Live Video: Serving God Through the Risk

Posted: September 23, 2017 by fivefivephotos

Live Video:

Serving God Through the Risk



This is a long video. I understand if you can’t watch it! Below is the written version of this message. 

Serving God through the Risk

From the moment we find out we are going to be a mom, or for some–from the moment we start trying to get pregnant, we study how to keep our children safe and ourselves safe so that we can continue to keep our kids safe. How do we limit risk? How can we protect ourselves and our family? We become a mother bear. Ladies, this is instinctual. This protectiveness is human nature.

As a God-fearing momma, like many of you, I know that even before they are born we also start praying for our children and our ability to mother them. Our choices mould their childhood and shape who they may become. We pray God guides us along the correct path for all of our lives. Then one morning, as you are enjoying the quiet time before the kids wake up–maybe you’re drinking your coffee and reading the Word, God puts something on your heart. You read a verse and it speaks to you differently than it ever has, you pray and feel a weight on your chest. Now all day you’ve thought about this new idea, this possible mission. A mission you feel like God is putting on your heart.

For me, I have felt this a few times. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it stops you in your tracks in the middle of a worship service like it did when God put on my heart to adopt my daughters.

As your thought process wanders you contemplate all the different scenarios, all the outcomes of this mission that you have yet to commit to. Maybe you’re an optimist and your mind gravitates towards: everything will turn out perfect! That is beautiful and commendable. But maybe you’re like me, and you struggle with fear. Unfortunately, it is also human nature to be fearful. Even more unfortunate, the Devil knows this weakness well and he absolutely exploits it.

I’ll never forget some of the fears I heard hissing into my ears as we prepared for the home study. “What if you lose all your money?” “You are just being greedy for more children” “What if the new child is abusive towards Matthew?” “This adoption could hurt Matthew.” “Could this feeling be the Devil tricking me into doing something that looks good and loving but in reality will destroy my family?”  One night as I laid in my bed unable to fall asleep I felt this thought creeping in, my heart quickly began to burn and race. The thought was, “What if the social worker doesn’t like how I parent, or what if she takes something the wrong way, what if they decide they are not only going to not approve our homestudy but also take Matthew away?”

I was at the crest of a risky mission. Will I turn back or roll down the hill into the unknown?

Since I decided to roll down the hill, and I have been over quite a few more hills on this journey, the idea of risk taking through faith has been on my heart. Through studying the topic I organized my thoughts and convictions into 4 points:


  • God calls us to take risks.


      1. What do I mean when I say risk?
        1. According to the dictionary, to risk is “to expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss.”
      2. What does it look like when God calls one of his own to take a risk.
        1. Even though there are many examples of this in the Bible, I am going to focus on Esther. She knew her people were in danger, and she was distressed. Mordecai, her uncle who was her father figure, told her that she needed to approach the king and plead her case.
        2. Sometimes the calling makes sense. Was this risky? Absolutely! In that culture, to go before the king without an invitation was the same as having a death wish. It was not acceptable to do what Esther did. The last wife this king had that did something unacceptable was made an example of. But of all the Jews in that kingdom, Esther was the only one in any position with a chance at success. And if she didn’t say anything, then she and all her people would die. That definite kind of outweighed the risk.
        3. However the call to take a risk doesn’t always make sense to us. I’m sure Joshua and all the israelites had no idea, other than obeying God, why they were marching around Jericho.
      3. Confirm the calling
        1. Be close with God through daily prayer and reading the word.
        2. Seek Godly council
      4. Other inspiring risk takers in the Bible are:
        1. Joab – 2 Samuel 10-12
        2. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego – Daniel 3:16-18
        3. Paul – Acts 20-24


  • How to serve God through taking risks?


      1. Be firm in your walk with the Lord
        1. Be in the Word
        2. Stay strong in prayer
        3. Put your armor on everyday. Change out the word risk for mission or battle. That is what it is. Go into battle with the protection God has given you.


  • Have peace through the risk.


      1. The point of the risk is to serve God.
        1. When we started the adoption, of course we had the goal of bringing our girls home to be a part of our family. But the point of the risk was and still is to serve God even if it meant serving God through the pain of a failed adoption.
        2. Having peace in this point helps you to focus on Him rather than your human desires.
      2. God is with you.
        1. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
        2. Psalm 118:6-9 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. 8 It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man.9 It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.
      3. God is all powerful.
        1. If God wants you to succeed in your mission, nothing can stop you.
          1. When the Israelites came to the Red Sea, they were trapped. There was no way for them to cross it. God made a way.
          2. When Shadrach Meshach, and Abednego opposed the king, they were literally thrown into a burning furnace. God showed his power and protected them.
      4. What is the worst that could happen?
        1. This is the difficult point. The gritty aspect of risk-taking for the purpose of glorifying God.
        2. In short, death. That is the worst that could happen.
        3. God tells us we have no risk in death for he has removed our consequence of sin. If we die, we are reunited with our heavenly father.
        4. John 11:25 says, “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
        5. When I was prepping for Ghana, we signed a power of attorney over to my sister Grace. We put a plan in place for her to fly to Africa and get Matthew then have immediate custody of him if something were to happen to Matt and I. So to say the thought of possible death crossed my mind, would be an understatement. (This is when I started crying my eyes out when speaking to the Mom 2 Mom group). We knew full well it was a possibility. We knew it was risky to buy a one-way ticket to one of the most corrupt third world countries in Africa. But Jesus Christ removed our eternal risk. And God was on our side no matter the outcome.
        6. John Piper says, “By removing eternal risk, Christ calls his people to continual temporal risk.”


  • Enjoy the risk


    1. Of course there are struggles through many journeys God sets us on. There are times we feel weak and broken. But there are also times of great joy. Even Paul found joy and purpose in prison.
    2. Romans 5:3-5New International Version (NIV) 3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
    3. This is one of my favorite verses. It is what our business is named after. Romans 5:5 “hope does not put us to shame.” This is the hope that Jesus removed our eternal risk.
    4. About this time last year I attended a little party. As I told an acquaintance about our adoption journey, I referred to the twins as if they were already mine. She commented on the audacity of the way I referred to them as she questioned what could go wrong with an international adoption. I knew it was audacious. And I knew my “feeling” of what the outcome would be could be wrong. But my faith was in God, and I believed his purpose for this mission was for these girls to be my daughters. So I was audacious. God gave me that confidence.
    5. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” C.S. Lewis
    6. While in Africa without Matt, I cried myself to sleep many nights. I would feel the devil tormenting me with doubt. My heart would get hot and fast, just as it did before the home study. The reason that verse “the Lord is my shephard I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures” turned into a song was because I was laying in my bed one night, alone and afraid, and I sang that chapter out to God for relief and encouragement. I taught it to the kids. I sang it every time I got scared.
    7. Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

   for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

   through the darkest valley,[a]

I will fear no evil,

   for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

   they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

   in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

   my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me

   all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


    1.  “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” That’s Galatians 6:9


When I was a little girl I memorized Psalm 118. I always liked this chapter, and have often referenced it like I did in this post. But as I read it again, while preparing my message, it hit me in an entirely different way. I walked through all the struggles and ups and downs I have faced over the past 6 years. In conclusion of this message, read through this with me and think of a journey God has delivered you through.

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

   his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:

   “His love endures forever.”

3 Let the house of Aaron say:

   “His love endures forever.”

4 Let those who fear the Lord say:

   “His love endures forever.”

(David is getting ready to tell a story, the very next verse is in past tense. He preludes his story with professing over and over that “His love endures forever.”)

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;

   he brought me into a spacious place.

(I envisioned this as when David realizes he has to go into battle. He was hard pressed trying to make the right decision, then God helped him see the solution and it felt as if he was “in a spacious place”. For me, I felt hard pressed in February of 2011 when God pressed upon my heart that we needed to adopt. Until we took the leap of faith and sign the adoption papers, I felt hard pressed. As soon as the papers were signed I felt relief. I was doing one of the things God created me to do.)

6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.

   What can mere mortals do to me?

(At the beginning of a risky journey we often feel on fire and ready to ‘Charge Hell with a water pistol’. I will not be afraid while on this mission, the Lord is with me, what can man do to me?)

7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.

   I look in triumph on my enemies.

(You look ahead and think of the plan God may have for this mission.)

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord

   than to trust in humans.

9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord

   than to trust in princes.

(I envision that maybe this was a point where David was preparing, he was strategizing the first battle, and the Devil started to tempt him with less-risky options to get out of the “hard place.” Maybe a man offered him more troops, maybe a prince offered refuge in his kingdom. But David put his trust in the Lord, he stayed on his course.)

10 All the nations surrounded me,

(The first test of standing firm through the risk. It’s no longer a possibility. He sees the risk right in front of him. Did he make the right decision?)

   but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

11 They surrounded me on every side,

   but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

12 They swarmed around me like bees,

   but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;

   in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

(What an image! They surrounded him like BEES! But he stood strong in the name of the Lord and that threat quickly burned away.)

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,

   but the Lord helped me.

(I know I felt this way through our journey. Just because God is on your side, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard. It likely will not be easy.)

14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];

   he has become my salvation.

(In another version this verse says, “The Lord is my strength and my song” I like that version particularly because I can relate to having God’s word in my heart as a song giving me strength and comfort to push on.)

15 Shouts of joy and victory

   resound in the tents of the righteous:

“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!

16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;

   the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

(They won! The journey is complete! The goal has been accomplished! I’m home with my twins!)

17 I will not die but live,

   and will proclaim what the Lord has done.

(I am by no means a writer, nor am I a public speaker. But I cannot help but proclaim what the Lord has done for me! I never want to forget the way He provided and protected. I want all to see that it was not me who got through this journey. The Lord has done amazing things that are worth proclaiming to the world no matter my lack of skills or possible persecution.)

18 The Lord has chastened me severely,

   but he has not given me over to death.

(When we wandered off the path, he brought us back. As we walked through the difficult journey the Devil tested all our weakest points. We were refined in an entirely new way. But our mission wasn’t over, God did not give us over to death.)

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;

   I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord

   through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;

   you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected

   has become the cornerstone;

(I am not worthy for this task. No one else would have chosen me for it. But God is showing his power by using me. He took someone completely unequipped for the task and equipped them.)

23 the Lord has done this,

   and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 The Lord has done it this very day;

   let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!

   Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

   From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]

27 The Lord is God,

   and he has made his light shine on us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

   up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;

   you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

   his love endures forever.


You may be on the brink of a mission, and scared to take the next step. Or you may be in the midst of the battle wondering if you will make it through. Or you may be at a point where you finished the journey and now it is time to reflect on all the God has done for you and proclaim it to the world. Wherever you are today, I hope this little message I prepared was encouraging to you.