"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." ~ James 1:27In our protection of the sanctity of life, we as followers of Christ should also be involved in in caring for those that find themselves in the difficult circumstances of life. While the media might like to focus on what we are opposed to, the Church (members of the body of Christ) selflessly lives out James instructions by caring for widows, orphans, and unwed mothers every day. Lori and I have many friends that have personally become involved in caring for orphans. In fact, two of our friends that stood up in our wedding were adopted themselves.
Check out this important message from Dennis Rainey, director of Family Life, about how Christians can continue to live out "pure and faultless religion":
"For more than 31 years FamilyLife has stood on what the Scriptures teach and have been known by what we are for. We have a history of being known not by what we are against, but for being FOR the biblical definition of marriage, FOR covenant keeping love in marriage, FOR biblical families and FOR the value of all children—born or unborn. It was our commitment of being FOR children that led us to launch our Hope for Orphans ministry in 2003.
For years I have had a conviction that the Christian community not only needed to be pro life, but also pro orphan, pro adoption, and pro foster care. How can we only be for protecting unborn life and not also be FOR finding families for every child who does not have one? That's why I'm writing you to ask you to pray for one of the most important meetings in FamilyLife's 31 years of ministry. Twice in the last three years, FamilyLife has hosted what has become the Adoption Orphan Care Summit. Now, the third Summit in Colorado Springs is bringing more than 300 leaders together, representing some of the nation's most influential Christian adoption agencies and orphan advocacy groups.
On May 9-11 we will meet to learn how we can encourage and equip churches to take the lead in meeting the needs of orphans. There are now an estimated 143 million orphans in the world—that's greater than the combined population of the 20 largest cities in the United States. Over 500,000 children in America are in foster homes, including more than 120,000 who could be adopted today. I believe one of the most desperate needs in our world today is to love and care for these children. I believe that followers of Christ should be the first to reach out to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. Yet many are unaware of the great need, or of God's call for the church to be actively involved in helping the fatherless.
God is already at work, and I'm inviting you to join me in asking the Heavenly Father, Who reached down and adopted us, to do exceedingly more than we can even ask or think. It's easy to forget that each and every one of these children is precious to the Savior. Throughout Scripture we see God as "the helper of the orphan" (Psalm 10:14). I am convinced that Christians should be leading the international dialogue about our responsibility to provide a home and a family for those who have none. That's why FamilyLife started Hope for Orphans—as an educating and exhorting ministry dedicated to supporting and helping the fatherless and connecting those children with loving, Bible-believing families.
Next week's conference has grown from a partnership with groups like Focus on the Family, Saddleback Church, and Shaohannah's Hope. The Adoption Orphan Care Summit has turned into a strategic gathering of like-minded organizations that has the fingerprints of God all over it.
Please join me in praying:
- For Paul Pennington and the FamilyLife Hope for Orphans team—for energy, leadership and wisdom as they serve others at the Adoption Orphan Care Summit.
- That the conference will be effective in unifying these organizations to come together prayerfully and join God in what He is already doing. We know that where God goes, there is also a counter-spirit.
- Pray that Satan will have no part in what goes on next week in Colorado.
- Ask God to raise up tens of thousands of churches and hundreds of thousands of lay men and women to establish orphan care, adoption, and foster care ministries.
- The Summit is not only attracting Christian leaders, but it's also getting the notice of the national media. An Associated Press story has shown up in dozens of newspapers across the country. Pray that media coverage of the event will be positive and will accurately portray the spirit of the participants.
- Finally, pray that the Lord will continue to expand this movement to ultimately touch the heart of every fatherless child for His glory"