Monthly Archives: January 2011

Being a Culture of Rescue and Redemption

As we seek to honor the sanctity of human life this weekend on the 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade decision, tomorrow’s message will be on “Being a Culture of Rescue and Redemption from 1 John 3:1.   The text calls the readers to stand amazed that His immeasurable love has rescued us from our helpless state and made us His children forever.  And if we are children, and we are, then we will fight against our sin, and we cannot be indifferent to living righteous lives of love.

God making us his children gives us insight into 1) God’s love for us and 2) how we are to love.

JI Packer’s famous quote from Knowing God helps us understand how important this image is for our relationship with God.

“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, Find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child and having God as his father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life it means that he doesn’t understand Christianity well at all.” p201

The metaphor of God as our father and we as his children also helps us know how to love.

Paul says in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Paul says we should imitate God as his beloved children.  We love like God our Father. We love like Christ our brother. We should strive to be who our Daddy is and do what our Daddy does, walking in the love our brother Jesus walked.  One way we can image forth God and walk in love is by caring for children.  In the sermon, we will explore one way we can image forth God and that is by sacrificially spending our lives for children, especially the unborn, the orphan, and the needy. May God open our eyes to His beautiful love for us, His children, and prepare our hearts for the outrageous love the justice and mercy of God calls us to.

Praying for joy and power to imitate him as beloved children

Knowing God through Adoption

As a precursor to the Adoption Open House tomorrow at church I turned this letter into a blog.  We look forward to being with many of you to discuss God’s heart for the orphan and how to join Him in caring for them.

In November of last year Dana and I were able to share our story of adoption with many potential donors of a wonderful adoption assistance organization called Show Hope.  In Nashville, TN, hundreds of people gathered to follow God’s call to His people, “to care for orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). These people are convinced, as am I, that for a Christian the question is not should we help the orphan, but how will we help the orphan.  So when we shared, I thanked the donors for being faithful and for being a part of making our adoption possible.  I thanked them personally because not only did they help us adopt our little girl Mercy, and now our little boy Justice, but they have helped me know God better.  God regularly teaches us spiritual lessons with physical pictures and the journey of adopting Mercy taught me more about how God adopted me into his family.  Here is an excerpt from my talk that highlights some of these lessons:

Adoption is redemption. And it is walking the road of redemption. One adoptive family said,

“… adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him.”

Think about a story of an adoption you have heard or maybe your journey with adopting a child. Allow that physical picture or story of adoption help you understand how the bible talks about your spiritual adoption.

  • We were fatherless and now adopted by a daddy who loves and pursues us (Romans 8:15).
    • (Or you could say we had an abusive father (the devil John 8 ) but we were taken out of that abusive home and placed into a home of peace, love and eternal security.)
  • I looked nothing like my heavenly father because of sin but because of his love and relentless pursuit of grace, I am his son (Hosea 2:13-20).
  • I now have a new identity. I am no longer an orphan but a child (John 14:18; 2 Cor. 5:17).
  • We were heirs of nothing. Now we are heirs of everything (Romans 8:17).
  • I am accepted not because of what I can do for God but because of what He has done for me (Romans 4:5).
  • When I couldn’t clean myself or fix my condition, He cleaned me up and gave me a new heritage (Psalm 103:10-12).
  • We have a father who sings over us with loud singing (Zech. 3:17)
  • Now as a new creation, as God’s son, whether I do good or bad, He looks at me and says I love you. He says, as your father I call you to turn from evil, for it will destroy you and others, and pull you off mission.  I tell you of the rewards of pursuing My ways- it will honor me as your daddy and give you joy like you have never known. However never forget whether you do good or bad you are my son and nothing will change that (Galatians 2:20-21, Hebrews 12:3-8, Romans 11:6).

However all of this love was costly.  Adoption is redemption. It cost the Son of God his life and it will cost us much as well.

We get asked about our adoption so often.  In our neighborhood in the inner city adoption is so foreign.  When they see my wife with a little African girl, you can almost read their minds, “Has she has been unfaithful?” When they see me with my daughter in public, I get the sense people don’t know whether to celebrate because she has a dad who loves her or call the cops because they think I stole someone’s child.  But when we talk with others about our adoption, it has been a great transition to our great God’s work in our life.

Many will say, “You are such great people for adoption.” I say, “No I just serve a great God who treated me with love that I didn’t deserve so I am freed to love others in life altering ways like this.  I am able to love the hurting, the broken, and bring them into my family because that is what God did for me.”

May we love because he first loved us… adopting us into His family.