The following post is Part One in a series called, My Way or the Highway. This series has a certain purpose which is described here. Today we will be looking at the subject of Natural Birth.

One of the most fiercely debated issues in Christian circles today is the choice to either have a natural birth (which comes in many different forms as well as processes) as opposed to using pain-relieving drugs during the labor process. The choice seems to center around the question that asks, “Is it morally permissible, and/or biblical, to use pain-relieving drugs during childbirth?”

Natural birth is a philosophy that women are naturally able to give birth to their child without any form of external intervention. Up until the 20th century most births in the history of the world were done at the mother’s home with nurses and midwifes, as well as family members, pitching in to help in the labor and delivery process.

By the 1940s, many women had moved their labor and delivery to the a local hospital where they would receive professional care. As technology improved so did pain medication.

Recently, there is a movement among Christians for their babies to born the “natural way.” The argument states that natural birth is the way that God has chosen to bring people into the world, so this is the proper and biblical way for all Christian women to deliver their children.

This view is faulty because the argument that natural birth is the way that God intended is not exactly correct.

In Genesis 3, God pronounced a curse upon Adam and the woman for their sin, as well as the Serpent who deceived them into sinning. God curses Adam and tells him that from now he when he works the ground he will sweat. He curses the serpent and says that from now on the serpent will slide along his belly on the ground and eat dust. He also curses the woman and says:

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

Therefore, God told the woman that she will now have labor pains and that she will seek to control her husband but will fail in doing so.

This curse brings to light that before sin was in the world, there was no pain.
Everything was still perfect so there were no labor pains for woman. God’s design, then, was that when a woman would give birth to a child the process would be literally painless. However, the woman’s sin brought a curse that would forever change the child-birthing process.

Therefore, it is not morally obligatory for Christian women to have natural births. In fact, as long as pain medication such as drugs and epidurals are safe I would suggest that women seek to ease the curse of childbearing if they so choose.

The fact that “natural childbirth” as we know it is the way to give birth that God intended is just not true. Yes, he did intend labor and delivery to be done without the help of drugs or mediation, but he also intended it to be painless. Childbirth is not painless anymore and, as in all suffering of life, if a Christian woman can ease the pain and suffering in a safe and ethical way then she should be free to do so.

Part 2 in this series will look at the subject of breastfeeding.

The following article can be found on Lifeway’s website:

Here’s a great premarital question: “Can the two of us together do more for the Lord than we could separately?” Great food for thought, huh?

Working together helps build a team mentality. Whether it’s struggling over a major decision, serving others, or simply laughing together, sharing life creates a team mentality that makes the marriage bond stronger. The key word is together.

Here are four great ways to build a team mentality.

Pray Together
An incredibly powerful connection can develop from a shared prayer time. Prayer is an intimate experience for any individual. When you share something that personal with your mate, you’re taking him or her into a private part of your life. Vulnerability is there, so trust also must be there. Intimacy grows in this environment.

Prayer is a prerequisite for any effective service you will do as a couple. Talking to God together will provide the healthy foundation from which you can serve. By consulting God as a team, you receive His direction. “For I know the plans I have for you …” (Jer. 29:11).

Minister Together

Find a missions project you can work on as a couple. What ministry interests do you share? Opportunities range from taking a meal next door to a grieving neighbor to teaching VBS in Brazil while on a church missions trip. You both may want to serve in your church preschool department or teach a couples’ Sunday school class. Pray and brainstorm together. The search for a team ministry can be exciting. Be patient but pursue the discovery of that ministry passion. “Keep searching, and you will find” (Matt. 7:7). Can ministry be done without a mate? Absolutely. God may have given you a passion your mate doesn’t completely share. There are ways to serve both individually and as a couple.

There is amazing power, however, in doing things together. Working with your mate on a ministry project allows you to see him or her in a unique setting. You’ll learn more about each other, and that’s always helpful in any relationship.

Parent Together

Raising your children is a joint venture (and hopefully, a joint “adventure!”). The children need to see the two of you as a parenting team. This not only bonds you as parents, it also will serve as a confidence-building experience for your kids.

Regarding discipline, differences between spouses are quite common. Discuss these, pray about them, seek counseling if necessary, then present a united front to your kids. Fair but decisive joint parenting builds the marriage team and creates security for your children.

Give Together

Sharing with others as God has blessed you demonstrates a mature, obedient lifestyle. Giving your tithe to the Lord through the local church is a great place to start. Decide and budget together how much you’ll give to the Lord.

I discovered early in our marriage that Selma had a much more giving spirit than I did. She had this attitude of blessing people by sharing what we had. Our marriage has richly benefited as I’ve become more like Selma in this area. What do you have that others need? Clothes? Time? Encouragement? Have you experienced something as a couple that you know someone else is currently going through? Your voice to them could be amazingly helpful.

Togetherness has biblical blessing. “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts” (Ecc. 4:9). Simple words but a profound message. Look for ways you and your mate can be salt and light in this world, and watch the team effort bless your marriage.

News

July 26, 2008

Found out last week that we are having a girl! Abigail Easterlin Wallace will be her name. Click here for more information.

VBS Wrap-Up

July 22, 2008

Some statistics from VBS 2008

– Averaged 290 children and teachers (up 50+ from the last two years)

– Saw 31 children make professions of faith and 15 more express interest

– Had over 300 people at the Friday Night Family Luau.

Overall, it was a great VBS. It will be hard to top next year but I know that God will be faithful if we are faithful to Him. It’s amazing to watch what He can do when we pray, plan, and produce to the best of our abilities. To God be the glory!

VBS Day 3

July 16, 2008

It is really awesome to see how the Lord works. We had over 35 children make faith professions Wednesday morning at VBS. These children responded to a gospel call by raising their hand (with their eyes closed) and helpers took them outside the room and met with them individually. We expected a few children to make decisions this morning but we did not expect 30-40 hands shoot up immediately when the option was given. Each VBS leader has incredible stories at how God has worked through these kids’ lives this week. Many of these children have never heard the Gospel before and are either unchurched or barely churched. Confronted with the ‘no-brainer’ decision to believe in Jesus’ forgiveness of their sin, these children were eager to taste that sweet forgiveness.

I have heard stories of children sincerely convicted of their sin and ready to accept Jesus and eager to tell their friends and family members about Him. I’ve even heard of children having complete personality changes once the Holy Spirit came to dwell in their life. What an amazing encouragement to all Christians everywhere! God is still on His throne and He is still working through the tender and accepting hearts of children. It is no wonder why Jesus often used children to teach his disciples and others about following Him.

During the remainder of the week we will systematically go through each of the many decision cards and counseling packets and get in touch with every parent. Pray that some of these unchurched parents will be as receptive to the Spirit as their children have been.

VBS Day 2

July 15, 2008

We had yet another record-breaking attendance day at VBS on Tuesday. We broke the 300 barrier – 312 total participants. Also, we had three fifth grade boys accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior in their small group time as Dr. Estep led their closing Bible study lesson and issued a call to salvation.

On Wednesday I will be giving the children a chance to respond and make the choice to believe in and follow Jesus. Pray that lives will be convicted of sin and that many will turn to Jesus for eternal life.

Here are some pictures from Tuesday’s VBS events:

Here is “Wave Rider Wes”

Anne Marie our Worship Leader

Me

294

July 14, 2008

294. That is the number of children and adult volunteers that we had today for the first day of Vacation Bible School. This number is about 30 more than the average over the past two years. This number is important for several reasons:

1. This number means that there well over 200 children will clearly hear the Gospel presented this week multiple times. Around half of these children are either unchurched or not affiliated with First Baptist in any way.

2. This number marks a substantial increase since last year. In ministry, we need to celebrate our victories that God has blessed us with. Like most years, this number should increase and cap out by Wednesday.

3. This number means that close to 300 people are either involved in or participating in a Gospel-centered activity at one time in one place for one week. Wow!

4. Because this is the highest number FirstKids has had in a while, the excitement that this number creates energizes all of our leaders. God has blessed us with fabulous leaders this year in VBS – a good mix of first-timers as well as long-term servers.

5. This number also represents the number of little egg salad sandwiches that I ate at the WMU leader snack station. WMU – we you love and your cooking (especially the egg salad, sausage balls and poundcake).

Keep praying that God will bless this week through VBS!