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Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News March 23, 2009
 
Who Is Joe Ortwerth?  
A faithful reader of our Jeff City Update suggested that I give some background on myself for people who may not know me well.  So here goes.
 
I live in St. Peters in St. Charles County.  I am married to a wonderful gal named Wendy who has a professional background of service to people with disabilities.  We have one son in the home, Josiah, who attends Living Word Christian School.  We have an older son out of the home, Frank, who has given us a grandson named Joel.  We also have another son in heaven, named Joel as well, who died at three months of age from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  We are members of St. Charles First Assembly of God.
 
The Lord blessed me with the tremendous opportunity to serve 24 years in elective office.  I served as a state representative for 12 years from 1983 to 1994, and as County Executive of St. Charles County for another 12 years from 1995 to 2006.  Throughout my years in office I had a strong passion for promoting Christian values in the public arena and have had a lifelong commitment to the pro-life movement.
 
As my years in public office came to a close, I believed that God was leading me into full-time ministry.  For nearly three years I pastored a small non-denominational church in St. Charles County named Highway of Holiness Church.  I soon came to realize that this assignment was preparation for a different calling, namely working for a ministry active in the public arena.  Little did I realize God was melding my passions for public service and the ministry in a role where both life interests would be combined. 
 
The opportunity to work with Focus on the Family in directing a statewide pro-family ministry is the dream of a lifetime, yet not one I was seeking.  Yet our God has higher thoughts than our own, and greater plans for us than we can envision ourselves.  Walking in His will is the greatest place to be.  I am thrilled to have the privilege to labor in a pastoral capacity in the governmental sector.  It is truly a labor of love for me.
 
What are my hobbies and interests?  Anyone who has been around a politician or pastor knows there is little time for such things.  We are always on the go and rarely slow down.  But I do love to read, whether it be Bible study or religious materials, or Christian news sources online or in print.  I am an avid pro football enthusiast and must confess that I am an intense supporter of the Arizona Cardinals.  This year's Super Bowl was quite a treat with my favorite team "shocking the world" by making it to the big game. 
 
Yet the real big game for me is impacting the world for Christ and striving at all times to be an effective ambassador for Him.  I have a heart for discipleship of believers to be faithful followers of Christ, and am truly blessed to be able to work in a ministry dedicated to discipling our leaders in public life. 
 
Please know that many of our elected officials are genuinely good-hearted people who entered public service for the right reasons.  Yet, like all of us, they can lose focus and become enthralled with the false glamour of political power, prestige, and privilege.  You can make a difference in their lives just as I try to do by befriending them in the faith and developing true spiritual fellowship with them.  The best thing you can do is to get to know them personally so that you can actually be in prayer partnership with them.
 
Please be in prayer for my family, knowing that the days I am in Jeff City I am away from them.  Please also be in prayer for me that I will be a credible messenger of God's love and a capable spokesman for His Truth.
 
Gratefully,
 
Joe Ortwerth
Executive Director
 
 
 
 
Make Your Voice Heard in Your Government
 
The goal of our Jeff City Updates is to provide you valuable information about issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.  This information equips you to be an active and engaged Christian citizen in communicating your concerns to your elected representatives.  It also helps you focus your prayers on specific people who need intercession, and specific subjects that call for measures of God's Grace.
 
We hope you continue to find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily
org
, by phone at (636) 536-0014, or by mail at the address below. 
 
Please be in prayer for our ministry as we work to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of the State Capitol.  Please also remember us in prayer as we seek to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with legislators, legislative staff, lobbyists, and all those who frequent our State Capitol.
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Missouri Legislature Reaches Midpoint in Session
 
The Missouri General Assembly recessed for spring break last week, marking the midpoint of the legislative session.  Legislators returned home to their families and their other occupations, and many used the break for some well-deserved vacation time.  The legislative session involves a grueling schedule, and a respite is needed not just to catch one's breath, but also to calm tensions that build as debates intensify and the stakes get higher.
 
Since we have no legislative news to report this week, we thought we would take this occasion to make a personal appeal for your continuing support and assistance.
 
The times we live in are very challenging in both spiritual and temporal terms.  The economic woes besetting our nation have had a sobering impact on everyone.  When your prayer list has become exceedingly long with the names of people looking for work and you watch businesses that have been around for years close their doors, one can easily become anxious and fretful about the future.  If you are the person out of work and unable to find employment, fear can become an unwelcome daily visitor.
 
These times remind us as believers that it is not our jobs or the government that is the source of our prosperity and security.  Rather, it is God who is the source of every good and perfect gift that we have.  And it is to Him we must go for help and answers.  The Book of Psalms assures us that we can count on His sustaining aid.  "Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber;  indeed He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."  (Ps 121:1-3)
 
It is important to realize that the devil does not spend a lot of time slumbering and sleeping either.  The Scriptures tell us that he is constantly prowling around looking for someone to devour.  He takes advantage of tough times.  His goal is death and destruction, and his tactics are deceit and discouragement.  One of his favorite places to prowl is among the portals of power in government, where he seeks to entice public servants with the same temptations with which he tested Jesus himself.
 
Each week we devote our time in Jefferson City to educating legislators on public policy issues from a Biblical perspective.  But even moreso we seek to encourage our elected officials and their staffs to place their hope in Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully in their duties.  While we encourage them to be true Christian statesmen in word and deed, we also seek to remind them that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven.  It is from there that we eagerly await a Savior.  No man, no matter how gifted or charismatic he may be, can be our savior or be our hope.
 
Our mission in Jefferson City is certainly one of advancing the cause of righteousness and promoting pro-family and pro-life legislation.  But our deeper mission is to be effective ambassadors for Jesus Christ.  We seek to disciple our leaders in the Way of Truth and support each of them in their unique spiritual journey.  We spend much time building relationships of trust and harmony with our leaders so that we can point them to the most important relationship they can have with the Lover of their Souls. 
 
I could spend much time in this appeal talking about the ungodly threats to our state and nation as the basis for my request for your support.  That's what the professional fundraisers would tell me to do in asking for your help.  Yet God's Word advises us that perfect love drives out fear, rather than promoting it.  We must be vigilant and alert like the watchman on the wall concerning the attacks on our Biblical values. We must work diligently to shine God's light into the dark places of this world.  But our call to action must be focused on what is excellent, noble, admirable, and praiseworthy. (Ph 4:8)
 
The slogan of the Missouri Family Policy Council is "a voice for truth for Missouri families."  If we are to continue to be a voice for God's Truth in Jefferson City, we need your help.  While we are associated with Focus on the Family, we receive no financial support from them.  All of our support comes from people right here in Missouri who believe in our ministry.  Like many non-profit organizations, we have experienced a lull in the level of giving that pays our bills and keeps the organization running.  Even some of our major donors have become reticent about writing checks in the current economic environment.    We need a financial boost to meet our budget requirements for the balance of this year.
 
While God is our Source, he uses people like you to be channels of His favor.  We are asking you to pray about whether He is prompting you to do just that right now.  Would you pray about whether God is directing you to send a check in support of our ministry?  We ask you to consider being as generous as you can be.  We hear a lot from politicians these days about investments in the future.  The investments they are talking about are those placed for earthly rewards.  We are asking you to make an investment with eternal dividends by investing in the spiritual well-being of our leaders and the spiritual climate of our culture.
 
If you believe God is directing you to support us with a donation, please make your check out to "Missouri Family Policy Council" and mail it to us at 229 Chesterfield Business Parkway, Chesterfield, MO  63005.  Rest assured that we spend our money very conservatively and have a Board of strong Christian businessmen who keep us accountable for our expenditures. Also rest assured that we will make appeals like this no more than twice a year.  Thank you for your consideration.
 
Next week we will resume our regular updates on legislative activities and developments.  God bless you for being a faithful reader of our electronic newsletter, and for your continuing prayers on our behalf. 
 
Best regards and blessings,
 
Joe Ortwerth
Executive Director