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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Pennington’

Next Saturday will be a great day for orphan advocates across the country. On October 1st & 2nd, there are THREE great conferences that we want to introduce you too.  Whether you live on the east coast, central, or west coast, a phenomenal conference is right around the corner.

On the east coast, in Southern NJ, Chris Padbury will be delivering the key note address which aims to awaken the local church to all aspects of “defending the cause of the fatherless.”

In Austin, TX, the Together For Adoption conference will be addressing over 1000 attendees. The theme of the conference is “The Gospel, the Church, and the Global Orphan Crisis.”  If you live anywhere near this event, you will not want to miss this conference.

On the west coast, in Los Angeles, CA, Hope for Orphans’ John Moore will be the key note speaker. There will be several sessions covering the Biblical foundation for orphan care, as well as numerous break-out sessions that will give you substantial and tangible ways to engage in the orphan crisis.

To learn more information about these conferences, please visit the Hope for Orphans website: www.hopefororphans.org

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When Minh Ho was born in Korea, it took a whole month before doctors began to realize that something was wrong. He appeared normal, except that his color was not right. It was later learned that Minh Ho was born with a single ventricle, or basically half of a normal heart.  His pulmonary valve and arteries were genetically flawed as well. His birth mom was a teenage girl who handed him over without even knowing he had a heart problem. It was his foster mother who took him to the doctor who discovered his heart defect.

Minh Ho had two open-heart surgeries in Korea.  The only caregivers in his life were paid; he didn’t have a family. This was a child with a very poor prognosis; in fact, he wasn’t expected to live more than a year or so. The only possibility for any sort of repair to his heart was in the United States.

A young American military couple heard about Minh Ho. God led this couple to do something hard — something radical in this world’s eyes. They adopted a child who, even with intervention, would probably not live long. The enlisted man and his wife gave this child something he could not yet appreciate, not because of what he had to offer them, but because of what they could offer him…a family…a family for Minh Ho no matter what would lie ahead.

When Minh Ho came to America (and Texas) to join his big new extended family, it was a day of joy and celebration. A place had already been prepared for the little boy with half of a heart and he got a new name…Benjamin. Through the years to come, Ben has endured more surgery, more needles, more medicine and some days when it was a struggle just to get enough air. But there have also been many, many good days as well.

Ben has a family. He loves his family and enjoys reciting every name. He has even gotten to ride a school bus and open presents on Christmas morning and see the faces of all those he loves singing “Happy Birthday” just to him. God’s solution for orphans is a family. Grace revealed through adopting a special needs child produces blessing beyond measure for those who are called.

Almost three years ago, Ben got very sick. The doctors said it was time to bring in hospice; they believed that they had done all that could be done for his heart. But thankfully, God’s plans are not our plans and after six months of hospice care and then a flu which left him in nearly a coma-like state for 10 days, Ben woke up, saying, “I want spaghetti!!” I think I will always think of Ben when I hear the word “spaghetti” and then I will be reminded how God is the One who gives life and no one else. Ben ate a huge plate of spaghetti that day. He recovered and has now been with us now for three more birthdays and Christmases. You see, Ben is Robin’s and my grandson. His mom, who risked her heart to love and graft this child into our family, is our daughter. His dad, our son-in-law, has served our country in the Army now for almost eight years.

As I write this, Ben is lying in a hospital bed next to me, waiting for a CAT Scan to determine if he may have a blood clot that needs attention. We never know when he might leave us…but the Bible teaches us that the Lord has all of our days numbered and that we cannot add one. Life and family are precious every day. Ben’s mom and dad have walked in faith and given Ben something that the Lord gives to spiritual orphans and physical orphans more and more through His church…a family. Ben’s mom and dad are like so many involved in orphan ministry…ordinary people who give action to their faith by loving the least of these.

This week on FamilyLife Today, Dennis and Bob will be interviewing other folks who have walked in faith…special friends whom God is also using to love orphans and those needing a family. On Thursday, September 16th and Friday, September 17th, you will not want to miss the powerful stories of how God is working in orphan ministry. You just may hear through these stories what God’s invitation is for you in ministering to fatherless children.

Ben, who is now five years of age, told one of my sons this week, “Jesus is going to ride with me in heaven in a red car!!”

Jesus is coming soon for all of those who are called the Children of God and joint heirs with His beloved Son. When Ben rides with Jesus in that red car one day, it will be a very painful day for his family. We will miss him more than we can imagine right now. But I know that he will be there when we get to the banquet of the Lamb and I’m sure he will be eating spaghetti with that huge smile of his.

Paul

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It has been said that significant teaching in the Christian life is normally followed by severe testing.  It is by this method that the potter works the clay of our lives. When the testing comes (and in every believer’s life, it will come), we have what Henry Blackaby calls a “crisis of belief” which reveals what we really believe about God and His truth.

Mary Beth Chapman, in her new book Choosing To See, shares this experience in her life and times which has led to her see what only those who share in the sufferings of Christ may see. It demonstrates what she and her husband, Steven Curtis, believe about God.

All this week, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman are guests of Dennis and Bob on FamilyLife Today. If you miss any of the broadcasts, make sure you go online and listen to this couple share how God has worked in their lives.

This is a special series to us at Hope for Orphans for many reasons, one of them being that we were launched as a ministry at just about the same time as the Chapmans were starting their orphan ministry, now called Show Hope. The first guest speakers at the very first Hope for Orphans event were Scott and Kerry Hasenbalg.  Scott is the Executive Director of Show Hope. That day a friendship and partnership was begun that has blessed my family and this ministry in extraordinary ways to this day. As we began to work with Show Hope and Focus on the Family with the Cry of the Orphan Campaign, many said it could not work. “Ministries like this can’t really work in unity,” they said.

This year will be the 5th year of our partnership and cord of three. Not only have we worked in unity and share with each other each year as one might have need, but our partnership has been a testimony of how God is working in this movement to reintroduce the importance and blessing of unity.

In John 17:23, we read this from the Lord:

“I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

May the orphan ministry movement continue to grow in unity as an evidence, such that the world will choose by grace to see and know that the Father has sent the Son as a ransom for many.

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NOTE FROM PAUL PENNINGTON
Executive Director and Co-Founder, Hope for Orphans

When the World Throws Rotten Tomatoes …..Which Side Will You Be On?

“But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.”

And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” ACTS 4:17-20

Over 30 years ago, Robin and I heard an older man speak in Houston who said much the same.  In Swiss mountain attire and with a stylish goatee, we heard him say these words: “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society…..then society will become absolute”. Of course that prophet was Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Now, as we live in a post-Christian 2010 America in which zealous religious secular humanists spread their gospel through almost every means possible, we see the vision of what Dr. Schaeffer warned us about. In Barbara Rainey’s soon to be released devotional book, Growing Together In Courage, she says this:

“To be countercultural means to go against the flow. It means that you will do what is right and true no matter what others are doing, even if you are the only one. You recognize that just because something is the popular thing to do does not necessarily mean that it is the right thing to do.”

“Courage goes against the flow. It is countercultural.”

In March of 1861, in Austin, Texas, there was a large meeting, a convention no less, to decide whether Texas would secede from the Union and its leaders swear an oath to the Confederacy. The Governor of Texas, Sam Houston, was a man almost bigger than life. In fact, he is the only man in American history to be the governor of two different states. He lived much of his early life with Native Americans. His father was a close friend of President Andrew Jackson. He was a Senator, a General; he was the George Washington of Texas independence as both Commander of the Texas armies during the war with Mexico and then as the first President of the Republic of Texas.  Few men in Texas stood as tall as Sam Houston.

But in the days leading up to March of 1861, Governor Houston campaigned against secession. He thought it was unimaginable that Texas would leave the Union. This was not a popular position. It was, by all means, countercultural. But of course, he stood for what was right….

As the votes were counted, it was easy to see that it was to be the Confederacy. Not far from the capitol was the Governor’s mansion where Houston and his family waited for the inevitable results. Crowds stood outside the mansion waiting to see if Houston would pledge his allegiance to the Confederacy. Instead, in dramatic fashion, he addressed the crowd from his balcony and stated that he would not and that instead, effective immediately, he would resign as Governor.

In fairly short order, Houston’s family loaded their wagons to leave Austin for their home in Huntsville. This man who had led the armies of Texas to victory and freedom, road out of Austin with his family through streets of angry people screaming insults, and in some parts bombarding his family with rotten tomatoes.  “Courage goes against the flow.”

This story has always fascinated me because this man’s conviction was put to action when the response was sure to be painful. Peter and Paul lived this life. They understood that there are two different kingdoms in conflict. Each of us, with our actions, serves one or the other.

Another large meeting will be held in Austin, Texas this October, when our friends at Together for Adoption hold its 2010 National Conference.  We at Hope for Orphans are privileged to be a partner in this event. This meeting will not be about secession, but instead, it will be about the sanctity of human life. In particular, it will be about the love of God for orphans. Though much of the church has lost interest in orphans in the last 100 years, there is a movement of God in which thousands are standing up for that which concerns the heart of God.  The world continues to devalue, traffic, commercially exploit and suppress even the conception of children. The Bible sees children very differently than today’s world, saying that each child is valuable and made in the image of God, and we should as well.

Children who have no family should compel us even more to understand how we and our churches can be used by God. At Together for Adoption’s conference on October 1-2, you will be taught by some of the most knowledgeable leaders in the country how you and your church can be used in the lives of orphans. Even if those in your own church don’t understand orphan ministry….and even if they toss a few rotten tomatoes around…..will you come to Austin and stand for the pure worship that is found in loving and caring for orphans?

If you are able, please join us in Austin as we gather to grow and be inspired by those whom God is using in the Orphan Ministry movement. Join us in taking a countercultural stand by saying that all children have value because they are made in the image of God.

Blessings,

Paul

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This week, Hope for Orphans’ Executive Director, Paul Pennington, will be delivering one of the keynote addresses at The Baby Conference: A Historic Family Summit on the Triumph of Life over the Culture of Death.

The Baby Conference, sponsored by Vision Forum Ministries, will bring to light issues that are pervasive in today’s pro-choice world.  Is it excessive to have 4 children in today’s world?  Is it right to bring a child into this world without being able to provide a $150,000 college fund?  Are children indeed a blessing from the Lord?  The Bible says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).  The next two verses continue, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

The Baby Conference is centered on the celebration of life — the life that we are called, as followers of Christ, to enjoy and cherish and honor.  All life is to be valued.  All of us — the orphan, the widow, the stranger – are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of God.  This conference will take a hard look at Scripture and will demonstrate, among other things, how adoption and orphan care fit within the church’s responsibility to what God has called us to do.

Join us, along with Doug Phillips and Jim Bob Duggar, on July 8 -10 in San Antonio for this challenging, yet fresh perspective on how we to look at human life biblically, in a post-modern, pro-choice world.

To learn more about the issues and topics that will be discussed, or to register for this event, please click here.

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(The following comes from our June 2010 E-Newsletter. You may subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter by clicking here.)

Some of the very best things in my life have happened as a result of some of the hardest things in my life. There was a day that Robin and I learned that we had lost a baby and the ability to ever have a biological child short of in-vitro fertilization. It was a hard day. It was hard to pray or understand. But little did we know that as this was happening a little girl was soon to be born. This little girl was our daughter Kit whom God brought to us just 6 months later. Not only was she a gift we could not have imagined, but also through her, the Lord led us to more of our children, some born on the other side of the world, and ultimately to this ministry.

In his new book about Ruth, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, Pastor John Piper shares a quote from William Cowper, an 18th century poet and hymn writer:

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”

Joseph experienced this frowning providence when his brothers sold him into slavery. But as you know, God knew this very act would bring about the rescue of those same brothers from famine and His grace would be demonstrated through the centuries like a chain in His word to us in the 21st century.

Every adoption begins in hurt of some kind. Sometimes being the parent of a child through adoption involves a lot of hurt. We all come from a hard place because of the first Adam’s fateful choice in the garden. Thankfully, the second Adam also made a choice in a garden, a choice not to save Himself, a choice made so that we might receive adoption as sons of God through Him.

As we consider with eyes wide open the road of adoption and loving the fatherless, let us remember why Ruth the Moabitess was able to say to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 that she would follow her from all that was familiar and safe…how she committed herself to this widow to the point of saying that Naomi’s God would be her God and Naomi’s people her people.

Ruth was grafted into this family and met her kinsman redeemer because as Piper says, “Here we have a picture of…faith in God that sees beyond present bitter setbacks. Freedom from the securities and comforts of the world. Courage to venture into the unknown and the strange. Radical commitment in the relationships appointed by God”. In this case, a relationship that led to line of David and The Messiah.

May those called to adopt, or to love a foster child, or to serve churches overseas in loving orphans be likewise radically committed to the relationships appointed by God for them. May we see the world as the work of God, and that we are privileged and blessed to be invited to join Him in His work. May we see God who sometimes uses frowning providence in bringing about His will, as the very One in whom we will very soon see His smiling face.

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On Monday May 10th, from 7 to 9 PM (PST), Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, is hosting a one night LIVE CIVIL FORUM focusing on Orphan Care and Adoption. The keynote speakers include, Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. Susan Hills, Mike Ryan, and Saddleback’s own Elizabeth Styffe.  Speakers will be discussing how to tackle the “Global Goliath” issue of 143 million orphans. With 15,000 children becoming orphans every day, the Church is the only answer for this global crisis.

Hope for Orphan’s Executive Director, Paul Pennington, will be hosting the LIVE WEB CAST of this event. Paul will be fielding questions from around the country.   If you live outside of Southern California, but still want to join in this important event,  please join in on the web at:  www.saddlebackcivilforum.com

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