In the month of December, we did a month-long series at White Fields on the topic of joy, and how Christianity gives a unique perspective on joy because it finds the source of joy in a unique place.
This past week, Mike and I sat down to discuss Christian joy and what it means when the Bible tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”, and what this means especially at the outset of the new year.
Emma Stone and SNL put together a great skit on the nativity and how un-glamorous it must have actually been to have a baby in a barn.
My favorite lines:
Wise man: “We brought you gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Mary: “Great! I heard ‘blankets, diapers and a crib…'”
“I’m sorry, I guess when I found out that I was going to give birth to the Savior, I just assumed it was going to be … nicer. There would be a real bed, and, I don’t know, like: a doctor. And no sheep poop on the floor.”
Project Greatest Gift, our church’s annual outreach to children and caretakers in the foster care system in Northern Colorado, was a success again this year.
In the end, we were able to sponsor 241 children and caretakers in three northern Colorado counties. Additionally, we were able to take part in an event to meet and bless the families who were recipients of these gifts. Along with giving gifts, we were able to include materials in each bag explaining to each child and caretaker the hope that we have because of Jesus.
One thing to pray about for 2019 is that Weld County (where the majority of our recipients come from) is considering cancelling their program next year. If that happens, White Fields would consider taking over the program from them. This would require significant resources, meaning we would likely have to expand what we do beyond our church. This might just be the next step God has for this project, but do pray for God’s leading and provision as we move forward!
Check out this interview that our worship pastor Mike Payne did with Christine Appel, the founder and leader of Project Greatest Gift:
Project Greatest Gift, our outreach to foster children and their caretakers at Christmastime will be kicking off THIS WEEKEND at White Fields!
Check out this video in which Christine shares some information about the great needs that these families face and how we can help:
Starting this Sunday after church, and going through the entire month of November, we will be taking sign-ups for those who would like to sponsor children this year to help make Christmas more joyful, and ultimately to introduce them to the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Did you know that children in the foster system are an at-risk people group within our communities?
In almost every case, the reason children end up in foster care is because of an unsuitable home environment, which often involves violence, neglect, drugs and crime. These environments not only result in trauma, but they are also associated with poverty. Many foster care situations are kinship care, which means the child is cared for by a relative, which can create a financial burden, especially in the case of grandparents living on pension.
Poverty has a profound impact on a child’s mental and physical well-being. In other words, the suffering that a child who is raised in this environment endures is not only limited to their childhood, but can adversely impact the rest of their life.
Our church, White Fields Community Church, has a history of ministering to children in the foster system. Through some of our leaders, we have developed a great relationship with the Health and Human Services departments in Weld and Adams Counties, and we are able to make an impact in the lives of needy families in our area. In recent years, we have had the special opportunity to get to meet and serve these families at a Christmas event we help put on for them in Greeley at which the gifts are distributed.
If you would like to be involved, visit us on a Sunday morning this November, leave a comment below, or contact the church here.
If you can’t participate but would like to support this endeavor financially, you can make a donation by clicking here, and choosing Project Greatest Gift from the drop-down menu. 100% of your donation will go straight to the kids and their families.
Here’s this week’s video in which we discuss the somewhat confusing phrase in Romans 12:20 – “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head”:
As we’ve been studying through the book of Romans at White Fields, one of the topics we recently looked at was how the Bible says that adoption is a one of the most profound Earthly pictures that we have of what God has done for us in the gospel.
Adoption is a picture of the gospel
We who were not children of God – destitute, orphans – God reached out to us, and not only did he pardon us and forgive us, not only does he give us his Spirit to help us in our weakness, but he has reached out to us and adopted us. At great cost to himself, doing something for us that we could never have done for ourselves, he has given us a new identity, paid our debts, given us a new belonging, a new future, a new family and a great inheritance.
For more on this topic, check out the sermon: Adopted by God from Romans 8:12-17.
Adoption is close to my heart for personal reasons
Adoption is something close to my heart. In 2008 we began foster parenting an 8th grader from the church I pastored at the time, and in 2011 we adopted him.
When you adopt a child, you are making the decision to love someone and care for someone, not because you have to, but because you choose to. While all adoption is beautiful, I am particularly moved by people who adopt not because they cannot have biological children, but because they understand adoption as a ministry and a way that they can live out the gospel – a way that they can live out what God has done for them in Christ, and bless someone else in a way which will absolutely change their life.
Michael and Ivey Ketterer
It’s been a while since I’ve watched America’s Got Talent, but I recently heard about Michael Ketterer, who appeared on the show and performed so well that he was fast-tracked from the audition process straight to the live show round of the competition.
Michael Ketterer is a musician who is part of United Pursuit, a Los Angeles based collective of Christian artists and musicians. He describes himself as a part-time worship leader, part-time nurse, and full-time dad.
Michael and his wife Ivey have 6 children, 5 of whom were adopted through foster care, and one of whom suffers from cerebral palsy – the neurological disorder which we were initially told that our daughter would have (Read: I Believe in Miracles; Here’s Why).
Michael and Ivey share their story of foster parenting and adoption in this video. With the exception of the part where he talks about demons (3:20), (we aren’t to resist evil on the basis of who we are, our own name and authority, but only in the name of Jesus and on the basis of his authority – see Jude 1:9) this is a great and moving testimony of love and being moved by the love of God to love others. I encourage you to watch the whole clip:
Here is the video of Michael’s first appearance on AGT:
Also check out Michael’s album, The Wild Inside, which he recorded with United Pursuit here:
You can help White Fields in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of children and care-takers in the foster system here in Colorado. Click on these links to learn more about our two annual outreaches to foster families on the Front Range:
Finally, maybe there are some of you whom God would lead to get involved with foster parenting or adoption through the foster system. Here is a link with information about foster parenting and adoption in Colorado: Co4Kids.org For those of you outside of Colorado, information can be easily found for every local area with a quick internet search.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For…. you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15)
In the latest episode of the Longmont Pastor Video Series, Mike and I sat down to discuss the often-asked question of what the Bible says about sex between two consenting adults who are not married.
While the Bible clearly prohibits adultery, does it ever actually prohibit sex before marriage? Or what about polygamy? It seems that many of the Bible’s “heroes” practiced it, so why do Christians believe it is wrong?
Did you know that children in the foster system form an at-risk people group without in our own communities?
In almost every case, the reason these children end up in foster care is because of an unsuitable home environment, which may involve violence, neglect, drugs, crime, etc. These environments not only result in trauma many times, but they also tend to result in or be associated with poverty. Many foster care situations are kinship care, which means the child is cared for by a relative, which can create a financial burden.
Poverty has a profound impact on a child’s mental and physical well-being. Children living in poverty have higher rates of absenteeism from school. Students who come from low income families are six times more likely to drop out of high school. Adults without a high school diploma are 4 times more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty, which means raising their children in poverty, perpetuating a cycle of poverty which may persist for generations: poverty affects education which affects poverty. (source 1, source 2)
One of the ways that we can help kids break out of this cycle of poverty is by encouraging them to stay in school – and one of the ways we can do that is by helping them have the things they need to be confident and excited about going to school, so they can succeed!
Our church, White Fields Community Church, has a history of ministering to children in the foster system, and two years ago we began a new ministry: Project Back to School.
We are working with Weld County Department of Human Services, and this year they have identified 135 at-risk kids who need help with school supplies, clothes and shoes.
This is the most we’ve ever taken on. The first year we did 50, last year we did 100 – and this year we’ve accepted their request to provide for 135 kids! It’s a big step of faith, but we are trusting that God will raise up people to bless these families in the name of Jesus. It’s a way for us to love not only in words and in speech, but in action as well (1 John 3:18).
If you would like to be involved, visit us on a Sunday morning this July, leave a comment below, or contact the church here.
Many people ask the question: Can you prove there is a God?
The answer to that question is: there are many proofs of God’s existence. Taken together, these arguments from cosmology, morality, design, etc. come together to form a very strong case for the fact that God exists.
Check out this video, in which Mike and I discuss the moral argument for God.