Adopting Micah

Five years ago today, Micah officially joined our family. It may seem hard to believe (for those who know him well), but Micah did not like me for the first several days after joining our family. And, that crushed me! 😦

He was also a wild child! Within the first few days of him joining our family, he bit Silas on the stomach, slapped JoAnn across the face, and knocked the glasses/hats off of anyone within an arm’s length of him! He also loved to run away, if given the chance. 

I laid down in bed at our hotel one night in China and felt utter panic. I wondered how in the world I was going to handle a wild and independent kid, on top having four other wild hooligans to care for. He was lying right next to me in a baby bed when I looked over at him sleeping peacefully, and he looked absolutely precious. My heart just exploded at that moment, and all my fears and panic melted away. I reminded myself that Micah’s whole life had been turned upside down, and he needed to be shown lots of grace and patience. That night, I determined in my heart that I would work my tail off to win him over. During the next several days, I played on the floor with him a ton, read the same three books to him over and over, fed him, rocked him, etc. And by golly, by the time we landed in the United States, I officially became Micah’s favorite.

I will also never forget our first day with Micah back at our house. I was so excited for him to see his new toys, and especially for him to finally be able to run free in our yard, without me worrying about him getting hit by a car (as I continuously worried when we were in China). His behavior shocked me. He never wanted to be more than six feet away from me, and he also wanted to be held almost constantly. He was a completely different kid! 

Over the next two years, Micah was my shadow. He never wanted to be far from his mama. On Micah’s second night in his new home, he was struggling to fall asleep, and he did not want me to leave the room. I laid on his floor until he fell asleep that night. Then, I proceeded to lay on his floor every single night until he fell asleep for the next 18 months! Yes, crazy, I know! I do wish I had not laid on his floor for quite that long ;-), but I am so glad I was there for him during those first days of him grieving. Our sweet boy had lived with a foster family for the first two years of his life, and I have no doubt that he experienced deep grief those first few months. 

Those first two years with Micah were far from easy. Having a clingy kid at your hip 24/7 can be exhausting. Little by little though, Micah gained confidence and independence. His true personality slowly but surely emerged. He is nothing like the wild and unruly kid we met initially. He is also not the super clingy, needy kid that emerged right after we adopted him. He is now a calm, somewhat quiet and shy, happy, thriving kid who is well-loved by all who know him. 

Micah’s deep love for me is still very evident. I get several hugs from him everyday, and he constantly tells me he loves me. We still read books every night before bed, too, but thankfully I can give him a hug and kiss and then be on my way. 😉

The decisions to adopt Micah and Zoe were hands-down two of the very best decisions Nick and I ever made. People are often apprehensive about adopting because they worry they will not love their adopted children as much as their biological children. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that my love for all five of my kiddos is equal. Even though Micah and Zoe did not come from my womb, they might as well have, as far as my love for them is concerned. It is hard to even remember life without them. 

Not only are Micah and Zoe incredible gifts to Nick and me, they are also a treasure to their siblings, grandparents, cousins, and countless others. I do not talk a lot about adoption, but it is something that I am incredibly passionate about. I wish more people would open their eyes and hearts to the possibility of adopting, because there truly is not much in life that is more rewarding.

Your Principles Aren’t for You

Before I became a Christian, I can remember trying my best to be a “good person.” My primary motivation, though, was always how being “good” might benefit me. What could I get out of doing the right thing? Who might I impress? What might I receive in return?

Thanks to the way my parents raised me, I have always been a pretty “moral” person. Yes, I made (and continue to make) plenty of mistakes, sinning against God and against others. My morality has, for the most part, though, been good.


Good morality is not enough, though. The first-century Jewish leaders were also seemingly moral people, but Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

Their outward morality was not enough, and neither is ours. I was the epitome of hypocrisy as a teenager and as a young adult, usually saying the right things and trying to do the right things. My heart was not right with God, though. I was a “whitewashed tomb.”


Praise God that He rescued me from my sins when I was 20 years old! He delivered me from slavery to sin and changed my heart. He delivered me from myself. While I am still far from perfect and need God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness every single day, I now see the purpose and meaning God has for my life. I recognize that the principles I live by are not for myself but for Him and for His kingdom.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching on “Living Ethics” from Romans 12:9-14. I hope to challenge those who attend our drive-in worship service (or watch online later) to be guided by biblical principles in such a way that others cannot deny the work of God in their hearts. How might we impact the world around us if this is the case?

As Romans 12 makes clear, the way we live our lives is not primarily for our own selves but rather for God’s glory and for the good of others.

Of course, that kind of purpose and perspective is not possible apart from a changed heart and a changed life. I know because I tried so hard to gain or earn or obtain that purpose as a young man. I tried so hard to be religious enough and moral enough to earn God’s favor. Again and again, I failed, though, because I am a sinner. God is perfect and none of us is. Yet, God loved us so much that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Then, Jesus rose from the dead to win the victory over sin and death. Now, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Turn to Him if you have yet to do so, and you will experience the hope only He can offer.

If you already know and follow Jesus, though, how can you better depend on Him to guide your life in such a way that He gets the glory and others are blessed?

If you want purpose and meaning that will guide you now and forever, turn to the Lord today.

Is He undeniable in your life?

“Everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below” (Rahab as quoted in Joshua 2:11).

When Rahab was talking to the Israelite spies in Joshua 2, she shared about the great fear the people of Jericho had. Was it because of the mighty strength of the Israelites? No. Rather, it was because of the mighty God they served. Because of what God accomplished in and through Israel, the people of Jericho were terrified of Israel. They were panicking because God was fighting for Israel.

God was undeniable in the life of Israel, and people could not help but notice. Is He undeniable in your life?

Do people see God at work in your life in such a way that He cannot be denied? Do you point people to Him? Does He get the credit and the glory He deserves?

If we sincerely follow and serve the Lord faithfully, then I believe more and more people will take notice. What will happen then? If God is undeniable in our lives, people will likely either respond to Him in repentance and faith or in fear and rejection.

Is He undeniable in your life?

Genuine faith in God will prove itself in various ways, but perhaps the most obvious and noticeable way is in how you treat others. In John 13:35, Jesus Christ said, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” How do you treat others in the body of Christ? Is God undeniable in your sacrificial love for His church?

If you want God to be undeniable in your life, be sure you have surrendered your life to His Son, and trust Him to grow you through the power of His Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Do you have the fruit of the Spirit? If you have the Spirit, He will grow the fruit.

That kind of fruit is certainly undeniable, and living a life of faith and dependence on the Lord will prove Him to be undeniable before others. To God be the glory!

Photo by Archie Binamira on

What is your dream?

Is the American Dream your goal and your hope? What happens if you don’t attain it?

This morning, I (Nick) preached through Ecclesiastes 2 and 4:4-16 on the “Futility of the American Dream.”

America?! America didn’t even exist over 2,900 years ago when Solomon wrote this book! True, but if you read Ecclesiastes, you will notice how applicable it is to us today, particularly when considering what we tend to long for and place our hope in.

If you are interested, you can listen to this message and others by going HERE. Regardless of whether or not you listen to the message, though, we want to encourage you to put aside the American Dream for eternal reality. You will never find lasting satisfaction and contentment by pursuing what the world has to offer. God made us for so much more, so don’t settle for less. Look to Him!

Our youngest son Micah turned three last Tuesday. If he had remained an orphan in China rather than being adopted, would he have been able to pursue the American Dream? Probably not. But, does that mean that God somehow loves him more than all the other orphans who will never get adopted and/or never get to come to a country like America? Of course not.

The American Dream in and of itself is not bad. Placing your hope in the American Dream and loving the American Dream are bad. Don’t settle for futility. Find your hope in the Lord.