Answering the ALS Ice Bucket Challege

8/24/14

Alright, so I was challenged just a few hours ago to dump cold water over myself or make a donation for a worthy cause.

It looks fun and some of the videos I’ve seen have been outright hilarious and others, well they look downright painful. Who wouldn’t want to dump water on themselves on a hot day in a show of solidarity and support for research against a dreadful disease, right?

At first glance, this seemed like a great and fun activity to participate in; however, upon further inspection I have a different take.

The Change

But first, this is a picture of me getting ready to “dump water” all over myself in an act called baptism.  This picture was taken in 2007.

Baptism

This was a special moment for me because in this act, I made a conscious decision to publicly identify with the death, burial and resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through baptism.

In this act, I had taken the next step in obedience to the words and command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

In John 14:15, Jesus said “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.  And so I’m not ashamed to say I love my Lord and Savior and I want to obey His commands.

Baptism

Baptism for the believer and follower of Jesus Christ is a way to signify death to the old way of living and resurrection as a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says if anyone is in Christ, he/she is an altogether different kind of person; the old things have passed and the new things have come (paraphrase).

The Conflict

It is my understanding from online reading that there is a potential for the ALSA group to use funding received towards embryonic stem cell research.  I also understand that supporters can dictate where their money goes to but my concern is that after they have collected enough funds, they may end up funding embryonic stem cell research anyway. Take a closer look:

“Adult stem cell research is important and should be done alongside embryonic stem cell research as both will provide valuable insights. Only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases.” http://www.alsa.org/research/about-als-research/stem-cells.html

UPDATE:  July 2, 2014

In an email to ALL from Carrie Munk at the ALS Association:

The ALS Association primarily funds adult stem cell research.  Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); this research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research.  In fact, donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project. Under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future.

So, herein lies a conflict:  I take the Bible, God’s word, literally and I believe its claims wholeheartedly.

The apostle Paul charged believers in Romans 12 to live lives that are holy and pleasing to God as a proper form of worship.  In this radical change that takes place for the born-again believer, Paul encourages us: “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” ~ Romans 12:2a

The Conception Question

Contrary to what many espouse to, I believe that life begins at conception, a very special process that God instituted in the human body.  Therefore, as a new person who identifies with Christ, an ambassador of Christ and a leader at church I cannot allow myself to go along with the wave that is sweeping the nation on social media and support an organization that logically goes against my beliefs.

I don’t mean to rain on your parade if you are a brother or sister in Christ.  The Bible allows for liberty in Christ (Romans 14).  If you can go through with this challenge with your mind made up that it is not sin to you, then let that be between you and God.  But as for me (and my house), we have decided otherwise.

If I seem insensitive, understand that I am not trying to be.  I know what it is like to live with disease for many years.  I take pills everyday and it is a constant reminder of that.  I have been diagnosed with thyroid and kidney diseases and have other major health issues as well (hard-of-hearing and I see an oncologist on a regular basis).  I am not anti-doctor nor am I anti-science but I do have my limits.

Years ago, I would have not even questioned this scenario and decisions were pretty much made for me; but, as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, and now with a baby girl and another baby (boy) on the way, I have learned to do and that I have to do research and make decisions that I believe are best for myself and my family and stick with them.  And, you likewise are afforded the same opportunities in this free nation we share.

The Challenge:

Now, a lot has been made about accepting this challenge and challenging others to do the same – because it is for a worthy cause.

I have a challenge (or more) for all of you.  And it is for a much more worthy cause – your life beyond the one you’re living.

If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ – I challenge you to share Christ with others, as much as possible, not only within the next 24 hours, but 24/7 – use whatever talent you are gifted with.  You might not be a great orator but you might write well.  Share Christ on social media, E-mail or hand-written letter (yes, those still exist!).  Or, you might not write well but you know how to talk to people.  I challenge you to amp it up and look for opportunities to share Christ with others.  Give hope and life to those who need it.

If you are not a believer and follower of Jesus Christ – I challenge you to look honestly into the claims of the Bible.  Look and keep looking for answers if you don’t get them.  I know of a man who was an atheist and he was out to prove that God did not exist.  However, the more he investigated, the more he was proven wrong.  God loves everyone and He wants to give everybody an opportunity to choose to live life everlasting in Heaven.  But He won’t force you.  You must decide for yourself.

Should you choose not to accept God’s forgiveness through His only Son Jesus’ death on the cross, you have no other option but a day when you will be rightly judged by God.  Hell was not made for people but for Satan and his followers.  If you find yourself there, it will because you choose to go there by rejecting Christ and not because God sent you there because He is a cosmic killjoy.  And there will be no bucket of ice cold water that will provide any kind of relief.

Wouldn’t you say that concern for your eternal destination, your eternal life, is by far, a more worthy cause than the life that you live now that is temporary, even as painful as it may be?

I think so.  And I pray and hope that you do too.  God bless you.

The Certain Rich Man

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.   And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” ~ Luke 16:19-26 NKJV, #alsa, #als, #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge


Devotional contributor: Samuel Chavez

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