Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Mourning

Our family is getting ready to leave on a trip to North Carolina today.  In honor of December 1 tomorrow, I am posting this poem that our Associate Pastor read at the first Sunday in Advent this past week.  I loved it.  Thanks, Scott, for sharing it!

Christmas Mourning

On Christmas day I weep
Good Friday to rejoice. 
I watch the Child asleep.
Does He half-dream the choice
The Man must make and keep?

At Christmastime I sigh
For my Good Friday hope.
Outflung the Child's arms lie
To span in their brief scope
The death the Man must die.

Come Christmastime I groan
To hear Good Friday's pealing.
The Man, racked to the bone,
Has made His hurt my healing,
Has made my ache His own.

Slay me, pierced to the core
With Christmas penitence
So I who, new-born, soar
To that Child's innocence,
May wound the Man no more.

-by Vassar Miller (1924-1998)

May God bless you during this Christmas season as we celebrate the One who died for us and rose again.  Oh blessed hope!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Being the Village - repost from Jen

I posted this a while back on Facebook but I want to link to it here so I always have access and so do you.  Print it out and keep it for all those friends you will meet in the future who are adopting.  Best advice I have ever read.  She keeps it REAL.  Love Jen Hatmaker.  She is a writer and speaker.  After I read her newest book coming out, Seven, I'll do a review.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kisses From Katie

I promised a book review of Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis, so here it is.  I think I put off writing this because I am at a loss for what to say.  Or, I guess, a more accurate statement would be that there's so much to say that I just don't quite know how to narrow it down.  I want to do this book justice, but I can't.  You see, Kisses From Katie is one of THOSE life changing books.  The ones that are so few and far between. The ones that make you want to throw away everything you are, leave it all behind, and start fresh.  The ones that make you see how small you are.  The ones you will never forget.  You'll spend time trying to make other people understand why they should read it but you'll fail miserably because there just aren't words.  Well, not MY words, anyway.  Katie's words, that's what you need to read.  Words spoken by Katie, inspired by her Heavenly Father. 

Katie Davis has a background that you can read on the jacket of the book.  Class president.  Homecoming queen.  Went of a mission trip to Uganda her senior year.  Then her life fell apart.  In a good way.  She fell in love with God.  She fell in love with the people of Uganda.  She knew she was called by Jesus to go, so she went.  At 18 years of age she moved across the ocean to love on people that others said had no worth.  She has since started Amazima ministries, touched thousands of lives, and adopted 13 children.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  13 girls.  By herself. 

Katie's book challenges you in ways you probably don't want to be challenged.  At least not that you'll admit to yourself.  She challenges you in the way that Jesus would challenge you.  By admitting she can do nothing alone.  She needs Christ.  Through Christ she is changing lives.  This book is not one that will make you feel better about yourself.  If you're looking for a self-help book, this ain't it, my friend.  If you're looking for a book to make you see how wretched you are, how selfish you are, or how easy you really want your life to be but wouldn't admit it, this is the book for you.  You'll cry with Katie.  But oh, what cleansing tears!  Tears that will run down your face as you plead for forgiveness from your Heavenly Father for ignoring the least of these. 

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy." I'd like to quote the whole book.

She talks a lot about adoption.  Real life adoption, not fluffy adoption.  "Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced.  Adoption is also difficult and painful.  Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption.  It is the Gospel in my living room.  And sometimes, it's just hard."  She goes on to tell some of the difficult things about adoption.
Then she says, "Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And evey single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart.  His Word says,'In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5).  He sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6).  The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is 'acceptance'. God accepts me, adores me even, just as I am.  And He wants me to accept those without families into my own.  Adoption is the reason I can come before God's throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace. My family, adopting these children, it is not optional.  It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.'  I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matthew 10:39)."

I will not be able to give you words that will make you click your mouse and order this book, then sit down and read it.  So I'll just tell you that you need to read it.  Yes, YOU!  Order it.  Run out to Books-A-Million and buy it.  Download it.  Whatever.  Just read it.  Get out your coffee and a Kleenex, and go on this journey with Katie.  You won't regret it.  I promise.