Category Archives: Special Topics

Further Study in Stewardship

In the sermon on Sunday, we learned about stewardship. If you missed it, you can listen to the sermon Owning Nothing, Investing Everything here.

Stewardship is fundamental to our identity as Christians but is often under-addressed in teachings about becoming a substantive, thriving disciple of Jesus. Since we don’t discuss it very often, I encourage you to learn a bit more on your own. Here are two excellent resources to get you started:

Faithful in All God’s House: Stewardship and the Christian Life by Gerard Berghoef and Lester DeKoster (2013)Faithful in All Gods House

This is one of the most straightforward and comprehensive guides I’ve found for the issue of Christian stewardship. Coming in at 110 pages, it’s a slim and satisfying read that gives you a surprisingly broad and deep look at what it means to live as the bearers of a trust from God.

A 20 Day Study in Stewardship by Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Rev. Tim Keller)

20 Day Study in Stewardship (cover)

This is a free PDF published by Redeemer Presbyterian Church, pastored by Rev. Tim Keller. It leads readers through twenty daily studies/meditations on the subject of biblical stewardship. Since stewardship isn’t only a concept to be understood, but a reality to embody, this kind of daily exploration–digesting small pieces over a period of time–can be particularly useful in making space for the Spirit to renew our minds. You can download the PDF on their website here. Scroll down to the section titled “Devotional,” and you’ll find a link.

Mission of the Month: Child Sponsorship in El Amirante

By Dietrich Gruen

It was a father-son bonding moment. When Josue first sighted and tugged at me, I gazed into his big, brown, irresistible eyes. I said to myself, We could be related. My friend, Casey, took his picture, capturing this “please-love-me” moment for all time.

Josue is just what Sue (my wife) and I were looking for—a 5-year-old, fatherless child to sponsor. It was hard to pick one from among the hundreds of young kids crowding our team members in the poor barrio of Santo Domingo. Much easier if one particular kid picks me, I thought. That’s just how our connection came together for Josue and me.

However, over half of our child sponsors do not go on mission trips to our partner community, El Amirante, in the Dominican Republic (DR). But while you may not be able to go, you can still impact a child’s life through child sponsorship.

On Sunday, March 5, Hands of Hope-DR will again host the annual Pancake Breakfast in the High Point Church Micah Center, where you will have the opportunity to sign up to sponsor a child. Need more time to think it over after the breakfast? You can visit the Hands Of Hope-DR website to check out the ministry and the communities it serves. Under the Child Sponsorship tab, choose the community of El Almirante to view the 50 children available for sponsorship in our partner community. Browse the profiles, then take the step to start a relationship of encouragement and hope.


Wait—is this kind of charity helpful and effective?

Your sponsorship gift of $32/month provides a child (and siblings) with school uniforms and supplies; annual medical, dental, hearing and vision checkups; birthday and Christmas parties; and food boxes twice a year. Plus, the healthcare can result in a child receiving additional benefits, such as hearing aids or asthma medication. To hear more about child sponsorship and community development in the El Amirante community, listen to the Dominican Republic Partnership interview posted on Tuesday, February 28 on the High Point Church Engage & Equip podcast.

As a child sponsor, you will see God work and have a story to tell.

The sponsoring churches in Madison (High Point Church and Crossroads Church) have formed many relationships in the Dominican Republic over the years. Here is evidence of these connections that I’ve witnessed. May these stories “spur you on to more love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

I’ve seen Doug, Brennen and Rick try to master spinning tops as several kids in the Dominican Republic taught them how to play. And I’ve seen Rick teach Kiever to throw and catch a baseball, just as I’ve taught Josue football.

I’ve seen Codi and Marisa laugh and hug their sponsored boy for the first time.  And at a band concert held in the town square one night, I’ve seen kids and their sponsors dance the night away together.

I’ve seen Brennen get kids to chase him so that Lynn Rawhouser could personally visit her sponsored kids and family members without other onlookers crowding in.

I’ve seen kids line up in front of the church to be lifted in the air by Doug and Femi, and kids in the library cram side-by-side on the couch to look at donated books as a sponsor parent Rhonda pointed out things of interest.

I’ve seen child sponsors provide kids with what they need. Jeff and Rhonda once gathered under the tree outside the shed that serves as their sponsor boy’s house, supplying him with physical care. With the boy’s father long gone and his mother disappearing with boyfriends, his grandmother and grandfather are the only ones who regularly care for him. Jeff and Rhonda get to support the family and supply clothes and shoes for the boy.

Like in other relationships, I’ve seen child sponsors share heartaches with their sponsor children and intercede in prayer on behalf of their families during adversity. Vicki learned that her sponsor children’s father, an alcoholic and spendthrift, also suffers from Lyme disease. Similarly, I learned that Josue’s father abused and abandoned the family, leaving the family to survive on $2/day.

Child sponsorship inspires initiative and hope that spreads to the community. I’ve seen Casey visit Kiever’s house, ask him about his favorite things to do, and learn that the boy likes to read. And when she didn’t see any books in his house (or in any Dominican Republic house that year), Casey was inspired to start a library—benefiting all the kids and adults in the community. Now dozens are learning their ABCs and numbers. Can you image a 10-year-old not knowing those basic skills? Child sponsors are doing something about that.


Reaching the world through cross-cultural connections

These connections form into strong bonds as sponsors share life with their sponsor children through written letters. If you have children of your own, they can learn to pray for their sponsored child as one of their siblings. As a sponsor, you will also get Hands of Hope’s quarterly newsletter that brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the El Amirante community.

So, will you join us? Check out the sponsorship program at the Pancake Breakfast on March 5 or visit the Hands of Hope website.

Mission of the Month: International Justice

By Dietrich Gruen 

We know of many needs in the world around us: food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, healthcare for the infirm or disabled. But have you ever considered justice as a category of need?

Consider these scenarios:

  • Someone I know borrowed money for a proper funeral for his mother. He was given a 305% interest rate on a title loan, causing him and his family to eventually lose their car, a job that depended on that car, and almost their marriage.
  • One individual had to borrow dowry and other funds for a proper wedding of their only daughter, only to go auction off another family member to repay their ever-mounting debts.
  • Another family had to work off debts incurred by the father’s illness so they sent their kids into low-wage jobs—never to return for two years—as the loan interest rates rose and other payments for service continued.

The first story unfolded in my office where I counsel Benevolent Fund applicants. The other two stories I heard at the annual Global Prayer Summit in Washington, DC last April. The effect on me was at first shock, then disbelief, and then outrage. How could such injustice happen today? Is it ever right to indenture servants in a free market economy? And what if the fight for justice for widows, orphans, rape victims, and modern-day slaves has to go through a corrupt legal system where money trumps all? Continue reading Mission of the Month: International Justice

Mission of the Month: Year End Gift

By Dietrich Gruen

Several worthy causes vie for where we spend our hard-earned dollars at the end of the year. Toys and travel factor into giving to our families. Charities compete for our attention; we get hit from every angle. From the sound of Salvation Army bells to the clamor of other organizations—at checkout lines, on the phone, in our email inboxes and mailboxes—the ask is ever-present, inescapable. At our favorite stores and restaurants, some worthy cause may also lure us in. And don’t forget the civil servants, housekeepers, news carriers and office staff who serve us so faithfully all year—many of us want to tip them, too.

Somehow, the pervasive marketing and giving strategies seem to work, despite being tiresome, routine and competitive. Given this competition for year-end gifts, why would you give to the gift for High Point Church?

What if?

What if we could fund special projects on the global, national and local fronts not in the annual HPC budget? Continue reading Mission of the Month: Year End Gift

Clinton or Trump? A Christian Perspective on Each Candidate (Part 2)

My goal with this two-part series is to present a Christian’s reasoning on why to vote for each candidate. In part one, I shared My Obligatory (Unoriginal) Donald Trump Post written by my brother, Stanford Gibson, in which he shared his reasoning for voting for Hillary Clinton. Below is my Christian perspective on voting for Donald Trump. My hope is to provide you with further knowledge to help you prudently and conscientiously make your decision on November 8.

To review, Stanford gave four reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton in his post:

  1. The office of the president and its cultural power
  2. Donald Trump’s lack of temperance (specifically in reference to drones)
  3. Mr. Trump’s positions on immigrants and refugees
  4. Sentencing reform

In this post, I will address the issues for which an opposite case can be made for Donald Trump, as well as provide additional reasons in favor of a Trump vote.

Continue reading Clinton or Trump? A Christian Perspective on Each Candidate (Part 2)

Voting In No-Win Elections

The Bible does not mention democracy. Christian faith is a completely adaptable faith in political terms because God knew his church would always be a minority. He knew that the people of Christ would have to be able to exist in a dictatorship as well as a republic, and everything in between. Because of this, there is no Bible passage on who we should vote for. We are left to theology and prudence: our best understanding of the implications of scripture and the wisest way to apply them.

This is relevant in the present American election. We have before us four unhelpful choices:

  1. The most personally distasteful candidate of a major party
  2. The most corrupt candidate of a major party
  3. Three candidates that can’t possibly receive a majority of votes
  4. Not voting

So, what do we do? 

Continue reading Voting In No-Win Elections