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At the heart of the Orphan Care Initiative at Saddleback is the belief that church and family are God’s remedy for the orphan crisis. Psalm 68:5 says, “God places the lonely in families…” When we were spiritually orphans, God adopted us into His family. In fact, Scripture teaches that the reason God made the world was so He could adopt (see Eph. 1:4-6). It gives us an inheritance and the right to call Him Abba, or “Father” (see Gal. 4, Rom. 8). As a result, as Christians, we are given the joy of reconciling people to God through adoption (spiritual adoption), and helping children stay in their families, be reunited with their families or find a new family through adoption (physical adoption). In this blog (originally posted to Daily Hope), Pastor Rick Warren shares how we are adopted into God’s family, the Church.

 

“There are only two ways to get into a family: You can either be born into it, or you can be adopted into it. God does both for you! It’s called being born again, and it’s called being adopted into the family of God. God does both.

In Roman law, which people followed in the New Testament, you could disown a child you birthed. But if you adopted a child, you were forbidden to ever disown them. God says you are not only born again into his family, but he has adopted you, and there is no way he could ever disown you. That’s good news!

You may ask, “No matter what I do? Really?” That’s right — no matter what you do!

Once you’re born, you cannot be unborn. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn again. You can grieve the Father, just like we often do to our earthly parents. The fellowship may be broken, but no matter what your parents say, everybody knows you are still their child. In the same way, once you become a child in the family of God, you’re in!

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15, “I want you to know how people who are members of God’s family must live. God’s family is the church” (GW). We are the family of God. Church is not something you go to. Church is something you belong to. You’re welded into the building of the temple of God. You’re grafted into the vine and the tree of life. You’re born again and adopted into the family of God. You’re joined into the body of Christ. These are all connection models.

Most people think that Christianity is a belief system. There are beliefs that are involved, but it’s more than that. It’s a belong system. It means you belong to the family of God. It means you are a part of the body of Christ. The Bible says it’s like being born into a family.

Romans 15:6-7 says, “You will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God” (NCV).

To learn more on God’s heart for the orphan, check out this video of Rick and Kay Warren. For more information on how you can be involved in helping children remain, regain, or reunite with family, email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555.

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If you’ve ever thought about adopting or fostering, you are not alone. Did you know that one out of four couples have considered adoption or foster care. No matter why you have considered it, there is a place where you can get accurate information, simple overviews, and your questions answered. During the month of November, Saddleback Church will be hosting an informational seminar called, Exploring Adoption and Foster Care for My Family, at six locations in Southern California....
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Let's do for the orphan physically what God has done for us spiritually. Originally posted to pastors.comPastor Rick Warren outlines the Biblical perspective on why and how we are to define our faith by our care for the orphan.

You were an orphan once. You may have grown up with a father and a mother. Physically, you may not be an orphan.

But you were a spiritual orphan. You were a spiritual orphan until you were adopted by God. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:5, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (NLT)

God loves you so much that He adopted you into His family. And He doesn’t do so begrudgingly. He takes great pleasure in doing it.

The Bible also says, “To show that you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, Father, my Father. So then, you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children.” (Galatians 4:6-7. GNT)

God gives you all He has because you are now His child. We should show the same generosity toward physical orphans – those without parents – on our planet.

All throughout Scripture, God tells us that He’ll be a father to the fatherless. In the book of Proverbs, God tells us that we’re to speak up for those who have no voice.

God cares about orphans in a very special way. And so should we.

Many people in your community wonder what true religion really is. The Bible leaves no doubt. James 1:27 says, “Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.” (GWT)

Once we become believers in Jesus, we walk in our faith by caring for widows and orphans and keeping ourselves unstained by the world around us. James summarizes the Christian life as being about private purity and public charity. Jesus gives basically the same summary in the Great Commandment, Matthew 22:37-40.

Once we realize how much God loves us and what He went through to adopt us into His family, we really have only two responses.

·       First, it’ll clarify with you how much your life matters.

·       Second, it should make us sensitive to the plight of orphans around the world.


How does the Bible say we should take care of orphans?

1.     We are to defend their rights. (Psalm 82:3)

2.     We are to speak up for them as advocates. (Proverbs 31:8)

3.     We’re to feed them. (Matthew 25)

4.     We’re to clothe them. (Matthew 25)

5.     We’re to protect them from those who mistreat them. (Isaiah 1:17)

6.     We’re to ensure justice for them. (Deuteronomy 24:17)

7.     We’re to share our resources with them. (Luke 3:11, Romans 12:13)

8.     We’re to find families for them. (Psalm 68:5-6)


You and I have preached many sermons on the private purity spoken of in James 1:27. How many sermons have we preached on the public charity of caring for widows and orphans?

At Saddleback orphan care is one of our signature issues. We have a goal of 1,000 families from our church adopting orphans – 500 from overseas and 500 from the United States. We’re already halfway to this goal! Some of those Saddleback families have even adopted two or three kids.

We have more than 163 million orphans in the world. We have 113,000 orphans in America. If just one family from every four churches in America adopted a child, we’d have no more orphans in United States.

You don’t have to be a big church to make a big difference with orphans. Your church can do something for orphans and widows right now.

What will it be? How will you help?

If your church will make a commitment to help orphans, let us know about it. E-mail us at orphans@saddleback.com


If you are interested in becoming the family an orphan needs, we hope you will join us this Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30pm in Ministry Office 2 for our informational seminar, Exploring Adoption or Foster Care for my Family. Register here or email orphans@saddleback.com to receive more information. 

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God is at work in Rwanda - mobilizing ordinary church members to care for the orphan in radical ways! At the close of a God’s Heart for the Orphan vision seminar in Eastern Rwanda, an Orphan Care PEACE team asked the pastors attending to name 1 or 2 volunteers they could send the following day from their churches to receive the lay social worker training. As the team wrote in their journal that evening they noted:

We asked the pastors to think of 1 or 2 people to send to our training tomorrow and we got 50 names! 1 could show up or all 50. We aren't sure but we are praying for all of them to come!

The next day, 50 ordinary Rwandan believers came from various churches to receive the training! It was incredible that 50 individuals from different churches would drop their daily work to come receive training on how to support adoptive families in their communities. This answered prayer only illuminates the bigger miracle God has been stirring across Rwanda. Orphans are being taken into families with immediacy, churches are being mobilized to support families, and local church members are the ministers! 

If you would like to be part of a miracle by sponsoring a Rwandan family to help them adopt, visit Saddleback.com/Sponsorship, or email orphans@saddleback.com for more information. 

Why does sponsorship support the whole family?


Families end the orphan crisis.

 “God places the lonely in families...” Psalm 68:6 NLT

 “Focus on the child and the family – not just the child – help with the whole family physically and spiritually”
                                                            -Rwandan Lay Social Workers

www.Saddleback.com/Sponsorship

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U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt recently introduced the Vulnerable Children and Families Act, which will ensure that intercountry adoption to the United States becomes a viable option for providing safe, stable, nurturing, and permanent families for orphans. If this bill is passed, data on children living without families would be included in the Department of State’s annual human rights report, which would deem the denial of family life through adoption and their unnecessary institutionalization a human rights violation.  If you want more information on the bill click here: About the Vulnerable Children and Family Act

We can be a voice for the voiceless and we have been granted the freedom to do so.  We can be advocates for children being adopted into permanent and loving families!  How can you be an advocate for adoption? Write your congressperson!

Here are a few guidelines to point you in the write (get it? It’s to motivate you to write!) direction:

 

  1. To find your representative go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code in the “Find Your Representative” on the top of the page.
  2. Once you locate your congressperson, there is a list under the “Representatives” tab of all the names and you can find your congressperson’s contact information and website.
  3. On the website you have the option of emailing a message or they will list an address (DC office and district office). A hard copy always makes a statement, but if time is limited, email is always a great option.
  4. Write an email or send a letter!

 

As for the format of the letter:

  1. Address the letter correctly and always include the title of your representative (ex. “Dear Representative _____”).
  2. In the first paragraph state who you are and why you are writing.
  3. The second paragraph should include specific examples and/or statistics, as well as stating what the bill will do.
  4. The third paragraph should state why the bill is necessary and should thank your congressperson for their consideration.
  5. Close the letter with your name and information.
  6. The best letters are courteous and concise; try to keep it to one page.  Make sure your facts are right! Do not demand anything from them, simply urge them to support the bill. Feel free to add something personal that could display empathy.

 

Below is a link to a template for you to follow. If you write a letter, make sure to find your congressperson’s information and to personalize the body of the letter. Your opinions matter to our government and these letters will make a difference. If you could take half an hour out of your day to send a letter, you could be impacting the lives of millions of children.  You can be an advocate for adoption, a voice for the voiceless, and a defender for the orphan.

Letter Template

If you would like more information on how the Orphan Care Initiative works to help children remain in family, reunite with family, or regain family through adoption, email orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.

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