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Nov 12, 2023

Standing for the Vulnerable

Standing for the Vulnerable

Passage: Mark 10:13-16

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Stand Alone Message

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, community, faith, jesus, wisdom, god, sermon, youth, christian, bible, christ, hope, sermons, video, charity, live, adoption, teen, jesus christ, christianity, rescue, parents, bible study, need, adopted, orphans, adopt, community impact, foster, united states, teenager, family tree, true story, vulnerable, foster care, study the bible, children in need, motivational, bible teaching, 2023, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, childrens story, adoption story, waymark foster

We celebrate vulnerable children’s day this Sunday by learning about a new mission partnership and diving into scripture. We learn that God has a special place in His heart for kids, especially vulnerable kids. Rescuing hurting kids is not just a charity for us to support, it’s a rescue mission for all the church. Our compassion is what leads us to action, and because we are no longer slaves, we are adopted sons and daughters, we should be rescuing the hurting and vulnerable around us. Our prayer today is for God to point out the places in our personal purity that we need to offer up to Him, to give us a personal sense of responsibility to serve and show us how we are to be used in the process of rescuing a child. We ask that God push our church to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and rise up on behalf of the fatherless. Join us in the mission of rescuing vulnerable children by visiting our site, or take the next step in your faith journey by visiting

Good morning, church. We are excited today to just introduce to you some new friends and partners of Burnt Hickory this morning. Would you do me a favor and give a big family welcome to Doug and Tasha Whitener this morning? Yeah. Amen. The month of November here we are looking at just some different aspects of kingdom living. We're looking at some ways that we can make a difference, that we can live for the kingdom of God. Last week we had Peter Abungu here during Disciple Now Weekend as the students were being challenged to be kingdom livers. We, last week, kind of looked at the difference of what it looks like to be conformed versus transformed into God's image to be a tool for him. And this morning is national Vulnerable Children Day. Churches across our nation are looking at the idea of what is our response as individuals and what is our response as believers in Jesus is in a family of God to the hurting and to the vulnerable children.

Well, this morning I’ve invited the guys from Waymark, Doug and Tasha, to come and share a little bit about what they're doing in our community. Number one, but also number two, how we as a church can come behind them and minister alongside them and actually begin to fulfill the Great Commission by also taking care. Of vulnerable children. I want to do something this morning with you guys. I just want you to start this morning by just introducing yourselves. Tell us a little bit about Waymark, and just how Did it get started? Thanks.

My name is Doug Whitener and my beautiful wife, Tasha. We'll be celebrating our 25 year anniversary in February. And I always say that's a testament to God's grace and that there is a God that I would be married to. someone would stay married to me for 25 years. But outside of that, we have a great son, 21 years old. He's a senior at KSU, majoring in information systems. He has a heart for missions, did an internship with CRU over the summer and plans on working on the Jesus Film project. So God's really moving there. Outside of that, we've lived in Cobb for the last 40 years of our lives, and outside of that, the stuff that consumes our time is the Ministry of Way mark And serving the fostering community.

Yeah, so back when I was working at First Baptist Woodstock on staff there, I went to a children's pastors conference and heard Wayne and Diane Tesch speak. And they're the founders of Royal Family Kids Camp. And it was at that point that God really put this burden on my heart. I had never heard. I had no idea this world existed in foster care. And so it wasn't until ten years after that that God called us to start our first camp, and that was in 2008. And it was at that point and after meeting these kids and seeing the statistics that we were like, we have to do more. So, you know, we need mentoring, we need, you know, connections, relationships, all of those things. So we started Kids Cubed, which has now of course been rebranded to Waymark. We started that back in 2010, started with 29 kids in 2008. Fast forward to now, we'll serve over 650 kids in the course of the year, so the numbers are a little bit off on the video. And so to God be the glory, great things he has done. And so just to tell you a little bit about what we do, so we are all about relationships, and those relationships are initiated at camp. So we've mentioned those. Royal Family kids camp for 6 to 12 and during weekends for our 12 to 17 year olds. And we just during these camps we lay the foundation of you're loved and you're valued, and God has a purpose and plan for you. And you know, we just have fun. So they just need to be kids for a while, right? And so we do normal camp activities, but we also do special things for them. So we have a princess ball for the girls at the Royal Family Superhero Event for the Boys Journey weekend. We have spa time for the older girls. Camps, off site camping for the boys. We have therapy dogs at camp. We have ways to celebrate. Yeah we fish celebrate their birthdays because a lot of our kids have never had their birthdays recognized, much less celebrated. We give them photo albums, so they have pictures from their childhood. Many times those are the only pictures they have from their childhood. 1 to 1 ratio, you name it. We do it at camp, but it's really just pouring into them the love of Christ. And then after that, we have our life and job skills training, which is called Extreme Journey, and those are on Saturdays. But we also integrate those into our mentoring program, which is called Community for Youth, and that's where those relationships that are initiated at camp are continued. So we have one on one in group mentoring, so our one on ones typically start at camp. So a volunteer will meet a child and say, you know, I want to continue your relationship with that child. And they'll do that. And then group mentoring takes place in group homes in the area. So we're in seven different seven different locations. Five group homes. And then we have two at First Baptist, Woodstock and North metro for foster and adoptive families. So we serve over 130 children and teens on a weekly biweekly basis. So we go into a group, and we provide a meal, we do a Bible study and we do some sort of activity. But it's all with that goal of just again, pouring the love of Christ into them. Your love to value God has a purpose and plan and just that discipleship. It's just yall, It's just being there for that and just being that consistent person in their life.

So when I think of Foster Ministries, the first thing that comes to mind is, Oh, okay, clean out the bedroom, right? Somebody's coming to the house. Right? What is different about what Waymark does than what most of us think of when we think of ministering in foster situations.

So we have lots of ways to get involved. So we have different levels of involvement. So let's just say level one is writing cards for camp or for we would send cards for them for their birthdays. And so you can help with that. You can bring a meal to a compass group. So there's any number of things at that level. The level two to be going out to camp. So you may want to be a big camper, which is what we call counselors. And then you could be a nurse, you could be one of our special events people, our photo album staff, whatever that looks like for you. Our extreme journey kind of falls within that category too. So if you have a certain skill, like if you like to teach on financial management, if you have a you know, you're a welder and you want to teach on that or whatever that looks like for you, we love to use your skills and abilities to teach these kids and to give them the tools and resources they need. So that's level two. And level three would be our mentorship. So if you have some more time to give, then you can get to a deeper level of involvement. But we believe that everybody can get involved in some way. Just books, different for everybody. So.

Right. You know, I was when I was reading all of the stuff about a month ago and just kind of being a little bit more familiar with what you guys do. One of the videos, Tasha, you had a quote in it that sealed the deal for me, and the quote was this. You said that these kids will become who shows up for them. Can you flesh out what that means and why that why that probably stood out so much?

So these kids just want to belong. They want a sense of family. They want somebody just to be there for them. So if that pimp shows up and is promising that then they're probably going to land as a victim of human trafficking. And we know that 60 to 80% of that population are former foster children. And if the gang never shows up for them, then we know that more than likely they're going to land in prison. And 80% of the prison population are former foster children. So if we, the church, show up and say, the Lord willing, they will choose to follow Christ and fulfill his purpose and plan for them.

Church, that's why this just stood out for me so much. Because man, I fully realize that not all of us are in positions to have somebody in our homes. Tomorrow. But if we can just show up, we have a chance to do kind of what your mission statement is. And that is to introduce these guys to the gospel. You know, a lot of these people just came out of their life groups and their groups. What could a group here at church get together and do together as a family group? What could they do?

So a great way is to serve a meal at one of our compass groups. Like I said, we serve Calvary Children's home here, CCYA. We serve Wellspring. We're actually starting a new group at Wellspring. Up the road from us. And so you can just get together, provide a meal. Like I said, we're serving 130 on a weekly biweekly basis, so there's plenty of opportunities, but also helping with photo albums, writing cards, you name it. There's so many opportunities to serve as a group or as an individual.

Only thing I was going to add to that was that, you know, Calvary Children's Home is a great faith based organization, but CCYA is not. And it took us five years to get there. So this is an organization that is not based around the message of Christ that has invited us to come into there. And we need like minded Christians like the people at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church to come alongside us. So this is we just see this as an opportunity that God lets us to be a part of, and we're just inviting others to come in on that.

That's right. You know, one of our jobs here as leadership is just to put opportunities in front of us to walk out our faith. And I'm just going to ask you guys just to pray to consider what the Lord may be pushing you and a direction to do. Doug and Tasha, you're going to be in the front lobby right after this service. They're going to stay as long as they need you today to answer questions to meet you guys. They've got some next steps that you can take with them as a group or as an individual. But would you guys do me a favor this morning and tell them how thankful we are that they are in our community taking care of these kids? Can we thank them today for the round of applause? Thank you guys, for being here this morning. Thank you. Thank you. You know, I told the story a couple of years ago, but when Melissa and I were engaged, I had just graduated from college and she was finishing up her student teaching. She had another year to go and her education. And if you can remember back that far when you really had zero responsibility, remember that when you weren't married yet, when you were out of college, when you were working and literally all you had to do was go to work and come home and twiddle your thumbs. Right? You remember those times? Well, during that time, she was student teaching, so she had school all day and then she had to do work to make sure everything was turned in at night. And I got invited to join a group of graduates in Romania to go to preach in the churches of Romania. And it was an incredible, incredible opportunity. It was about eight college students and one quasi responsible youth pastor that took us to Romania and we headed to the other side of the world. And I wish I could have time this morning just to tell you all of the stories that happened that week.

A couple of them that really almost changed my life was the fact that we did get detained for 24 hours by the Romanian police. That was a life lesson on that as they took our passports for that whole time. The second one was I learned what it was like to preach five, six times a day in another country at different churches and travel from different churches and decided that was not a lifestyle that I wanted to live the rest of my life. I learned that we had an interpreter for the whole trip that seemed to be a really, really good interpreter. But really they just said whatever they thought the people needed to hear. And so it really took a lot of the pressure off the preaching. We could just really tell stories, do whatever we want to. And they had a message they preached like literally 300 times that week, and it had nothing to do with what we said. We didn't know it until the end of the trip, till someone spoke English. And one of the churches was like, That's not what you said. At the end. It kind of broke our hearts, but it kind of was like, Well, at least I didn't blow it. But on that trip, Melissa and I were engaged. I bought our full set of wedding china in this little shop for like 80 bucks, a 12 place setting of wedding china. I bought an extra suitcase, parceled it out to everybody we had so that I could get stuff I really wanted on our wedding registry. So we brought it home and used it.

But there were two things that really changed my life, even to this day on that trip. Number one was the fact that I learned that I hated their minced meat, sour fried cabbage rolls. That was horrible about the 90th time we ate it. But secondly, I saw on that trip a church that literally changed what I think it looks like to honor God when it comes to our kind of topic today. And that is just the vulnerable children. One of the Sunday mornings we were there, like I said, we traveled from church to church and sometimes we would hit like eight or nine churches in a day. But one Sunday morning, we were in a small little town and we went outside of the city limits. We pulled up to this little bitty kind of tin shack looking building. And as soon as we got into the van, I could just hear them already in worship. Now, we knew that it wasn't like the first song. They just got there.

We knew that we were like any good college student. We were like 45 minutes late to the service that morning, and as soon as we got to the church, a guy ran out and kind of greeted our translator and before you know it, they said, Well, who's preaching? And then I said, Well, I'm up this morning. And the guy looked at me and he said, “Preach”, come on. And I was like, okay, I got you. So we ran into the church. We ran straight to the front of the church. I still got my backpack on and I'm still running to the church. And he stops the music. I mean, there is no transition. There was like no cool lights scenes or anything, right? I mean, it was literally he gets up in front of the church and he goes, he tells the band to sit down. I don't know what words he had. And he looked at me and literally all he said was this word. He pointed at me and he said, Preach. And I was like, This is every pastor's dream, right? He just said, Preach. I was like, okay, I'll preach, right? So I take my backpack off, I get my Bible up, I'm in, and I go at it fully by this point, realizing it doesn't matter what I'm saying, because my translator saying whatever they want, I'm going at it in the message I preach for about 35 ish minutes. You know, we're pastors probably longer.

I preached for about 35 minutes and I got done. I got the invitation. The little worship team comes back up and plays their hearts out. And at the end of the invitation, I'm thinking, oh, man, that was kind of cool. We're done. We'll get a little break. We'll move on to our next church. I didn't know the schedule for the day. I just got in the van that morning. Right. And so I go to sit down and the pastor looks at me again and looks at the band. He tells the band to sit down. He points at me again and he says, Preach. And I was like, This is every pastor's dream at this point, right? And I said, okay, So I get the Bible out and I preach again a full other message. Once again, realizing it didn't matter what I was saying, I could talk about whatever. But then after that was over, I gave another invitation. He stands up, says a lot of stuff. They weren't translating. I don't know what it was. But then we ended up in the back of the courtyard of this church. We ended up at lunch once again, the minced meat kind of stuff that we were eating. There it was again. But I started looking up and all of a sudden I realized that something was a little off in this church. There were about 100 adults that were in this little bitty tin shack, but then there were like 25 kids that automatically just showed up to lunch. I thought, okay, they're coming from children's Church. That's how it always works, right?

They showed up with their own cup and their own plate and they politely walked through the line and they sat down at their own table and started having lunch together. Well, I thought that was kind of weird that nobody said hey to their parents, right? Nobody kind of was coming over to greet them. But then I started asking these questions and I was like, Hey, tell me about the church a little bit. Tell me what's going on. Tell me what's part of the like part of this church? And over lunch, I started realizing that the three tents that were in the back of the church property were where these kids lived. I started realizing that these kids were bringing their one cup and their one plate to lunch that day. And then through the course of asking more questions, I realized that these kids were literally church kids. This group of 100 older adults had officially adopted 25 little gypsy kids to be theirs. To be theirs. And in that moment, I just realized something. And I was a young minister. I was soaking in everything about what is church and what is the role of church. And at that moment I realized that God had me seeing that day the kind of church that if I ever got to lead a church, that I was going to belong to, a church that cares. A church first of all, that you could preach for as long as you wanted to, and nobody was going to say anything, right. But secondly, it was a church that cared for vulnerable kids. They cared for them in a way that it seemed like it was one of Jesus's priorities for our lives. 75 to 100 faithful adults, 25 orphaned kids. Listen, that they were given a chance to have life. Jesus showed me something that day that I had never learned in church before. Listen, I've been a part of church since I was literally a church kid, right?

I'd heard thousands of messages. I heard every song that Jesus loves, the little children of the world. And I'm not throwing any shame on any church I ever belonged to. But I'd never seen what it looks like to be a church that cares like that church that cares for the vulnerable. In fact, if you got a copy of Scripture today, Jesus teaches us this exact message in Matthew chapter ten.

If you've got a copy of Scripture, turn to Matthew Chapter ten, because Jesus is showing us a focus in this passage that I feel like I missed for a lot of my life. Sorry, it's Mark chapter 10. Mark chapter ten. Jesus is on his way to the cross. He has been preaching. He's been giving these incredible parables. He's been healing people. The multitudes were around him at this point in the Gospel, and Jesus could have said anything to his disciples, but He stops and he teaches the disciples in Mark Chapter ten this huge lesson that goes with where our focus is today. Mark chapter ten verse 13, it says this, it says. People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. Now, let me just set the scene in your mind a little bit. The disciples in a lot of ways acted like Jesus’s offensive line in the crowds a lot, right? You have to imagine if somebody is healing people, if somebody is being seen as the messiah, that the crowds could crouch in. Right. The crowds could gather in. And in a lot of ways that the disciples would kind of keep Jesus moving in a direction that he needed to move in. Well, on this particular day that there were these parents that were bringing their kids, whether they be kids with incredibly big needs or troubles or things that they would need Jesus to touch them for, We're really not sure the whole extent of it, but we know that these kids needed something.

And when these kids were coming up to Jesus, it says that the disciples rebuked the parents for allowing the kids to do this. He rebuked the kids. And watch what Jesus says in verse 14. It says, When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. What does that mean? That means he was mad. He was angry. He was so angry that he was going to do something about this. Watch what he does. It says that he said to them, Let the little children come to me. And do not hinder them. Now, pause there for a second because I know there's only one meaning here, but there are lots of applications to this in the text. And I'm reading this just looking at this going, Man, that is our role, right? That's our role as a parent. It's not to hinder our kids from coming to the faith, not to hinder, not to put things in the way of our kids, knowing Jesus and loving Jesus not to put priorities in their lives that would overshadow them being a part of a family of God or knowing who Jesus is. But man, how many times do we do it? But in the context here, he said, No, no, no, let these kids come to me. Don't put a hindrance in front of them. Watch what he says next. He says, For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Might want to circle that “such as these”, because it's important. You say, why? Well read the next verse. It says this truly, I tell you, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it. And he took, this is Jesus. He took the children in his arms and he placed his hands on them. And he blessed them. He blessed them. Did you catch it? This is one of my favorite rebukes of the disciples. And that's a big deal, right? They're always getting rebuked. This one is small, but it's profound because in it, Jesus doesn't just rebuke the disciples. Jesus shows us a couple of principles that I think we need to grab hold of this morning. Number one, he shows us this idea that kids have an incredible faith that we should mimic. They have an incredible faith. You say Matt, what do you mean by that? It means that kids had this incredible ability inside of them to 100% trust, to 100% sell themselves out to something. They will trust and not hold back. You say Matt, I'm not kind of grabbing that. Let me ask you this, those of you who are parents. Do you remember when you were teaching your kids how to swim? You remember that day? Not kid number one, because they were kind of cautious. But kid number two. Are you going with me on this one? Kid number two, they had zero fear. They had zero ability to hold themselves back. When you were teaching them how to swim. If anything ever distracted you. All that you ever heard in the pool, sometimes on the other side of the pool was a big kabloosh, right? It was a big kabloosh. Then after you deliver them from halfway drowning and pick them up and ask them, What are you doing? They would look at you and go, I knew you were there. That's the trust. They knew you were there. They knew you could be trusted. They knew you would deliver them. That's what Jesus is saying about kids. He's saying anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter into it. They have this ability to trust on this side. But also kids have this idea that they don't really care what other people think about them, if they trust you. If they're living in the moment of trust, they could care less what is happening in the outside world.

But man having a lot of us grown out of that childlike faith and begin to walk in short sighted reason or earthly warnings in our lives. This is the point that Jesus is making here. He's saying not that we just become little children. He's saying that these little kids know one thing and that's to chase the man that can heal them. And whoa believers, what would happen if that was our outlook on life instead of chasing after the next thing culture puts in front of us? Number one, kids have an incredible faith that we should mimic.

But number two, what he's showing us at this moment is that God has a special place in his heart for kids, especially vulnerable kids. You see, Jesus in the scene has just shown up. He's walking and there's many problems around them. But he took the time to stop and to show us that he wanted a relationship with these kids, that he cared about them. And this was a really big deal in the context of the time period we're reading. Why? Because in this context, nobody cared about kids, especially in Roman control, because they were basically afterthoughts. They were one step above a slave. They were disposable in a lot of ways. But here we're seeing that God's heart towards children is so much that he rebuked the 12 that were walking with him. To say that you ought to become like one of these. You ought to walk like one of these.

Man, we find this message of Jesus and God really desiring the hurting kids all over Scripture. Let me read you a couple of them. Deuteronomy 10:18 It says that God, that he defends the cause of the fatherless, Psalms 68, verse five says, A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows. God is in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. God even challenges us. And Isaiah 1:17, where he says, Learn to do what is right and seek justice, defend the oppressed. Take up the cause, he says, for the fatherless. And this goes even farther. If you roll into the New Testament, it goes even farther than just becoming the right thing to do. James, the step brother of Jesus, gives us what the Father God considers pure and thoughtless religion. He cuts through all of the other things that we think it should be. And interestingly enough, it's not doctrine or discipleship, it's not worship or how big the church is or how many members it is. It's not tithing, although all those things are godly. Look at what James says is pure and faultless religion. James 1:27 He says religion that our God and Father accepts as pure and faultless Is this, to look after the orphans and the widows in their distress. And to keep one's self from being polluted by the world. James comes out and he says, Incredibly logical statement. But I think I need to remind us of it that, hey, if you really want to know what gets at the heartbeat of God, if you really want to know what God sees as a pure relationship and religion that is in our life, it's twofold. Number one, it is seeking private purity.

That's what he says in a text, Right. Why would he say that? He says it because he knows how
good we are at pointing out other people's purity problems. So he looks at us and says, No, no, no, you number one, if you want to please the heart of God, it is me and you as believers seeking purity in my life. Look at verse 27. The second part of it, it says It's keeping oneself from being polluted by the world. What does that mean? That means that I am seeking the holy heart of Jesus, that I'm not allowing myself to be consumed by the world or its tensions, to be drawn into it. That I am seeking the pure heart of God in my life, in my private life, when nobody else is looking. My goal is to please God with who I am, and as I settle myself into who he is. We talk a lot about our inner convictions, our inner drive to know who God is, and to seek God in our life. This is a level of me desiring to be set apart for his kingdom purposes, for me to live out an inner holiness, a private purity. But then secondly. He says, You want to know what pure and faultless religion is. Number two is displaying public charity and compassion. So in other words, it's not just a private deal. And then I go live my life in public how I want to and I'll do what I want to. And I choose to invest in what I want to. No, no, no. God says to live holy and display charity and compassion, especially to those who are vulnerable.

Look at the verse again, James 1:27 The first part says this, the religion that God and our father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after the orphans and the widows in their distress. I love this language of looking after. Do you know why? Because there's a difference between looking after and looking at. When God challenges us to look after something. He means this. He doesn't mean to go down to the zoo and check out the pandas. Right. That's looking at something. To look after something is when your grandma told you to take care of your brother, right? Don't let him die. Don't let him get killed. And don't let nobody take him. Right. Looking after something means that I'm investing in it. I'm putting my time into it. I'm putting my resources in it. And I'm moving in a direction of compassion that I want to see them given hope.

In fact, write this principle down, maybe it'll help you in kind of making sense of this. Rescuing hurting kids is not just a charity for us to support. It's a rescue mission for the whole church. It's a rescue mission. You know what that means? That means that we all have a responsibility in this. You see, when Jesus is giving us this message, he is telling us that it is the church that needs to lead the way for taking care of the hurting. Why? Number one, because he told us to. And number two, when we become the people who take care of those who are hurting, we literally are serving them in the name of Jesus. And we're literally showing the world that we're not known for what we hate, but we're known for what we love. That's the love of Jesus, the deliverance of Jesus in the care of Jesus in our lives. And listen, this is huge. You know why? Because any time that we speak into and look after the vulnerable, really and truly what we're doing is we're doing it for Jesus. You say, Matt, what are you talking about? Well, it reminded me this week of another message that Jesus preached at the end of his ministry in Matthew chapter 25. Matthew, Chapter 25. Jesus is giving his last public ministry before the cross, and he stops in the crowd and begins to teach them about the final judgment that he is going to have. And he describes a time that he's going to separate people really quickly by looking at the evidence of their faith. And he gives us a litmus test to display the person that has truly had Jesus move in their life. Let me just read it to you real quick. Matthew 25:31 so you get the point.

Says when the son of man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. And that'll be a day. And all the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. And then the king will say to those on his right hand, That's the sheep. That's where you want to be, right? He will say, Come you who are blessed by my father. Take your inheritance, the kingdom, prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I, Jesus says, I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me. To which all of us at that point would be confused if Jesus was looking at us saying that. Right? Why? Because we're looking at him going, Where did I do that? Great question. Look, if I was 37, then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and invite you in? Or needing clothes and clothe you? When do we see you sick or in prison to go visit you? Verse 40. Here's the crux of the whole matter. The king will reply, Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. You know what this says?

While this text is not implicitly about kids alone, it certainly includes them as one of the top candidates. But this is Jesus looking at you and looking at me, and he's saying, listen, our sympathy is not enough. You know, those feelings of pity that we have when we see those commercials with the flies and all that stuff in and around the people. That's not enough. He's saying our empathy is not even enough. Our ability to understand that kids are having problems, that people have problems. Jesus is saying this. In fact, write the principle down. He's saying that it's our compassion is what leads us to action. And compassion, it means that I will do everything I can to help. And when I do that for the vulnerable, here's the incredibly cool part of that. I'm not even really doing it for them first. I'm doing it for God. I'm doing it for His glory. I'm doing it for His Majesty. I'm doing it to lift him up. Do you know what this does for me? It sets me free from being the judge jury. In moments when people need help, you know, there's moments where you're like, You know what? They probably got into this problem because they have a problem. They probably got into this situation because they did something. I don't need to help them or they are just going to get right back in this situation. No, no, no. When I help those people, I'm literally doing it in the name of Jesus. It takes me out of the equation, and secondary is that it blesses them. Do you realize that what Jesus did for us is he showed this compassion when he adopted us into his family, and now he's looking at you and he's looking at me and

He's saying, if you want to walk with me, the vulnerable matter. In fact, we talked about this a lot this fall in this church through the book of Galatians. But in Romans, it tells us this. Romans 8:15, it says, The spirit you receive does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again. Rather, the spirit you receive brought about your adoption to Sonship, and by it we cry Abba, father. When I read that verse in the context of the hurting, do you know what it says to me? How in the world as an adopted child of God, when he saw me at my worst, when he saw me in despair, when he saw me literally heading to the pit of hell and he delivered me. How in the world can I not be that for other people? Now that I'm a child of his? How can I cry Abba father on this side, but yet look at the vulnerable all across the world and go, I don't care? So here's the question we're walking out with the day. What are we doing? What are you doing?

Man, some research just blew my mind this week. Did you know that there are 153 million orphans around the world right now? 153 million? You know, there's 437,000 kids in the United States in foster care systems right now in the United States. Did you know there's over 115,000 kids right now in the United States that are literally just waiting on somebody to step up and take them? And adopt them. Did you know there's organizations like Waymark and Calvary and Lifesong that need us? Why? Because those kids will become who shows up for them. Listen church, this is a rescue mission. This is the gospel. Yeah, it's providing all of the other stuff. That's temporary. What's eternal is that we get to step into the life of one of these people to the kingdom. You know what I realized? Not all of us are called to be on the frontline in the battle, but we're all called to be part of a team.

I want the service to be a little bit different this morning. And I just want you to do somethin. I just want you to put up your notes, put your Bibles away, these next questions I'm going to give you in prayer. I went out and put them in your notes and there's not even a blank. You don't even have to guess. All right, So you type A people just calm down for a minute. They're in there. Okay? I want us to just spend a few minutes praying this morning before we jump into the invitation. And I want to give you four prayers this morning that I'm just going to ask you to pray for the rest of this week. You jump on the app and grab them later on. But you just bow your heads with me.

I'm fully convinced that. I cannot convince you to be compassionate. I can't do that. And I know I'm not near that good, but I know the one that can. The Holy Spirit can. So would you pray this in your mind just for a moment this morning? Would you just pray number one, God point out the places in my personal purity that I need to offer up to you today? God just point those out to me. Point out those places in my life that are hidden spots that I just need to say here it is Lord, I'm giving it to you. I'm sorry. You're not fooling Him, he already knows about it, but you confessing it opens the door for healing. Here's the second prayer. Number two. God, give me a sense of responsibility to serve vulnerable children. God, just give me a sense of responsibility. Give me a sense. Not who's sitting beside me. Give me one. Maybe that's here at this church. Maybe it's in this community. Maybe it's possibly at Waymark or Calvary or even around the world on one of our next trips to Guatemala or Kenya. God, give me a personal sense of responsibility. Pray that. Ask him to. Here's number three. God, pray this prayer to God. God, show my family, show my family how you're leading us to be used in the process of rescuing a child. Show my family, you kids. I want you to pray for that for your family right now. Your parents are like, Oh, no, no. Pray for it. Is that adoption? Is it fostering? Is it being a part of a financial or respite team? Is it jumping into being a mentor? Maybe it's camp ministry, maybe it's even just working here in the kids ministry and just looking at them saying, Hey, I'll do whatever you need me to do. What does that mean? And here's a number four prayer. God, push this church to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves and to rise up for the fatherless. Would you pray for us? God, push this church to stand for those who can't stand for themselves to speak up, for those who can't speak for themselves, and the rise up for the fatherless here in this community around the world. God would you do that? Lord Jesus today, as we step into just a short time of invitation. God. God, show us how we can fight for the vulnerable, how we can live pure religion of personal holiness and public compassion. Thank you, Jesus. It's in your name.

Would you stand with me this morning? As this time of invitation goes, I'm going to be standing by the next steps banner over here. Maybe you need somebody to pray with you. Maybe God put something in your heart today. That says I don't even know how this works, man I love to walk with you. We had something at the last service that was an incredible moment for them. Maybe this whole week you've been just wondering, how can I know that I know that I know that I have a relationship with Jesus. I'd love to walk with you in that as well. Or maybe your family is just on the cusp of trying to figure out what this means for you? Man, I got a team that we'd love to pray with you and over you this morning. Let's sing together.


Follow Along with the Message

Standing for the Vulnerable

November 12, 2023

Mark 10:13–16
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

PRINCIPLE: Kids have an incredible in God that we should mimic.

PRINCIPLE: God has a special place in His for kids, especially vulnerable kids.

Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless…
Psalm 68:5–6
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families…
Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless…
James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Pure & Faultless Religion

1. Seeking purity

James 1:27b
…to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

2. Displaying charity and compassion

James 1:27a
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…

PRINCIPLE: Rescuing hurting kids is not just a charity for us to support; it’s a mission for all the church.

Matthew 25:31–40
31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

PRINCIPLE: is what leads us to action.

Romans 8:15
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

4 Prayers
  1. God, point out the places in my personal purity that I need to offer up to You, Lord.
  2. God, give me a personal sense of responsibility to serve vulnerable children.
  3. God, show my family how you are leading us to be used in the process of rescuing a child.
  4. God, push this church to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and rise up for the fatherless.

Additional Notes


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