Jentezen Franklin - Life Is Beautiful
So what is it all about today, and what are we doing? And why are we assembled together? History records a remarkable account of the destruction of an ancient city. Back in the ancient days, they didn't have security like they have now, and the only way that they could secure their cities was to build walls, and then they would put something called the watchmen on the wall. And the primary responsibility of the watchmen was to look out as far as he could see in every direction, and warn the people that kept the gate, and kept the walls, and kept the city, that impending danger was approaching.
One day, there was a watchmen on this particular ancient city, and he looked out, and he saw something that was very much threatening, but he thought to himself that he would be resented by the people because it would shut down commerce, and it would shut down money-making, and it would shut down many things that interrupted the common life every day in that city. And so, he just decided to remain silent. He said nothing. When he really did recognize that there was an imminent threat about to take place, and destroy the city, it was too late. They were upon them. They could do nothing.
So regrettably, after the whole city perished, later in that same city, there was someone who erected a small memorial, and inscribed on this memorial, it said: "Here stood a town that was destroyed by silence". If America is going to be destroyed, it'll be destroyed by the silence of the pulpits and the silence of the righteous minority called Christians, who are failing to lift their voice and say with great passion, "We are going to protect the life of the unborn".
And secondly, with just as much passion, and just as much fervency, we are going to extend grace and compassion to anyone who has experienced an abortion, in any way been involved in it. We're not angry at you. We're not mad at you. Jesus loves you, and we love you, and we're here to walk through life. We're all flawed people. We need God's grace. We can make our nation greater. We can make our world a place that values life, because life is beautiful. Life is beautiful.
I say to you quickly an introduction that Jeremiah 1:5 says: "Before I formed you in the womb," God said: "I knew you, before you were born I sanctified you. I ordained you to be a prophet to the nations". And then, Psalms 139:13 says: "For You formed me in the inward parts. You covered me in my mother's womb". Listen very carefully to these words. "I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made". Then, he goes on to say: "Your eyes," speaking of God.
David, under inspiration: "Your eyes saw my substance", the Hebrew word is embryo. When I was in the embryo, You saw my, when I was in my substance: "Being yet unformed". Everything wasn't completely together, but You saw me. And then, he goes on to say: "Being yet unformed". One translation said what happens in a mother's womb is literally God is forming that baby, if she is pregnant with life.
And so, today, that is our message. That we stand firm in our love for the unborn, and our love for those who have experienced the pain and the hurt of abortion. You might've failed, but you're not a failure. You might've made a mistake, but you're not a mistake. And we serve the God of another chance, and another chance, and another chance. And that's our message today. But we dare not be silent. We will not let the epitaph on America be, "The reason our nation went down and was destroyed was because the Body of Christ, the church, became silent".
And thus, I have asked the family to come to the table, the Body of Christ, and say, "Come, let us reason together". If they're not ashamed in New York to pass legislation to kill babies in the third trimester, right at the point of birth, and then the governor of Virginia say that after they're born, it's totally okay to put that baby in a pan, and decide whether or not it lives or dies. If they're not ashamed to take that stand, I am not ashamed to take the Word of God and say, with all the love in my heart, that life matters to God, and it matters to us.
Now, I wanna say something in closing. And listen to me carefully. We no longer have the luxury of disunity in the Body of Christ. The lines have been drawn. Stand up for life, and stand up for compassion and grace to those who have experienced abortion. Don't be ashamed, don't be silent. We dare not be silent in such a time as this. That's all we're saying. And you made that choice to not be silent by being here, or by watching this today.
A couple weeks ago, I went and watched the movie, "Unplanned". If you've not seen this movie, it is in my opinion, the greatest tool that God has put into the hands of anyone who wants to persuade, with truth and love, the message of life. And through a series of events, this is a big deal, we got her right here in Gainesville, Georgia. And we're so honored to have her. She's gonna tell you a little bit about her story. Would you welcome Ms. Abby Johnson? Thank you, Abby. God Bless You.
Abby Johnson: Thank you. Thank you so much. What an honor it is to be here with you in the house of God celebrating life and His creation. I would love to tell you that I have always stood up on a platform and defended life, but you know, that's not true. I worked for Planned Parenthood, our country's largest abortion provider for eight years of my life. I got involved as a college student at Texas A&M University. I was very ignorant about the topic of abortion. I'm so delighted to be here today to hear Pastor talk about abortion here in a church because I'm going to tell you something.
I grew up in a Baptist church, and I never heard a sermon about abortion. Not one time in my life did I grow up hearing about abortion, and friends, that was to my detriment as I got older because I had not heard the word from the Lord speaking about the sanctity of human life in the womb. 2009 had been an interesting year for me. In April of that year I had won Planned Parenthood's Employee of the Year Award. You can hold your applause. I know you're all very proud of me. But I was feeling on top of the world.
A few months later, I had a budget meeting with my supervisor where I was instructed to double our abortion quota; a certain number of abortions that we had to sell to women coming into our facilities. And that didn't make any sense because for so long I had believed that our goal inside the abortion industry was to keep abortion safe, legal, and rare. So, if that were true, why did we have an abortion quota in the first place and why in the world were we going to double it?
And I don't remember how I justified that budget conversation, but somehow, I did, and I believe that all of these things that happened in 2009 were God's way of chipping through the callous that had formed around my heart. About a month after that budget meeting, I was called in to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure. I'm not a nurse. I'm not a doctor. I'm a therapist by education.
So, if you're having a crummy day, we can talk about it, but if you need some sort of medical procedure, I'm really not your gal. But see, inside the abortion industry, they don't care if you're trained. They don't care if you have credentials because they really don't care about their patients' safety. I was called in to assist, and I was asked to hold the ultrasound probe on the woman's abdomen so that the doctor would be able to in his words "visualize his target". We did the measurement, and the baby was 13 weeks along. At 13 weeks, everything inside the womb is fully formed; arms, legs, fingers, toes, heart's beating, brain waves are flowing. Every internal organ that we sit here with today is formed in the womb by 13 weeks. Perfectly formed.
I stood there looking at the screen recognizing that this did really look like a baby. Now, it couldn't be because I had been taught abortion science. Abortion science says that a pregnancy is only a baby if that pregnancy is deemed wanted by the mother. Abortion science also says that a pregnancy is not a baby. It is just tissue, garbage, something to be disposed of if the baby is unwanted. There's no such thing as an unwanted child because every child is created in the image and likeness of God and very much wanted by our Father.
But that's what I had been taught, and I watched as the suction tube, the suction wasn't yet turned on. I watched it going into the woman's uterus, and I could see it getting closer and closer to the side of this baby, and when it finally touched his side, he jumped. And this 13-week-old unborn child began flailing his arms and legs as if he was trying to move away from the abortion instrument that would eventually take his life, but there was no safe place for him to go.
In just a few seconds, the doctor asked the technician to turn on the suction machine, and he said, "Beam me up, Scotty". And the suction was turned on, and I watched this perfectly formed innocent human being become dismembered in his mother's womb in the name of choice. I knew then that what I had seen was a grave injustice, and I told God that I would spend every day of my life fighting for justice for the unborn.
You see, I am standing in front of you today as a testament to the power of conversion. No one is beyond the power of conversion because no one is beyond the power of Jesus Christ. No one. Not one. And that's what this movement must be about. It must be about conversion. Converting the hearts of women who are considering abortion. It cannot just be about saving the life of one baby. It must be about so much more. It cannot just be about saving physical lives. Friends it must be about saving that eternal life because eternal change brings on change in the soul. It brings on change in our hearts, in our minds. It has to be about conversion for the fathers who are involved. I believe one of the primary antidotes to abortion is fatherhood.
I hear a lot of people out there say, "Abby, I pray that God will end abortion". I wonder if maybe we should change up that prayer a little bit. God is not sitting on His throne saying, "Well, I would end abortion, but I haven't heard enough prayers from Sue". God hates abortion. God abhors things that are evil, and abortion is evil. It is an act against our Creator. He doesn't need more prayers from us to convince Him that abortion is wrong.
Why don't we make our prayer, "Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours". Because I think that every single time we say to God, "God, please end abortion," He looks down at us, and He says, "Okay. Let's end abortion".
Let me tell you something friends. I don't care how high you lift your hands during the worship service. I care what you're doing with these hands. Are you using your hands to be the hands and feet of Christ? Now is the time. Now is the time for our hearts to break for this injustice. Guys today I am not coming to you speaking from a place in hope of victory.
See, I'm coming to you from a place of victory because I know who is victorious in this battle. I know that Jesus Christ is victorious in this battle and until that victory comes, until we see that victory, friends let us work, let us be the hands and feet of Christ. Let us sacrifice. Let us be evangelists of His Gospel and the Gospel of life. Let us do everything that we can, not just to make abortion illegal, but friends, to make abortion unthinkable in our society. Thank you all so much.
Ashleigh's Story: I met this guy. I was 19 and at the time I think he was 37, but he told me that he was 29, at first, and then 32, and then 37. So, he got old, like, real quick. He was a drug dealer, and I was drinking a lot. I mean, I was bartending, and I was drinking a lot, and that's all we did together really was drink. And I found out I was pregnant. I remember, like, we took the test together, and he was like, "It's okay. We're gonna take care of it". And I honestly wasn't even sure like what he meant when he said, like, "We're gonna take care of it". I didn't know if that meant, okay, we'll get married and, like, have a family, but like the very next day, we got the number to at an abortion clinic, and at this time, like, I really didn't have a relationship with God. I mean, I got saved when I was little. You know, so I knew this was wrong.
There's nobody in there asking you, like, "Are you sure you want to do this"? I just remember they said, "Do you want to hear the heartbeat"? And I said, "No". 'Cause I thought if I heard the heartbeat, I wouldn't be able to do it. So, after the first one, I stayed with the same person. We were together for a long time. It was really unhealthy. I found myself pregnant again. We weren't even together at the time when I found out, and I got the money from a different guy, and went to get my second abortion. It was like the same exact experience. You know, just cold and nobody really cares about you or the babies, obviously.
After that one, I was like, "Okay. I've killed two babies. Like, God is done with me". And my life like really kind of went out of control. I was just like so dead inside. I just thought I'd gone too far. You know, like I had done too much and that was it, so I might as well just live however I wanted 'cause I wasn't gonna go to heaven anyway now. So, when I got pregnant again, of course, he was like we'll have an abortion, and I was like, "No, you don't have to help me. I'll do it by myself, but I can't have an abortion again".
I had Jackson all by myself. It was a struggle, but it was good. It was just me and him, you know, and I was trying my best to just live right. We came to Divine. Like somebody invited me to Divine and some women I didn't even know were like, well, let's go up in the prayer tower after the conference is over, and we're gonna lay hands on you and pray for you, and I just remember these ladies. I don't even know who they are. It's like my whole life just came together. He's so good.
You know, He forgave me for killing babies, and He gave me Jackson, and He set me free from alcohol, and that would have been enough. Jackson one day he said that Jesus was gonna send him a dad, and he did. He sent Michael, and he loves Jackson so much. We got married on April 14, 2018, and we're about to have our first baby.
So, just when I thought life was fine and good, God was like, wait a second. Let me show you how good it can really be. So, now I get to be pregnant and have a husband, and once he gets here, I mean somebody to wake up with me in the middle of the night and help me, but we'll have our complete little family. So, it doesn't matter what we've done. God can forgive you. He will forgive you. You just to have to give all of you to Him, and He'll give you a life better than anything you could have ever, ever imagined.
Jentezen Franklin: I'm so glad today to know that there are those in the Body of Christ that are taking a stand on the moral imperative to fight for the right to life for babies. Of course, we're balancing this stand here in this ministry with our mission to provide grace to everyone, especially those women who have made a decision to have an abortion. God loves you. Maybe you're someone or maybe you know someone that just needs to hear God is not angry with you. God is not mad at you. He's madly in love with you, and today, He forgives you. You simply have to call on the name that is above every name. There's salvation. There's healing in the name of Jesus. I want you to pray with me right now just right where you are. Say these words.
Jesus, forgive me. Cleanse me. I need you in my life. Heal me. Restore me. You're the God of restoration. You're the God of forgiveness, and your name is Jesus, and today I confess my sins, and I thank you for giving me the freedom of grace and love that I don't deserve and I have not earned, but you freely give it, and I receive it in Jesus' name. Amen.
We would love for you to call, and we're standing by to pray or go online and send us an email and tell us what God is doing in your life. It means so much to us to hear from you. One of the ministries of our church is called New Beginnings. You and I together have built dorms there to help women who are bound by addiction find freedom. But they urgently need a new dormitory for the youngest in their care, the 12 to 17-year-old girls. I need your help to build this dorm. It will take a total of $300.000 to construct the girls' dorm. Whatever you can give will be a blessing. Here's my announcer to tell you more of how you can be a part of this miracle.