God Chooses to Adopt You

Derek and Kristen remember the moment God confirmed their call to adopt internationally. After weeks of questioning, the title of the sermon that fateful Sunday morning read, “God Adopts Us into His Family.” Seven months later, after countless prayers, fundraising, and mountains of paperwork, they received confirmation that two beautiful children awaited them in Uganda. Let me introduce you to Viola and Gideon.


The journey had just begun. It would take nearly all of their emotional, mental, and financial resources, plus 73 days in Uganda attending court hearings and completing more paperwork before Derek and Kristen could bring their children home. Despite all it took, Kristen has said, “I love that adoption is the way I became a mother.” It has been nearly two years and Viola and Gideon are happy, healthy, and secure in their forever home. They have a new sense of belonging and they have received new identities.


God uses the imagery of adoption to help us understand the relationship He offers and desires to have with us.

In Romans 8:15-17 the apostle Paul says, “You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, ‘Abba! Father!’ as we would address a loving daddy. Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His.”

Just like Derek and Kristen chose Gideon and Viola, GOD CHOSE YOU. Derek and Kristen went to great lengths to adopt. God has gone to even greater lengths – sacrificing the son He already had in order to make us His children too. Just like Viola and Gideon could do nothing to earn or deserve their parents’ love, we can do nothing to earn God’s love and we certainly do not deserve His grace. Just like Gideon and Viola received new identities, we receive new identities in Christ. And even though Viola and Gideon are adopted, they have the same rights as a biological child. Similarly, as God’s adopted beloved children, we receive the same inheritance as Christ.

God chose to adopt us! Our worth is found in our true identity as God’s beloved children! But like Viola and Gideon were once orphans, before we accept God’s grace and love, we are spiritual orphans. If you have ever been to an orphanage, you may have noticed that after the initial shyness has worn off, the children tend to compete with one another for whatever you have to offer. As spiritual orphans, we tend to do the same thing. In fact, Henri Nouwen says that we try to earn worth through what we do, what we have, or what others say about us.

Listen, true worth is only found in receiving our identity as God’s beloved. Look at 1 John 3:1-2, which says, “Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us – He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either. My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now.”

Beloved means “dearly loved or favorite.” You are God’s favorite! So, my question is this: Are you living as a beloved child of God or are you still living with orphan mentality?


An orphan is hopeless. A daughter is hopeful. An orphan is unsure and anxious. A son is assured and confident. An orphan simply survives. A daughter thrives. An orphan competes. A son is content. An orphan has no father to provide a name and therefore creates his own identity from the outside and hopes no one finds out what is on the inside. A daughter receives her name from her daddy and confidently shares what’s inside with others.

The only source of identity and worth that truly satisfies is receiving our adoption into God’s family as His beloved child. The action step is actually not what we need to do, but what we need to stop doing. Stop trying to earn God’s love. Stop looking for worth or identity in what you do, what you have or what others say about you. Viola and Gideon are no longer nameless. They are now Viola and Gideon Kimball. Live confidently out of the name your Heavenly father has given you, the name Beloved.


Embracing Small Dog Syndrome



Anyone who knows me knows Hank, my Snorkie pup. It’s kind of amazing that it has taken this long for Hank to appear in a blog! Hank is sensitive, way too smart, playful, and energetic. He is a dog that knows what he wants and knows how to communicate it. And of course, he’s adorable! However, Hank has small dog syndrome. He is a 14 lbs fluff ball on the outside. But he is 100 lbs of fierce guard dog on the inside. He believes he can take on anything and everyone. He has very little fear. In his mind, he owns the whole neighborhood and everyone needs his permission to pass in front of our house or through his yard. Similar to Hank, we might look like lambs on the outside, but we have the power of the living God on the inside. I wonder how often God longs for us to act with the belief and knowledge of that truth.

Recently I’ve been struck by how we don’t typically see ourselves the way God sees us. For that matter, I don’t know that we typically see ourselves the way others see us! So often we underestimate ourselves, and worst of all, we underestimate what God wants to do through us. God’s desire is to use us, despite of and BECAUSE of our weaknesses, to bring glory to God and His kingdom. Paul says, “[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).” God is not embarrassed or ashamed of our weaknesses. No, He delights in them and uses them for His purposes. He longs for us to step out in faith so that he can finish in His strength the tasks that cannot possibly be finished in our own.

In Deuteronomy, God speaks through Moses to give a message to Joshua and the rest of the spies being sent in to scout the Promised Land. He says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).” That message still applies to us today. We can be strong and courageous, like Hank watching over the neighborhood, because we know that God goes with us, will never leave us, and will never forsake us. When we live out that truth and remember our true identity is found in Christ, we can live with great courage, be amazingly bold, and demonstrate unshakable faith. We might feel like “small dogs” but because of our identity in Christ and the power of God within us, we need to live like German shepherds.




When you start something you can’t finish…


So, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I have crazy amazing friends. We love to fellowship together (a fancy way of saying I “just happen” to show up at their homes around dinner time), encourage one another (tease one another mercilessly), and experience life (watch tv and eat ice cream) together. A few weeks ago, I’m went on a walk with my friends Ali and Hali. Now, you should know that I was Hali’s small group leader when she was in the 8th grade. She is now an amazing, beautiful, strong, God-fearing young adult…and a dear friend. Although we are both adults, I must admit that we tend to occasionally act like adolescents with one another. On this particular walk, I began pestering her. Hali saw it coming and instantly had me in a headlock and before I knew what had happened, I was flat on my back in the grass. Did I mention she is strong! You see, she’s an athlete and I’m just a “wanna be” athlete! May I add this all occurred in front of my pastor’s house!? We laughed and she helped me up and the phrase for the evening became, “don’t start what you can’t finish!”

This silly little playful wrestling match (butt kicking) got me thinking…how often do I feel like I start something that I can’t finish? How often do I feel called to pick a fight, stand up for a cause, or launch a project that I don’t believe I have the strength, energy, or talent to complete? There are so many examples in the Bible of people called to do things beyond their human capabilities. David was laughed at for picking a fight with Goliath. Daniel was considered a fool for getting himself thrown into a lion’s den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were doomed for taking on a fiery furnace. Moses looked like a fool taking on the powerful Egyptian pharaoh and Elijah didn’t look much brighter challenging the prophets of Baal. And you want to talk about starting something you can’t finish? How about Gideon who took on all of Midian with just 300 men wielding trumpets instead of swords! Or 12 ordinary men who dared to believe following a carpenter from Nazareth could change their lives and eventually the world.

When God calls us to something, He knows we do not have the ability to complete it on our own. In fact that’s the very reason He calls us. God is not looking for the most talented, the most intelligent, or the most courageous. He is looking for those who will faithfully follow Him into tasks and adventures that seem impossible with human eyes. He is glorified all the more in our weaknesses. And when I step out in faith and start something I cannot finish, I am forced to rely on God for everything necessary to see the task to completion. It is God’s reputation on the line, not mine. And though I fail on a regular basis, God does not fail. Though He may ask me to start something I cannot finish, He ALWAYS finishes what He starts!


So what is God calling you to start? He’ll do the “finishing,” but you need to take the first step of faith!