Monday, November 10, 2008

Uncomfortable, Inconvenient Christianity--Part 3

So what can we do for the orphans of our world--the fatherless, the abandoned, the neglected, the abused? PLEASE don't let the overwhelming magnitude of the problem cause you to do nothing. No, you alone can't do it all but you can do something--and all together we as believers can do something remarkable. At www.reecesrainbow.com/church_sponsorships.htm there is a quote that got my attention: "In the U.S. alone, 137 million people claim to be Christians of some denomination. If only 1% of the Christians in this country adopted just one child, 1.37 million children from abroad would have loving, Christian families to grow up in." (According to this site, these statistics are from Families of Promise, 2000)

So (1) I boldly, shamelessly challenge you to prayerfully consider the Adoption Option whether you're wealthy or financially-challenged, whether you have biological children or a clean house :) Adopt an adorable African-American newborn from the U.S. Adopt a child from China or Guatemala or Haiti or Ethiopia or Ukraine or Russia or . . . . There are grants and loans available to help with the expenses and a sizable tax credit as well. Adopt a child of color, a child with special needs, a sibling group, an older child (even a teenager), or a child who has been abused or neglected from the U.S. foster care system. In our case, adoption subsidies and state assistance with medical expenses have been extremely helpful.

Steven Curtis Chapman (in Shaohannah's Hope Today, Spring 2007, page 8) describes adoption as "the transformation that mirrors what God has done for each of us." Ephesians 1:4,5 says: "God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us. So he decided long ago to adopt us as his children. He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it."

(2) Support an adoption. If you know someone who's adopting, support them with your prayers, encouragement, finances, etc. Many countries require adoptive parents to spend an extensive amount of time overseas processing their adoption. They would probably greatly appreciate offers to baby-sit their other children, cook meals, do laundry, feed pets or provide lawn care while they are away.

(3) Be a foster parent full of the love of Jesus, maybe showing a child for the only time in his/her life what a Christian home looks like.

(4) Volunteer at an orphanage for a week, month, year or lifetime.

(5) Sponsor a child or group of children through Assembly of God programs like Hillcrest, Highlands, Children's Relief Network, Asia's Little Ones and Eurasia's Future or through other reputable organizations such as Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse.

(6) Be a role model to fatherless children in your own community.

(7) No matter what else you do, please pray.

And what can we do about abortion? Here are some ideas to get you actively thinking about your part in the overall solution.

(1) Write the President and your congressmen with your concerns on life issues.

(2) Support ministries that work tirelessly to support life in our "pro-choice" culture. I think of Focus on the Family, Coral Ridge Ministries, and ACLJ and I'm sure you know of others. Of course they sincerely need our financial gifts, but our prayers are even more urgently, desperately essential. These ministries stand against the forces of the devil himself who comes only to "steal and kill and destroy" in direct opposition to Jesus who came "so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way." (John 10:10)

(3) Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center.

(4) Pray for girls, guys, ladies, men and families experiencing a crisis pregnancy, Christian and non-Christian alike. The pressure to abort can be huge due to age, peer pressure, future plans, family and boyfriend, mother's or baby's health. All too often when an ultrasound shows some kind of physical anomaly, the obstetrician immediately assumes the mother will want an abortion. I've read of some doctors who actually refused to give further care to the pregnant mom because she refused his plan for termination (see http://www.benotafraid.net/ for encouraging stories of people who chose to continue their pregnancies in spite of an adverse prenatal diagnosis)

(5) Guide the expectant mom to people who will support her as she parents a special needs child or will even adopt the baby if she feels unable to cope with parenting. CHASK (Christian Homes and Special Kids, http://www.chask.org/) is an example of a ministry that endeavors to provide both types of assistance.

(6) Pray for and love any person you know (male or female) who has been victimized by abortion. Their broken hearts can find healing and wholeness through the outstretched, loving arms of Jesus on the cross. Their baby is already cradled safely in the nail-pierced hands. Show them there is love, forgiveness, peace, hope and a future in Jesus.

(7) Please do not choose to do nothing.

The Bible warns us strongly in Proverbs 24:11, 12: "Save those who are being led away to death. Hold back those who are about to be killed. Don't say 'But we didn't know anything about this.' The One who knows what you are thinking sees it. The One who guards your life knows it. He will pay each person back for what he has done."

Deuteronomy 30: 15, 16, 19 reads: "Today I'm giving you a choice. You can have life and success. Or you can have death and harm. I'm commanding you to live exactly as he wants you to live. You must obey his commands, rules, and laws. Then you will live. Your numbers will increase. The LORD your God will bless you in the land . . . . I'm calling for heaven and earth to give witness against you this very day. I'm offering you the choice of life or death. You can choose either blessings or curses. But I want you to choose life. Then you and your children will live."

I strongly believe that the plight of the unborn and the distress of the orphan are dear to the heart of Abba Father's "Daddy" heart and I'm crazy enough to think that he wants to use us--his children--as his arms and legs to do something about them. It may not be convenient to get involved. It may stretch us immensely and take us out of our comfort zone. But as we seek God's heart and follow his example, we get the extreme privilege of partnering with him in saving and changing lives--one precious child at a time.
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Based on a talk I presented at Hansen Assembly of God on March 18, 2007.




2 comments:

Tracie said...

Hi there!
GREAT ARTICLES!!!
Were you able to find the link over to my new blog
tracieloux.wordpress.com

Just checking since you left your nice comment on my old blog!

Blessings to you and your family.

alysha~a RR waiting mama to Nika said...

joy~
what a beautifully written, convicting to the core post! I'm ashamed to admit that it wasn't until the process of our own adoption that God really opened our eye's to the overwhelming needs that we as a Christian body could meet if only we allowed ourselves to trust Him as He guided us thru it all. I love following your posts and seeing how much closer your little boy is getting to coming home. May God bless you for being the wonderful becon of light He calls us to be in this dark world.