LUKEWARM Initiative Development Team

Mark (& Kristy) Vanderlip, Founder & Volunteer Team Leader

God adopted me into His Family at a young age. He showed me that Jesus is God and I accepted Him into my life as my Lord and my Savior. I knew that He died on that cross to separate me from my sins so that I could be connected to Him and enter into the eternal presence of our pure God. My immediate and extended family members loved Jesus and also influenced me, through their words and actions, to choose to love Jesus. But, throughout much of my life I had lacked a sense of connection to my life purpose – why God has me here – and all my actions and feelings of meaningfulness in my life had been ‘lukewarm.’ A lot of times my life looked a lot like someone who didn’t have a close relationship with Jesus.  The Christian marital covenant I made with Kristy and God has always been important to me, but in February, 2013 (our firstborn, Calvin was six months old at the time), as I listened to my pastor, Doug Hayes, teach about our salvation covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father, I realized I had not been investing in, and upholding, that covenant with God. I began to talk to God about this. I committed an hour a day to spending active time with my Creator. Through these times, and while reading His Living Word, the Holy Bible, I began to hear from Him about what my purpose is in this short life: to be intimately connected to God and to let Him change me so that I can love like Jesus loves. He also started to change me and make me more generous with my time, resources, and abilities. He showed me that these things were not mine to use selfishly, but they were His and were to be used to bring honor and glory to Him. I’m noticing that the more I ‘get’ this, the more I am becoming intimately connected to God and His purpose for my life. It’s exhilarating and renewing. It’s difficult, tiring, and sometimes painful. And, I would never want to go back to how things were before February of 2013: comfortable and lukewarm.  In early 2015, not long before the time our second son, Henry Luke, was born, God kept me up especially late one night praying and thinking. It didn’t seem like the best timing for Him to give me the LUKEWARM Initiative, but I’m slowly learning that He knows what He’s doing. We had done some foster care off-and-on over the past several years, and planned to do more in the future. We were thinking we would like to adopt through foster care. I was up late that night burdened by the fact that many children are being aborted and forgotten or coming home from the hospital to a broken family without a father, or a mother, and without the hope of Jesus’ love. At the same time I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s healing, active love toward my wife, Kristy, and I, and our beautiful little growing family. I was struck by the active Christian love of our church family who had become an incredibly encouraging support to us over the past few years. I was excited to have Henry be loved by our church family in the same way as his older brother, Calvin, has been. And, while thinking and feeling all this, I kept coming back to 2nd Chronicles 7:14 (where God says, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”), and Revelation 3:15,16 (where our Creator says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”), and James 1:27 (Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.).  God used 2nd Chronicles 7:14 to show me that it wasn’t up to our President and our politicians to heal our land, but up to Christians who will humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked/passive/lukewarm ways. I saw many in my church family doing these things well already. And if pure and undefiled religion in the eyes of God is to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, I knew my church could and would do that if God opened their hearts & eyes to it. And if my church would do it, many other churches would do the same if we prayed for the Holy Spirit to heal our land through churches being the active Body of Christ to the most vulnerable and needy people in our world.  Very soon, I began to notice that God was showing many other people the very same things that He was showing me. So we began to work together on the LUKEWARM Initiative, and to pray together, and God started to connect us to other people to whom He had given the same passion. He began to encourage us, and to amaze us through obvious and specific answers to our prayers. We knew then, if we hadn’t known already, that this was His and that He will use it to bring honor and glory to Himself, because he is God. He is our Father, who adopted us into His Family first. We will do the same.

God adopted me into His Family at a young age. He showed me that Jesus is God and I accepted Him into my life as my Lord and my Savior. I knew that He died on that cross to separate me from my sins so that I could be connected to Him and enter into the eternal presence of our pure God. My immediate and extended family members loved Jesus and also influenced me, through their words and actions, to choose to love Jesus. But, throughout much of my life I had lacked a sense of connection to my life purpose – why God has me here – and all my actions and feelings of meaningfulness in my life had been ‘lukewarm.’ A lot of times my life looked a lot like someone who didn’t have a close relationship with Jesus.

The Christian marital covenant I made with Kristy and God has always been important to me, but in February, 2013 (our firstborn, Calvin was six months old at the time), as I listened to my pastor, Doug Hayes, teach about our salvation covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father, I realized I had not been investing in, and upholding, that covenant with God. I began to talk to God about this. I committed an hour a day to spending active time with my Creator. Through these times, and while reading His Living Word, the Holy Bible, I began to hear from Him about what my purpose is in this short life: to be intimately connected to God and to let Him change me so that I can love like Jesus loves. He also started to change me and make me more generous with my time, resources, and abilities. He showed me that these things were not mine to use selfishly, but they were His and were to be used to bring honor and glory to Him. I’m noticing that the more I ‘get’ this, the more I am becoming intimately connected to God and His purpose for my life. It’s exhilarating and renewing. It’s difficult, tiring, and sometimes painful. And, I would never want to go back to how things were before February of 2013: comfortable and lukewarm.

In early 2015, not long before the time our second son, Henry Luke, was born, God kept me up especially late one night praying and thinking. It didn’t seem like the best timing for Him to give me the LUKEWARM Initiative, but I’m slowly learning that He knows what He’s doing. We had done some foster care off-and-on over the past several years, and planned to do more in the future. We were thinking we would like to adopt through foster care. I was up late that night burdened by the fact that many children are being aborted and forgotten or coming home from the hospital to a broken family without a father, or a mother, and without the hope of Jesus’ love. At the same time I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s healing, active love toward my wife, Kristy, and I, and our beautiful little growing family. I was struck by the active Christian love of our church family who had become an incredibly encouraging support to us over the past few years. I was excited to have Henry be loved by our church family in the same way as his older brother, Calvin, has been. And, while thinking and feeling all this, I kept coming back to 2nd Chronicles 7:14 (where God says, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”), and Revelation 3:15,16 (where our Creator says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”), and James 1:27 (Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.).

God used 2nd Chronicles 7:14 to show me that it wasn’t up to our President and our politicians to heal our land, but up to Christians who will humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked/passive/lukewarm ways. I saw many in my church family doing these things well already. And if pure and undefiled religion in the eyes of God is to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, I knew my church could and would do that if God opened their hearts & eyes to it. And if my church would do it, many other churches would do the same if we prayed for the Holy Spirit to heal our land through churches being the active Body of Christ to the most vulnerable and needy people in our world.

Very soon, I began to notice that God was showing many other people the very same things that He was showing me. So we began to work together on the LUKEWARM Initiative, and to pray together, and God started to connect us to other people to whom He had given the same passion. He began to encourage us, and to amaze us through obvious and specific answers to our prayers. We knew then, if we hadn’t known already, that this was His and that He will use it to bring honor and glory to Himself, because he is God. He is our Father, who adopted us into His Family first. We will do the same.

Volunteer Team Members

Summer & Charles Corn

Charles & Summer Corn met while completing their undergraduate degrees at Bryan College. They got married their last year of college, and have been happily married for over 3 years. They recently welcomed their first child into their family. Eden Anastasia was born in April of 2015.  They are interested in adoption because they see the spiritual implications of orphan care. As the first to join the LUKEWARM Initiative development team, their passion for Christian adoption (God modeling adoption by choosing and accepting us into His Family) fueled the early direction of the initiative and helped shape the team’s focus. The Corns hope to add many children to their family in the future through whatever means the Lord decides.  Today, the Corns are located in Louisville, KY where they relocated for Charles to pursue a Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Their plan is to reside in Louisville for the remainder of Charles’ degree. Their ultimate goal is to go overseas as missionaries.

Charles & Summer Corn met while completing their undergraduate degrees at Bryan College. They got married their last year of college, and have been happily married for over 3 years. They recently welcomed their first child into their family. Eden Anastasia was born in April of 2015.

They are interested in adoption because they see the spiritual implications of orphan care. As the first to join the LUKEWARM Initiative development team, their passion for Christian adoption (God modeling adoption by choosing and accepting us into His Family) fueled the early direction of the initiative and helped shape the team’s focus. The Corns hope to add many children to their family in the future through whatever means the Lord decides.

Today, the Corns are located in Louisville, KY where they relocated for Charles to pursue a Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Their plan is to reside in Louisville for the remainder of Charles’ degree. Their ultimate goal is to go overseas as missionaries.

Volunteer Team Members

Brittany & Chris Liberatore

Chris and I live in Clarkesville, Georgia, along with out daughter Emma. We have one son in heaven and another on the way, and love the adventure of parenting! Lord willing, we also hope to add to our family through adoption in the future.  I came to a relationship with the Lord when I was 14 years old, but the gravity of what that meant and looked like didn’t hit me until I was engaged and preparing for marriage at the age of 20. Since then, I have been earnestly seeking God and thanking Jesus for promising to make me more like Him. It has been during this process of sanctification that God has given me a deep desire to care for the orphans of our world today. It is my great prayer that God uses this initiative to transform the lives of countless orphans in our country and world – that they would be rescued from the hardship that life without parents is, and that they would ultimately come to a relationship with Jesus to live a life serving and loving Him.

Chris and I live in Clarkesville, Georgia, along with out daughter Emma. We have one son in heaven and another on the way, and love the adventure of parenting! Lord willing, we also hope to add to our family through adoption in the future.

I came to a relationship with the Lord when I was 14 years old, but the gravity of what that meant and looked like didn’t hit me until I was engaged and preparing for marriage at the age of 20. Since then, I have been earnestly seeking God and thanking Jesus for promising to make me more like Him. It has been during this process of sanctification that God has given me a deep desire to care for the orphans of our world today. It is my great prayer that God uses this initiative to transform the lives of countless orphans in our country and world – that they would be rescued from the hardship that life without parents is, and that they would ultimately come to a relationship with Jesus to live a life serving and loving Him.

Volunteer Team Members

Pastor Doug (& DeAnn) Hayes

Currently serving as the pastor of Everett Hills Baptist Church, Pastor Doug Hayes and his family have the experience of serving on the international mission field in various countries. He has seen, first hand, the need for the Lord’s church to reach out to the orphans and the widows of this world.  He believes this work is essential and notes that “God’s word explains, (Pure undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27). I was overjoyed when Mark Vanderlip approached me about what God was birthing in His heart. As a pastor, what an incredible opportunity to allow a church the ability to adopt children into the fellowship of our church family as well as help Christian families realize their dream of raising a child.  The LUKEWARM Initiative provides the structured plan needed for churches to support these families in adoption and to inspire other churches to adopt this initiative and transform many lives for the glory of God. The reason I wanted to be a part of this movement was very simple. Churches can adopt a mission that is God centered, church transforming, child changing, family forming, and widow honoring.”

Currently serving as the pastor of Everett Hills Baptist Church, Pastor Doug Hayes and his family have the experience of serving on the international mission field in various countries. He has seen, first hand, the need for the Lord’s church to reach out to the orphans and the widows of this world.

He believes this work is essential and notes that “God’s word explains, (Pure undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their time of need, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27). I was overjoyed when Mark Vanderlip approached me about what God was birthing in His heart. As a pastor, what an incredible opportunity to allow a church the ability to adopt children into the fellowship of our church family as well as help Christian families realize their dream of raising a child.  The LUKEWARM Initiative provides the structured plan needed for churches to support these families in adoption and to inspire other churches to adopt this initiative and transform many lives for the glory of God. The reason I wanted to be a part of this movement was very simple. Churches can adopt a mission that is God centered, church transforming, child changing, family forming, and widow honoring.”

Volunteer Team Member

Brittany (& Hank) Hepperly

Adoption has always been close to my heart, because I am a recipient of this sacrificial act of love. I was born in Seoul, Korea, and at 22 months was adopted by two amazing parents who raised me in Maryville, TN where I still live today. They gave me a life full of love and opportunities. Most importantly, they loved God, and as a young child, I accepted Christ as my Savior. However, it wasn’t until my teen years that I truly knew what it meant to be a daughter of God and to fully live out my identity in Christ. With that said, my adoption story has always been a part of who I am and one that has instilled such a deep appreciation for life and a strong conviction to defend and protect the unborn. It has also significantly influenced my decision to pursue a career in counseling, and I am truly humbled that God continues to use me in this capacity.  When I was younger, I often envisioned what my life could have been like if my birth mother chose a different path. Many times I felt undeserving of the life that God so graciously planned for me as I recognized so many others in less than ideal circumstances. I know that it is by God’s grace that He has granted me this life. I also recognize that the blessings and opportunities that God has afforded me are not merely for my own benefit but to Glorify Him and to draw people to Him. Although everyone’s story in unique, we are all created for a specific and unique purpose that far exceeds ourselves. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Ephesians 2:10 also says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Though God’s perfect will continues to unfold, my deepest desire is for my life and my testimony to be a true reflection of the Love of God and the saving Grace of Jesus Christ so that others will have an opportunity to know the true source of hope, peace, love, and healing.  As I become more aware of my purpose and more obedient to God’s will, I see Him opening doors and providing opportunities for ministry that are aligned with the passions He has placed in my heart, and the LUKEWARM Initiative is one of those opportunities. When Mark invited me to be a part of his team, I quickly realized that this could be a great vehicle to accomplish many things for the Kingdom of God. First, it provides opportunities for children to be placed in loving-Christian homes. Second, it provides a family who has a desire to adopt with the financial means to do so as well as a spiritual covering from fellow Christians as these families navigate through the transitions of life that come with adopting a child. Third, it gives individuals a way to walk out their convictions to protect and defend the unborn by advocating a loving option which is Adoption. Adoption is such a beautiful story of love and second chances and a true reflection of God’s redemptive love which is reflected in Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 8:15-16. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ” and “We have received God’s spirit when he adopted us as his own children. Now we call Him Abba Father. For His spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s Children…and his heirs.” I am so thankful to be called God’s daughter and to be a part of an initiative that can be a vehicle to change lives and most importantly extend the Love of Christ to others.      Other Important Contributors :  Greg & Robin Russell, Team Faith, Expectant Adoptive Parents  Meghan Posey, Camelot Care Centers  Lauren Wilson, Bethany Christian Services  Kristin Miller, Adoptive Parent, KAFCAM  Chante’ Hensley, Adoptive Parent,  Bethany Christian Services, and Fostering Hope TN  Ed Davis, Adoptive Parent  Jose’ Salas, Volunteer Logo Designer  James Cureton, Initial Volunteer Web Designer  Douglas Hayes, Volunteer Web Designer  Everett Hills Baptist Church, Our Church Family & Prayer Warriors

Adoption has always been close to my heart, because I am a recipient of this sacrificial act of love. I was born in Seoul, Korea, and at 22 months was adopted by two amazing parents who raised me in Maryville, TN where I still live today. They gave me a life full of love and opportunities. Most importantly, they loved God, and as a young child, I accepted Christ as my Savior. However, it wasn’t until my teen years that I truly knew what it meant to be a daughter of God and to fully live out my identity in Christ. With that said, my adoption story has always been a part of who I am and one that has instilled such a deep appreciation for life and a strong conviction to defend and protect the unborn. It has also significantly influenced my decision to pursue a career in counseling, and I am truly humbled that God continues to use me in this capacity.

When I was younger, I often envisioned what my life could have been like if my birth mother chose a different path. Many times I felt undeserving of the life that God so graciously planned for me as I recognized so many others in less than ideal circumstances. I know that it is by God’s grace that He has granted me this life. I also recognize that the blessings and opportunities that God has afforded me are not merely for my own benefit but to Glorify Him and to draw people to Him. Although everyone’s story in unique, we are all created for a specific and unique purpose that far exceeds ourselves. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Ephesians 2:10 also says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Though God’s perfect will continues to unfold, my deepest desire is for my life and my testimony to be a true reflection of the Love of God and the saving Grace of Jesus Christ so that others will have an opportunity to know the true source of hope, peace, love, and healing.

As I become more aware of my purpose and more obedient to God’s will, I see Him opening doors and providing opportunities for ministry that are aligned with the passions He has placed in my heart, and the LUKEWARM Initiative is one of those opportunities. When Mark invited me to be a part of his team, I quickly realized that this could be a great vehicle to accomplish many things for the Kingdom of God. First, it provides opportunities for children to be placed in loving-Christian homes. Second, it provides a family who has a desire to adopt with the financial means to do so as well as a spiritual covering from fellow Christians as these families navigate through the transitions of life that come with adopting a child. Third, it gives individuals a way to walk out their convictions to protect and defend the unborn by advocating a loving option which is Adoption. Adoption is such a beautiful story of love and second chances and a true reflection of God’s redemptive love which is reflected in Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 8:15-16. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ” and “We have received God’s spirit when he adopted us as his own children. Now we call Him Abba Father. For His spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s Children…and his heirs.” I am so thankful to be called God’s daughter and to be a part of an initiative that can be a vehicle to change lives and most importantly extend the Love of Christ to others.

 

Other Important Contributors:

Greg & Robin Russell, Team Faith, Expectant Adoptive Parents

Meghan Posey, Camelot Care Centers

Lauren Wilson, Bethany Christian Services

Kristin Miller, Adoptive Parent, KAFCAM

Chante’ Hensley, Adoptive Parent,

Bethany Christian Services, and Fostering Hope TN

Ed Davis, Adoptive Parent

Jose’ Salas, Volunteer Logo Designer

James Cureton, Initial Volunteer Web Designer

Douglas Hayes, Volunteer Web Designer

Everett Hills Baptist Church, Our Church Family & Prayer Warriors