Notes From the Field – Part 1d

Session 4 – Tom Davis

  • Children’s HopeChest
  • Author of Fields of the Fatherless and Red Letters
  • James 1:27
    • 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
      • God has a heart and a passion for the poor
      • There are over 200 verses about the “fatherless”
      • If this is such a predominant characteristic in God, than why do we as little Christ’s struggle with such awkwardness in the presence of the fatherless
  • Those in the church spend a lot of time talking about what we are saved from, but what about doing what we are saved for
  • We see our lives through various lenses
    • These are our experiences
    • What are God’s lenses?
      • Does God like what he sees when he “wakes” up every morning?
  • For instance, there is only a five dollar difference between life and death when it comes to maleria
  • Amos Chapter Five talks about what has gone wrong in the world
    • Amos 5:21-24
      • 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24But let justice roll down  like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
        • God wants Justice and Fairness in the world
  • “One of the easiest places to hide from God is in religion”
    • We become luke-warm, comfortable, forgettable Christians
    • It becomes all about me, and not about God and His will
    • God is to be given the best, not the easiest
  • Edmond Burke quote – In the book Red Letters
    • “the definition of evil in the world is when good men and women see injustice and do nothing.”
  • Luke 10:25
    • The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

    • We already know the answer to obtaining eternal life (v.25)
      • 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
    • However, he tries to justify himself (v.29)
      • 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
      • The great BUT statements of our lives (But, I…)
      • This parable is Jesus telling us how to live heaven on earth. In essence he is telling us that we are “Sons and Daughters of God”
        • Our goal is to change all of eternity b/c of our actions
          • B/c of the parable we are capable of using our influence, integrity and experiences as Sons and Daughters to create such change
          • We are children of royalty
  • In order to reflect a loving God we need to love others
  • In the parable “The Priest and Worship Leader” (Levite) pass by the Samaritan
    • What is Jesus trying to tell us about church leadership?
    • What does this say about being people of influence?
  • Mark Chapter One
    • Jesus is deeply moved by compassion
  • When we read nothing but the Red Letters of the Bible, we are witnessing great compassion at work
  • God is able to see that there is more wrong in the world than what our eyes will allow
    • When we show up somewhere, we are no longer alone b/c of the compassion of God
  • 70% of Russian orphans kicked out of the orphanages when they turn 16-17 end up in prostitution (females)
  • God is able to become a “father to the fatherless” through his people
  • Psalm 68 – Father to the Fatherless
    • 4Sing to God sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD exult before him! 5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 7O God, when you went out before your people,when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
      • If God cares that much, shouldn’t we
  • We were created to live out crazy adventures
    • Jesus was a revolutionary Messiah – should we not try to be agents of change for our own earthly revolutions?
  • Jesus loved the poor so much he hid himself among them.
    • We should strive to do just that, Love Jesus so much that we hide in Him


Invisible Children

We did it!4451_a

One of ideas I had going into this summer while working at camp was to somehow, in someway, support Invisible Children. I had many thoughts ranging from a screening of their documentary to the whole church, to a parents evening only, but how it actually come though, well, I couldn’t have asked for more.

We showed the bracelet videos to our campers. Even though there may have been some hesitation on my part due to some of the images of war, I got past that and relied on the judgment given to me by God that this was how it was supposed to be. The jr. high kids, especially, got emotionally and personally involved in the films as they heard the stories – of kids their age – brought to life before their eyes. Lives that would include walking to a town to sleep, killing their peers, or even thinking about not growing up with parents. The stories touched us in so many ways that these invisible children will never be forgotten.

One boy, whose name is Sunday, caught my attention the most. He exemplified being a leader, determined, passionate, resilient and many other qualities that would make any parent of the western world proud as a peacock, as the saying goes, of their child.

The thing is that Sunday should not, at his age, have to be all these things. For the children of Uganda, their childhood has been torn from their grasp.

To many people watching these films or hearing these stories, the information and emotions makes them uncomfortable. This should then lead to a simple question:


I am still uncomfortable with Sunday’s story, but I’ll be honest, I look up to him for what he goes through daily. All that and he still has the heart to give what money he has to the kids of the village even though it means his school funds are not met. That makes me question my values.

So, to end the week of camp, we showed a short clip to our parents of the kids at camp describing who the Invisible Children are. We also had a silent auction and asked for a free-will donation. I had no expectations or goals for this, all I hoped for was an enlightenment, a call for justice and an emergent hope that this war could eventually end with the help of people like us.

We raised $800.00. I was happy, but I was mostly thrilled with the conversations that occurred after the screening between parents, staff and myself about how individuals can get more involved. For someone who feels led to bring forward a call for social justice, who likes to start a good conversation, or tries to find ways to help individuals in need, this was a perfect ending to a fantastic night.


After the event, Amy and I watched the complete documentary (first time for Amy, third for myself) and it still left me with the same question of: Why? What is my next step going to be, and I hope as you are reading this, that your next step is to look up more info on this tragic seventeen year war.