Freed to Visit Orphans

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.

 

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Friday Photo

DSC_1832This past week we had the joy of hosting our new friend Pastor Fred Sekyewa in our home. Pastor Fred is the Executive Director of Africa Renewal Ministries in Ggaba, Uganda. I love what they are doing in orphan care and church planting (and much more!).  In and through it all is a love for Jesus, His kingdom, and the local church making a difference in the world. Check out their website for more info. The above photo is when we first met in June at Ggaba Community Church. Little did we know that such a sweet friendship would emerge. You can pray for Fred as he is travelling in the States meeting with churches in Winston-Salem, NC, Minneapolis, Northern/Southern California, San Antonio, and Austin, TX.

Adopting Jesus

8325~Holy-Family-and-Jesus-PostersJesus said many profound and life-changing things in his life as recorded in Scripture. What he says in Matthew 25:31-46 for me is becoming for me one of the most life-altering and mind-blowing.

Jesus gives us an awesome picture of the great Day of Judgment when He will appear in all his glory with all the angels with all people who have ever lived gathered before him. (To give some perspective, as of 2002 one guesstimate is that would be about 106,456,367,669 people gathered).

It is in this moment that Jesus says he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. The sheep will enter the kingdom of heaven and the goats the fires of hell.

The sheep are those who cared for the poor and needy.
The goats neglected to care for the poor and needy.

What makes this profound for me is Jesus explanation of this. He says to the sheep,

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (25:35-40)

To the goats:

“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (25:42-45)

So, what we do for the “least of these” – the poor, the hungry, the needy, the strangers, the sick, we do to Jesus. The extent to which we neglect the needy, we neglect Jesus Himself. This causes me to pause. To worship and be amazed that we have the opportunity to touch and minister and serve Jesus. It also causes me to repent for where I have walked by, ignored, and left Jesus starving, naked and alone.

I believe the fatherless are included in “the least of these.” In fact, I think the fatherless of our world might just be the very least of all as they are the most dependant of anyone for food, drink, clothing, love, medical care. The very things a family provides and the very thing they are without. Therefore, according to Jesus every time we adopt an orphan we are “welcoming a stranger” but more than that we are “adopting Jesus.” Every time a church encourages a family in their adoption they are taking part in “adopting Jesus.”  I have just begun to see adoption in this way and it changes everything! In adoption, there is a sense in which we are Christ to the orphan but amazingly the orphan is Christ to us. In the end, the way we treat the poor and needy and orphans of our world tells us something of our relationship with Jesus, and our eternal destiny. It is an act of worship or judgment.

Orphan Sunday 2009—November 8

Don’t Miss the Opportunity!

We’re thrilled to announce the official launch of the 2009 Orphan Sunday campaign!

November 8, 2009 is simply this:  a chance for Christians whose hearts burn for orphans to spread that fire to their church, community and friends.  This day is for you!

Join with individuals and groups across America and beyond, planning your own local Orphan Sunday activity.  From a sermon or prayer during Sunday services to a small group study or prayer gathering, from a concert to a recruiting event for an orphan-serving ministry.

At  the official Orphan Sunday Website you’ll find:
·        Ideas for local Orphan Sunday events;
·        Support materials you can download for free, from posters to study notes;
·        A national map to add your local event and view others;
·        Contact information for your state’s Orphan Sunday coordinator;
·        And much more…

We also invite you to help spread the word.  Please forward this to friends, highlight Orphan Sunday on your blog, and add the banner to your website.

Each local Orphan Sunday event will be a candle lit to cast light on God’s call to “defend the cause of the fatherless.”  Together, they add up to a nationwide blaze.

Video: Adoption Book Recommendations

I can’t figure out why the books got reversed but you may want to watch it in a mirror : ) Otherwise, I listed the books below with a links to purchase.

Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children by Robert Peterson
Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor (New Studies in Biblical Theology) by Trevor Burke
Children of the Living God by Sinclair Ferguson
Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell Moore