Packing Love for Foster Care Children

Below is another article that appeared in the Dayton media market regarding the incredible gesture of students from LIFT camp and Cedarville University.  I hope this inspires you to go do something and impact your community with the love of Christ.

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CEDARVILLE — More than 800 high school and middle school students, attending LIFT camp at Cedarville University this week, are making a difference in our local communities.

On Thursday at Cedarville University, more than 100 suitcases were given to children in the foster care system from Butler County. There are 455 children in the foster care system in Butler County and 130 are waiting to be adopted.7-18-cedarville-foster-bags_21264

Cedarville University is partnering with LIFT camp and Butler County Children’s Services to raise awareness for foster care children and families. Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter and a representative from Family Services of Butler County attended Thursday’s services, along with many foster care families and children who will be presented with the luggage.

With Butler County foster children in attendance, Cedarville University President Thomas White detailed the University’s full-tuition scholarship for one foster student. Cedarville began its foster student scholarship last year with Trina Jones of Xenia being awarded the scholarship.

Cedarville President, Dr. Thomas White, feels strongly about adoption. He and his family have been personally engaged through the adoption of their daughter Rachel.

“Adoption is at the heart of the gospel,” says White. “The Gospel allows orphans to become heirs and slaves to become sons of God through Jesus Christ.” Additionally, White said, “Through Cedarville University’s Foster Care Scholarship, we answer God’s call to care for the widows and orphans by providing a student with an education from a biblical worldview and welcoming them into the Cedarville family.”

On Wednesday evening, the Lift camp students raised $3,400 to purchase suitcases, and some students chose to give the suitcase they brought to camp this week for the cause. “Most of these [foster care] children are packing their belongings in trash bags and moving an average of 12 times over the course of 15 years.” said LIFT camp regional director Rob Rosenbalm. “This reality has moved us to do something.”

LIFT camp has been hosted by Cedarville University for 15 years and is sponsored by LIFT Student Ministries of Dallas, Texas. The camp averages 800 students each year who gather for one week to engage in Scripture and minister to the community in various ways. LIFT Student Ministries has served nearly 50,000 students nationwide since 1994 years.


The Love of Christ on Display

This was a fabulous moment that made headlines in our community.  Below is the local front page article that appeared in the weekend paper written by Denise Callahan.


Hooking up churches with Butler County Children Services appears to be a match made in heaven.

Usually, when social workers come to remove a child from a home, belongings are packed in garbage bags. About 800 students who were attending LIFT camp at Cedarville University near Dayton this week raised about $3,400 to buy 130 suitcases for foster kids in Butler County. Some even chose to donate their own suitcases and will return home with their belongings in trash bags.

“They said we’re going to donate our luggage and we’re going to give some money for luggage for these kids because they have to put all their stuff in garbage bags when they are yanked out of their homes,” Children Services Executive Director Jerome Kearns said. “We’ll give them something they can call their own. So all these kids that are up at Cedarville at camp are taking their clothes in garbage bags, because they gave their luggage to these kids.”

The connection between a camp for middle and high school kids at Cedarville University and Butler County foster kids germinated when Kearns held a series of community meetings at the start of the agency overhaul process in February. Pastor Rob Rosenbalm at the Fairfield West Baptist Church attended the meeting of faith-based organizations Kearns and his executive team held. He also is the regional director of the LIFT camp.

His church held a series of “Summer Slam” fun events at the church for about 100 foster children, families and others from the community this week and the LIFT camp kids came to help.

Cedarville University President Thomas White said about 20 foster children came up to the university Thursday night for the suitcase presentation.suitcase

“It was an amazing night,” he said. “It was a great, amazing time.”

White said the event was also an opportunity to let the foster children and others learn about the relatively new scholarship program the university offers for foster children in Ohio. Last year, the university awarded the first full-ride scholarship to Trina Jones of Xenia. The scholarship is worth about $120,000 and includes everything.

Rosenbalm said the LIFT camp kids took off with the suitcase idea as soon as he mentioned it. Other than making sure the foster children don’t have to tote their whole lives around in a trash bag, he said it was also a way to help raise awareness of the whole foster care and adoption issue.

When the faith-based organizations met with Kearns, they all were excited to help the agency with recruiting foster and adoptive families and mentoring. There are currently 455 children in foster care. Rosenbalm said he has been meeting with Kearns and others to get a handle on how the whole system works so he can educate and encourage families to become part of the system.

“We want to recruit, we plan on recruiting, we want to make sure we raise up those who can be parents within the foster care system. We want to raise up adoptive parents as well,” he said. “It is clear to me it is a compassionate response that I believe many in the faith community would be willing to journey in, if we take the time to faithfully explain it.”



Take God At His Word

blogJohn 20:30-31“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

As I read that, one thing in particular jumps out. It takes more than me. It takes more than me to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It takes a credible witness to believe the good news of Jesus. It takes the sworn testimony of another to substantiate the gospel claim. Like the lawyer who presents his case in a court of law by calling forward an eyewitness to testify. It is this eyewitness account, this preponderance of evidence that the case is built and ultimately rests upon.

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Open Your Eyes

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We can’t drive around our town without recognizing that we live in a great community. This is a wonderful place to live. Fairfield is a great place to raise a family. At the same time, we cannot live in this town (or any town) without recognizing that life can be hard. We all face challenges. We all have struggles and we all want to do something about those trials that confront us and complicate our lives.

Well let’s do something together. I want to open your eyes by drawing from a young man’s example of courage and faith. Jake Olson is overcoming what we would characterize as an overwhelming hardship and in return God has giving him a national platform in which to speak.

This past week, we were pleased to host and welcome Jake Olson and McKay Christensen.  Jake lost his sight to cancer at the age of 12. However, in his own words, Jake says that “losing his eye sight is what enabled him to see.” Jake’s remarkable story has been featured in three ESPN documentary films, the CBS This Morning, and Fox & Friends. Jake has also been a guest commentator on College Game Day and was a part of the Super Bowl pre-game broadcast last year.

Jake wrote a book with co-author Dr. McKay Christensen entitled Open Your Eyes.  Dr. Christensen is the President of a billion dollar consumer products company and business school professor at the Marriott School of Management. Jake and McKay presented Jake’s story to several hundred that gathered at the Performing Arts Center located on the campus of Fairfield High School this past Thursday and was picked up by local news agencies.

Jake and McKay told their tale and shared many life principles together. However, the final word came from Jake that pointed everyone to faith in Christ. Let me encourage all to grab Jake’s and McKay’s book and open your eyes.


God is Not Dead, He is Alive

jesus saves_std_t_nvGod is not a silent. God speaks to man. The opening words of Hebrews indicate that God has spoken to man in many different ways in ages past.  However, in these modern times God has elected to speak to man through His Son, the living Word.   The Written Word of Scripture reveals the Living Word our Savior. This is God’s final process in speaking to man.  (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Therefore, it could be said that Jesus is the Author and finisher of faith. He is the exalted Son of God who is the exact copy of His person. (Hebrews 1:3) Jesus is Lord of lords because He is God in the flesh. Jesus Christ is King of kings because His person faithfully describes Him that way. He upholds all things together with just His word. (Hebrews 1:3)   Jesus Christ purged our sins conquering death and the grave. (Hebrews 1:3) He is exalted to a high and lofty position; the right hand of the Father. There is no other name in which man might be saved.

Therefore, man must not neglect or be careless regarding his salvation. Believers must pay close attention unless they drift like a ring slipping off a finger or food going down the wrong pipe. The Hebrew writer speaks of drifting away perhaps like a boat adrift at sea.

Indeed, believers can neglect their salvation. Any man who seeks salvation by any other means than Christ is neglecting his salvation. The Lord Himself said, “I am the way the Truth and the Life, no man comes unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

This means no one will be justified in the eyes of God unless Christ is received by faith. This also suggests means which are sought to “save” man’s life outside of Christ is futile and void of eternal significance. The Hebrew writer is writing to remind the faithful of what really matters and seeks to remind them of their commitment to Christ alone. Let me encourage you to do the same for, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation..?” (Hebrews 2:3)

Open Your Eyes Event

Web2In December, a new book entitled Open Your Eyes was released sharing the compelling story of a teenage cancer survivor Jake Olson.  Since then, Jake’s story has reached a national platform with the help of media outlets like ESPN.

At the age of 12, Jake lost his eyesight but did not lose his hope and determination in life to overcome his adversity.  Now Jake is the starting long snapper on his high school football team and has the dream to one day be the first blind golfer to play in the PGA.

On May 1st at 7:30 p.m., Jake along with his co-author Ph.D. life coach McKay Christensen, will be presenting his journey to our community here in Fairfield.  This will be a high energy event that will celebrate Jake’s story of faith in spite uncertainty.  Jake’s tale of courage and strength will challenge you to rest in God’s sovereign plan for your life and motivate you to be the best that God has purposed you to be.  Take a look at what the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote about this event.

Jake’s story has inspired us to dream big and doing something great for our community for the good of others and the glory of God.  Therefore, join us for an unforgettable night of celebration that will do every heart good.  Tickets for this event are $10 and all the proceeds will benefit worthy youth initiatives in our community such as the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League, summer camp and local school districts.  To order your tickets online, click here or on the Open Your Eyes banner image at the top of the page.   Joe Nuxhall Logo

The Personal Power of Redemption

Bulletin PicWe all love a good story.  In fact, Hollywood will spend billions of dollars each year producing films which bring stories to life.  Most modern day block buster’s cost over 200 million dollars each (one of the Pirates of the Caribbean cost 300 million) and what these movies do is tell a compelling story usually in 90 to 120 minutes.  They do that because the film industry is big business and they hope that enough people will be interested and pay good money to hear a good story.  In fact, the notable director, James Cameron has grossed almost 5 billion dollars in his films Avatar and Titanic.  I guess he knows the secret of a good story.

Maybe it is a quest of hope filled with suspense, tragedy and the overcoming of great obstacles.  Maybe it’s a storyline of love, intrigue and heartfelt romance.  How about a narrative with twists and turns that keeps the audience guessing and sitting at the edge of their seats.  These are the things (and perhaps many more like them) that sell us on a tale.  These are the ingredients that fascinate our minds and captivate our hearts.

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