Tuesday, January 13, 2009


For our nearly 4 1/2 years at River Stone, our insurance situation has been unstable at best. We started a church with no financial backing and were willing to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to do what God has called us to do. Insurance has been something we've sacrificed off and on just to make ends meet. These days, things are better, and the church is in a position to help out with that expense, So, I began insurance shopping. I filled out the online application and waited to hear from them. They called to ask about Jacob's allergies. I explained the situation, and they acted like it was no big deal. He takes Claritin from time to time so he won't sneeze. No big deal. A few more days, and we still haven't heard anything. So, today I called to see what the deal was... I found out that Jacob was approved with a 20% increase in the premium because he's allergic to stuff, but Holly and I were denied. I inquired as to why, and I'm still beside myself ... "You're expecting a baby." "Because you're adopting, we treat that as if you were pregnant, and we don't cover maternity, and we're required to add your new baby within 30 days, and we're not willing to take that risk. " Really?!?! I argued and complained, but couldn't get her to stray from the script.

Adoption is this crazy thing. We've begun to walk through these steps - making sure our house is in order, preparing for a home study, networking and trying to find out which means you want to use to connect with your baby, praying that God would bring you the right baby at the right time in the right way according to His will, and dealing with the fact that this could cost you in the $10,000-$20,000 range. Then you wonder about the birth mom and the health of the baby. You wonder what race, what gender, what personality, how will Jake do as a big brother? Every day walking, praying, waiting, and thinking about all of the hurdles you have to jump over to come to the place of bringing a baby home. It was a hurdle to move Jacob's room so that we can start to get a nursery ready. It's a hurdle to brainstorm fundraising ideas. It's a hurdle to put your life on hold because it's better to prepare for a new baby. There are so many hurdles. I never in my wildest of dreams would've guessed that adopting would cost us our opportunity to get health insurance. I know the insurance world is very broken, but are you kidding me?

The Lord is faithful, and He always comes through for us, but I am so irritated about having to jump over a hurdle I thought we were already over. But, since when do things happen like I expect them to happen anyway? None the less, I'm angry and trying to understand a world that punishes you for wanting to bring home a baby that needs a home. For the love!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bigger and Better

This morning I was preaching on Joshua chapter one where Joshua takes over after the death of Moses.  I talked about how God's plan and promise is bigger than any one person.  The vision of every church should be bigger than any one leader can accomplish.  We should be leading our churches with future generations in mind.  If our churches don't outlast us, then we're doing something terribly wrong.  
A couple of years ago, Norman took Holly and I to the Chichester Catherdral in the UK.  On the wall was this plaque with all of the Bishops/Pastors.  The one at the very top lists S. Wilfrid as the Bishop of this church in the year AD 680.  The most astounding thing is that the ministries of this church are alive and well today.  1500 years of ministry. 1500 years of the Gospel being preached in one place.  
I like to keep our 4 years of River Stone in perspective.  It's been a great ride, but we've got a long way to go.  God's plan is bigger and better than what we could ever plan for ourselves.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Opportunity Missed

Pizza on my birthday is a tradition that started with visitng my Grandparents most Christmases in Minnesota.  White Christmases with my Grandpa Norman reading the Christmas story are occasions I will cherish forever and never forget.  My birthday is the day after Christmas, and my family would always take me out for pizza at Angeno's.  It was always very special for me having the same cast of characters who came together the day before come together again to celebrate with me. This year, I thought I didn't care very much about celebrating my birthday.  We had Holly's extended family's Christmas time on the night of my birthday - which was great.  So, we went and had wings for lunch (always a great birthday option).  When some of my Minnesota family members left me facebook birthday messages, they mentioned pizza.  I began to regret the fact that I chose wings over pizza.  So, last night we made up for it.  We went to Mangia's in Austin for my birthday pizza.  It was truly a pizza pie, and it was delicious.  Holly and her mom ordered a pizza to share that they messed up.  The waitress told them to eat on the messed up one if they wanted and that she would bring the right one at no charge.  So, they did, and we ended up with a whole pizza to go.  I put the pizza in the back as we drove down to Mozart's for dessert and then on to Westgate for a movie. 

I don't know about you, but I always struggle with how to react to someone who approaches me asking for money when I'm getting out of my car.  I wrestle with my call to take care of the poor, to help the helpless, to demonstrate the love of Jesus.  Am I enabling?  Am I really helping?  What's the best scenario for this person at this time?  If I have change in my pocket or some cash, I will typically give something.  Many times it will be a fluke that I even had anything to give, and I count it as a sovereign moment.  Other times, I don't have anything to give and respectfully decline.  Last night,  as I was getting Jacob out of the car, we were approached by a homeless lady asking for help with food.  Immediately I became a victim of my own thought processes... do I, don't I...errrr...  I had no cash, no change, and I even pre-paid for my movie tickets online.  I didn't think I could help this lady, so I apologetically declined. 

This morning, I brought a couple of boxes of books to the office that had been in the car for most of the week.  When I opened the back, I found the to go box with a whole pizza in it.  My heart sank.  I still feel horrible.  She asked for food, and I had a whole pizza in the car from one of the best places we've ever been to.  It didn't even cross my mind.  So, I use this today as a sort of public confession.  Out of my abudance, I had the opportunity to feed the hungry, and I dropped the ball.  Thank God my ommission is met by His tender grace, but I hate that I missed an opportunity to bring the Kingdom.