It’s been a full week after my time away from the office. Here’s six timely topics I offer for your reading interest.
- Falls Creek Fanatic
I love going to Falls Creek. I really do. It’s an amazing place known for summer youth camp, and actually it is identified as the world’s largest youth encampment, as more than 5,000 junior high and high school students attend each week in June and July.
I had the privilege of going Wednesday night to cover a new feature at the camp, which I’ll get to in another topic below. Sitting in the Tabernacle that night, I witnessed this rather large auditorium fill up, jam packed with young people and sponsors.
I’ve been to many significant sporting events, concerts and even the Mall in Washington D.C. on the 4th of July, where the venues attract mass humanity, but the chills I get from experiencing a packed out Falls Creek Tabernacle, in the middle of the Arbuckle Mountains in Southern Oklahoma exceeds all other. The only thing that would compare would be a Billy Graham Crusade, because in both settings, I have witnessed hundreds of lives changed which surpasses watching amazing athletic or musical or technological performances.
If you would like a glimpse of what happens in the evenings at Falls Creek, watch a livestream production of one of the evening services. Oh and by the way, last summer a mother of a student who was attending camp watched a livestream of a Falls Creek service and made a profession of faith after such an experience.
- Two Falls Creek Services, Hundreds Answer God’s Call to Serve
From the totals provided by the Falls Creek staff, this week so far, there have been more than 300 students making a profession of faith. This summer, so far, almost 1,400 students have accepted Christ, and that doesn’t include tonight’s service or next week’s final session of camp.
One thing that caught my eye, for the last two Thursday nights, more than 200 students answered God’s call to serve in ministry and missions. It is always a praise when any student makes a life-changing decision, including recommitment and reassurance and of course accepting Christ’s gift of salvation through faith. To hear this many students (106 on July 2 and 109 on July 9) publicly making life commitments to serve God in a ministry or missions capacity, this is a wonderful experience that caused me to investigate.
So I interviewed Andy Harrison, Falls Creek program director, for a story that will appear in next week’s Baptist Messenger. I loved his response when I asked him about what could be the reason for 200-plus students publicly committing to ministry service: “God is about to do something, and He’s preparing people to do it because He is calling a lot of people into ministry right now.” Harrison said this is happening at youth camps in other states, so it is exciting to hear so many committing to ministry service.
- New Apologetics Forum at Falls Creek having an impact
A new feature at Falls Creek this year is a weekly forum that covers apologetics, allowing students to hear speakers explain elements of the Christian faith that are harder to understand and share how to offer a “defense for the hope” that is inside Christians (I Pet. 3:15). I went to Falls Creek Wednesday night to observe one of these forums. With almost 500 students in attendance, the well-attended forum featured Pastor Josh Wagoner of Berry Road Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., who did a masterful job explaining why the Bible can be trusted and is the inspired Word of God and why evil exists despite God being a powerful God.
He also fielded many questions from students relating to evolution, the relationship between free will and election, God’s relationship with man and other biblical and spiritual issues. The forum was scheduled to be an hour long, but students were allowed to stay around after the meeting to ask Josh questions. He went another hour before the students had to go back to their cabins.
I was impressed with the level of questions these young people were asking. These were the type of questions I didn’t wrestle with until I was in college. With many students seeking answers to questions of faith and also many answering the call to service, it is encouraging to see God working among young people.
- Planned Parenthood President’s Preposterous Proclamation
I offered my take on the video that was released, revealing Deborah Nucatola, senior medical services director for Planned Parenthood, giving graphic details of how her practice harvests organs from aborted babes. You can read it here.
Yesterday, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, attempted to offer an apology for Nucatola’s remarks in the video, though she did not mention Nucatola by name. She said the video did not reflect the organization’s dedication to compassionate care.
I’m not sure how you can crush baby parts to collect their organs with compassionate care. I also don’t believe her that she said Planned Parenthood does not sell the organs for profit, especially when her medical services director specifically said the price of organs could range $30 to $100 a piece.
And then, as I predicted in my blog, Richards followed the typical protocol by attacking the group responsible for recording Nucatola’s gruesome remarks. She said they “have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women.” This is a horrible lie, and only those who have been numbed by such heinous fallacies is buying it.
- Lankford Speaks Passionate Truth From the Senate Floor
There is nobody I respect in public office more than Sen. James Lankford. I applaud his speech he gave yesterday afternoon from the U.S. Senate, as it was bold and powerful. He also is planning to propose an immediate termination of federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $500 million in taxpayer money every year.
He stated in his opinion piece: “Although Americans are divided on the issue of abortion, it is common-sense that we shouldn’t force a person that is passionately opposed to the killing of the unborn to assist in paying for the procedure.”
If you haven’t heard his passionate speech on Planned Parenthood, watch it here:
6. Duggars show graciousness in cancelation of show
It has been reported the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” has been cancelled after nine seasons. I have said before, I believe this is the best decision after the news spread two months ago involving the show’s featured family of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
The Duggar family has shown much gra