Sunday, September 23, 2012

Children of God: What We Are

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Sometimes you can hear a truth so much that it becomes a truism, something that you accept as true apart from any serious consideration or experience. The danger of an uncritically accepted or unexperienced truth is that we can become inoculated against the effects of that very truth, choking out the fruit of joy it naturally should produce. For example, as a child, I grew up hearing over and over that God loved me. While the blessing of hearing the message of God's love throughout your childhood is invaluable, the fact that "Jesus loves me" was, for many years, just that: a fact that I learned, much like I learned that 2 + 2 = 4. It wasn't until my sixteenth year (still graciously early in my life) that I truly experienced in my heart the love of God that I had previously known only in my head. By God's grace, the love of Jesus made that long and crucial journey from the head to the heart, and it changed my life.

The miracle of becoming an adopted child of God is another truth that perhaps many have come to accept mentally without a full realization of what being a son or daughter of God (of God!) means experientially. However, adoption doesn't change an orphan's life by merely creating a mental category for family. The orphan's life is beautifully and joyfully changed through the relational and emotional experiences of belonging to a family. In the same way, how should our own adoption by God change our lives? As sons and daughters of God, how can we not only understand what it took to secure our adoption (see part 1), but also begin to live more intentionally and more joyfully as the very children of God?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Children of God: What We Were

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! … Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
1 John 3:1, 2

To my surprise, I have been involved for the last few months in the start-up of a non-profit organization called Clement Arts. Our mission for Clement Arts is to celebrate the gospel through arts and orphan care, providing fund-raising support to adoptive families in the process. (You can read more about that here.) I am surprised by this work because, as is often the case with God, it is so much better than what I originally intended. Over the last year, the idea for a simple album of songs has turned into a way to demonstrate the gospel to our community by highlighting and supporting those who are called by God to transform orphans into sons and daughters.

As God led us to Clement Arts, I continued to discover and rediscover the ways in which adoption is a picture of the gospel. Christians have long understood marriage to be more than the lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. That commitment is a beautiful thing, but there is a deeper reality at work. The deepest reality of marriage is that it is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, a relationship that will exceedingly outlast even the most enduring marriage. In the same way, we can view adoption from a horizontal angle: Adoption is a way for a husband and wife to have a child; adoption is a way for an orphaned child to be given a loving family. This itself is a beautiful angle from which to view adoption, and that idea alone is worthy of support. But what happens when we approach adoption from a vertical angle? When viewed vertically, adoption becomes a picture of another deep reality: our salvation into the very family of God. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


One of my favorite poems:

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.