neighbor


I could have used a solid hit from the “evangelism linebacker” today. I had a great opportunity, but I did not take it because I was blinded my selfishness and pride.

Tonight in our small group we had a great talk about evangelism, and I am stoked for the next opportunity the Lord gives.  Here are some highlights from our discussion:

Unless otherwise noted the Biblical text for the following points comes from Colossians 4:2-6.

1.  Pray for opportunity

2.  Go!  It may be right next door or moving a conversation to the next level or it might mean moving halfway around the world. (Matthew 28:18)

3.  Be ready to share about Jesus

4.  Be gracious in your conversation

4b.  This means to listen to what the other person has to say.

5.  Redeem the time – because I don’t know how long I will be here or anyone else for that matter – we need to proactively seek opportunity to speak for and about Jesus.

Colossians 4:2-6, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (NIV).

Penn from Penn and Teller asks a profound question of those who have faith in God.  “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”  Penn is a self-proclaimed atheist, and yet he gets this serious truth far more than many followers of Jesus do.  We can see the task Jesus gave us to do (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”) should be an obvious top priority.  Please also recognize how profoundly touched Penn was by a Christian who”loved his neighbor” by engaging him as the Scriptures teach us.  The video is 5 minutes long – it is worth your time – watch it!  You can also say a prayer for Penn that he will read the Bible he was given and come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible“, posted with vodpod

As I was walking through a parking lot the other day, this thought came to mind, “If I can do just one good thing for someone today, then it is a good day.”

Each day God is faithful to provide more than one opportunity.  God’s word provides encouragement to this end, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).  It should give us great confidence each day to know that God has a plan and good things for us to do.  Many times these things will not be easy, but they are for the good of others and for the good of our spiritual growth.

The good things we do should be done without any expectation of reciprocity as they should ultimately be done as an overflow of the love of God in our lives and for God’s glory.  May God help us to be joyful and willing servants.

“Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.”
Psalm 96:2

chet-and-erika1If one day I have a little girl, I hope she is a lot like Erika!

Erika and I have become friends over my last few trips to Mexico.  She is now 11 years old.  Let me tell you that this girl has so much boldness in the faith.  She tells her classmates, kids she has just met, and even mothers about the love of God and their need for a Savior.  I have heard her share with great love for the people and passion for her God!

Often times I find that we make the excuse for not talking about God in our own culture and find it not so hard to share in a different culture where we don’t know the people.  Erika does not have this luxury…these are her people…and these are the only people she has the ability to tell.  I find strength in her story and example…even as I go out today and know that I will have opportunities to share the love of God with people.  I don’t want to let her down.  If she ever asked, I would want to be able to tell her that her tall friend from Georgia is just as bold in his own town as he is in her mountains.  May God help me because I am often silent when I should speak.  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ…”
——–
As I share thoughts from our most recent trip to Mexico I need to let you know that I am not going to attempt a chronological order.  Also, if you are wondering what has happened to the study of Romans, don’t worry.  I’ll be picking back up this Sunday finishing chapter 3 and starting chapter 4.  Notes will be available early next week.

img_2690

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you can assume your wife prefers roses!

We woke up, got ready, and headed out for our first of two adoption training classes.  We stopped at chick-fil-a on the way and grabbed one of our favorite breakfast meals – a chicken biscuit with cheese and a cherry coke.  We were fueled up for our 9 AM to 4 PM class.

I must say that the hardest part of the training is hearing about all of the abuse children are put through – beatings and burnings, sexual exploitation, and emotional destruction.  My personal emotions run back and forth between sadness and anger.  One moment I want to cry, and the next I want to beat the ever loving snot out of something or someone.  To “be angry and sin not” is quite a challenge for me when I hear about these things.

After the training, we came home and Claire took a nap.  I took the opportunity to grab some last minute Valentine goodies and prepare dinner.  While at the store I ran into one of the college students  I play hoops with.  He saw me standing there with a hydrangea plant with a bunch of huge blooms.  We had a nice talk about relationships, and I got to drop a little wisdom and speak a little about God’s love to him.  We had a good time cutting up and laughing.

After dinner we relaxed and then went downtown to see “Step into Africa”.  It is 3500 square foot exhibit set up to put you in a village in Africa.  You step into the character of a child and live their story.  It was very well done and highlights the devastating affects of AIDS among children in Africa. You can see a very short video that tells you about the experience by clicking this sentence.

It was not a typical Valentine’s Day, but today we grew closer together, and I believe closer to the heart of God.  I am so thankful to be married to a woman who is so full of love and who has such a great capacity to give that love away! “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4).

I was asked the question of whether it was better to adopt locally or internationally.  One argument used for international (particularly in famine ravaged areas) was that those kids are far more at risk of death.  I cannot disagree with that thought.  However, I do not think it is a matter of which is better but which are you capable of doing.

Often people say, “Well if I had the money, then I would adopt.”  And the truth is that there are a lot of us that don’t have $25K to $50K available for the typical cost of an international adoption.  And even many local adoptions have significant expenses related to them.

However, if you adopt a child who is in foster care, then the state actually pays you.  Until the kid is 18, their medical expenses are covered and you receive a per Diem that offsets the additional expenses you will incur by adding to your family.  You will also receive additional tax breaks, and educational supplements are available to help with college tuition.

So the excuse of, “I don’t have the money to adopt,” is taken away by adopting a kid out of foster care. For those who have a lot more jingle in their pocket or who find a unique an inexpensive opportunity, they have a green light to go for the international adoption.  The point of my original post was that the church in the U.S.A. has no excuse for all the kids who are currently up for adoption in the U.S.A. but who are not being adopted.

We should be about doing all we can every where we can because our neighbor is anyone we have the power to help!

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

In every state in the U.S.A. there are children who are in foster care who are up for adoption.  The parental rights of their parents have been terminated.  They are in need of a permanent home, preferably a home that is full of God’s love and truth.

In my state of Georgia there are thousands of churches that claim to be Christ-centered and tens of thousands of homes that make this same claim.  On Georgia’s My Turn Now website there are 185 listings of children that need to be adopted, 25 of those listings are sibling groups.  We can clearly see that there should be many more Christian homes available than their are adoptable foster kids.  Yet, many of these are at risk of going through life without a family.  Can you imagine to be in that sad state where your biological family has either failed you or died, and there is no other family in the whole world that will make you part of theirs?

Instead of there being a waiting list of kids hoping to be adopted, there should be a backlog of hundreds of Christian families in our state waiting and hoping for their turn to adopt one of these precious ones.  What is stopping us other than a lack of awareness, selfishness, and fear?

Are we really taking seriously the command of God to take care of the orphans? It would be a powerful testimony in your community if it could be said, “There are no orphans here because the church in my community has handled its business.”

May Jesus soften the heart of His church to the needs of the least of these!  May we stop asking the question, “God, do you want my family to adopt?” and start assuming His command to love our neighbors does apply to us in this area by asking the question, “God, is there a reason you have why we should not adopt, or is there a reason you want us to wait to do this?”

Take a look at the kids available in Georgia at My Turn Now.  A quick Google search is all it takes to find the kids in your state.

Next Page »