Deacon’s Fund this Sunday

September 4, 2009

Deacons Fund-1
Perhaps you recall the massage in James 5:1-6 from last Sunday.  James spoke words of stern judgment for those who hoard resources with no sympathy for the people around them in need.  A heavy and challenging passage of Scripture!  And the Spirit used it to stir many of our hearts toward generosity. 

Here is one way you can help people in the Bethel Grace family who are in need.  Give to the Deacon’s Fund.  This fund is separate from the operating budget of Bethel Grace.  It goes directly to assist members of the congregation who find themselves in need.  It provides financial assistance for rent, food, medical care, utilities, and other expenses.  

It was reported at the August 16th Quarterly Business Meeting that our Deacon’s Fund is currently running a deficit in the range $1,700.  That’s indicative of how many people are turning to Bethel Grace for support during tough economic times.

This Sunday, as with every communion Sunday, a collection will be received at the close of the service for the Deacon’s Fund.  Please consider giving to this worthy cause!

~Jeff

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Bill Ankerberg, Whittier Area Community Church:

“I want to let you know about the “World Vision Experience: AIDS,” a free exhibit that will open your eyes to the AIDS crisis in Africa. This amazing walk-through village takes you on a virtual journey to Africa, where you’ll walk in the steps of a child affected by the AIDS crisis. The interactive exhibit features a stirring audio tour combined with captivating photography that will transport you to the heart of Africa. You’ll gain a completely new perspective on the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time: AIDS.
 
God has richly blessed our work in Malawi with the building of the children’s clinic, but a visit to this exhibit will help you understand the challenges a child faces in Africa today.

Here are the hours and dates the exhibit is open on our campus:

Saturday, May 30:                                               11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 31:                                                   9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Monday-Thursday, June 1-4:                          10:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Friday & Saturday, June 5 & 6:                       11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 7:                                                    9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

I encourage you to visit the website, HERE for more information and to reserve a time to visit this FREE exhibit so you won’t have to wait in line!  You can also just come, tickets and reservations are not necessary.”

To watch a brief promotional video, click here.

For directions and more information, click here.

I’m not sure when I’ll be going yet, but I definitely plan on checking this out.

~Donovan

HT: Loydene Wilcoxson

Russel Moore’s much anticipated  and widely endorsed book, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches“, has just been released.

 Tim Challies:

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

Read Tim Challies’ full review here.

I’ve ordered a copy and look forward to reading it.

~Donovan

World Magazine:

A few minutes later, another man walked over to Hoye’s bunk and jabbed his finger at a newspaper he was holding. “This you?” he said, eyeing Hoye skeptically.

Hoye peered at the Oakland Tribune headline: “Anti-abortion pastor chooses jail.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” he said.

In the next moment, the inmate was striding up and down the length of the cell, announcing, “Hey, he don’t have to be here! He turned down probation! He doing straight time for what he believed in!”

Read the full story here – it is well worth your time.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

My buddy David Quinn, who works for Children’s Hunger Fund, told me about this video when he and I got together earlier this week. It’s very biblical, balanced, and helpful. Check it out:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

~ Donovan

          
I’ve been dialoguing with Josh Mack, a missionary in Pretoria, South Africa (his dad is the author and biblical counselor, Wayne Mack, who is also a missionary in South Africa now. Josh has co-authored a few books with his dad). Josh is pouring himself out in mercy ministry. What he’s facing is heart-breaking, and what he’s doing, by God’s grace, is incredibly encouraging… This is a recent update on his ministry:
     
Read the rest of this entry »

I’m very much looking forward to reading Russel Moore’s soon-to-be-released book, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches.

Russell Moore:

Whenever I tell people that I’m working on a book on adoption, they’ll often say something along the lines of, “Great. So, is the book about the doctrine of adoption or, you know, real adoption?” That’s a hard question to answer, because you can’t talk about the one without talking about the other. Also, it is not as though we master one aspect and then move to the other–from the “vertical” to the “horizontal” or the other way around. That’s not the picture God has embedded in his creation work. The Bible tells us that human families are reflective of an eternal Fatherhood (Eph 3:15). We know, then, what human fatherhood ought to look like on the basis of how our Father God behaves toward us. But the reverse is also true. We see something of the way our God is fatherly toward us through our relationships with human fathers. And so Jesus tells us in our human father’s provision and discipline we get a glimpse of God’s active love for us (Matt 7:9-11; Heb 12:5-17). The same truth is at work in adoption. Adoption is, on the one hand, gospel. In this, adoption tells us who we are as children of the Father. Adoption as gospel tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God. Adoption is also defined as mission. In this, adoption tells us our purpose in this age as the people of Christ. Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and the abandoned. As soon as you peer into the truth of the one aspect, you fall headlong into the truth of the other, and vice-versa. That’s because it’s the way the gospel is. Jesus reconciles us to God–and to each other. As we love God, we love our neighbor; as we love our neighbor, we love our God. We believe Jesus in “heavenly things”–our adoption in Christ–so we follow him in “earthly things”–the adoption of children. Without the theological aspect, the emphasis on adoption too easily is seen as mere charity. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily is seen as mere metaphor.

~Donovan

HT: Vitamin Z

Wise 12-Year Old on Abortion

February 20, 2009

A wonderful story of adoption

February 19, 2009

Heather and I would like to adopt as many orphans as we can. In South Africa (where I was born and raised, and where we hope to live in a few years), there are currently 2,800,000 orphans – 1 orphan for every 10 adults! The problem is staggering here too, but much less publicized. I found this man’s story of adoptions very encouraging (read it here). Perhaps God could use you in a similar way… Will you prayerfully consider serving and impacting lives through adoption and/or foster care?

James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

Open Arms Ukraine – January 2009

Graduation Dresses

For a kid in high school, prom is usually a highlight. For the children at the Pravda orphanage their graduation is their time to shine. The girls wear prom dresses, the boys in shirts and ties, and for that day, they are the stars. This year, economic crisis in Ukraine has escalated the prices of dresses even more than usual as orphanage support from the government has decreased. We have decided to see how we can help make this day special for the children at Pravda and are looking for your support. If you have a used prom dress, jewelry or dress shoes that you would like to donate, please contact us through e-mail (openarmsministry@gmail.com) or by phone [(510)435-3625)]. Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated as they can help us buy dresses here in Ukraine for these beautiful young ladies. Together we can share God’s love in this way and help make this graduation a day they never forget.

Aids Talks/Abortion

Ukraine ranks #1 in all of Europe, which includes 43 countries, for the prevalence of AIDs among adults. According to the UNAIDS report in late 2008, Ukraine and Russia are stated as the region with “the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world with prevalence doubling since 2001″ (avert.org as quoted from UNAIDS statistics). With this reality, we have seen an increasing need for awareness among the children we work with as many turn to sex at a very young age. On January 16th, we held a two part lecture series for the oldest classes at the Pravda orphanage and we are set to do the same for the next classes in the coming weeks.

We have also received permission from the Sambir Juvenile Colony to hold the same lecture series for the young men there who are preparing for life outside those walls. Every day decisions are made, but we hope that with education some of those decisions may be altered for the better.

Alongside the AIDs lecture at Pravda, we will be holding an abortion program January 24th with a young pregnant woman from a local Sumy church as the speaker. She will work with the oldest classes and share with them about the realities of pregnancy and what takes place with an abortion. Our goal is to inform these children of the truth behind the terminology used while shedding light on God’s truth in these subject areas.

Orphanage

Ever year we are faced with a new class of graduates from the Pravda orphanage and therefore our relationships there are of the utmost importance. If trust is not built with the children before they are placed in the trade school system, it is hard, if ever, to build trust to bring them to help. With this reality we have been building a team of Ukrainian volunteers from the local church who will be traveling with us monthly to the Pravda orphanage. They will focus their time on creating programs and building relationships with the 2 oldest classes that will hopefully lead to continued relationships beyond the children’s time there. Our goal and vision is to see long-lasting relationships developed that will lead not only to tangible help and support when the children are released from the orphanage, but also to a personal understanding of salvation in their lives.

OpenArmsMinistry@gmail.com * PO Box 277, San Lorenzo, CA 94580-0277 * (510) 435 – 3625