How Important Is Your Religious Freedom To You?

There are those who would like to strip us of that freedom – the very principle that America was founded upon.  If you follow the news at all, you are well aware of the erosion in the moral and spiritual condition of our nation. The evil one is working hard to destroy what is good and Godly; however, we can overcome the work of the enemy, but we must pray, be engaged, be diligent, be strategic and STAND UP for greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. God is on our side; however, He does require us to put action to our faith.   Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

One could preach an entire sermon on this passage, but what strikes me is first of all, God wants believers to have a spirit of unity.  No, this does not mean that we will all agree on matters of faith and life, but it does require that we love one another in Christ so that together we can walk in the power of the Spirit to show the world who Jesus is and allow our witness to draw others to him.  Secondly, we are certainly being tossed about by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  If we each walk out our faith and love and put it into action, we have the power to overcome the works of the enemy.  As scripture tells us, a cord of three is not easily broken.  You have probably heard it said before, that it is not the presence of darkness that’s the problem but it’s the absence of light!  We need your light to shine in our government.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “For lack of guidance a nation falls.”  Our lawmakers need spiritual and moral guidance and they need to hear from you.  Your presence, your prayers, and your voice at the State Capital is powerful.  Family Heritage Alliance feels so strongly about the influence you have as pastors, as ministry leaders and people of Christian faith from your community that for the past six years we have sponsored the Pierre Summit.  It’s for you.  We desire to come alongside you so that together we can be a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.

Pastors, ministry leaders, and citizens, we know that you are extremely busy and you have numerous responsibilities, but as leaders, will you consider attending the Pierre Summit a priority this year?  I sense a measure of urgency that we, as the body of Christ, come together at our State Capital in the spirit of unity to kick off the legislative session for the glory of God.

Here’s what you can look forward to at the Summit.  At 9:00 AM, we will meet in the Rotunda of the State Capital for refreshments and instruction. You are then released to tour the Capitol, sit in on committees, or most importantly, we encourage you to find your representative and senator, voice your concerns and pray with your legislators.  Your presence and your voice are crucial to the decisions being made.  At 11:30, we will all gather on the steps of the Rotunda with the governor and many other state officials for a photograph followed by what I consider to be the most precious moment of the day joining together and singing, “God Bless America.”  Hearing that song, which is actually a prayer, resounds throughout the Capital. Followed by the singing, we proceed to Community Bible Church, which so graciously provides a delicious lunch for us and the legislators.  Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council will be delivering an encouraging message, and then we will close with gifted resources for you so that you can depart by 2:30.

Click here to register. There is no cost to attend the event, but we do need your registration. A free will offering will be available to help us with the bus rental.  A 55- passenger bus with bathroom facilities is being provided for you. One will leave from Sioux Falls and another will leave from Rapid City for Pierre. Details regarding departure times and location can be found on our website.   We look forward to seeing you in Pierre.  Please contact us with any questions.

-LaVonne Fosness

 

What The Schumer Shutdown Is Really About

A commentary from Congressman Gary Palmer

Democrat senators made a choice last night. They chose between funding our military along with funding for healthcare insurance for America’s most vulnerable children or funding an unconstitutional program for people here illegally. They made a bad choice.

By opposing passage of a reasonable continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding for the United States government, the Senate Democrats led by Sen. Chuck Schumer further endangered the safety and security of the men and women who serve in the United States military forces.  The Schumer Shutdown increases the potential for serious injury and death for the men and women who risk their lives in their training, in their operation of aircraft, ships and land equipment that are outdated and lacking adequate maintenance and for those serving in combat operations.

The CR included six year funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), something Democrats traditionally support and that millions of low-income Americans depend on for their children’s health care. Literally, the Schumer Shutdown has tied opposition to funding our military and CHIP to an attempt to force amnesty for people who are in this country illegally. This is not only compromising our national security, it is compromising the health and safety of millions of American children and  potentially causing resentment among American citizens against those who are here illegally as a result of the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional action called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In general, I believe a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate are sympathetic to the plight of those who were brought into the United States illegally as children. My colleagues and I want to provide a remedy that resolves the legal issue and helps them get right with the law and have an opportunity to earn the right to stay. As the vocal and disruptive demonstrations on Capitol Hill by these DACA/Dreamer protesters visibly show, they are not just children, but young, in some cases older, adults who are being used, not for their best interests, but as political pawns of the Democrat Party.

By attaching their demand for full amnesty and citizenship in order to fully and adequately fund our military and CHIP, the Democrats in both the House and Senate have made hostages of our service men and women and children in low-income families. Literally, the Democrats are encouraging and supporting the disruptive demonstrations by illegal aliens at our nation’s Capitol while our soldiers and sailors go without the support they desperately need and potentially leaving millions of children without health insurance in the midst of the worst flu epidemic in America in years.  This is not only dangerous, it is shameful.

If it was not already apparent, by now it should be to every American that by refusing to pass the CR, Sen. Schumer and the Democrats are callously using the unconstitutional DACA program people in their quest for political power with a stunningly reckless disregard for our military and the well-being of American families and their children. And whether the DACA demonstrators realize it or not, the Schumer Shutdown could make matters worse by diminishing their cause and their future acceptance among millions of otherwise sympathetic American people.

Finally, as if it is not evident enough that what the Schumer Shutdown is really all about then consider this. The Democrats ensured that funding for our military, CHIP, and other government programs ended at the precise second that marked the first anniversary of Donald Trump taking office as President of the United States. There is a disturbing and obsessive inability of the Democrats in both the House and Senate to accept the will of the people who elected President Trump. It appears to me that the Schumer Shutdown is simply the latest attempt to bring down the Trump presidency and halt the amazing success President Trump has achieved in his first year. The Democrats have literally come to the point where they are not only compromising our military and the health and well-being of American children, they are compromising the cause of DACA recipients and their own legitimacy as well.”

-Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)

 

Culture Impact Teams – Time to Shine!

Culture Impact Teams make a difference any time of year, but right now is their time to shine. With the legislative session now in full swing, your church’s CIT can truly shed light on pertinent issues in Pierre. As your CIT networks with Family Heritage Alliance and with other CITs, we can understand the bills and resolutions coming this session and have a voice with our legislators and governor.

If your church already has a Culture Impact Team, please contact them and see how you can be involved. If your church does not yet have a CIT and you would like one or if your Team would like help with further direction for your CIT, Phil Shively is in Sioux Falls this week, January 15-19, to help you! He will also be scheduling trainings in Rapid City the week of January 29. He is available for anything from a 5 minute introduction to a 2 hour training to get your CIT rolling. Please contact Phil at 605-718-5433.

Let’s not miss this opportunity to let the true light shine before men so that God is honored in our State.

Covering the windows at the Fort Meade VA Chapel

 

Recently FHA received a call from a distraught chaplain at the Fort Meade Chapel. It seems that the beautiful Christian-themed stained glass chapel windows have been covered to create a “religiously neutral” space.

In fact, the Veterans Health Administration’s Directive 1111 requires that VA facilities’ chapels be “religiously neutral, reflecting no particular faith tradition.” Fort Meade has opted to keep these windows covered at all times, unless a religious service is occurring.

FHA contacted Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s staff to advise of this situation. The response was immediate as the Congresswoman wrote a letter to the Veterans Administration Secretary Shulkin.

Please see the letter and News Release by clicking here.

FHA appreciates the prompt response and willingness of Congresswoman Noem to advocate for the veterans who have expressed their desire that these impressive stained glass windows not be mostly hidden from view.

We will remain engaged in this situation and we hope to report good news soon.

Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit

It’s that time of year again! Every year we invite Pastors, Priests and ministry leaders the State Capitol for a day of networking and inspiration.

Bus transportation is available from Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

The day starts at 9:00am (CST) in the Capitol rotunda with a light breakfast and coffee, then a brief presentation. We update everyone on the recent happenings at the capitol, introduce them to our family-value allies, and give them an explanation on the layout of the building.

After the presentation everyone is free to explore the capitol, pray with their elected leaders, or take a tour led by FHA Interns (or do all three!). After a picture on the capitol steps, everyone leaves the capitol and goes to Community Bible Church in Pierre for lunch.

This year our keynote speaker is Kenyn Cureton, Family Research Council’s Vice President for Church Ministries! Kenyn will share his heart as to why we as Christians are called to influence every aspect of our culture with Christ’s morals. Then at 2:30, we explain the many resources we have brought with us on the resource table, and you’re off! Home in time for supper.

When: February 6, 9am to 2:30pm

Where: Capitol Rotunda

Who: Pastors, Priests & Para-Church Ministry Leaders.

New for 2018: Every attendee is welcomed to invite a youth member from their church to shadow them for the day! Take a young person with you who you believe will appreciate a hands-on experience at the Capitol!

Click here to register for the bus from Sioux Falls

Click here to register for the bus from Rapid City

Click here to register, providing your own transportation

2018 Begins! – Our focus for the New Year

Happy New Year

The turn of the New Year causes most of us to not only reflect on the past, but also set goals and plans for the year to come. God has blessed the Family Heritage Alliance with another successful year, and we are busy making plans for 2018! Here are a few of the goals we will be striving for in the coming year.

Unifying The Church by equipping her leaders. We believe that one of the most effective ways to cause change in our culture is to equip our pastors. Through the recent culture impact trainings we have begun to build a network of teams in local churches who are committed to keeping their pastor and church body informed about the key issues of the day. On February 6, we will be hosting our annual Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit to bring pastors and ministry leaders to their capitol and give them a hands-on experience with their government, as well as equip them with resources they will find helpful in the daily work of influencing our culture for Christ.

We hope to build a network of people across South Dakota who don’t simply go to their pastor with a cultural problem they have seen, but rather go to their pastors with a problem or opportunity, information, a possible action, and the willingness to serve in whatever way needed to impact their community and serve their church. Through informational events, Culture Impact Teams, email alerts, and a new website design (coming soon) we will strive to keep you up to date on what is going on, and how you can take part.

We will continue to encourage people to be a moral presence in all levels of government, whether that be lobbying at the capitol in the 2018 legislative session, rallying a group to appear at a city council meeting, or distributing information before the 2018 elections. We will continue to seek strong candidates for office, and will do our best to make each candidate’s views known. No matter the avenue or level of government, we want to be a resource for you as we work together to make South Dakota a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.

We end this year incredibly thankful for your support, and we’re excited for what’s to come!

-Your Team,

Ed, Phil, John, LaVonne, Charlotte, Tonya, Norman