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Sunday, June 13, 2010

.You may find this Offensive.

My sister held a yard sale for us this weekend - while eight months pregnant. I marveled once again, while spending time with her, how different we are. She is easy going, calm, go-with-the-flow. Whenever I am with her I wish that I could be more like her. It's always fun to be with her and her family. We all adore her daughter, Kaylen.


We made another $150 to add to our adoption fund. We are closing in on what we need to start our home study. That is so exciting! We will just keep praying and saving until we get all of the money.

Yesterday morning, while we were at my sister's, we learned that the lead pastor for our church was ill, and that Jim would be preaching on short notice. Because Jim did not have much time to prepare, he decided it would be best to preach on something God has been teaching us. Jim and I have both been listening to the sermon series Radical:what the gospel demands by David Platt. We have been so convicted. So Jim will share with our congregation what God is laying on his heart from Luke 14.

I am home with a sick boy. Scotty came down with a fever this weekend, and once we arrived home was covered in a rash. The rash is so strange - really red - really fine and not raised. My boy's health issues are always in the back of mind. I constantly worry that the doctor's have missed something. He still seems so small, has stomach issues, and just some other things that don't add up. His health is something that I have to give over to God so very often. He is ultimately in God's care.

Back to Jim's sermon. We talked through a lot of it on the drive home from my sister's yesterday. In talking through things my mind raced with questions. My questions need an outlet, so here they are. (If you are not familiar with Luke 14, I really suggest reading it. However, some of my questions come out of our adoption experience as well.)

What does it truly mean to be a disciple of Christ?

Is being a disciple the same thing as being a Christian?

What does it mean to give up everything?

Doesn't the Bible say that this world is not our home, and that we are essentially aliens? So why then do we try so hard to be comfortable here? These questions have been on my heart for awhile. It seems as if we will take risks for God to a certain point, and we will allow ourselves to experience discomfort for awhile, but it is still all in our "control", and we quickly scramble back to a place where we can settle in and get comfortable again.

Why do we try to soften the gospel and living for Christ - why do we constantly water it down? Doesn't the Bible say that we will endure hardships?

Jesus says that through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live. If we are a true Christian according to Scripture we are dead - to ourself, our plans, our dreams, our ideas. (Gal.2:20) We are dead to self-saturated desires, to self-comforting life,to self-esteem thinking, to self-centered planning for our life - we are alive to Christ-esteem thinking, Christ-centered thinking, planning. Our entire identity should be wrapped up in who He is. So why isn't it?? Why doesn't the life of Christ determine everything about us?? Where we live? What kind of house we have? The clothes we wear? The things we buy? The plans we make?

I don't have the answers. I don't know how to do it yet. But I am learning. I am learning what it might mean to give up everything. This adoption process has been a huge part of it. God is using this to open our eyes to what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ. Please do not misunderstand me. This is not bragging. We don't have it all together. This adoption process has been a lonely road at times. We are constantly told that while this may be right for us, not everybody has to live this way, not everybody was called to adopt from Ethiopia. And Nope - they are correct, not everybody was called to this ministry. But as a church, as a follower of Christ, we are ALL called to care for orphans, to care for widows, to care for the poor. This may rub you the wrong way, but I see little of this mandate being followed out. I will be the first to admit, that Jim and I have completely ignored it until now, too. There should be no need for life insurance if our church is following its mandate, no need for government care programs, no need for orphanages, but there is a need because the church is not doing its job.

The church has become saturated in the American dream and we have Americanized the gospel. I am finally recognizing that for the first time in my life, and I am appalled. I am disgusted. I wonder what my God thinks?

So maybe your family is not being called to adopt (but maybe your family is, have you ever asked yourself why not adopt, rather than why should we?? Have you ever truly prayed about it?), but what if God is calling your family to support that young widowed woman in your church with the small children? What if that means sacrificing some of your comfort? What if God is asking you to give away part of your paycheck to help feed starving children in your community? What if God is asking you to sell everything and move to a third world country to spread the good news and care for the least of these?

What if?

God is still working on our family. We are not at the end of our journey. This adoption is not it for us. If you read the Scripture caring for orphans and widows and helping the poor is to be a continuous action. I don't know what that means for our family.

I am sick of being comfortable in my cushy home. This world is not my home, and I am done pretending that it is. I am an alien here, so it will be uncomfortable. I am ready and willing to have my heart broken for what God's heart is broken for.

I want to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Do you?

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Lisa said...

What a convicting post. Thanks for asking those questions, they are some that I need to find answers for as well.

About Scotty's it bothering him? My son gets a rash like that sometimes when he's got a fever. It spreads all over, but is not raised and doesn't hurt or itch. My pediatrician told me that it is a side effect that comes with fevers for some kids. Benadryl makes it go a way for us.

Heather said...

Great post, Tiffany!
This is definitely something I need to look into my own heart about. Remembering that this world is not our home is hard sometimes. We are so geared in our culture to think about today and how to make our lives better, without thinking about the future and other lives.

Jen said...

thanks tiffy. a few years ago, I read a book called "Follow Me" by Jan Hettinga. it's changed my life and my church. i'd recommend it to anybody who wants to know what it means to be a true Christ follower.

JillAileenJones said...

My Alyssa has always had strange rashes-we never really figure out why it seems. Our allergy Dr told us though that it is very common for kids with a viral illness to break out in a rash-that some kids will react that way every time others will not-she tends to be our rash girl. My son had one recently for no real reason either. I would say it is a virus though and if the fever came first and then rash keep an I out for strep-if he complains of a sore throat or tummy ache.
So sorry to hear he isn't feeling well.
So glad to hear things are still going well toward the option.
I will be praying for you.

Mandolin said...

Assuming you own the book, "Radical" as well? If not - want one?! I have one (with a teeny tiny scribble on the cover courtesy of Ava) that you are welcome to. I can mail it.

alicia said...

I think it is only normal to have those kinds of questions. If we didn't then we would just be complacent and doing things for the sheer purpose of doing them without conviction and passion. I don't have all the answers either, but I applaud your questions.

Rachel said...

Wonderful post.

I love it that you question the authenticity of the American dream. It's better to be awake then asleep...

As far as the rash, watch it closely. My little guy had scarlet fever last year (a complication of strep) and it was this weird fine rash all over his body. If you want, you could send me some pictures...just email me and I'll let you know. My Brennan had strep pretty bad last year and then because he's severely allergic to penicillin (and to 3 out of the 5 drugs used to treat strep and then his case was one that was resistant to Zithromax leaving us with one antibiotic that is terribly hard on one's system) he ended up having his tonsils removed.

Praying for you.

And congrats on the added money. Praying the Lord continues to provide and knocks your socks off with abundance!!

Firecracker said...

I'm wondering if God is speaking through you, to me. I mean, it's no coincidence that I found your blog. It was a God-wink in my direction. Your so inspiring! I have been thinking lately that we need to pack up our belongings and move back to Decatur area to be closer to our church. The church that is our family. So that we can be involved in more. More people, more lives, more decipleship. I just don't know financially how we would ever be able to drive back and forth to our jobs that are both an hour away. That's what keeps me here, and is what's keeping me miserable. I should walk on the water, I should maybe just take a step of faith. I should pray about it more, and listen to God's voice and his direction and see where He's leading me. Thank you so much for this post! I needed it!

Lara said...

One of my readers said this posted was simiilar to what I posted today. I read yours, and sounds like we are thinking the same things!
Here were my thoughts:

And, I have Radical sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Maybe I'll start it this week!

Annie said...

Thank you so much for this! Thank you for challenging us and for authentically sharing your heart. I think I'll be reading Luke 14 tonight and thinking more about this.

Abe and Joni said...

I am reading the book "Radical" and it is truly convicting and also very encouraging. My husband and I intentionally moved into a poor inner city neighborhood to start a church and were motivated by much of the same things that Platt talks about. Now, 3 + years in we find ourselves easily frustrated when our neighbors are loud, violent, and difficult to get a long with or when "church" just doesn't go quite as planned. It has been such a blessing to read this book and get back to the heart of what our ministry is about: being and making REAL disciples of Jesus!

I will be praying for your family as you seek God's will not only in the adoption, but every area of your discipleship!

fallingintofavor said...

Love this post! God has called me to serve Him in the mission field. I was sitting on it for awhile. My husband and I also help kids, but haven't gotten to the adoption part yet. It's always been on my heart to do since I was a little girl!

I also agree that we are the hands of Christ! If people are starving, it's our fault because we're sitting on a gift that God gave us expecting Him to come down and do whatever for us. {found you through Sarah Mae's blog!}

Anonymous said...

I am new to your website and have only read the June 13th post so far. I haven't read the book you mentioned so I don't know what all is included in it, but I do know that the "church" in America is definitely ill.
God calls us all to different things. Our family has had to learn much about how God is in control and not us. We made our plans, but God directed our steps. We didn't always walk willingly down the path, but we had lessons that couldn't be learned any other way. Birth control. Such a sad term. It shows how much our society hates God's blessings. Owe no man anything except to love him - debt- such an enslaving problem. Teach your children My words... government schools just don't care about teaching our children anything Scriptural. Husbands love your wives, wives reverence your husbands - the church has a divorce rate as high as the world's rate. Let the adorning be of the heart and not outward appearance. The undressing of the people in the church is wretched. Yes, we are a soft, undisciplined, selfish country.
I'm glad you are considering adoption. For those who might also be interested in pursuing it, I would like to mention CHASK - Christian Homes and Special Kids. Google the name and you'll get to the website. These people are dedicated to counseling against abortion and providing homes for special needs children.
May we all be willing to go down the paths that our Lord leads, even if it is through the valley of the shadow of death. He is able to bear us up and preserve our souls.

Laura said...

Yes, yes, YES!!!! Tiffany, this post was beautiful. I wish I had the time to tell you how much it blessed me, but I don't : (. We're packing for the beach tomorrow, so I need to get off of here.

Bless you sweet, friend. You truly have a servant's heart. Keep letting your little light shine brightly!! You and your family are in my prayers, always.

Love to you!

Carrie said...

I loved that radical video that you posted, and I loved the statement about just being a Christian version of the American dream. You are so on target with this post! I often ask myself these same questions, especially when I read about what God's prophets, and Jesus himself, and Paul etc. went through in their ministries, and how little we truly sacrifice compared to those!

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