Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why don't I have that?

The question is not posed because I am lacking the newest game for the wii. It is not even about the latest fashion or accessory for my Ipod. The question is why don't I have a desire for God like is present in the lives of men and women in the bible, or even other men and women throughout history? Read through the psalms (42 and 63 especially). Is that type of yearning and desire for God so very present in your life that it seems to you to be a matter of life and death? Is it truly to live is Christ and to die is gain for you? For me, I would have to say I am half hearted at best the majority of the time. Why is that so? Over the next few Sunday evening we will seek to answer that question together, and we will spend time on the blog discussing this topic and hopefully have some interaction and help one another grow. My God haunt us about our satisfaction with the status quo of Christianity here in America.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adopted for Life

As all three of you that read this blog know, Elizabeth and I are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. We are most likely a year out from bringing this child home and obviously adoption is on our hearts very often. This book however is not just for families who are adopting. It is a heartfelt cry that calls the church to look at their own adoption in Christ and to fulfill the mandate that Christ has given us all to take care of orphans. Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.
It is important to note that this is not a how-to book; it does not provide step-by-step instructions for adopting (since there are already plenty of books that do just that and do it well). “Instead I want to ask what it would mean if our churches and families were known as the people who adopt babies—and toddlers, and children, and teenagers. What if we as Christians were known, once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?” No one can claim that every person is called to adopt. But it does seem that all Christians are meant to think about the issue since we all have a stake in it. After all, God himself has a stake in it as the “Father of the fatherless” and the One who tells us that pure and undefiled religion is to comfort orphans.
Through nine chapters, Moore first lays theological groundwork for adoption and then turns to matters that are perhaps just a bit more practically applicable (not that I wish to draw too firm a line between theology and practice). In the first chapter he explains why you ought to read the book, even if you do not want to. In chapter two he explains what some rude questions about adoption taught him about the gospel of Christ. After that he turns to what is at stake in this discussion and then gives pastoral counsel on how to know if you or someone you love should consider adoption. He looks to practical aspects of navigating the adoption process (reassuring readers that it is not nearly as bad as most people seem to believe it is) and then covers some of the uncomfortable questions that arise—health concerns, racial identity, and so on. The seventh chapter explains how churches can encourage adoptions and the eighth shows how parents, children and friends can think about growing up adopted. He closes with some concluding thoughts which tie theology and practice into his own family (in which he and his wife adopted two boys before the Lord opened the womb and granted them two more, though he playfully insists he can no longer remember which of his sons are adopted and which are not!). In fact, Moore and his family figure prominently throughout the book as he describes the joys and challenges of welcoming adopted children to his family.
This book blessed me. This book will bless you. I am praying our church will have an understanding of adoption like this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scripture Memory

Well, I hope that the memorization of Psalm 1 has been a blessing to you over the last week and a half. I know, this is hard work, but it is a good work that will be of eternal benefit to you and those you are in contact with. For the next two weeks we will memorize Philippians 2:1-11 together. We will consider in this passage what it means to put others first and how we can have the mind and attitude of Christ. Remember, try to memorize one verse a day, getting to the point where you can say it aloud ten times without looking at the text. Then review the other verses you have learned every day. Saying the whole passage that you have memorized up to this point aloud ten times before moving on. God bless you. Look for a book review coming up tomorrow about an amazing book I have just finished. By the way, we will try to finish up this set of memorization by July 5th. That gives you two weeks. Work hard.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Notes for the Weekend

What a great week? VBS is always one of my favorite weeks of the year and this year was no different. You just wish you could pour God's word into these kids every day. This is not God's plan though, and He primarily leaves this up to the parents of these children. May God burden their parents to train them up.

Scripture Memory
How are you guys doing with Psalm 1? I still have not heard from anyone. I will post a new memorization on Monday. Until then, keep working hard!

I am so thankful for my church family. It is beautiful to see them unite and serve the Lord like they have this week and at so many other times in the life of our church. May God continue to bless Shiloh Baptist Church.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Memorizing Scripture Together

Sorry about the tardiness of this post. My internet has been down for the last couple of days. I am so glad that some of you desire to hide God's word in your heart. This is how we will approach this: We will begin this week by memorizing Psalm 1 together. It is only six verses and is a great primer for our growth together in memorizing God's word. The best way to go about memorizing is to focus only on one verse at a time. For instance, I would begin today by memorizing, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." I would do this by reading it aloud ten times and then saying it without looking ten times. Tomorrow, go back over verse one, and add verse two by reading it ten times aloud and then saying it ten times without looking at the text. After memorizing verse two say verses one and two five times correctly in a row before you end your time for day two. Repeat this every day and you will memorize Psalm 1 by next Thursday. Please post in the comment section if you are taking part in this memorization challenge, and may God bless the reading and memorization of His word.