Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

John the Beloved

There is a song written by Kari Jobe that I love.
"The more I seek You, the more I find You. The more I find You, the more I love You. I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat. This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand, I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming."

This beautiful song puts a picture of John the beloved laying on the chest of Jesus in my mind. I see him as a young man, maybe only 13 or so, just loving His master. There is nothing improper about his love. It is just the opposite. His love is how we all should feel about the Savior. There should be a deep connection between us. It is a love like a father and a son.

I love it when my kids sit on my lap and lay their not so little heads on me. It is a sign of complete surrender. It is us saying, "I trust you to do what is best. I know you will protect me." When we have a love like this for Christ we will also have a love like this for people. They cannot be separated. You cannot love God and hate people.

I can't wait to sit and have our new little girl on my lap laying her head against me. This child that may not trust anyone in the world, rightfully so, will come to know me as her protector. In that relationship we will also have an open door to connect her to the real love of her life...Jesus. May we always make Him our focus and the center of our lives, our love, and our families.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Heritage of Hymns

As a worship leader I am keenly aware of the debate between hymns and non-hymns. It is really a silly discussion. First of all, God doesn't care in what style we worship as long as we worship Him for who He is. Secondly, the answer is doing both. We do not do a hymn every service; however, during extended altar times I pull out a lot of the old hymns. We use them during offering and for the occasional selection during worship. You see, I realized one day that I wanted my kids to know the old hymns that my grandparents knew. Don't get me wrong I love all the new stuff too, but there is something of our spiritual heritage that will be lost if all hymns are set aside.

When we sing a hymn we are joining our voice with millions of the faithful through the ages. Many hymns that we sing are 200 plus years old. Think of the great men and women of faith who sang and worshipped through these hymns.

Here are a few words from some of my favorites. Think about these words and the depth that are in them.

"How marvelous, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be. How marvelous, how wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me." - My Savior's Love - Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

"When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows role. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." - It Is Well - Horatio Gates Spafford

"I need Thee, oh I need Thee; every hour I need Thee. O bless me now my Savior. I come to Thee." - I Need Thee Every Hour - Annie Sherwood Hawk

and my favorite hymn - I Am Thine, O Lord - Fanny Jane Crosby (I love Ms. Crosby)

"Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where thou hast died; Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to Thy precious bleeding side."

As I sit and think this morning of my Godly heritage, while listening to Crystal Lewis' Hymn CD, I can't help but look forward to sharing this heritage of hymns with our little girl that will be coming to us soon. She has been chosen by her mom and I. Just as we were chosen by Christ.

Sometimes I don't understand why God has allowed the Lewis family to have such a rich heritage of faith. Then I remember, it is because God forgave and called a poor man from Lake of the Ozark, MO. When he took his family into a small Assemblies of God church in Jefferson City, MO our family was forever changed. He, my grandfather Rev. Harry Lewis, prayed for his children, his grandchildren, to the 4 and 5th generation. A testament of that faith is that all of us, every Lewis, are serving God.

My prayer is what G-pa's was, "May God continue to keep us to the 4, 5th generation, and beyond. May we pass this heritage to those who were born of our flesh and the ones who will be grafted in. May every Lewis remain faithful until Jesus returns. May our heritage of hymns teach us of our great God."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

His Throne of Grace

My evening devotional time this year will be spent in Hebrews. There is so much insight in this short book. It is like the entire Bible written in 13 chapters. I love it. If you can have a favorite book of the Bible this would at least be my New Testament pick. As I was reading last night this verse jumped out at me. I have read and heard it many times, but it is still encouraging to read it again.

Heb. 4:16 "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."

Grace and mercy are two things that we are always in need of. As humans, we live like Paul when he says, I do what I should not and I don't do what I should. Can I hear an amen. Life is tough. Circumstances drag us down. This is why the writer of Hebrews reminds us to meet at a body often and even more often as we see the day of Christ's return drawing near. In these trying times, we need to immerse ourselves in His Word and prayer, meet with fellow believers for encouragement and love, and be willing to boldly approach our God.

Most of us miss that little word "boldly". Our minds tells us that we are not worthy. So if we approach we do it timidly. "Your right mind, I am not worthy. If I was I would not need Christ." Tell yourself this and move on. Go into His presence expecting to receive. I do not approach Him as I did my parents when I was at home; asking for money but expecting a "we'll see". And don't we all know that is code for "NO". I know it is, that's why I use it with my kids...keeping the tradition alive as it were. 

With God it should not be like this. I come to Him boldly, not out of disrespect or an attitude that I am owed, but knowing that my God is big enough to answer my need. So if you need grace today, I do, or if you need mercy today, I do, run to His throne. The one who set the world into motion desires your request. What's more He is willing to meet it.

I have tired to make this a practice; to boldly ask God to move in our adoption process. I don't come to Him each day asking for Him to answer sometime in the next six months; rather, I come each day asking Him to move on our behalf today. One day, when His timing is right, He will.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Abortion and Adoption

As conservative Christians we often vote and state that we are against abortion. We believe abortion is an abomination to our God and to humanity. While we might support a women's right to choose what effects her own life; when another life is involved, no one but God has the right to choose between life and death. There is only one way I can support an abortion with a clear conscience, that is in the case where the mother's life is in danger. This of course is VERY rare and very controversial to a world that puts more value on a cat than an unborn human.

Christians are quick to let everyone know how we feel on this issue. It's simple, life begins at conception. From a Biblical perspective at the moment dad's seed meets mom's egg God creates within in that tiny life the ability to develop all of their character traits: hair color, eye color, height, weight, propensity for strength in areas and weakness in others. But in that moment we also believe that in whatever mysterious way it happens, God places within that life a soul.

We find it sad that someone could abort a baby at 8 months of pregnancy. You see it's not out of the womb. Yet, if the baby came early, say 8 months and a day, the law and humanity suddenly declare it human. How illogical.

In all my disagreement with the abortion rights people, I do agree with them on one thing. Often they stand in their lines declaring the right to abort. They also stand as an indictment against the church rightfully saying, "you say you support adoption over abortion, but how many are willing to adopt?" Ouch! We say we believe in life and adoption as a better alternative, but how many Christan's Foster or Adopt....very few.

We go to the polls to vote our conscience on this issue but we leave it to someone else to care for the unwanted child. A Pastor friend of mine often said before his church that he was against abortion. One day the Lord spoke to him and said, "that's good, but what are you doing about it." A few months later his church opened a crisis pregnancy center to care for unwed mothers.

Today in Kentucky, the state where we live, there are 6,500 churches. There are 800 children in the Foster Care program that are ready and waiting to be adopted. These are kids that have had mom and dads rights terminated. They are not in danger of being taken back once the process is started. So let's say the average church in KY runs 50. That would equal 325,000 members (this is a very low estimate). It would only take 2.6% of these to step up and have 100% of these kids adopted. 2.6% (I typed that hard for emphasis).

What are we doing as a church? It is time our beliefs are backed up by our actions. I realize that not all can adopt. Surely 800 families across our Commonwealth could. We have chosen by God's direction to adopt outside the US. It doesn't matter, what matters is our willingness to stand up for the fatherless. To put our money where our mouths are (literally). You may not be approved to adopt, but you can try. You may not be at a place that you can bring another child into your home, but you can help someone else who can.

The same man that said (James), "true religion in the sight of God the father is caring for widows and orphans in their distress" also said "faith without works is dead". Let us rise up as Christians and answer the call to adopt. Let us not simply say we are against abortion but provide a loving home for the child whose mom made the right choice...LIFE!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Healing the Hurt

The adoption process is long and lonely. It can at times be overwhelming and very, very frustrating. This month marks the second year since God spoke to us to adopt. It is a two year period marked by the ups and downs of life. I lost my mom last year. I graduated with a Masters Degree last year. These are examples of each. This process has taught us a lot about God and His timing. Can I be honest and just say, some days God's timing really stinks! This is why He is God and I am not.

Patience and the process that requires it can be very taxing. Some days you wake up hurting. It's not a physical hurt as when you break a toe or something, rather it is an emotional hurt. Not depression or something that severe, but a constant aching in your soul that reminds you that a part of you is waiting on the other side of the world. Some days are better than others. Circumstances of life that are tough seem to bring it out more (Read my last blog titled "The Shadow Within".) Today I am missing my mom as she passed away 11 months ago, almost at this very hour. It seems that when other things pull on our emotions the longing to see the adoption completed, or in our case just to hear that we can adopt, becomes urgent.

We hurt through this process as we think of a beautiful little girl getting ready for bed as we are preparing for our day. She knows nothing of a mom and a dad that have been waiting for two years to meet her and love her. The fact is that some days this just hurts to think about. Perhaps God in is infinite wisdom allows this. Perhaps this is His way of preparing us to deal with the hurts of a little six year old girl that we so long to hold and love as our own. We have been waiting for two years. She has been waiting for six year wondering when and if someone will ever love her. She was abandoned and left for someone else to care for. She has seen many other kids come and go from her home. All the while she is waiting and hurting.

God, may the hurt that we have in the waiting prepare us to love her more than we ever thought we could!