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10 posts from September 2006

September 24, 2006

What's Wrong with Our World?

I am a Christ-follower. I believe that people are on this earth for a purpose, that we were created for something unique, and that all human life has value. Because these are critical truths for me, I also have to look at the world in which I am a citizen and discover what my responsibility is for the state of the world's children:

If we could reduce the whole human race to 10 children sitting around a table:

  • 3 would have plates that are heaped so high that they will never possibly finish what is there.
  • 2 will just about manage to live by scavenging what is thrown away from the three.
  • 3 will be permanently hungry
  • 2 will die, one of dysentery and one of pneumonia.

If that's not tragic enough, it gets even worse:

  • 28 Million children die from easy curable diseases each year
  • 17 million children die from malnutrition and starvation each year
  • 1/3 of the world population is malnourished
  • 20% of the world has no access to safe water at all
  • 40% have no sanitation
  • 10 million children are involved in the sex industry
  • 100 million children are on the streets
  • 200 million child laborers
  • 1.4 million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV

These statistics can be found on Abaana's website. What deeply saddens me about these issues is that they are all solvable! What happens to children can change if others would have compassion. What I have to do, as someone who sees these kinds of truths up close, is to remember that I may not be able to change the world but I can make a significant difference in the life of one. If there are enough of us to do that, we may be able to see poverty eradicated in our lifetime. Jeff Sachs of Colombia University believes it can be done by 2025 - I strongly suggest you read his book The End of Poverty.

In the meantime - what's one thing you can do, today? Say a prayer, make the decision you've been putting off to go to Africa or Russia, invest something of your personal finances for one orphan? It may mean the difference between life and death for a little boy or girl who is created in God's image - just like you and me.

September 22, 2006

My 36th Birthday!

Hey everyone...36 Years Old today. Whew, getting up there! My best friend, Gary Black, blessed me with a bit of a write up on his blog. Go to his website here: Gary's site.

By the way, it's snowing in Colorado today! A perfect present for me.

September 19, 2006

The Devourer of Orphans


"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I Peter 5:8

Here's a sad fact: when it comes to orphans, the truth of this scripture is overwhelming. The enemy rapes, pillages, destroys, and devours the life of every single orphan he can get his hands on. That's the kind of low life he is. He takes advantage of the orphan, because the little orphan  girl is helpless to protect herself. There is no natural, parental covering, no spiritual covering, rarely even a community covering. They are caught, all alone, in a blizzard of abuse and they are exposed to all of the elements. So our enemy devours them.

To devour means to destroy something rapidly and completely. Yes, I've seen this too many times in places like Russia and Africa. Now, there are over 2 million children enslave to forced prostitution - this number has drastically increased in the last year. An estimated 171 million children are working in hazardous conditions and with dangerous machinery, and forced to work as slaves. Hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in armed conflict as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves for armed groups. In many cases they have been forcibly abducted. If you want to be sickened to your stomach and be informed about how the enemy has devoured children, see UNICEF's State of the World's Children Report.

I firmly believe that the orphan is precious to God. He created them in His image, He loves them, and His heart is broken for them. His answer to this tragedy is YOU and me. We have to utilize our influence, our relationships, and our talents to fight this enemy. As long as we sit on our hands he will continue to unleash hell and savagely kill the innocent.

Dare we continue to just watch it happen?

September 18, 2006

I am God's Daughter


"Many people have forgotten me. But I am God's Child - and I would like to meet you."

“Hello! My name is Valya. I am 20 and I am from Kostroma, Russia. I’ve graduated from tech school 18 and right now I am looking for a job according to my profession. I am much honored to be able to tell about our beloved home where we have become one family. I go there like to a little paradise. Have you ever thought why our Ministry Center is called “Hope?"

Everyone who comes there receives hope that life isn’t over, it goes on. People start to believe in a better life and future. That’s what happened to me two years ago. I left the boarding school, had nothing, came to a place where no one was waiting for me. I realized then how hard it is not to have parents and to walk this life alone. Life at the orphanage is one thing and life in the world is something completely different. But there came a day when I met some good people on my way and they showed me the road to the place where I could get a help and find what I am looking for. I came to the Ministry Center and believe me or not but I did receive peace, care, love, faith and hope that God’s will will be done. It’s been two years since then and I keep coming to the place where I found God.

I go there with joy. I know that I’ll always be encouraged, helped, hugged, kissed. I didn’t so much love in my childhood as I see here now. The staff of the there are like mothers, fathers, grandmas, brothers and sisters for us. They take such good care of us and make sure we feel protected and secure. I thank God for this gift, for the place where orphan kids can get help, where they get understanding that they belong here on earth and that they are the same people – they just don’t have parents.

I’ve also met a lot of friends from America thru Children's HopeChest. I love them all very much and am very thankful to them for not abandoning me. I’ve also been to a lot of camps. I really like family hours. I like to listen to American people tell their stories about their life.

You can do so many things when people love you at a place like this. You can play, you can do laundry, you can find somebody to talk to and you’ll always be listened to and encouraged, you can watch good movies, you can go to the dentist… It’s like a dream and all is done for us. I really respect all the staff from Children's HopeChest. I wish them many many years."

Valya has a very interesting life story. She had been in the orphanage system since she was a preschooler. As a small child, she lived in one orphanage and then was transferred to a special curriculum boarding school where she spent 9 years. She didn’t have any choice as to where to go or study. So she was sent to one of the worst tech schools in the region to study interior decoration (nothing more than painting walls and putting up the wallpaper – a holding tank) for a year. She was the only girl to graduate – all the other girls left, got pregnant, and lived on the street. I visited her here and it was a literal nightmare.

She “survived” that year, with horrible living conditions and people breaking into her room and stealing the little she had. After graduation Valya came to Kostroma with no place to live and no place to go. She lived at the Ministry Center for a few months until CHC found her an apartment to share with another girl. CHC helped Valya to go to a different tech school for two years to study sewing. She just graduated and is working as a seamstress at one of the sewing companies in Kostroma. Sadly, her mother recently died because she was totally lost and her life consisted of nothing more than drinking and begging.

Now, Valya is doing very well. She is very sensible, purposeful, and has really good moral grounds. She openly admits that without Hopechest she would not have survived and made it in life. The very fact that someone loved her, gave her the strength to carry on.

This is really what life is about: Making a difference in the life of one orphan. Jesus told us in Matthew 25 how important this kind of ministry is, "As you've done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!"

September 14, 2006

The Sword of the Lord and Gideon

Wonder what I'm doing this week? Ministering with, and to, the next generation of LIONS!

And I'm loving it! It's about orphans, church planting, and the nations. Want to come along?! These are our World Racers,

Dream of a generation fully alive  9/14/2006

Posted by Seth Barnes

I feel a little crazy sharing this, but I’m consumed by this thing, so I have to throw it out there. You see, there is the dream I can’t shake. In my mind's eye, I see a generation fully alive.

They live in community and work by teams. They are initiated into life in the Kingdom and know what it is to celebrate and minister on a daily basis.They have been deeply discipled and have experienced the walk of intimacy with the Father and the flow of ministry thru their fingers to broken people in their community and around the world.

They have been broken by the world’s pain and have abandoned the idols and adolescent amusements that used to keep them numb and ineffective. They have connected with widows and orphans in war-torn and AIDS-devastated places and understand what it costs to bring Jesus there. They have laid down their lives.

They have sold their earthly treasures for the pearl of great price, living simply and unencumbered so they can travel light. They are scattered across America and around the world. And in those places, they have awakened to their Kingdom identity and call. They have learned how to incarnate Christ in places where Hell had established a stronghold. They are building churches and orphanages. They are transforming their communities.

They are a generation that will cross over the Jordan to the promised land. They have their eye on the prize and are running hard after it.

I’ve seen the first fruits of this dream out on my lawn this week. They are amazing. I believe tens of thousands will follow after them.

September 13, 2006

A Prayer for Children in Need

Swazi_3_279The girl in the pink is the mom and the dad for her family. She finds the food, the water, all they need to survive. These children are known as 'the head of the household.' She's about 9 years old and both of her parents have died from AIDS. Now, she's trying to care for her little brother and sister - all alone.

Many days and nights there is nothing for any of them to eat. So, a man will come knocking on her door and offer her a loaf of bread in exchange for her body. She will have no choice but to accept - or starve. Tragically, this is too often the story for these children in Africa.

My goal is to make sure that in the places we work this never, ever happens. There will always be food and there will always be a safe place to sleep because of the churches, businesses and partners who are connected with Children's HopeChest.

Please pray this prayer for the vulnerable children in Africa. Few people ever pray for them. It could be the difference between life and death:

We admit today, O Lord, the sorry state of the world. We have allowed hunger a poverty to exist so long that for millions it is the only way of life they have ever known. We have allowed too many children to pass from this life without tasting of the blessings that we take for granted every day.

Help us to see the world differently. Help us not to despair over the world’s poverty but to seek ways to end it. You told us the poor would always be with us, and for that reason we must open our hands and our hearts. Keep us from the callous unconcern that tends to take hold of those who have what they need for safety and security. Stir us with a vision of your own work in the world, and how you chose to do that work among us.

We pray for the children in Africa. Protect them from evil, nourish them, guide them by Your Holy Spirit and send your people to rescue them.


September 11, 2006

Voiceless Children

Convar287This past weekend I spoke at Irving Bible Church outside of Dallas, Texas. A huge church of about 8,000 people - a little overwhelming, to say the least. If you care to hear the message you can download it here: IrvingBibleChurch.mp3.

The title they chose was "Voiceless Children." My mind began to churn, thinking about what our response should be to those who have no voice. Have you stopped to consider what your response should be? Making a difference in the life of only one voiceless child, could alter your destiny, maybe even the destiny of an entire nation.

This is exactly what happened when Mordecai had compassion on a little girl who was orphaned. Esther 2:7 explains, "Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died."

And because he did, an entire nation was transformed because of one little orphan girl. That's the power of compassion, God's heart for the orphan, and adoption all wrapped up into one! Russia_april_06_707 Esther had incredible favor with the King and did something nobody else could do. In Chapter 4, God's timing and purpose comes together as Esther is asked, "who knows if you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" And the entire Jewish nation was spared.

So who knows if at this moment you and I are supposed to make a difference in the life of a voiceless child? They could be the next president of their country, they could invent the cure for cancer, they could enter God's kingdom - just because we cared enough to act on our compassion.

September 07, 2006

The Whisper of God

"Lo these are the outskirts of His ways; and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?" Job 26:14

One of my favorite versus in the entire Bible! Do we hear His whisper? The truth is, if we can't hear the whisper, we won't recognize His power.

First is the issue of the whisper. God is speaking. Every week, every day, every morning and every night. The question is, "Am I listening?" Honestly, this is a hard issue for me to implement. There are so many other things that get in the way of me hearing God's voice. It's called Life!! Taking kids to school, work, football practice, taking out the trash, talking on the phone, ugh! Can you relate? I need to learn to be still so I can hear Him speaking, because he is always speaking, I'm just not listening.

Second, I firmly believe that the best place to find God's whisper is in the life of an orphan. You can't miss it. It's in their eyes, their voices, their actions, it's clear as day. He is the least of these. This is where Christ is hidden.

I have taken hundreds of people to minster to orphans around the world and nothing impacts their lives more than seeing Jesus in the eyes of a hurting child. "God's ways are not our ways," it tells us in Isaiah 55. And His way is the way of an orphan.

Third, God always sends exactly what is needed. And this is what He does in our lives. We can trust in His faithfulness.

"He never sends a flood if a shower will do; never sends a fortune if a shilling will do; never sends an army if a man will do. And He never thunders if a whisper will do." This quote is from F. W. Boreham, one of my favorite authors in the world. He is pictured on the right. With a little work, I have managed to collect his entire collection of 53 books, many of which are out of print. You can still find them on Ebay and at He is also the favorite author of Billy Graham and Ravi Zacharias,

God's method is always a man (and a woman). And that's you! You are His answer, He has called you by name, are you listening to His voice?!

Is your desire to feel and know the thunder of God's power? Then learn to hear the whisper - the rest will follow.

September 05, 2006

The Value of a Child

Africa_dan_snipes_097The world's children are a hidden, kingdom wonder.

Just this morning I was doing a Bible study with my kids on Matthew 13 - about the parable of the "hidden treasure" and the "pearl of great price." The person in the parable went and sold all they had in order to find this incredible treasure. They laid everything on the line and refused to give into their fears and the negative voices in their heads telling them they were nuts. The reality of finding this treasure was worth giving up everything. Now, they had something to live for. Something to get them up early and keep them up late - a passion for life.

When you discover Christ in the eyes of the world's children. You too, will sell all you have to help just one. It's worth everything! The orphans of the world are 'King's kids.' God's precious little ones and he gives us the privilege to rescue them and discover Him in the process. There is absolutely nothing better to live for. That's why James 1:27 says that "pure religion is visiting the orphan in their distress."

It's also why G. K. Chesterton (one of my favorite authors) said that we need something else to live for - something that wakes us up to what life is really about. Because if we are paying attention, the poor, hurting children, even fairy tales point out to us what matters most, ""This proves that even nursery tales only echo an almost pre-natal leap of interest and amazement. These tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water."
"The Ethics of Elfland," Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton

In other words, we need golden apples in fairy tales because we have forgotten that there are red ones in our own stories. We need to love the orphans in the world, because we have forgotten that we are orphans ourselves. This is not our home, we don't belong to this earth, we are strangers in this land - and we are waiting for creation to be restored and for God's Kingdom to reign in its fullness. Until then, we love what God loves most. The forgotten, the alienated, and the marginalized. "As we have done it unto the least of these, we have done it unto Him!" Matthew 25:40.

These kids are taking a moment to pray and thank God for the meal they are about to eat. Maybe the only one they will have for another few days or even a week. Pray for them. And while you're at it, listen to that voice inside of you that cries out for adventure. Take a step of blind faith and trust God for what happens next!

If you're really adventurous and you want to give the next 319 days to visit 14 countries and minister to orphans and plant churches, check into an event that will change you forever, The World Race. I, and my closest friends are helping to lead this unbelievable experience - and you can be a part!

September 01, 2006

I Never Even Knew Her Name

South_africa_026On the South African portion of our trip, I met this beautiful little girl in Durban. She was at the St. Mary's Hospital for victims with AIDS. I used to have a stigma about this disease; who contracted it, why, etc. None of that matters any more after meeting the baby on your right.

She was only days from death. No fault of her own I can assure you - she contracted HIV from her mother at birth. Now, she is dying from TB which is one of the chief diseases leading to death and caused by HIV.

I was incredibly broken hearted after seeing this sweet angel. She forced her eyes open just enough to look at me. I prayed for her - prayed for mercy and prayed she wouldn't be in pain. This is one of the saddest facets of visiting Africa, but it's reality. We must do something to help this continent Bono describes as "on fire." We must be hope and we must look to sustain others who are bringing that hope.

An incredibly bright part of this trip was to a place called Shepherd's Keep. A Christian baby home dedicated to rescuing HIV babies who had been abandoned. After proper nutrition, lots of love and care, and many prayers - 75% of these babies turn zero-negative. The disease is completely out of their bodies. I never even knew this was possible. An amazing evidence to me of God's grace and mercy in the lives of children. Maybe, if there were more places like Shepherd's Keep, she'd still be alive. That's what Children's HopeChest is seeking to accomplish.

Please remember the children in Swaziland and South Africa. Even if a child makes it to 15 in Swaziland, they have a 6% chance of living to 35. This country needs help, it needs Christ, there is no other answer.

I am happy to say that we have our first sponsorship in Swaziland as of today! Vanguard Church of Colorado Springs is sponsoring a care point outside of Mbabane, Swaziland of 125 children. Four of the other churches on the trip are currently making decisions about which places they will sponsor. Please email me if you'd like to be involved.