“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.” Matthew 22:2-5
Are you too busy for church…for God…for eternity? Are earthly things more important than what is spiritual and heavenly? Do you have the desire to spend more time with God, but family, work, friends, and everything else seem to get in the way?
The Bible tells us that God and heavenly things are even more important than the earthly things we spend so much time every day doing! We often take the heavenly things and make light of them, instead of understanding their importance.
Jesus reminds us that the things of God are beyond measure. They are like the party of a lifetime, that you don’t want to miss.
Every day we analyze what is important and what is less important, adjusting our schedules accordingly. We prioritize and make time for the things we value.
However, the Bible lets us know that there are things that will last for eternity and there are things that are here today and gone tomorrow. The problem is that we often spend most of our time on the things that don’t last.
Take some time to reprioritize your life and ask yourself what are the things that will last for time and eternity? Make sure you spend more time with God; in church, in prayer, in Bible reading and study, and in fellowship with Christian believers.
- Are there things in your life that are impossible and would never happen to you? Add whatever it is in the blank; “______ will never happen to me!”
- Moses was in a desert with no water and millions of thirsty people. It was impossible for him to quench the thirst of so many people without any means. Providing water was impossible.
- Where did Moses turn? He was forced by circumstances to rely on someone greater than himself to provide the impossible. In fact, that is just what God did; He provided water from a rock! Last time I checked, water from a rock was impossible!
- Most of us first turn to ourselves in order to make the impossible happen. Moses reminds us that we should first turn to the Lord.
- Moses prayed to God for an answer to his impossible predicament. Have you turned to the Lord in prayer and asked for Him to do the impossible?
“Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home.” Proverbs 27:8
When I was about 12 I remember feeling a desire for independence from family for the first time. Sometimes this longing expressed itself in a good way and sometimes it was selfish, ungrateful and even arrogant. Despite my wanderings, my parents never gave up on me. They knew I was still a child in many ways and maintained at atmosphere of unconditional love grounded in Christian faith.
Children have the same basic needs no matter where they come from. They need love, direction, and security. The list of needs is a long one but those are the basics. These concepts are met within a framework we call “family.” God established this framework when he blessed Adam and Eve with children. (Genesis 4:1) It is not until the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus 26 that we see God establishing another spiritual framework outside of family. Until then the “priest” of the family—if you will—was in the home. To this day, even in the New Testament church the primary responsibility for spiritual development of children is given to parents. (Eph. 6:4)
This is critical to remember when we talk about ministry to children and families. As the Church, as pastors we are to be supplementary to parental spiritual authority not replacements to the same.
Too often, however, solutions to the needs of children are sought outside of the family structure. Sometimes this is well intentioned and motivated by Christian love; other times it is nothing more than social engineering. A recent article in a national Kenyan newspaper made allegations that often the motivation is even greed and malice. The article alleges that many orphanages in Kenya are nothing more than money pits for someone’s personal bank account, some even engaging in child trafficking.
Kenya is to strengthen the existing structures so that families and church can continue independently. We believe this is not only good missiology but also honors the dignity, self determination and faith of the individual. Long gone are the ideals of the 19th Century where a white missionary decides for the local people what their needs are and then proceeds to give it to them whether they want it or not.
Capstone Ministries was founded on the Biblical principles of family. We believe that family—immediate and extended—is the best place for a child to grow and develop. We also believe that our missionary role in
The title of this piece is “Whose is the street child?” not “Who is the street child?” It is framed that way intentionally. It is important to acknowledge that a child belongs somewhere and to someone. Often the assumption is drawn that a street child has no one. A recent local website stated that the vast majority of street children are orphans. The statement is made to encourage donors to give money to build an orphanage. But the statement is misleading. In the African context, no child is an orphan. In fact, if you ask rural people they will tell you that from the village perspective a child belongs to a community or clan even if his immediate family has died. In other words, there are no “real” orphans. They all belong somewhere. In addition, in a recent survey of the 200 children Capstone has reconciled with family we discovered some interesting facts. Only 16% had no living parent, 38% had one living parent and 56% had both surviving parents.
To be sure, in all our cases, there are problems in those homes. That is why the child is on the street. The fact there are problems in a family does not justify replacing the family. Rather, it should motivate Christian ministry to that family. That is what Capstone does. Every week, the families of restored children are ministered to. Bible studies with groups of parents are organized. To date Capstone has established 4 group bible studies and is working on a 5th group. Few things are more powerful than watching parents repent of their mistakes with their children and vowing to change.
The proverb above is especially powerful when it is remembered that Solomon was the product of a father who strayed from the nest. Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba. The work of Capstone Ministries is nest reconstruction.
Jesus prayed to the Father, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” John 17:5
- Have you surrendered to God and His plan for your life?
- One of the biggest struggles that I have is surrendering to God’s will. Many times I already have my own plans made up in my mind before I ever go to God in prayer and ask for His directing. Instead I make my own plans and ask God to bless what I want. But what does God want from my life? What work does God want me to accomplish on this earth?
- Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will. It wasn’t an easy surrender, because the Father’s will would eventually lead Jesus to the Cross and suffering. It’s easy to surrender to God’s will when He leads us up the mountain and we have an awesome divine experience. But what about when He leads us down in to the valley of suffering? Are we still willing to surrender to God’s will?
- Take some time and pray to God for the strength to surrender to His directing and guidance in your life. Ask Him to show you the work He wants you to accomplish.
- What do you do when God doesn’t fit into your plans? What if He doesn’t do what you want Him to do? Does it cause you to seek Him more or does it cause you to abandon Him altogether?
- We all want the easy road! We all want the path that leads to fame, power, and riches. No one wants to take the path less traveled. No one wants the path of the Cross.
- The path of the Cross is shame, weakness, self-sacrifice, and suffering. When God doesn’t do what we want Him to do, it’s usually because He is showing us the path to the Cross.
- Jesus took up the Cross of suffering and in one display of self-sacrifice, He illustrated the most beautiful love the world has ever known. His Cross has brought the glory of heaven to earth. If you blink you might miss the significance of the Cross.
- Great! The Cross of Christ and His suffering must mean an easy life for me then. Doesn’t God want to give me everything I ever wanted and make my life easy?
- Not so fast! Jesus tells us to take up our crosses and follow Him. This is not the path of fame, power, and riches, but in the path of suffering and self-sacrifice.
- The Cross means I must forgive when I want revenge. It means I must serve when I want to be served. It means I must give when I want to take. It means I will find suffering when I follow Christ. This Cross doesn’t always fit into my plans and this Cross is not the glamorous life, but it is the God outside of the box!