Let's do for the orphan physically what God has done for us spiritually. Originally posted to pastors.com, Pastor 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
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
We are to defend their rights. (Psalm 82:3)
We are to speak up for them as advocates. (Proverbs 31:8)
We’re to feed them. (Matthew 25)
We’re to clothe them. (Matthew 25)
We’re to protect them from those who mistreat them. (Isaiah
We’re to ensure justice for them. (Deuteronomy 24:17)
We’re to share our resources with them. (Luke 3:11, Romans
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com to receive more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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
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
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
are a few guidelines to point you in the write (get it? It’s to motivate you to
for the format of the letter:
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
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 email@example.com
or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.
In Gicumbi Byumba, Rwanda, 29 church leaders gathered to hear God’s Heart for the Orphan and consider the implementation of PEACE within their churches. Following breakout sessions, the leaders were prompted to identify the number one problem in caring for orphans and how their churches could solve it. Baptist leaders congregated on one side of the room while Anglicans gathered along the other. As they mulled over these questions, they realized their solution was to do physically for the orphan what God has done for believers spiritually. Their churches would adopt orphans, and as soon as possible!
Yet there was one last problem to solve. The Baptist leaders piped up, “We don’t have an orphanage; we don’t have a place to go get kids…” Then speaking to the Anglican leaders they asked, “Can we go to your orphanage, the Anglican orphanage, and adopt the children there?” After a tense pause seeming to last an eternity the Anglicans agreed, “Yes, yes you can!” The Baptists leaders announced they were sending members that same day to bring children home as their sons and daughters. In the family of God, mercy triumphs over judgment, and unity triumphs over division. Caring for the orphan is bringing together the family of God both here and in Rwanda as we serve the Kingdom together!
As a result of the unity of these Rwandan churches, orphans have been united with families. The Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship Program equips these families who are responding with daring faith to answer God’s call to care for the orphan. You can be a part of the transformation taking place - start giving today online.
If you would like to go on an Orphan Care PEACE trip to Rwanda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.
This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe:
Republican Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania and
Democratic co-sponsors David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jim McDermott of
Washington, and Brian Higgins of New York introduced a bill last week that
would put the United States in the position of supporting — rather than
undermining — the human rights of children worldwide. It is a simple bill,
consisting of only a few lines of text and requiring no new resources. But it
would have a profound effect on one of the most significant human rights crises
of our time.
The bill would essentially tell the State Department to stop
discriminating against children through its refusal to consider the violations
of human rights inherent in their unnecessary institutionalization.
Many millions of children worldwide are now locked into
institutions for no fault of their own, simply because they have been
abandoned, or removed from their parents because of maltreatment. There are
good homes waiting for many of these children if only nations would free them
up for adoption. Currently, most of these homes are available only across
national borders, since institutionalized children generally live in the
poorest and most devastated countries of the world, where few families can
afford to take in additional children to parent. Few of these countries have
any culture of domestic adoption.
But countries regularly shut down international adoption, or
create barriers that restrict it to only a lucky few. Unfortunately, the State
Department has in recent years joined with other forces to limit international
adoption as a meaningful option for unparented children. The result has been
the precipitous decline by 75 percent in the number of adoptions into the
United States since 2004, and by more than 50 percent in the number
international adoptions worldwide. This represents the deliberate and
unnecessary denial to well over 20,000 children per year of their most
fundamental human right other than life itself — the right to grow up with
This bill would put the United States in the position of
standing up for the human rights of unparented children. It would put us in the
position of calling out the human rights violations involved in condemning
children to the destruction inherent in growing up in institutions.
Gold standard social and medical science demonstrates how
institutions destroy children mentally, physically, and emotionally. It
demonstrates that there is a sensitive period in early life after which, even
if children are removed from institutions, it is much harder to undo the damage
done. The evidence also demonstrates that placement in adoption, whether in the
country of origin or abroad, works wonderfully well to help children make the
most of their lives.
This bill is supported by a coalition representing academic
experts in human rights and child welfare together with core organizations
committed to the rights of unparented children — the National Council for
Adoption, the Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program, the Center for
Adoption Policy, Saddleback Church Orphan Care Initiative, the American Academy
of Adoption Attorneys, and Both Ends Burning.
This bill is simple but would represent a profound,
paradigm-shattering change. It would put the United States in an important
position of international human rights leadership. And Congress should be able
to agree on the position that children have the basic human right to grow up in
Elizabeth Bartholet is
professor of law and faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard
Law School. Paulo Barrozo is associate professor of law and jurisprudence and
director of the Clough Center for Constitutional Democracy at Boston College