Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Choosing a Path

In life, how do we get where we ultimately want to go?  10-20 years ago, where did you see yourself ending up at this point in your life?  Are you close financially?  Are you close with your relationships?  Is there something you can do to have influence over where you end up 10-20 years from now?  In this message, Andy Stanley unpacks a principle that may change your life if you choose to heed its advice.  It may explain why you are where you are and may guide you as you try to reach your goals for the future.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Princes From Paupers

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  (Ephesians 1:4-5)  NLT

The path I went down in order to bring home my six year old was a difficult one.  Ten years of trying to have a child the old fashioned way (amidst my then wife’s infertility treatments, injections, and charting temperatures) ultimately bore no fruit.  IVF was an option but the idea of freezing “embryos” was not something I personally could sign up for.  So finally we looked at adoption.  We looked at different options, but were surprised and excited to learn from a friend that there was a woman in my old home town of Hattiesburg, MS who was pregnant and looking for options to give up her baby.  We contacted her and eventually drove to Hattiesburg to meet her.  It turned out that she was actually related to me since she had been adopted by a relative on my father’s side!  You can imagine our excitement.  She agreed that we should adopt her baby, and we impatiently waited for the day when this little one would arrive.

Finally the day came and we were there in the hospital for two days, allowed to spend time with this little baby we were so excited to take home.  On the third day, we woke up at my grandmother’s house and drove to the hospital to take the baby home.  On the way, our attorney called and told us that the birth mother had changed her mind and was keeping her baby girl after all.  We had no choice but to drive home empty handed to our house in Atlanta and start over.  Four months later we found out through the same friend that the baby had died due to negligent behavior of the mother.  And once again, God made absolutely no sense.  After ten years of infertility, how could this possibly make sense in His grand design?

Many long talks with God later, we adopted Caleb (which is an adventure story all its own).  We ultimately drove to Savannah, GA and met a 4 lb. 7 oz. premie who was 6 days old.  He and I have had many little conversations talking about his adoption, what it means, etc.  It was important to me that he would never have the earth shattering “I’m adopted???” moment when he gets older.  He has just always known he was adopted.  We read him children’s books about being adopted even before he could talk.  I love that he will grow up knowing that we pursued him—that we went looking for him and didn’t stop until we found him. 

The verse above from Ephesians chapter 1 is very important to me.  It’s a reminder to me about how deep God’s love goes.  He doesn’t love us because we love Him back.  He in fact loves us whether we return that love or not.  And he doesn’t love us based on our performance, inherent goodness, or perceived return on investment.  Somehow he sees past our performance, our lack of goodness, and utter lack of return on investment and he chooses to love us anyway.  He chooses to love us and to pursue us—to reach out to us with an offer as great as any man or woman has ever heard.  The offer:  to be made princes from paupers—to be given freely the right to  be called children of the Most High God.  It is an opportunity to be adopted by the King of the Universe with all the love and acceptance that comes with that.  My pursuit and adoption of this little boy is a reminder to me of what Jesus went through in order to bring me (and you) home.  It is an adoption certificate signed in blood and a gift none of us could ever hope to earn or repay.