This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bethany Community Tornado Relief Fund

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Thank you to everyone who has generously given to Bethany Community Church’s tornado relief fund. We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our community, church, and other brothers and sisters in Christ. We take the stewardship you have entrusted to us very seriously.
Our desire is to be transparent to those who have given and help those who are considering giving know how funds are used. So much money has come in so quickly from a variety of sources and we wanted to make sure that people knew how we had spent funds to date and how we plan on spending remaining funds.

Funds Give to Date
·      About $100,000 has been given to our church so far to help those affected by the tornado.

·      We put out general requests to those directly impacted by the tornado and have met all financial needs that were communicated to us.

·      We have spent around $13,000. Some of the expenditures to date include:
o   Gifts disbursed to BCC families: $10,000.
o   Gifts disbursed to other families: $2,000.
o   Resources for volunteers such as fuel for heaters in the shed, meals, supplies: $1,000.
I wish I could share with you all of the stories of those who have been helped by your gifts. Over and over I hear of ways in which souls have been comforted physically and spiritually by you. Strangers are hugging people when they find out they are a part of Bethany Community Church! To God be the glory.

Future Spending
·      We plan to continue to give funds to those affected by the tornado that will meet their physical needs in order to restore them and their property to pre-tornado condition (moving expenses, deductibles, landscaping).

·      We plan to spend funds on gifts to those affected by the tornado that will meet their spiritual needs (Bibles, counseling material, etc.).

·      We plan to use funds to cover expenses of volunteers who are helping those affected by the tornado (purchasing lunches, providing supplies, fuel costs, etc.).

·      We are NOT using funds given to the tornado relief fund to cover any of Bethany’s administrative staff costs. For example, we are hiring a part-time person to help temporarily with tornado relief ministry who will be funded from giving to our general fund.

As you can see, we are spending 100% of funds given to our relief efforts to benefit families affected by the tornado. As much as is possible, our desire is to use the funds you give in accordance with your intent. If you have given to our tornado relief efforts and have any concerns, please let us know.

If you desire to support the ministries of Bethany Community Church, please give to our general fund. God is graciously meeting our needs as we incur additional expenses and we are thankful for those who are supporting us as we engage in this ministry.

If you know of needs—tornado related or otherwise—please let us know. It is our joy to be able to help meet those.

As we become aware of additional needs and opportunities, we will continue to let you know what we are doing. Again, it is our intent to be transparent so that everyone who has given so sacrificially can be encouraged as God uses His resources for His glory!

By His Grace,


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lost and Found

Here's the sermon preached the Sunday following the tornado at Bethany Community Church.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Christmas Poems

John Piper said in an address that I heard earlier this year, “very few of you (pastors) should give significant time to writing poetry, but all of you should make poetic efforts in the way you see and savor and show the glories of Christ.”  So, I doubt that Piper would be very impressed by these meager poems, but he would applaud the effort.  As a Christmas gift to you, here are two poems for the Advent season.  Both of these efforts borrow from Isaac Watts’ great hymn, “Joy to the World.”


In this world of sin and woe,
Where pain and suffering won’t let go,
I have a wish for Christmas.

That Christians would live like the Name they bear,
That absolute truth would be acknowledged here,
That the wicked and cheaters would not win,
That holiness would triumph over sin.

That marriage and children would matter more
and money and things would matter less
That the God of the Bible we would adore
and evil would lose over righteousness.

That the right to life wouldn’t be so hazy
That to kill a baby would be seen as crazy
That fascination with technology,
Would be tempered by sound theology.

That the Bible would be read,
That our souls would not be dead,
That thinking Christians we would be,
Walking by the Spirit in liberty.

That Christmas would be no mere “holiday”
That the God-Man be honored as the only way
That all peoples would embrace
What heaven and nature sing
That Jesus Christ is Lord . . . over everything.



His was a birth like no other
A mother . . . but not a human father;
Why does this matter?  Why should we care?
Aren’t there bigger issues?  Like, “why is life unfair”?

The sin of Adam marred us all
We are guilty; we all did fall;
Life’s not unfair, we get what’s coming;
It’s just that the pain is so very numbing.

God saw all this from beginning to end
He planned a rescue—His Son to send;
That Son is perfect in all deity
But wrapped in cloths—infant humanity.

See now, God’s Son, in human form forever
The Gift on a cross, a remarkable endeavor
To right the wrong; to erase the sting
Of what we call unfair and endless suffering.

The grace of God is now made known
Death’s triumph has been overthrown;
Sing it out!  The end of doom!
Let every heart prepare Him room.

Let every heart prepare Him room.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Leadership in a Crisis

 As we hit the two-and-a-half week mark post-tornado, I thought it might be useful to answer some questions people have asked me about leadership during this crisis.

I’ve been a little bit hesitant to write this article. To write an article entitled “leadership during a crisis” sounds a bit arrogant. It implies that the author feels he or she has successfully exercised leadership in a crisis and is now in a position to share thoughts with others—whether they want those thoughts or not!

So, let me start with some caveats. I have not implemented the following principles consistently. These principles are not original thoughts with me. Many of these principles were gleaned not by observing my own conduct but instead by watching other leaders in our church and community. And this list is not exhaustive. I keep wanting to add more and more and finally I've just had to stop. There's much more that could be added in terms of practical leadership during a crisis. Maybe I can get Ben Davidson to write an article about that.

My primary audience is other shepherds. Hopefully some of these thoughts will resonate with you as you serve your flock. All of us will lead our church through some storm, whether figurative or literal.

1.      Don’t force your leadership on others.

When a disaster strikes, two things are happening simultaneously: some people are looking for leadership and some people are asserting themselves as leaders. Those who are in the second group are not always suited to this task.

There were numerous times over the past few weeks when I thought about Alexander Haig, the Secretary of State under Ronald Regan. After Reagan was shot in March 1981 and undergoing surgery in the hospital, Haig proclaimed to reporters, “As of now, I am in control here.” This rather ambitious claim reflected the chaos reigning within the White House as people wondered who was making the moment-by-moment decisions for the executive branch.

In a crisis, there are going to be numerous voices shouting, "Follow me!". Many of them will be gone or will have faded within a day. Almost all will have disappeared within a few weeks. Now is not a time for egos and self-promotion. 

As a shepherd, begin with caring for those who have already been trusted to your care. If you are having to assert to others that they need to follow your leadership, there is a real chance that you aren’t really in a position to lead.

Here is how Peter describes it in 1 Peter 5:1-4:

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Begin with your flock. Care for them with eagerness and as an example. Expand your care for others as God allows. He will provide other opportunities to you if He desires.

2.      Remember you are a servant, not a CEO.

Even in the best of circumstances, we struggle to understand the difference between secular and biblical leadership. Our flesh naturally wants our own name to be exalted.

That is compounded during a time of crisis. You are not a general directing troops. You are a shepherd caring for those who are hurting.

Failure to practice servant leadership during a crisis manifests itself several ways.

·         We become frustrated and convinced we are working harder than others (and wonder why more people aren’t noticing that!). Instead of focusing on serving others we’re wonders why others aren’t serving us.

·         We are impatient with those we are trying to help. Instead of being gentle with those who have gone through a crisis, we are frustrated that they aren’t receiving our help the way they should.

·         We refuse to do menial jobs.

·         We find ourselves in conflicts with our co-laborers.

May Jesus’ words be a strong corrective to the CEO-mentality we as shepherds are tempted to adopt:

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28)

3.      Don’t make up answers to questions that stump you.

When people are looking to us for leadership, there can be a temptation to want to appear more knowledgeable than we actually are. People ask us questions and instead of realizing we aren’t the best person to answer that question, we give it a go anyway.

This is incredibly unhelpful. If you don’t know the answer to something, just acknowledge it. Yes, people will sometimes be upset with you and blame you for not knowing what they think you should know. That’s OK. Maybe you should know it, maybe not. But you don’t.

In a crisis, poor communication is always a struggle. Inserting wrong information into the communication stream will only make it worse.

4.      Stay calm and display that calmness in your demeanor, voice, and actions.

When we are tired or busy or scared, it is easy to justify ungodly behavior and communication. I have a, uh... friend who has definitely been guilty of that over the past two weeks.

A crisis is not an excuse for bad behavior. It is in a crisis that what is truly in our hearts is revealed. Leaders demonstrate what true spirituality looks like: not just a pleasant demeanor when the sea is calm but godliness when in a tiny raft in a hurricane.

How do we do this?

5.      Lead in the Spirit, not the flesh.

So much can be summed up in this statement. Our leadership is not of the flesh but in the spirit.

I think that’s hard to remember because the tasks seem so…physical. There are boards to be moved and teams to be organized and deadlines to be met. In the midst of all of that, it is hard to remember that even these are ultimately spiritual tasks.

On Monday morning, we had our first full staff meeting since the tornado. During our time of prayer, phones rang and people came in. At first, we responded to these interruptions. But as we did so, we realized we were neglecting that which was most important. We began our time of prayer again, agreeing that we would let phones go unanswered if need be while we sought the enabling work of the Spirit in our ministry.
Whether you are ministering in the Spirit or the flesh will be made evident by your fruit (Gal. 5:16-26)!

6.      Try to strike a balance in your decision-making process that allow for both decisiveness and contemplation.

Our associate pastor Ben and I have long realized that we offer important corrections for one another. Ben is a decisive leader who responds quickly to needs. I’m one who wants time to process and make sure we are making the best decisions.

In a crisis, both types of leadership are needed. When we have time, it’s good to think about how decisions fit into the overall picture and explore all options. But sometimes there isn’t that time and you need to be willing to pull the trigger quickly.

There were times over the past two weeks where brainstorming would have been a waste of precious time and a drain on Ben. There were other times where we could afford to take half an hour and make sure we were being most effective with our resources.

7.      Be willing to correct course.

I’ve competed in a few sprint triathlons. The part I enjoy the most is the swim. Swimming in a lake or pond is different than swimming in the lanes in a pool. There are people all around you and it’s hard to see. There aren’t the ropes on either side of you to keep you on course. It’s important to mark out some landmark while swimming to check periodically to make sure you’re still swimming in the right direction!

In a crisis, the waters around you are constantly churning. A leader who demands consistency is going to be disappointed and ineffectual. There should be a willingness to change direction quickly when needed.

There have been numerous times where, as we have kept our overall objective in mind (see below), we have realized a course correction was needed. Maybe our resources were not being utilized efficiently. Perhaps the needs had changed based upon a decision the city made. Whatever the case, a good leader is willing to correct course quickly when needed.

8.      Prepare other leaders ahead of time by entrusting and empowering.

You cannot begin the process of training leaders during a crisis. It’s too late.

A church that is effective in a crisis is not a church of one or two leaders but a church with a myriad of servant leaders. If your church only has one or two leaders, you are not prepared for every day needs much less a crisis. As Moses recognized in Exodus 18, shepherding the people of God is not a one man show. There should be many people in your church who are empowered by the church leadership to exercise their spiritual gifts.

If you were to ask me what my greatest joys have been in the midst of this season have been, one of the things I would point to is the way believers have been exercising their spiritual gifts. Everywhere I turn, I see competent, Spirit-filled followers of Christ working hard. As they direct people or traffic or volunteers or resources, they don’t need to constantly be checking in with someone else. They know the overall process and where they fit in and are equipped to serve.

I would argue for many reasons that this is a crisis we’ve been preparing for in many ways for quite some time by entrusting and empowering other leaders.

9.      You are leading people not projects.

As we get into the nitty-gritty of relief work, the temptation can be to focus on the projects that are before us. Resist it.

You are not serving projects. You are serving people. And not just the people who have been affected directly by the disaster. You are also serving the other volunteers and relief agencies.

10.  Don’t be manipulated.

All of us face the temptation to manipulate others to get what we in our pride think we deserve. I was shocked by some of my interactions with people and organizations who are volunteering to help our community.

Some of the people I talked with were incredibly demanding. A relief organization is angry we don’t know what work there is for them to do in a few days. A volunteer is indignant with one of the tasks we have for him or her. A donor can’t believe we won’t accept their collection of old socks. Don’t we care about those who are hurting?

I’ve learned that this is normal in the aftermath of a disaster. As one pastor told a group of church leaders in the Washington area, it is important to learn how to say no quickly.

Ministering out of guilt or by being bullied and manipulated will not lead to the most God-glorifying ends. The good news is that those who are manipulators were scarce compared to those who humbly wanted to help. I was encouraged by those who graciously accepted changes in plans, even when it inconvenienced them. Most organizations and people who showed up told us they were there to do whatever we had for them.

Build your volunteer teams around people like that. Let the manipulators leave. If you have to work to placate them today, you'll have to do it all over again tomorrow. You’re better off without them.

11.  Stay focused on what is most important.

Tasks can become so overwhelming we begin to think they are the end goal. They are not.

Before you begin any relief efforts, remind yourself of this truth: you are a church. Your primary task is to glorify God as you proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord to your community and prepare the Saints in your church to worship God forever.

At the end of the day, you are not leading a construction company or a hauling company or a bank. You’re leading a church. Your passion is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Build from there. Put a strong organizational plan in place that begins with understanding your purpose. There are limitations to what you can do. Start with what is most important and build from there.

The bottom line is you’re not prepared for what lies ahead. But God is a gracious and faithful God. He will work through you and your church for His purposes and glory. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quick Snapshots

It's late, so here are a few quick snapshots from the day.

There was a long line of cars to get into affected areas this morning.

We helped send out over 30 teams today, who engaged in a variety of jobs, such as cleaning debris and looking for valuables.

Bethany's farmhouse served as a staging location for the various teams that went into the community.

Command central was a well-oiled machine.

Volunteers came from a variety of churches and locations. On the right of the frame, from left to right, are pastors Joe Bella and Jason Alligood.

And here are Ritch and Jerry. I wasn't here when the teams were being sent out, but I'm told this place was really hoping. Some 200 volunteers went out today into the community.

Teams received safety orientation before leaving.

Mike and Matt helping families clean up.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Past 60 Hours

It is now Tuesday evening, a little after 11:00 PM central time. It has been about 60 hours since the tornado struck our town. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to turn on a computer and write down my thoughts. Let me share a few of them with you and  give some updates on what is happening in our church and community.

Ministry Changed and Unchanged

In one sense, this crisis has altered our ministry dramatically—perhaps for years to come. 

When the tornado hit, we had just passed out bulletins describing our ministries for the upcoming week. Today, none of those events are on the schedule. There is only one event on the calendar: helping our neighbors.

When the tornado hit, we were wondering how to build a ministry facility. Today, we're wondering how to rebuild a community. 

When the tornado hit, we were in church at Five Points. Today, we aren't sure where we will be worshiping on Sunday. We hope it is at Five Points, but we presume nothing. 

In another very real sense, this crisis has altered nothing. Our fundamental purpose as a church remains what it has been since before we even held our first worship service: The purpose of our church is to glorify God as we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and prepare His people to worship Him forever.

Our purpose is beautifully simple: proclaim and prepare. Whether we are having AWANA on a Wednesday night or helping someone find a missing necklace in the rubble that was their home, we exist to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and prepare His people to worship Him forever.

This means that we do not merely want to see people's physical lives restored (though we do!). We want those who do not yet worship God to understand the good news of Jesus Christ and place their faith in Him alone for their salvation. We want those who have trusted in Christ to continue the difficult road of discipleship even through suffering.

The Sunday before the tornado, I made this statement as we talked about suffering in the book of Judges: "Suffering is a tool a sovereign God uses to conform you to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. If you have not yet been fully conformed to His image, know that suffering in this life still awaits you."

Suffering, then, is not always a sign of God's displeasure. It is part of His loving plan to sanctify us as we trust in Him. "Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead" (2 Cor. 1:9).

Bethany Community Church and Washington Community: we are being called to be sanctified.

With this framework in mind, that our purpose is to proclaim and prepare, let me give you an update. 

The Past 60 Hours

Here's my perspective of the last 60 hours. I apologize if it's too personal or too long. Some of this I'm writing so I don't forget. 

SUNDAY: At around 10:45 AM, I made my way to the stage of the Five Points Community Center where our church meets. I waited in the wings as Mike and the worship team sang "The Gospel Was Promised." I prayed that the Lord would prepare my hear and the hearts of the church for His Word. 

But something seemed off. Looking up, I noticed that Mike and the team were still singing but I couldn't hear them. A voice came from the speakers that I thought was coming from the Five Points staff (maybe some wires got crossed) but then I realized it was Dan Ebbert directing people to exit to their left (my left or the audience left?).

We exited the auditorium and throughout Five Points our Sunday School teachers were directing the kids and adults to places of safety. I was annoyed. We're going to do all this work and then come right back in. "Just so you know, I'm not cutting anything out of my sermon," I joked to someone as we walked to safety.

Even as we waited for the all clear, I had no idea how terrible the devastation was. I didn't hear the loud "boom" others did. 

Even when we heard that the house of some of our members was destroyed and their son was missing for about an hour, I had no idea how terrible the devastation was. 

Even when Five Points was set up as an emergency temporary shelter and shocked victims began to enter the building, I had no idea how terrible the devastation was.

Supplies and people came into the community center throughout the rest of the day. People in the church stuck around and helped provide food and care for those who were hurting.

Several pastors stopped by to help care for people. My phone was constantly buzzing with offers of help. Friends from our sister churches and close pastoral friends desperately wanted to help or at least know how we were doing.

But I still didn't understand how profound the damage was. I knew people were having a hard time getting around Washington, but that was to be expected during an emergency, right?

And then I went out with Pastor Dave Jane from Connect Church to take workers some food. And we saw this:

It's hard to grasp the enormity of the scene if you don't know what this is supposed to look like. Here's a hint: there should be way more homes in that picture.

I run several times a week along Kingsbury. I like hitting this part of the route when it's windy because the homes act as a windbreaker. This is what I saw Sunday along Kingsbury hours after the tornado hit:

Even when I was on streets where the homes weren't totally damaged, I couldn't grasp where I was. Nothing looked the same.

 After returning to Five Points, we did what we could and people began to leave for more permanent shelters. Whitney and the younger kids gave someone a ride to East Peoria. At around 7:00 PM, Hannah, Austin, and I tried to get home by car and couldn't. We left the car with a friend and walked until a police car gave us a lift to an area where Whitney could pick us up.

We returned to a house without power. The milk was still cold, so we ate some cereal by candlelight. The whole family slept in our bedroom that night, encircling our beds with sleeping bags. I lost count of how many hugs and kisses were given.

MONDAY: The next day, Monday, the staff had planned to meet at the farmhouse but some weren't allowed to leave their subdivisions. A few of us made it to Crossroads Church, which is functioning as an emergency shelter. We ran into several families from church and tried to see what sort of needs we could help meet.

One of the primary problems was our inability to get into the neighborhoods. Even residents were only allowed in intermittently. The best bet seemed to be travelling by bike. So I hopped on my bike and began visiting families who had been impacted by the storm.

One of my first stops was at the Dentino house down the street. Several families had gathered together and were helping each other out. Like any good pastor, I arrived right as food was being served.

Another stop was at the Allaman's house. It's a privilege to know the Allamans and I couldn't be more complimentary of the leadership Chad and the other teachers and administrators at Central School have shown. Both he and Laura are responding to a tremendous loss with gracious and thankful hearts.

Pastor Kent was hard at work on Sally's house. I tried to help, but I put a ladder where he didn't want it and I may have unknowingly knocked over some nails while trying to "help".

I'm not sure how many other homes I visited, but everywhere I went, the community was coming together to meet needs. Because others weren't allowed in to Washington, our church had unique opportunities to help those we love.

We ended the night where I had begun my afternoon: at the Dentino's. The Pacini's picked up some sandwiches and we ate dinner together. Even though we could have scrounged around for food at our house, there was something special about being with our church family.

TUESDAY: Today is when our church really got organized. Ben, Phil, Diane, and Seth ran a command center. They put together 15-20(?) teams of 5-7 people and sent them out into the neighborhoods.

Sunrise Roofing helped us put a tarp on the Tomlinson's house.

 I saw groups from other churches helping out. Here's a group at the Learned house. Dan and Carol and their family have amazing ministers to others, exemplifying 2 Corinthians 1:4, in which Paul praises the God "who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Many of the houses we worked at weren't associated with our church. This is a house we stopped at and just asked the homeowners if we could help clear some debris for them. There were several connections they had to Bethany families.

Team 6 helped an older couple find some of their belongings in the rubble. After they finished here, they helped move some belongings out of an apartment building.

This team helped a family who have no friends or family in the area. They are from another country and were more excited than any other family I encountered today to receive help. They felt so very alone and were thankful that someone stopped to ask how they could help.

The Becks are doing well and grateful for God's protection over their family.

 As are the Smith's!

There were lots more pictures and many families and teams working I didn't get to see today. Great job everyone who participated in helping today. There's lots more to be done, not just this week but in the coming weeks, months, and years. This is a marathon and may God give us the grace to endure.

Our ministry field has changed dramatically overnight. Our purpose remains the same: proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and preparing His people to worship Him forever.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Questions for Christians Who Oppose Obamacare

Disclaimer: As always, each post represents the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of other bloggers on God Centered Christian. -DB.

I have a few questions for Evangelical Christians who are opposed to Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act.(ACA). These are questions I have posed to myself and, even if the answers aren’t immediately obvious, may help us sharpen our understanding of God’s will for us and bring unity among Christians who disagree about how we should view the role government.

On what grounds would you say that you primarily object to ACA? Do you believe it fundamentally violates Biblical principles? Or do you oppose it based upon wisdom principles? Or some combination of the two?

Since I would count myself among those who wish Obamacare would go away, I’ll take a stab at this, realizing that there may be some significant holes in my thinking.

First, I’m against the concept of ACA more for wisdom principles than for absolute Biblical principles (I think).

Here are some questions that have caused me to reach that conclusion:

Is the government assisting individuals who are impoverished with their health care costs inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

Is the government providing regulation to the health care industry inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

Is the government mandating that individuals have some sort of medical insurance to protect themselves, their family, and the rest of society that would bear the cost of caring for them if they became sick inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

This does not mean that (1) I believe the government is wise to do these things nor that (2) these things might not become evil. Indeed, the generic, disinterested benevolence offered by the government seems to very often become both ineffective and evil (see an earlier blog post here).

As an example of this second point, consider the contrast provided between Obamacare and the funding method used by Samaritan Ministries. Those who members of Samaritan Ministries health sharing program have an incentive to keep their costs low. They are careful not to abuse the medical system and they tend to use it the way it was meant to be used. This is an example of how a morally neutral thing like healthcare can be designed to encourage immoral or unethical behavior. For an article describing these contrasting approaches, click here.

Second, I’m against some of the specific parts of ACA because I believe they do violate Biblical principles.

I believe that some parts of the ACA are morally repugnant and force believers to violate their conscience. For example, forcing employers to pay for plans that provide the so-called “morning after” pill or other abortifacients is morally wrong.

Finally, there are some things that I’m against that I’m unsure as to whether they are wisdom principles or clear Biblical principles.

For instance, there is a part of me that believes that there may be something inherently unbiblical with the subsidies that are being given to people to pay for their health care. I don’t know what the exact numbers are yet, but the numbers I’ve heard thrown around seem a little strange.

Should a family of four making around $50,000 a year really bear no responsibility for their own health care? Is that not defrauding my brother or sister who is subsidizing my care? Is it violating the “don’t work, don’t eat” injunction of Scripture?

Before we answer those questions too quickly, consider this. If you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize your health care, do you also believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you having children? In other words, if you have children, do you refuse to take a child tax refund for moral reasons? If you have a home, do you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you and therefore do you refuse to take a tax credit for the interest you pay on your mortgage?

I’m open to being wrong in my thinking here, but at the moment you take a Social Security payment, or a mortgage deduction, or a child tax credit, you’ve acknowledged that you believe it is OK at some level for the government to take money from one citizen and give it to another who is not in dire need..

These are complicated issues and my thoughts here just reflect my convictions at this point. Thinking through them honestly may help us stay unified on clear Biblical truths. I’d be interested in your perspective, but if you leave comments on the blog or my Facebook page, let’s remember to play nice!