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Archive for September, 2009

tapestry03lgOur daughter is almost seven years old. I have heard others say that this is around the age she will begin to question more about her adoption, her birth family. And I have seen it. With the understanding of a young child, she knows the story of her adoption and is very proud of her ethnic heritage. But I know the day is coming where she will wrestle with her identity.

This past Sunday, our pastor taught from the book of Acts. He showed us “the big picture” of Paul’s life. How God used his life to impact the early church in a dynamic way. You don’t have to look very hard to see he has a sordid past. Throughout his ministry, God used Paul’s history (family and education), his brokenness and sin, his conversion, his associations and relationships, and his circumstances to further spread of the gospel and bring thousands to salvation. (To see the full sermon, click here and look for the Sept. 20, 2009 sermon entitled “It Is Written.” You can download the sermon notes there, or listen to or watch a video of the sermon.)

In our ladies’ Bible Study last week we learned about shifting control of our past. For some this may be family issues, for others it may be facing personal sin or the sins of others. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 speak of Immanuel, “God with us.” Coming face-to-face with Immanuel makes me ask the question, was God there even in the yucky parts of our past? And if so, how does this change how I view the pain from the past? My conclusion is this: He was there, He knows all.

And so when we come to Him with our pains from or questions about the past, it’s not new to Him.  Romans 8:28 also tells us that He alone draws on the canvas of our lives and uses it for a greater good. Like the backside of a tapestry, we may see only a mess, but God sees the big picture, a masterpiece. And like He did with Paul, God can us our past as a platform for His greater purpose.

And so I am comforted with the knowledge that the circumstances of our daughter’s life are part of a bigger picture. One that God has been painting since the beginning of her life. He knew her in her birthmother’s womb, and she is fearfully and wonderfully made. He has great plans for her. She is His masterpiece.

Though she knows Jesus, I look forward to introducing her to Immanuel.

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I Never Knew

Grown In My Heart blog has a “carnival” going on now.  It’s titled What No One Told Me About Adoption and asks the questions

  • What did people forget to tell you about adoption?
  • What did they omit or conveniently not tell you before you adopted or relinquished your child?

It’s an interesting read.  Check it out here.  Scroll down past the comments and read what others have shared.

What are your thoughts?  We’d love to hear from you.

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I recently came across a blog post by Shaun Groves on the topic of God’s will for adoption entitled For The Few Or Almost Everyone?

You may remember Shaun as he joined us for a Sunday morning several years ago. He’s a singer/songwriter who is also a strong advocate for the fatherless and adoption.I just added his blog to our blogroll.

His post discusses God’s universal will, those commands that apply to everyone, the entire church versus God’s individual will, how He calls each of us uniquely. And the ultimate question Shaun asks is this: where does adoption fit? Is everyone called to adopt? I don’t believe so. Is everyone called to support those who adopt? Again, I don’t think so. (Shaun’s blog has a pretty big following as more than 50 people weighed in with their thoughts on the topic.)

But, is everyone called to live out James 1:27 is some form or fashion? I believe we are but would add that this can look dramatically different to each person.

Some will care for the single mother in their neighborhood, watching her children, bringing her meals, fixing her home. Others will go on a mission trip to provide care and hope to the fatherless in other countries while sharing the ultimate hope of the gospel. Others will financially support those who go. Others will bring a foster child into their home. Some will support someone in their small group who is adopting. And yet others WILL adopt.

To me, a member of Hill Country Bible Church, the question is this: are we, as a body of Christ-followers, characterized by our desire to broadly and individually support adoption and orphan care?

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We are thrilled to announce that Hill Country Bible Church NW is now offering, through Fields of Grace and Abba Fund, a financial assistance program to assist members of HCBC NW in their desire to adopt. If you or someone you know would benefit from the Adoption Fund, please contact Fields of Grace at fieldsofgrace@hcbc.com for more information.

Research shows that the number one reason people don’t adopt is the perception that it’s too expensive. And while it can be expensive (today, the average private or international adoption costs between $20,000 and $30,000), we feel that if God is calling you to adopt, He wouldn’t do so without also providing financially.

The church has been very generous in a seed donation to the fund. With the addition of several other donations our fund is beginning with $10,000. We are very excited as this level of funding will quickly assist couples that are in the process of adopting. To start, the Adoption Fund will consist of granting short-term, interest-free loans.

Let me talk for a second to both the couples who feel that God is calling them to adopt, as well as those who would potentially contribute to this fund. I believe that God has a role for both of you to fulfill His will to care for the world’s orphans.

Let me start with the second group first. While we are starting with a significant amount of funding, the ongoing growth of the fund will depend on giving from people like you. While you may not personally be called to adopt, it may be that God is calling you to help a young couple who IS called to adopt by giving to this fund. Please know that we in no way want this to detract from your regular church giving. This should be “over-and-above” giving as you feel God leading you. You might choose to make a one-time donation or you may choose to make it a part of your regular giving.

Here are two ways you can contribute:

1. By check made payable to ABBA Fund with HCBCnw in the memo. Mail to:

The ABBA Fund

P.O. Box 1120

Ramseur, NC 27316

2. Online at www.abbafund.org

Click on “Donate”

Enter HCBCnw in the line “Partnership Fund Designation”

Now, for those of you who DO feel God is calling you to adopt — we want to hear from you!

This fund will be successful if the money in it is out working to complete adoptions. Please contact us and we’ll find time to sit down with you to hear your stories, to pray with you and walk you through the process. We have an application that you will be required to complete, along with personal references, that will be sent directly to Abba Fund. We will not have access to any of your financial information – that will all be handled by Abba Fund and they will make a recommendation to us. You will work with Abba Fund to determine a loan repayment timeframe, so effectively any contribution to the fund is a “gift that keeps on giving” as more and more families utilize the fund.

Finally, let me also point out that there are a number of ways to adopt for little or no cost, including through the State of Texas and local, Christian agencies such as Arrow Child & Family Ministries. If you’re interested in this approach, please contact us as there are many families at HCBC that have already or are in the process of adopting in this way.

Thank you and thank you to the regular givers to Hill Country Bible Church. It is through your regular giving that we’ve been able to launch this fund.

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