john litzler


Governor Abbott issues facemask order among other changes


On Thursday, July 2, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation amending Executive Order GA-28 (“GA-28”). GA-28 was originally put in place on June 26, but the increase of COVID-19 cases across the state led to the governor giving increased authority to local officials to regulate gatherings. At the same time, Gov. Abbott also issued a new executive order, Executive Order GA-29 (“GA-29”). GA-29 does not supersede GA-28, but provides new regulations in addition to GA-28. In other words, both GA-28 and GA-29 are governing orders, and both remain in effect. Texans must comply with both...

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Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act eases loan forgiveness restrictions


On Friday, June 5, President Trump signed a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reform bill into law, which will ease the restrictions on PPP loan forgiveness. ...

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New Executive Order allows for return of camps and Bible schools in Texas


Churches should prayerfully consider if the permissible action is also the right action...

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Nueva Orden Ejecutiva permite el reanudar campamentos y escuelas bíblicas en Texas


Las iglesias deben considerar en oración si lo que es permitido es también lo que es correcto...

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Church employees could be eligible for unemployment benefits under CARES Act


PUA will provide a Weekly Benefit Amount that is the same as what the individual would have received had he or she qualified for regular unemployment compensation...

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Empleados de iglesia pueden ser elegibles para beneficios de desempleo bajo la Ley CARES


PUA proveerá una cantidad de beneficio semanal que es similar a la que el individuo recibiría si cualificara para compensación regular por desempleo...

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Online engagement in a post-pandemic culture


It is important to take into account concerns involving privacy and intellectual property rights...

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Interacción en línea en una cultura post-pandémica


Es importante considerar asuntos concernientes con la privacidad y los derechos de propiedad intelectual...

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El gobernador Abbott proclama una nueva Orden Ejecutiva para comenzar la reapertura de Texas


El lunes 27 de abril, el gobernador Greg Abbott anunció que permitirá que la Orden Ejecutiva GA-16 (la Orden Ejecutiva anterior) expire al final del mes...

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Gov. Abbott issues new Executive Order to begin reopening Texas


On Monday, April 27, Governor Greg Abbott announced that he will allow Executive Order GA-16 (the old EO) to expire, as scheduled, at the end of the month. ...

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Gov. Abbott provides an update on guidance for houses of worship


On April 21, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an updated version of their joint statement titled “Guidance to Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis.”...

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El gobernador Abbott actualiza las guías para las iglesias o templos


El 21 de abril, el Gobernador de Texas Greg Abbott y el Procurador General Ken Paxton emitieron una versión actualizada de su declaración conjunta titulada "Guías para las iglesias o templos durante la crisis de COVID-19". ...

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Governor Abbott’s latest Executive Order provides clarity for churches across Texas


On March 31, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 (EO), which says residents of Texas must minimize in-person contact with people outside the same household. ...

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La orden ejecutiva del gobernador Abbott brinda claridad a las iglesias en Texas


El 31 de marzo el gobernador Greg Abbott emitió la orden ejecutiva (EO, por sus siglas en inglés) GA-14, en la cual indica que los tejanos deben minimizar el contacto personal con personas fuera de su familia inmediata...

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CARES Act could bring financial relief to churches and nonprofits amidst bans on large gatherings


On March 27, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by voice vote the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, which was Senate Bill 3548, was also unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate on March 24. A large portion of that relief, $349 billion, will fund the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). ...

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El CARES Act podría brindar alivio financiero a iglesias y organizaciones


El 27 de marzo, la Cámara de representantes de los E.E.U.U. aprobó verbalmente la Ley de Seguridad Económica y Ayuda de Emergencia por el Coronavirus (CARES, por sus siglas en inglés). El paquete de ayuda de $2.2 billones de billones, Propuesta de Ley 3548 del senado, fue aprobado unánimemente por el Senado de los EE.UU. el 24 de marzo. Una gran parte de la ayuda, $349 billones, será para el Programa de Protección de Pagos (PPP, por sus siglas en inglés)....

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Churches not mentioned in Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order barring social gatherings


On Thursday, Texas Gov. Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-08 (EO). The EO supersedes previous orders and preempts municipal ordinances regarding social/public/mass gatherings. ...

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Nine-member Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Missouri playground case


Today (April 19), the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is hearing oral arguments in one of the most important religious liberty cases of the last few decades. SCOTUS, which only had an eight-member court since Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last February, has a full bench for the first time in over a year. In January, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 7, Justice Gorsuch was confirmed just in time to begin hearing cases on April 17. This term will end in late June or early July when the Court recesses for the summer before its new term begins...

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What the new overtime regulation means for your church-Updated 11/29/16


The new salary requirement for an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for overtime pay will not take effect December 1.

On November 22, a federal judge from Sherman, TX, issued an injunction halting the enforcement of a change to the "salary test" for an exemption to the FLSA rules for overtime pay. Currently, in order to satisfy the salary test a "white collar" employee must make $455 a week ($23,660 annually). That amount was set to increase to $913 a week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1. The district court ruling means that the salary test will not change, for the time being.

It is important for...

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When God says go


I kept repositioning myself in the seat. I’d never had a moment with my friend that I would consider uncomfortable, but I was practically squirming. There was no real point in burying the lead. “I need to talk to you about something,” I said. “I’m starting a new job in San Antonio. We are going to move down there.”

Saying it isn’t the hard part, really. I’ve had time to think, to process, to pray. The response is the difficult part. Friends are blindsided. They haven’t had the benefit of seeing how God has been orchestrating things for the past several months. Some had responded to the news with tears. The toughest responses were...

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All Rights Reserved: Guidelines for Super Evangelism Sunday


Sunday, February 7, the Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Super Bowl is not only the most watched sporting event in North America, it is the most watched television broadcast in America of any kind. According to Variety, last year's Super Bowl was the most watched television event in American history. Even those who don't regularly watch sports find interest in the halftime show or the creative advertisements that cost an immense $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Americans consume more food on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving. It's been...

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Texas Supreme Court tells Houston that citizens have the right to vote


The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Houston City Council to either repeal its Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by Aug. 24 or put the ordinance to a vote during the city's November election. HERO amended Houston's Code of Ordinances to prevent all residents of Houston from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Court stated that, "though the ordinance is steeped in controversy, the legal principles at play are relatively simple."

The Houston City Council passed HERO on May 28, 2014. Houstonians have the right to dispute any ordinance filed by the Houston City Council by submitting a referendum...

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What the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling means for Texas churches


On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the 14th amendment. The decision, written by Justice Kennedy, reflects a remarkable reversal in public acceptance of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Texas. Texas must also recognize the validity of marriages performed in other states. The decision has had an immediate effect as some county clerk's offices are already reporting they are open and ready to provide same-sex marriage licenses.

While some celebrate the decision as a victory for equality, many churches have expressed concern about how the legalization of same-sex...

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Child abuse is everyone's business


Country singer Kacey Musgraves' single, "Biscuits," is gaining popularity. The message of the song can be summed up in the line that advises, "Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy." It's a catchy and clever restatement of the familiar idiom, "mind your own business."

In today's society, we've heard so many variations of this phrase that many people behave as though nothing that goes on in other people's lives is anyone else's business. When it comes to child abuse and neglect, the adage simply doesn't apply. Christians should be at the forefront in reminding society that child abuse and neglect are everyone's...

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Legislature says “I Do” to Pastor Protection Act


On June 11, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called Pastor Protection Act that protects religious organizations and their employees from performing or participating in marriages that conflict with "sincerely held religious beliefs." The Christian Life Commission and its director of public policy, Kathryn Freeman, worked with faith leaders throughout Texas during the 2015 legislative session to get this bill passed.

The law will be added to Section 1, Chapter 2 of the Texas Family Code and will take effect Sept.1, 2015. The bill is timely because it comes ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage later in...

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Prepare your church for same-sex marriage ruling


The U.S. Supreme Court is ready to consider the issue of same-sex marriage, and the court's eventual ruling could affect how the State of Texas defines marriage. If change occurs, it will affect the relationship of all Texas Baptist churches in their dealings with local, state, and federal laws.

The Christian Life Commission supports the biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for a lifetime commitment. This has been the marriage standard for Christians dating back two millennia, and reflects an even longer biblical heritage.

On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider cases from...

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Guns in the Pews? Churches have the right to choose


Beginning January 1, 2016, Texans with a handgun license will be allowed to openly carry their handguns. Churches in Texas may prevent handgun license holders from carrying handguns inside church buildings as long as the church gives proper notice. Each church may decide for itself whether to allow:

  1. Both open and concealed carry of handguns
  2. Concealed carry of handguns but not open carry
  3. Open carry of handguns and not concealed carry
  4. No handguns regardless of whether they are carried openly or concealed

A church does not need to take any action if it wishes to allow handgun license holders to conceal carry or open carry in church...

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Good Legal Stewards


Once my wife and I were engaged we decided to attend premarital counseling. Years later, my misconceptions about counseling are still prevalent in society. I viewed counseling as unnecessary for healthy relationships. Inaccurate images from television and movies caused me to believe I should only attend counseling if there was a problem. I could not have been more mistaken. My then fiancé and I had a wonderful relationship, but I was unaware of how little I knew about how to protect our relationship and keep it flourishing. Through premarital counseling, I was encouraged to think about aspects of our relationship I had never...

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