thBut as for you, keep a clear head about everything…” (2 Tim. 4:5).

Beware of imagining yourself at the center of drama.

Beware of emotions getting the best of you.

Beware of grudges.

Beware of taking anything personally.

Beware of not believing the best of others you love and who love you.

Beware of dwelling upon words and actions of others and arriving at conclusions without evidence for those conclusions.

Beware of finding your identity in anyone or anything but Jesus.

TWDuring a dark time in your life, did you ever say anything you deeply regret? Ever had painful words spoken to you that cut you to the bone-marrow? Me too, on all the above. Question is, how does God feel about those words? And how should you feel about those words spoken from you or to you?

In John Piper‘s book, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life, he deals with this. He points us to the words of Job when he responded to Eliphaz: “Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind?” (Job 6:26)

Did you catch it? Speech from despair is for the wind. It’s not called into our account. Nor should we call cutting words spoken to us into account. Piper goes on to say, “Let us discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind—spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love.”

To Die or To Diamond

November 25, 2014 — 3 Comments
Arrival home, 2012(Photos by Erin Witkowski, eveswishphotography.com)

Arrival home, 2012 (Photos by Erin Witkowski, eveswishphotography.com)

The nine weeks we spent in Ukraine were some of the toughest for me, personally. In fact, I posted a blog last year on how God took me halfway around the world to expose sin in me. You can read that post HERE. Then throw in the moments where Christie and I agonized over the difficulties we perpetually faced in Ukraine to get our daughter(s) adopted. Follow that by the last two years (joyful, but hard years) of going from a family of four with two boys to a family of six with two girls (and one of them only three years old), navigating the emotional trauma and survival skills that they had learned as orphans.

Early on in the adoption process, and by God’s grace, I came upon a passage of Scripture that has kept me grounded to this day: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Compare the grain of wheat to a 14kt diamond…. If both are placed side by side in the palm of my hand, which would you choose? That’s a no-brainer. Yet a diamond is lifeless. It exists to be seen and alone. How miserable. A wheat grain is not sexy in the least. Yet it is full of life. It will give life to countless people after it enters into the soil. The legacy of the wheat grain will feed generations upon generations. The question I asked myself in Ukraine (and now) was something like this: “Do I pursue more of a life of the grain or the diamond?” How about you? Adoption is glorious, but hard. Everyday it’s a decision of “dying” or “diamonding.”

Is God calling you to die to yourself, your potential dreams, travels, trinkets, freedoms, to be the gospel to an orphan(s) through foster care or adoption? Or, might God be leading you to sacrificially give resources to families who seek to provide foster care or adopt orphans?

Adoption is the gospel. So, to die? Or to diamond? What will it be?

***For more information, contact Lifesong for Orphans, Justice for Orphans, or email Grace Community Church’s Foster and Forever Family Ministry at GFFF@graceoc.com

Jubilee's first experience at the movies

Jubilee’s first experience at the movies

Summer, 2014

Summer, 2014

Three ways to enjoy life.

November 22, 2014 — 12 Comments

happiness_bulldogdrummondAre you one of those who can’t figure out how to enjoy life? Many people are experts on making themselves (and others) miserable. So how can you flip-flop it? Here’s a start:

* Lighten up. G.K. Chesterton said that angels are able to fly because they take themselves lightly. So don’t take yourself so seriously. And don’t take matters so personally.

* Laugh more. Perhaps your circumstances are so far gone that it’s time to just have a good laugh. I don’t mean to belittle but with Jesus as your treasure and glory as your Home aren’t you ultimately free to do just that?

* Don’t live in your past. Every good and bad decision, every sin by you, and every sin against you God has bent toward His will and plan for your life. He has redeemed it in Jesus.

What do you do to enjoy life? What else would you recommend?

An orphan no more….

November 19, 2014 — 2 Comments

IMG_2996“Veronika has a little sister in a different orphanage she doesn’t know about?” What were we to do? Could we handle Veronika AND Larissa (she was three years old at the time)? In addition, the cost of adopting them both was nearly double what we had saved for, not counting the extra weeks we would have to pay for housing and food to remain in Ukraine. But… what if? What if the Lord wanted us to trust Him to make a way? What if the Lord wanted to blow our minds?

We decided we would reach out cold-turkey to our family and friends via social media to try and raise the funds to adopt Larissa. Due to the cost, it would take a miracle. And the full amount would have to be raised in the span of days. It just simply felt impossible. We went live with a blog post to family and friends asking for the funds on a Friday afternoon from Ukraine. Saturday morning, I made it to a local coffee shop in Kiev to see if anyone had contributed. When I checked it (less than 24 hours later)… wait for it, wait for it…the full amount for Larissa’s adoption had been given. To say I wept would be an understatement. photocjphotocj1

How God loves the orphaned…. And I bless God for those who may never adopt but sacrificially gave to make Jubilee Larissa’s adoption happen. If God isn’t calling you to adopt, opportunities abound for you to financially help families who are called. They need you. And you’ll feel the pleasure of God as you do.

But know this too: He loves you, child. He did whatever it took to pursue you, rescue you, and call you His daughter or son, even when it meant He gave Himself up on the cross. Yes, on the cross, Jesus cried out to His Father and got no answer. Jesus reached up His hand for His Father and only got the air.* He did that for you. On that cross, Jesus was orphaned for you, so that you would be an orphan no more. He was orphaned for you so that when you cry out you can know the Father hears; and when you reach out, you can know He’s there to take your hand.

I get to be that to my little girls. They once were orphaned, now they’re rescued. When they cry out for a daddy in the night, I am there to answer. When they reach out their hand for daddy to help, I am there to hold them close.

Adoption is the gospel.jubsjj

* Pastor Tim Keller