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.