We Need More Shame, not Less

“Sports Illustrate Swimsuit Features Obese Model” trumpeted the headline.

As obese model Hunter McGrady explains, “Exposure to diversity is the catalyst that will ignite tolerance, acceptance and understanding.” She goes on to speak of inclusivity while denouncing her haters, those who would shame her for her weight.

She’s not going to take it. Maybe you won’t either.

Can we just quit with the shaming already?

About Shame

Our nation wages a full-out assault on shame.

Merriam-Webster defines shame as, “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” The verb form is “to make (someone) feel ashamed.”

A quick internet search reveals numerous types of shaming. I never knew there were so many. Two that I’d heard of:

Fat-shaming—making people feel poorly about themselves for being overweight.

Slut-shaming—making women (I guess it’s reserved for women, but in this day, what is a woman anyway?) feel bad for how they dress, too revealing, or how they act, too promiscuous.

There’s more. There is LGBT-shaming, casting derision at those merely living out who they were made to be. Mom-shaming—making mothers feel inadequate at how they raise their children or casting aspersions at working mothers or stay-at-home mothers. Other forms of body shaming. Breast-feeding shaming. There is mental-illness shaming. The list goes on.

And everywhere you turn, someone is combatting shame, taking a stand against shame, standing up to those who shame.

          “We won’t be ashamed!” is the unified cry of the victims of shaming.

Resolutely our nation rallies around them. We hold them up as examples of virtue. We laud their courage. We stand by them. We put them on the cover of magazines and proudly declare our shamelessness. We give them awards, think Bruce Jenner.

The problem is…

     …we need more shame, not less.

In our collective lack of a proper biblical worldview, we frame the problem completely wrong. It’s like asking, “what’s two plus two?” and answering, “stereotypes” or “papas fritas”.

When it comes to shame, the world speaks a much different language than God.

Hating Shame

Men hate shame, and why wouldn’t they?

They hate God.

Men love their sin, they revel in it and though they know that God exists—creation testifies loud and clear to His existence and therefore they are without excuse —they reject Him, trading the truth about God for a lie. They worship and serve the created thing (us) rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:18-23)

We want to sin…without consequence, without judgement, without guilt, and ultimately, without shame.

The idea that my actions that I love or the things that bring me pleasure might be shameful bristles my sinful heart, my rebellious spirit. The definition proves useful. I am conscious, I know that what am doing is wrong, and I don’t like it.

Paul, in the same passage, speaks to “men committing shameless acts with men” as a God-given judgment upon the rejection of Him. Shamelessness, a lack of shame for things that we know are wrong, wickedly reflects the elevation of self above God.

Shame undermines our idolatry, and we don’t like it.

Our only possible recourse is to go on the offensive, to declare that which is wrong right and to resolutely and publicly defend it. I hate sinning in the shadows, so I’ll drag it into the light and declare it virtuous.

Needing Shame

Shame is good, necessary. Godly shame that is.

All this chatter merely distracts us from this critical truth—there are certain things of which we ought to be ashamed. Where the action violates a biblical command, reveals a sinful heart, or otherwise goes against the word of God, we ought to be ashamed.

We need shame.

Paul tells us about “godly grief” that “produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret.” (2 Corinthians 7:10) Shame, understanding that my sin grieves God, yields godly grief that drives me to repentance.

Consider David’s view of his sin. “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:4) He sees his sin for exactly what it is, an affront against a holy and righteous God.

The very word “confession” is telling. Confession is not telling God about my sin. He already knows. Confession is agreeing with God about my sin. I see it the same as He does, and I am ashamed, and it grieves me as it grieves Him…and it drive me to repentance…

…and to restoration!

David pleads of God, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:13) Paul writes about “the things of which you are now ashamed”. (Romans 6:21) Once, they were not ashamed, they sinned without shame, but the Spirit convicted them of their sin, their shame drove them to grief and ultimately, repentance.

Here is joy.

Once forgiven, as God promises to those who confess, I no longer bear the burden of shame and guilt. I can set them aside and run with endurance the race set before me and like Christ, despise the shame as He did, free to love and to serve, in purity. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Absent shame, I’ll never get there.

Be Ashamed

Back to Hunter McGrady.

Let us unpack this contemporary example and see it as God sees it. Should Hunter McGrady be ashamed? The answer is simple. Yes…but not for the reason you may think.

She ought to repent and put on some clothes and reserve the sight of her near-naked body and sultry poses for her future husband. She’s not alone. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue itself is a display of unadulterated pseudo-porn and always has been.

But should she be fat-shamed?

She proudly flaunts her obesity, but I don’t know the origin. Does she have a medical condition? Is she genetically predisposed to be heavy-set or does her obesity stem from gluttony and a lack of self-control when it comes to food? If so, then her obesity is but a visible and obvious manifestation of the sin in her heart and yes, she ought to be ashamed for this.

And she ought to repent and resolve to treat her body as God would have her treat it.

Should we slut-shame someone? Again, it depends upon what you mean.

Should women (or men) who flaunt their sexuality through their appearance and how they dress be ashamed? Yes. Modesty is a cherished biblical virtue and when we willingly discard it as so many are wont to do, we ought to feel shame…and we ought to repent and cover ourselves up, reserving the site of our naked or near-naked bodies for our spouses.

What about promiscuity with regards to slut-shaming? Just like with the other issues, the action is a clear violation of God’s commandments, forbidding sexual liaison outside of a marriage—sigh—a marriage between a man and a woman.

So yes, sluts ought to be ashamed…and players too, and porn-consumers, and men ogling Hunter McGrady and her curves in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Let shame drive us where we need to go.

Be Restored

Perhaps my favorite verse in Scripture, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Examine your actions. Examine your heart. Allow God through Scripture to do the same and reveal to you the ungodliness in your life. As you feel the weight of conviction of the Holy Spirit, feel shame for that which is shameful…and repent, and be restored!

It’s what God does.

He is in the business of calling people out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.

Yield to that today. Let shame be a vehicle to bring you there.

Now here is something worth celebrating.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

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This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Stop Kidding Yourself…Nothing is Neutral

The woman simulating masturbation should’ve given it away.

The racist penis rap pushed me over the edge.

“Get up, we’re out,” I hissed at the students.

I had forgotten one important truth— nothing is neutral— and led my motley crew straight into an L-shaped ambush. I prayed that what we had seen and heard over the last half hour had fallen upon deaf ears.

“Nothing they haven’t seen before,” one parent consoled me. It didn’t work.

We desire neutrality.

It’s easier, neutrality.

It’s nicer.

I like what I like and who I like. I really don’t want to change and if we’re completely honest, I don’t intend to change. I bristle at the notion, in fact. The idea of division scares me a bit. The thought of the basic goodness of people comforts me and frees me to engage with whatever I desire and whomever I like in whatever fashion I see fit.

Besides, if there were division, I’d have to choose a side and I really don’t want to choose a side. I like being right in the middle, free to drift to either side at whim.

Neutral.

How’d that work out for Belgium? Or the Netherlands?

No one is neutral.

The Bible knows nothing of fence-sitting.

Like a sword, the word of God penetrates and divides. (Hebrews 4:12) Jesus—that cultural icon of inclusiveness and toleration—shocks us with divisive language.

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51) You’re either for me or against me. (Matthew 12:30)

John and Paul agree, reminding us that we are either of Christ or we are not, and if we are not of Christ, we are of the world and our father is the Devil. We are either slaves of Christ or slaves of sin (Satan). (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:1-3, John 3:19, Romans 6:16)

Consider the implications.

Jesus demands that we choose. You are either a disciple of Christ, or you are not. And if you are not a disciple of Christ, you are an enemy of Christ. Application generates further discomfort.

My daughter’s boyfriend was not a believer, but a nice-enough fellow. He didn’t impede her practice of the faith and even seemed to encourage it. “So that’s good,” she explained to me.

On the surface, yes. Yet, at his core, this young man was not just not a follower of Jesus. He was a follower of Satan, a hater of God, an enemy of God, a child of wrath. Though he portrayed benevolence to the faith, his heart belonged to another.

She and he had different fathers and could never have true fellowship, real intimacy. Now, God may one day call him out of the darkness and into the marvelous light, but until then, they serve different masters.

We talked about it some. She agreed it was an issue. Inevitably, like Judas, his outward actions betrayed his heart and they broke up.

The neutrality of men is a fantasy, a myth.

As such…

Nothing is neutral.

Nothing generated by men is neutral.

Okay, my coffee table is neutral. My truck is neutral. You get the picture.

Nothing that reflects ideas, nothing that reveals the human spirit, nothing that communicates the heart, is neutral. How could they be? Just as no men are neutral, the things they produce that reveal who they are, could likewise never be neutral.

Music is not neutral. Television shows are definitely not neutral. Books, no way. Movies, forget about it. What else do we consume that men produce?

This is the dilemma for the believer.

Things glorify God or they do not glorify God.

My friend Joe, saved as a young man, began his spiral into drug addiction at the behest of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeath. He loved heavy metal music and began attending heavy metal concerts where they do heavy metal things. The fury of the music generated anger in his heart. Someone handed him a joint…and then another…inevitably a bazooka. He plunged into addiction and nearly death, spawned by his love for ungodly music.

In a draft of my second book, No Higher Call: A Biblical Treatise on Adoption, I quoted Clint Eastwood from the movie, “Gran Torino”. It’s Clint Eastwood, so it must be good. One of my editors asked me about it, “You know God hates that movie, right?” Of course he was right, but it’s Clint Eastwood! I prayed about it, and then removed the quote.

No one is neutral and nothing is neutral.

But Shakespeare?

There I was.

“Perfectly fine for high school kids,” the lady assured us before we ordered tickets.

I tutor 9th grade homeschoolers and was planning an end-of-year event, dinner and a show. Our local theater happened to be showing “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Unabridged]”. Perfect.

“All 37 plays in 97 minutes!”, the website promised. An “irreverent, fast-paced romp”, it boasted. To be fair, the receptionist did say there was some “innuendo” and it was rated PG-13. Our youngest student was 15, but it was Shakespeare! C’mon.

It was smut. Garbage. Filth…pornography.

At first, I was amused. The actors were indeed talented and funny. Their witty improv captivated. At the first off-color joke, I squirmed a bit. Okay. Another off-color joke, this time a bit more provocative. Hmmm. I looked at the kids. Everyone was still laughing so…

The female jumped on stage and began twerking. If you ask, “what is twerking?”, you’re dating yourself, but I’ll humor you. She put her rear-end to the audience and bounced it up and down in a highly sexual and provocative fashion. I squirmed visibly and thought, “we need to leave,” but how? We were in a small theater with only one way out, the other side. We’d have to walk in front of everyone.

The woman simulated ejaculation. They made wordplay about sodomy. They began rapping about Othello, as a black man, and the size of his penis. Again, all very talented, all very funny…and all highly vulgar.

We stood up and paraded out, twenty high school kids and handful of adults, a sizeable chunk of the audience.

“I thought it was good enough to stay,” one actor chided us as we walked.

On the sidewalk, I apologized profusely to the students and the parents. They all understood and we laughed and discussed it for awhile and then went and got some ice cream and talked about it some more.

I felt betrayed, numb. I’d walked into a Satanic ambush with my guard down and been hammered.

I’d neglected something I know to be true.

Nothing is neutral.

Be vigilant.

In hindsight, it’s so obvious.

A friend informed me that the local theater was run by people who were no friends of God who, in fact, were openly antagonistic. Theater itself is awash in hypersexuality, homosexuality, and rampant worldliness. Theater companies pursue edginess and push boundaries.

Prudence has no primacy.

There is much going on here.

From the second we set our feet upon the floor each morning, we are embroiled in a vicious, cutthroat spiritual battle, a battle for the hearts and souls of men. The battle rages whether you fight it or not. You may not be Belgium.

And we have an enemy, Satan, who prowls like a roaring lion, seeking anyone he may devour. He is crafty and wicked and shows no quarter to the sons of God. And He is a liar.

          “It’s no big deal.”

          “Jesus hung out with sinners.”  

      “It doesn’t really matter.”

Conversely, God calls us to fill our minds and hearts with that which is true, honorable, just, and pure, that which is lovely and commendable. (Philippians 4:8) Dwell upon these things. Meditate upon these things and discern.

You cannot partake of the cup of the demonic and the cup of the Lord at the same time. This is the promise of our Lord.

Nothing is neutral.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

My Christian Friends, I Know I’m a Good Dude…Please, Open Your Mouth

I am a “good” dude.

You know me.

We’ve known each other for years.

We went to college together. We roomed together. We served in the military together. I introduced you to your wife, was the best man in your wedding. We were stick buddies in flight school. We were ranger buddies in ranger school. We rode motorcycles together.

Remember those days in Panama City? Well, some of them anyway.

We went to war together. I fondly recall marching lockstep into battle with you on my right and you on my left. We bled together. Remember our lost brothers. Remember the bright desert heat, the blazing desert sun, the brotherhood, the camaraderie. I’d have taken a bullet for you, no question.

I am your father. I am your brother. I am your next door neighbor. I am your commanding officer. I am your first sergeant, your supervisor. I am your best friend from high school. I am your old boyfriend who told you whatever I needed to get from you whatever I wanted.

I am a “good” dude.

You know me.

I’m dying.

It shouldn’t be this way.

I’m a good dude, right?

You and others would describe me as a good “f’in” dude. “Smith is good people.” My resume speaks for itself.

I come from a wonderful and loving family. No dysfunction here, at least obvious dysfunction. No divorce. No abuse. No addiction. Only affirmation and affection.

I am a high-performer, a self-starter, a mover and a shaker. I graduated near the top of my class from college and have steadily risen to the top of my field. I got promoted below-the-zone and have excelled in leading men in combat. I am unflappable in battle. Nothing seems to bother me. When everything goes to heck in a handbasket, when others around me seem to crumble and fall, I always keep my cool.

I am physically fit, an avid cross-fitter, cyclist, marathoner, triathlete. I ride a chopped up Harley-Davidson. I drive an awesome car. I have an awesome house.

I am a family man. I have a beautiful wife and family. I love them. They love me. I work hard to provide for them. I sacrifice so that they can have a better life. I sometimes work 70, 80 hours a week so they may have what I never did. I take my family to Disney World each year.

I exude confidence, competence, and charisma. I am engaging. Chicks dig me. Men want to be like me. There seems to be nothing I cannot do or accomplish. I am generous and caring and I love you, my friend, my brother, my son, my sister, my daughter.

I think the same as you, look the same as you. I am what you aspire to be. I’ve got my stuff together. Man, do I have it together.

I have everything.

I have everything and more.

Yet, I have nothing.

I’m dying.

It really shouldn’t be this way. I have so much, but sometimes it all feels like it’s slipping away. I cannot explain it.

I own a jet ski, but I have no peace.

My son has a college scholarship, but he hates me.

I am an upstanding member of my community and haven’t been intimate with my wife in months.

Something is wrong and I just cannot grasp it. No matter how hard I try, how much I pursue, how well I do, how much I gain, how high I rise, I ultimately lack joy. Even after I’ve arrived. I’ve obtained what I sought after and found it to be lacking, forcing me to reinvent myself. Maybe a new car…or a new spouse will satisfy my longings.

My emptiness consumes me.

I cannot see.

You look just like me.

We both pay our taxes. We both love our families. You’ve never murdered anyone nor have I. We are both morally upstanding citizens, so why do I feel like I do?

I know you go to church and sometimes I sense you want to talk to me about it and you’ll probably tell me that religion is good and that I should become religious and that going to church will make me happy.

Yes, I know you’ve invited me a couple of times, but I just don’t see it. I cannot see how going to church will change anything.

And I like to sleep in on Sundays and watch football in the afternoon. It’s the only day I get off, sometimes, and I don’t want that taken from me too. And I like to play golf and Sunday’s are the only days I get to do that.

Besides, you “Christians” are just so hypocritical. The last thing I need is some wimpy dude in a robe telling me how to act and all the things I’m doing wrong, all while he’s asking for my money. Okay, I get it…God needs my money. Really? And I’m probably better than him anyway. Who is he to tell me what I should do?

And what about God anyway? If God is so good, then why is there so much suffering in the world? If God is so good, then why did my mother die from cancer? Why was my father killed in a car accident? What about bone cancer in children?

Kind of seems like a crutch to me, this whole religion thing…

…which is why it’s kind of surprising that you’re into all of that. I mean, I know you, or at least thought I did. You’re my brother, my best friend.

Do you know something I don’t?

I’m tired of sports and weather.

If you have something to say, just say it. Please.

I’m dying.

I get it.

I love football. You know I do. I love the Buckeyes. Even without Urban Meyer or Dwayne Haskins, we could win the Natty. Maybe I’ll get up for a game this year, but is there more?

Yes, our camping trip got rained out this weekend, but Saturday looks nice. I haven’t cut the grass yet this year, but need to. I’ll get the lawnmower out of the shed and get it started, but is there more?

No, I didn’t get the promotion at work and my boss is still a complete jerk. I’m not sure I want to work here that much longer and I don’t think I’ll be able to retire early like I had wanted, but is there more?

Do you love me?

Do you love me enough?

You went on some sort of a mission trip, to an entirely different country, to talk to strangers. What about me?

I am your father, your sister, your brother, your friend. Do you love me enough to risk mild discomfort? Do you love me enough to, as you say, step out in faith? I’m waiting to hear from you. I need to hear from you. Do you know something I don’t?

Do you know about hope?

and peace?

and joy?

Can we have a conversation that matters? I’m getting desperate…maybe I don’t have that much time.

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Die Like This

I’d like to die a good death.

You?

I’ve thought some about death over the years, how I would go.

At some point, the self-centered immortality of youth gives way to the shocking realization of the imminence of death.

As we live, friends die, parents die, brothers and sisters, classmates, maybe even, God forbid, our own children, each reminding us of the inevitability of our own death. Each life, each death, drives home certain truths regarding life and death.

Visualize your funeral, not as some kind of morbid exercise, but as a testimony to life intended. A man’s funeral is a good indicator of a man’s life, how he lived.

The manner in which a man dies is just as instructive.

I had a chance to watch a man die a good death.

A Man and a Promise

Harold Witmer knew the promise.

The Psalmist tells us, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” (Psalm 119:50).

God’s promise, the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, written before the hands of time, etched onto the foundations of reality, the promise is a simple promise, eternally profound in its implications.

The Bible tells the promise in the well known verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

And, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) As God grants me repentance and belief, I am saved. Period.

This is the promise.

The promise is eternal. It cannot be changed, shaken, or moved. It will never perish, diminish, or die. God will keep His promise, of this we have such a blessed assurance.
Harold Witmer knew this promise. He lived it.

For decades, after the Army brought him to Clarksville, Harold Witmer labored on behalf of the promise. He helped found The Community Church which he pastored for decades. He started The Christian Servicemen’s Center and The Youth Challenge for Boys and Girls.

He poured himself into Clarksville, his family, and the service of the Kingdom.

He did this because of the promise and nowhere did his knowledge of the promise become more apparent…than on his walk to the grave.

Absent the Promise

Consider death, that condition which men fear most.

Consider the lengths to which men go to prolong vitality and put off death. There exists a series of cottage industries centered around this very thing.

The health and wellness industry. If I eat right (Paleolithic, Ketogenic, Macros, Whole Thirty), if I exercise well (crossfit, running, lifting, yoga, etc.), I may just preserve my youth. The beauty industry sells oils and lotions and creams that I can slather on my face to maintain the illusion of youth.

The plastic surgery industry. With a nip and a tuck, a stretch and a pull, I can further prolong my appearance of youth. No one ever said, “You know doc, I’d like to look a little older and wiser. Can you help me with that? Maybe some crow’s feet?”

Our nation worships youth and collectively detests aging.

It’s a losing battle.

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:4)

Each day, we draw one step closer to the grave. It doesn’t matter how hard we try, how well we take care of our bodies—and we ought to take care of our bodies—they will one day fail, maybe sooner than you think.

And perhaps most troubling, the second we are under the dirt, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about us. Don’t believe me? Who was the most popular man in town thirty years ago? You don’t know. That man is dead and buried, long since forgotten…as you also shall be.

But death, physical death, is a lesser concern. Paul writes that, “the sting of death is sin.” (1 Corinthians 15:56) Upon my death, I’ll stand before the Lord and He’ll see one of two things. If I know the promise, having been forgiven of my sin, He’ll gaze upon me and see the righteousness of Christ, as He welcomes me to eternity.

If I don’t know the promise, I will stand under judgement and be found woefully lacking. The second death, eternity in hell apart from God, will be my deserving fate.

And as men, absent the promise, draw close to the grave, draw ever closer to standing before a God they do not know, they tremble in fear, quiver in anger, even rage in self-righteousness. We see a physical manifestation of Hebrews 10:31,

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Proclaiming the Promise

As much as Harold Witmer spent his life proclaiming the promise, his death perhaps, proclaimed it louder.

I had the privilege of spending a few minutes with Harold’s beloved wife Faye and his sons the evening of his death. They relayed to me that as Harold approached death, he never faltered in his call, he never wavered in his mission. Nurses, doctors, and other caregivers heard the promise.

Finally, the Lord spoke to him saying, “You’ve done enough. It’s time.” After discussion with Faye, he entered hospice and returned home to die.

Here he died a good death.

Faye made his favorite meal for him. Family and friends flocked. They laughed and talked, cried. He summoned his family members, laid hands on them, blessed them. He slept more. Death drew near until on he gently closed his eyes, drew his final breath…and then opened them in eternity, to the reality of the promise.

Well done good and faithful servant.

It didn’t stop.

From the grave, Harold Witmer proclaimed the promise, his funeral an extended Gospel presentation. Hundreds of mourners joined together to celebrate his life, his death, and the promise. We sang Great is Thy Faithfulness. The Gospel was preached. We sang and cried, sang some more, laughed, rejoiced, and revelled in the knowledge of life lived well, a good death.

If you could say a funeral was awesome, it was an awesome funeral.

They closed with an invitation.

Comfort from the Promise

Many die poorly.

My wife works in the death industry. She’s a nurse in a nursing home where her patients die regularly, often lonely, sad, and painful deaths, tragic. Many of them die not knowing the promise.

One little old man—“her man”, they were all her men—declined steadily. He was a hateful, bitter, and angry man, abusive toward everyone…except my wife. She lavished love upon him in the face of his hatred and won him over. He hated God. Whenever the local pastor showed up for a service, he’d rail against all that “garbage”.

As he declined, he became more bitter, more hateful. He was physically aggressive, biting and spitting, scratching and clawing. The imminence of standing before a God that he knew existed, but that he didn’t know, was becoming a reality, and he raged against it.

Eventually, he became unresponsive, except to Ami. On his last night, she checked on him repeatedly and repeatedly assured him of her presence and her love for him.

“Sonny, you know I’m here and that I love you?”

“Yes,” he could barely whisper.

Finally, as she sat with him, she kissed him on the forehead, put her mouth to his ear and told him of the promise. “You know I love you, Sonny,”

“Yes.”

“Do you know that Jesus loves you, and that He died on the cross for your sins?”

“Yes,” barely audible, his final word.

The last words he heard, before Ami kissed him on the forehead and told him it was okay to go, were the beautiful and sweetest words in the world, the words of the promise. His final word was an affirmation of this. This side of eternity we’ll never know, but can you imagine my wife’s joy one day, when she opens her eyes in heaven to see…“her” little man waiting on her.

Glory in the Promise

On that night that Harold Witmer died, I sat in his kitchen and listened to Faye talk on the phone. She was describing his physical decline to someone when she made a statement that is forever seared onto my soul.

“We’re just praying that God is glorified in all of this.”

“We’re” praying. She and Harold, the man soon to die, were praying together that his death would glorify God. You see, she knew the promise.

She knew that death had no victory. Death had no sting, for Harold or for her, for that matter. Though she mourned the imminent separation, she celebrated the risen Savior.

I’d like to die like this.

I’d like to live like this.

You?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Burn Notre Dame the Rest of the Way Down

Forgive the hyperbole.

I’m sorry…but not.

Initially, the news of Notre Dame’s burning generated little more than mild ambivalence for me. I love history and I love old buildings, not to mention the sheer loss of property, the damage in dollars, well euros anyway.

People’s responses pushed me over the ledge.

     “Praying for Paris.”

          “Praying for Notre Dame.”

And, “We will rebuild!” amid Macron’s defiant pledge to rebuild the historic cathedral within 5 years, though most experts predict it will take at least a decade. Many cathedrals took more than a century to complete.

One thing the effort won’t lack is resources. Before the ashes even cooled, they raised more than $1 billion dollars in donations…for a building. Let that sink in. Less than a week.

I have a much simpler and more cost effective solution.

Burn it the rest of the way down.

Institutionalization of the Body

It’s not so much the dollars (euros), it’s the principle.

Notre Dame epitomizes the institutionalization of the church.

Jesus tells the parable of a mustard seed that grows into a tree, larger than all the garden plants, where birds come and make their nests. (Matthew 13:32-32) The problem is that a mustard seed is only meant to grow into a bush, 9 feet at its highest. A tree is an unnatural growth of the seed…and the birds come and eat the sown seed that is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

The church was never meant to be Notre Dame.

I’ll resist a libertarian urge to denounce the actual construction of the building. Although the exact amount is unknown—one study predicted $280,000,000 in adjusted cost—it took nearly 200 years to complete, starting in 1160.

During this same period, the average European could barely survive. Famine, disease, rampant illiteracy, and dire economic prospects were the norm. Amid this squalor, the church constructed no less than 1400 Gothic cathedrals in the Paris Basin alone, an estimated 21% of the GDP…on cathedrals.

Ignore this though, the poor stewardship of God’s resources.

In Notre Dame, we see the culmination of process, the rendering of the faith into a procedure. This is what men do, slander the grace of the Lord Jesus in such a manner.

Notre Dame represents the unattainability of the faith for the commoner, the purported denial of grace but by the hand of the church as administered by the hierarchy.

Deny common men the word of God. Speak only Latin as the average man could never understand Scripture anyway. Restrict them to grace via the sacraments, administered exclusively by the church of course. Confuse them with rites and rituals, deemed necessary by a superior authority. Leverage grief for deceased loved ones in generating revenue. Leverage guilt for base lusts and sell indulgences, generating further revenue.

Build more cathedrals. Simple.

Effective.

Lucrative.

I find it highly appropriate that 700 years later, Napoleon Bonaparte chose Notre Dame as the sight for his coronation, validating the sacralistic blend of church and government.

Today, European cathedrals sit as white-washed tombs, beautiful and ornate on the outside, dead and decaying on the inside. The European church wilts under secularism, postmodernism, progressivism and several other -isms I’ve forgotten to mention. The cathedral is the tombstone for a dying European church.

Also highly appropriate—nearly 20 million pilgrims (tourists) visit Notre Dame each year. With not so subtle irony, tourism supplanted church business in generating revenue, a reality for countless other European churches and cathedrals. Hundreds of others are rubbled each year due to lack of interest.

Lest you think the west or even Protestantism is immune to such institutionalization, have you taken a look at the western church lately and the gaping fissure.

Many of the traditional denominations cling to Romanesque rites and rituals, immersing the attender in processes and confirmations and other extra-biblical proceedings. For others, the Walmart effect is in full force. Build it bigger and better with a great coffee shop, awesome children and youth programs, and entertaining worship services.

The evidence that it’s not working…is that it’s not working. Each subsequent American generation is more unchurched than the previous. Generation Z will supplant the Millennials as the most unchurched American generation in history.

Veneration of the Worthless

“What about the crown of thorns!?” someone pleaded.

     Huh?

Institutionalization generates wealth; idolatry is a by-product.

The church pushes the worship of numerous competing things to include, but not limited to, Mary, men (saints, sigh), relics, tradition, and celebrity pastors (ouch).

Notre Dame housed the famed crown of thorns. Gifted to Louis IX, King of France, in 1238, it found its home in Notre Dame following the French Revolution in 1801. A twisted circlet of Juncus balticus rushes, the crown is protected and contained by a special glass tube.

On the first Friday of each month, they wheel it out for a special veneration mass, as well as each Friday during Lent. There you can wait in line to kneel and kiss the thorns in reverence, well, the glass tube around the thorns anyway, after an attending official has dutifully wiped the glass with a sanitizing napkin. Piety is no excuse for bacterial recklessness.

In case you weren’t paying attention, this is the actual crown of thorns that Roman soldiers fashioned and smashed unceremoniously onto the head of Christ, mocking Him as the King of the Jews. Hmmm.

Erasmus once quipped that there were enough pieces of the crown around, all demanding veneration, that they could fill a merchant ship. That’s quite a crown.

Thank God a French chaplain saved it from the fire.

We ought to use it as kindling to restart the fire.

Veneration is characterized by reverence. The Bible is quite clear in that we worship or venerate one thing and one thing only, the LORD our God. Angels refuse worship. The Apostles refused worship.

Let us suppose for a second, a brief one, that this actually is the crown of thorns from the head of Christ…so what? It’s a plant, an inanimate object. The Bible gives no basis for the worship or reverence of anything other than God Himself.

As a Christian, indwelt of the Holy Spirit, I have Christ. Period.

I have no need nor mandate to worship another.

“This is holy ground,” argued a priest in speaking of Notre Dame. Really? Says who? What makes it holy?

Is it more holy than the basement house church in China? Is it more holy than the rural assembly in southern Illinois or Liberia? Is it more holy than the living room where a man sits and quietly teaches his sons about Jesus?

One woman even claimed to see Jesus in the flames. Good grief.

Will our desire for veneration outside of Christ ever end?

Response of the Believer

We ought to grieve.

In Notre Dame, we ought to grieve for the institutionalization of the Church. We ought to grieve at the veneration of that which is worthless, the idolatry.

In our grief, we ought to repent. We ought to examine ourselves and see if we ourselves venerate another, if we harbor an idol, if we slander the grace of the risen Lord Jesus with process and ritual.

Let us burn this affront to a holy and righteous God to the ground…

…salt the ground while we’re at it.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Do Good, Go to Hell…the Message of the Modern Western Church

I had a conversation with a man the other day.

This man faithfully attends church every Sunday and has for decades. He participates. He plays in the worship band. He attends Sunday school.

This man could not articulate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I try to do good,” he offered, “and the longer I’ve attended, the better I’ve been, the better it’s been for me.”

This man works, hard. He helped build a new sanctuary. He delivers meals to shut-in members. He stocks the food pantry. Whenever a helping hand is needed, he is there. He gives, generously. He went on a mission trip to Haiti.

“Do you know the Lord Jesus,” I asked.

“You know, I don’t think that I do,” he admitted.

Another man confessed to me, “I just want to do what’s right and teach my kids to do what’s right.” The idea that all sin condemns equally was foreign to him, total depravity a strange concept. Interestingly, his pastor agreed, telling him, “no one is as good as they think or as bad as they think.”

I sometimes wonder if some pastors ever actually read the Bible.

These statements, these thought patterns, epitomize the theology of much of the western church, a theology firmly rooted in the pride of men.

New Pride/Old Pride

We’ve institutionalized works and concealed it beneath a veneer of ritual, draping it with religiosity and Jesus-language. It’s nothing new.

When Constantine co-opted the church and blended it with the government, he doomed the institution to millennia of impotence. The theology of works, the religion of the Pharisees, proliferated giving rise to such perversions as infused righteousness, the elevation of church tradition, and the cursed doctrine of papal infallibility.

The Reformers rightly fought against this false gospel. Ironically, many of the faith traditions spawned by the Reformation did not fall too far from the Roman tree.

I grew up in one of these traditions. I attended church regularly. I was a moral and upstanding citizen. As a teenager, I attended a series of classes and through the process of Confirmation, was declared a member in good standing of the church.

I did.

Ticket punched.

I’d have split the gates of hell wide open. I had no idea who the Lord Jesus was and more urgently, He didn’t know me.

I lived enslaved to my sin for another two decades.

Hollow Message

“Do Good” is a meaningless message.

What’s the point of religion?

To make you a good person, one who does good things. The average American would unfortunately agree with this sentiment.

“Do good”, is a hollow message, worthless and empty. It does not resonate or inspire. A thousand secular organizations echo this same sentiment. A thousand secular institutions urge their people to do exactly this. Atheists picked up on it asserting that you can, “Be good without God.” And indeed, you can, depending upon what you mean.

Doing “good” does not require God.

“Do good,” is a message that does not save.

“Do good,” is a message of damnation.

It’s not the Gospel, not even close. It’s the antithesis of the Gospel. It’s a false gospel that Jesus came to destroy. He reserved his harshest condemnation for those who do exactly this, seek to earn the favor of God by their religious works and good deeds.

And it’s the message of the modern, western church.

Hollow Church

How could a man sit under the preaching of a series of ministers, sit under the ministry of the same church for years on end, and not know the Gospel message? I could understand if he had not yet been saved, but had he never even heard it?

We lament the fall of the church from prominence in the west. The church long-ago ceded its place of authority. It’s been neutered, rendered obsolete and irrelevant to the life of the vast majority of Americans.

The American church is a caricature.

The American church is not surprising.

How could a church that institutionalized and proliferates numerous false gospels—prosperity gospel, liberation theology, the white empowerment gospel, and here, the gospel of works—how could such a church accomplish all that God intends for her? It cannot. It never will.

It’s filled with people who are not saved, people bound for eternal conscious torment in hell, people who believe in a false Jesus, who put their trust in a false gospel.

I was there. I don’t recall ever hearing the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus. I’ll acknowledge that in the blindness of my sin, the hardness of my heart, it is possible that they preached the message and that I had no ears to ear. It’s possible.

But you’d think that over the course of say 10 years, something would’ve stuck.

I’ll caveat that it’s not always cut-and-dried. I’m sure in many of these churches, Christ is preached. It’s just buried beneath layers of tradition and ritual, rites and processes. And men cling to process because process frees me from the discomfort that the Gospel inevitably yields.

The Gospel offends, it’s the most offensive message ever, and if I can avoid it by yielding to rights-of-passage and rituals masquerading as the real thing, then so be it.

I’m sure I can find a church that’ll allow me this.

An Angry Message

I was angry. I called this man’s pastor in frustration.

I wanted to know if he was preaching the Gospel. I wanted to know if his church preached Christ and Him crucified. I wanted to know if the false gospel of works was taught in his church. I didn’t ask any of these things.

Instead, I expressed my concern for this man, that he was a nominal believer. The pastor agreed to check on him specifically and ask him some questions concerning eternity. As his church numbered over 2,000—don’t get me started—he obviously had no way of knowing the eternal status of all of his congregants.

Sadness replaced anger.

How many of the 2,000 were in a similar condition? As the vast majority of Americans profess Christianity and the vast majority of Americans likewise do not exhibit even the most basic fruit of salvation like say…sporadic church attendance, the problem is evident.

We’ve filled our church pews with false converts and I can think of few things more tragic. Imagine the horror of many on that day…

“I did things. I helped at church. I attended pretty regularly. I donated some money…I went to class. I was confirmed into the church. I’m a good person. They said I was good to go!”

“Depart from me, I never knew you,” the tragic words of our Lord and Savior.

The Message…no, not that one

The Gospel confronted me. It shocked me.

January of 2005, I walked into a friends church and heard the Gospel for the very first time.

The things that this preacher said stunned me, astonished truly. This man preached the Gospel in all of its power, with all of its authority, with all of its teeth. He held nothing back. I’d never heard anything like it.

For the very first time, I was confronted with my sin and the worthlessness of my own self-righteousness. For the very first time, I understood that I deserved nothing of my own merit other than condemnation in a place called Hell. For the very first time, I heard that my works, my baptism, my morality, would all fall woefully short in justifying me before a holy and righteous God.

And then, I heard about Jesus, the Savior and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

I heard the message that told me, I didn’t need a priest, I didn’t need a ritual or even a church. All that was required of me was repentance, to confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and to believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.

After several weeks of resisting the grace offered, I crumbled.

I went forward, found a little old man, and fell to my knees with him and prayed, “Lord, I am a sinner, save me.”

If you’ve never been saved, never surrendered your life to Christ in willing submission and acknowledgement of your own helplessness, would you do that today? Forsake your works, forsake your righteousness. They won’t save you…but I know one who will.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Fetus is the new N-word

Say it.

You can’t, can you?

Maybe you’re a racist and have no problem saying it.

I cannot hardly type it. I definitely cannot say it. I stood alone before my desk and made myself try to say it. Is there an uglier word than the N-word?

Perhaps the C-word, but even that word, though intensely vulgar and uncouth, lacks the connotation of the N-word. What is it about a word, a mere assembly of letters, four consonants, two vowels, two syllables?

Language means something. The N-word means something.

Derived from the innocuous Latin word niger meaning, literally, black, it evolved into negro, the Spanish and Portuguese word for black. It first appeared in Merriam-Webster in 1864 as a synonym for negro with a note indicating “derision or depreciation”. Forever more it possessed a negative connotation.

Whoever penned ‘Sticks and Stones’ must have never heard the N-word.

The N-word stands symbolic of a shameful and hopefully dead or dying chapter in our nation’s history. Today there is a new N-word on the block, another group that is the new black, as well as the old black, ironically enough.

Let us talk about the most oppressed group in America—the unborn—and the language that makes this possible.

Language facilitates dehumanization.

Growing up in the south, I heard the N-word a lot, always in a certain context, and always with certain associated trappings. You know what I’m talking about.

To this day, I remember the redneck chick from high school, sporting the American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God t-shirt emblazoned with rebel flags, and her definitive statement, “I don’t have a problem with N-words, I think everybody should own one.”

Clearly, she was taught this, along with the enabling verbiage.

Would she have the same attitude absent the appropriate dehumanizing language?

The laundry list of dehumanizing terms for the black race was the grease on the skids, not the catalyst but the collaborator of oppression. We didn’t buy and sell men. We didn’t whip and chain women. We didn’t lynch people. We bought and sold and lynched Spooks, Darkies, and of course, N-words.

It is this connotation, this collective memory, that taints the N-word, rendering it unspeakable, except for in a few specific cultural contexts.

Language is powerful.

This is not a new concept.

As nations and armies came to grips with man’s inherent reluctance to killing his fellow man, they were forced to overcome this psychological(spiritual) resistance. Dehumanization is but one means to this end.

Though I’ve never killed a father or a son, a husband or a brother.

Maybe I’ve killed a Raghead.

During World War Two, we fought Krauts and Japs or Nips. In Korea, we killed Zipperheads. In Vietnam, we fought Gooks or Slopes. Today we fight Terrorists or Haji. Language facilitates conditioning.

If I can demean your enemy, make you think him less than human, then I can make it more likely you’ll engage to kill. Lest you think this trickery is confined to us imperialists in the west, our current enemies battle Zionists or Crusaders or even Kufr (Infidels).

Has anything changed the world more than the spoken word, with the ability to communicate ideas, motivate men, or inspire movements? In the same way, a continuous linguistic barrage degrading the essence of a group’s humanity has no choice but to register an effect.

Black oppression and language share a sordid cohabitation. A new cohabitation emerged from recent decades.

Language facilitates abortion.

The abortion industry rests on a mountain of untruth.

I could never kill a baby. Of course not.

Years ago, I paid my then-girlfriend to get an abortion (thankfully she didn’t go through with it).

We had a problem and I needed her to take care of the problem. I was perfectly willing to view the problem in vague terms, terms that made me comfortable in taking care of the problem, because to not take care of the problem presented me with even more of a problem, primarily the loss of my livelihood as I saw it.

The untruth that many have convinced themselves of, that we’ve impressed into the minds of millions of victimized women, is the absence of humanity in the womb.

Language is the vehicle. Let’s couch this living, sentient human being in the coldest, most sterile and medical-sounding terminology possible.

It’s a zygote.

A fetus.

A clump of cells.

Maybe not too different from a polyp or a cyst.

The language denies the humanity rendering it acceptable to remove.

“I had a procedure to remove a zygote,” sounds infinitely better than, “I paid a man to rip my unborn baby to shreds with a pair of scissors.” For many, denying the humanity is the only acceptable means of alleviating the guilt of the procedure but deep down…

They know. Of course they know, or perhaps they come to realize at a certain point.

Millions of women bear the burden of having facilitated the murder of their defenseless child while convincing themselves or allowing themselves to be convinced of the lie of medical appropriateness. I cannot imagine the horror as they come to terms with this reality.

The most intellectually honest pro-abortion advocates agree with science and acknowledge the humanity of the unborn. They just make the dreadful but decidedly logical leap that the mother’s humanity and rights supersede that of the unborn.

But for a multitude, it’s a denial of humanity that facilitates the slaughter under the oft-repeated slogan, “My body, My choice.” As a clump of cells, a zygote, a fetus, but not a person, the slogan makes perfect sense.

It’s no coincidence that when a mother, possessing all of the untaught love for her child that cannot be explained away, views an ultrasound of her unborn child, of the fetus, she will almost certainly NOT go through with an abortion. The ultrasound defies the language.

It’s a clump of cells. Hear the heartbeat.

It’s a zygote. See the fingers and toes.

It’s a fetus. It’s sucking its thumb!

No sane and undeceived woman would willingly slaughter her baby. As such, let us call things as they are, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

Language reminds us.

The fetus is just the new N-word on the block.

But really, it’s not. It’s all the same thing. As much as the unborn supplanted the black race at the pinnacle of American oppression, they actually didn’t. 

Is there still a race issue in America? Look no further than the fetus to answer that question. No issue epitomizes black oppression more than the oppression of the unborn as abortion IS a racial issue.

Fetus, zygote, clump of cellsspook, darkie, N-word.

Sadly, they’re the same more often than not.

Episodically, more black babies are aborted in New York City than born alive. Black women make up a hugely disproportionate number of women who have abortions. Planned Parenthood targets black neighborhoods which is not surprising. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenist, one who advocated for the culling of the black race through controlled breeding (abortion) to the betterment of collective society.

We see, in abortion, the tragic marrying of language and murder, the perfect blend of verbiage and deception. The unborn is the not-so-new black. The fetus is the not-so-new N-word.

I pray for a day when we forsake the F-word in much the same way we eschew the N-word today.

I pray for a day when our language would align with justice. Until then…

Repent—the only adequate language I can find in response.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Nursing Homes and Daycare—Icons of Collective Neglect

I’ve got a lot to do.

I have much to accomplish, many places to go, lots of business to conduct.

I really don’t have much time for distractions.

Kids? We have daycare.

Old people? Well, you know.

Our nation worships youth.

Our nation worships beauty, well, youthful beauty.

Consider the extreme lengths to which we go, to prolong life, to defer aging. We diet. We exercise, good things, mind you. We developed a cottage industry revolving around retaining a youthful appearance. Gimmicks and fads, creams and lotions, wraps and other accoutrements, all to tighten and tone, lift and smooth…in other words, make you look younger.

Some folks butcher themselves with plastic surgery in a futile attempt to retain a semblance of youth.

“Why you haven’t aged since college!” the pinnacle of complements.

Old is bad, something to be avoided and resisted.

Our nation neglects our parents.

My wife is unique in more than few ways.

She is a great nurse and loves old people, and they love her. She has almost always worked in a nursing home where she treats the residents with dignity and respect, as if they have value. And they respond. Even the most crotchety old buzzard inevitably comes to lighten up when she brings his meds.

She often comes home in tears.

“My little man is dying,” she confessed the other morning. Death is a part of life and certainly a part of any medical profession, but the nursing home thrusts death to the forefront. No one gets better and leaves a nursing home.

I’ll make the concession here. Obviously medical situations exist that require professional care just like life situations exist that demand daycare (I see you single mothers). But in general:

A nursing home is where we put our old people to die unobtrusively.

They all die. Most of them die alone.

Many are on hospice but even for the ones who are not, death lurks in the corner. It’s like a waiting room for eternity, eternal glory or eternal suffering and the norm seems to be loneliness…and fear. Maybe a family member will show up toward the end, but most make the sad, lonely march to death in utter solitude and often with much trembling.

Ami’s little man died a few days later (she wasn’t on duty), alone in his room, gasping for breath, calling out for help. He was a father, and a husband, and he walked to his grave for years completely alone…

…not hindering anyone. 

Our nation worships ourselves.

Old people get in the way. Kids too.

They are inconvenient, so we invented daycares and nursing homes to safely squirrel them away so that I may live unimpeded.

This is the sad reality, sad and harsh. 

I could never accomplish all of my professional objectives if I had to care for my aging father. I could never do all of the things I want to do if I’m stuck tending to my elderly parents. I just would not be happy if I had to alter my life in any way to account for them.

And it’s not like they won’t be taken care of.

The nursing homes are nice enough. They have a professional staff. It’s a five-star facility, each star ratcheting down my guilt a notch until it’s tolerable. As a matter of fact, they’ll get better care than I could ever give them!

It’s for the best. It’s what they would want.

As an aside, did you know that Adolf Hitler cared for his dying mother at home in her battle against breast cancer. Her Jewish doctor remarked, “I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler,” over her death.

I guess it should not surprise us that a nation so quick to allow strangers to raise our children would just as quickly allow strangers to accompany our parents to their death.

Our nation rejects the Commandment.

Interestingly, the Fifth commandment stands unique amongst the Ten.

Honor your father and your mother

…Okay, we’ve heard this before, but the rest…

that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving to you. (Exodus 20:12)

This commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments to offer an outcome. I could infer a righteous outcome from obedience to the others but God plainly says, honor your parents so that you may prosper. It’s conditional.

What does it mean to honor your mother and father?

I’ll leave the specifics of that to the individual conviction of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of His people. We value them. We esteem them. We consider them. We recognize that, at a minimum, they gave us life.

Notice God gives no caveat for worth. He does not say, honor them if they are good parents. He does not say, honor them if they honor you. He doesn’t even say, honor them if they are godly. Only, honor them.

Notice He gives no caveat for time. Honor them, not, honor them until you grow up and figure everything out on your own. Honor them until you no longer need them. Honor them until they become old and irrelevant or until you are too busy to honor them.

Honor them.

God commands it. They deserve it. They are entitled to it.

And the endstate…prosperity. You will live long in the land.

My family’s neglect.

I wish I would’ve known my grandmother. I mean, really known her. I knew her as a young boy. She even beat me with a flyswatter once when I gave her the finger, not really knowing what it meant, but I never really knew her.

She was a good, godly woman who literally gave away everything she had, consistently. So generous was her heart, you couldn’t give her anything without her giving it to another. She loved the Lord Jesus and her family.

Yet, in the transience of American life, my family moved away from her, to another state for my father’s job. We prospered in the new state. My father made better money. Our family did well and quite frankly, we moved on without her. 

We just had no place for her in our new life. She was too old to move, to entrenched where she was. Ashamedly, we even mocked her a bit for being a packrat, for living in poverty unnecessarily. We prospered. She wilted.

She died just a few years after we moved.

I feel as if we missed out on something important.

Why did she give everything away? Why was she content with so little? I would’ve loved to have learned from her. As I came to faith in Christ, we could have shared our faith. We could have laughed about the time I gave her the finger.

I wonder if our family’s reluctance to honor her contributed to our falling away from the church, and the godlessness that pervaded the early years of my life.

Clearly, I was not dwelling long in the land.

A different way.

Nursing homes represent pervasive self-centeredness. This is the bottom line.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Let us look to the legions of old people dying alone and repent. Let us see them with dignity and respect, with value and worth. Let us see them as our fathers, as our mothers and let us go to them.

Let us seek them out and listen to them. Let us glean from them the decades of wisdom, the lifetime of experience. For those no longer cognizant, let us lavish love upon them all the way to the grave.

As my parents age, I know that one day I’ll be confronted with a decision. I’ve already made a vow. My wife, lover of old people, wouldn’t have it any other way.

That our nation would make a similar vow.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

It’s a Shame that Adoption Costs so Much

One among many.

I know. Trust me. I’ve heard it. I’ve said it.

You’re not at the right place in life right now.

You don’t feel called to do this.

You’re family won’t adjust.

You just can’t.

It’s too hard.

It’s too much.

It’s a scary.

Believe me. I’ve said, felt, and thought all of these things at varying points in time. As less than 5% of Christians ever adopt and 3% of all adults, reasons abound.

                                                It costs too much!

At last! The golden BB, the magic bullet of logic and pragmatism that gets you off the hook.

I would love to but…I just cannot afford it. There’s no way. Just not possible. If you only knew how much my mortgage and car payment(s) were alone…and then there’s my cable bill…and wait…my vacation trip to the beach and…our bonus room needs a new flat screen…

Adoption costs way more than $40,000.

I’ll concede. Adoption can cost a pretty penny.

Domestic adoption through a private agency can range upward of $15,000. Start going international and the price tag skyrockets, tens of thousands of dollars. Unscrupulous agencies and corrupt facilitators line their pockets at the expense of orphaned children and families seeking to adopt.

A family from our church adopted two little boys from India. We held fundraisers. People pitched in, donated. There was a benefit concert. They sold t-shirts. The mother made repeated trips to India to wade through the red tape and corruption. After months of heartache, tears, uncertainty, struggle and tens of thousands of dollars, they brought the boys home.

Amen. Glory, hallelujah.

Now the real cost starts.

A typical vaginal birth in a hospital without complications costs about $3,000. Would you then say that the cost of having a child is $3,000? Well, in one sense, yes. But only a fool would not understand that this is only the start-up cost.

According to the USDA, the average family will spend $233,000 raising a child through the age of 18, not including the cost of college tuition. A $40,000 adoption is roughly 17% of the cost of raising a child to adulthood.

Adoption cost us way more than money. Fathering has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done. How do I put a price upon the love of my sons, the affections of my daughters? How could I cost-compare the highs and lows, the anguish and the triumph.

Adoption is harder than $40,000.

Our family has been forever changed by adoption. We’ve shed $40,000 worth of tears. We’ve reveled in $40,000 worth of laughter, lost $40,000 worth of sleep. We’ve basked in $40,000 worth of love. God has literally rewoven the fabric of our existence in the crucible of adoption.

Could I low-ball that?

$40k seems like a bargain.

Back to the hospital and the complication-free delivery for $3,000. What if there were complications? At what point do you pull the plug? Would a C-section for $4,500 be too much? Other complications may drive the cost toward $7000. How much is too much?

What would you pay to deliver the child, your son or your daughter, into your care?

Oh, that’s right.

You have insurance so it doesn’t cost you…anything…

Is all this really necessary?

Two things, three really.

1) We live in literally, the wealthiest nation in the history of the entire Universe. Over the last forty years, the average American home has nearly doubled in size as the average American family has shrunk by an entire person.

Allow me to translate. Our homes have become more and more palatial as our families have shrunk. We have bonus rooms, multiple vehicles. We take expensive vacations. We throw away thousands of dollars worth of food. Our poor people would be relatively rich in many other nations.

Is cost really the issue?

2) You cannot put a price tag on life. It’s a bargain at any cost.

Children desperately need a forever family. They desperately need a godly father to bring them up in the way of the Lord. Apart from adoption, kids with no family struggle severely in life. Pick an affliction and they suffer it disproportionately.

For the sake of some dollars, which are readily available, we can show the love of Christ to them through adoption.

3) Don’t you sacrifice for what you love?

I loved a motorcycle once. I set my heart upon having the baddest chopper around so I sold my ‘89 Harley Sportster, my van, and maxed out three credit cards in having a custom, one-of-a-kind, hardtail scooter put together.

I suffered.

It took me nearly a decade to pay off my debts. For years, I lived paycheck to paycheck as I desperately sought to buy down this mountain of debt. But I loved that motorcycle…until I sold it from lack of use.

For those we love, we sacrifice. Right?

It’s crap.

I’ll go ahead and answer the question for you. None of this is even necessary.

Our will, not our wealth.

It’s not about wealth.

If God has called the believer to adopt—spoiler alert: He has—then He will provide the means for them to walk that path.

Our money does not buy us a child. It buys us a choice.

Most people approach adoption with trepidation, including yours truly. We know it’s right. At some point, we know it’s prescribed, that the presence of children without homes is a shame upon the Church and so we cautiously move to adoption.

How do I maintain the fragility of my existence? How do I preserve my quality of life and the delicate balance of my family?

How do I simultaneously pursue that which will definitely change my life, without it changing my life too much?

We’ll take a healthy, baby boy— black is preferable, but brown will work too. He can have some physical limitations, but not too many. We’d also take a healthy girl between the ages of 5 and 7. I don’t want to upset the birth order or force anyone to share a room.

My cash buys me a choice.

It’s not about wealth, it’s about the will.

The idea of expensive adoptions ignores the existence of thousands of foster kids in desperate need of a home, many available for adoption immediately, practically for free.

My hats off to anyone who fosters or adopts. Anyone. I pray the Lord’s hand of blessing upon you all.

If God calls you to adopt from a foreign country, then go, by all means. I praise God for your obedience in surrendering to this call. I thank Him for those willing and able to spend $40,000 to find a child in a faraway country and raise them as their own. Glory, hallelujah.

I seek to address those for whom cost is a limitation, an excuse really.

Maybe you cannot afford that adorable little Chinese girl or those twin boys from Uganda. Right next door, here in your city, there are literally hundreds of kids dying without a father, dying without a family. Did you know this?

They lack the wow factor. They won’t generate ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. They won’t fit into the neat reality of your existence.

They will shatter your boundaries, destroy your barriers. They will force you far past comfort and into the realms of the unreasonable…and they won’t cost you a dime, relatively speaking.

If cost is the issue, is it really about the kid, or is it about us? The tragedy of expensive adoptions is that it reveals the hearts of men.

Leave it to American Christians to bastardize such a God-ordained institution as adoption. Let us repent for this grave oversight.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Abortion and the Taliban…Checkers and Chess

How do you best kill the Taliban?

Upstream, that’s how.

Let’s see if I can explain.

For nearly two decades, we engaged the Taliban on the battlefield with stunning success. In virtually every engagement, coalition troops prevail. Usually, it’s a slaughter. I can think of only a handful of tactical engagements won by the Taliban.

Yet, they stand poised to eject us from Afghanistan with control over large swaths of the countryside. Outside the capital and the few cities, the Taliban are the power-brokers.

After 19 years and over 2,000 American soldiers dead, the United States finds itself embroiled in a strategic quagmire from which we may not extract ourselves or the whole thing likely falls apart.

Each year, we bleed out just a little bit more.

How could this be?

Checkers. We’re playing checkers.

Just like the church.

Don’t get me wrong.

Checkers is a fun game, valuable to an extent. When your opponent plays chess though…

Pro-life advocates declared February 23rd of this year, a Day of Mourning. In response to the recent and radical New York abortion law, the website instructs us to wear black, not shop, close businesses, and repent for abortion. Albany, New York will host a rally/meeting/worship service with a host of notable pro-life speakers.

On January 18th, tens of thousands of pro-life warriors braved the cold streets of our nation’s capital in protest of the evil of abortion. This is the 46th annual iteration. Vice President Mike Pence and a host of conservative leaders attended this year’s event. President Trump attended last year.

Though large and dramatic, these are tactical engagements. Like any tactical engagement, if not supported by sound strategy, the engagement fails to yield long-term results.

And, in a way, these are the large-scale equivalent of me arguing with my pro-choice cousin on social media.

I’m not too sure about their productivity, even on the tactical level. I acknowledge the efficacy of compelling our political leaders to pen pro-life legislation and nominate pro-life judicial members.

But this is about hearts and minds, like any counter-insurgency.

Has a single heart or mind been changed by demonstrations?

Building pregnancy centers is a step toward strategy, toward chess. What if, next to every single Planned Parenthood, was a crisis pregnancy center that offered every service, but abortion? Once a woman views her baby on an ultrasound, once she sees it’s personhood, she is much less likely to go through with an abortion.

Our city has a crisis pregnancy center with a great ministry.

Adopt.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Parcheesi maybe.

What if we could tell every woman in a crisis pregnancy, “Don’t abort, please. We’ll raise your child in a loving home.” I choose to believe that most women do not want to have an abortion, but in many cases, feel they do not have an option.

The church ought to be elbowing one another out of the way to adopt available children. The existence of unwanted children is itself, an indictment of the church.

We never get this far. It’s too hard, requires too much of us.

We’re stuck in confronting the issue head-on with protests and marches and rallies and moaning and arguing on social media, slandering those who live blinded by their sin.

Meanwhile, the enemy busily destroys the nuclear family, drives a wedge between men and women, even going so far as to destroy the very idea of men and women, blurring the lines until the are unrecognizable.

And his agents of destruction are legions of unwitting men who stand idle as their sons grow into godlessness.

But, what if we played chess?

Like with the Taliban.

I’ll not deny the efficacy of shooting the Taliban in the face wherever you can.

We can build the world’s most sophisticated military machine to ensure that the trigger-puller is in the exact right place at the exact right time to squeeze the trigger and propel the 7.62 round into the skull of said Taliban.

The problem…he’s got brothers, and a father, and uncles, and friends…i.e. the Taliban.

Checkers.

Let’s work upstream.

What if he was never there in the first place? Let us dispatch him before he ever sets foot on the battlefield, perhaps walking out his door in the morning, or sleeping in his bed at night.

Let’s give him options, an education. Let us dangle the allure of financial prosperity before him, the hope of a better future for him and his family, a desire common to all men.

Further upstream, let us raze the Pakistani madrassa that taught him the Koran and to hate America. Let us coerce Pakistan to raze all their madrassas. Imprison the fundamental clerics. What if we westernized his homeland to the greatest extent possible, immersing him in the seductiveness of secularism, confusing him, undermining his Islamic faith which drives his zeal.

What if we fervently prayed for the Gospel to penetrate Muslim lands and for the Lord to raise up missionaries to go, and to make disciples? What if we went ourselves?

Check.

Abortion and Chess

Abortion will never end as godlessness proliferates.

Revival is the answer to abortion and I’m not talking a scheduled tent revival with open-air preaching. I’m talking real revival found in the serious commitment of men making disciples of their sons.

You want to end abortion?

Men, let us teach our sons to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s that simple.

Do the other things. Protest. Legislate. Inform. Rally. Resist. Build. Adopt. All of it. But apart from the engagement of godly men discipling their sons, these are but band-aids on a gushing hemorrhage.

Abortion is a symptom. Treating symptoms is okay as long as we treat the source of the illness. The source of the illness is godlessness, and as each generation becomes increasingly godless, abortion will proliferate.

Consider a generation of young men, of young Christ-followers and what the Lord would accomplish through them.

These young men would cherish and esteem young women. They would honor them and respect them. They would reject the overt sexualization of our culture and the insidious but prevalent view that a woman’s worth is in her sexuality and her looks. They would lift this burden from young women.

These young disciples would not pressure them into sex outside the covenant of marriage. They would value them as people, as sisters in Christ, as perhaps a future mate and wife.

But you know what, it will still happen. Christ-followers still fall into sin. There will still be unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. Yet, these young men, as Christians living a life of repentance, would seek out the Lord’s forgiveness and the woman’s as well and then seek to make things right.

Young disciples would not abandon a young lady to her pregnancy and vulnerability. Young disciples would not force her into a position of having to make a dreadful but seemingly necessary choice. “I’m here,” they’ll say. “I’m scared too, but let us rejoice at life. It didn’t happen how we planned, but it happened and so we’ll embrace it. Hallelujah, I get to father.”

And still sin happens. As their brothers wrestle with the flesh and maybe do abandon a woman in her time of need, they would come alongside and say, “we will support you as you need or, if necessary, we will love this child and raise them as a son or a daughter.”

Godly young men would push back against the rampant godlessness and how, by living according to the dictates of Christ, as disciples themselves. They would commit their lives to being disciples and themselves, to making disciples, of their own sons at first and then all the nations.

As they push back the darkness, as revival engulfs the nation, abortion would necessarily wane.

Men, make disciples of your sons.

Checkmate.

Kings to you, Satan.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

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