All I Really Want for Christmas

Adoption is inseparably tied to the Christmas story. When Joseph obeyed God’s call to proceed with his plans for marriage, he not only took Mary as his wife, but also Jesus as his adopted son. Although he was just a young man, Joseph had enough love in his heart to share his life and his name with a child whom he had never fathered. This world needs a lot more men like Joseph.

In his song, “All I Really Want for Christmas,” Steven Curtis Chapman shares the heart cry of the estimated 145-150 million orphans around the world who desperately need parents to offer them the kind of love that Joseph offered Jesus so many years ago.

Photo: miguel ugalde

Celebrating National Adoption Month

“In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…”

Ephesians 1:5

November is national adoption month. In his book, Adopted for Life, Russell Moore explains the beauty of adoption in this way:

Adoption is, on the one hand, gospel. In this, adoption tells us who we are as children of the Father. Adoption as gospel tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God. Adoption is also defined as mission. In this, adoption tells us our purpose in this age as the people of Christ. Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and the abandoned.

As soon as you peer into the truth of the one aspect, you fall headlong into the truth of the other, and vice versa… We believe Jesus in heavenly things–our adoption in Christ; so we follow him in earthly things–the adoption of children.

Video: Together for Adoption
Photo: Jason Nelson

The Countercultural Call to Adoption

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

John 14:18

The church is taking up God’s call to care for orphans, and the world is beginning to take notice. The following excerpt is taken from an article published in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Adoption Season for Evangelicals”:

Adoption was the cover story of Christianity Today in July. It included a feature by Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he described in heart-wrenching terms the circumstances of his own adoption of two brothers from a Russian orphanage.

Mr. Moore, the author of a book called “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches,” has become a sort of go-to person for evangelicals on the issue of adoption. In trying to explain why Christians have a particular duty to adopt, he told me that “every one of us who follows Christ was adopted into an already existing family.”

Which is to say that unlike Judaism or Islam, faiths that one is born into, Christianity requires each member to have an individual relationship with Christ. And so, in that sense, it is as if each Christian is adopted.

Yet it is the efforts of Focus on the Family, a group which has previously been most known for its political involvement on issues like abortion and gay marriage, that have produced the most striking results so far. The group announced two years ago that it would be devoting a considerable amount of its resources to a new initiative called “Wait No More.” Focus is partnering with different state governments—six so far—to reduce the number of children on foster-care roles.

In Colorado alone, Focus has moved about 500 of the 800 kids in foster care into permanent homes over the course of less than two years. The group has had success helping infertile couples desperate for families, but also in placing children with couples who are older, some of whose children have already grown up and left home.

The Focus efforts are particularly interesting because foster kids are typically not young, and often have emotional or even physical problems as a result of a lack of prenatal care, or neglectful birth or foster parents. Sometimes they can only be adopted with siblings, and so a family must take on two or more children at the same time.

Foster children are also likely to be of a different race from their new adoptive parents. As more and more evangelical churches take up the cause of adoption on a large scale, their congregations have begun to look like the multiracial sea of faces that Christian leaders often talk about wanting. But it does involve parents giving up on having children who look like them.

All of this makes the growing evangelical interest in adoption seem particularly countercultural. With the widespread availability of artificial reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization, many couples who previously would have chosen adoption can now use surrogates, donor sperm or donor eggs to have a baby who shares their DNA (or whose DNA they have carefully chosen), and whose prenatal care they can closely monitor…

Read the entire article by Naomi S. Riley HERE.

Photo: Kevin Rohr

Hear the Story of Your Life!

Matthew West was in town for a free concert last night, and yippee for me, I got to go see it. I’ve been a fan of his music for several years now, but this was the first chance I had to hear him in person, and I must say, his live performance did not disappoint. On October 5th, Matthew will release a new album, The Story of Your Life, which is unlike any of his previous work. Here, he explains the inspiration behind this unique project… 

The new songs are personal and powerful. Matthew sings about several difficult topics including abortion, divorce, dysfunctional families, sexual abuse, and cancer among others. Although his lyrics convey the raw pain of suffering, Matthew also highlights God’s redemptive purposes for the trials that shape our life stories. Through repeated messages of hope, forgiveness, and victory in Christ, Matthew makes it clear that there will be a purpose for every pain. I can’t help but think that this album is going to resonate with many listeners.

My friend, Amy, and I before the concert

Meeting Mr. Matthew West

The Story of Your Life includes a beautiful tribute to adoption entitled “One Less.” I absolutely love this song and the message behind it! Matthew explains the story in the video below (I had to cut the song off due to my little camera’s inability to handle loud noise, but you can hear the entire song in Matthew’s interview on K-LOVE Radio HERE.)

I highly recommend catching Matthew in concert during this incredible tour. Check his tour schedule HERE.

You Were Meant to Be

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none…”

Psalm 139:16

Brand new song and video from Steven Curtis Chapman for the latest Veggie Tales movie It’s a Meaningful Life. Beautiful music and message…

Check out Steven and Mary Beth Chapman’s orphan care and adoption ministry: Show Hope.

“Meant to Be”

Long Before You Drew Your First Breath
A Dream Was Coming True
God Wanted to Give a Gift to the World 
So He Wrapped It Up in You

Every Step That You’ve Taken
Every Move That You Make
Is Part Of His Plan

You Were Meant to Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant to Be Here 
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be without You In It

You Were Meant to Be Bringing
The Gifts That You Bring
And Singing The Songs 
You’ve Been Given to Sing

You Are Perfectly, Wonderfully,
Beautifully Meant to Be
You Were Meant to Be

Long Before You Took Your First Fall
And Stumbled to the Ground
God Started Telling the Story of You
To the Angels Gathered Around

Every Failure and Victory
And Everything in between
It’s All in His Hands

You Were Meant to Be…

For Every Breath that You’re Taking
And Every Move that You Make
It’s a Meaninful Life You’ve Been Given
So Live It Well

You Were Meant to Be…

 

Related Post: Catch the Von Chap Family in Concert!

Photo: Billy Alexander

God’s Concern for the Orphan’s Cry

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'”

Galatians 4:4-6

Adoption is a beautiful thing. In his recent cover story for Christianity Today, “Abba Changes Everything,” author and pastor Russell Moore revealed a glimpse of that beauty through his skillfull teaching on both the physical and spiritual dimensions of adoption: 

When someone learns that I’m going to speak at their church about adoption, typically the first question is, “So will you be talking about the doctrine of adoption or, you know, real adoption?” That’s a hard question, because I cannot address one without addressing the other. We cannot master one aspect and then move to the other, from the vertical aspect of adoption to the horizontal aspect, or vice versa.

Families, the Bible tells us, reflect something eternally true about God. It is God’s fatherhood after which every family in heaven and on earth is named (Eph. 3:14-15). We know what human parenting should look like based on our Father’s behavior toward us.

The reverse is also true. We see something of God’s fatherhood in our relationship with our human fathers. Jesus tells us that our fathers’ provision and discipline show us God’s active love toward us (Matt. 7:9-11; Heb. 12:5-17).

The same principle is at work in adoption. Adoption is, on one hand, gospel. Our identity and inheritance are grounded in our adoption in Christ. Adoption is also mission. In this, our adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, and the fatherless. Without the theological aspect, the growing Christian emphasis on orphan care too often seems like one more cause wristband for compassionate conservative evangelicals to wear until the trend dies down. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily becomes mere metaphor, just another way to say “saved.”…

When we contend for orphans—born and unborn—we are doing more than cultural activism. A culture of adoption, orphan care, and ministry to mothers in distress announces what the kingdom of God looks like and to whom it belongs. We’re contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Rosalynn is a young woman who has personally experienced the miracle of adoption not once, but twice!

Learn more about the biblical call to orphan care in Russell Moore’s book Adopted for Life.

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Photo: Alice Wycklendt