LBC logo 600

New Here 5

 

Photo Gallery 

LCA Web Image

Sermon Archive 2

 

calendar 225 Icon
 
 
Upward Soccer Icon

Online Giving

 

Video Gallery
 
 

Day Care Web Image

Live Streaming 2

Weekly  Services

Children’s Sunday School

& Adult Bible Study  9:45 AM

Traditional Sunday Worship 11:00 AM

Hispanic Worship Service 11:00 AM

Sunday Evening Worship 6:30 PM

 Wednesday  Adult Bible Study  6:30 PM

 AWANA Kid’s Program Wednesday 6:00 PM

(During School Year)

Youth Salt & Light Cafe Wednesday 5:00 to 9:00 PM

Friday Evening Prayer Meeting 7:00 PM

 

Directions to Liberty Baptist:

We are located at 821 Webb Road in Ellenboro, NC just off highway 74, half-way between Forest City and Shelby, North Carolina.  From Highway 74, take exit 189 (Cliffside) and turn north toward Ellenboro. Follow NC Hwy 120 for 1/4 mile and turn left onto Webb Road as you approach the railway tracks.  Liberty Baptist is located 1/8 mile on the right.

 


Our Mission & Vision

Questions You May Have:  Click here for the answers.

 
Founded in 1982, Liberty Baptist remains a church committed to touching hundreds of lives each week both inside and outside the walls of our facility—in our community and beyond.  Our commitment to God’s mission is clear: to lead people into a full life found only in Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that you would be blessed and strengthened by the power of Jesus Christ with liberty, fellowship and  joy. Here you will find a family of friends and a friend to families. We are a fellowship of believers coming together to declare the glory of the Lord and celebrate Jesus as King. In unity we  concentrate on His model, His message and His mission. We hold the Word of God in high regard. We study it, practice what we learn and in the process grow together.

The mission of Liberty Baptist Church is to love God, to love others, and to magnify the name of Jesus Christ. We strive to revere God in all we do and reveal God to all we meet.

Our vision is to see people being changed, enabling them to walk in the freedom and character of Christ.   We see people being connected, enabling them to collectively accomplish the purpose for which they were made.  We see people being challenged, equipping them to effectively demonstrate the power and love of Christ to all they encounter.

Liberty stands upon the solid foundation of four pillars: Preaching God’s Word without apology, lifting high the name of Jesus Christ in worship, commitment to sharing the Gospel with boldness and commitment to a firm belief in the power of prayer.
 

Leadership Team:

Our leadership team recognizes the authority of God, and realizes that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We desire to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Our passion and goal is to equip the believers for the work of the ministry until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ.

 

Owen Duncan, Senior Pastor

Owen Duncan
 
After serving 32 years as Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Owen Duncan retired on June 22, 2014.
As the Pastor Search Committee continues to seek God’s man to lead Liberty in it’s next chapter, Dr. Scott Thompson will preach both Sunday services.  Scott is the Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

 

Howie Lederfind, Youth Pastor

Pastor Howie has been in youth ministry for 25 years. A graphic arts major and a graduate of Columbia Biblical Seminary, Howie and his wife Stacie have served at Liberty since 1998.  This father of two teenagers (Joel and Ainsley) also provides leadership to other youth pastors in our area by serving as the chairman of Youth Ministries for the Sandy Run Baptist Association. 


 




How Do I Meet People?

Life is better together.  Liberty Baptist Church is not a place to go; it is people who belong. Whether you are a five-year old child, a ninety-five year old grandmother, a busy mom, or a businessman with big responsibilities, we want you to be a part of our vibrant church community. Here are a few examples of how you can learn, serve, and grow at Liberty:

View The “Current Events” Page:

One of the best ways to meet people is by attending Worship Services, Social Gatherings and Ministry Events listed on the Event Calendar.

 

Join A Bible Study (Sunday School) Class:

Connect with other people around your same age and stage of life in Liberty’s Bible Study Classes. In each you will find a small group of believers with whom you can fellowship and journey through life. Small groups help a large church feel small through intimate relationships that foster continual growth. Bible Study classes provide a consistent, ongoing opportunity to experience deeper connections with God and each other.

,Adult Bible Study begins at 9:45 every Sunday morning in both the Sanctuary building and Life Center. Not sure what class to join?  Stop by the church office on Sunday morning; someone will be pleased to direct you.

Children’s  Ministry:

Each Sunday morning, children get to participate in their own classes during Sunday School. Bible lessons are taught in such a way that every child gets to participate and learn about our Creator, Lord and Savior.

Youth (7th to 12th Grade)

In addition to Sunday School, our youth meet every Wednesday evening in the Salt & Light Cafe for praise & worship with a live band and lessons for daily living (plus great food at cheap prices)

Women’s Ministry

Liberty’s  Women’s Ministry gives the ladies in our church family special times of interaction including  Bible study, prayer, retreats and special events. This ministry provides refreshing discipleship opportunities for the women at Liberty.  Short-term studies provide an avenue to concentrate on a specific topic, discovering truth that leads to life transformation.

Men’s Accountability Groups:

Accountability among men is an act of integrity. Accountability is designed to protect, encourage, and develop men of all ages. Small accountability groups  are formed among the men of Liberty and meet together as their schedules allow and keep in touch by email or phone.

 

Young At Heart:

Once you get past fifty, the fun has just begun. Whether retired, just plain tired, or active as ever, the over-50 group at Liberty provides refreshment, ministry, and times of valuable interaction.



Directions

We are located at 821 Webb Road in Ellenboro, NC just off highway 74, half-way between Forest City and Shelby, North Carolina.

From Highway 74, take exit 189 (Cliffside) and turn north toward Ellenboro. Follow NC Hwy 120 for 1/4 mile and turn left onto Webb Road as you approach the railway tracks.  Liberty Baptist is located 1/8 mile on the right.

 

Office Hours: Monday-Thursday from 9am to 4pm.

Church Location: 821 Webb Road, Ellenboro, NC.

Mailing Address: PO Box 1000, Ellenboro, NC 28040

Telephone & Fax: Tel: (828) 453-0186 | Fax: (828) 453-0750

Liberty Day Care Tel: 828-453-8700

Liberty Christian Academy Tel: 828-453-0999

Email: lbcmediaministry@bellsouth.net

 

 

Email Us

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message



Click on the images to listen, view or download messages

Video Sermons 3

 

Liberty Pulpit Banner 300-1

Sermons 4

 



Where Can I Serve?

Jesus told us, his disciples, to make disciples of all nations. One of the most important values of Liberty Baptist Church is our mission to the world. It begins in our own community, our country and spreads to other nations. No church can be what it needs to be without you doing your part.  Liberty members are involved in a variety of ministries from the weekly Food Pantry to overseas mission trips and everything in between. Remember that unless you bring all of yourself to the table, Liberty cannot be effective in fulfilling its mission and vision.

Just a few of the many ways to get involved at Liberty are listed below:

Prayer Warriors

Prayer cannot be overestimated. Prayer moves the hand of God. Liberty Baptist is a body of believers dependent upon prayer, and committed to God’s sovereignty. Each Sunday, prior to morning service, a team of volunteers is praying for the ministry of the Word.  Every Friday evening our Prayer Warriors team pray for their pastor, a list of church members, any special requests, revival of our community and nation. Each Wednesday evening the church comes together for a special time of prayer and Bible study.

Music

God-honoring worship is something we strive for. Many Liberty members are involved in our praise and worship ministry. Some play instruments. Some are vocalists. Others sing in the choir.  These volunteers are an important part of the ministry of Liberty, using their talents and gifts to glorify God.

Media & Technology

Using media to share  the gospel is a privilege of Liberty Baptist. In an age of widespread technology, we have a stewardship to use these tools to the best of our abilities for kingdom purposes. Sunday worship services are streamed live while many of our weekly sermons are uploaded to our website in audio and video formats. We also maintain active Facebook and Twitter feeds for additional church communication. To learn how to be involved in this ministry, simply introduce yourself to the folks in the media booth at the rear of the Sanctuary.

Children’s Sunday School

In order to give our children the best Bible teaching possible, Liberty Baptist holds Sunday School beginning at 9:45 AM. This special time gives kids lots of opportunity for interaction and learning in a context and manner that is suited to their age and learning styles. Our friendly children’s Sunday School teachers have an endless stream of creativity–ranging from games to object lessons.

Ushers

The usher team at Liberty Baptist Church fills an important role. They are involved in helping visitors, directing attendees to their seats, ensuring the safety of the building during services, answering questions, and generally ensuring that the service can proceed problem-free. The usher team is a servant-hearted group of men whose ministry is integral to church life.





 

Biblical-Worldview-Model

From time to time we reprint articles or commentaries on current affairs from trusted Christian sources.  While Christians have been set apart, we still need to be engaged and informed if we are to be effective witnesses for the one true Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

 
August 13, 2014
By Bryan Fischer (American Family Association)
Robin Williams’ desperately sad ending arouses our sympathy, as it should. But we must not confuse our sympathy with God’s salvation. There’s only one path to eternal life.

Robin Williams’ suicide, as is every suicide, is a tragically sad thing. My heart hurts to think what Williams’ inner life must have been like at the end to drive him to such a terrible decision. My heart aches for those he has left behind – his wife, his children, loved ones and friends. His death has left a hole in their lives that nothing and no one can fill.

In the wake of his suicide, billboards and media pundits alike have been assuming that Robin Williams is now in heaven, making God laugh along with other funny men who left this earth before their time. So is he?

There is one thing we do know and one thing we do not know that can help us think clearly about Robin Williams’ eternal destiny.

The one thing we do know is that access to the presence of God and life in the age to come is reserved exclusively for those who have placed their eternal trust in Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is nothing remotely ambiguous about that statement. All roads may lead to Rome, but only one leads to eternal life. The only door that leads to life is the narrow gate that Christ himself has opened. As Peter puts it, “[T]here is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The world naturally will stiffen their necks when they hear these words and throw epithets at those who verbalize it. But their argument is not with us, it is with Jesus himself. He is the one who said it. We simply agree with him.

Now Williams’ desperately sad ending arouses our sympathy, as it should. But we must not confuse our sympathy with God’s salvation. There is one and one path only to eternal life, and that path has not been altered by so much as one centimeter in 2,000 years. That’s what we know.

The one thing we do not know is whether Robin Williams did business with God in his dying moments. While his mother was a Christian Scientist (a counterfeit form of religion which is neither Christian nor scientific), his father was an Episcopalian – so it is certainly possible that Williams heard the gospel in his formative years and may have remembered it all his life.

The thief on the cross did not place his faith in Christ until he was drawing his final breath. His last words were, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” In response, Jesus’ last words to him were, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 22:42-43).

It takes but one moment, one whispered, even agonized, prayer, to pass from eternal death to eternal life.

No one but the thief and Christ knew that this transaction had been made. The thief’s wife and children didn’t know, and it’s unlikely that any of the onlookers heard this private exchange. As far as everyone knew, this man died as he lived, a sinful, unrepentant and broken man.

Yet we know better now, and one day we will be where he is, with Jesus in Paradise.  Will we see Robin Williams there? We don’t know. Only two men know the answer to that question.

But we who are yet living know how we can find our place in God’s kingdom. Whether we experience eternal life or eternal death is not God’s choice but ours. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the last words to be spoken are, “Thy will be done.” Either we will say it to God or God will say it to us.

So the pressing question is not where Robin Williams will spend eternity. The question is: Where will you?

Bryan Fischer is director of issues analysis for the American Family Association. He hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

This column is printed with permission. Opinions expressed in ‘Perspectives’ columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network.

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 
Why the Hobby Lobby Win is a Victory for You

June 30, 2014. This is a great day for religious freedom.

Image of the Hobby Lobby logoThe Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases is a much-anticipated and wonderful affirmation as the court process proceeds. It shows that religious freedom continues to be the lifeblood of a country founded on the inalienable rights afforded to us by our Creator.

We rejoice with the Green and Hahn families who are now free to continue serving the public, their loyal employees, and their God without having to compromise their faith.

These families’ stand for freedom benefits the many faith-based businesses faced with the same awful choice of deciding between their faith and livelihood. It also vindicates a higher principle, showing that government must tread carefully when it seeks to impose policies contrary to our most cherished rights.

Religious groups and business owners should not have to violate their faith in order to follow the law. It’s not the role of government to define what we believe or what our faith includes.

Fundamentally these cases were not about abortion or contraception: they were about whether government can require faith-based groups to violate deeply held beliefs.

By Jim Daly (Focus On The Family)

 

What to do When Forced to Perform ‘Gay Weddings’

Matt Barber

6/16/2014 12:01:00 AM – Matt Barber
 

Churches in Denmark are now compelled, by law, to host same-sex “weddings.”

America is next.

Tyranny’s appetite is insatiable. The secular-left’s hunger for power and control over its detractors can never be satisfied. To outwardly succumb and affirmatively capitulate to their pagan demands will never be enough.

Thought control is the goal.

Case in point: Remember Jack Phillips, the Christian baker in Colorado? He exercised his First Amendment religious rights and politely declined to bake a “wedding” cake for a homosexual civil union. Colorado’s “civil rights” Star Chamber recently ordered Mr. Phillips to deny his faith and bake these fake cakes, “shut down” or face prison

He and his elderly mother (an employee) have additionally been “sentenced”to attend “sensitivity training” (read: re-education camp). There, some snot-nosed college grad with a degree in “feminist/gender studies,” or some other such nonsense, will endeavor to scrub all biblical notions of human sexuality and natural marriage from their minds, hearts and souls, reboot and upload Mozilla Moral Relativism 2.0.

As Mr. Phillips has indicated, he has no problem baking for homosexuals, but, as a Christian, he simply cannot and will not contribute his time and God-given gifts to bake a “wedding cake” that mocks and defiles God’s design for the immutable institution of legitimate marriage.

Nor would he bake for a white supremacist rally or any other similarly wicked event that likewise flouts biblical truth.

As a result, Phillips has said he will stop baking wedding cakes altogether.

I hope he’ll reconsider.

I hope that Mr. Phillips will bake on. I hope he’ll embrace the mantel of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and engage in civil disobedience. I hope he tells this “brood of vipers,” in a loving and Christian way, to get bent.

This is his Rosa Parks moment.

Then he should prayerfully consider attending the “sensitivity training” as a ministry opportunity and co-opt it for the glory of Christ. He should take it over with respectful questions and direct disagreement. He should refuse to waiver one iota on biblical truth and rebuke those who deny Christ and His truths.

He should educate the “educators” as well as everyone else in attendance.

That’s what it means to pick up your cross and follow Christ.

But that’s just some baker, right, pastors? Sure, it’s happening to photographers, florists, inn keepers and bakers, but at least the church is safe.

No chance.

This is the issue. For some reason the enemy has chosen sexual immorality and faux “marriage” as a hammer to bludgeon the church.

Denmark was the first nation to imagine same-sex “marriage” as a matter of law. It’s now one of the first to compel, under penalty of law, churches to desecrate holy ground by hosting these sin-centric, pagan spectacles.

Columnist and AFR Talk radio host Bryan Fischer reports, “Well, the day we prophesied has arrived. Churches in Denmark – and the U.S. will not be far behind – have been ORDERED to perform sodomy-based weddings whether they want to or not.

According to the London Telegraph a new law passed by the Danish parliament ‘make(s) it mandatory for all churches to conduct gay marriages.’ No options, no exceptions, no choice. Homosexuals are to be married wherever they want, regardless of whose conscience is trampled and whose sanctuary is defiled in the process. …

“How long will it be before American churches will be ordered, as a condition of maintaining their tax-exempt status, to host same-sex ceremonies? How long will it be before American pastors are ordered to perform them?

“Unless America’s pastors rise up as one, now, that day will arrive like a thief in the night, a day when each pastor will be told that he must solemnize sodomy-based marriages in his church or his church’s 501(c)(3) status will be revoked. At that point, he and his church will effectively be out of business.”

Mr. Fischer is right. It’s a foregone conclusion. We are no longer a constitutional republic. American pastors, like bakers, florists, photographers and every other citizen, will be confronted with a choice: Obey God or obey man. Pastors will be compelled, under threat of imprisonment, to participate in these unholy pagan rituals.

Pastors, priests, you will then face three choices: 1) Surrender, disobey God’s law and obey man’s, 2) Stand firm, disobey man’s law and obey God’s, or 3) Use the opportunity to serve, speak truth in love and glorify Jesus.

I like No. 3.

When you men of the cloth are inevitably put to this test, I suggest you do the following. It will take great courage and the strength of the Holy Spirit.

“Preside” over the mock marriage and speak the following truths in love:

“Let us begin with a reading from God’s Holy Word, Matthew 19:4-5:

“As Christ said, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’

“Do we dare call the living Christ a liar?

“I dare not!

“As it is written: ‘Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26).’

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here on this dark occasion because the government has threatened to imprison me otherwise. We are gathered here, presumably, to join ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B’ in ‘holy matrimony.’ I say ‘presumably’ because this cannot be. God’s infallible word calls this a farce and a lie. God’s Holy word calls this an abomination – a mortal sin.

“He loves you enough, ‘Party A’, ‘Party B’ – all who are gathered here today – to tell you the truth. I love you enough to tell you the truth.

“God warns, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.’ I will not call this evil good. You can persecute me, jail me or even kill me, but you cannot force me to deny Christ.

“I am a sinner and can cast no stone. Neither can I condemn you. But, as did Jesus, I can tell you this: ‘Go and sin no more.’”

“Repent, ask forgiveness and believe upon Jesus.

“Because your eternity depends on it.”

Then walk away and pray that these Holy Spirit-inspired words, these transcendent truths, pierce the hearts of those in attendance who labor under deception – who suffer under this “strong delusion.”

That’s what it means to pick up your cross and follow Christ.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 
February 20, 2014
Have We Lost The Culture War?
By: Todd Starnes
 

The culture war may be lost and religious liberty might not be that far behind, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research, the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Seventy percent of senior pastors at Protestant churches say religious liberty is on the decline in the United States, and 59 percent of Christians believe they are losing the culture war. Eleven percent consider the war already lost.

The survey results are staggering – indicating grave concerns about the moral direction of the nation from both the pulpit and the pew.

“Ten years ago we were talking about who would win the culture war, and now we’re talking about how will Christian rights be protected after the culture war,” Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, says. “We’ve lost our home field advantage. There are going to be some things that are different.”

Stetzer said it’s a big shift, “and it’s a shift I would not have guessed.”

Over the past few years, hundreds of instances of religious persecution have been documented in the United States. And the targets have been exclusively Christians.

The military labeled evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists. Christian organizations like Family Research Council and American Family Association were labeled by the military as domestic hate groups. Bibles were briefly banned from Walter Reed Medical Center.

The Internal Revenue Service targeted Christian ministries engaged in pro-life activities. The government demanded to know the content of one group’s prayers. A Wyoming church was ordered by government officials to turn over their membership roles. A Baptist newspaper in North Carolina was audited – as was America’s evangelist, Billy Graham.

The list of attacks on Christians goes on and on – from students ordered to stop praying in front of the Supreme Court to chaplains being told they could no longer pray in the name of Jesus.

In recent days, the battleground has pitted gay rights groups against Christian-owned businesses that cater to the wedding industry. Christian bakers, florists and photographers have been hauled into court and brought up on state discrimination charges for declining to participate in same-sex weddings.

And in every single instance, lower courts have ruled that gay rights trump religious rights.

Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, said the concern is widespread.

“Half of Americans say that religious liberty is on the decline,” he said. “That’s a lot of people.”

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, conceded that Christians are losing the culture war and they are losing ground every day.

“The primary reason Christians are losing the culture wars is that pastors are AWOL when it comes to informing and energizing their congregations,” Jeffress believes.

Unless Christians stand up and engage the political process, Jeffress said he fears there may come a day when religious liberty is extremely curtailed.

“A religious leader once said, ‘My successor will see the tax-exempt status removed from churches and his successor will go to jail,’” Jeffress said. “That is probably on the horizon.”

But there are some pockets of resistance – like the town of Greenwood in the Mississippi Delta.

Jim Phillips is the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church. He says that Greenwood still has a “very high respect for the historical Judeo-Christian ethic.”

“Every one of my son’s community college football games around the state last season began with a prayer on the loudspeaker – in Jesus’ name,” he related. “Will that eventually be challenged? I suspect so at some point.”

But right now, he said, “Pockets of religious boldness still exist.”

Phillips said national trends, though, are disturbing.

“Christians have slowly given away their impact on culture by becoming more and more worldly instead of confronting the culture to become more and more godly,” he said.

So who is to blame for the loss?

Phillips blames Christians.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

Jeffress agreed with that assessment and said the church must involve itself in the political process.

“There are 50 to 80 million evangelicals in America,” he said. “Only half are registered to vote and only half of those voted in the last election.”

Jeffress said it’s imperative for people of faith to engage the culture.

“Every time we go to the voting booth we are casting a vote for righteousness or unrighteousness,” he said.

Pastor Phillips also urged his fellow pastors to step up to the plate.

“My calling is to keep leading the charge,” he said. “As a local pastor, my goal is to keep encouraging my church to seek to raise the bar and not lower it when it comes to confronting culture.”

Stetzer said he hopes the survey will spark a “fruitful national conversation about religious liberty concerns.”

“The perception was that the culture war was once a winnable war,” Stetzer said. “But it’s switched from an offensive battle to a defensive battle.”

Pastor Jeffress urged Christians to stand their ground.

“We ought to do everything we can to push back against this encroachment on religious liberty and protect our right to spread the Gospel,” he said.

I’m reminded of a quote by President Ronald Reagan:

“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

A few years ago, a New York public school teacher was ordered to remove that quote from her classroom wall. She was told that it violated the U.S. Constitution.

I’m afraid we may be “gone under.”

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America”.

 

___________________________________________________________
February 12, 2014

Still One Nation Under God

Dr. Ben Carson

 

We used to characterize the Soviet Union as a godless, evil empire. Like many societies based on communism or socialism, the Soviets saw fit to minimize the importance of God and, in many cases, wreaked unimaginable persecution on religious people.

Why is faith in God anathema to such states? It’s because they need to remove any authority other than themselves as the arbiter of right and wrong.

Interestingly, last year Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Euro-Atlantic countries, including the United States, of becoming godless and moving away from Christian values. Some may bristle at such an accusation, but when you consider that many Americans are hesitant even to mention God or Jesus in public, there may be some validity to his claim. We also casually have tossed out many of the principles espoused in the Bible and have concluded that there’s no authority greater than man himself.

The separation clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is inappropriately applied to a host of situations that involve religion. By reinterpreting the law to mean separation of God and state, as opposed to the original intent of keeping the church from having undue influence over state affairs and keeping government from ruling the church, secular progressives have succeeded de facto in redefining part of the Constitution. Such success, however, can only be lasting if “we the people” continue to yield our values and beliefs in order to get along.

A number of years ago, some lawyers approached me to advise that we could not hang our “Think Big” banners in public schools. They claimed the “G” stood for God, and this would be tantamount to government endorsement of religion, which would be contrary to the First Amendment. I countered that the First Amendment also forbids government suppression of religious expression and suggested we pursue this argument at the U.S. Supreme Court.

This may have seemed like a bold and reckless statement, but it wasn’t. I knew I would be going to the Supreme Court the next week to receive the Jefferson award and figured I would bring up this issue while I was there. And I did.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said we were nowhere near violating the First Amendment and that of course we could put up our banners in a public school without constitutional infringement. In this case, I did not back down in the face of bogus accusations, and we prevailed. We all must have the courage to fight for our beliefs, just as our predecessors fought for our future.

While there is no question that our Judeo-Christian values have taken a hit in recent years, we have not yet reached the point of a totally godless government that sets itself up as the supreme authority and giver of rights. As a nation, we must decide definitively whether we believe in God and godly principles. We must decide whether we revere the Bible and what it means when our elected officials take their oaths of office with one hand upon it. If we do nothing, we allow by default the elimination of God as a central figure in our culture.

As secular progressives try to remove all vestiges of God from our society, let us remember the godly principles of loving our fellow man, caring about our neighborhoods, developing our God-given talents to the utmost so that we become valuable to the people around us, and maintaining high principles that govern our lives. Our Judeo-Christian values led this nation to the pinnacle of the world in record time. If we embrace them, they will keep us there.

While we Americans are giving a cold shoulder to our religious heritage, the Russians are warming to religion. The Russians seem to be gaining prestige and influence throughout the world as we are losing ours. I wonder whether there is a correlation.

There are many well-documented stories about God’s intervention on behalf of our country during the War of Independence, but one of my favorites involves the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The delegates could not reach consensus on how the Constitution should be written, and the rancor threatened to destroy the fledgling union.

Benjamin Franklin, who was 81 years old, stood before the entire assembly and reminded them of their frequent prayers during the war against Great Britain. At his suggestion, they knelt and prayed — and then went on to put together a 16-page document known as the Constitution of the United States, one of the most admired documents in history. From that point forward, congressional sessions were started with prayer.

Second Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

These instructions are clear, and secular progressives will shun them. They may control much of the media, but we should not allow them to control our beliefs.

My friends, the case of Elane Photography v. Willock has been decided. As I tell you regularly, you will be made to care.

The case centered around Elaine Huguenin, a Christian in New Mexico who owned a photography business. She was asked to provide services to a gay commitment ceremony between two lesbians, Vanessa Willock and her partner. Ms. Huguenin and her husband declined to provide their services because they are Christians and the orthodox tenets of their faith tell them that marriage is between a man and a woman. See e.g. Matthew 19.

Vanessa Willock, in an act of spite and retribution, decided to file a discrimination claim and punish Mrs. Huguenin for adhering to her religious beliefs. In a very profound decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that Christians, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and others must surrender the faithful practice of their religion in the name of citizenship.

In fact, Justice Richard Bosson in a concurring opinion, wrote,

At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others…. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people…. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.

Note that the tolerance is one way. In the name of tolerance, Mrs. Huguenin can be compelled by state power on pain of punishment to provide her services to Ms. Willock against Mrs. Huguenin’s several thousand year old orthodox religious beliefs, but Ms. Willock is under no obligation to simply tolerate those who disagree with her and find someone who is happy to provide the service.

Ms. Willock proved herself vindictive. Imagine other angry gay rights activists willfully and consciously trying to seek out Christian photographer to either make them comply or drive them from business. Given Ms. Willock’s actions, and the actions of other gay rights activists in Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky, and elsewhere, this is not a hypothetical, but a reality.

The war over gay marriage is not over. Indiana is about to go through a constitutional fight on gay marriage. I hope opponents to gay marriage across the nation make Mrs. Huguenin and Ms. Willock’s names household names and show Americans the aggressive lengths gay rights activists will force their brand of tolerance on Christians.

That Christians should be allowed to refrain from providing goods and services to gay marriages they oppose is something supported by 85% of the American public. It unites men, women, blacks, whites, hispanics, conservatives, moderates, and a fair number of liberals. This battle may be lost, unless the United States Supreme Court steps in and reverses, but this decision gives Christians, Muslims, and orthodox Jews the ammunition to win the war for religious liberty. No longer is coercion of the religious by gay rights activists a hypothetical.

A small band of gay rights activists will not stop on the one way street of tolerance. My friends, whether you want to believe or not, you will be made to care. New Mexico shows again that gay marriage and religious freedom are incompatible. You will not be allowed to opt out.

There is one organization at the forefront of this. That is the Alliance Defending Freedom. They represented Mrs. Huguenin and are considering appealing to the United States Supreme Court.  They are lone and brave warriors in this fight against the left.

_________________________________________________________