TD Fri. – “Rehabituating Our Time With God”

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Hey TD!

How’s your upward engagement with God?  If it’s in need of improvement, we encourage you come to TD this Friday, as we will have a time that can be potentially impactful to the quality of your upward engagement with God going forward.

To get the most out of our time together, it’s really important for you to be really solid on what’s been taught and covered so far – not solid in the sense of, “O, yeah, I recognize that; I’ve heard that before,” but more so in the sense that it is becoming part of the way you think and live your life each day.  That’s the only way you’ll experience the slow but sure transformation you’re looking for.

So, please keep consistently reviewing and implementing, and you’ll begin to see the change in your life.

Please review the last message, The Power of Habit

Review any of this year’s messages here

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A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

Hey TD!

Well, V4V is underway and it’s been a huge blessing for many of us already!  The energy is live! In that spirit, I wanted to share with you this riveting essay (and video), written by an adoptee from Holt International (the agency that we are working with to adopt our two girls). Once orphaned, her adoption changed her life … but she still was curious about her birth mother …   – Arthur

A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

For most of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Martin viewed her adoption as something that just “happened.”  But after traveling to Thailand to meet her birth mom, she developed a completely different outlook — and a deeper understanding of how loved she truly is. Molly’s story was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 

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For someone who was adopted at a young age, being adopted seems, for lack of a better word, normal. For as long as I can remember, except for a few blurry memories, being adopted is all that I have known. I don’t really remember what it was like not to be adopted, so being adopted has always seemed somewhat natural and definitely not really anything worth talking about. However, at the same time, being adopted isn’t normal. While I can’t speak for all kids that have been adopted, I think a lot of us, at some point or another, have entertained the thought that our situations aren’t normal. Surely, not looking like my family wasn’t normal and the thought that my biological family did not want me was always in the back of my mind. But those aren’t exactly things that most kids want to talk about.

Because of the seeming normality of my adoption, it was never something that I felt compelled to talk about or share with others. It didn’t feel important or like it was a part of who I am. People would often ask me where I am from and I would instinctively respond, “Raleigh, NC” when the real answer they were looking for was “Bangkok, Thailand.” Telling people “Yeah, my parents are white” in response to questioning looks they gave me after meeting my parents became the norm and I would typically zone out when people found out I was adopted and gave me the, “Wow, that is so amazing!” spiel. Because honestly, to me, being adopted wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t great. It was just something that happened that I had no control over (don’t get me wrong, I am SO thankful to have been adopted by my amazing family!). It was just a part of my past that I did not care to talk about.

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However, recently, that has all changed. Over Christmas of 2014, my adoptive family and I traveled back to my homeland to meet my birth mother for the very first time. A few years prior, I told my parents that I wanted to meet my birth mother if at all possible. I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to make such a request; I think I was just curious to know more about my heritage and my background. My adoptive parents very graciously took my request in stride and contacted Holt to see if it were possible. After years of planning and being in touch with the social workers in Thailand, they had contacted my birth mother and set up a date for me to meet her. And before I knew it, I was boarding a flight to Bangkok, Thailand for what was going to be a life-changing experience.

Going into the meeting, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Meeting the woman who gave birth to you for the first time at 19 years old isn’t exactly a common experience. I couldn’t exactly go up to my friends and ask them, “So, what was it like meeting your birth mom?” And secretly, I thought my birth mother was selfish. I knew from my records that my birth mother had given me up for adoption because she was too poor to properly care for me. To me, that just meant that she was too selfish to work harder or to get a better paying job. While that sounds extremely harsh, I just couldn’t understand her reasoning for putting me up for adoption, and I definitely didn’t want to accept it.

 

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I don’t think anything could have properly prepared me for that experience. As I stood in a private room with my adoptive family, waiting for the Holt social workers to bring my birth mother into the room, I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. When they finally brought her in, I was shocked. The woman standing in front of me was the spitting image of me, only aged by a couple years, and crying. And she cried for what seemed like forever. It was extremely awkward, as I didn’t know whether to hug her or just stand there. One of the social workers prompted me to give her a hug and when I did, she clung onto me, with tears still streaming down her face.

Eventually, my birth mother was able to stop crying long enough to talk to me (through a translator). She told me that for the past 19 years she had carried with her so much guilt, hurt and sadness for putting me up for adoption. When I was born, she knew that she was too poor to give me a good life. She gave me up hoping that I would get adopted by a family that could give me the life that she would never be able to give me. It wasn’t a lack of love that made her put me up for adoption, but it was her abundance of love.

Meeting my birth mother completely changed my outlook on my adoption. Rather than being something that just ‘happened,’ it is something that has shaped every facet of my life and my identity. Instead of growing up without a father, I have an incredibly strong and loving father. Instead of growing up without an education, I am excited to say that I will be graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. And instead of believing that I am unloved, I know that I am incredibly loved — by a birth mother who gave up being able to see me grow up and have me call her ‘mom,’ by my adoptive family that has loved me even when I’ve had nothing to offer them, and by an amazing adoption agency that worked so hard to give me a forever family. Adoption will forever be a part of who I am and a story that I won’t stop sharing.

Molly Martin | North Carolina

After meeting her birth mom, Molly created a video about the experience, which she gave us permission to share:

To learn about birth search assistance and other post-adoption services available to adoptees, visit Holt’s Post Adoption Services website!

Calling All Youth Speakers!

2016 California Southern Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament Winner, Angela, speaking at the Ignition Student Conference in Ontario

Hey TD!

If any of you are curious or interested in that life-changing process affectionately called, “Speakers,” we will have a mandatory information meeting THIS Sunday from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. in the basement of the Main Campus. During this meeting, we will answer any and all questions regarding the 2017 Youth Speakers Tournament (YST).

You don’t have to know for sure if you are going to do “Speakers” or not this year to come to the meeting.  In fact, the meeting is being held to help you decide one way or another.  And don’t worry, there will be no pressure to join.  You must be in the 10th – 12th grade to be eligible.

Hope to see you there! – Arthur

TD Fri. – V4V Unveiling and “The Power of Habit” Small Groups

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Hey TD!

The long-awaited unveiling of Voiceless For the Voiceless (V4V) is nearly upon us!  Our crash course in all things V4V is coming this Friday. We will cast the vision, you will receive your V4V kit, and will learn everything you need to know in order to give TD the best chance at changing lives for good, including your own.  Make plans to join us!

In addition, we will be in small groups to follow-up on last week’s message,”The Power of Habit.”  It’s a key message that will need to be understood and implemented well if you are going to experience a successful rebuild of your life in Christ.

Please review the message here: “The Power of Habit” – mp3 message (Arthur)

TD Fri. – “The Power of Habit” – pls review

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Hey TD!

As I shared in the last post,

I’d like to invite you to begin re-establishing your spiritual habits and the way you “do TD.”

That begins with a change of your habits, which is what we’ll be studying from Scripture at TD on Friday as I speak on “The Power of Habit.”

One way you can change your TD experience is to come to TD more prepared than you are used to by really mastering the material being taught. Studies prove that each time we listen to something, we learn more from it that we didn’t learn the last time we listened to it.  That’s certainly true in my life.

That said, here’s part 2 of “On Love and Desire” with part 1 below it for your convenience. Please do your best to review them before coming to TD on Friday! – Arthur

(for email readers, the link is posted below, since the embedded icon doesn’t always show up in emails)

“On Love and Desire,” Pt.2 (message) – Arthur

“On Love and Desire,” Pt. 1 (message) – Arthur

 

Re-doing how you “do TD” (for those studying for finals)

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Hey TD!

So, I know many of you have finals next week, so time is tight and stress levels are high, BUT I’d like to remind you that when you have the least time for the Lord is when you need to go to Him most.  That’s when your time and efforts spent on Him matter most – when you can least afford it (or so you think).  That’s when you need Him most … AND … that’s when you show Him how valuable He is to you … when it costs you the most.

So, I’d like to invite you to begin re-establishing your spiritual habits and the way you “do TD.”

We all know this intuitively.  We know when we’re really valued, when we’re being used, when we’re “loved” out of convenience, etc.  So does God.

One of the most common patterns for young Christian students during busy seasons is to stop meeting with God, stop reading His Word, stop praying.  As we seek to rebuild our Christian lives and the way we “do life,” it begins with establishing new patterns of living … including the way we “do school.”

So, I’d like to invite you to begin re-establishing your spiritual habits and the way you “do TD.” And this week you can kill two birds with one stone by listening to, reviewing, and prayerfully chewing on the “On Love and Desire,” Pts. 1 and 2 podcasts this week before coming to TD. They are 25 minutes each.  We’ll release Part 2 later in the week. – Arthur

(The audio icon does not always show up in the email, for some reason, so click on the link if you don’t see it.)

“On Love and Desire,” Pt. 1 (message) – Arthur