The 2017 Together for Adoption National Conference

download.pngI am thankful to be one of the speakers at the 2017 Together for Adoption National Conference in Atlanta, GA (September 29th-30th). The focus of the conference is “the image of God, the gospel, and the orphan”. During the conference, we will explore what the implications of being made in the image of God have on adoption, fostercare, and orphancare.

You can register for the conference here. The speakers include Kevin Ezell, Dan Cruver, Rick Morton, Jason Kovacs, and others.

This Is My Son.

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This is our precious son.

We have taught him about MLK, and that Americans have not always been nice to brown skinned people.

But, it breaks my heart to think that one day I will have to fully explain to him the complex brokenness of our world.

One day I will have to fully explain our country’s disgraceful history of racial discrimination.

One day I will have to help him understand that we, as a country, have not fully moved beyond these racial issues.

Thankfully, I will also get to point him to the coming day that we read about in Revelation 21.

The day when our loving Father “will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things will have passed away.”

On that day, God will “make all things new.”

On that day every believer, from every “tribe and people”, will “stand before the throne and before the Lamb”, as one (Revelation 7).

How long, O Lord?

Adopted Into God’s Family (1 John 3:1-10)

This was originally posted at The Biblical Recorder.

dsc02697I will always remember the moment that Laura and I received Solomon into our care. We were in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our driver came and picked us up from the guest house and drove us through the city into the hills and up to a gated house full of orphaned children. Laura and I stood outside the gate while one of the agency case workers went inside, and after a few moments, our agency worker opened the gate and walked out into the street and handed us our son.

We turned and got back into the van and got situated. As the van pulled off Solomon started screaming and crying frantically. This little child had no clue what was going on. We were pulling baby Solomon away from everything he had ever known. But after a few minutes, he reached his little arms around Laura’s neck and tightened his grip and held on for dear life.

It was moving to see Solomon hold onto Laura, but what really mattered, was Laura holding onto Solomon. Laura and I knew where we were going. We also knew that he was our son.

Solomon came to understand this reality as time went on.

Since that moment, I have never been able to read passages like 1 John 3:1-10 the same: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

As J.I. Packer once said in his classic book, Knowing God: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.”

As we live the Christian life, we must realize that years may transpire before the believer who is adopted by God may know that he is adopted, have a deep sense of feeling of it. We live in the comfort and hope of our loving Father’s arms. And as we grow, that reality shapes us more and more as we head towards eternity.

The Gospel and Our Adoption in Christ

In February I had the privilege of preaching at my home church, Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. My sermon was titled “The Gospel and Our Adoption in Christ”, and was based on Galatians 4:1-7.

You can also download the audio from iTunes here.

Know More Orphans Conference

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On March 7th & 8th, Altar 84 is hosting a conference at The Church at Brook Hills called Know More Orphans.” Here is the conference theme:

The Church has always been God’s plan for building his kingdom, and this includes securing justice for the poor and most vulnerable. Altar 84 desires to work intimately with the Body of Christ to care for the least of these, the orphan. On Friday, March 7th and Saturday March 8th, 2014, Altar84’s kNOw More Orphans Conference will seek to unite the church community for the call to care for orphans and vulnerable children – right here and around the world. The conference will provide AWARENESS of God’s Word and his command to take ACTION.

If you are interested in leading your church to care for orphans and building a church culture of adoption and foster care, I encourage you to consider this conference. The speakers for this conference include David Platt, Russell Moore, Tony Merida, Rick Morton, and more. I will also be leading a breakout session on orphan care and the teaching ministry of the church. I hope to see you there! To find out more click here. 

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Together for Adoption: “Why is Your Mommy White?”

The Ministry of Together for Adoption 

Laura and I are so grateful for the ministry of Together for Adoption. Several years ago we attended the national conference in Franklin, TN, while waiting to adopt our son Solomon. If you have adopted, are in the process of adopting, or praying about adopting I would encourage you to attend the Together for Adoption National Conference on October 4-5 at Southern Seminary. If you do attend, prepare to be inspired and equipped for adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry. Here are the details.

Six rich general sessions. Sixty tool-gathering workshops. One breathtaking Story.

In the Bible, Adoption is a story-word. God’s work of adoption within the world is a story that encompasses all of human history, from its pre-temporal beginnings when God predestined us to “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-6) to the eventual renewal of all creation (Romans 8:23)—the Day when everything sad comes untrue. From the Apostle Paul’s perspective, Adoption is the redemptive Story that changes everything for us and the fatherless.

Alongside the six rich plenary sessions, our national conference will provide more than sixty tool-gathering workshops led by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, Dr. Randy Stinson, Johnny Carr, Dr. Jon Bergeron, Gerrit Dawson, Susan Hillis, Elizabeth Styffe, and many other global leaders.

Together for Adoption National Conference Details

General Session Topics

  1. The Story Gone Wrong (Mike Reeves, author of Delighting in the Trinity)
  2. Stories of the Fatherless (Dr. Sharen Ford, Manager of Colorado State’s Permanency Services Unit)
  3. The Story Re-Written (Dan Cruver)
  4. Our Lives Re-Written (Mike Reeves)
  5. Stories of the Fatherless Re-Written (Vermon Pierre)
  6. When Everything Sad Comes Untrue (Scotty Smith)

8 Breakout Session Tracks

  1. Stories about Beginning the Adoption Journey (Pre­-Adoption)
  2. Stories from Experienced Adoptive Families (Post-Adoption)
  3. Stories from Experienced Adoptive Families with Special Needs
  4. Stories about Foster Care within Families
  5. Stories about the Orphan Crisis from Experienced Organizations
  6. Stories about Financing your Adoption Journey
  7. Stories about Developing Ministries for Adoption/Orphan Care Movement
  8. Stories about God’s Work through the Theology of Adoption

Download the PDF version of the Breakout Sessions listed according to their Story-Tracks.

See the conference schedule.

Thankful for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream

I Have A Dream

It’s been fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr. shared with a divided nation his “dream” of racial equality. I am thankful for his dream, which is a reality for our family today. This is our son Solomon with his cousin Emma.