As we look around, it’s amazing to see the evil in our culture. There’s a denial of basic biology, a hostility to fundamental truth, and an outright hatred of the Gospel.

The wickedness we see on the news, in our popular culture, and all around us is profound. I don’t know what the future holds – whether this is a dark point that will allow for revival or if this is a sign of darker times to come.

Yet – despite the wickedness of these times – there have been darker days, none darker than that Good Friday. While humanity rejects truth today, humanity literally saw the face of God all those years ago. They not only denied Him. They spat on Him, cursed Him, mocked Him, and nailed Him to a cross.

Despite all that depravity, God still won – mere days later.

That’s what today, Easter Sunday, reminds us. No matter what – God wins. No matter the darkness – God overcomes. No matter the sin in the world – it is His. No matter the depths to which America sinks – He will claim this earth. No matter the sin in your own life or the life of a loved one – He can still save and redeem.

We must never despair. We must never be without hope. We must never be in doubt.

Because, no matter what – He is the King.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

For many Americans, Easter will have extra meaning this year.

After a year of daily death counts – with many paralyzed by fear of death for themselves or for vulnerable loved ones – we rejoice on a weekend where our focus is on the One who conquered the grave.

After a year of tension and anger – played out in nightly eruptions on our streets and daily outbursts on social media accounts – we exhale a sigh of relief and hope as we embrace the Prince of Peace.

And after the turmoil of a bitter election – and the gut-wrenching, often truth-defying policy changes that have followed – we are steadied and renewed as we kneel before our good and glorious King who embodies truth and never changes.

The last year has been remarkable for its enormous events and quantifiable numbers – cases, deaths, businesses ablaze, churches closed, vote counts, and so much more.

And yet beneath the big numbers and headlines, it has also been a year of quiet angst, gnawing fear and building anger – in our neighbors, and sometimes even in ourselves.

Through all of that, this year has been a crystal-clear reminder that we live in a fallen world that desperately needs a Savior. If we trust Christ, then even in the midst of a broken world and the never-ending battle for truth and justice, we can find a peace that surpasses understanding, a hope that never fades, and endurance to not grow weary in doing good.

It starts at the cross – and the empty tomb.

So this Easter weekend, we thank you for your steadfast support and engagement. And we pray that you’ll be blessed with the joy and peace that only Christ can bring.

Happy Easter!

John Paulton
Mobilization Manager

Expectations faltered. The hopes of a triumphant outcome rooted in truth and eternal justice were now questionable – if not impossible. Government casually dismissed the facts and caved to mob rule. The narrative rapidly changed and now positioned them on what looked like it would be the wrong side of history. The most ardent supporters felt the best pragmatic and protective measure to take was to draw back and consider how to endure the cultural backlash for their beliefs.

Then everything changed.

He resurrected!

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the gospel on which we stand. Scholars can critique it and scoffers can criticize it, but no one can cancel it.

In the end, truth wins! You can crucify it and bury it, but it will roll away the stone and become louder. As we enter this Resurrection Celebration weekend, I want to encourage you to stay steadfast in your work to make New Jersey better. There is too much at stake to withdraw and gradually capitulate to the extreme demands of those who seek to promote their own agenda above the common good of society.

The historical reality of the resurrection ensures us God will always come through, even when defeat seems settled and habitual. As we work together, along with other pro-life and social conservative organizations in our state, may we be reminded of this truth.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

He is risen!

Happy Easter!

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

“God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16, NKJV)

Friends,

As we approach the holiest day of the year, let us not forget the “Great Mystery” written about by the Apostle Paul in 1 Tim. 3:16:

  1. Jesus Christ, fully God, took on human flesh and dwelt among us
  2. He lived a sinless life, entirely fulfilling all the obligations of God’s law on behalf of those who would have faith in Him
  3. After giving His life as a sacrifice for those deserving death because of their sins, Jesus conquered death and was resurrected bodily
  4. He then appeared to hundreds of people before ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, where He awaits the full realization of His Kingdom
  5. Many people, recognizing the impossibility of the resurrection apart from a divine miracle authenticating the identity of Christ as the Son of God, believed in Him as their Lord and Savior

For years I taught theology and apologetics at a Christian high school. Unbelieving students would sometimes tell me that Jesus was nothing more than a great moral teacher.

But here’s the thing: good moral teachers don’t rise from the dead after resting in the grave for three days. It is because of the resurrection that we know our faith is reasonable and set upon a firm foundation. As the Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 5:14).

We worship a risen savior. When a group of women went to the tomb of Jesus only to find his body missing, two angels calmed their fears and told them:

“‘He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ And [the women] remembered His words” (Luke 24:6-8, NKJV).

Let us celebrate this good news — the good news that invigorates our hope and verifies our faith.

In Christ,

Blaine Conzatti
Executive Director

He came into town riding on a donkey – a site that certainly could not have been imposing – yet He was kingly.

Days later, mere days, the crowds that adored Him chanted for His death – yet He was kingly.

They beat Him, humiliated Him, and nailed Him to a cross – yet He was kingly.

Christ is King. He is King all the time and in all circumstances. He is King whether we adore Him or whether He is despised. In all things, at all times, and in all places Christ is King.

… Even when celebrating Easter from a laptop, watching a service on a livestream.

This Easter Sunday won’t be like any before. You won’t put on those new clothes, and you won’t fellowship – at least not in the same way. Yet, the Kingship of Christ will not be at all diminished.

Our state and our nation are in crisis – yet He is on the throne.

He reigns, even in the face of COVID-19. He rules, even when all we see around us is chaos.

I wish you and yours a Blessed Easter. Even more, I hope it’s a day when your hope is renewed. I hope it’s a day when, instead of being scared or frightened or anxious, you see Christ enthroned and supremely kingly.

In awe of the King,

ColeMuzio
President and Executive Director

This Holy Week has been unusual. Confinement not congregating is the new normal. As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday through innovative worship experiences, I want to share three lessons from the last 24 hours of Jesus’s life that will inspire you to stay focused and committed to making NJ better in the months ahead.

Lesson 1: God is involved in government – you should be too!

Many well-intentioned believers fail to live up to Christ honoring biblical citizenship because of early 20th century fundamentalist beliefs. In their eyes, government and other public institutions such as schools are inherently part of this fallen world. Therefore, Christians should avoid any effort to improve these institutions because they are irredeemable.

Jesus had a different perspective on the government. As he stood before Pontius Pilate, he appealed to the sovereignty of God that reigned over human government.

Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 19:10-11

Lesson 2: Religious liberty might suffer under the disguise of social justice

Judas was guilty of the greater sin referenced above because he willingly handed over Christ for his own personal benefit. Judas attempted to leverage feelings of guilt that the poor could have been better served with the money Mary dedicated by using expensive ointment to worship Jesus. Motivated by financial self-interest, Judas would betray the Savior hours later for 30 pieces of silver. I am alarmed that many today are intrigued by socialism, despite the potential loss of religious liberty at the hands of extreme left-wing political leaders who enshrine erotic rights above constitutional religious rights. Jesus instructed us to help the poor, but not at the expense of silencing gospel preaching.

Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He [Judas] said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

John 12:5-6

Lesson 3: Stand-alone if you must

Jesus not only experienced the betrayal of Judas but the pain of his closest friends refusing to stand with him in times of distress. Today, many people silently agree with our Biblical values that have helped society to flourish for centuries. Tragically, they are afraid to stand with us on the front lines to promote better public policies. We must stay encouraged and engaged notwithstanding the response of others.

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

John 16:32

Happy Resurrection Sunday! Our redeemer lives!

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

“God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.”
(1 Timothy 3:16, NKJV)

Friends,

As we approach the holiest day of the year, let us not forget the “Great Mystery” written about by the Apostle Paul in 1 Tim. 3:16:

  1. Jesus Christ, fully God, took on human flesh and dwelt among us
  2. He lived a sinless life, entirely fulfilling all the obligations of God’s law on behalf of those who would have faith in Him
  3. After giving His life as a sacrifice for those deserving death because of their sins, Jesus conquered death and was resurrected bodily
  4. He then appeared to hundreds of people before ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, where He awaits the full inauguration of His Kingdom
  5. Many people, recognizing the impossibility of the resurrection apart from a divine miracle authenticating the identity of Christ as the Son of God, believed in Him as their Lord and Savior

For years I taught theology and apologetics at a Christian high school. Unbelieving students would sometimes tell me that Jesus was nothing more than a great moral teacher.

But here’s the thing: good moral teachers don’t rise from the dead after resting in the grave for three days. Indeed, it is because of the resurrection that we know our faith is reasonable and set upon a firm foundation. As the Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 5:14).

We worship a risen savior. When a group of women went to the tomb of Jesus only to find his body missing, two angels calmed their fears and told them:

“‘He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ And [the women] remembered His words” (Luke 24:6-8, NKJV).

Let us celebrate this good news — the good news that invigorates our hope and verifies our faith.

In Christ,

Blaine Conzatti
Director of Advocacy

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7

Dear Friends—

Awhile back, my young daughter and I were unloading groceries from Sam’s Club. As we began to unpack the car, I remember telling her to let me carry the heavy things. However, being the strong, independent minded child she is, she insisted on trying to carry a box of hot dogs that weighed almost as much as she did. I again encouraged her to let me carry the heavy things and I proceeded to take some other boxes inside. As I came back to the car, I saw her briefly lift the box of hot dogs before it quickly fell to the ground and smashed her foot. She immediately cried out in pain and frustration, “I can’t carry this, daddy!”—to which I replied, “You don’t have to carry that, Brooklyn. Give it to me.”

In 1 Peter 5:6-7, the Apostle Peter heartens us: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

During these challenging and uncertain times, do you find yourself feeling like you can’t bear the burdens of this pandemic any longer? Do you feel like you can’t carry the weight of your anxieties? Have you reached the point of crying out, “I can’t do this!”?

You are right—you can’t.

You need your Father to do the heavy lifting for you.

Too often, friends, we try to bear the burdens of life and carry our anxieties on our own, when all the while, we have a loving Father in Heaven who is saying, “Give them to me, you don’t have to carry those.”

This Easter weekend, I invite you to join me in casting all anxieties on God our Father as we celebrate the victory of Jesus over life’s greatest burdens—the burdens of sin and death. As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is our hope. This is our joy. This is our peace.

Jesus is risen!

Vince Torres
President & Executive Director

There are a lot of questions swirling. When will this all be over? Is there really light at the end of the tunnel? Is there any hope?

As I was thinking through our current situation, I realized these must have been similar questions to ones the disciples were asking each other on that long weekend 2,000 years ago following the crucifixion of Christ. They didn’t know if they had just spent the last three years of their lives following a fake. They didn’t know whether they would all lose their lives for following him. They hadn’t realized that Christ had been telling them all along why He came. They thought they knew Him. They thought they understood Him. They thought they knew what the future looked like. But then suddenly, all they saw was uncertainty and death.

There may be seasons of our life, or even this current season, where this is how we feel. A month ago, a lot of us probably thought we knew what the future looked like, well to some extent, but now each one of us is facing realities that we never saw coming.

But we know something that the disciples didn’t quite understand.

Our Savior is risen and He rules over ALL things.

Yes, even this virus. And even the circumstances in our lives that feel out of our control.

Our Easter celebrations will look different this year. But as you celebrate this week, I pray that you know in a new way the certain hope of our risen savior Jesus Christ. You can rest knowing that the answer to ultimate questions of life are known. We worship a risen Savior who holds us and the world in His hand.

From all of us at Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, Happy Resurrection Day!

Sincerely,

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy

 

P.S. By a vote of 5-2, the Legislative Coordinating Council, yesterday, revoked the governor’s executive order that restricted gatherings at churches. While proper social distancing protocols should still be followed voluntarily, it is inappropriate for the Governor and Democratic leadership to single out churches based on events that occurred before the stay-at-home order.

Click here to thank Rep. Ryckman, Rep. Hawkins, Rep. Flinch, Sen. Wagle, and Sen. Denning for standing for religious freedom, while still recognizing the threat of COVID-19 and the need for personal responsibility.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” ~ Psalm 23:4

I’ve been comforted by Psalm 23 a lot the past few months, and I can’t help thinking that the Lord was using that time of reflection in advance of the coronavirus and economic uncertainty we are all facing together as a nation.

In particular, verse 4 has been on my heart and mind because my family has been walking the valley of the shadow of death since last fall.

In fact, we didn’t know that we had already begun walking this path until an unexpected seizure led to my father’s diagnosis of the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

After the initial shock of hearing what must be one of the worst words in the English language—glioblastoma—there were many rough days knowing we had entered that valley. And I didn’t want to walk.

Walking the valley

Then one evening I found this beautiful essay, “Reading Psalm 23 on Good Friday.”  In Psalm 23 specifically, “…we can or should read Jesus not only as the Shepherd, but as the one who speaks in the Psalm.” The essay urges us to “engage in a genuine Christian reading, not to merely remember Christ as our Shepherd, but to think of Christ as the one who is praying this Psalm himself.”

In other words, we usually read this most-famous Psalm as “Jesus is my shepherd”—and, of course, He is. But knowing that all of the Old Testament points to Jesus, there is another meaning here, too.

And that is that we can hear Jesus’ voice in place of King David’s, praying Psalm 23 to His Father as He walked through that valley and suffered a cruel death on the first Good Friday. That death began the process of restoring all of creation to God’s original design; provided the way for re-establishing relationship between the Creator and those who call upon Jesus’ name as the only means by which they can be saved; and assures us that we will never have to walk that valley alone—if we belong to Him.

We do not know exactly how long this valley—my family’s or our nation’s—will be. Even apart from the coronavirus, of course, we are all walking the valley of the shadow of death. Our time on this earth is limited, though sometimes we’re more aware of it than other times.

But however long my family’s valley is, it won’t ever feel like enough time for this daughter with her father. While we continually pray for my dad’s complete healing, we know that may not come in this life, but the next.

And that is the other source of hope and comfort—to know that we will be raised to life in perfected bodies as part of the new heavens and new earth. That hope is only possible because Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18).

Cherishing Life

If you have followed Family Policy Alliance® for any length of time, you know we envision our nation being one where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished. Usually when we think about life being cherished, we think about protecting the preborn. But life is also worth fighting for at its other end—in illness and frailty, in the need for respirators to fight the coronavirus, and as one comes to the end of that valley.

I have had the privilege to work in pro-life, pro-family public policy my entire career, first at Focus on the Family and now at Family Policy Alliance. But never has principle been so personal. Walking this valley, time is precious and life is certainly cherished.

And so during this Holy Week, I pray that you do not rush through Thursday and Friday, skipping ahead to “Sunday’s coming.” But rather, reflect on the gravity and weight, the suffering and pain, the profound sacrifice of Good Friday—the ultimate act of cherishing life.

Then consider the silence and uncertainty of that first Holy Saturday. So that when Easter morning does break, you can rejoice that resurrection and eternal life are truly won—and we have no need to fear evil—because our Lord walked through that valley alone so that we will never walk there without Him.

Walking with Him and you,

Sonja Swiatkiewicz
Family Policy Alliance