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JOSHUA D. DENTON

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“I have a dream.”

Everyone has heard those words from Martin Luther King Jr. Dream. It’s another word for vision. It describes a view. The familiar expression “what you see is what you get” comes to mind.

What if Martin Luther King Jr. had not had the vision outlined in his most famous speech? “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The vision or dream you have restrains you from other distractions. It allows you to focus on what really matters.  In life, there are incredible options to choose from, especially as a young person. Just think about it, how many times have you been asked “So what are your career goals? What is your dream job? What do you want to do after you graduate? What do you want to do with your life?” Questions like this often become annoying and frustrating because we sometimes have difficulty answering them for ourselves, let alone articulate a clear answer to friends and family. Having the proper view of where God has called you to be right now is key. It’s not just what you see, but how you see it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it aptly, “No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.” This quote from this famous civil rights leader remind us to refuse to have a circumstantial view. This is how we typically see ourselves – according to our circumstances – but doing so dangerously limits us. Consider King’s life. He could have let his ethnicity limit him or discourage him from pursuing his dream of racial equality for all. We could let our genetic makeup or our age hold us back from following our dreams or pursuing what God has called us to. Our future then becomes a slave of our past.

In contrast to a circumstantial view, embrace a providential view. This is viewing ourselves as God sees us, and is amazingly empowering. It affects how we face challenges and determines whether we emerge as a victim of our circumstances or as victor over our circumstances. Destiny in disguise often comes in the form of a problem.

Dr. King noted that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Not only should we leverage difficulties we encounter to our advantage, but after experiencing defeat or setbacks we are better equipped to be successful the next time around. Defeat the first time around should not discourage us either. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Extremely wise words from D. King. We  can also be in a better position to encourage others who go through similar hardships or who face similar challenges.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who stepped out of his circumstantial view and into a providential view. His goal wasn’t to make a name for himself or to one day have a Federal holiday in his honor. Those things were outcomes of his persistence in pursuing his God-given dream. Overcoming the obstacles that he faces certainly wasn’t easy or fun. However, today we celebrate his legacy because of the incredible way he uses the tumultuous circumstances to his advantage.

As D. King detailed, “On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

Is your dream self-serving or God-honoring?

My challenge to millennials today, as we honor the legacy that was Martin Luther King, Jr. I encourage you to use your God-given skills, opportunities, and yes, even your problems to rise above life’s challenges. Do hard things. You may be the next champion of a beautiful and noteworthy cause, if only you would embrace the proper perspective of yourself and your circumstances. You too, can not only have a dream, but see that dream accomplished.

JoshDenton

Joshua Denton is a senior at Thomas Edison State College and works for the Indiana Family Institute in Indianapolis. He is also Communications Director for STAND. Follow Joshua on Twitter at @1776Josh.

 


BY JOSHUA DENTON

The nation has seen a decline of 12 % in abortions, according to a recent AUL study published in the Associated Press. Improvements in attitudes are reflected in these encouraging statistics and reflect the rising popularity of alternatives to abortion among millennials.

The study shows the decline is nearly equal in both the most pro-life and pro-choice states.

In the least pro-life states

Vermont – Down 9%
New York – Down 15%
Connecticut – Down 21%
New Jersey – Does not collect abortion data
Montana – Down 18%
Washington – Down 17%
Oregon – Down 18%
Nevada – Down 22%
California – No abortion data collected
Hawaii – Down 30%

In the most pro-life states

North Dakota – Down 8%
Nebraska – Down 8%
Kansas – Down 13%
Missouri – Down 18%
Indiana – Down 20%
Oklahoma – Down 19%
Arkansas – Down 6%
Texas – Down 12%
Mississippi – Down 6%
Louisiana – Up 12%

The only most pro-life state on the list to see a rise in abortions is Louisiana. But this rise is affected by recent abortion clinic closures in Mississippi and Texas due to new laws.

This summer, in an article for the Boston Globe entitled, American millennials rethink abortion, for good reasons, author Jeff Jacoby explained some of the reasoning behind these trends. One factor is due to “an empathy-driven reaction” that views abortion negatively because of improvements in the medical technology such as vivid ultrasound images, which render a more human aspect to the issue of abortion.

Improvements in neonatal medicine also have replaced the concept of what constitutes a viable fetus. Jacoby explains that because of these progressions, babies born extremely prematurely are able to “survive and flourish” in a world where a generation ago survival might not have been possible.

Jacoby relates a statistic that may be surprising to many. Of all age groups, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. That position connotes a very strong negative opinion of abortion that the majority of millennials share.

According to SFLA, the Marist poll data on millennials shows that 59 percent think abortion is “morally wrong,” 58 percent think abortion “does more harm than good,” and 64 percent think the abortion rate is “higher than it should be.”

In previous generations, those under the age of 30 were the most vocal proponents of abortion.

Today’s millennials know personal stories of friends and family members who regretted the decision that never gave their child a chance to live.

Millennials today may also simply be more hesitant to think of abortion positively because they have each survived Roe v. Wade.

 

Follow Joshua Denton on Twitter @1776Josh.

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Engaging Millennials:

A Millennial Details What Conservatives are Missing

 

Joshua Denton

As a young conservative, I am convinced that a good portion of millennials are disinterested in conservatism in part due to issues of perspective, attitude, and messaging.  Perspective affects attitude, and both affect messaging. Consider the following observations so you don’t miss millennials.

Believe in us.

Millennials are capable of so much more than what is expected and required of them. If young adults are not encouraged to do hard things, why should it be expected that the majority of them will take initiative without encouragement?

Optimism is contagious.

One would almost infer from certain attitudes that implementing conservative values in public policy is a hopeless cause. Assertions of truth may be hard to accept for certain groups of millennials. But truth is not dead, and never will be.  That’s where persuasion, winsomeness, and listening all come into play.

Every public policy and political agenda affects a human heart.

Everyone has a right to be treated with love and respect regardless of ideology. People who have differing opinions are not enemies and millennials know that they deserve to be treated properly. Communicating a correct message incorrectly generates more damage than profit. It’s possible to say the right thing, but say it in a wrong way. Of course, there are some who are so angry and hardened that persuading them is more than a bit difficult, but nothing can ever justify conservative Christians demonstrating anger and severity to their political opponents.

Be willing to engage honestly.

It’s one thing to offer well-rehearsed talking points on a TV interview but another to have a heartfelt one-on-one discussion with a college student. Don’t pretend knowledge. Ask questions, welcome comments. Share personal stories. Circumvent controversy, pursue peace. The goal shouldn’t be to win a debate, but to patiently share and instruct.  And if you’re met with hostility, don’t personalize it – if you’re being both gracious and truthful, the hostility of the person with whom you’re speaking isn’t generated by you.

Celebrate goodness with a cheerful heart.

What do you stand for? Don’t only be always against things. Encouragement is essential to everyone. People gravitate toward good news and a cheerful attitude because they are attractive.

Speak the truth gracefully.

Communicating a point doesn’t require going off on rants. Rigid dogmatism doesn’t prove one’s virtue. Aggressive arguing won’t change someone’s politics; grace and truth combined with prayer and a good example can influence hearts.

Live what you believe.

Lead by example. Don’t say one thing and do another. Millennials aren’t bamboozled by words and will spot incongruences.

Represent.

Even as a young conservative at times I am dismayed at how inarticulate some spokespeople are when approached “off the cuff.” Make it your business to know what you believe and why. Millennials have the right to assume you will articulate your views appropriately at any time.

Joshua Denton works for the Indiana Family Institute in Indianapolis and is completing his degree from Thomas Edison State College. Follow Joshua on Twitter @1776Josh.  All media inquiries contact josh@hoosierfamily.org

 

On Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, several predominately black ministers stood with STAND Founder and National President, Bishop E.W. Jackson to lend their voices and support to the roll-out of ProjectAWAKENING, “A Recovery Plan for America’s Inner Cities.”

In addition to Bishop Jackson who spoke first, speakers at the press conference included:

  • Rev. Cecil Blye, National Vice President and Kentucky State President for STAND, and Senior Pastor of More Grace Ministries in Louisville, Kentucky;
  • Rev. Iverson Jackson, National Vice President and Arkansas State President for STAND, and Senior Pastor of Zoe Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas;
  • Dr. Leon Threatt, National Vice President and North Carolina State President for STAND, and Senior Pastor of CFA Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina;
  • Steven Craft, Evangelist/Revivalist, New York/New Jersey State President for STAND, and Executive Director of Christian Citizenship Ministries in Monroe Township, New Jersey;
  • Rev. Derek McCoy, National Clergy Relations Director for the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE);
  • Mr. Lonnie Poindexter, Chief Correspondent, Urban Family Communications, and Host of the Lion Chasers radio show; and
  • Mr. Buddy Pilgrim, National Director of the Faith and Religious Liberties Coalition for Ted Cruz 2016, and Founder of Integrity Leadership in DeSoto, Texas.

BY: JOSHUA D. DENTON

Assistant Communications Director, STAND

We are full blown into the “official” holiday season with only 14 more “sleeps” until Christmas Day. It’s so close now that even the grinches and grouches can’t live in denial any longer.

Thanksgiving has come and quickly passed by, and yet it is one of the most important holidays. It is a traditionally deep-rooted cultural norm in which we set aside a day to give thanks to our Creator for his providence, provision, and protection. Although we set aside a day specifically for “giving of thanks,” our gratitude should not be held to solely one day a year.

Likewise, similar to Thanksgiving, Christmas is a time set aside for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. One day is utterly insufficient to truly reflect on all the blessings and benefits brought about from serving God, and putting him in control of our lives.

Too often our holidays have become too materialistic and focused on what we can receive or get from others. The holidays are times that are supposed to be set aside with family to share in joy and thanksgiving. However, the holidays have too often turned into times where we gripe and complain, fight with family members, and act or react selfishly.

This Christmas season, I urge you to focus on the true reason of why we are on the this earth, of what we can do for others, and how we can best serve God in our day-to-day endeavors. Christmas is a holiday based on giving of gifts – the greatest gift being salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s only begotten Son spent his entire life selflessly working to benefit his fellow-man. That’s what Christmas is all about, showing Christ’s giving attitude with those we share this earth with. So in the true spirit of what Christ gave for us – his life, his all –

Merry Christmas!!

 

 






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