The Wizard of OZ

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading through the devotional book, “He Walks Among Us” by Richard and Rene’ Stearns.   

In the section that I read today, Rene’ says something really important while talking about the Wizard of Oz –  “Like Dorothy’s friends, we also  have within us the capacity to be more than we make think we are.”

More than we think we are…….

Hmmmm, that kind of hits home, doesn’t it.   We have more capacity than we give ourselves credit for.

Does that mean we all have the capacity to move overseas and become a missionary?    Hah, even asking the question is funny.

Does that mean we all have the ability to adopt a child (or children)?   Nope – there are a lot of people who aren’t, for a variety of reasons, in the right time and place to adopt a child.    Many will never be.

But many who say, “I’m not able to adopt” really are, they just don’t think they are.

And many who think they aren’t able to volunteer at the local homeless shelter are.

And many who think they aren’t able to do “something” to help the less fortunate really can, it’s just outside of their comfort zone.

How does the saying go?

God doesn’t call the qualified.   He qualifies the called.

And He’s calling all of us to be a lot more qualified than we think we are capable of.

So what is He calling you towards?

Listen and follow.    The world will be a better place if we all do.

Tom

Accept the Cure

Another one of the “jewels” that I learned again on Easter Sunday morning is something that I’ve known all of my life but I heard it in a new way that makes it a lot easier to explain to people.

Many people say that there are “unpardonable” sins.   That someone who has murdered or who is in jail for sexual assault or _______________ (fill in the blank) can’t go to heaven because of what they’ve done, who they’ve hurt or the pain they have caused.

God says that’s not true.    God will accept anyone and everyone.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

Sin is a disease.   It’s the worst disease ever.

God gave us the cure.    We remembered the events behind God giving us the cure this past weekend.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

That means we need to say, “God, I know that I’m a sinner, I know I don’t deserve it, but I want your cure.   I believe in your cure.”

All we have to do is accept the cure.

That means that once we accept the cure, God wipes us clean of the disease.

Our sin is gone.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

And no matter what we’ve done, no matter how we’ve messed up, no matter who we’ve hurt, God claims us as His own.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

I have, have you?

Tom

Church Is…….

I heard an Easter Sunday morning sermon that had a number of “jewels” in it that really made me think.    I’m going to hit on them over the course of the next while – maybe one every day or two…….

“Church is a weekly recovery meeting.”    “If you don’t believe Church is a weekly recovery meeting, then you’ve got even bigger problems on top of all of your regular problems. “

Think about it, church is a weekly recovery meeting.    As in a recovery from the sins, the addictions, the compulsions that ruin our lives.    Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous…….. The list of things that we need to recover from is endless.

And one of, if not the most crucial roles of the church is to be a weekly recovery meeting.   A chance for a bunch of screwed up people to come together, listen to and talk to God and gain the strength that we need to be able to go out into world  and help others see what God is and what living for God truly involves.

That means that we all need to acknowledge that we are totally screwed up.    Each in our own way.

But we’ve all screwed up, we’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all said and done things that we shouldn’t.    We’ve all hurt people we love and people we don’t love but should love.

And that was just this past week.

Two things I’ve learned over the last 10 years when I’ve been hanging around with adoptive parents:

  • Adoptive parents are some of the best people at admitting their mistakes.    We know this is a difficult road.    We know that we will screw up.   We know that we need help and that things will be hard.   We cherish the opportunity to go to weekly recovery meetings at church that will feed our souls and give us the strength to deal with our challenges for another week.
  • The first world church is very uncomfortable with admitting that anything is wrong.    Unless you can fix it by providing a meal or putting a cast on it, they are very uncomfortable with admitting that things aren’t “great.”     Deep down inside they all have their own struggles and challenges.   Every.Single.One.of.Them.   But we have created an environment at church where it’s not considered acceptable to admit to anything less than “great” or “fine” when asked.

Think how much stronger the church would be if we’d all be real.   Think how much more passionate the church could be if we’d all admit that we need a recovery meeting every week – just to make it through whatever our struggles are.

God has great plans for His people.    But we need to acknowledge that we’re struggling and we need a recovery meeting.

Not a “let’s put on our Sunday best and pretend everything is perfect when it’s not.”

That’s not good enough for God.

Tom

God Created Me

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to my 12 and 13 year old about how my time at God’s Littlest Angels was nearing an end. 

My 13 year old asked, “Dad, are you going to go back into banking? Or what are you going to do?”

I told him that at this point God hasn’t told me that He has any intentions of sending me back into banking.   I told him that my time working for GLA had taught me many things and one of those things was that life is so much bigger than just me and that helping children and helping people who are struggling is really important to God and important to me.

Yesterday morning, I was bringing my 12 year old to school and this song came on the radio.     Matthew West says it well:

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

He said, “I did, I created you”

Gulp, He created you.   He created me.   He created you and you and you.    Not to live in comfort, but to do something.

My adopted children at home, my trips to Haiti, my work for GLA have all ignited a desire to do something.

God hasn’t made it clear yet exactly what that is, but I know wants us all to “Do Something.”

Will you?

So Many Questions–Today is the Answer

In the 3 1/2 years that I’ve been in the orphan care world, I’ve seen and been involved in a lot of pain and suffering.     Way more than I ever was in 20 years in the banking world.

Why is that?   It’s because of the devil.   In the first world, he’s a sneaky @$#%#$%#.   He uses greed, complacency, materialism, busyness and comfort to attempt to thwart the work of God and His people.

In the 3rd world, in places like Haiti, Uganda, Kenya……. he uses different more abrupt and more difficult methods.   He uses things like malnutrition, lack of medical care, sexual violence, abuse of all kinds, disease, unemployment, child trafficking, unclean water, a lack of education.   Much more bold, much more difficult, much more painful.

So many questions – and today is the answer.   Today is the day where God settled up the debts, today is the day where God sealed the defeat of the devil.    Today is the day where God made the final path clear.

One day, all suffering will be gone.   One day all pain will be gone.   One day all grief will be gone.   

Today is the answer.    Today we know that the devil won’t win forever.   He might win some relatively small fights, he might win some bigger fights, but he will not win the war.

Today is the day that Jesus won the war.