Archives for March 2015

Advocacy Challenge + Giveaway

Dear readers, I am breaking my blogging hiatus a little early, albeit for a very good cause.  I have been given a unique advocating opportunity and I would love for you all to join me… so I’ve added a little incentive.  :)

As many of you know, I have a very special place in my heart for orphan care, especially for the kind of care that turns orphans into beloved sons and daughters.  I have been on this advocacy bandwagon for several years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this:

Advocating online is a great start, but these children need much more.  Since we came home eight months ago with Jacob and Hope, I’ve had many unique opportunities to naturally talk about adoption and the plight of orphans with special needs.  And so often when I get that question “Why did you choose to adopt these children?” I wish I had an easy little card or pre-written note I could hand them telling them my whole story.

I am convinced that if most people knew what I know, that they couldn’t stand to be idle any more than I can.  The trouble is… how do we get this information to people?  And how do we do it in a way that they will understand and connect with?  How do we share these children in a way that prompts people to action rather than idleness?  Well, I have an idea, and I’ve been putting it off for quite some time… but an opportunity finally came my way and I’m jumping on it!  Ready?

***Advocacy Cards***

Love Postcard

Isn’t it beautiful?  It’s just a tiny bit of our story, but a powerful testimony nonetheless.  The best part?  I still need a child to advocate for – and I’m giving that choice away to one of my dear readers!  This is a postcard (or as I like to call it, my advocacy card) and on the back will be the picture and link to a waiting child of the winner’s choice…

Love Postcard 2

My postcards are going in my diaper bag (which goes everywhere) and I’m going to hand them out, put them in random places in town, and make sure that this child is seen.  Not just by my online circle, but by people in my sphere of influence in the “real” world.  I’m really excited about this project!  I truly believe these little cards can have a profound impact on those who happen upon them.  And I can’t wait to find out which little one is going to be featured on the back!

So advocates, here’s the challenge, and how you can win this for that waiting child who needs to be seen so that they can be found.  My challenge to you is to spread the word and to create your very own advocacy cards.  We must start advocating ourstide of social media, we must get these kiddos visibility on our towns and neighborhoods.  There are so many potential advocates and adoptive parents in the world – if they only knew.  So let’s tell them!

Follow the steps below to earn entries.  Make sure to comment on this post or on my Facebook page for EVERY ENTRY so I can can log it in.  On Easter Sunday I will draw for a winner and have the postcards made!  There is an example entry comment at the end of the post if you get confused! :)

HOW TO ENTER

1. Share the givewaway.  The classic social media giveaway entry – just share it!  Share on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media site you like.  Add the links to your shares in your entries comment.  The more you share the more you earn. – 1 Entry

2. Like or Comment.  I have linked to this post on the Crunchy Lutheran Mommy Facebook Page.  Get entries for liking or commenting on that thread.  This will increase the number of people who can see that post and help our challenge to spread. – 2 Entries

3. Give me some feedback!  I definitely want this to be successful.  I am putting my own time and money into this project after all!  If you have suggestions to make my advocacy card better, message me or put it in your comment on this post.  Would you pick this up if you found it?  What would encourage you to look into advocating more?  What might you write on the lines when you’re handing these out?  Hit me with all your constructive criticism! – 3 Entries

4. Join the challenge.  Finally, join me!  I would love to have other advocates jump on the band wagon.  Simply create your own post cards or business cards with a link to your waiting child and send me the print screen for your advocacy card with a pledge to get them printed and handed out in the next year.  Can’t do it right now?  That’s ok!  If you use Minted.com (like I did) you can create your card, save it, and print whenever you’re ready. – 20 Entries

5. Alternative Advocacy Pledge.  Maybe advocacy cards are just not a realistic way for you to share right now.  That’s ok!  If you have another way of reaching out to your local community, and you would like to pledge to advocate that way, you are more than welcome to do that!  Let us know how you are going to advocate offline, and join us in our challenge for getting the word out to local communities about these children and their need. – 15 Entries

6. Reblog our challenge.  If you love this advocacy idea and you want to encourage your friends to join as well, reblog our challenge to your own website and give us the link. – 10 Entries

*Example Entry Comment*

I shared the giveaway on Facebook [insert link] (1)
I shared the giveaway on Twitter [insert link] (1)
I liked and commented on your Facebook post. (4)
I sent you a message with feedback on your post card! (3)
I am going to do the alternative advocacy pledge [Describe your idea and how you are going to implement it.] (15)
I reblogged this challenge here: [insert link] (10)
TOTAL ENTRIES:  34

Thank you everyone!! Really looking forward to those entries coming in and finding out who I’ll be advocating for this Spring!!  Don’t have a child you are praying over or shouting for?  Go here to find a little one that captures your heart.  Or message me!  I have plenty of children who keep me up at night.  Once you see them, you simply can’t forget.

May God richly bless your Holy Week!

God so Loved…

Today my husband is guest blogging his sermon from yesterday’s baptismal service for Kyrie.  He preached on the assigned text for the 4th Sunday in Lent, John 3:14-21.  Enjoy!

*******

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Dearly beloved, my friends, God loves you.  God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) I remember my dear mother laboring as my 3rd & 4th grade Sunday School teacher to help me memorize that verse, not to mention all the other rowdy kids she graciously and meticulously taught it to over the years as well.  She’s a saint if there ever was one!

It was in her classroom that I first heard John 3:16 called the Gospel in a nut shell, and it’s true and I’m glad she helped me understand that.  This verse captures the will of God, the Good News, that our God, Who is love, sent His only-begotten Son into the world for the life of the world.  He came, not to kill and condemn, but to restore and justify the ungodly.  Jesus dies the death of all sinners on the cross and rises again victorious over death that we might have a share of His divine life (2 Peter 1:3-4), eternal life, communion with God for all eternity.  As John says, Jesus was not sent for the purpose of condemnation but salvation! For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17)  Jesus is the love of God in human flesh and when you believe in Him you have everlasting life.

If John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nut shell, then Holy Baptism is the Gospel in a sea shell. [The sea shell, of course, referring to what I use to pour the water on the one being baptized.]  The blessed water of Holy Baptism has given Kyrie Rose the Gospel, the gift of faith, complete and total trust and belief in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  The gift of everlasting life, won for her on the cross, is given to her today by this means of grace that Christ our Lord has established.

Baptism is a gift, a pure gift.  One does not work for a gift, otherwise it would not be a gift.  A gift is given freely, out of love.  Baptism gives the gift of faith, not only a personal trust but the entire Christian faith. Everything we believe, everything that is necessary for salvation, the whole faith belongs to this little girl. Baptism is a mystery that one enters and grows into on our journey into the Kingdom of God.  Baptism unites us with Jesus as His name is placed upon us.

The mystery of union with God in those waters is somewhat similar to marriage, and I mean that in this way:  The day you married your husband, the day you married your wife, you did not understand fully what that would mean.  Marriage is a gift from God.  A union that is meant to bring a man and woman together for life, a union that we grow into, that changes as we age, that flourishes in different ways at different times.  It’s a gift we don’t fully understand on the day that we say “I do”, nevertheless, we receive the full gift all the same.

Baptism a gift, a work of the Spirit, not a work of man.  Baptism gives us everything we need for life in the Kingdom of God.  We get a new name as we take on the name of “Christian”, membership in God’s family, and a seat at Christ’s table where he nourishes us with His heavenly gifts.  The gift of faith is given, complete, total, and whole with the promise that God will never leave us, nor forsake us, even if we run far away from Him, even if we sprint away from Him as fast as we can at times.  Even if our faith grows weak or cold, even if we say we reject the faith we were given, nevertheless the promise remains, for God never goes back on His promise or give up on even His prodigal children even if we are unfaithful.  God is love and does not forget His children even if we forget Him.

God does not lie and He will not change His Word, He will not change the promises He made to Kyrie this day and He will not change His promises to you.  He loves you.  In His union with you He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you.  He will provide all that you need to support this body and life.  He will feed your soul through His Word and in His Body and Blood.  He promises to forgive you all your sins and raise you from the grave.  Should you flee to the darkness and delight in your sins, still, He does not change.  His love for you compels Him to search for you, to wait for you, to long for your return home to His house.  Baptism comes with the promise that God is always for you, even when He disciplines you and allows you to feel the sting of your sins, it’s never because He hates you, but always because He loves you as a dear Father loves His dear children and desires you to repent and return to His loving embrace and to hear His assuring Word of forgiveness.

Baptism gives you everything.  The fullness of faith. A mysterious union between us and God that we cannot fully explain at the time, but only later do we learn how to describe what we have.  Our life together in the Church, our worship, our service, our teaching, our studying, our living and learning, is about unpacking the gift of Baptism, not adding something to it, learning to understand what we already possess by faith, growing into the reality of who God says we already are by His grace.  None of the things we do as Christians in Church add anything new to what we were given, rather they sustain and keep the new life in Christ growing as we ourselves grow and change.

We ought to remember and celebrate our baptisms better than we do.  What better thing is there to make a big fuss over than the gift of faith, new life, forgiveness and salvation?  I really can’t think of any.  All the other gifts we get for birthdays one day break, or rust, or we lose interest in them.  But the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation we receive never go bad!

Remember your Baptism.  Be intentional about it. You won’t regret it. In the Small Catechism Luther suggests each Christian make the sign of the cross to remember Your baptism, for when you were brought to the font you had the sign of the cross placed on your forehead and on your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified.  The sign of the cross is the perfect link between the Gospel in a nut shell and the Gospel in a sea shell.  This practice teaches us to never forget that the cross and Baptism always go together.  Both are the work of God for the salvation of world, for the salvation of you.  God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.  That same love and promise are your gift in Holy Baptism.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

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A Happy Break

Hello dear friends!  I have been gone recently.  I have a couple of posts in the works but I literally do not have a waking moment free these days.  So as a happy birthday present to myself (that was last weekend) I am taking a happy month-long break from blogging.  Which really just means, I’m telling you how I won’t have any time to blog in March so I can stop feeling bad about it!

I do have lots of things to write about, but there is SO much going on!  We have appointments and testing galore for Jacob and Hope this month, along with four birthdays, Kyrie’s baptism this weekend and a conference to go to.  It’s getting quite crazy around here, and I’m trying to take care of myself in the midst of the chaos so I can be present for the kids too.  (Read: I am trying to get a reasonable amount of sleep.)

So… please don’t feel abandoned.  I’ll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later.  Praying for a peaceful April…

Oh and for anyone who is local, you are very welcome to celebrate Kyrie’s baptism with us this weekend!  The service begins at 10am (email me for directions if you need them) and the reception will be at 2pm at the parsonage.  Everyone is welcome to both the Divine service and the reception afterward.  No need to RSVP, just come and celebrate God’s abundant love with us!

Blessings on the rest of your month!!

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