Vol 11 Edition 2, 2001: You Can Start An Action Group

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YOU can make a Difference!

"A man's life is not to be trifled away; it is to be offered up and sacrificed to honourable services, public merits, good causes, and noble adventures." 
Lord Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English Lawyer

"Good works have their proper place. They justify our Faith, though not our Persons; they follow it, and evidence our justification in the sight of men." 
George Whitefield (1714-1770), a key leader in the Great Evangelical Awakening.

"To a person who has been frustrated in a benevolent design: I congratulate you, and anticipate your eventual success. I do not recollect ever to have succeeded in anything of importance, in which I did not meet with some rebuff, at the commencement." 
Edward Payson (1783-1827), Congregational minister.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

Why Do We Need Action Groups?

Our politicians reject God and His Law. Without God's standards, politicians have to make up their own laws, which inevitably fall short and result in increasing lawlessness. We see the symptoms of this in the inflation and crime rates, litter, abuse of children, ill treatment of non-citizens, pornography, blasphemy, widespread immorality and legalised slaughter of pre-born babies through abortion.

As Christians, we are called to be salt of the earth and the light of the world. Jesus did not say we only had to be salt and light if we had good leaders _ we need to shine in the darkness, whether the darkness likes it or not!

Through local Christian Action groups we can stand up for righteousness NOW - and see the light overcoming the darkness in our community.

"… they have treated father and mother with contempt … oppressed the alien … ill-treated the fatherless and widow … desecrated the Sabbath …bent on shedding blood … commit lewd acts … accept bribes to shed blood … take usury and excessive interest …" Ezekiel 22:7-12

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it." Ezekiel 22:30

Action groups proclaim God's standards to people who are not normally exposed to His Word in the church. We confront evil, and show the Biblical solutions to contemporary issues.

"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Ephesians 5:11

Why Local Christian Action?

Although some issues are unavoidably national (e.g. capital punishment for murder), there are a lot of issues that can (and must) be tackled on a local level. Through education and mobilisation we can clean up our neighbourhood - removing pornography from the shops, prohibiting Sexually Oriented Businesses by zoning regulations, establishing or supporting crisis pregnancy centres in our areas etc. We must make God's high regard for human life known - especially to those considering abortion.

The South African Constitution has major weaknesses and certainly also promotes wickedness. By taking action on a local level, we can create grassroots opposition to wicked laws - and also have cleaner, safer communities. Also, where good laws are not being enforced, we can create pressure by taking action. (Luke 18:1-8).

Is Christian Action Really Effective?

Africa Christian Action has seen major victories against print pornography vendors. We have stood up against blasphemy and abortion and made a difference. Some of the biggest victories involved only a few people - faithfully being there made the difference.

In 1993, three brothels were closed down in Cape Town after a couple of months of ACA demos and prayer vigils.

ACA's Operation Clean Sweep saw pornography removed from 9 000 shops. The South African branches of Penthouse and Playboy went bankrupt, and Scope was bankrupted and closed down.

Persistent prayer and pressure works!

How Do I Start?

Start by seeking God's blessing, wisdom, insight and guidance in prayer. Pray about specific areas of concern in your local area.

Do research. Firstly, try to understand the problem Biblically. We have a huge selection of books that can help you in this. We recommend you start with "Make a Difference". "Renaissance or Reformation" and "Biblical Democracy" are also useful references. Next, try to determine the extent and location of the challenge _ the local police may have statistics and local newspapers may report on it (have a look through their archives). Observe the locations where the incidents take place, and develop a strategy.

Approach your pastor wisely and respectfully. Explain Biblically the concerns you have, and what action you think the church should take. Be prepared to take responsibility for the hard work involved, but try to get your pastor's support.

Invite your church, friends and family to join you. Draw up a meeting agenda _ include time for prayer, Bible study, discussion and planning and prayer again. Try not to get too distracted by general discussion, but focus on the difference you can make. Take note of who will do what, so that you can follow up after the meeting.

If you need some encouragement or guidance, call us. If you can organise some productive meetings, we will try to include your town in our speaking tours.

Order our Christian Action Starter Pack and put it in to practice. Then, "Just Do It"! Even if it isn't a great success, you'll have learnt a lot for next time. As soon as the dust has died down, start planning what you'll be doing next.

Out of the Saltshaker …

It's a prime time to start planning your Life Chain. Even the smallest town contains ladies who will consider abortion, and we need to let them know that abortion kills babies - before it's too late. Medical personnel also need to be encouraged not to take part in the killing of preborn babies.

Life Chain is an excellent first project. Essential components are:

1. It's on Sunday 7 October 2001 - we need to all use the same date. International Life Chain Sunday is observed by up to a million people worldwide.

2. Pick a venue in your town where there's quite a bit of traffic - you want to be seen. Confirm with your local council - you may need to get written permission.

3. Get the people there - try to enlist your church's support. Get people from other churches to join you. Advertise extensively, and make sure your friends and family come.

4. Have posters for people to hold. A2 size card proclaiming "Abortion Kills Babies" with songs, hymns and prayers printed on the reverse is relatively cheap. (You can order these from ACA - see the resource list.)

5. Have pro-life tracts for passing pedestrians and motorists - you can order these from ACA.

6. Inform the local media about your plans - the newspapers and radio stations. Be prepared for interviews - the bottom line is that life begins at conception and abortion takes the life of pre-born babies. It's morally indefensible. We also have books which will help you explain why abortion is wrong.

7. Use the opportunity to pray. Jesus is King and we can win!

Practical Hints

1. Tackle One Issue at a Time

You may be all fired up to change the world, but don't burn yourself out before you start. Try to focus on one issue at a time, do the research and become an expert. Persevere until you see results. Take opportunities as they arise, but remember that spreading yourself too thin will make it difficult to bring about real change.

2. Advertise

Tell your church what you'er doing. Tell other

churches in your area what you're doing. You can even write a little newsletter to keep people informed. Involve the people who are interested in your action.

3. Organise Yourself

Make sure you start files with your research and action information. File your communications. Take photographs and write a short report on each action - include ways you can improve.

Know your contacts - have all their details in your file. If possible, use e-mail to communicate - it's really cheap. Otherwise, develop telephone chains to get the message out.

Leverage Through the Press

Use letters to the editor to get your message out. Tell your local radio stations and newspapers what you're doing. Offer to research and write articles.

Remember that taking action and giving solutions will often give you the opportunity to speak to the press.

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Running the Marathon

Christian action is hard work. Often it deals with the nastiest, dirtiest issues. As a result, there's a high dropout rate. Memorise the following Scriptures, and encourage yourself (and others)

with them when you're tempted to give up.

Action is a form of evangelism

"So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24

You're not alone; God has other Christians, with complimentary skills

"But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, `I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, `I don't need you!'" 1 Corinthians 12:18-21

Wicked nations are destroyed

"I looked for a man … but I found none. So I will pour out My wrath on them and consume them with My fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 22:30-31

All things will be put under Jesus's feet

"The LORD says to my Lord: `Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.' " Psalm 110:1

Remember your responsibility

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood." Ezekiel 33:6

Keep In Touch

Do write and let us know about the Christian action that you have in your area, so that we can encourage and pray for you. Please also pray for us.

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords - may His victory be seen - in our lives, in our homes, in our congregations and in our communities! (Revelation 17:14).

Jeanine McGill (Co-ordinator)

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa info@christianaction.org.za - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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