In 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!
This Sunday is the first official Orphan Sunday. Churches around the country are doing different events and activities raising awareness to the needs of orphans locally and globally. I will try posting resources this week that you can make available for your church.
This video connects the glory of the Gospel (i.e., the treasure that Jesus is) with the current global orphan crisis. The video’s quotations come from Dan Cruver’s article “The Orphan Crisis: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be”
Download a higher resolution version here.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I love that Catalyst is recognizing our call to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). They are big and influential and my prayer is that many churches will be mobilized for the sake of the orphans here and around the world! The video below is from their new site they just launched 143million.org
Be sure to check it out!
We had a great time in Franklin, TN at Christ Community Church this weekend at Together for Adoption 2009. It was a huge blessing to connect with many friends old and new!
The most amazing thing to me was seeing over 600 people gather because they want more of God’s heart for the fatherless. For me, it was more evidence that God is at work in His church calling His people to be a “voice for the voiceless.” I was also struck by the number of young couples and families that came!
I was so busy running around behind the scenes that I didn’t get a chance to visit the exhibitor area but I heard that lots of great conversations happened back there! Next year we are already planning more time for that, and more time for the breakout presenters!
All the speakers did an outstanding job. We will have the audio available soon so be sure to listen to them if you didn’t make it. In the meantime, you can read recaps and watch speaker interviews by our live-blogger Zach Nielsen. We are so thankful for each one of the speakers and the way they served us! Dr. Russell Moore summed things up powerfully in the last message of the conference with a sobering call to the church when it comes to orphan care and adoption. It is a must listen. Aaron Ivey ended things with his song, “Let Your Kingdom Come.” It was a very moving close to the conference, together calling out to God for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. May it be done!
Let the sick run free
The orphan find her home
The captured man will know
Release from slavery
Your Kingdom here and now
To the least of these
Distribute what we have
That all may taste and see
Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
All the Earth will say
and echo angels’ praise
that You are God
Let Your Kingdom Come – Aaron Ivey
Powerful post by David Gunderson that gets at the heart of adoption. This is a beautiful description of why we do Together for Adoption conferences. This is what it is about. Read the whole thing here.
With international adoption, there’s another element at play. God loves diversity, and we love diversity with Him. Unity in the midst of diversity is beautiful because it displays the singular glory of the one who binds the diversity together. Jesus Christ is praised in the book of Revelation because, as the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders cry out, “You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). God’s family is colorful, because God is creative and because the bond of Christ is strong. This is magnificent to us, and for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted our family to mirror this every-tribe-tongue-people-nation diversity. The loveliest family in all the universe is God’s, and its loveliness is well worth reflecting.
Finally, a word about adoption and the global cause of Christ. Missions means spreading the name of Jesus Christ to every nook and cranny of every people group on the planet by crossing cultures and languages and geographical boundaries to reach them, whether they be urban socialites or desert nomads or tribal villagers. International adoption means spreading the name of Jesus Christ into the hearts and lives of every people group on the planet by crossing cultures and languages and ethnic barriers to bring the smallest and neediest of the world’s population into our homes, making them part of our families, and investing the gospel into their lives from the backyard to the dinner table to the bedside. Adoption and the global Christian mission are inseparable.
This is why, at the end of it all, we want to bring the children of the nations into our family. Not so that they can grow up and live the American Dream, but so that by God’s grace they can grow up and walk the narrow road. Running water, medical care, and a sound education are precious and valuable things. But seeing the glory of Christ, hearing the good news of salvation, finding reconciliation with God, and walking in a manner worthy of the incarnate Savior of the world is infinitely more precious.
And so we seek to adopt — as those who have been freely adopted ourselves into a beautifully diverse family unified in the death, burial, and resurrected reign of Jesus Christ; as those who have been called to the outreaching of global missions and the inbringing of Christian adoption; and as those whose hearts long not for the security and comfort of the American Dream but for radical lives of incarnational love.