Friday, November 27, 2009

Church Planting

 September 1st, my family was officially approved by the Evangelical Free Church to plant a church in a nearby town and in early November it was officially announced at our current church where my dad serves as associate pastor. I've been meaning to blog about it for awhile, but it just hasn't happened. This week my dad posted on his blog about church planting, so here is the lowdown on the new adventure we are about to embark upon. 

"The blog has not received a lot of attention again lately as we have been devoting our efforts to transitioning ministries.  As of December 31, I will be leaving Chisholm Baptist to begin church planting work with the Evangelical Free Church in Virginia, Minnesota.  We have been privileged to be a part of Chisholm Baptist for the last five years, but we are excited about the call that God has placed on us to plant.

St. Louis County is the least churched county in the state of Minnesota.  Only 4% of the population is involved in an evangelical church.  In the Virginia area, there are roughly 40,000 people and only about 2 evangelical churches with an average attendance over 100 people.

Starting in January, we will be raising support, doing evangelism and discipleship in the community, and preparing our core groups training curriculum.  We covet your prayers.  I have established a prayer group on Facebook that is open to the public.  You can find it at “Iron Range Church Plant Prayer Partners.”

Also, we are currently scheduling visits to churches in January and February.  If your church would like our family to come and share our vision for church planting, please send me an email for more information.  While we do need individuals and churches to support this work during its startup, we would be willing to visit churches even if they do not have financial resources to join our financial support team.

Prayerlessness in American churches tends to be the norm.  We want to establish a culture of prayer in the DNA of this new church.  All the strategy, resources, and talent in the world cannot cause the regeneration of a single soul.  Unless God moves, we labor in vain.  Therefore, we invite you to join us in praying that God would pour out his Spirit in Northeastern Minnesota to cause the spiritually dead to be born again, to create a movement of new and healthy churches, and transform the region to one of spiritual deadness to one of spiritual vitality.  We pray that every day the Iron Range would move towards a greater reflection of the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in our communities!"

 Now, if you have any questions about planting, our plans, or the Iron Range, feel free to ask and I'll answer them for you guys. I know that to a lot of people, planting is a foreign idea and many people have lots of questions, but that's not bad! Asking questions is part of learning and I'm willing to answer them for you. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Adoption Story Part 1

 In the 1960s there was a young, sixteen year old girl from the Fargo North Dakota area who was pregnant. She may of been from a wealthy, or a poor home. She might of had a good relationship with the father of the child, or she may of not. Nothing is known about this girl but her age and that she gave up her little baby girl for adoption.

 After a few months in foster care, this baby was placed to be adopted by the family of a Christian farmer, about an hour or so from Fargo. They had five boys, the youngest being about age four at the time, but they had no girls, and this baby was a welcome and dearly loved addition to their family. They named the baby Kimberly (Kim) and she grew up as much a part of her family as her five brothers.

  As you may of guessed, Kim is my mom. God's sovereignty is so evident when looking at the full picture of my mom's story. Most likely my mom wouldn't of been raised in a Christian family, gone to a private school where she met my father, or had me or my biological brother, or adopted my other three siblings... if it wasn't for her own adoption. Of course, God could of worked out all these things, but it's still so amazing to see His mercy and grace in letting my mother be adopted.

 It's been an interesting perspective to have an adopted mother. Growing up I think I always knew she was adopted, but when it came to my mom's family, it never felt any different then just plain family. But my mom's adoption has effected me and my entire family for the better. My grandparents started a very special legacy when they adopted my mom who went on to adopt and who's children have hearts for adoption.

My beautiful momma. :)

 In part 2 I'll share what God has done with that legacy and how it's still alive and working today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interview with Talitha Piper

 I'm so excited to have a special treat for my readers today! Awhile back I had the privileged to get to know through the world of Twitter, Talitha Piper and later meet her at Desiring God's National conference this fall. Talthia is the daughter of pastor John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church. She was adopted as a baby by Pastor John and his wife Noel who has been posting Talitha's adoption story on her blog. When reading through her story I decided to ask Talitha to do an interview for Nobody416 and she graciously agreed. So without further ado...

  Olivia: You have a large age gap between you and your siblings and your parents were older when they adopted you. What have your good and bad experiences been with being the youngest by a long shot and having older parents? Any special memories with your siblings that you wouldn't of had if it wasn't for the age difference? 

   Talitha: Well, yes there is a very large gap between my siblings and me! It has been really fun being the youngest. First of all, I am really close in age to my oldest niece so  it's more like we are just friends instead of aunt and niece! And second, I really loved having older brothers because they were so much wiser and knew so much more than me! It also has helped me when I am thinking about what characteristics I would like my future husband to have. I feel so blessed because I have 5 godly and wise men in my life, (my brothers and my dad) who are good examples of fathers and husbands!

  Olivia: Have you ever been asked if you have met your "real parents"? If so, how have you responded?  

 Talitha: Yes I have been asked that question, but not a lot of times. So I don't really have an actual response I tell them but usually I just say that I have wonderful parents that I live with, and a wonderful Father in Heaven, and somewhere a mother who loved me and had to give me up. I guess, I don't really give a straight answer, I just tell them how blessed I am!

  Olivia: Do you ever think of what your life would of been like if it wasn't for the Pipers adopting you? If so, what do you sometimes imagine that to be like? 

 Talitha: I actually hardly think about what my life would've been like if it wasn't for the Pipers adopting me. But when I do, I imagine growing up in a house where God is never spoken about, or mentioned. I thank God that I was adopted by the Pipers!

  Olivia: Your mom talks about how you always have known that you were adopted and they've been very open with you. How has that impacted the way you see adoption?

 Talitha: I see adoption as a little picture of how God adopts us. The excitement, the pain, the sorrow, the joy!  I think that I wouldn't connect earthly adoption to heavenly adoption if it wasn't for my parents giving me a godly definition (and example!!) of adoption.

  Olivia: When you were adopted, your family became biracial (as mine also is). What has that experience been like for your family and particularly you?

 Talitha: My dad takes me out every Saturday for lunch. I have noticed some people kind of giving a sideways glance at us. They don't usually openly stare. Or when my mom and I go out together, sometimes people think that she is my grandma, or some other relation or guardian. Overall, the experience hasn't been bad or anything.

 Olivia: Has being physically adopted effected your perception of spiritual adoption?

 Talitha: Yes. I kind of touched on that on another question. But I can say it again! Being physically adopted is very special, but being spiritually adopted is ten thousand times better!! My family is only biracial. God's family is multi racial. That is so amazing! I have been adopted twice in my life. Physically and Spiritually! I thank God everyday for that!

  Olivia: Does having parents of a different race effect how others have looked at you or been perceived?

 Talitha: No, It really hasn't. I mean yeah, strangers look at me and my parents but not really anyone else. I also have a lot of adopted friends and my family has friends who have adopted children of other races as well.

  Olivia: What advice and encouragement would you have to others that have been adopted by parents of a different race?

 Talitha: Let your physical adoption help you think more about your spiritual adoption. Think about how you don't look like your parents, well, we are not like the Father. We are not perfect. The Father IS perfect. We who are adopted don't look like our parents. We maybe don't act like our parents. But we are like our parents in a big way, We all have sinned. Think how special it is to be adopted, physically, and most of all spiritually. Thank God frequently for being adopted in both ways!

 For more of Talitha (and a picture of her dad as Superman...) check out her blog Talitha Going Godward. Thanks again to Talitha for being willing to do this! In the next week I'll be posting my family's adoption story so come back for that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

National Adoption Month

 November has been named National Adoption month, which in all truthfulness must make November the coolest month out of the year. Adoption is such a wondrous thing and it is something that is a part of God's character. He adopts us based on the merit of Jesus' blood and it's the most precious thing to see the same concept played back on earth.

 Adoption is very near and dear to my heart for many reasons. One of them being that I am effected it every day from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. From saying good morning to my favorite little goobers to having a heart to heart conversation with my mom, to eating popcorn with my little sister, it's all around me. My sweet family makes every day adoption day and I love it that way.

 Another reason that it is near and dear to me is the fact that it's near and dear to God's heart. He has chosen to adopt us and make us His own, the most glorious thing! Not only that, but the Bible says repeatedly that God is the father of the fatherless and their protector. In our efforts to imitate the heart of God and become more like Him, we are to love, protect, and provide for the orphans in the world.

 So, because I feel that this is such an extremely important topic and because it is one that is so close to home (actually... in my home...) I want to put a focus on it this November for my blog. It's quite fitting that November is also seen as a month to prepare to give thanks, and one of the things I am most thankful for in my life is adoption. For without it I would not be who I am today.

 So grab a cup of tea (or coffee if you prefer) and get ready to hear me ramble on about adoption for the remainder of November. I'll be sharing both my family's story, and inviting some friends to share their stories. I hope you enjoy and come back to read more. Until next time, I leave you with a picture that I think captures true siblings; whether it's a blood or legal relation, it is still a connection of the heart.

Sam (now 19), Corina (now 12), and me (now 14) about eight years ago.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Not Sure if it's Pathetic or Cool That...

  I'm Not Sure if it's Pathetic or Cool That...

  1. I've spent the last few months checking the shoe selection of every thrift store I go to for size 8 or 8 1/2 converse shoes.
  2. When I found said shoes yesterday I did a fist pump and almost yelled "Victory!" in the store. And now today I spent a long time figuring out what clothes would work best with my yellow Converse All Stars and yet my cream Vera Wang scarf, both from Savers. 
  3. My three year old brother drank Green tea today... out of a sippy cup...
  4. My 19 month old brother loves coffee... I mean... REALLY loves coffee...
  5. I scare my mother at times by singing Barney songs really loudly... like "It's cold, brr, I wish I had fur, I wish I was a bear with furry, furry hair because it's cold!" (Now I'm singing it again...)
  6. I feel bad when I walk past a Starbucks without buying anything because I think Abigail would be disappointed in me.
  7. My mom doesn't believe I could only spend twenty minutes in Barnes & Nobel. 
  8. I can take over 777 pictures in a two hour span. 
  9. I wear chopsticks in my hair, then take them out and eat fried rice with them, wash them off, then put them back in my hair. 
  10. I wear a Kimono at times just because it's weird, then I have my mom take a picture of me just to document my weirdness. I do the same when I wear bright yellow tights and chopsticks in my hair. 
  11. It's rare I read a fiction book that is good and I don't cry. And that if I know the ending is sad, I find it hard to finish a book. 
  12. I'm an English geek that can't spell and has horrible grammar. 
  13. My sister taught our three year old brother to say "I'm Mr. Darcy" and I taught him all about chivalry and to hit snakes, not sisters. 
  14. I am making such a strange list... wow... I'm really, really, really weird. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Magical Land of Awesomeness

 Since July I have had an inspiration for this piece of poetry but finally wrote it about a week ago. It's my first poem written totally in free verse and sort of an experiment in that style. (I'm taking British Lit. right now and learning about poetry and they encourage free verse, so I thought it was about time to try my hand at meter and rhyme free poetry.) I hope you enjoy!

I push open the door and I step inside.
An aroma,
Sweet and pure,
Floods my senses.
The mixture of a magical bean,
And the crisp smell of paper,
Seem to illuminate the mind.

The sight of knowledge, 
Of souls on paper,
Of everything you could ever dream to know,
Is all sitting in front of you. 
Whatever you could want to learn
There is a private instructor in the room.
Just waiting for orders so they can be used.

The familiar logo
Comes into view.
A smile comes to my face,
My steps quicken,
I hurry up to the counter,
Order a latte or tea.
I sigh and sip, 
Life seems perfect.

So now I go to explore
Through paper jungles.
Until I find the beast I’d like to conquer,
I take it from it’s home,
I finger it gently
Then decide to make my move.
I open it up and take a look
And if what I see pleases me
I’ll find a good chair to sit in
After the exhaust of the search.
I relax and dive right in
To simple thoughts on paper, 
Now flowing into my mind.

I dearly desire that you have guessed
Where this lovely land of coffee and paper dwells. 
Of course this is the one and only…
Barnes & Nobel

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Forgotten Blessing of Sleep

 It was a typical evening of browsing a few things online, checking my email, facebook, and twitter, it was nothing out of the ordinary. I saw a tweet by Not For Sale and decided to take another look at their website (abolition websites sometimes jumble up in my mind). Usually I’m not a fan of the intros to websites, but this one struck me. The background was dark and there was this little lantern that shed a small area of light and you moved it by moving your cursor to see the words. The words before me was a simple sentence: “Right now, 1 million children are being forced to sell their bodies for sex.”

 Now, I know the human trafficking stats. I’ve heard them dozens of times, I’ve read books and blog posts about slavery, and I have made it a point to educate myself on the human trafficking crisis. But somehow this statistic effected me in a much stronger way then all the others I have heard.

 This may be because I am a teen girl and on that particular night I was getting ready to go to bed. I was about to curl up under the warm covers and sleep (hopefully) peacefully. I had no need to worry about my safety and for me, my bed is a safe place where I can relax and let my worries drift away. Yet there are one million children who don’t have that opportunity.

 Instead of hitting the hay, they are hitting the streets. Instead of night being a time of relaxing, it is a time of work and abuse. Instead of feeling safe in a bed, they are being violated. While the average child or teen in America is whining about having to go to bed, there are one million children who’s greatest wish is to be able to go to bed.

 So often I am struck by the many things I take for granted that would mean the world to someone else. The night when this concept dawned on me, I went to bed more thankful then most of the other nights in my life. Hopefully tonight I’ll go to bed more thankful as well, and not only thankful to the God that has blessed me, but begging the same God for the deliverance of those that are slaves to sin and to man.