitutional denial of President Obama's right to appoint a Justice after the death of Antonin Scalia), it is more likely the Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

Many Christians regard this possibility as a “victory.” I regard this as the fulfillment of a long game strategy to use our government, law, and courts to do the bidding of political/conservative/Republican Christianity. This is especially apparent when we consider that many of these same people only view “pro-life” within the context of political party affiliation, not within the context of personal actions taken to save the unborn and support the born (examples cited above).

The current celebration regarding the possibility of “victory” in overturning Roe has come at the cost of moral compromise of biblical values, supporting immoral people, remaining silent to other social ills such as systemic racism, ends-justifying-means tactics, and using government/law/courts to punish sinners and enforce “Christian liberty.” This is far from "pro-life."

It is sad to view focus shifting from Christians actually working to save unborn lives by personal persuasion to “choose life,” and supporting those who are born, to seeking to use our government, law, and courts to impose punitive measures for sinful actions. Moralistic positions often have a repressive side beyond any apparent “triumph over evil.” 

Overturning Roe v. Wade sends the matter back to the states, as was the status before 1973. You can be sure that none of the culture warriors of political/conservative/Republican Christianity will be content to allow states to decide on abortion. If successful in overturning Roe, these Culture Warriors (and former promoters of the Gospel) will be emboldened to use their new found influence over government/law/courts to punish sinners and impose Christian Nationalist values at every possible station of life. 

I've had a disturbing thought in light of recent actions to curtail the teaching of uncomfortable aspects of American history (especially as it relates to the systemic mistreatment of Black people):  It seems to me there are some who would have no objection to the imposition of a Christian form of Islamic sharia law in the United States.  Before dismissing this outcome as impossible:

•  Consider uninformed and irrational legislation enacted against Critical Race Theory, resulting in the deletion of historical facts from school curriculum. 
•  Consider recent actions to repress minority voters.
•  Consider the Donald Trump inspired insurrection of our US Capitol on January 6, 2021 to stop the Constitutional certification of the 2020 presidential election. 
•  Consider that 81% of White Evangelicals supported Trump in 2016 and 2020---Most still support him to this day. Trump exhibits a non-Constitutional, autocratic philosophy. I think that some in the political/conservative/Republican church hold a theocratic view of national government, not government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

When the philosophy is, the-ends-justify-the-means, any wrong thing is possible.

I hope for better outcomes, but only time will tell.

________

1  Moral Majority | Definition, History, Mission, & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Moral-Majority

2  Jones, Robert P.. White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity (p. 103). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

3 Ibid

4  Abortion | Data and Statistics | Reproductive Health | CDC. www.cdc.gov.

5   Cha, A. (2017). U.S. Abortion rate fell 25 percent from 2008 to 2014; one in four women have an abortion. Washington Post. https://tinyurl.com/y63caphv

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How to Stay Encouraged - Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for May 4, 2022

Tuesday, May 03, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

This is my 17th weekly Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute since January. I trust it has been an encouragement to you! I close every talk with the words "Be encouraged!" Those two words were spoken to me often by my late mother, Gaynell Hudson. As a matter fact, if you had any relationship with her you probably heard those same two words from her.
 
Encouragement is a major theme in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
 
We find these words in the book of Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
 
We are all presented with a package labeled "Discouragement."  Let me encourage you to neither accept nor sign for that package. The reason God made encouragement a command is because He knew no one can be encouraged and avoid discouragement by oneself. That’s why we read in Joshua that God promised, “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
 
Whatever God requires, He provides. It always seemed to me kind of unreasonable that God would ask me to do something that I cannot do. The good news is: Included with the command to be courageous, strong, and to not be discouraged, is God’s plan to partner with you in helping you to be courageous and strong.
 
Maya Angelou wrote:
 
“Thinking last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.”
 
Because you are never alone, I again say to you, Be Encouraged!

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Be Encouraged! How to Thrive.

Sunday, May 01, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Definition of Encourage
To strengthen; To grow strong; To prevail;
To make firm; To support; To repair; To hold, contain;
To strengthen oneself;
To put forth strength, use one's strength;
To withstand; To hold strongly with

Discourage Defined:

To deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; to obstruct by opposition or difficulty, To hinder; To express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon

Overcoming discouragement does not come from fighting it.

Overcoming discouragement starts with agreeing with God who said, “Be strong and courageous.”

Success in any struggle doesn’t come from what you can or cannot do.

Success in any struggle comes down to who is with you. (God and people)

Again Paul said, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess. 5:11)

Keys to Encouragement
1. Fill your heart with hope. It’s like carrying an umbrella when rain in threatening
2. Encourage others, because you reap what you sow
3. Never feel attacked. Recognize that there are always more broken hearts than hard hearts. Hurt people, hurt people. Don’t take it personally
4. Surround yourself with encouraging voices and sources. You will need this to help discouraged people.
5. Look at beautiful things. Things that speak to you. Things that cannot be diminished. (Examples from nature)
6. Remember that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing the right things even when you are afraid.
7. Always know that God is for you.

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The Blessings of Dedication: Position. Protection. Provision.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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Mark 10:13-16 New Living Translation (NLT)
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Six Types of Prayer
Supplication - Questions, specific requests
Intercession - Prayer for others
Agreement - Two or more persons
Thanksgiving - Worshiping God, giving thanks
Dedication - Set apart for God’s purpose
Prayer of Faith - For healing and major needs

The purpose of the prayer of dedication is to ask God to bless and set apart a person for His purposes. We can also offer prayers of dedication over facilities and anything used for God’s purpose.

Our responsibility is to never get between Jesus and children, but to train them to love God and recognize Him.

We all start out living on the faith our our parents.
We learn how to live in the grace of our own faith in God.

Position, Protection, and Provision are the Blessings of Dedication.

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Check Yourself! We are Still Children in God’s Sight - Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for April 27, 2022

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

The Gospel of Mark 10:15 records these words of Jesus, "I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." Verse 16 reads, Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them

We spend the first 21 years of our life growing out of childhood and into adulthood. It is interesting that Jesus said in order to enter the Kingdom of God, which is inclusive of Christ’s church and everything under His rule, we must receive it like a child. So why would you live your whole life just to become like a child?

Jesus was not talking about maturity level, He was talking about attitude.

On Sunday, April 24 we dedicated our 11-week-old grandchild, a beautiful little girl. As an infant, she is totally dependent on her parents. Even when she grows and becomes less dependent, she will still have complete trust in her parents. As a child, she won’t complicate anything about life. She will take everything on face value. She will be sincere and assume everyone around her is also sincere and genuine.

In all of our growing up and becoming mature, educated, and erudite, do not neglect to approach Jesus, and life, with the same attitude and disposition of a child. By this we will be able to get the most out of the Kingdom of God. 

After all, in God’s sight, we are still children.

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

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Jesus’ Resurrection Is An Everyday Blessing! - Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for April 20, 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  

(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

Every year following Easter I like to remind myself and others that Jesus' resurrection is still relevant. Holidays are wonderful. The only downside is we tend to leave the meaning of the holiday behind once the holiday is over.

Easter or Resurrection Sunday is very different because what we celebrate is working for us every day. One of the Scriptures that brings this reality home is Ephesians 1:19, in which the Apostle Paul wrote, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”

There is something “exceedingly great” working for you and me! It was activated when Jesus rose from the dead. Overcoming death was a game changer. Jesus has power over death and gives life.

God uses many elements in life to help us, from education, to medical science, to expert people, and more. Think of resurrection power as another element working on your behalf. As Christ followers, we find acceleration in the help and solutions that work on our behalf.

Another proof of the present day power of resurrection is Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

LET THIS SINK IN: The same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead 2000+ years ago is working in you today as a Christ follower!

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

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Risen! Rise! The Benefits of Resurrection Power Today!

Sunday, April 17, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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Philippians 3:10, That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Easter is not a celebration of religion. It is a warning to religion. Religious leaders during Jesus' time on the earth were angry that He liberated people from their influence and control. They didn’t see Jesus as an ally, they saw him as an enemy. He threatened to break their hold on people.

Religious practice reminded people of what they didn’t have and couldn’t get without self-appointed religious leaders.

• What would you do if you believed no one could hinder you?
• What would you do if you did not wait for someone to tell you it could be done?
• What would you do if you found out that Jesus gives you direct access to God and all His blessings?

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

What is Resurrection Power?

Ephesians 1:19, And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Jesus’ resurrection is not only a past event, but a present day power!

That's why we say, "He IS risen," not he WAS risen. Jesus provided something that we could never provide for ourselves. Try to understand “Resurrection Life” as a way of living.

“Resurrection” is from the biblical Greek word: “Anastasis.” It is a combination of two words meaning: “up” and “to cause to stand.”

Jesus will take you as you are and where you are.
Jesus will raise you from spiritual death to new life.
Jesus will show you the exceeding greatness of God power
Jesus will release that power in your life.
Jesus, the Last Adam, will reverse the curse brought about by the first Adam.
Jesus will introduce you to a resurrected lifestyle.

Jesus helps you, and gives you the power to STAND UP in every area of life!

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"Holy Week = Resurrected Life Every Day" - Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute for April 13, 2022

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


  
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(“Firm Foundation Inspiration Minute” is a weekly encouragement. Subscribe to this blog to stay connected.)

April 17, 2022 will be Easter Sunday, which I like to call Resurrection Sunday to place focus on Christ. There are “Easter Bunnies,” but there are no “Resurrection Bunnies.” I still don’t know where Easter bunnies came from!

As with our other major Christ focused holiday, Christmas, we want to celebrate the core reason of the season, indeed every season, Jesus Christ.

Part of the Easter Celebration includes what we call “Holy Week.” Tradition identifies each day of the week with special emphasis on Christ's path towards His sacrifice on the Cross. Friday represents Jesus crucifixion which we call “Good Friday.” Sunday is the day we celebrate Jesus' resurrection.

I would like to suggest that whatever you do this week, Holy Week, in celebration of Christ and whatever you've done over the past 40 days if you celebrated the Roman Catholic religious practice of Lent, continue doing in spirit and attitude every day.

As people, we have the bad habit of jumping in and jumping out of spiritual emphasis and focus. Sometimes religious practice reinforces jumping in and out because spiritual focus is temporary and people feel better or justified when “jumping back in.” The reality is this: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17), we don’t jump in and out by faith

If Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection means anything, it means being raised to a new life. Religion cannot keep you where relationship with Christ brought you. 

If you are a Christ Follower, challenge yourself to live a resurrected life everyday! 

God Bless and Be Encouraged!
~ Pastor Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

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