Bethel Live – For the Sake of the World

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This is such a powerful song and prayer…

I’m laying down my life
I’m giving up control
I’m never looking back
I surrender all
I’m living for Your glory on the earth

This passion in my heart
This stirring in my soul
To see the nations bow
For all the world to know
I’m living for Your glory on the earth

Chorus:
For the sake of the world burn like a fire in me
Light a flame in my soul for every eye to see
For the sake of the world burn like a fire in me

Bridge:
For every knee to bow down
For every heart to believe
For every voice to cry out
Burn like a fire in me
For every tongue to confess
You alone are the King
You are the hope of the earth
Burn like a fire in me

Artist: Bethel Live | Album: For the Sake of the World (Live)

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Orphans in our City

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.48.14 AMIn one of the most popular chapters of the Bible, Jeremiah 29, we find a powerful statement from the Lord about how we ought to view the city…and how we should care for its orphans. Speaking to His people who have been exiled by the Babylonians and in fear of mixing with them, God says through His prophet:

“Multiply there (in the city), and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the lord on it’s behalf, for in it’s welfare you will find your welfare ” Jeremiah 29:6-7

When we think about seeking the “welfare of our city” there is much we can do. The needs are many. Amidst it all, the need of caring for the orphans of the city is massive. In any given metropolis in America there are literally hundreds of children that have no family and no permanent home. Over 400,000 children in America are in foster care. Over 104,000 children are literal orphans with no permanent family, most of whom are living in the neighborhoods of our cities.  In Austin, TX alone there are 244 of these dear children that are waiting to be adopted.

Imagine if the church took seriously this call to “seek the welfare of the city” and made caring for every child in foster care and every child available for adoption a part of that mission. What if the church became more known for its care of the children than for what it is against in our cities.

What if our cities were filled only with waiting parents instead of waiting children!

Providing permanent families for all the waiting children in our city is not an impossible task. It may just be the greatest opportunity the church has today to seek the renewal of our cities for God’s glory!

An Honest Approach to Adoption

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I will never forget the day that we walked into the adoption agency and met our son for the first time. He was perfect at just two-weeks old. The most beautiful little boy I had ever seen. And he was ours. We felt an indestructible hopefulness and joy.

I will also never forget the day that our son wouldn’t stop screaming and was unconsolable because he was afraid of being abandoned again. The experience of loss still resonating deep in his little soul somehow stirred up. My wife and I felt helpless at best.

An honest approach to adoption involves both profound brokenness and beauty. 

Sometimes it seems like there is more beauty than brokenness and sometimes it is the other way around. A schizophrenic mix of hope and hopelessness. Helplessness and joy.

Through it, thankfully, we are pushed, reminded, driven, and invited into the only hope and help we have – Jesus. And if we are lucky, a community of others who are in the same boat, reminding us we are not alone in this journey.

How have you experienced the beauty and brokenness of raising adopted children?

Why Adoption Is a Higher Blessing than Justification

J. I. Packer:

Paul teaches that the gift of justification (i.e., present acceptance by God as the world’s Judge) brings with it the status of sonship by adoption (i.e., permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father, Gal. 3:264:4-7). In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the childless rich. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ (John 1:12). The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s now (Rom. 8:1738-39). Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and discipline (Matt. 6:26Heb. 12:5-11) and are directed, especially by Jesus, to live their whole lives in light of the knowledge that God is their Father in heaven. They are to pray to him as such (Matt. 6:5-13), imitate him as such (Matt. 5:44-486:1214-1518:21-35Eph. 4:32-5:2), and trust him as such (Matt. 6:25-34), thus expressing the filial instinct that the Holy Spirit has implanted in them (Rom. 8:15-17Gal. 4:6).
Adoption and regeneration accompany each other as two aspects of the salvation that Christ brings (John 1:12-13), but they are to be distinguished. Adoption is the bestowal of a relationship, while regeneration is the transformation of our moral nature. Yet the link is evident; God wants his children, whom he loves, to bear his character, and takes action accordingly.

—J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 167-168.

[HT: Justin Taylor]