Why You Should Sponsor A Child

By the time your done reading this blog, at least 150 children around the world will have died due to poverty.

(According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day because they lack the means to afford proper care).

Their deaths are preventable.

Organizations like the one I work for (Expect Hope) make it their mission to rescue children from poverty and provide them with food, clothing, shelter, access to healthcare, and most importantly, love.

But WHY does your sponsorship matter?

Well, for one, not every country is the United States. Many countries do not have the means to help orphaned children, so many of them end up on the streets, naked and begging for food.

Many of those same children are targeted by terrorist groups like ISIS or Abu Sayyaf who promise them the same things Expect Hope does, but asks them to pay a hefty price; psychological abuse and, at times, sacrificing themselves for the terrorist groups cause.

There is no Child Protective Services to call in many third world countries. There is no Medicaid, no Free or Reduced Lunch, and sometimes, there isn’t even an option for free “public school”.

There are children right at this moment, walking along the streets naked and barefoot, with tummies rumbling, lacking ONE thing above all else; HOPE.

You could bring HOPE to a child today. You can change a life forever.

Some may say “well, $35 a month is a big ask”, but is it really?

My HULU subscription costs more than that.

Taking my family of four to Chipotle just once a month costs more than that.

Buying three new shirts at Ross costs more than that.

The truth is $35 equals to about $1.17 a day. We spend more than that on Starbucks, McDonalds, or whatever brand’s coffee you enjoy.

Think about that. Skipping Starbucks for 8-9 days a month will literally rescue an orphan from property and give them HOPE.

You can literally be someone’s hero for just $35 a month.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, visit Expect Hope today and sign up to sponsor. Still have questions? Comment below and I’ll do my best to get them.

Somethings you just don’t have to pray for.

Jesus said when you care for the least of these, you cared for Him.

Will you?

Sight Through Stained Glass (Part One)

The other day, my daughter received an interesting toy at a fast food establishment. It was a set of cards with animal facts on the backs of them written in blue ink. However, the facts were hidden by a red pattern. In order to make it clear and legible, you had to put this red “glass” on top of the card. By doing so, the “red” in the glass would make the red in the card invisible, allowing you to read the text clearly.

Deep into my thoughts this morning, I remembered this toy as I thought about the way I viewed my life, which made me realize something: At times, I live my life by “sight through stained glass”. That is to say, I see the lives of others through this colored and tinted glass, a glass that removes the “bad” in the lives of others, leading me to think every one lives the perfect life I just simply can’t seem to attain.

Think “rose-colored glasses” in reverse.

My heart naturally lifts others to this “super human” level, all the while wondering why I am incapable of achieving the same ascension.

I am writing about this because I know I’m not the only one who scrolls through Instagram wondering how other people live these “perfect” lives. I know I am not the only one tempted to compare my life to the lives of others, tempted to believe the demonic prompting that “God doesn’t love me like He loves _______” because of what I am seeing solely through stained glass.

No, I know I am not the only one. So if that’s you, let me speak to you (and by doing so, I also am speaking to myself): The stained glass isn’t giving you the whole picture. You are seeing a distorted image. It is not real. Perhaps the events in the picture did happen. Yes, that could very well be true. Feelings can be real. Intentions can be real. But the perfect life someone else is living? That is not real. 

People fight with one another and they don’t tweet about it. People feel disappointed, slighted, used, cheated, etc, and they don’t “at” (@) the person to let them know this publicly (I mean, sometimes this happens, but usually not in the “Christian” world, so to speak). People don’t go on and on in their Instagram story to tell you about how their marriage is failing or how their kid is rebelling against them. Husbands don’t take pictures of their wives gossiping with the girls. Wives don’t take pictures of their husbands cheating on them.

You get the picture (no pun intended).

Remember when I said that I can raise others to a “superhuman” level? Well, one of those people I tend to forget to see as human is Matt Chandler. God always uses him to speak to me (through online sermons, anyway), so I tend to forget he’s also a human that struggles and gets tempted.

I recently saw this clip from one of his sermon series. You can watch it for yourself here, but he tells the story of when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was about to undergo chemotherapy. He found himself looking at a family Christmas card of a man he knew was an adulterer and coward. And what did he think to himself? What were his thoughts during trial and suffering?

“That clown gets health, but not me?”

Matt Chandler became human the day I heard that story. 

To quote him, he goes on to say “When we’re enduring trials, we become hyper aware of the prettiness of others lives and we begin to resent them. And James here, via the power of the Holy Spirit, is going ‘no no no, it’s all level in the end’. Don’t believe the Instagram hype. Everyone endures trials. Everyone struggles.” 

Matt Chandler, an incredible man of God, struggles.

Then I really sat down and began to mentally list all of my “heroes” and realized they all have human struggles, struggles that get lost in the day-to-day posts of perfect families, friends, churches, and homes. And wouldn’t you know, some of them even sinned?

C.H. Spurgeon, the man whose quote I write on every Bible I use? It’s widely known that he struggled with depression (so when I am in “my lows”, I can find myself in good company). Matt Chandler? He publicly talks about how his marriage was terrible for the first seven years (not to even mention the whole brain tumor thing). Friends of mine that I look up to? They are tempted by anxiety, lust, jealousy, envy, fear, etc.

And some of our greatest theological heroes? They weren’t perfect either. They messed up in big ways. Here is John Piper talking about some of his heroes and their moral failures:

“But here’s what we have in mind, Martin Luther and his virulent anti-Semitism. John Wesley was not your most attentive husband—neither was [George] Whitefield. Whitefield and Edwards both owned slaves. Edwards, one or two all of his life, probably. Martin Luther King Jr.—unfaithful to his wife repeatedly in his sexual misconduct. And, of course, the list could go on and on.” (Emphasis mine).

Everyone endures trials. Everyone struggles. Everybody messes up. Nobody is perfect.

I was getting really discouraged, thinking that I was missing the mark somehow and was flawed for being unable to attain “perfection” like others seem to do. For me, remembering that Spurgeon found himself in the same pits I recently found myself lit a fire in my soul that I haven’t felt in a while.

I can agree with Job when he says “Though He slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).

We need to constantly examine our worldviews to make sure we have not believed a lie that will not only strip us of our joy in Christ, but will cause us to walk away from Him, believing that we are the only unloved ones. No, in the trials, we need to press further into Him, clinging to Him knowing that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t depend on our ability to hold unto Him anyway. He’s the One holding unto us.

And He will never let go.

Making All Things New

“Why?”

I have a really bad habit of asking God “Why?”. Why did You allow this to happen to me? Why didn’t you allow this to happen? Why is this still happening to me?

Why, God?

To be transparent, the reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I’ve been really caught up in the “why’s” of my life. It seems as though I walked into a desert I haven’t been able to escape from. Tired, exhausted, and dehydrated, I’ve been searching for an exit with no clear signs for years. And any time I finally seem to find the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”, a sandstorm comes and violently sweeps me away before I can grab the hand that will pull me out of the storm. And when I awake, I’m back where I started, abandoned in a desert.

To translate that imagery into something more tangible, the past few years have been rough. Having to hold the hand of my dreams as they died right in front of me was rough. Any one that truly knows me knows I’ve been through enough. I really don’t need more “trials” to test my strength. It’s been tested, bruised, broken, and shattered quite a number of times as is.

But there is one theme here. One bit of redeeming light in this pit of darkness.

JESUS.

After some of the worst of my trials, I have to admit that I turned my back on Him. Suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. It seemed like the only way out of a trial that wasn’t ever going to end. I was angry and upset that such a thing was allowed in my life, a life already tainted by pain, betrayal, broken trust, and deceit. And every time I called out to Him, I felt my hand retract, scared that He too would hurt me. Scared that He too would wait until I completely trusted Him to leave me astray.

Oh, how foolish I was.

This past Sunday at my church, we sang a song I’d never heard before called “Satisfied In You (Psalm 42)”. While there is a section of the song that stood out to me, I’ll share the ones that impacted me the most:

“Let my pain reveal your glory as my only rest,
Let my losses show me all I truly have is You.” 

I’ve had some very real pain. I’ve had some devastating losses. I’ve been through trial after trial, but at the end of the day, they all point to one person: JESUS. Perhaps God allowed these things in my life to show me weak areas in my walk with Him. Perhaps He did so to break me free from things I was choosing over Him. Perhaps He was “ripping a band-aid off” and allowing my wounds to heal so they wouldn’t get infected.

I’m done asking Him “why”. The answer isn’t as important as I thought.

The important thing is that I finally see a true light at the end of the tunnel, a light encapsulated by a hurricane, where the winds crash against the rocks around it the but the light Himself, Jesus Christ, is calm and soothing. There will continue to be pain. I couldn’t tell you what tomorrow or the day after will look like. I’m sure I will still face hardships.

But this remains true: I don’t have to fear. My Messiah is making all things new.