Monday, October 31, 2011

Day One of “The Orphan Table Diet”

I had cornmeal mush for breakfast and a plate of rice and beans for lunch. It really isn’t all that bad. I am a little hungry since I am not snacking. What makes it more difficult is that today is Halloween, and we have Kid’s Club. I have already been offered treats more than once and I am sure it will continue. So I put a sign in the church kitchen reading, “Please don’t feed the pastor.”

Two thoughts have occurred to me. The first is: This diet would be easier if I didn’t have so many other options. Most orphans don’t have these same choices. Any food looks good when it is all you have. I am not complaining, just observing. My second thought is: With every option before Him, Jesus chose the more humble path. If there was ever a guy that had options, it was Jesus. In Philippians 2:5-7 we are told, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Jesus could have chosen not to become a man. He could have been born of any family on earth, but was born into a poor family. Although He was God in the flesh, he chose to empty Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. Ultimately, He chose to lay down His life on the cross.

Lord, give us strength to have the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Orphan Size Me

Perhaps you have seen the 2004 film “Super Size Me.” This documentary follows Morgan Spurlock through a 30-day period during which he eats only McDonald’s food in order to expose this lifestyle's drastic effects on his physical and psychological well-being. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone reviewed the film with the words, “I’m lovin’ it.”

We at CARE want to present a challenge we hope will get you to say, “I’m loving them.” From October 31st until Orphan Sunday, November 6th, Pastor Don will stand in solidarity with orphans around the world by eating the same simple meals they eat each day—cornmeal mush and water for breakfast and rice and beans for the other two meals.

We invite you to join Pastor Don his last day. Many people dine out after their worship service. On Orphan Sunday, November 6th, eat the same simple meal of rice and beans that many orphans will eat. Afterward, donate what you would have spent dining out to an adoption/orphan ministry. Of course, we’d love for you to donate to Christian Adoption Resources & Education for Hancock Co., IL, but this is not about us. It’s about caring for orphans. So if you would prefer to give elsewhere, there are several other adoption and orphan ministries listed on our website Drop us a note if you plan to stand with us to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. (Psalms 82:3) Let’s all say, “I’m loving them.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who will CARE for the next Steve Jobs?

What do the late Steve Jobs and Dave Thomas have in common?

In different ways, both men made substantial contributions to the world.

Both men were also adopted as infants.  Their lives, and perhaps our own, have been touched by the loving response of adoption.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new ministry called CARE:  Christian Adoption Resources & Education for Hancock County, IL.

CARE is a non-denominational, not-for-profit organization. CARE exists for the purpose of educating potential adoptive parents, foster care parents, and the church in general about adoption and orphan care. Additionally, we will provide scholarships to qualified Christian adoptive parents living in Hancock County, IL. Click here to visit our website for more details on this ministry.

CARE's first event will be in Carthage during Christmas on the Square. Watch for details!

What can you do to help?
  • Pray for the ministry
  • Volunteer to serve
  • Donate start-up funds for advertising and fundraising activities
  • Donate toward scholarships through a one-time or monthly contribution
  • Spread the word through facebook, email, twitter, and word of mouth
Will the child you support or adopt become the next Steve Jobs?  In most cases, no. But your support will provide a better opportunity for him/her to succeed.  More importantly, it gives God's children what we believe they deserve: Love, Nurture, and a Family they can call their own.

For more information, see our website by  clicking here or contact us at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adopted by Diana DePriest

Below is a link to a blog written by a fellow friend and adoptive parent Diana DePriest.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Waters that Led One Girl to an Earthly Family and a Heavenly Father

My prayers go out to the people of Japan as they face ongoing difficulties stemming from the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Events like these have the ability to bring out the best and worst from people. Occasionally, these types of events are followed by a well-known Christian saying something that is rather ill-timed and really embarrassing about God’s judgment on a particular people. It is not that I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God or His ability to use both good and bad events to speak to us. I believe these things with all my heart. But, what if these events have nothing to do with God's wrath? What if God chooses to work within a fallen world to change and transform the hearts of His people?

My family’s story is of how God used two waters to forever change us. Our story moves from the waters of the 2004 Asian Tsunami to the 2011waters of baptism. Why did this destructive tsunami that left thousands dead and countless children as orphans happen? In the grand scheme of things I don’t have a good answer. These are geological and theological questions beyond my understanding. What I do know is that God has revealed His will in His Word. In Psalms 146:8-10 we are told that “The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. The LORD will reign forever.” As my wife and I viewed the horrific destruction, God began a work in us. We would soon find out that we were the blind whose eyes needed opening as God fostered His love for orphans into our hearts.

The 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda tells a story of one man’s struggle to save his people from the horrific atrocities that left millions dead in a month’s time. There is a particularly haunting point in the movie when an American news videographer films the events that were taking place. The main character believed if people saw what was going on they would be saved. The videographer’s response was, “If people see this footage, they'll say, 'Oh my God, that's terrible,' and they'll go on eating their dinners.” These words are haunting because for many they hit close to home. As Barb and I watched footage of the Asian Tsunami we could no longer see with our eyes and not be moved in our hearts--for God Himself began to open the eyes of our hearts.

These waters of destruction led my wife and I on a journey. This journey led us to a little girl that needed an earthly family. Three years ago on Easter Sunday morning our daughter Melinda met with us in a hotel lobby in a foreign country. This meeting would be different than the other four times over a two year period when we met with her there. This time we had return airplane tickets for three and legal papers declaring that Melinda was no longer an orphan but our beloved daughter.

Of course we loved Melinda long before she legally became our daughter in much the same way God loved us long before we become His children. The Bible tells us, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). One of the great joys of being a parent is experiencing the joy of seeing our children adopted into God’s family. Nine months after Melinda came home she woke my wife and I on New Year’s Day with the words, “Daddy, I want to believe of Jesus.” With tears of joy in our eyes we talked and prayed with her.

Last Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing Melinda. As I prepared for the baptism I could not help but think about the journey God has taken us on. I thought it was ironic how God, who had used the crashing waters of a tsunami to speak to us, was using water to speak to us again. The waters of a tsunami and baptism could not be more different. The waters of a tsunami leave death and destruction. The waters of baptism speak of healing and life. The first leaves people divided, separated and abandoned. The second unites us and tells us we belong to each other and God.

Does God speak in the midst of catastrophes? I don’t question if He is speaking to us. I question if we hear Him. My prayer is that God will grant us eyes to see and ears to hear. I praise God that He used two waters to lead one girl to an earthly family and a Heavenly Father.