Archives For Kingdom Living

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Photo by Josh Elliot, LightStock.

Last week, I handed over my rights to the title “twenty something”. Gotta be honest — it was hard to let go, but more than ever I feel ready to charge into a new decade.

The best part is — I get to start my 30’s with an exciting story unfolding right in front of my eyes. Recently, I shared the news that my family will be adopting a baby boy sometime near the end of this month. As we’ve spread the word, we’ve been so encouraged by the support, prayers, and genuine excitement coming from all of you.  It all feels like unknown territory to us, which is both exciting and nerve-racking.  All together, we can’t shake the sense that we’re in one of the most important seasons of our lives!

More than ever, this season has shown us that who we are is primarily a reflection of the people in our lives.  We spent the last week attending birthday parties, hospitals, funerals, and baby showers — all reminders that in the important times of life, the people around you matter.  Megan and I have both been stunned and humbled by who we get to call friends and family. 

A few months ago, my friend John encouraged a bunch of us to dream bigger.  He said, “If your dreams don’t include the people around you then you’ll be alone in your victories and defeats.” The truth is — dreams are best lived out in the context of community.

Today, I am struck by the fact that I get to start my 30’s with my most important dream to date. I get to bring a little baby boy into my family and love him as my own. I get to come alongside a beautiful young mother and help her take steps towards a restored future. I get to do all of this with Megan – my amazing wife and best friend.  I get to do this WITH a community of friends and family that have joined us on the journey.

Now, we want to invite you to be a part of this dream in another way…

When we started this journey, we quickly discovered that adoption costs much more than having a child naturally.  While we have applied for grants and have explored governmental resources, the speed at which our adoption is taking place is creating a challenge in securing the resources and allowing us to be eligible for some adoption grants.

Up to this point, I’ve been hesitant in making a public appeal for adoption support. I’ve had a concern that some would see this as just another cause or special project. This story is intimate for us and I didn’t want to cheapen it by inviting people to “like” it on Facebook.

But as we’ve come closer to the reality of this adoption, my mind has changed. While I never want my son to feel like he was just a “cause”, I DO want him to know there is a community of people around us who believe in him and his bright future. I want him to know from day one that he is not alone. Not only will he have a family, but he’ll have loads of friends, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, encouragers, counselors, and cheerleaders to be with him in every step of his own life journey.

We want him to know that life is best lived in loving community.  I can’t think of a better way to model this for him.

With that said, we’ve recently partnered with a wonderful organization called Adopt Together, which creates an online hub for friends and family to come alongside and financially support adoptive families.  On this site, you can give tax-deductible donations to help fund adoption. Hundreds of adoptive families are working with Adopt Together, and we’re honored to join with them.

Please consider visiting our profile and being a part of the story with us.  Regardless of whether or not you make a contribution, we want to thank you for being in our lives, praying for us along the way, and believing in our new little boy!

Adopt Together

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We’re excited to announce that sometime in the next few weeks we will be adopting a brand new baby boy into our family!

It’s a journey we’ve been on for a year, but have kept quiet from public conversation until now. Many of our closest friends and family have been with us in this process, but we are excited to bring the story to you now! I’ll do my best to keep it short.

Even before Megan and I were married, we talked about adoption. We didn’t know when or where or how, but we knew it was important to us for several different reasons.

We believe one of the greatest epidemics of our time is fatherlessness. The statistics are staggering and affect almost every sphere of life from crime, to education, to homelessness, to abuse. We’re living in a day where it’s impossible to ignore certain realities. The world is small and it’s no longer and option for us to “mind our own business”. We know adoption is not for every family, but we decided it’s for us.

And more recently, this journey has been a reflection of our season with the Lord. As a family, and even within the Vinelife community, God has been teaching us about His heart as Father, our identity as His sons and daughters, and His desire for family. There is an unmistakable emphasis in Scripture about these things…

“God sets the lonely in families…” – Psalm 68:6

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” – James 1:27

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

All that to say, we feel like this has been less of a decision and more of a response to the unrelenting love of the Father. We count ourselves blessed to be adopted into the family of God. What we’re doing is not a charitable act. In fact, we feel like we’re on the receiving end of this deal.

As we started exploring adoption, some dear friends of ours encouraged to pursue an “Open Adoption” rather than a closed one. First, this would allow us to maintain relationship with the birth parents and be a blessing to them. Secondly, we felt an open adoption would be better for the child as he grows older. He would know us as his Mommy and Daddy, but he would still have a relationship with his “Tummy Mommy”. We felt like this was a better option for developing trust than “breaking the news” to him later on in his adolescence.

Last May, we submitted our first applications to an adoption agency in Oklahoma and one here locally. This is also when we created our first “Life Book”. A Life Book is essentially a photo album about our family – who we are, how we have fun, what we do for holidays, etc. This book was loaned out to different birth mothers as they were considering placing their baby with an adoptive family. Being an open adoption, the birth mother would be able to pick the family they most connected with based on the Life Book.

Most of last year went by and we hadn’t heard anything promising from either agency. This entire time we were trusting in the leading and timing of the Father despite all of the unknowns. We decided to continue on with our Home Study – the process by which the state determines a family is fit to parent a child. We started our Home Study at the beginning of this year and officially finished it in the middle of March.

Within days of the Home Study being finalized, we received a call from the agency here in Colorado and were informed that a birth mother had come in and was going to look at our book. This news was crazy exciting for us, but we we’re still unbelievably nervous. All the sudden, we were asking question like…

What if we don’t get picked?
What if she doesn’t like our book?
What if she thinks we’re nuts?

The good news is – we we’re chosen to be the adoptive family!

On March 23rd, we had the privilege of meeting the birth parents for the first time over lunch at Gunther Tooty’s. As we sat down, the conversation was natural and fun with just a few nervous chuckles coming from the weight of the circumstance. It was clear that we were all in uncharted waters. None of us had any grid for this experience. We had never adopted a random child, and they had never given a child to a random family. Fortunately, by the end of our first visit, nothing seemed too random. It felt right. And there seemed to be grace for all of us first-timers to journey together through our first adoption.

We asked them why they decided to pick us, and the quickly replied with one word.

“Noah”

They explained how when they saw the photos of Noah in the Life Book, their eyes teared up as they imagined another baby boy with us. They knew we would be a safe and loving family.

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First photo taken on April 9th, 2013.

Gabrielle, the birth mother, is a beautiful, smart, and brave woman. I’ve been so proud of her as she has walked through a difficult scenario with courage. She hopes to enroll at the Denver Art Institute and finish out a degree in fashion design or another art study. She has a sweet personality and a sharp mind. Megan and I are honored to parent Gabrielle’s baby and will continue to build a friendship her and her family.

Gabrielle is due on April 30th, and Megan and I have been invited to be with her in the hospital during the delivery. We get to be there the moment our son takes his first breath! Wow.

Over the last several months, as I’ve used this space to encourage my friends to dream big and be filled with bold faith, this has been the story playing out behind the scenes. This adoption is a dream given to us by the Father and we are humbled to be able to walk this out with amazing friends, family, and a community of people cheering us on.

Megan and I want to thank you in advance for all of your prayers and encouragement over the next several weeks and for the next season of our family. We would ask that you continue to pray for Gabrielle and the baby. Pray for grace, strength, and a great delivery. Pray for the hearts of their family as they navigate through the emotional implications of this decision.

Also, please pray for wisdom and provision on our end.  Over the next several weeks, we will be continuing to apply for grants to subsidize the cost of adoption.  We will be inviting our friends and family to join us in this unfolding story.

If you would like to join us in this adventure, you can contribute to our journey on AdoptTogether.org/humbrecht.

Sermonize This.

April 10, 2013 — 5 Comments

Have you ever wanted to preach? Here’s your chance…

When I was in high school, one of my youth pastors would play a game with us to test our preaching skills. He’d point to a random object and then tell us to write a sermon on the spot, doing our best to use that item as our metaphor.

For example, if we were sitting a table in a restaurant he’d point to a salt shaker and say “Go”. At that point, one of us would start a three minute incoherent rambling about how Jesus said we’re the salt of the earth but sometimes you have to be shaken up a bit to realize what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

Ouch.  I know.

But there you have it. That’s exactly how preachers do it. That’s the essence of every sermon you’ve heard in your life.

Now it’s your turn. We’re gonna throw down right here, right now.  This is a creative exercise that will put your exegetical prowess to the test.

Your mission it to take a look at the photo below and come up with a mini-sermon using roughly 300 words or less. It’s kind of like a caption contest, but with a cheesy life application. You can post your “sermon” in the comment section below.

Ready. Set. Go.

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(As people comment, you can vote which one you like best by clikcing on the up or down button below their comment.)

Scars Tell Stories

April 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Let me see His hands and his side.” said Thomas.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bruised, crushed, and crucified Jesus was now standing in front of him almost like nothing had happened. Jesus came to visit His disciples to show them He was alive and well. The best part was He appeared to them by non-chalantly walking through a wall to get into the living room. No Bigs.

I love that Jesus was like all men. The first thing He did after being raised from the dead was come to show off his scars. I’m sure they were impressive.

Photo by Pearl.  Lightstock.

Photo by Pearl. Lightstock.

But all this begs another question – Why would Jesus go to the grave, conquer death, and raise again three days later, yet still be left with scars on his hands and side? Sometimes I wonder if Jesus woke up into his newly resurrected body, took one look at His skin and then said to the Father, “Hey, you missed a spot.” I can’t imagine Jesus was thrilled about having a constant reminder of everything He recently suffered.

Why would Jesus’ body be perfectly knit together, only to be left with the signature of death still engraved on His skin?

Continue Reading…

NoahEvery morning when my son wakes up and comes out of his room I say to him “Good morning buddy, what did you dream about?” Most of the time he answers me by repeating everything I mentioned in my prayer for him the night before or he says “nothing”. But sometimes he tells me about water buffalos and Easter eggs and Mariokart.

Either way, I’m trusting that as he grows up, he knows I care about his imagination.

I would be annoyed if I asked him that question every morning and he responded…

“My dreams don’t matter. I only want to know your dreams.” or
“Not my dreams, but yours be done.”

But so many times, this is how we approach the Father in prayer. We can easily default to a place of assuming he’s not interested. Even if we do tell him what’s on our heart, we quickly change the subject back to His glory in case He forgets that we really do love Him.

Continue Reading…

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

I’ve been a little quiet this week while preparing for Good Friday and Easter services at Vinelife.

Today is Good Friday and I’m struck by the idea that the Good News never gets old.  Every morning, this News is there waiting for a moment to humble us with love and electrify us with joy.  Our awareness of this News ebbs and flows, yet it remains constant in the trials and the triumphs.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

As you take time today to reflect on Jesus and the cross, here are a couple great worship videos created by some dear friends of mine.

The first is by Anthony Skinner from Franklin, TN.  It’s a visual montage set to one of his live performances.   Anthony writes, “It was inspired by the last weeks of a dear friend’s life. I wanted to create a soundscape for my beloved friend to be swallowed up in the beauty of her salvation through Christ.”

It’s a bit longer, but beautiful all the way through.  You can download the video here.

The second video is a song called “You Cover Me” written by Asher Seevinck from Loud Harp.  This guy bleeds tone and fights for the perfect melody. You’ll like this one…

It’s a concept I heard from my pastor, Walt Roberson, earlier in the year.  We can see this applied in community and organizational life. But I also believe it can be helpful in understanding our own creative perspectives.  I took a some time to write out ways we see this play out. Maybe you have more to add to this list…

Photo by Brenton Clarke, LightStock.

Photo by Brenton Clarke, LightStock.

What are the differences between Gap Finders and Gap Standers? Continue Reading…

As I’ve been diving into stories of people who took on the Responsibility of Dreaming and dared to approach God with bold faith and “big asks”, it was hard to overlook the story of George Washington Carver.

You may remember him from fifth grade science class, but few people know some of the fascinating details of his life. I don’t have time to offer an exhaustive biography, but here are a few notable details. You can learn more here.

George Washington Carver

Born into slavery in 1864, Carver went on to offer some of the most significant contributions to agricutural science as a black man living in the post-Civil War south. Specifically, in a time when cotton crops had ravaged the fields of the South, Carver was able to take the peanut (a trash crop) and derive over 300 uses for it – including paint, ink, and milk. Also, he distilled over 200 uses for the sweet potato.

Most Americans have a cursory understanding of Carver’s scientific contributions, but few people know about the spiritual overtones that were true of his life and imagination.

 

Continue Reading…

While the American idea of “chasing your dreams” can lead to an endless series of romanticized and unsatisfying pursuits, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a certain responsibility for those in Christ to be filled with dreams and remain in a posture of confident hope.

Where many of us readily espouse that there is a God who knows and loves us, it’s more difficult to determine whether or not He cares about what we care about. Or, more importantly – whether we care about what He cares about. On a broad scale, we’re OK with that idea. But when we start to get specific, it can get uncomfortable.

Image from LightStock.com.

Photo from LightStock.com.

We light up when we read the prophet Jeremiah’s declaration that God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But when I sit down with friends and ask them about those plans, this is when we start to get a little squeamish. We start to get a little nervous and uncomfortable when talking about the actual ideas, dreams, and callings that stir within us. Continue Reading…

RE-POST: This entry was from my old blog and is a topic I come back to regularly.  I revised it a bit so I could share it with you again.

NiceI’m going to risk sounding fluffy for a moment.

Over the course of a year, we hear so many words and receive so much input from the people in our lives.  Nice words, mean words, confrontational words, words of encouragement, words of blessing, words of criticism, and occasionally some combination of all these things.  We call that one the compliment sandwich (2 sugary compliment buns with a world of pain on the inside).

One of my favorites was from an old man who tried to compliment me after one of my talks at Vinelife.  It went something like this…

Old man: “That was a good sermon, young man.  The beginning was rough, but you really pulled through.”

Me:
 “Thanks, old man.” (sigh)

But why does it seem like the words of criticism hold more weight than the words of encouragement?  If I hear one hundred nice things in a day, it’s still the one critique or confusing remark that keeps me up at night.  This shouldn’t happen, but it does.  It’s probably because I’m more insecure than I’d like to admit.  I’m guessing that’s the case for you, too.

Continue Reading…