Every day, Easter fuels the mission.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Easter is about an exchanged life.
It is a time to remember that Jesus, God’s incarnate son, took the wrath of God as judgment for our sins. At the Cross of Calvary He bore God’s wrath so that we could be made righteous before that same holy, merciful God. God’s kindness and severe justice are not mutually exclusive. His justice and His lovingkindness to sinners are fully displayed through the Cross.
But, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter should never be the only times that the Christ follower looks to the Cross or celebrates the Resurrection. Following Jesus is a daily call to “take up your cross” and ruminate on the richest majesty of Jesus, who bore sin and conquered death. The Cross and Resurrection are the only hope for the Christian.
The apostle Paul explained the hope of Christ best in 2 Corinthians 15:19-22:
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Good Friday isn’t good until we comprehend that we have greatly offended the one true, sovereign, and holy God with our self-righteous pride. Easter Sunday isn’t glorious until we realize that we have risen with Christ to live a life not unto ourselves but radically dedicated to Him.
And this, my friends, is the Gospel—a message we need to preach moment-by-moment to ourselves and to our neighbor. This message compels our service. It is what fuels the work of Lifeline because we aren’t simply hoping to change the zip codes of the fatherless; we are hoping to introduce them to the Gospel. We aren’t only looking to see orphans adopted physically but, ultimately, to see their indigenous cultures transformed into communities of hope through the Gospel of Christ.
In his book Explicit Gospel Matt Chandler summarizes our mission well:
“We live open-handed lives and seek to spot injustice and despair around us, and we enter into sorrow and pain so that the love, mercy, and beauty of God’s reconciling work in Christ can be seen in our lives in the hopes that a broken world will see and give praise to God.”
Beloved, we simply cannot make a true difference in the lives of children without the Gospel of Christ.
The Gospel must be at the center of our call to care and the foundation on which we disciple the fatherless. With a world full of sin-sickness and a culture that seeks to separate itself more and more from the truth found in the Word of God, we cannot compromise and simply participate in social justice, humanitarian aid, or good works. We must hold firm to the fabric of truth, surrender daily to Christ, and allow Him to propel our service.
When we fully understand the scope of the needs of the 153 million fatherless worldwide and the 400,000 foster children in the U.S., we can be driven in one of three ways. First, we could be driven to apathy as we think, “How can we ever make a dent in the lives of all of those children.” Second, we can be driven to a state of “rescuer” and seek to feverishly work in our own power and strength, eventually leaving us worn out, burned out, and on the sidelines. Third, we can resolve to rely on the strength, power, and might of Christ Jesus working in us. My prayer is that this option drives us. The realization that we aren’t the rescuers but the rescued is what propels true defenders of the fatherless.
As Paul tells the church at Colossae:
“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
Recently, I saw this reality in action.
Our team had a crucial meeting with a local judge and the county child welfare agency. The purpose of the meeting was to present a new curriculum from Lifeline used to equip families who have lost custody of their children. We were asking to be a resource to which the courts would look in rehabilitating these families. Our team unashamedly told them that our plan is to have local churches in our city host these trainings, teach the curriculum, and then assign mentors to walk through life with these families. The county and judge both excitedly endorsed the curriculum and methods with one caveat—they asked for us to recruit a church in the inner city to host and teach the trainings.
At the very same time our team was meeting with the judge and county worker, I was in the office of a dynamic pastor and leader who shepherds a church of 1300 in the inner city. This man of God was with the city school system for 26 years and saw first-hand the devastation wreaked upon families in the inner city. Without hesitation, he told me that his church would host, train, and mentor families in the inner city at their campus once the curriculum was approved.
Beloved, this is only made possible because our God goes before us as the true Defender of the Fatherless (Psalm 68:5-6). Let us draw near to God this Easter to worship the Father to the fatherless, whose mercy reached down to us while we were yet sinners and made true the statement that He would not leave us as spiritual orphans.
Has the Lord put your family in a place where you could adopt or foster a precious child in need and, in so doing, disciple them in the Gospel of Christ? Has the Lord burdened you with His command in James 1:27 to care for orphans in distress?
If so, partner with Lifeline today. Visit LifelineChild.org to donate to His cause, to apply to adopt, to sign up for a trip to visit orphans in need through our (un)adopted ministry, to apply to be a foster parent for a child in U.S. foster care, to volunteer in one of many ways for the sake of orphans, and ultimately to partner with us as we seek to take the Gospel to the fatherless.
“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.” Deuteronomy 10:18-20
O Beloved, will you allow God to use the Gospel through you to impact the life of a child? Please do not hesitate to give Lifeline a call because we are here..
..to defend the fatherless.