It’s 4:00 AM. I can’t sleep.
Thoughts are racing in my head: What am I doing? Am I crazy? Who do I think I am? Why would I do this to my wife and my family? Why would I do this to my staff? Can we afford to do this? Do I really think it will make a difference? I’m scared. I’m overwhelmed. I’m nervous.
It’s fear. Fear of failure. Fear of finances. Fear of response. Fear of what people will think on both sides. Yet my greatest fear is doing nothing at all. A message is resounding in my mind, “All it takes for evil to prevail is for people to do nothing.” And another one of my favorite life sayings rings true: “I’d rather try and fail than to be mediocre, for in failure there are lessons to be learned. But mediocrity breeds false satisfaction.”
I keep wondering if this adventure, cause and call I am sensing is worth all the time, work, effort, prayer, money and relational investment. Is it worth a shot even if I fail? Yes, because then I can at least say I answered the call.
The call is summed up in the lyrics from the song, Here I Am Lord:
I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save:
I who made the stars and night
I will make the darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart
I’ve just embarked on a 40 day tour to bear His light. I’ve never done that before. Yes, I’ve shared the gospel countless times and did a 60 day tour with the Newsboys, but this is the first time I’ll be gone for 40 days straight. In 30 years of ministry I have never been gone more than 2 weeks in a row. We usually try to max it out at 7-10 days because of our families.
So, why will I be gone for 40 days? For life, and to call people to a culture of life. To pray. To worship. To unite. And to invite, repent, fast, hope, listen, dialogue, care and love, proclaiming that life, all life, is a sacred gift from God. Then I will point all people to John 17:3, promising the ultimate life found in knowing the one true God, Jesus.
We will ask people to answer the call to be more like Him as we represent His love to our families, communities, state, nation and the world. It’s a call to be known for what we’re for instead of just what we’re against. Even more so, it’s a call to be known for who we’re for: people, Jesus, life.
I have stated many times that I am pro-life, but honestly, I don’t like the pro-life movement. Why? It’s become known for angry picketers instead of caring, compassionate, respectful, loving, option-giving and empowering people who have huge hearts for women and children. I feel like we have allowed the forces of division, politics and media to polarize us as a nation and a church. And in doing so, many have been dehumanized into issues and agendas. Many have seen the abortion issue as an argument to be won rather than people to be loved. Because of these negative stereotypes, I have stayed away.
Meanwhile, those with the microphones have turned the volume up even louder; so loud that we no longer hear the cries and needs of the people caught in the cross-fire. Many have failed to see how every issue and agenda is really someone’s son or daughter, with faces, hurting hearts and a story.
I have come to believe that truth alone is not enough. Truth without love is brutality and love without truth is compromise. That’s why the best book and love letter ever written, commands us to “speak the truth in love.” God is the Author of that book, the Creator of all life, the One who looked at the humanity He made in His own image, male and female, and pronounced it as good.
Let’s follow his lead. For even when mankind became the enemy of the Most High and decided not to follow His plan, love Him above all else, and love others, He still sent His Son. Aren’t you glad the most famous scripture verse in the bible doesn’t read, “For God so loved the world that He picketed it?” No! It tells us how God so loved the world that He gave. Yes, He still has rules and the 10 Commandments because He cares for us, but His ultimate desire is not for rules but a relationship.
In comparison, it seems like 40 days is a meager attempt to follow my Savior, Jesus, who laid down His life as an act of love. But love calls me to not be silent, and my heart will not let me join the angry people with the microphones.
In reality, I believe the few with the microphones on both sides of this issue are not representing the heart of the movement or the majority of those who consider themselves pro-life. The people in the middle, those who may not have a microphone, make the headlines or get the TV interviews, are the ones in the trenches loving and empowering women with real choices and options, and loving children. They are not like the media has portrayed them.
They are the volunteers at the crisis pregnancy centers and the people in the homes for unwed mothers. They are in it for the long haul, offering finances and resources to those who are keeping their babies, or helping them find a loving home if they choose to give their child up for adoption. And yes, they’re still there with arms of love and acceptance, offering counseling for women and men who may have made the decision to go through with an abortion. They love and care without conditions.
This kind of approach is something I can be a part of. No, this is something I must be a part of. I have to let people know the heart of Jesus is never represented in bombing an abortion clinic or shooting an abortion provider. Again, it’s never just about what we’re against, but more about who we are for. It’s about offering hope, grace and love. The body of Christ is a place where people should feel welcomed and accepted. My heart is for people to see followers of Christ as people who provide help and healing, not more hurt and pain. I desire for everyone to be valued as people of dignity and not just judged as someone less than “us” because of their choice. May we truly be a hospital for sinners, of whom I am chief, not just a museum for saints.
When people think of us as Christians, will they only taste our disgust for their sin and see a focus on their depravity? Or will we be part of changing the culture so they see our longing to love and uphold their dignity as image bearers? Will they see us taking joy in their worth, value and who they are as a person? Will they taste true love towards them and their unborn child, and in return, respond by making the loving choice? It requires seeing every person with the eyes of redemption, the eyes of our Savior Who loved so much that He gave. Let’s follow the teaching in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, and “…not just give them the scripture, but our very lives because they’ve become very dear to us as a mother nursing her own child.”
When we love that way, then we will be preaching the way Paul preached and loving the way Paul loved. We can stand for what Christ stood for when we love the way He does.
So yes, our team will be gone 40 days spanning from Ash Wednesday, March 5th through Palm Sunday, April 13th. We are working alongside Life Runners whose slogan is “All for Christ. All for Pro-life.” They have hundreds of runners who are running across America to help raise awareness and funds for the cause. Some of the runners started at the Brooklyn Bridge at 7:30 on March 5th, while others started on the other side of the country at the Golden Gate Bridge at the same time. Each participant is running a portion of the route during the 40 days for Life. After the 40 days we will all meet in Sioux Falls, SD to celebrate life and the ultimate life of Easter and the resurrection to come.
All proceeds from the run are benefiting Save the Storks, an organization that cares for the mother and the baby. Save the Storks provides mobile units which are helping change the image of the pro-life movement. Instead of a woman experiencing fear of being confronted by an angry protestor when entering an abortion clinic, they can meet someone with a warm and friendly face who invites them to see an ultrasound photo of their baby, provided free of charge in their state of the art Storks bus parked out front. It’s a beautifully designed unit with an inviting atmosphere and staff. Inside, they are welcomed, experience compassion and love, and are offered real alternatives and choices.
Another misconception about the pro-life movement was demonstrated by someone who told me, “The problem with you is that you’re pro-life from conception to birth and then you don’t care anymore. What about the 500, 000 children in foster care waiting for an adoptive home?” I’m excited to say Save the Storks is addressing this concern as well.
It’s shown that 79% of women who have had an abortion feel they had no other choice, mostly because of financial reasons. But when women experience the love and concern of those working in the mobile units, and are shown real options and offered financial help in bringing their child to term, 3 out of 5 of them are choosing to keep their babies or put them up for adoption. And Save the Storks will continue to offer financial help to those women who choose to keep their baby for up to three years after the child is born. This is truly empowering.
The founders of Save the Storks, Joe and Ann Baker, are good friends of mine. For the last 6 years I’ve been in a mentoring relationship with Joe. He has been heavily involved in the pro-life movement, but at times, because of his great passion, he admits he has been known more for what he was against than what he was for. I believe he is moving in a loving direction and is ready to lead his organization as a catalyst to change the face and image of the life movement.
We are working with him and the race across America by presenting the Save the Stork tour, sponsored by Life Promotions. We have been setting up events nation-wide, following the route of the runners when we can, calling people to a culture of life. For 40 days and nights we will stay in host homes, travel in an unfinished Stork bus, have concerts, pray, give testimonies, enjoy fellowship with other believers and pregnancy centers, and most importantly, share about the Giver of life.
I do not know why when Jesus came, He didn’t eliminate evil or the choice of evil, but He did overcome evil with love by laying down His life. I may not be able to eliminate evil, but together with God, I believe we can conquer evil with love. We can bring hope, encouragement, support and renewal. We can speak love into this movement.
I am speaking on the East Coast along with Christian artist, Holly Starr, where we began March 5th. Harry Thomas, the founder of Creation Festival, helped kick off the first event, and we’ll continue night after night. Please, join us. Come celebrate with us. On the West Coast, our new ministry friend and artist, Tori Harris, is sharing. We still have days that need to be filled, so if you’re interested in being a part, check out the map to see if we’re coming near your area, or the event calendar.
God has called me to a liquid fast for the next 40 days. Would you fast and ask God to heal our land? Would you fast and ask God to forgive us for misrepresenting Him? Would you fast and ask God for us to become beacons of hope?
Maybe you want to help. Are you able to donate hotel points for the nights we don’t have a host home, or airline points to be able to fly some family members out to see us? We are also seeking those who can give financially to Life Promotions, for I’m receiving less than one-quarter of what we normally charge for speeches because I believe in this cause so much.
If you’d like to help in any way, please call and speak with Dave Romenesko at our office 800.955.5433, or if you’d like to give online, you can visit www.lifepromotions.com.
Thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement.