Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father

Most of you have heard that Travis and I both came across a book called Reclaiming Adoption, Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father. Right before Christmas, via a twitter direct message (oh, so thankful for social media!) Dan asked us if anyone in our church might want to host a house conference. So, yes, we were like 4 year olds in preschool raising our heads and stretching out of our seats hoping the teacher calls us on. Yes, Dan, pick us! Pick us. Okay, so Travis is a bit more subdued and probably didn't make as much of a scene as I did; but he was equally thrilled.

On February 13th, we are hosting Dan and Jason from Together for Adoption in a house conference style discussion and we want you to come! (Well, we want about 50 of you to come.) Yes, we gave some heads up priority to adopting/adoptive families; but this is just a hard core gospel discussion. This if for all of us. If you want to be there, please let me know because we want you to be there, too!

More details: 
Dan Cruver is the primary writer/editor for the book, Reclaiming Adoption, along with Jason Kovacks, John Piper, etc. Obviously, this was part of the catalyst that launched the Carpenter Family Adoption Journey. However, our core Christian foundation was shaken up, flipped over and rebuilt through this discussion and this book. For some of you, this may be old news. But, I believe for most of us, we might have missed this identity and covenant thread that is poured throughout scripture in the redemptive story of God's love for us when we were orphans. We daily forget that we are called "sons of God" and the implications of living fully wrapped up in that knowledge. And ladies, don't get all upset that I said "sons".  (I'm going to Francis Chan you a bit and ask you to stick with me on the fact that God probably knows what He is doing and knows more than us when He sets things in order.) Some versions say: sons and daughters. But, in Bible days, the sons given the inheritance and that's why we are all referred to as sons. You can call me whatever you want to call me, but I'm jumping up and down with Jacob reaching for that blessing and putting hair on my arms for the inheritance of the Father.Except, I don't have to steal it. I've already got it!

Admittedly, I am very overwhelmed and under qualified to shake a stick at this discussion and properly encourage any of you. Travis and I very excited to be going to Together for Adoption Boot Camp with a handful of other friends we've persuaded to attend with us in a few months to deepen our knowledge of this essential part of the Gospel. But, again, we'll still probably always be a bit under qualified and claiming 2 Cor 12:9 all over the place.

But, in the mean time, we are jumping on the T4A bandwagon of waving the flag that Adoption is not just Adoption. Let's go further; and orphan care is not just social justice. If we just "rescue" a few children or start a food bank, without the gospel propelled foundation, we are just doing good works. To further deepen our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ is essential and to be sure that every action is propelled from that anchor is imperative. That is what missional living is about. The outpour of the gospel message in and through our lives into every aspect of our life.

Here are a few excerpts from Dan's posts on Together for Adoption:

Adoption Doesn’t Mean Adoption

by Dan Cruver Published Jul 6, 2010

"But adoption doesn’t just mean “adoption,” at least as we typically understand the word. It also means creation-renewal—big time renewal. God’s work of adoption will one day result in the comprehensive restoration of all creation so that it becomes the happy home of all of His children. One awe-inspiring day creation will be restored to a home of unceasing communion and fellowship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In that day we will enter into the overflowing and never ending peace and joy and gladness of our Father.
As I touched on yesterday, this understanding of adoption has massive implications for how Christians think about and address the global orphan crisis. Because of God’s creation-renewing focus of adoption, everything we do for the sake of orphans becomes a foretaste of the day when there will no longer be any vulnerable or orphaned children, when there will no longer be people who are oppressed or marginalized by society. That day is coming, and it will be an awesome day. So never forget: what we do for orphans now provides a foretaste of what will be then."

"To be in God’s family is to be part of a cosmic story that God is writing for our sakes, his glory, and the good of all creation. Ever since the fall, mankind has succumbed to the unrelenting temptation to write, control, and star in our own story (consider these verses). I know that I am tempted every day to write my own story for my sake, my glory, and my good. As Martin Luther used to say, left to myself I am forever “turned in upon myself” (homo incurvatus in se).  Apart from God’s gracious and decisive intervention, this is my (our) house of bondage.

But the good news of the gospel is that the Son of God became man, entering into our house of bondage, in order to deliver us out of it into God’s story of freedom and renewal. Jesus entered into our house of bondage, becoming a curse for us, that he might bring us into the house of his Father—and bring us he did!
You may be wondering what this has to do with caring for orphans and widows in their affliction. Well, it really has everything to do it. If we are not renewed each day by what Jesus has done on our behalf and for our sakes, we won’t be very committed to caring for orphans, at least over the long haul and for the right reasons.

People who are homo incurvatus in se are much more concerned about their own stories than they are about God’s story, which happens to be very much concerned with the plight of the orphan. To be in God’s family is to be part of a cosmic story that is being written by God for our sakes, his glory, and the good of all creation, which includes the good of orphans.
So let’s together commit to daily rehearse and rejoice in the good news of the gospel for God’s glory, our good, and the good of orphans all around the world."

For more information on this discussion, please check out Dan's posts on www.togetherforadoption.org or follow Dan on twitter.com/dancruver He is always posting essential reading.

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