GraceConnect eNews, No. 96, Week of April 20, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
The Atrips' adoptions stem from an outpouring of thankfulness for the blessing of Jesus' redemption.


The Risk of Adoption

This week's story comes from the Flinch Conference blog.

Ever since we met, my wife, Kristin, and I have talked about adoption. We knew after we were married we would have biological kids, but we also knew that we would add to our family through adoption.

Our heart for adoption flows out of the gospel that is very clearly highlighted in this passage in Galatians…

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (Galatians 4:4-7 NLT)

It might sound cliché, but we want our lives be driven and dictated by the gospel. I believe that not just the way I pastor but the way I parent, the way I manage my money, and the way I interact with my neighbors comes from the gospel. When I understand what Jesus did for me and that he has redeemed me and given me life, I should want to live my life in response.

For our family, one response to the gospel that we felt called to was adoption. We believe God has a heart for adoption and we should, too. I don’t say this as a guilt trip or to make it sound like we responded out of obligation, this is something that brings us joy and has been an absolute blessing to our family.

I love that I have seen God accomplish something that he put on our hearts. I love that my family represents the diversity of God’s creation. I love that I have a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness, provision, answers to prayer, and his adoption of me every time I look at my daughters.

Let’s be honest -- we often get asked the same questions… Was it expensive? Yeah, it was, and both times it required saving, a second job, and fundraising. Everything worth doing requires a significant investment. Are there people who don’t like the skin colors combined together in our family? Yeah, there have been a few of those conversations and I am sure there will be more. Could one of my adopted kids rebel someday? Yeah, and so could my biological kids. I am only slightly kidding when I say that sin nature is not limited to those who are adopted. I don’t mean to come across as if I haven’t given these things thought, but I want you to know I have spent time watching God grow me through these questions and the conversations that flow out of them.

Are their risks involved? Simply put, yes, there are, but risk is in the eye of the beholder. As a family, we decided that living out the gospel and the heart of God is what we were called to do. Risk is based on fear and there is no fear inside the perfect love of Jesus. God’s love was big enough in my life to adopt me and save me and I want to pay that forward in my family through adoption. – by Mark Artrip

Mark Artrip is lead pastor at Movement Church, a Grace Brethren church in Hilliard, Ohio. To find out more about Flinch Conference, the national conference of the Grace Brethren fellowship, visit their website.

Send Mark a note of encouragement at
markartrip@movementcolumbus.com.

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[Your Turn]

 
[Read:] 

Keith Minier is lead pastor of Grace Fellowship, a Grace Brethren Church in Pickerington, Ohio. On his blog, A Pastor's Thoughts, Minier tells the story of how the church's initiative to give a van to a person in need was just one step in the recipient's journey to follow Jesus.

"When we planned Grace Initiative our prayer and hope was God would get glory," explained Minier in his post. "It was not about whether or not the people we helped were going to our church or not, it was not about whether they were believers or not.  It was about doing the right thing and the people seeing this and then how that would impact them." You can read the post (and watch the short video story) 
by clicking here

[Go:] 

If the Flinch Conference piques your interest, why not attend? This year's national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches will be held in New York City this July 23-26. You'll have the chance to meet others in the Grace Brethren fellowship and hear from an excellent lineup of speakers, who will be speaking on the topic of risk. Visit the Flinch website to learn more and register.  

[Listen:]

Tritone Life is the musical tumblr blog of Matthew Raley, senior pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Chico, Calif. Raley is an author and violinist with the North State Symphony. According to his bio, Raley is "passionate about revitalizing the art of biblical preaching, connecting people across generational lines, and speaking clearly about Jesus Christ." Check out his tumbler for "Christianity, the arts, and culture unresolved." 

Events in the FGBC

June 3  Pastorpedia Live (Formerly Super Wednesdays), Winona Lake, Ind. (CEN)
June 15-July 27 – Operation Barnabas, Winona Lake, Ind. (CEN)
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
June 23-July 7 City Life Tours East Coast & West Coast (CEN)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBC – Grace Brethren Canada
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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