Why folks should adopt locally and inter-racially

First, I am in NO way saying moms and dads should not adopt internationally. They should! By all means, go adopt internationally. It’s holy. It’s right. It’s good. International adoption opens ministry doors, meets needs a multiple levels and brings great joy.

I am saying that local adoption opens different doors of opportunity. I’d like to share one experience that illustrates this.

Friday afternoon following wrestling practice my boys and I went to a local establishment. Not many boys and men frequent this particular establishment due to its location and somewhat “stereo typicalness”. Also, I’m an insider here. I’m not an outsider. Many of the men who come into this place have known me since I was 5. I went to school with a lot of them. They know me.

Remember, I have two biological sons and one adopted son. Most of you reading know this fact already. But what makes my situation different is that my adopted son is very clearly black (we say brown for many reasons but I suppose that is a different post).  This is also not the post to deal with why we use the terms biological and adopted. There are theological reasons for that as well. Just know that Daniel is as much my boy as Gabriel and John Mark are. He’s got the name and social security number to prove it. He’s a Jolly, by God.

Well, not thirty-seconds into entering this shop the few eyes in there were peering pretty hard. I’m used to that kind of thing but not so much the boldness of one who actually opens their mouth. Some people actually have honest questions and that is ok. Some have questions that are really statements and I’m sure you could tell the difference too. And truthfully, I’m totally not even aware most of the time. I’m so used to my mixed race family that it takes me a minute to become aware people are staring. However, all of a sudden out came this question/statement: “all three of them yours?” The tone was clear. The black kid was not welcome and they needed to know if he was with me and could stay. By God’s grace the Spirit caught my response that included a string of four letter accusations about their character, momma and family line….lets move on. I simply responded, “yes, all three are mine, all three carry my name.” My tone also made clear my intentions to protect, guard and take the offensive if need be. We looked around and the boys were completely unaware. They were just enamored with the inventory and they never brought it up so I’m sure they never caught it.

This is just one of the encounters we have had nearly seven years. So, why put yourself and your children in the line of fire for such things by adopting out of the town you live in and inter-racially? I mean, you may run into distant relatives and into people who would gladly take a step back socially. Why do that? Here’s why.

Obedience
The Scriptures are clear. I don’t have an option. Father cares about the orphan. I’ve said enough about this in public and don’t need to grind that axe here. It’s just right and clear biblically.
Meets a practical need
Adoption locally meets a practical need in the town you live in. I sit on the board for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). As a citizen representative from the church to our county, I see and hear the internal need and the external need. I can only do what I have done. Financially I can’t do any more. If I had more money I’d take more. Father knows my heart. I weep now because I can’t do more than sound the alarm and hope many come running. But taking just one has changed his life and alleviated one from the system. It has made a difference in Daniel’s life and the ripple effect is growing.
Displays a facet of the gospel
When we adopt it shows off a portion of the Gospel message. Romans 8 and Galatians 4 tell us that Father, through the death, burial and resurrection of the Son and by the ministry of the Spirit has adopted those who repent and believe into the family as sons and daughters. As we adopt, we show the world that Father desires to take people who don’t look like him and make them his and begin training them to look like him. Oh, what an avenue for the Gospel.
Confronts racism
By adopting inter-racially we get to confront the sin of racism. Racism knows no ethnic boundary. It’s not just white people. It’s human. Racism is a global epidemic. As we adopt inter-racially our eyes become open to it and we then can begin to confront out own racist tendencies toward whomever they are directed and see the Lord clean that part of our character up. Inter-racial adoption also causes others to deal with their sin. We get to confront it in family members and friends and bring the Gospel to bear on a great moral evil. It’s holy.
Opportunity to minister to the racist
Finally, we get to help out the racist. This is the hardest part. I don’t care for them. I know pastors are not supposed to say things like that. At least in perception. There are certain folks I don’t care for. This kind is one of them. I’d just as soon throat punch them as look at them. However, I can’t do that (unless they attack, then no holds barred, right?). I have to somehow bring the Gospel to bear on a racist as much as anyone else. I can’t answer how I’m going to grow in this area. I know I have to because Daniel, his brothers, Jennifer and I will continue to get the same stuff at times. How do we handle it? We have to learn to engage those folks. Daniel is going to get much attention in his coming days. It will be clear who his brothers, mom and dad are. We must help with the Gospel. What an opportunity!

Joy!

Advent Week 3: Joy

Isaiah 35:1-10

Luke 1:46b-55

James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

The Magnificat or The Megaluno: Luke 1:46-55

Luke 1:46-47: Mary’s song is for enjoyment of the Lord

This section of Luke is called “The Magnificat” (Latin: [My soul] magnifies)—also known as the Song of Mary, is a song  frequently sung (or spoken) liturgically in some churches. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns. Its name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the text.

In Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, word is we know as Magnificat is Megaluno. Megaluno means to magnify, to make great, to enlarge.

What is happening here is that Mary’s soul is processing joy.

Mary says:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

So, magnify and rejoice are used in a parallel way. Soul parallels with spirit. Lord parallels with Savior. Magnifies parallels with rejoices.

Parallelism is the way Hebrew folks rhymed. If they rapped it would be in parallelism nor rhyming.

So, the Hebrew poet would rhyme by saying the same thing in a different way.

So, when Mary says that she is magnifying, making great and enlarging the Lord, she is NOT saying that she, in her sinful and fallen self is making the Lord look larger than he is (magnify) or that she is taking him to greatness by her efforts (make great) or even growing Father (enlarge).

Mary clarifies her intentions with the second line that defines the first. Mary’s entire being is rejoicing in the Lord.

Mary’s soul is processing joy.

Mary, simply put, is enjoying the Lord in public.

The reverse is true in Hebrew poetry. The second line also defines the first. When Mary is rejoicing in the Lord she is “magnifying” him.

What does that mean?

When Mary is enjoying she is not saying that her rejoicing is making him something he is not.

Mary, in her public enjoyment of the Lord, is showing him to be as big as he is. She is seeking to show how great he is. Mary is seeking to enlarge the Father’s praise and his people’s joy in his praise.

Mary, simply put, is enjoying the Lord and seeking to draw others into enjoying the Lord. 

What is the basis of Mary’s enjoyment and her appeal to us to come and enjoy?

2. Luke 1:48-50: Mary’s 4 reason’s for enjoying the Lord publicly

A. Father took notice of her, therefore, doing great things for Mary v. 48a, 49a

1. “who am I?” is the cry of this heart

B. All generations will call Mary blessed

1. This draws attention to the blesser not the blessed

2. Blessed = family inclusion resulting in receiving family resources

C. Father is holy

D. Father is merciful

3. Luke 1:51-55: Our 7 reason’s for enjoying the Lord publicly

Verse 51-54 move from present tense to aorist tense (a past tense).

This is significant.

Mary is looking forward to what will be done as a result of the coming promised child by looking back at what Father has done.

Why is this important?

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

 

Mary is looking back at what Father has done with the hope that what was done was a real gospel event but also a promise of what he will do in greater measure in the fulfillment of the promise to Moses to send one like him who will be the final and complete prophet, priest and king (Deuteronomy 18). He will tell you all my words, he will represent you as a merciful and faithful high priest and he will rule you well.

A. He has been strong v. 51

B. He has brought down the prideful mighty v. 52a

C. He has exalted the humble v. 52b

D. He has fed those who were deprived v. 53a

E. He has sent those with much away to a deprived state v. 53b

F. He has helped his people v. 54

C. He has been faithful just like he promised Abraham he would be v. 55

3. Mega-luno the Lord together in song and in life

A. Sing today like you mean it

B. Live with passionate submissive humility like Jesus (Philippians 2)

 

 

 

Peace!

Advent 2013, Week 2: Peace

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-7, 18, 19

Romans 5:4-13

Matthew 3:1-12

 

Peace as opposed to death, enmity, insecurity, disturbance, disruption, interference, bother, trouble.

 

The antonyms of peace are many.

 

After Adam and Eve rebelled against Father in the garden the metanarrative takes on words like enmity and death and murder and so on.

 

Father, Son and Spirit created a perfect creation that was “good”. All of creation was woven together in perfect harmony. The earth was perfectly watered to cause the proper growth of all plant life as needed as the water rose up from within the earth.

 

All trees and plants were given over to Adam and Eve to cultivate and eat from (except the tree of knowledge of good and evil). Animals were given over to Adam to name and steward and use for subduing the earth.

 

Adam and Eve were together in perfect relationship and harmony and joy so much so that Adam sings to her “you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” and he names her “woman” and they were together with no shame.

 

Our parents had the capacity to reproduce with no impediments. There was no miscommunication. There was no failure to put an event on the calendar. There was no “I told you that two weeks ago….No you didn’t.”

 

Everything worked together in perfect peaceful rhythm. Peace!

 

But the enemy, who has at some unspecified time between Genesis 2:1 and Genesis 3:6, rebelled and began seeking to incite rebellion among the image bearers. Satan, the Devil, the Dragon succeeds in duping our parents and just like that the perfect peaceful rhythm was crushed with the awful crushing blow of a hammer of destruction.

 

All of a sudden Adam and Eve were hiding from the Son walking in the Garden, ashamed of their nakedness, terrified of their creator, their bodies started dying, animals no longer trusted them, plants began to decay, weather patterns were thrown off….

 

Peace turned into death, enmity, insecurity, disturbance, disruption, interference, bother and trouble. Always winter and never Christmas…(C.S. Lewis)

 

But Father made a promise in Genesis 3. The offspring of the woman would crush the serpent even though the serpent would strike the Son’s heal, the serpent’s head would be crushed and victory would be had and peace would be restored one day!

 

In Advent we remember the first coming of the Son who was struck by the serpent but who crushed the serpent’s head and broke the curse of sin and began to restore the peace of Eden.

 

In his first coming the Son, Jesus, dies and rises and in doing so he broke the curse and the winter began to thaw and we had Christmas! But the curse breaks slowly and the Son has many sons to gather from all nations, so he builds a church of sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to go and gather the sons and daughters from all nations and fight the curse with the attitudes of the Kingdom.

 

We remember this first coming so that we may anticipate the second coming in which the Son will not come to die again but to finally and fully end the curse and rescue his sons and daughters!

 

Advent is a season of anticipation.

 

Week one of Advent presents us with the theme of Hope! We anticipate because we have great hope that what the Father has begun he will complete.

 

Week two of Advent presents us with the theme of Peace!

 

We anticipate the restoration of peace like it was before the fall.

 

The peace of created order will be restored Isaiah 11:1-10

As a picture this is unforgettable and expresses reconciliation, concord and trust with supreme effectiveness. The reign of Christ already produces this kind of transformation in the sphere of human character, and will ultimately change the whole creation (cf. Rom. 8:19–25.). – D.A. Carson

I. The Person of the Messiah (11:1–16)

A. His ancestry (11:1) : The Messiah will come from David’s family.

B. His anointing (11:2) : God’s Holy Spirit will rest on the Messiah, giving him unlimited power and wisdom.

C. His administration (11:3–5): His reign will be just and righteous as he defends the helpless and defeats the wicked.

D. His accomplishments (11:6–16)

1. The Messiah will usher in universal peace among mankind and perfect harmony among the animals (11:6–9): Everyone will live together in peace.

2. All nations will rally to him (11:10, 12a).

3. He will gather the outcasts of Israel from all over the world and will restore them to the land (11:11, 12b–14): The jealousy between Israel and Judah will end, and they will join together to fight against their enemies.

4. He will build a highway of peace from the Red Sea to the Euphrates River (11:15–16).

 

The peace of justice and righteousness will be restored Psalm 72:1-7, 18, 19

I. The Concern for the King (72:1) . Here David asks God:

A. To endow Solomon with divine justice.

B. To endow Solomon with divine righteousness.

II. The Characteristics of the King (72:2–17): As has been previously noted, these royal characteristics had their partial fulfillment in Solomon, but their ultimate fulfillment awaits the reign of Christ.

A. The moral equity of the Kings reign (72:2)

B. The prosperity of the Kings reign (72:3, 6–7, 16): The entire earth will blossom, producing vast harvests of grain and fruit.

C. The security of the Kings reign (72:4) : The poor, the needy, and the orphans will be delivered from their oppressors.

D. The duration of the Kings reign (72:5, 15, 17): It will outlast the sun and the moon.

E. The extent of the Kings reign (72:8)

1. “From sea to sea.

2. “To the ends of the earth.

F. The glory of the Kings reign (72:9–11, 15)

1. Desert nomads and kings will pay tribute to him.

2. All nations will bow down to him and serve him.

G. The compassion of the Kings reign (72:12–14): In great pity, he will rescue the weak and needy, viewing their lives as precious!

III. The Confidence in the King (72:18–19): The psalmist offers up praise to Israel’s glorious God and coming ruler Jesus Christ.

 

 

Peace will come to the growing church that is made up of Jew and Gentile (people from all nations) Romans 15:4-13 (verse 9 “in order that the Gentiles”)

The Prompting of Paul (15:1–4, 8–12)

A. His exhortation (15:1–2): Paul urges the mature believer not to please himself but to build up the faith of weaker Christians.

B. His example (15:3–4, 8–12)

1. He points to the Scriptures (15:4) : Its pages are full of examples where many endured and encouraged others.

2. He points to the Savior (15:3, 8–12).

a. Jesus came not to gratify himself but to give himself (15:3) .

b. Jesus came to guarantee God’s salvation to Jews and Gentiles (15:8–12).

(1) To the Jews (15:8) : He came to show that God keeps his promises to the Jews.

(2) To the Gentiles (15:9–12): See also Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 18:49; and Isaiah 11:10.

II. The Prayer of Paul (15:5–7, 13)

A. He prays that God would favor the Roman church with endurance, encouragement, and unity (15:5–7).

B. He prays that God will fill the Roman church with joy, peace, and hope (15:13) .

 

Peace will come to our soul, until then we pursue holiness Matthew 3:1-12

 

On this side of the fall and on the short side of the restoration of all things, our souls are constantly raked with the ravages of sin and rebellion and we find ourselves in the disturbing pattern of short seasons of peace disrupted by long seasons of grief and struggle.

 

Sin seems so easy and holiness seems so hard to get to.

 

Yet the Lord demands we strive to be like him, holy. So we strive!

 

Too often in the history of the church, people have trusted in living in a “Christian” country, being raised in a Christian family, holding membership or even office in a local church, and even in verbal claims to have repented and to have trusted in Christ. Yet without the evidence of a changed life and perseverance in belief, all such grounds of trust prove futile. – Craig Blomberg

 

We trust not in our titles, rather we trust in the Gospel that awakens the soul to the need to strive and struggle toward the Kingdom.

 

Fret not! peace will come to our striving souls. Those who are striving will get the completion of peace. The Lord promised he would complete us (Philippians 1:6). Until then we struggle and repent.

I. John Ministers to the Multitudes (3:1–12)

A. What John preaches (3:1–4)

1. His message (3:1–3)

a. As proclaimed (3:1–2): “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

b. As predicted (3:3) : Isaiah the prophet foretold John’s ministry and message some 700 years earlier (Isa. 40:3).

2. His mantle (3:4): He wears a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt, and he eats locusts and wild honey.

B. To whom John preaches (3:5–10)

1. To the people of Israel (3:5–6): Many accept his message, repent of their sins, and are baptized.

2. To the religious leaders of Israel (3:7–10)

a. John’s description of these wicked men (3:7) : He refers to them as a brood of snakes!

b. The leaders’ demand of John (3:8–10): He warns them to truly repent and do good works or be destroyed.

C. For whom John preaches (3:11–12): He is preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

As we enter a time of response to the Lord’s promise of coming peace in full, remember that we are not just invited to come and worship. Worship is a command.

 

Father, Son and Spirit delight in singing. He put a hymn book in the middle of our canon. He rejoices over his people with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Therefore, I invite you to come to the Lord and fight the disruptive influences of the fall and enter the peace of singing to the audience of 1, Jesus, our great King.