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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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Losing one parent is one too many. For Josiah, losing his mom to HIV/AIDS in 2014 almost prevented him from remaining in his family. Josiah was only 3 years old.  He and his 3 brothers and sister were living with their sickly father named Emmanuel. A carpenter by profession, Emmanuel did casual construction jobs to get by. However, after losing his wife, Emmanuel's health began to decline and his body weakened.  He was unable to provide for his family. Emmanuel's mother and  oldest daughter took on the responsibility of caring for the young family- three of whom were still in elementary school.  

This sad reality has provided a powerful opportunity for the local church to bring hope and support.  Emmanuel attends a local Anglican church in their community where his late wife also attended.  The church reached out to little Josiah, his Dad Emmanuel and the rest of the family.  The church explained that while he was recovering from ill health, the church could help.  They could see that the family was vulnerable not only to disease, but to being separated out of desperation and poverty.  An orphanage would have been one fo the few options if Josiah's family did not have the support of the local church.

Through Rwanda Sponsorship, the local church has wholistically come alongside Josiah's family. They are being supported by their church community and are frequently visited by the members in their church family. Through God's mercy, Emmanuel is now recovering and his family has remained together - largely in response to the relationship they've developed with their local church.

The Church is the hope of the world and the hope for every orphan and vulnerable child.  Ending the orphan crisis is not just about getting children out of orphanages - it's also about helping keep children out of orphanages in the first place by helping vulnerable children remain in families. By giving through the local church, sponsorship enables the entire church to come alongside families like Josiah's, serving them in every facet of life.  Because of Sponsorship, care and support reached these siblings before they became orphans, and the family is able to grow together!


If you are interested in impacting the life of a child through sponsorship, you can become a Rwanda sponsor at www.saddleback.com/sponsorship today! Connect with us at orphans@saddleback.com to learn about the ways you can help end the orphan crisis and prevent children from becoming orphaned.

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People sometimes wonder why the Orphan Care Initiative is so centered on working through the local church. Our Initiative is part of the PEACE Plan, Saddleback Church’s model of mobilizing ordinary believers to tackle the “global giants” – the issues affecting billions around the globe. In this article (originally posted to Pastors.com), Pastor Rick Warren describes some characteristics that make the PEACE Plan unique and sustainable.

 

God always blesses us so we can bless others. After The Purpose Driven Life came out and became one of the best-selling books in history, it became clear that God wanted to use my influence to help others. That’s when God put The PEACE Plan on my heart. PEACE is an acronym that stands for:

•  Planting churches that promote reconciliation

•  Equipping servant leaders

•  Assisting the poor

•  Caring for the sick

•  Educating the next generation

It’s basically what Jesus did when he was here on earth. There’s not a lot that’s unique about doing these five things. Mission organizations in all corners of the globe are doing them already. Churches have done them for 2,000 years.

It’s how these five things are done that makes PEACE unique. These are the seven PILLARS of The PEACE Plan…

Promotes, plants, and partners with the local church

First and foremost The PEACE Plan is about reclaiming the primacy of the local church in its role in global missions. Why? For the last century, the church has abdicated that role to parachurch organizations, mission boards, and mission organizations. Don’t get me wrong. These organizations are doing great work, but they were never God’s Plan A. God always intended it to be done by the church.

And as we have handed over the reins of global missions, we’ve excused 99 percent of our members from participating in the five things Jesus did while he was on earth. The idea was this – let the professionals do it. Let the professional doctors care for the sick. Let the professional preachers start churches. But there just aren’t enough professionals. We all need to be a part of God’s mission in the world if we’re going to see his work get done. That’s why The PEACE Plan is centered around the local church.

Imitates Jesus’ model

The PEACE Plan is modeled after the actual instructions Jesus gave when he sent out his disciples in Matthew 10 and Luke 10. You’d think that Jesus’ instructions would have long been the cornerstone of missions strategy for the church. Unfortunately, they haven’t.

For example, Jesus says, “Don’t take a purse with you.” There are two reasons for that. First, he doesn’t want us to depend upon our money. He wants us to depend upon him. He is also saying that money can’t solve the problems of the world. You can’t solve poverty by throwing money at it. When you throw money at problems, you create dependency. You create a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude.” Jesus says, you’ve got to train people to help themselves. That’s a core part of The PEACE Plan.

For another example, Jesus said: “Eat whatever they put in front of you.” He’s telling the disciples to adopt the local customs. You don’t ask those you are trying to reach to become like you before they become a Christian. You adapt your situation to them. They don’t adapt their situation to yours.

Jesus tells the disciples to go out in pairs. The PEACE Plan is done by small groups. We never send people out alone. You look all the way through Jesus’ ministry, he never sends people out by themselves. He always sends them out in groups of at least two. That’s why we send out small groups through The PEACE Plan.

Jesus also tells the disciples to find a “man of peace” in every village – to start with someone who is open to the message and influential. We teach our teams to spot a person like that on every trip and start with that person.

Just take a look at the other commands Jesus made in those passages. Those words are the cornerstone of how we do PEACE.

Lets amateurs lead

When I first started telling people about The PEACE Plan, I got a lot of funny looks when I mentioned my commitment to using amateurs. People thought it was the craziest idea they’d ever heard. How do you solve these five crushing worldwide problems with amateurs?

I love the word amateur. It comes from the Latin word amore, which means love. Amateur literally means “out of love.” That’s what amateurs are. People who do what they do out of love. There simply aren’t enough professional doctors to heal all the diseases. There aren’t enough preachers to start all of the churches.

Links public, private, and church sectors

Whenever I speak at economic forums, I always hear about the need to link governments and businesses together to help solve some of the world’s problems. But if governments and businesses could solve the world’s problems on their own, they would have done it by now. We need a three-legged stool. A one-legged stool and a two-legged stool will fall over. But a three-legged stool will stand. The third leg is the church.

There is a role for governments. The Bible tells us that. They bring order and execute justice, along with other responsibilities. There’s also a role for business. Businesses bring management skills and capital, for example. But you can’t forget the church either. We have a crucial role to play. There are things the church brings to the table that neither business nor government can.

Attacks all five giants

PEACE is a comprehensive strategy. Why? The five global evils we’re fighting are intertwined. Poverty is often related to disease. Corruption (bad leadership) is often related to education problems. They are interconnected. Other groups can attack just part of the problem. The church is called to deal with all of the problems. We can’t shirk our responsibility.

Reorganizes efforts within a network

We have something we didn’t have a generation ago – the Internet. It allows us to talk to one another even though we are in different parts of the world. Every time God’s Word has been put in a new technology, revival has come. When Gutenberg developed the printing press, we had the Reformation. Why? The Word could get around faster. Through the Internet we have a great opportunity to spread the Word even faster. The Internet has allowed us to network churches all around the world to solve these problems. In the past, if two churches from different parts of the world were working in an area, they couldn’t share information. Often, they wouldn’t even know the other was working there. Now they can communicate.

Shifts to sustainable funding

This means that PEACE doesn’t depend on fundraisers, bake sales, or garage sales. It creates self-generating and self-sustaining projects. It fosters sufficiency, not subsidy; a hand up, not a hand out. We’re going to reinvent how missions work is funded.

Did you know that a $50 gift can change a person’s life in most places in the world? Buy a chicken and you have an egg factory. Buy a goat and you have a milk factory. It’s amazing how a little money will make a big difference in a person’s life if it’s done in a way that can be sustained.

 

If you would like to be a part of what the PEACE Plan is doing to equip ordinary believers in local churches to end the orphan crisis, email us at orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care Initiative line at 949-609-8555.

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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