Wednesday Night Program
August 3, 2022
The status of our Wednesday Night program is uncertain. For the immediate future we will continue to show videos which will be a mix of entertaining movies and informational documentaries on a variety of spiritual and historical topics. Before we return to the more traditional praise and prayer time followed by a Bible study we will have to resolve how we will handle dinner arrangements. More information to follow.
Today – this Wednesday August 3 – we will show First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Freedom (© 2012 Groberg Films, 1 hour and 25 minutes, see FirstFreedomFilm.org).
Once again apologies for this last-minute notification. This video provides insight into the character of the individual founding fathers and their religious convictions, and how they shaped the struggle for America’s “First Freedom” – religious liberty. The crucial 1st amendment to our Constitution was penned by James Madison in the summer of 1789 which among other rights guaranteed that the federal government could not establish a state church or prevent the free exercise of religion by individual citizens, “each according to their own conscience” () This is sometimes referred to as “the separation of church and state,” not based on the 1st amendment, but a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, CT, which has often been misinterpreted and taken to the extreme by many, including the Supreme Court, that the government or any of its institutions (like public schools) should in any way be influenced by religion. The true spirit of the founding fathers concerning religious liberty may be found in another letter written by Thomas Jefferson in which he said: “Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself.” This same perspective is found in Scripture and captures the true genius of America.
The concern of the Founding Fathers was the establishment of one dominate state church which they intended the 1st amendment to prevent – but the second clause is even more vital in todays increasingly secular and godless society in which we live. It precludes a godless government from interfering with the freedom of worship of all believers – if and ONLY if the believers are willing to insist on the compliance of the government to our founding documents.
This video is informative and well worth watching.
Wednesday Night Program
August 10, 2022
We will show Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness (Hallmark, with Dean Cain and Peri Gilpin; 1:33), based on a true story about a family struggling with sudden loss. The background for this movie is in the article below – it is an amazing story of forgiveness, and a clear example of the truth of one of God’s most important promises found in the Bible:
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
A True Story of Forgiveness
Dad Forgives Driver Who Killed Wife, Daughter
By ABC News
July 30, 2002 — For years, Bruce Murakami sought justice from the young speeding driver whom he held responsible for the deaths of his wife and daughter in a 1998 car crash.
He left his job, hired a lawyer and funded his own investigation, even bringing in accident reconstruction experts to explain exactly what happened. Murakami contended all the while that driver Justin Cabezas, who was 19 at the time of the accident, deserved to go to prison.
“I will follow this through … that’s my mission … to make sure justice is brought forth,” Murakami said after the crash.
But in a Florida courtroom last week, as Cabezas pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, Murakami was near tears. He said he forgave Cabezas, and asked a judge not to send him to prison.
“He’s a young man,” said Murakami, 53. “I forgive him.”
Cabezas, who faced up to 30 years in prison, was sentenced to two years of probation, and 300 hours of community service. That service will include spending time with Murakami, educating people together on the dangers of reckless driving.
His Two Lovely Girls
Bruce Murakami used to call his wife and daughter his “two lovely girls.” His 11-year-old daughter, Chelsea, loved to read and had nicknames including Tofu, Munchkin and Little Buddy. His wife of 20 years, Cindy, spent as much time volunteering at a local hospital as she did working, counseling at-risk children and teaching parenting classes.
The accident happened on Nov. 16, 1998, when Cindy and Chelsea, were pulling out of a shopping center in the family’s minivan.
They ended up the path of a car that was speed racing, near 90 miles per hour. Cabezas, behind the wheel of a rented Dodge Intrepid, struck the minivan, which in turn hit another car and exploded.
A few blocks away, Bruce Murakami was leaving for work when he saw black smoke in the sky. He followed it and saw the tangle of steel and glass, with his wife and daughter trapped inside.
“It’s one thing to lose your loved ones … it’s another thing to see it happen,” Murakami recalled.
From Anger to Forgiveness
There were conflicting reports about the accident. Prosecutors told him he didn’t have a case against Cabezas. The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident was his wife’s fault because she had pulled in front of Cabezas’ car. The case was initially closed, but Murakami continued to fight, rounding up witnesses who said they saw Cabezas street racing.
Finally, after three years, prosecutors filed charges: two counts of manslaughter. The charges could have brought Cabezas 30 years in prison.
But that is when a father’s fight turned into a father’s forgiveness.
In recent weeks, Murakami met Cabezas for the first time, and was surprised at how clean-cut he was. The young man, now 23, broke down in tears, expressing sympathy and remorse for what happened.
Murakami told Cabezas he wanted him to apologize to his sons, publicly, for what happened. He had always thought having the driver sent to prison for 30 years did not make sense, and later decided that it might be best to have he and Cabezas warn young people about the dangers of street racing.
“People are going to listen to Justin, because he’s closer to their age,” Murakami said. His sons, Brody, 21, and Josh, 29, agreed that it was the right thing to do.
“I’ll forever be in his debt,” Cabezas said. He has agreed with Murakami that something good should come of the tragedy.
Murakami said that he believes that his wife, Cindy, would have wanted him to forgive Cabezas.
“It’s exactly what she would have done, because of her faith and compassion,” Murakami said. “We were together 20 years. She lived a good life and taught me well.”