A couple of my friends are live-blogging the Together for Adoption Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Brent Thomas writes:
One of the beauties of this conference is that it strives to give us a heart for adoption precisely because, we, as believers, have been adopted by God. Even though we were once God’s enemies (Romans 5:10) and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1) God, because of the great love with which He loves us, has made us part of His family. We can know share in God’s inheritance (Colossians 1:12). We can now draw near to God as our Father (Galatians 4:6).
My friend, Tom DeZarn, on his sneak preview of the movie, Despicable Me: We recently saw a sneak preview of the movie, “Despicable Me.” Much to our surprise (because the trailers did not hint at this), it is a movie about adoption. It is, in fact, a powerful and positive movie about adoption. The content is appropriate for all ages and we strongly recommend it for the entire family. It hits the theatres on July 9. For those of you who are Steve Carell fans–he is the voice of the lead character, and with a Russian accent!
Looks like a great movie for the whole family coming soon. Check it out here.
When Justin Taylor spoke at our church, he encouraged us to pick up J.I. Packer's book, Knowing God, and read the 19th chapter on our adoption as sons. If you have the book, I encourage you to do so. For me, this section was especially challenging:
Do I, as a Christian, understand myself? Do I know my real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother; every Christian is my brother too. Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true. For this is the Christian's secret of --a happy life? -- yes, certainly, but we have something both higher and profounder to say. This is the Christian's secret to the Christian life, and of a God-honoring life, and these are the aspects of the situation that really matter. May this secret become fully yours, and fully mine.
It was a privilege to have my friend, Justin Taylor, come to preach at my church and speak at our Pastor's Conference this week. We had a good time hanging out and encouraging one another in the gospel. One of the things I appreciate most about Justin is that he makes you feel bigger in his presence ... which is hard to do since he's a pretty big guy! But Justin genuinely thinks of others as better than himself. It's evident in the way he lives and the way he blogs, always pointing to others and deflecting attention away from himself even though he's a gifted writer and thinker himself. Here's the two messages he preached at our church. Justin did a great job teaching on the familiar parable in Luke 15 comparing and contrasting the two lost sons and bringing out good gospel application. And his message on adoption (spirtual and physical) was very helpful, providing a needed challenge for the church.
My friend, Eric Schumacher, along with David Ward of Reformed Praise, finalized a new hymn on orphans and adoption. It, along with a learner recording and sheet music, may be downloaded here (for free, of course). I love how they blended together deep theological truths with a simple, child-like tune; it reflects our Father's love so well.
The following is a guest post by Tom DeZarn, a good friend and fellow member of LaGrange Baptist Church. Tom is a humble man of God who has a burden for orphans and the people of Cambodia. I asked him to write about his recent trip to Cambodia and how God blessed him.
I was blessed to be able to visit Cambodia in July with the Talton family and a team from Springdale Church. The main purpose of our trip was to serve at RDI (www.rdic.org), a company started by IMB missionaries sent out from Shively Baptist over 12 years ago. We also got to visit a very unique Children’s Hospital north of Phnom Penh, where a pair of Christian doctors sent out from Springdale serve the poor children in that area.
However, the highlight for me was probably a separate visit I made to the slums near a city dump. Nearby live hundreds of families who send their children to scavenge for garbage that can be resold. About 5 years ago the director of a Lexington-based adoption agency partnered with a church in Phnom Penh to begin a school for some of the poorest of the poor who live there and now serve nearly 130 kids with Christian instruction and loving care at the same time they receive their education.
Since adopting our youngest daughter from Cambodia 9 years ago God has put a burden on our hearts for the Cambodian people. Through the years we have supported various ministries there, but recently have decided to take a more active role in finding ministries that couple our passion for orphans with our connection to Cambodia. We realize we have been greatly blessed in the US and with that comes an obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world. We look forward to seeing what new doors God will open in the coming years.
Dan Cruver, writing for the Together for Adoption website:
Everybody has dreams.
One of my dreams is that when Christians hear the word “adoption,” they will first think about their adoption by God. As it stands right now, most of us first think of families adopting children.
My dream, then, is that whenever the word “adoption” is spoken, our thoughts will move vertically (e.g., “God has adopted us”) before they move horizontally (e.g., “Our church has many families that are adopting”).
(HT: Just O.N.E.)
In Scripture there is no such thing as an adopted child. Adopted is a past tense verb, it is not an adjective. Those who have been brought into the household and family of God are really and truly part of the household of God sharing with their brothers and sisters everything that it means to be in Christ.