A [Late] Response to the Refugee Crisis

Earlier this week I read this post where a Muslim family had a vision of Jesus. Jesus told them a man named Daniel would visit them and tell them more about him. Sure enough, a missionary from Vermont showed up at their doorstep and said he was Daniel and he was there to tell them about Jesus. The entire family asked to hear about Christ and accepted him.

It is stories like these that show me that God is at work even among, and maybe most among, refugees.

It reminded me of a post I wrote in November about the refugees, when the topic was often in the media. I had some convictions, but got too scared to share them. It’s funny when you run a podcast about obedience that God keeps calling you to do even small things and yet you feel too much fear still to obey.

So, today I’m confessing I disobeyed and yet, I felt God saying it’s not too late to share. So, I guess I want to say today that God is at work in the refugee crisis and I believe he’s inviting us to play a part. It’s clear he doesn’t need us to make himself known, but we have the honor to be part of the body of Christ if we choose.

 

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Many, many other words have been said on the subject of refugees. An ocean of them. But as it turns out, I feel as if I ought to add my drop. (This is a must-read and I like this one too) Let me make my stand on the matter clearly and quickly: I do not oppose letting them in.  The more I read about Scripture and listen to people’s stories about how God is working in their lives, the more I am convinced our only job is to love each other at the cost of ourselves. In John 15, Jesus says this is the way to complete joy. Embedded in that is God’s desire to take care of the oppressed, the poor, the naked, the alien. I have been asking God lately who the oppressed are around me. He’s been answering me most recently with the Syrian refugees.

In light of that, I have learned that it is futile to do anything but ask God, if this is what your word says, then will you please make this true in my life? This is the picture of abiding with Christ: you understand what Christ is like through Scripture, you ask him to make you more like that, and then you obey His Spirit when he reveals it to you. What that looks like in this case for you may be to open your home, but it may be to donate financially, or a million different things. I couldn’t say.

I don’t have any other answers aside from that. We must each seek God to know what he requires of us in this time, but I can guarantee you His heart is always with the oppressed.

I recognize the fear. And I recognize it well because it’s the same fear I had before we adopted. The child was not a name or a face, but “an orphan”. And that “orphan” was scary to me. Many, many times I had visions of him shooting us with one of Scott’s guns, coming after me with kitchen knives, or losing it and hurting one of our girls. “The orphan” was dangerous and did I really think it was safe to invite him into my home? It turns out that my son sometimes doesn’t even know the right side of the blade on a knife to use. My family knows I have room to say that because there is a very classic story of me using the wrong side of the knife to cut something as a teenager. The point is: often the fear is unfounded or blown out of proportion.

And man, I get it. Do the vetting. Ask the questions. Let’s be as safe as possible.

But as Jeremy says, this is scary and dangerous. There is no doubt there are risks. But, God never promises safety. Look at his prophets and disciples. Or Jesus himself who was innocent and obeyed His Father to lay down his life. This is not a safe calling. Saying that we’re not safe is not a good excuse to disobey God. He is the God of Daniel and the lions den and Jonah and the whale, after all. Jesus says if you love me, you must obey. So, whatever that thing is he answers for you up there about how to help the foreigner and oppressed, you have to do it, safe or not.

I have pondered whether God is scattering these people and bringing them to our doorstep because many never obeyed the call to actually go to them. Could it be he is bringing them to our doorsteps and saying since you won’t go and make disciples, could you at least let them in and make disciples? I wouldn’t ever try to understand God’s motives. I can’t. He tells me I can’t. But I do wonder what kind of opportunity is staring us in the face that we’re too scared, hard-hearted, or prideful to see.

And so, Christian, my challenge for you and me is to, in prayer, agree with God’s word that he wants to see the oppressed taken care of and then ask what do you require of me?

Feathers Season 3 Episode 7 with Nicki Koziarz: Moving Out and Not Quitting

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In this episode, I interview Nicki Koziarz.

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Nicki Koziarz is a speaker, writer & leader in today’s generation. She is on staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries, where she gets to help lead thousands of women through their online Bible studies. Her first book, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit releases in March of 2016 and the Bible study to follow in May 2016. One of the greatest joy’s in her life is being a wife to Kris and mom to 3 amazing girls: Taylor, Hope & Kennedy. They also have a slightly famous pug, Herman.

Nicki and I chat about her family’s move from the suburbs to a family farm.

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 Links from the Episode

Quotes

Sometimes we often discount what God is doing because we are so determined to go our own way.

As women who are pursuing obedience with Jesus Christ, there will always be opportunities for opposition in our lives when it comes to stepping all the way through with God. Every opposition is an opportunity for God to reveal His power.

When you’re trying to obey God you already have enough self-doubt to deal with.

To become a woman who doesn’t quit, we keep going until the last possible second until there are no other options, all of our options have been exhausted and we know we have been so faithful to God.

It’s so important that your God-dream it’s in alignment with who we’re aligned with.

God will put the right person with you to walk right beside you.

God has never called us to this island of isolation.

Habit #3: She stays open to the movement of God in her life.

When we get to a place of humility and surrender holding hands, that’s where we begin to see the movement of God in our lives.

Scripture

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

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Feathers Season 3 Episode 6 with Jamie Ivey: Adoption and The Domino Effect

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In this episode, I interview Jamie Ivey.

Jamie is a podcaster, writer, and speaker from Austin, Texas. She is the proud mama of four kids and the wife of Aaron, worship pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church. Jamie loves to encourage women to passionately follow Jesus through whatever stage of life. She does this through writing and her weekly podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.

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Jamie shares the story of her three adoptions. We discuss how her adoption impacted our family’s adoption. We chat about the hard stuff, the good stuff, and the scary stuff of adoptions.

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Feathers Season 3 Episode 5 with Emily Stroud: Telling Your Story and Managing Your Money

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In this episode, I interview Emily G. Stroud.

Emily G. Stroud currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two children.  She also owns and manages a boutique investment firm called Stroud Financial Management. She has been a Financial Advisor for a little over 17 years.  Emily counsels people on how to handle their wealth, manage risk, and ensure a nice tidy retirement. Emily does her best to beat the odds of the stock market.  She helps her clients plan and mitigate each possible financial scenario that can arise in their lives. Most importantly, Emily wants her clients, and now her readers, to thrive financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Emily shares the story of God calling her to share her story at IF:Gathering 2015 and then receiving a book contract at She Speaks 2015 for Faithful Finance. Emily then shares her heart and desires for individuals to manage their money with biblical principles.

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 Links from the Episode

Quotes

If you truly believe I’m real, you need to live out your faith in a more visual way.

I learned I’m totally and 100% dependent on God and not my own strength so that was part of the process too. So all the different seasons that I have gone through I truly believe prepared me for such a time as this.

How you steward your money is much more of a heart issue than a monetary issue.

Money is a tool to be used wisely.

If you are obedient to God’s plan you will be blessed and you will be able to bless others and that’s the most important thing to realize.

I’m not preaching a prosperity gospel. However, there are so many practical tools that are for financial planning that are in the Bible and God does have a best practice to manage your money. He does want it to be a positive thing in your life.

He really does control everything and we’re just managing it while we are here.

Look at it like a faith issue rather than an issue causes fear.

God doesn’t need your money. He’s got this under control, but he wants is a relationship with you and he wants you to be obedient. Part of being obedient is actually taking a step of faith and using your money to tithe and to bless others.

You cannot afford not to tithe. If you are faithful in a little God will allow you to be faithful in much, but if you are not faithful in the little bit that you have now, why in the world would he entrust you with more? Take a small step with the faith of a mustard seed and say with my next paycheck I’m going to take 10% off the top and tithe.

Expect God to show up.

If you’re already tithing, but you’re not being challenged, giving over and above a 10% tithe would be called sacrificial giving, take the next step.

People that are running really successful non-profit ministries need your money more than your time. Pray about who you can support.

When you change your perspective about your money a lot of things change in your life as well.

Money can be a root of evil. That doesn’t mean that money is a root of all evil. Money is a tool and God can use it so abundantly. Do not think of money as a negative thing.

Some of the richest people I know in my life are the most generous people I’ve met.

There are kings and priests in God’s kingdom. Kings are the people who work and create wealth and they provide the monetary resources to support priests. And a priest is the executive director for World Vision, all the different people running non-profit ministries. What they need is money to further their kingdom causes so if we see our roles in the body of Christ, we could radically change the world.

There’s a whole world of need out there and the more we can build resources and give it away, you know what’s going to happen, you’re going to make more money and you’re going to give it away and it’s going to build more.

I promise you can not outgive God.

In an ideal world, we would not have debt.

I do not consider a mortgage bad debt, but it has to be done in a wise manner.

Credit card is the #1 bad debt.

If at all possible, don’t have car debt because it will never be worth more than the day you buy it.

If you’re start seeing the tithe as a non-negotiable, then God will bless it.

If you don’t have a goal, then you don’t have a direction and you don’t know where you’re going.

Scripture

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

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Feathers Season 3 Episode 4 with Alli Worthington: Leaving What’s Good, Trusting God’s Provision, and Saying Yes to His Calling

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In this episode, I interview Alli Worthington.

Alli Worthington is an author, speaker, blogger, and the Executive Director of Propel Women, an organization that empowers female leaders. Her goal is to help women live the life they were created to live. Alli co-founded BlissDom Events and has helped individuals, small business owners and Fortune 500 companies be more successful. Alli’s no-nonsense, guilt-free take on motherhood, parenting and balance has led to appearances on TODAY and Good Morning America. She lives outside Nashville with her husband, Mark, their five sons, rescued dog and cat who moved onto their doorstep.

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Alli’s story begins at the pinnacle of one of the most successful blogging conferences around when she heard God’s direction to quit. She then experienced a year of disobedience, another year of learning what it really means to trust God and then must learn to say yes when He calls her to the next adventure.

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 Links from the Episode

Quotes

I heard two words ‘Quit Blissdom’ and I was absolutely appalled. I was shocked. I was surprised, but I knew it was God. – Alli Worthington

I wasn’t willing to obey until I knew what was next – Alli Worthington

God was growing so I would trust him – Alli Worthington

I had to decide I wanted what he wanted more than what I wanted for myself  – Alli Worthington

All the success I had I was thinking in the back of my mind it was my success and it wasn’t Him leading me. – Alli Worthington

“Get up and live like you believe I’m going to take care of you.”  – Alli Worthington

The reason why I’m stuck is I just don’t believe He’s going to take care of me.  – Alli Worthington

Giving my opinion without doing any work is one of my favorite things to do.  – Alli Worthington

“Jesus is going to have to tell us both separately to do this because this is a terrible idea,” Alli Worthingon
“No, Jesus is just going to have to tell you.” Christine Caine

I heard a very clear ‘do it’.  – Alli Worthington

I never would have been ever able to say yes to this opportunity had I not obeyed God when it didn’t make sense.  – Alli Worthington

God has planted different gifts inside of us and I believe they’re indicators of what we’re created to do.  – Alli Worthington

If we’re so busy doing all the things that suck the life out of us we’re going to miss those great opportunities  – Alli Worthington

God is directing us but asks the question will you trust me or will you not and then gives us the option – Amy Bennett

We can’t lean on our own understanding, we just can’t reason ourselves to the right answer – Amy Bennett

Scripture

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Proverbs 3:5

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Breaking Busy- Five F's of Decision Making from Alli Worthington

I would love to connect more with you guys about the episode. Leave a comment here or we can chat about the episode on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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