Saturday, April 12, 2014

My "Little" Connor Turns 15!




He's tired of hearing it.

Connor's old-fashioned dad recalls the same story to him on every birthday.

"I remember when they first brought you to Mom in her hospital room.  Your Nanny (Adéye's mom) was there.  She held her middle finger against your little foot and showed us how her finger was longer than your foot."

Today, Connor wears a size 13 shoe, a size and a half larger than me.  His hands are longer and bigger than mine.  And he has something I didn't have when I was 15--the treasure of Jesus in a soft heart.

Happy Birthday, my boy!  I love you with all my heart!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Oh My Creepy Goodness!





I was in the supermarket this evening and snapped this photo at the stand next to the cash register. 

OK, so I've read the Bible like many of you who are reading this now have.

I realize, for example, that in Isaiah 53:2, Jesus is described like this:

"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

But does he have to look like the bearded lady with a broken plate stuck on the back of his head, as in the magazine on the left?

And does he have to  resemble a serial killer, like in the photo on the right?

It's one thing to have "no beauty or majesty" or not look like a male model "that we should desire him," but at least depict him as the Bible describes him:

STRONG:  He was carpenter.  Carpenters today are often muscular.  Imagine the carpenters back in Jesus' day.  There were no forklifts to lift piles of wood.  If he made a table, it was made of solid wood.  There were no power tools.  Just heavy hammers and big saws.  And once done, there weren't any pickup trucks to load it on to deliver it.  He probably got help from Joseph and other tough guys, and carried the darn thing across town to Marvin Schwartz's house.

COURAGEOUS:  At 12, he was being a very big boy.  Not being intimidated by the religious "experts" of the day, Jesus stood up to teach to crowds of people, many of whom were old, wise men.  He never cared what others thought of him.  He was on a mission, and he never gave in to people who said, "Uh, excuse me, sir.  You can't do that."

TOUGH:  In Luke 4, after standing up in a synagogue and revealing who he was through the reading of Isaiah 61, a furious mob "took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.  But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."  And of course, he knew he was going to be beaten severely and crucified (the worst form of torture for millenia), but he CHOSE to go right into THAT mob and let them have their way.  (Which ultimately was HIS way.)  You can't get tougher than that.

So after careful study of the Scriptures, I formulated an image of what I think Jesus looked like and sketched a draft.  I think it comes pretty close.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 28, 2014

About Gays and World Vision



 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?”                                                   ~ 1 Corinthians 5:1-2


My heart breaks for the number of “proud” people (who claim Christ as their Savior) who lauded Richard Stearns before his reversal on the gay-marriage decision at World Vision.

Personally I am very confused.  Mr. Stearns and his books have been an inspiration to my wife and me.  We are grateful that he “repented” of his position.  Our hope is that the repentance was based on his genuine change of heart on the matter and was not driven by the drop in funding for his organization since the row occurred.  If it were the latter, our hearts break even more.  And as many other Christians have expressed to me, "What else will he compromise on for the sake of 'unity'?"

Now there is a social media firestorm brewing.  More liberal, progressive Christians accuse those who disagreed with Stearns as “judgmental,” “lacking grace,” and “unloving toward gays.”  They have even stated things like, “How dare other Christians put the children of World Vision at risk?”

But those accusations have absolutely NOTHING to do with the issue.  The issue has everything to do with whether or not a self-professed Christian believes that the act of homosexuality is a sin.  If they agree it is sin, then the issue becomes, Is the sinner repentant of that sin and actively endeavoring to draw closer to Christ? 

If they are, then the former sinner would be welcomed in nearly any Christian organization that exists.  But if the sinner refuses to acknowledge that their behavior is sinful, why should any such organization feel obligated to employ them?

And no, Bible-following Christians are not hypocritical.  Yes, adultery is also a sin, even if it’s heterosexual.  But you would be hard-pressed to find a truly Christ-centered company that employs ANYONE in unrepentant sin—like spouses having affairs, filthy-mouthed alcoholics, or even doctors who perform abortions.

The Bible is clear.  The act of homosexuality is a sin.  And when two gay people marry, it is a statement to the world that it is most certainly NOT a sin to them.

It is extremely dangerous to accuse those who follow the truth of Scripture of somehow not showing “grace” to the sinner.  God alone shows grace to the sinner through repentance.  Christians show the love of God to them.  Christians who protested Stearns's initial decision are NOT unloving toward gays.  We are simply protesting the anti-biblical acceptance of homosexual marriage for the sake of “unity.”

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Unity in error is unity in ruin.”

And Adrian Rogers said, "It is better to be divided by truth than to be united by error."

Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). And shortly after he prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus desired the church to be unified as one body and sanctified by the truth of the Word of God. According to Christ, truth and unity go hand in hand. He never even hints at creating a contrast between the two.

Christian truth is NOT the antithesis of unity!  It is the foundation of it.  Otherwise, the Bible was written in vain and Christ’s death on the cross was also done in vain.  Otherwise, the apostle Paul would not have gone to such great lengths to consistently, publicly distinguish the true gospel from any false influence. 

He was dealing with pre-Gnosticism, which voiced the idea that Jesus did not actually come in the “flesh,” but was some sort of spirit.

He was dealing with Judaizers who insisted that Jewish converts to Christianity must abide by Old Testament rules, as in circumcision.

He was dealing with ascetics who insisted on a cloistered lifestyle and dietary habits.

He was dealing with hedonists whose purpose in life was to avoid pain or discomfort at any cost.

These issues are mild compared to what he would write today if this conversation about gays arose.  Why didn’t the topic arise back in his day?  Because except for the Romans themselves, the Roman “Christian” world was firm that the act of homosexuality was wrong.  Why?  Because they had the Scriptures to back it up.

Therefore, contrary to accusations that are flying in the social media arena, I make the following attestation:

I AM NOT HOMOPHOBIC.
The word “phobic” implies fear.  I am not afraid of those in the gay lifestyle.  I truly LOVE them.  I worked with them for years in the fashion industry.  My absolute best friend in the world came out of the lifestyle because he recognized its waywardness. I am not ashamed to be seen with them in public.  I am not afraid to have them come into my home and play with my children.  When I see them on the street, I do not cross to the other side to avoid them.

I AM NOT HATEFUL OR JUDGMENTAL TOWARD GAYS.
I do not love gays any more or any less than I would, say, an adulterer.  They need the love of Jesus.  Jesus gave me immense love for them.  I have no ulterior motives in building and keeping relationships with them.  I love them as people.  I do not look at them with disgust or hatred.  I can love them even though I do not agree with their lifestyle.  And why must I agree with them in order to love them?  If that’s the definition of love, we’re all lost.

I AM NOT ISOLATING THEIR SINFUL LIFESTYLE AS BEING DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SINFUL LIFESTYLES.
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  They are in need of a Savior as much as anyone else.
 

I AM NOT QUOTING SCRIPTURE TO GAYS ALL OF THE TIME.
I have yet to meet someone in the gay lifestyle who sees a Bible verse and says, “Gee, I didn’t know God thinks it’s a sin.”

I AM NOT SAYING SOMEONE WHO IS ATTRACTED TO THE SAME SEX CAN NEVER BECOME A CHRISTIAN.
We all may struggle with proclivities and desires that are not godly.  But God looks at the heart and wants us to “Be holy as He is holy.”  If that means keeping desires at bay until He comes or takes us to be with Him, then so be it.  We are ALL to die to our fleshly desires, however those look.  Temptations are not sin.  Allowing temptations to take root in our hearts is sin, whether we act on them or not. (James 1:13-15)

I want to encourage all those who are under attack for standing up for the Word of God.  Time is short.  The Lord is separating the wheat from the chaff in these last days.

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
~ 1 Peter 1:24-25

The American Constitution is under attack for being outdated.  The Word of God is never outdated, and we will all stand before God someday as He calls us into account for any compromise whatsoever in our walk with Him.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Enough Love to Go Around



Loving my kids, Down syndrome and all.  They give me more than I could ever give to them.

Thank you, Lord, for the rich blessings!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

That None Should Perish



For men, the thought of adopting sends shivers down our spines. Your family’s over, you think. You’ve already got your 2.7 children. (The poor .7 child!) You may already have your five biological children. So what in the world is my wife talking about?!

If there’s one thing I took away from Summit9 in Nashville last week, it’s the reminder that adoption is the model for how God includes US in the family of God.

"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~Romans. 8:15

Without God adopting us, we are not “grafted in” with the seed of Abraham (Rom. 11:17), and therefore, we are not saved. Thank God for His grace! Thank God that He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 2:9).

It is with that same heart that we adopt others who are perishing, so to speak. Not just in a spiritual sense, but a physical one as well. Adoption is a way that we can model to other Christians and to the world the heart of a living God.

When our “Christian” nation accepts as the norm a routine test (Trisomy 21) in utero to determine if an unborn child has Down syndrome, it allows a parent the option to abort the child because of such an abnormality. When we men not only advocate for, but also BRING INTO OUR FAMILY, a child with Down syndrome, people are perplexed. Some may even look at us with disgust (trust me, we’ve seen the glares). But we are merely grafting in that child, and in doing so, we often save their very lives.

 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” ~1 John 3:16

Adoption is a laying down of our lives so that others might live. Gee, who else did that?

Sure, God does not expect every Christian to adopt children. But He does mandate us to care for, visit, meet the needs of the orphan. And that will take time. That will take sacrifice. But most importantly, that will take a brave man to say, “Whatever YOU want, Lord.”

The 21st century Christian man must not ask what God can do for him, but ask what he can do for God. Men must be courageous enough to pray all of the scary prayers, like:

1. Lord, give me patience.
2. Lord, use me however you wish.
3. Lord, tell our family if you want us to adopt.

I liken the man who comes to the plate, not knowing all the in’s and out’s, not knowing what hardships may come, not knowing what life will look like years from now, as a true warrior.

Move over Gladiator.

Move over Braveheart.

With 163,000,000 orphans in the world, it takes a man with guts to model God’s heart of adoption through his own family…THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy 16th Anniversary, Sweetie!


THANK YOU, HONEY, FOR BEING WITH THIS OLD DOG FOR SO LONG.

I LOVE YOU,

HUSBAND

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

For Those Who Feel Orphans Have a Better Life in Their Orphanage...

A picture never lies...


 
This is our Hasya, whom we took to the hospital today for IV nourishment and Lord knows what else.

Hard to believe that next month she will be 15 years old.  The hospital put her weight today at a whopping 26 pounds.

Having lived in a crib for all of her 15 years, she cannot sit up, and if she does, she cries in misery because her bones, joints, and internal organs aren't used to it.

I liken her life up to now as an oak sapling placed in a small house pot.  The orphanage fed her nothing but formula her entire life, until recently before we picked her up.  That's when they splurged and fed her water-soaked bread three times a day.

Hasya will need copious amounts of therapies on every level.  How far she will go, we are not sure.  We just want her out of her constant state of pain.  That may take a very long time, but will make each day her most special day until that happens.

And we are so thankful that Hasya (which means "mercy of God") is ours. What a privilege to call her our daughter!

Grow, girl, grow.

~~~




And now for our Kael.

Here is a photo of him when he was still very, very young.  Probably not long after entering the orphanage in Sofia.

Look how plump and robust he is!  He could pass for any normal, healthy American little boy.

Kael was the third orphan to ever be up for adoption in Bulgaria.  And yet, no one was interested in him.  No one.  Not one.



So for the past year and a half, he has lived in an insane asylum with adults who are psychologically and possibly criminally insane.

It has taken its toll on poor Kael.  These are photos I took of him tonight while bathing him.  His body is literally a skeleton with skin...








It's hard to say how much of Kael's psychological quirks were acquired while either in the orphanage or in the asylum.

But what I really hope to convey by this post is not my deep hurt over the condition of our new children.  I want each and every one you, and as many of your friends and acquaintances as possible, to know that for every Hasya or Kael, there are literally TENS OF MILLIONS MORE!

Oh, what our eyes cannot see!  The only one who can see each one of these poor children at the same time is God Himself.  So can you imagine His heart over this global plight?  It makes you wonder when He's going to say, Enough is enough!

It just goes to show how profound His love is for those who have not made a decision for Him yet.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

But that means allowing 163 million orphans to remain orphans.

Unless...

Unless...

Unless we, His hands and feet, do something about it!























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