Orphans

This past weekend, we as a church focused on the whole area of orphan care. 143 million orphans in the world today. How do we even get our minds around that? More importantly, how do we get our hearts around that?

It feels so overwhelming and yet we need to remember that we serve a big God whose heart breaks for these children. He invites us to fully engage in His plans. What might that look like? It could mean any number of things from adoption, to ministry to adoptive families, to giving to the needs of orphans overseas. All sorts of ways to get involved…so how do we choose?

As I mentioned yesterday, the critical first step is in laying all our defenses and fears on the altar and asking God what He would have us do in light of this huge need. Raylene and I started talking and praying about this yesterday, as I’m sure did many of you. May God show us how to respond. And may He keep this issue on the front burner of our lives. It would be so tempting to just move on to another topic, another issue–but it’s hard to find a need as critical and desperate as this one.

Sure our economy is struggling, but how does that compare to the needs of millions of children without a mom and a dad? Let’s pray for God to continue to open our hearts to this need. Don’t forget to use the prayer guide in the information packet this past weekend.

Radio Interview today…please pray!

I have a radio interview today on a Christian talk radio station in New York and would appreciate your prayers. I’m thankful for the opportunity to discuss the message of my book and hope that it can be used to help others find freedom and grace. 

The show broadcasts from 1:00pm to 4:00pm mountain time. My segment is from 1:10pm to about 1:50pm mountain time. The host of the show’s name is Neil Boron. The web site for the station is www.wdcxfm.com where I believe you can listen on line.

Thanks for your prayers!

Compassion Book

In my message yesterday, I referenced a book about which some of you have asked for more information. It’s called Compassion and was written by Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill and Douglas Morrison.

Here’s one of the quotes I used in the message:

“Patience is the discipline of compassion because through patience we can live in the fullness of time and invite others to share in it…As long as we remain the victims of clock time, which forces us into the rigid patterns of time slots, we are doomed to be without compassion.

            When we live by the clock we have no time for each other: We are always on the way to our next appointment and do not notice the person on the side of the road in need of help. We are increasingly concerned about missing something important and perceive human suffering as a disturbing interruption of our plans. We are constantly preoccupied with our free evening, free weekend, or free month and lose the capacity to enjoy the people we live with and work with day in and day out.”

Convicting stuff!

In Wall Street We Trust?

Every day, as the stock market continues its descent, I keep hearing this question rolling around in my head: Alan, do you really believe Jesus’ words? “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions…Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes…Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12:15, 29-30

Do I really believe that? Do we as Christ-followers live in this reality of a loving Father who promises to care for us. The kicker is of course in what He promises to provide–food, shelter, clothing. Not necessarily the rest of the stuff that we so often find ourselves running after. The latest, coolest, biggest whatever. 

At the Partnership Journey the other night, someone at our table shared about living for a few years in the Philippines with the Peace Corps. He lived in a hut with no electricity. He said to us that he would do that again in a heartbeat. There is something about the simplicity of that kind of life that is very appealing to him, compared to the frenetic pace and pursuits of this life.

Simple can be good–not if it’s motivated out of fear and anxiety. But what would it be like to actually take Jesus at His word and rest in the gracious provision of God the Father providing what we need? It would probably free us to more fully pursue the life He then urges us to live: “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted…” Luke 12:31-33.

Hmm…do we really believe this stuff?

Book feedback and update

I have really enjoyed these past few weeks as copies of my book have been made available to people. It is so fun being able to interact with folks who are reading it or studying it together in a small group.

I’ve been so encouraged by a  couple things. One is the number of men who have said that they connect with the book. That is really cool because typically men aren’t big book readers, so I have loved it when a man tells me the impact the message is having in them.

I have also been so encouraged by the number of people who have purchased multiple copies of the book, so that they can give them away or send them to friends. As a newly published author, I’m realizing how wonderful it is to hear that the message of your book so impacted someone that they are encouraging others to read it as well. That is the ultimate compliment!

A pastor friend of mine reminded me recently that this is why he writes books. It is because he so believes in the message that he wants as many people as possible to be impacted by it. I now get what he was saying. Thanks to so many of you who are reading it with an open heart and desiring to share it with others. It really is good news.

Along with the new experience of book signing, I now have my first official radio interview under my belt. Last Friday, I was interviewed on the John and Stephanie show on Word FM in Pittsburgh. I was SO nervous. I will never schedule one of those on a Friday again. It completely ruined my day off. Usually on Fridays, Raylene and I have some hang out time and do lunch. We did lunch, but my head and heart were elsewhere, thinking about how in an hour I would be on the radio in Pittsburgh. (I just realized I never knew how to spell Pittsburgh–didn’t know about the ‘h’).

The interview went well–I think–but it was over before I knew it. I think it was about 13 minutes long to be exact. I was getting all my stuff ready for a 2:40pm interview when I got a phone call from them at 2:15  “Can you do the interview NOW?” I said yes and then realized that the people I told to listen on line at 2:40 would miss the interview. So I quickly ran upstairs and told Raylene to call my parents, etc and within seconds I was being introduced. Wow, things move fast in radio.

If you are interested, my next interview is on the Debbie Chavez show, which is an internet talk show at www.debbiechavez.com. It is scheduled for Monday (not Friday) October 20th at 2:00pm. Thanks for your prayers!

AIDS experience in Fort Collins this week

Someone commented on my last post reminding me that the AIDS experience is at the CSU campus. Here are the details:

The “Step into Africa” Experience will also be at CSU campus, Lory Student Center Ballrooms, 195 Student Center this coming up next week. It will be starting on Oct. 9th and running through Oct. 13th. You can get tickets online or call 970.310.8751 for more information.

I would strong encourage you to check this out if you are able.

Incredible AIDS experience

Yesterday our entire staff team loaded up in some minivans and headed to Crossroads Church in Loveland for a “Step Into Africa” experience. We didn’t know what to expect but all of us left significantly impacted.

The “Step Into Africa” is multi-sensory experience put on by World Vision that gives you the opportunity to experience what life is like for an African child who has been impacted by AIDS. You walk through various places, while listening on an audio device which tells the story. It really was an amazing experience. I would encourage you to check it out if you are able. There is no cost for this. The exhibit is open today (Wed) from 9:00am to 9:00 pm, Thursday from 10:00am to 9:00pm and Friday from 10:00am to 8:00pm. It takes about an hour.

Crossroads Church is located at 5420 North Taft Ave in Loveland. There is more info on the experience at www.worldvisionexperience.org.

Peaceful morning drive…NOT

Isn’t it amazing how quickly things can change? This morning I was on my way to work, having just dropped my three kids off at school. I had prayed for each one before they got out of the car and was in a reflective, prayerful mood as I drove away from the school. About 30 seconds later, as I was driving down 20th Street, a car began to pull out in the lane to my right. It looked as if they were headed into my lane, so I did a quick honk to let them know of my presence. All of this would have been totally fine…except they honked back–as if to say, “why the heck are you honking at me?!”.

So I responded as any mature, seasoned, calm driver should: I honked back. And they honked back at me. Suddenly I felt like an 8 year old having one of those “Did not”, “Did to”, “Did not”, “Did to” conversations. I was mad at this person and also mad at myself for getting mad. I spent the rest of the drive rehashing the event–at times feeling foolish, other times feeling justified in my responses. Ah, what a great start to the week–a fresh reminder again of how much I need Jesus.

P.S. I did ask my wife and kids how I could pray for them (See previous post)

Small group prayer time

Tonight we had our small group, which meets in our house. Great group of people. We started a study of John Eldredge’s book, Walking with God. This first week we just read the prelude and introduction but am already feeling challenged to slow down and to cultivate a greater expectation to hear God’s voice.

However, what struck me more than anything happened during our prayer time. Our group leader, Jeff, had asked each of us to write down two personal prayer requests on a card and put it in the center of the circle. Then we each drew a card and prayed for that person. At one point, someone began praying for my wife’s requests, and I had this thought: When is the last time I asked Raylene how I could pray for her? Here we were in a group with other people, and I was hearing from someone else what my wife needed prayer for. I was immediately convicted and challenged. I want to be more faithful in asking my wife how I can pray for her. And why not ask my kids as well?

So, here’s my blog promise: I’m going to ask my wife and kids within the next day or two how I can pray for them. I won’t post another blog until that is done. How’s that for motivation?

Overwhelmed

I’m ready to go to bed but have been reflecting all day upon this weekend’s pre-release celebration for my soon to be released book. All I can say is, Wow! What an awesome celebration. Thanks to so many of you who offered words of encouragement and affirmation. Thanks to those who waited in line for me to sign your book. I had a blast connecting with so many of you! 

We had no idea how many books to order for this event. I decided a few weeks ago to order 600 books, thinking that that would be plenty. On Saturday afternoon, I thankfully received another 168 books in a surprise shipment. Perfect timing. When all was said and done after the 2nd service today, there were only about a dozen books remaining on the sales table. Which means well over 700 books were sold! Thank you, Christ Community for such an awesome kick-off to get this important and grace-filled message out. What a huge blessing.

By the way, if you missed the celebration today or were unable to purchase all the books you wanted, we are planning to have more available this weekend and will still be selling them at cost for 7 dollars. Thanks again. Now I’m going to bed…