1. The Marijuana Mistake

    February 11, 2017 by Paul Chappell

    marijuana

    It came to my attention several weeks ago that for nearly six months city leaders and planners have been studying and discussing issues regarding cannabis and the effect it would have on our community to grant cultivation permits for medical marijuana. I have been asked by our city leadership to share my opinion on the matter, which I am grateful to do. I am thankful for our city leadership and their commitment to protect and serve our citizens in so many ways. The simple fact that our council meetings begin in prayer encourages me to know our leaders recognize they are under the authority of God ultimately. What follows represents my best understanding, given the limited time parameters, of the city’s proposal and the consequences I am concerned will follow.

    I recognize that a majority of Californians approved smoking marijuana for recreational use this past November. I am, however, among the 44 percent of our state who opposed Proposition 64, and I hold to the conviction that just because something is legal or popular doesn’t make it right, healthy, or wise. As the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” (History can point us to plenty of majority-held positions, which have led to great harm and destruction.[1]) The City of Lancaster has historically identified against the majority of Californians on a number of similar issues.

    I, as a pastor, and Lancaster Baptist Church as a ministry, stand opposed to the dissemination of marijuana or any mind-altering substance to the general public.

    As I have reviewed the city reports recommending Ordinance No. 1019 and Resolution No. 16-55, I commend the city staff for being proactive in creating codes that would not allow distribution points for marijuana. I do, however, have significant concerns regarding this ordinance and resolution. For the sake of organization, I’ve grouped these concerns into three categories: (more…)


  2. Thank You, President Trump

    January 23, 2017 by Paul Chappell

    ultrasound

    President Trump has certainly been a controversial figure on our political landscape throughout this past election season. Today, however, I am thankful for one of the first executive orders he signed—an order to reinstate a ban on federal funds to foreign abortions.

    Often called the “Mexico City Policy” (because of the location where it was announced), President Reagan was the first to set this policy. In short, it bans federal funding to international organizations that perform or recommend abortions.

    Eight years ago today, one of President Obama’s first executive actions was to revoke this policy, thus giving tax funds to foreign abortions.

    Today, on President Trump’s first full day in the oval office, one of his first executive actions was to reinstate it, banning tax funds to foreign abortions. (more…)


  3. How Is a Biblical Christian to Respond in This Election?

    November 5, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    flag flying

    This has been an incredibly difficult election season. In fact, recent polls indicate that 82 percent of Americans are disgusted with it.

    Sometimes as Christians, we wonder how we can make a difference in a time like this. How do we respond to the vitriol and rhetoric with clear thinking and Christ-like decisions?

    1. Remember your dual citizenship.

    Our first loyalty is not to America but to our King. Patriotic as we may be, we have an eternal homeland:

    For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.—Philippians 3:20–21

    This is good news for the Christian because it gives us a clear perspective to see the issues through a biblical framework and eternal vantage point.

    As a pastor, I’m always aware that there are people in every church in different phases of their spiritual journey. Some are skilled Bible teachers while others are just beginning to learn where the books of the Bible are. Younger Christians have often not yet learned to apply biblical principles to matters of everyday (or every four years) life. Thinking through issues that have been labeled as “political” with scriptural truth in mind can be new to them. Christians shouldn’t be contentious with one another over these issues. We should stand and declare biblical truth but allow for growth in grace. (more…)


  4. How to Vote When This World Is Not Your Home

    October 31, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    flag and sky

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been so weary of politics as I am this election season. This year has certainly been one of the most negative and difficult in American history.

    Often when voting, we look for “the lesser of two evils.” Perhaps a better way to say it is that we should look for which candidate is more likely to support vital issues as related to the teachings of Scripture and is most likely to preserve religious liberty for those who desire to propagate Scriptural truth.

    This is not to imply that a candidate is a knowledgeable or biblical Christian in every case, but that they are at least sympathetic to biblical issues is important to me.

    I believe Christians have a responsibility to use the freedom we’ve been given to influence our society for biblical values. Although there have been elections in which I have felt far more enthusiastic support for one candidate, there has never been an election in which either candidate aligned with my beliefs in every way.

    I think one of the benefits of this election season for Bible-believing Christians is the ever-present reminder that this world is not our home. I’m reminded of Hebrews 11:13 which speaks of the Old Testament heroes of faith as being people who “…confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

    The fact that this world is not my home, however, doesn’t make me disengage in the opportunity I have to vote. It makes me engage with a broader perspective. (more…)


  5. How a Young Boy Made a Difference for Religious Freedom

    August 17, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    sack-lunch

    If you saw the news headlines back in early June regarding the Zavala family and the Desert Rose Elementary School, you’ll remember why we were concerned about the threat of religious freedom being taken from a seven-year-old boy.

    In short, a young boy in our local Palmdale school district was told that he could not give out cards with Scripture verses to classmates who were requesting them during his lunchtime.

    It all started when the boy’s mother, Christina Zavala, included an encouraging note and verse in his lunch each day. As this first-grader read his notes to his friends, they began looking forward to the note and verse each day. This led to his mother making extra copies for him to give to his friends…which in turn led to a complaint and to the school dispatching an officer to the home to tell the family to stop. (more…)