November 4 Bulletin

"Immanuel:  God is With Us"


9:00 am—Music and Prayer with Worship Team

Impact Hour streams live at 10 am

Worship Hour streams live at 11:00 am

Click on “Livestream” or "Listen Live" at

Recordings are also available



10:00 am—Impact Hour:  Arnie Abrams

"Paul the Apostle" session 5


11:00 am—Worship for all ages


11:30 am—Children’s Church and Nursery meet in Creekview Room

I-Teen meets in breakfast area 

Morning Message:  Pastor Clay Stidham

“By Many or by Few, The Battle Is The Lord’s”

1 Samuel 14:6-16

2 Chronicles 20:4-6, 12-15, 20-23

1 Chronicles 12:32

Daniel 2:19-23, 28-30, 47-49

Hebrews 11:1-3, 24-29; 12:1-4

2 Corinthians 10:4


12:15 pm  Commitment and Dismissal

1:00 pm Council meeting at the office 



November 5—Monday Marys 10 am at Office

November 6—Young Life Prayer meeting 6 pm at Office

November 7—Men’s Bible Study 7 pm at Office

November 9—Bible study at Arnie’s 7 pm

November 9-11—Young Life Winter Camp

November 17—Women’s Tea Team meeting at Office 10 am



In the News

Trump won them. Republicans rely on them. But what is the future of white evangelicals?

Democrats are hoping for a 'blue wave' in the midterm elections, but they are defending more seats than they are challenging. Will they lose seats? USA TODAY

President Donald Trump leaned on overwhelming support from white evangelical Christians in the 2016 election, capturing 81 percent of their vote and again affirming their conservative bent.

Republicans can expect more of the same this midterm election. More than 80 percent of white evangelical voters said they'll vote for their Republican candidate for Congress on Tuesday, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).  

But will that white evangelical voting bloc remain reliable for the right for years to come? Numbers show white evangelicals are shedding young followers put-off by the culture war waged by their parents and grandparents.

Young evangelicals overall are more likely to hold liberal views on same-sex marriage, the environment and immigration, compared with older evangelicals, Pew Research Center found in 2017.

2018 midterms: Forget the pantsuit. In 2018, 'badass' female candidates show strength after decades of being told how to look, sound and act

Even at Liberty University, a bastion of young Christian conservatism, plucking a red-meat Republican from the crowd isn't a lock. 

"This is one of the biggest conservative Christian campuses ever and it's still very divided," said Lindsey Longhorn, 18, a Liberty sophomore who said she's like-minded with Trump on certain immigration issues but leans pro-choice on abortion and backs same-sex marriage. 

Liberty sophomore Konner Burke, a registered Independent who voted for Trump, finds himself mulling left-leaning policy "more and more everyday."

Burke acknowledges the Bible's stance on same-sex relationships but argues "it's not really my business." and supports his position with religious logic.

"How am I supposed to cast a stone when I have so many problems with me?" he asked.

Evangelicals, as defined by the National Association of Evangelicals, blend a serious belief in the Bible, a born-again transformation and a sense of activism. But today's young voters grew up in a more secular America with more cultural diversity, said Molly Worthen, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina specializing in American religious history. 

Some are simply exhausted by their parents' politics, she explains.

"They are put off by the sense that the old-school moral-majority style of culture-warrior politics means a conservative white evangelical is always spoiling for a fight, is intolerant and unwilling to listen to differing opinions," Worthen said. "All of that runs counter to the broad message that evangelical young people have absorbed from the culture."

Political identities are hard to shake

Despite cultural influences, if you're waiting on young white evangelicals to turn on Republicans and push a wave of Democratic victories this midterm election — don't hold your breath.

PRRI data show 78 percent of white evangelicals 18 to 29 are Republicans or Republicans that lean Independent.  More than three-quarters of them plan to vote Republican on Tuesday.

Politics is a lot about identity, not issues, and changing identity is difficult, claims Stephanie Martin, an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University who specializes in public discourses of conservative social movements.

"Their parents may buy wholly into the idea that the Republican party is the party of family values and a young evangelical might see through that, might see it as a ruse, but still be a Republican because that was the culture and the milieu and the way of being in the world that they grew up in," she said. "The likelihood that they're going to break from that is pretty low."

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Luke Dillard, a 22-year-old Liberty senior who voted for Trump, couches his political views with a preamble about his faith and upbringing in a conservative household. He believes abortion is murder and holds the Bible's man-and-woman view on marriage.

"They're, like, super conservative," he said of his parents. "I wouldn't say that I'm full-on, hard-core conservative."

Like Dillard, senior Amari Mitchell uses her childhood to support her views. Except she was raised a Democrat, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and finds no trouble uniting her political beliefs and her faith. 

"I just keep my belief in God," she said.

Dillard, who is white, and Mitchell, who is black, exemplify the drastic political split between white and non-white evangelicals. The difference is so stark that it's imperative the groups be separated when studying them, said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI.

While the large majority of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, black Protestants voted 96 percent for Clinton, according to Pew

"There's a fundamental divide in evangelical America with regard to race," said Janelle Wong, a professor of American studies at the University of Maryland. "In some ways, on many issues, white evangelicals couldn't be more different from Asian-American, Latino and black evangelicals."

Immigration: Outrage erupts over Trump campaign ad blaming Democrats for immigrant who 'killed our people'

"Oftentimes in their ethnic communities, they're not the dominant group," she said. "They are socialized in these places that have become very blue."

Trevor Thomas, a 25-year-old Liberty graduate student who wrote in Sen. Ted Cruz for president on his 2016 general election ballot, decries the U.S. immigration process, which he described as expensive. 

"I'd like to live in a world where the rule of law is obeyed but at the same time compassion is given," said Thomas, whose parents are Jamaican immigrants. "I don't think this country has to be so law-abiding minded that it abandons people."

Earlier this year, the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 churches, publicly urged Trump to halt his family separation policy.

Waning clout

Experts argue it's not young white evangelicals following a change of heart that poses a threat to Republicans — it's that overall white evangelicals' dwindling numbers could render them politically insignificant. 

"White evangelical protestants have certainly been a powerful force in American politics for a couple of generations since the '80s and (Ronald) Reagan, but their clout in the general population is waning over the last 10 years," Jones said. "There’s been a bigger loss at the younger end of the spectrum.”

In 2008, white evangelicals comprised nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. That number is now 15 percent, according to PRRI, and the remaining ranks are held together by a graying group. The median age of white evangelicals is getting older and is now 56.

Meanwhile, just 8 percent of those 18-29 identify as white evangelical, according to PRRI.

"It's a small, small group, particularly if you're going after younger voters," Jones said. "From a strategy point of view, there are richer targets out there."

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So will the GOP face a reckoning at the ballot box?

Not quite yet.

"The religious right, as a network of very savvy political institutions, will continue to punch above its weight politically for decades," Worthen said. "Even as we see that secularizing trend persist, it will not likely immediately translate to a huge turnout of votes for progressive political candidates."

Jones agrees that white Christians are "over-represented at the ballot box."

"The ballot box acts a little bit like a time machine that takes us back about 10 years in terms of the composition of this country," he said. "White Christian Americans tend to vote at a pretty high rate. "

Opinion: Evangelicals are paying high moral price for anti-abortion gains. What would Jesus do?

Worthen says the evangelical generation gap is actually nothing new. But Trump exacerbated the existing chasm between young and old evangelicals.

"We're just paying even more attention to it now because it seems like the stakes are so high," Worthen said. "That conflict is livelier. There are more young white evangelicals going public with their dissent. They're still a minority, but I do think there are more of them now."

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman

Pakistan acquits Christian woman sentenced to die for blasphemy

Pakistan's highest court on Wednesday ordered the release of a poor, illiterate Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, setting off a wave of demonstrations by hard-line Islamists nationwide but drawing praise from human rights activists.

The Supreme Court overturned the conviction against Asia Bibi, accused in 2009 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a case that sparked violent protests in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 200 million people. Two Pakistani government officials were murdered in 2011 in crimes linked to their support of Bibi.

“It's ironic that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful,’ the judges wrote. "But in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning’.”

Chief Justice Saqib noted that tolerance is the "basic principle" of Islam.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sherry Rehman cheered the verdict on Twitter: "False accusers took half her life away. Now the state must protect all those who stand for the rule of law and justice. We have all been witness to the havoc mobs have wreaked to red lines before."

But the future of blasphemy laws in Pakistan is far from settled. The laws remain popular in Pakistan, and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed support for them during the recent election campaign.

After the decision on Bibi was announced, the Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik said Saqib and the other judges deserve death under Islamic law. That drew a sharp rebuke from Khan.

“The state will fulfill its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of people and take strict action against violators," he said in a speech broadcast across the country.

Bibi's case stemmed from a simple act among poor farmhands in rural Pakistan. Bibi was asked to get water while harvesting fruit in a field. Muslim women working with Bibi complained when she dipped her cup into the water bucket, saying a non-Muslim was unclean.

The women quarreled, and her co-workers accused her of insulting the prophet three times. She was later beaten, and the women complained to a local religious leader who pressed for the blasphemy charge. Insulting Islam's prophet is considered blasphemy carries a death sentence under Pakistani law.

More: Pakistan law cracks down on 'honor killings' 

More: Secretary of State Pompeo: Religious persecution in Iran, China must end

Bibi, a mother of five, was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2010. The verdict was upheld five years later. 

Bibi has been kept in solitary confinement, mostly for her own protection, since her 2010 conviction. Pope Benedict and later Pope Francis were among world leaders who had called for her release.

She is scheduled for release later this week, and authorities said she might leave the country for security reasons.

“I can’t believe what I am hearing,” Bibi told AFP by phone from prison after the ruling. “I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom hailed the decision and urged Pakistan officials to take steps to ensure her safety. The group also called for release of the estimated 40 people who remain on death row for blasphemy convictions.

Blasphemy laws protect entire religions rather than the rights of individuals, falling short of international human rights standards, commission chairman Tenzin Dorjee said.

“The case of Asia Bibi illustrates the extent to which blasphemy laws can be exploited to target minority communities," Dorjee said. "It is deeply troubling that Bibi’s case even reached this level, where she almost became the first person in Pakistan’s history to be executed for the crime of blasphemy.”

Amnesty International called the decision a "landmark verdict" for religious tolerance. 

"Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are overbroad, vague and coercive," the group said in a statement. "They have been used to target religious minorities, pursue personal vendettas, and carry out vigilante violence."

Contributing: Associated Press 


Same-sex couple carries same 'miracle' baby in what may be fertility world first

Two mothers in Dallas, Texas were able to both carry their baby using a new method of In Vetro Fertilization. WFAA's Sonia Azad reports. USA TODAY

DALLAS – Two Texas mothers each carried their "miracle baby" because of a medical advance that allowed them to do what they thought was otherwise impossible. 

Ashleigh Coulter, 28, and Bliss Coulter, 36, met six years ago and later were married. The couple who desired a baby knew that welcoming their own biological child would require a sperm donor, and some creativity.

"Obviously, us being two women, we were like, 'How can we make this happen?'" Ashleigh said. "We felt like there has to be a way."

It turned out there was a way for both women to carry their child.

Fertility specialists Dr. Kathy Doody and her husband, Dr. Kevin Doody, of the CARE Fertility in Bedford, Texas, were the first to try reciprocal effortless in vitro fertilization using radical technology, which gave the Coulters a shot at motherhood.

"We were just talking one night at home and I said, 'You know, I think we could use this for a same-sex couple,'" Dr. Kathy recalled. "And Kevin said: 'I think you're right. I think we could.'"

Here's how the process works. It starts like traditional IVF. 

"Bliss went through the stimulation of her ovaries and the egg harvest," Kathy said. 

Instead of placing the sperm and Bliss' eggs into incubators in a lab, which is called reciprocal IVF and has been carried out for same-sex couples for years, they go into the chamber of the INVOcell device immediately after egg retrieval. The device is placed into Bliss' body for five days where early embryo development begins. 

"She got the embryo off to an early start," Kathy said. "The eggs fertilized in her body, and when they returned five days later, we removed the device and froze the embryos."

Because embryos don't have livers, kidneys or lungs, traditionally, electromechanical devices like incubators are used in labs to remove toxins and try to maintain a supportive environment for the embryo.

"It turns out, not surprisingly, that the woman's own body is a very good incubator," Kathy said, clarifying how INVOcell works. "We have livers, kidneys and lungs, so we're able to provide those same services to the embryo more naturally." 

Next, it was Ashleigh's turn.

"Almost like passing the baton, like it's a relay race," Kathy said.

Doctors evaluated Ashleigh's uterus, gave her estrogen and then progesterone, waited for the right time and transferred her wife's embryos to her body. They got pregnant on the first try. 

"She got to carry him for five days and was a big part of the fertilization, and then I carried him for nine months," Ashleigh said. "So that made it really special for the both of us – that we were both involved. She got to be a part of it, and I got to be a part of it."

The cost of effortless IVF using INVOcell is about half the cost of traditional IVF, which usually runs $14,000 to $16,000 with medication.

Reciprocal effortless IVF, the process Bliss and Ashleigh had, is about $8,000 with medication, compared with traditional reciprocal IVF involving lab incubators that costs $15,000 to $20,000.

Kathy responded to critics who may believe the science is contrary to religious beliefs.

"Well, I would respectfully disagree," Kathy said. "I think that family, relationship, children is exactly everything that was meant to be in our world."

More: What your religion has to say about how you become a parent

Stetson is a happy, healthy 5-month-old baby. Bliss and Ashleigh are busy with motherhood. 

"No one really knew it was possible, but it worked magnificently," Bliss said. 

The couple have two additional frozen embryos from Bliss that they could use the same way unless Ashleigh wants to use her eggs next time, because only Bliss' genes transferred to Stetson. 

"I think it opens up new avenues, new choices for same-sex couples," Kathy said. 

Since Ashleigh's delivery, a second same-sex couple in North Texas chose reciprocal effortless IVF at CARE Fertility, got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl in September.


Rabbi invokes Jesus' name at Pence rally, setting off social media firestorm

During a campaign rally, Vice President Mike Pence praised the police response to the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. A gunman killed 11 people and injured four police officers (Oct. 29) AP

A Michigan campaign stop featuring Vice President Mike Pence set off a social media firestorm after a local rabbi who believes Jesus was the messiah invoked Jesus' name in prayers for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

Rabbi Loren Jacobs leads Shema Yisrael in Bloomfield, a Messianic congregation that follows Jewish law but also believes in the New Testament. The sect is generally rejected by mainstream Jews.

"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God and father of my lord and savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and my God and father, too," Jacobs said in his prayer.

Another local rabbi, Jason Miller, soon posted on Facebook that the directory from the Michigan Board of Rabbis lists more than 60 rabbis.

"The only rabbi they could find to offer a prayer for the 11 Jewish victims in Pittsburgh at the Mike Pence rally was a local Jews for Jesus rabbi?" Miller wrote. "That's pathetic!"

More: ‘Nazis are here again’: He hid in a storeroom during Tree of Life shooting

More: President Trump to visit Pittsburgh after mass killing at synagogue

The liberal Jewish action group Bend the Arc was equally miffed. The group had blasted President Donald Trump in an open letter after the attack, asking Trump not to visit Pittsburgh "until you fully denounce white nationalism." Trump will visit the city later Tuesday.

After the Pence event in Michigan, Bend the Arc tweeted: "11 Jews were killed while praying, and this is how the Vice President responds??? Another attack on us from this administration."

Jewish lawyer Jordan Acker tweeted that "If you want to bring all faiths on stage, great! Get an Imam, Rabbi, (not a fake one), and a Priest and minister up there."

Pence is a devout Christian. His camp washed their hands of the Jacobs episode, saying congressional candidate Lena Epstein had invited Jacobs. Epstein, who is Jewish, issued a statement defending her Judaism and her invitation to Jacobs.

"I invited the prayer because we must unite as a nation while embracing all religious differences in the aftermath of Pennsylvania," she said. She said anyone attacking her or Pence over the issue "is guilty of nothing short of religious intolerance" and should be ashamed.

Acker was unimpressed.

"Nobody thinks you’re not Jewish," Acker tweeted. "They think that you’re deeply insensitive for bringing a group on stage who’s entire mission is to convert Jews 3 days after the worst anti-Semitic attack in American Jewish history. Instead of apologizing, you do this. It’s disgusting."

Contributing: The Associated Press



Word for Worship

Man's Grief and God's Compassion


“For the LORD will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:31-33

The five chapters of the unique book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah in his grief over the destruction of Jerusalem, are all written as acrostics, with each verse of each chapter beginning with successive letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet. That is, verse 1 of each chapter begins with the letter aleph, verse 2 with beth, etc. (like A, B, etc. in English). The middle chapter is written in acrostic triplets (the first three verses beginning with aleph, and so on). Thus, chapter 3 contains 66 verses instead of 22.

The three verses of our text are right at the midpoint of this middle chapter, comprising the final triplet of the first half of the book, and thus uniquely constituting its central theme. As such, it could well also be the heart cry of every saint in any age experiencing God’s chastening hand.

Although Jeremiah himself had not sinned, his nation had grievously sinned, and thus all Israel had finally come under the rod. Nevertheless, the prophet could assure his people that God still loved them and would renew His compassion even in the midst of their grief. God does not willingly send affliction, for He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

When we suffer, or our nation suffers (as it surely will if it continues its present rebellion against God), it is well to remember His promise. “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever” (Psalm 103:9). It is true that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11). HMM even a “shadow” of any “turning” (trope). God never changes, and His purposes can never be defeated! HMM


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