I Was a Christian Sponge in a Tub of Living Water

one act I’m a cynic. And I’m a contrarian. When the pop-culture collective is doing something, I usually don’t want any part of it. By staying aloof, I nourish my emotionally wounded soul on a diet rich in the fat of condescension. That’s how I feed my deflated sense of self. That’s how I roll.

Although I’m not always a cynical contrarian, it is often my default viewpoint, and this can be a stumbling block for a social media marketer — cynical contrarians don’t tend to mesh well with marketing objectives. Maybe this is a good thing for you.

In my opinion, most marketing is about numbers. Getting more of something. And by that narrow, cynical definition the One Act video is pure marketing.

But, in my opinion the One Act video transcends the castor oil taste manipulative marketing often leaves me with. And I think that’s because the “one act” this video refers to happened to change my life. I am not a sponsored child, never was, but the act of sponsoring a child took me down a path I never would’ve imagined.

Five years ago I went to a free concert at a local church. At that time I was four months into my new life as a Christian sponge in the tub of Living Water. That night, the Holy Spirit dropped a baby into the tub with me.

In the middle of the concert, the musician stopped to share a story from a Compassion trip to Haiti. He talked about a woman who came up to him on the street and tried to give him her baby, to give her baby a better life. She was willing to give her baby to a stranger so the baby could escape the hopelessness of extreme poverty.

It was a moving and powerful story — much more so than these clipped sentences of mine suggest — and I wanted to quit my job and go work in Haiti. I wanted to immerse myself in doing Christ’s work, in serving others. I was anxious to learn if there was an opportunity for me to act on. And then the artist asked me to sponsor a child. Boring.

I was disappointed. I didn’t want to sponsor a child. I already sponsored a child with another organization and that was enough. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Sending more money wasn’t good enough for me.

For the rest of the show I dwelled on the missed opportunity to serve Christ in Haiti, but afterward, after the crush at the Compassion table dwindled, I asked someone if there was anyway I could go to Haiti because I didn’t want to “just” sponsor a child.

The person told me that Compassion organizes tours for sponsors to visit their children, which is something that the organization I was already sponsoring a child with, did not do. For whatever reason, the idea of visiting my sponsored child was enough to get me to act. I sponsored Lerionga.

And because of that one act, I went to Kenya 18 months later and met Lerionga.

Because of that one act, I heard about a job opening at Compassion while I was in Kenya. I got that job.

Because of that one act, I met my wife. She’s also a Compassion employee.

Because of that one act, I’m going to be a father. We’re expecting in September.

Because of that one act, I have hope that the darkness of my strain of emotional poverty ends with me.

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that is releasing Chris, a child of Christ, from his spiritual and emotional poverty, enabling him to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adult.

When the darkness of emotional and spiritual poverty has swallowed you up, the devil has taken control. But in the middle of this desperation, a child can intervene. Act now, and sponsor a child. See what God does with you.

20 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Amy Wallace March 29, 2010

    Great post! I know sponsorship has definitely changed my life for the better :)

  2. Linda March 27, 2010

    May it be so for all of us in the American church:

    Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that is releasing ME, a child of Christ, from my spiritual and emotional poverty, enabling me to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adult.

    God uses us to meet their physical needs. God uses them to meet our far-greater spiritual need.

  3. DUANE WATTS March 27, 2010

    You and I came at this two miles out from opposite ends of town, travelling in opposite directions, and both ended up on main street. Actually both of us were Christians in need of a life, so we were on the same highway. I had just turned 50, and looking down the next 50 year long tunnel, “Now what Lord”? Dead end job, not much of a witness….
    What my brother in blogworld showed me are some very fundamental things about our Lord:
    He has been with Father and Holy Spirit eternally enfolded in a love relationship.
    He created…us to extend that relationship – to share with us His love. We blew it. He came to live a vicarious human life to win us back FOR AN EVERLASTING LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
    When we begin to know HIM, the height of His Holiness, the depth of our sinfulness and the Height, depth and breadth of His love for us, we will begin to love what He loves and do what He does, for we will see Him as He is. God is Love. Love is His motivation. How can we be motivated by anything less: I Cor 13. For the 1st time in 30 some years as a Bible believing Christian, I am CONVINCED that HE loves ME. Rejoicing in that love, has motivated me to want to spread that love: The same motivation as the Father! Glory!
    Jesus goes on and on about His disciples loving God, loving each other, loving Him, loving the least of these. God gets the glory, because His telosHis purpose is Love within the TRINITY, and Love for His creatures, created in His image. Sorry about the soap box Chris, but you and I both found the Love of Christ. You through Compassion, and me, discovering love led to Compassion. Thanks be to God, and not ourselves for it!

    If I give everything I own to the poor and give my body to be burned, yet I do so without Love, I will bear no fruit to eternity. I Cor 13
    On the His way to the garden for the last time Jesus said: Abide In Me and I in you. Unless you abide in me you can bear no fruit. John 15:4

    Peace and Love in Him
    Your Brother

  4. Jill March 27, 2010

    Great post Chris!

    I’m sharing the One Act video tomorrow on my blog!

    One Act – saved us all!

    One moment in time changed the world forever!

    One death – paid the price for my life and yours – for eternity!

    In Christ’s love,

  5. Greg Allen-Pickett March 26, 2010

    Great stuff Chris! Congrats on the good news to. Thank you for sharing your heart and inspiring others. Take care!

  6. Rebecca Stoker March 26, 2010

    You are blessed. Compassion is blessed to have you.

  7. Kristen (We are THAT family) March 26, 2010

    Awesome post, Chris!!

    You are exactly where you belong…my hubby and I have looked at Compassion’s job openings about 42 times since I got home from Kenya :)

  8. Marci in MO March 26, 2010

    @ Jannes

    You’re right Jannes, it is not all about us; however, in the process of sponsoring these children that the Lord brings into our life, many times a process of transformation takes place within us. After all, we are continually being transformed into the likeness of Christ; therefore, glorifying God.

    Romans 8:28-29 NASB
    28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.

  9. Gillian March 26, 2010

    WOW!!! Congratulations on having your first baby! Babies are our Blessings from God!!
    This is a powerful blog and testimony … thank you for sharing your heart!! :)My story is similar to yours, began a new walk with Christ 8 years ago … found out about Compassion at a concert (Zoe Girl) and was already sponsoring a child with another organization ….. so as this story lines up somewhat with mine (I did not get the chance to visit anyone, do not work with Compassion and is still a single parent) LOL …. I can relate to what you are saying here. You know what? It is a bit about us isn’t it? Yes we are motivated by the love of Christ to help the less fortunate …. we are loved so we can also love freely …. we still want to know that we are the difference in that childs life! :) I appreciate your honesty …. enjoy reading your blog entries! Keep it up … God bless!

  10. Jannes March 25, 2010

    Whoa, chill-easy on the self-obsession. Sponsorship isn’t about you, or me. It’s not about an emotional makeover. And it’s not really about releasing kids from poverty. It is all about glorifying our Lord.

  11. Chuck Guth March 25, 2010

    Thanks Chris…you certainly hit the nail on the head.

  12. Lisa Miles March 25, 2010

    I think it’s fascinating how sponsoring a child led to such an incredible chain of events in your life.

    I’ve always believed that sponsorship impacts the sponsor’s life, just as much as it impacts the life of the child. This is an incredible example of that!

    I also think it’s fascinating how one step forward in faith can ultimately put you on the right path and reveal God’s plan for your life. Love that!

  13. Christer March 25, 2010

    “That night, the Holy Spirit dropped a baby into the tub with me.”

    NIce. :)

    I’m glad you married my sister. Good words, bro.

  14. Juli Jarvis March 25, 2010

    Hearing you share just makes me want to go out and do more and more Compassion Sunday presentations. It’s so rewarding to connect sponsors with children, and even more so to hear the “rest of the story…”

  15. compassion dave March 25, 2010

    I had to check to see if I wrote that title…Nice one Chris!

  16. The OTHER Stephanie Green March 25, 2010

    I’ve just walked into this open door and even though it wasn’t my motivation, I need the same revelations you have received. I pray my journey is successful as yours.

  17. Ani March 25, 2010

    Wow, that is a powerful and encouraging story. Thanks for sharing.

  18. jennifer March 25, 2010

    Powerful stuff, Chris. Thank you for your transparency! And I can vouch that my sponsored kids have changed my life. Every time I think I’ve “got it” God uses them to turn my world upside down!

  19. Sara March 25, 2010

    Wow! Beautiful! Thank you so much for being transparent and real.

  20. Stephanie Green March 25, 2010

    “Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that is releasing Chris, a child of Christ, from his spiritual and emotional poverty, enabling him to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adult”

    That’s awesome, Chris!! I have found my own release through sponsorship and correspondence and a sense of peace and purpose that connecting with these children is what I was meant to do. So glad that your path brought you to where you are today. Thanks for all you do for Compassion and for all of us!

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