5 Things Adoption/Foster Care Did to Our Daughters

What about my biological children?”—a common refrain from those considering adoption.

What about birth order?

What about family dynamics?

How will my biological children respond?

The fears are palpable, based upon both realistic and conjured concerns.

Ami and I pondered foster care and adoption with three young daughters. They must’ve been around 10, 11, and 15 at the time, and we had many of these same concerns which drove us to impose restrictions. We wouldn’t take boys with sexual issues.

Outside of that, we’d trust in who the Lord would send…never realizing for a second, the journey He was about to take us on.

I never anticipated what adoption would do to my daughters.

1. It blessed them.

As much as I cannot fathom life without my sons, my daughters feel the same regarding their brothers.

Shortly after becoming a certified foster family, I deployed to Iraq. Two weeks later, I checked my email to see a message from Ami in my inbox. I clicked on it and was greeted by the dark, serious eyes of a little brown guy, peering out at me from the folds of a blanket in my wife’s arms.

“This is your son,” the Holy Spirit whispered.

True to His word, the Lord had brought him, and he never left, later becoming my first son. The Lord sent others, 20 or so in all, slowly, steadily. Some stayed for a few months, some a few weeks, a handful for as short as a weekend or a few days.

Others never left. Six in all. My sons.

My daughter’s brothers.

Sure, they have the same issues as any siblings. The boys eat all their food, sometimes in the middle of the night. They get in their stuff. They argue with them, annoy them, get on their nerves.

As their brothers are all system kids, they have some other issues, perhaps not as common.

My daughters have been stolen from, all of them, repeatedly. They’ve witnessed turmoil that they’d likely have never witnessed, been exposed to things they’d likely have never been exposed to…all that comes along with kids from the system.

Yet, they unanimously proclaim the blessings of their brothers. They embrace them, cherish them, love them. They’ve never once expressed, at least openly, any regret in having them.

From my oldest daughter:

          There is a reason I moved out as soon as I turned 18, but only moved a fourth of the mile down the road. I deeply love them all, but dear Lord I don’t know how mom keeps her sanity.

         “Without them I would have never had to teach my 2 yr old she doesn’t have a ‘hog’ [our family word for male genitalia].”

          And there’s this, “If the sock looks hard, use a glove to pick it up…

You can see that it also blessed them with a sense of humor!

2. It united us as a family.

Early on, we made adoption and foster care our family’s ministry.

Our daughters became my wife’s right hand in caring for our boys. They changed diapers, wiped butts, learned to deal with boy issues to include guns, swords, “hogs”, and such.

We made decisions as a family, openly discussed each situation as it arose. As I was deploying with regularity, my daughters were indispensable in caring for them. 

My sons and the other kids we’ve fostered became the rallying cry of our family, the nexus of our call. The plight of the orphan united us in action in a way that few other things could’ve.

They became so intertwined into the fabric of our existence that I just cannot even imagine how dull our life might’ve been without them.

3. It taught them selflessness.

They’ve gone without, my daughters.

Seeing the system up close and personal, seeing the affliction wrought by the sins of men, impressed upon my daughters that it wasn’t all about them. And they were asked to sacrifice, repeatedly.

The boys and the others consume(d) vast resources of time, money, and emotional energy. With up to ten in house at a time, my daughters certainly received much less attention than they would’ve otherwise…and they’re better for it.

One incident highlighted this.

After several years, I decided ‘we’ needed a ‘break’ from fostering. Everyone agreed, sort of. That night we got the call. Two boys were at the DCS office with nowhere to go. In anger I declared, “No, absolutely not! We knew this would happen.”

Later that night, they were still there so I reluctantly allowed them to come to our home to spend a night or two until DCS could find a permanent placement. One night became two and my frustration grew.

In desperation, I sought out my two younger daughters.

“You know you’ll have to move back in together,” I appealed to them, as they’d recently just gotten their own room after years of cohabitating.

“Dad, we already did,” they chorused.

“You did?”

Yes, these boys need a home.” I swallowed a lump and made a call.

Years later, I call these two boys sons.

4. It demonstrated Christlikeness.

Other than my wife, I’ve no more urgent mission field than my children.

The Psalmist reminds us that, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:4) Children are not a hindrance or a nuisance. Children are a blessing, “a heritage from the LORD.” (v.3)

I really have nothing but my legacy.

Immediately following my death, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about me, covering up any trace of my existence. Only in the eternal kingdom work of the Lord, do I find any perseverance of my existence.

The Lord entrusts us with our children and commands us to make disciples of them, to teach them, to raise them up in the way of the Lord that when they are older they will not depart from it. (Deuteronomy 6:7-8, Proverbs 22:6) This is the primary design for the spread of the faith, the propagation of the Gospel and since becoming a Christian some years ago, I’ve sought to honor this call.

Congruence between word and deed is the most effective method to proclaim. Speak the Gospel. Live the Gospel. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict.

As I’ve sought to teach my daughters, perhaps nothing has better proclaimed Christ and Him crucified than adoption.

Adoption enabled me to proclaim far beyond my sanctification.

As an adult convert, I carried intense baggage into my walk and yes, the Lord has faithfully delivered me from affliction after affliction over the course of these years. Yet, adoption displayed for my daughters the love of the Lord Jesus in a way that I never could of my own regard, despite my deep flaws.

Perhaps nothing we’ve done, my wife and I, has demonstrated better the glorious riches of the grace of our Lord Jesus than our family’s willingness to take one born of another, declare them our own, and lavish love upon them.

As such…

5. It inspired them.

At least two of my daughters desire to adopt, maybe all three. One of them is actively taking steps to establish a home/ministry for older foster kids. All of them have intensely selfless hearts and a love for the downtrodden and oppressed, particularly the orphan.

I can think of no greater testimony than this.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

#MeToo: Please, Keep Your Hands Off My Daughter

What do I tell my daughter?

She’s young, pretty, and just started her favorite job ever…

…and she’s being sexually harassed.

What do I tell her?

He probably doesn’t mean anything by it?

He’s old and that’s just the way things used to be.

The man in question is in his 60’s, certainly a product of a different era. Admittedly, I was not in the workplace 30 to 40 years ago, but from what I understand, that’s just how things used to be, or at least that’s how it has been explained.

Women could just expect occasional unprofessional conduct in the workplace, callous jokes, maybe even a wandering hand. After all, boys will be boys. He doesn’t mean anything by it. Don’t take it too personal.

I recall my offense, 20 years ago, at what I perceived as the neutering of the military. I remember my indignation when the Post Exchange stopped carrying pornography. I recollect the institution of sexual harassment training and having to remove our pinup girls and inappropriate calendars from the crew chief hootch.

How dare the powers that be make us behave like…uh, gentlemen.

In my younger years, in my naiveté, I associated audacity, boldness, and masculinity with crudeness and vulgarity. I associated refinement and restraint with weakness. Amazing. Juvenile. Immature.

Apparently, this man feels the same.

And it’s textbook sexual harassment/hostile work environment. He holds no authority over her so it’s not Quid pro Quo. (See how my training paid off!)

Remarks about her looks. Inappropriate comments. Open ogling. And did I mention he’s in his 60’s and that she’s in her 20’s? She is creeped out and I’m just not sure what to tell her.

Tell your supervisor?

She’s new to the job and new to the vocation, fresh out of school and ready to stake her claim on life. With a twinkle in her eye, she set out on her first day of work, her initial training, only to have this douche crush her spirit over the next few weeks.

She’s resilient. She just wants to work.

She doesn’t want to make a fuss.

She doesn’t want attention.

She doesn’t want to get this dude in trouble.

She wants to work…but this dude won’t let her just work. And he put his hands on her, the classic hands on the shoulders while standing behind her while she’s seated thing, commenting about her looks.

I am literally snapping this dude’s neck in my mind right now and I still don’t know what to tell her.

I’m sorry, but this is something you’re going to have to deal with?

Men excel at the oppression of women. We’re gifted in this regard. I didn’t have to teach my 3-year-old son to be mean to my little granddaughter. He knows how to do it automatically.

It’s been this way since the Fall.

God declared the curse on Eve, for all women, in Genesis 3:16, that her desire shall be for her husband and he will rule over her. From the curse, the woman will seek to usurp the place of the man as the spiritual leader of the home and the church while the man will rule over the woman in an ungodly manner.

Men oppress women in one of two ways, generally speaking.

Many succumb and gladly yield, abdicating their responsibilities in leading the church and the family. These men become flaccid and hollowed-out caricatures, mere shadows of that which God intended for them. Other men lash out and dominate women, ruling over them in a malevolent fashion.

Almost all sexual assault is committed by men.

Almost all domestic violence is committed by men.

Almost all sexual harassment is committed by men.

Yes, I am aware that there are exceptions but I’m speaking collectively. There has never been a maternal society. Women have historically existed at the mercy of men, at the mercy of their weaker bodies and gentler natures—please don’t hear me say that women cannot be as wicked as men, it’s just different, less violent, more subtle. But only in societies based upon a Judeo-Christian ethic do women find protection and equality, stature, regard and even acclaim.

And every man possesses, in his sin nature, the capacity and at some deep level, the desire, to sin against women in some way. It’s there. Scripture affirms it and reality bears it out. Only the common grace of the Lord Jesus restraining sin or the saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, changing hearts and giving men a new nature, confront this wickedness.

Trust Jesus. Trust no man unless that man likewise trusts Jesus.

This man may not know Jesus but he may soon meet Jesus and I still don’t know what to tell my daughter.

Confront him?

This guy forced my daughter to make a decision she should never have to make.

She looked inward, summoned her supervisor, and asked if her clothing were inappropriate, if she needed to change. She didn’t. Her supervisor informed her that her clothing was more than professional.

She subtly let her supervisor know that there was a problem and as if on cue, this man walked up and put his hands on her. The supervisor called an immediate ‘come to Jesus’ meeting but again, she never should’ve had to make this decision.

She never sought her own #MeToo moment…but this man gave it to her.

I’m torn some by these accounts and the #MeToo movement in general. I have a hard time with Hollywood women who brazenly leverage their sexuality for personal gain and then cry #MeToo when men respond inappropriately to their inappropriate behavior. Beyonce or some other celebrity crying #MeToo after dry-humping the air clad in little more than her imagination in front of thousands, including many impressionable young women, does not necessarily stoke empathy.

The pornification of our nation and the Sexual Revolution, instead of freeing women, has only solidly enslaved them to their sexuality. If their empowerment comes from their sexuality, then absent their sexuality, there is no empowerment. When we’ve trained an entire generation in this manner, should we be surprised that a generation of men has a lack of regard for women who lack regard for themselves?

But the unscrupulous pandering of some opportunistic women cannot allow us to discount either the nature or the extent of the problem.

Jesus was the greatest advocate for women that ever existed and only in the shadow of the Gospel do women truly find refuge from the hostility of men. Yet, as we are confined to the secular, the notion that women may require refuge meets only hostility. We are left to merely apply band-aids to the hemorrhage and hope that somehow, it’ll work itself out.

And I still don’t know what to tell my daughter.

I’ll be right there.

As I envision myself striding into the office and solidly planting the flag of my flock into this man’s chest cavity, I am saddened that my daughter had to learn of the evil that men do in this manner, that this man had to take another chip out of the idealism of her youth.

She confronted him, professionally and rightly.

I didn’t have to tell her anything, it turns out.

And the man apologized profusely, claiming not to even realize what he had done. I cannot see into a man’s heart so this may be true but I wonder if he would’ve conducted himself in such a manner in front of his wife.

You’d have to be a fool or insanely ill-informed to not realize, in today’s highly-charged work environment, that putting your hands on anyone, much less a woman, is essentially begging to be disciplined or even fired.

I’m not sure what to tell my daughter about the next time it happens as sadly, there will likely be a next time. Maybe kick him in the junk and scream “Rape!”

Outside of that, I just don’t know.

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

The Dignity of Men—You or the Other Guy

There exists a general coarsening of our culture, a prevailing vulgarity, a distinct lack of civility.

This is symptomatic of a widespread denigration, a denial of the universal dignity of all men. Degradation eases the burden of my declaration of superiority, gives weight to the rightness of my position, and renders my efforts at subjugation for personal gain more palatable.

God sees things a bit differently.

In the Eyes of God

David reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” that God, “formed my inward parts,” that He, “knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13-14) God knows me, everything about me. He knows my very words before they are on my lips. He knows all of my ways.

He ordained my days before they were written.

I cannot run from God, I cannot hide from Him. Even in the dark, in the depths of my despair, God is with me, guiding me, leading me. (Psalm 139:11-12)

When we consider the value of men, that the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God of the Universe put His very fingerprints upon my soul as He knit me together, we must respond. David responds with joy, with wonder, with amazement.

How unsearchable are the ways of God! (Romans 11:33)

The pages of Scripture affirm my dignity, my worth, my value at the same time that they produce a deep repentance and broken spirit over my sin. As I am the handiwork of God, the corruption wrought by my sin is that much more grievous. The affirmation of our value, our worth, our dignity begs a more pointed question.

Can we acknowledge the same for other men?

What about those you hate?

What about those who hate you?

Women in the Eyes of God

Can we affirm the dignity of women?

The #metoo movement, though born of a righteous cause, has deteriorated into an amorphous jumble of confusing and competing messages as it’s been subsequently hijacked by those with a clear agenda.

And everyone must get on board or risk the ire of public shaming. Thus a Beth Moore rebukes a generation of Baptist men for the specific sins of a handful and the prevailing attitude, prompting an Al Mohler to declare that the judgment of God has come against the Southern Baptist Convention. Intrigued, I consulted a spiritual mentor of mine who informed me of the sexual sin of a few other Baptist leaders.

So let me get this straight…a group of prominent men step out of line sexually and we speak judgement against an entire denomination.

Okay, the necessary caveat. Sexual assault of any kind is horrific and the perpetrator should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But it seems a bit like pandering to me.

And it detracts from the much more insidious and systematic denigration of women.

The first step. We (men) convinced women that their worth is in their sexuality, how they look, and what they will do for us. Thus, high school girls are forced to display their worth by giving oral sex in the high school bathroom in the hopes that the boy will continue to talk to them. They must take seductive selfies or dress in an (in)appropriate manner all while risking a social media outing that would shame them for doing the very thing we demand they do to garner our affections.

The second step: We (men) seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere, outside a loving and committed relationship that nourishes the soul of a woman. We forsake them (women) for pornography or drive-by sexual encounters. The culmination of abandonment is men forsaking women entirely and finding gratification in other men.

A third step: We (men) actually render our women obsolete. Was it just me or did the man formerly known as Bruce Jenner receive Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year award. The man Fallon Fox breaks the eye socket of his female MMA opponent. A boy in Connecticut wins the state girls 100m and 200m sprint. Men are just simply better at being girls than girls themselves.

All of these speak to the denigration of women, in exact opposition to Scripture, the call of God.

We ought to vigorously affirm the intrinsic value of women, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. That God knit them together in their mother’s womb. Their value is completely divorced from what they can do for me.

We ought to daily affirm this for our wives.

We ought to instill this in the hearts of our daughters.

We ought to impress this upon the hearts of our sons.

Men in the Eyes of God

Because I do a lot of business over social media, I see perhaps the worst in men.

How easy is it to degrade a fellow man, to deny his humanity, when you don’t even know him? He is a stranger, just a random and faceless name?

Today, the primary sin men commit against men is to disagree with them.

Todd Friel, host of Wretched TV and Radio, does an interesting spot called Encounter on Campus. In a University ‘free speech zone’, whatever that is, he sets up a microphone and proclaims the Gospel to lost college students. It’s interactive. They have a microphone whereby they engage him and challenge his conclusions.

One of his most consistent endeavors, in interacting with the college students, is to convince them that they both cannot be right. Either he is right and they are wrong or they are right and he is wrong or they are both wrong. It has to be one of these options and that’s okay. They can disagree and yet, don’t have to resort to vitriol or name-calling or hatred.

It’s amazing how difficult this is for the students to accept.

They find in his disagreement a personal affront, which shouldn’t surprise I guess, since the Gospel is truly the most offensive thing that has ever been.

Yet, this exhibits a widespread hatred for those on ‘the opposite side of the aisle’. My liberal cousin actually hates Republicans. He doesn’t disagree with them. He doesn’t think they are confused or just wrong. He truly hates them. He sees them as wicked and evil and it reflects in how he communicates with them.

My friends on the right are no different. Liberal snowflakes. Libtards. The hatred permeates across party lines, across racial lines, across cultural lines.

Men simply refuse to see their fellow men with the same dignity with which God sees them.

Can I acknowledge that a man I hate is fearfully and wonderfully made, just as I am?

This drives a deeper revelation. Why must I hate?

The Lost in the Eyes of God

I see, in some of my brothers, a general contempt for the lost.

When confronted with unrighteousness, with those who hate God, we respond like David. Slay the wicked God! Don’t I hate those who you also hate. I loathe them. I hate them with complete hatred. (Psalm 139:19-22)

Is this how we ought to respond?

A few reminders are in order.

But by the grace of God, there go I. It is only the grace of God that pulled me from the mire of my sin, that saved me and were it not for the grace of God, I would still be a hater of God, on the other side of David’s aspersion. As we gaze upon the sin of the world, we must never forget that such were some of you. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

These are brothers, some of them. I’ll never hate a man into the Kingdom of God. As I slander, as I condemn, as I return hate with hate, I may actually be afflicting a future brother, one yet reconciled.

My hatred has no kinship with the heart of Christ.

God, in the complexity of his character never rejoices at the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:23, 33:11)

Can we return the hatred of the world with love? They will hate. They hated Christ, so they will hate His disciples. Can we still affirm the dignity of men in the face of such opposition?

Brothers in the Eyes of God

I moderated a debate recently between Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Theodore Zachariades concerning the continuation of the charismatic spiritual gifts of tongues, healing, and prophecy.

The debate was cordial, academic, and insightful.

The response of my brothers was not always the same.

Those on one side in particular refused to acknowledge the salvation of those on the other, called them wolves, false teachers, apostate. You name it. The hatred shocked my senses, the sheer lack of civility amongst those who profess to worship the same God over a secondary matter, not even a matter of salvation.

Now, we must stand for truth and we must not compromise, but can we affirm the dignity of those with whom we disagree?

God does.

Men in the Eyes of God

Lest I be mired in self-contempt, it is a valuable exercise to remind myself of how God feels about me. I find my worth in Christ, and who God has made me to be. I have value, intrinsic worth…I matter.

There’s the rub.

Do I matter?

God responds with a resounding, “Yes!”

Can you affirm the same of your fellow man, of all your fellow man?

Here is the heart of Christ. I pray we’d all repent for falling short in this regard.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

The Evisceration of Casual Christianity

The world is winning its war upon the American church.

What Happened?

American Christendom wanes daily as the church falls from prominence, fading into the landscape of obscurity, receding from relevance.

Very few consider the church a factor in their lives. For most, church is a place to go on occasion, something to do periodically to satiate our innate legalism. We ought to be doing something, so we’ll attend a random church service.

Or, church has become a place to go and feel better about yourself. Church is but one of a vast litany of self-help programs to enable you to rise above your circumstances, to achieve and obtain, or just restore your self-esteem your sense of identity, whatever that means.

And Jesus is a great teacher, gentle and kind, certainly non-threatening. He would never make demands upon anyone as he just loves everybody. We can literally choose our own Jesus this day. I guarantee I can find a church that preaches whatever version of Jesus with which I am most comfortable.

And stemming from this incomplete and varied knowledge of the risen Lord Jesus stems an obvious byproduct—a casual and timid church.

Casual or Reverent

I loathe the modern casual approach to Jesus, to church.

The casual attitude permeates every aspect of church from worship to evangelism to the various ministries of the church. My son just returned from the Southern Baptist MFuge camp and I guarantee there were kids there sporting ‘Jesus is my Homeboy’ shirts. Before worship service, the students actually formed a conga line.

“Jesus is my friend,” is a popular refrain.

America is beset by a casual view of Jesus.

Irreverence pervades.

Why wouldn’t we be when we can pick and choose the aspects of Jesus we wish to acknowledge or consider legitimate? As we focus on kind Jesus, on loving Jesus, on friendly Jesus holding a lamb, surrounded by children, with a perpetually gentle smile gracing his countenance, we miss the very thing that would drive our reverence, our awe, our fear!

Scripture paints a slightly different vision of Jesus.

According to the Psalmist, God will speak to the nations in his wrath, he will terrify them in his fury saying, “As for me, I have set my King [Jesus] on Zion.” (Psalm 2:5) The Father will declare to the Son that the nations are His heritage, the ends of the earth His possession, and He “shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (v. 9)

The New Testament quotes Psalm 110 more than any other Old Testament verse as God the Father says to Jesus, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” (v.1) Of Jesus, the Psalmist declares that “he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgement among the nations, filling them with corpses.” (v.5-6)

Paul tells us that the name of Jesus has been highly exalted and is the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-10) Every knee, even the knee of those who do not acknowledge Him, will bow at the mention of His name, either in submission or under the rod of His wrath, in judgement.

Does this sound like the Jesus you learned about in Vacation Bible School?

A complete understanding of the person of Christ will drive one thing, reverence.

John, standing before the glorified Christ, fell to his face as if dead. (Revelation 1) We ought to respond similarly. Confronted by the fullness of Christ, his mercy and love coupled with his wrath and justice, we are driven to our knees in awe and fear. 

Jesus demands reverence.

One may not trifle with He to whom everything has already been given.

Bold or Timid

A church worshipping this faux Jesus reeks of timidity.

Concession testifies to this.

The timid church makes concession after concession to the world, often in the form of denying sin, in an attempt to satiate the demands of the world. The desire of the timid church is friendship with that which by definition is antithetical to the Gospel. The world hates Jesus, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most offensive thing that there is. How could the world ever befriend that which speaks death to it?

The options are truth or concession.

This is why we see large groups within the church, even entire denominations, conceding to the world things up to and even including the essentials of the faith, things that if you do not believe them you may not rightfully call yourself a Christian. This is where we get female ‘reverends’ issuing public blessings upon abortion clinics. This is where churches ordain openly homosexual ‘clergy’. This is where we get churches that ‘welcome’ and ‘affirm’ and refuse to preach the Gospel in all of its power and authority, with all of its teeth.

This is where we get the pitiable Jesus, the pleading Jesus.

This generates weak evangelism.

Jesus is a gentlemen, standing at the door to your heart, gently knocking. He’d never force himself on you. You have to open the door and invite him into your heart. He’s just pleading for you, yearning for you.

Excrement.

Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who will one day return in power and authority and He will set all things right. Jesus is the owner of all things, not some things, but all things, including my heart.

I am here to testify that I never once sought Jesus. I never once searched for Him. I never once invited Him into my heart. He kicked in the door to my heart with all the fierce authority of the Lord on high and He said, “You are mine!”

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” the very words of Jesus. (Luke 13:5) Repent, surrender, submit to me, or you will die, I will kill you, ultimately. Again, is this the Jesus you learned about in Sunday school?

Our evangelism ought to sound similar. Repent or perish. Repent and believe. This world is under the judgement of God. There’s not much time! Turn to Jesus in faith, submit, surrender. Jesus is your only hope.

Urging people to invite Jesus into their hearts just isn’t working.

Closing

The world is winning its war against the American church…
…and I’m okay with that.

In a strange way, I welcome it. The decline of American Christendom has only served to reveal that which was hidden beneath our cultural Christianity, the uncomfortable fact that many people in the church were never actually of Christ in the first place.

Now, the façade is over, the pretenses demolished.

With no culturally beneficial reason to claim Christianity, the chaff is blowing itself away revealing a purified church, a church that may be reverent and bold…just as God intended it to be.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

%d bloggers like this: