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Resurrection. It’s a startling word, a thrilling concept, and a spiritual keystone. It’s an essential for Christianity, a target for skeptics, and a theme for mythology and religions alike. This week gives us as a church another chance to focus uniquely on our central belief that Jesus rose from the dead. But within our church and without, reactions to this glorious truth can vary widely. Such has always been the case, as even a quick survey of biblical history will show.

We call him baby Joel in our house. Baby Joel is the name for the boy we long to adopt. He may or may not even be born yet, but we’ve been praying and working to bring him home for a long time now. Cathy and I talked about adoption before we were even married, and adoption was one of the dreams we shared. At that point, it was little more than a mutual desire to adopt someday, to consider it when the time was right. Suddenly ten years slipped by. I got two seminary degrees, we moved from coast to coast, we had three children, and we settled into life in Kingsburg.

Thou readest the heart, viewest principles and motives of actions, seest more defilement in my duties than I ever saw in any of my sins. The heavens are not clean in thy sight, and thou chargest the angels with folly; I am ready to flee from myself because of my abominations;

James 1:27 directly commends care for widows and orphans as the prototypical examples of true religion. Adoption goes beyond orphan care, as important as that is, to providing a lasting family that children so desperately need. God has designed the family, and He also uses adoption as an object lesson for what it means to become a Christian. Because of these principles, we are committed to helping families adopt. Financial assistance is a need for most families pursuing adoption, and so we have just established a James 127 adoption fund as an official part of our church budget. If you’ve been looking for a way to obey James 1:27, the elders want you to know about this ongoing financial opportunity.

March 23 1744 In London, composer George Frederic Handel's famous oratorio "Messiah" was performed for the first time. 1877 Mormon fanatic John Doyle Lee was executed by a firing squad for masterminding the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 1857, a wagon train of 127 Arkansas Methodist emigrants, bound for California, were killed by a party of Mormon settlers and Paiute Indians at Mountain Meadows (near Cedar City), Utah.