Focus on the Family Broadcast

Changing the World Through a Lemonade Stand

Changing the World Through a Lemonade Stand

When it comes to helping the needy, you may feel overwhelmed and underqualified. If so, listen in as Chris Marlow, author of Doing Good is Simple, describes how you can make a difference in the lives of others by starting out small and using your passion and talents.


Chris Marlow: God uses everyday normal people to make the biggest difference in the world. It’s not the superstars, it’s not the heroes, it’s not the ultra-wealthy. It’s the everyday normal people who are… And it’s the story of the Good Samaritan. He’s just walking to work one day and God gives him a opportunity to make a difference and he says yes to that opportunity. So I think our job is to say, “Okay, God. What opportunities, big and small, every day but throughout our lives, can we say yes to and that would make a difference?”

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Chris Marlow sharing his belief that doing good is simple, or at least a lot simpler than we tend to think. Chris is our guest today on Focus on the Family, and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: This simple message is right out of (laughs) scripture. Love God, love your neighbor, serve one another, do for others what you want, uh, them to do for you. There are so many (laughs) Bible verses that essentially say the same thing.

John: Hm.

Jim: As followers of Jesus, we know this is what God wants us to do, but sometimes we struggle with the execution of that concept. Uh, how can you develop a habit of loving and caring for other people every day, not just on Sundays when you might feel the nudge to do so? For example, what’s the best way to help a homeless person standing at an intersection?

John: Hm.

Jim: I’ve driven by many times because I, I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t have any change to give them. Uh, some people like my wife, Jean, have put together little kits with a water bottle, toothbrush, and other products in there. And those are good ideas in the moment, but you wonder about the long-term needs.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, another example is the 100,000 legal orphans we have in the US foster care system. We often talk about these kids right here at Focus on the Family because they don’t have parents who can care for them and teach them and guide them so they get passed from one home to another looking for what we call a forever family. And I’m so proud of our Wait No More program where we recruit Christian couples to become foster parents or adoptive parents to help these needy children. But there’s so much work to be done and sometimes those needs can be overwhelming.

John: Mm-hmm, and that’s why we’re featuring Chris Marlow today on the program. He’s a former pastor and church planter who founded Help One Now, which is a ministry that equips local leaders to care for orphans and vulnerable families and works to break the cycle of extreme poverty in places like, uh, Haiti, Peru, and Africa. Chris has written a book that we’ll hear more about today called Doing Good Is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are. And Jim, here’s how you began that conversation with Chris.

Jim: Chris, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Chris: Oh, so glad to be here with y’all today and, and I’m really thankful for what you all are doing to make a difference in the world and you’re, you’re setting the example of what it means to, to do hard work but make it simple for those who wanna get engaged and make a difference in their lives.

Jim: Let’s start there. Um, why is it so complex? Why do we, um, lean to comfort and leisure-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … rather than actually doing what God’s saying (laughs) to, to do over and over again?

Chris: Yeah. You know, it’s so fascinating. Like I think as, as, you know, coming from a pastor and a theological background, y- we all kinda know doing good is like a call that we have in our lives, right? Like we follow the life of Jesus. We follow the, the disciples who become the apostles who plant churches. Like doing good is just part of basic biblical scripture from Genesis to Revelation, but yet, you said it earlier, to execute that is more complicated. And here’s one of the things I’ve realized. We have a plan for a lot of things in life, finances, our vocation, but sometimes we actually don’t have a plan as families and as disciples of how we’re gonna make a difference in the world. And so, and the big reality is it can be complicated. You know, I talk about three obstacles. It’s complicated. Um, there’s so many different things to get involved in, and then you feel like, “Can I really make a difference?” And so the reason we started Help One Now was to try and f- make the complicated as simple as possible. How can one help one in the world? That’s it.

Jim: When you, um, caught this revelation, uh, you were on a trip to Zimbabwe, a missions trip. Describe that because, you know, I’ve been on missions trips with my family.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: It’s a, a normal thing that many Christian families will do.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: Why did that experience catch your attention and how did it change your perspective?

Chris: Yeah, 2007, Zimbabwe was the moment my life was forever interrupted. Um, and we have this saying at Help One Now, uh, interrupt- uh, a life interrupted is a life inspired, and I realize now that God wants to interrupt our lives so we could live the greatest possible lives.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: Back then I didn’t really want this, but, um, it took me five years, um, and I was ignoring God’s voice to go to Zimbabwe and to really tangibly care for the poor. I had a friend who kept inviting me. Um, so finally after ignoring God and being disobedient, really, to the voice of God, I said yes. Um, and long, long story short, after a 20-hour travel day, um, we met with our, a, a pastor, a guy named John Chinyowa and we’re driving through Zimbabwe, middle of the night, and he asked me a quick question. He says, “Chris, do you mind if we stop at a gas station? I wanna check on these kids.” And, of course, growing up where I grew up, well, I’m like, “John, you don’t stop at gas stations at 4:00 AM in the morning.” This seemed like a terrible idea.

Jim: Yeah, right. (laughs)

Chris: He was like, “No, but I need to s- check on these kids.” And so, of course, we did and I remember driving up to this gas station in downtown Harare, um, and what I saw was absolutely shocking. It was about 80 kids, all between three and eight years old.

Jim: Oh my gosh.

Chris: Um, and they were sleeping on the asphalt floor in the middle of the night.

Jim: Oh.

Chris: And I remember, um, we had a van full of food and water and, and gas because the country had none of that. And so as we get out of the van we’re immediately surrounded by all these kids and kinda the pack leader of these kids, um, grabbed me by the arm and squeezed it really tight and, um, sh- pulled me down low and he made eye contact and he said these words to me, he said, um, he said, um, “Sir, thank you so much for visiting our country. I’m so sorry it’s in the shape that it’s in. We don’t wanna beg you for food but is there anything we can do to work for you so we can get something to eat?” And I looked at that young eight-year-old boy in the eye-

Jim: Ah.

Chris: … and I told him no. Um, and we got back in the van and we drove off and I realized why God for five years wanted me to go to Zimbabwe, because there are kids all over the world who need our help and when we say yes to doing good, we’re basically saying h- yes to helping kids like that eight-year-old boy in the gas station.

John: Mm-hmm.

Chris: And thankfully, um, because God’s loving and graceful, saying no to that eight-year-old kid has helped us say yes to thousands of other kids around the world.

John: Mm.

Jim: Yeah.

John: So Chris, w- w- how long did you carry that feeling? I mean, there’s a feeling that accompanied the no as you drove off. What was that and how long did you carry that around?

Chris: Uh, it was anger in my own heart that God wanted me to do something good and I ignored God. And so just knowing like why do I not listen to God? He always has a better plan for me. Um, and like to ignore that was… I had to deal with that. I had to repent. I really had to go back to God and God’s beautiful and thankful and graceful, but I had to repent for ignoring that. Um, but I still carry the burden.

John: Mm.

Chris: I still carry, um, you know-

John: Mm.

Chris: … every six seconds a child dies in the world because they don’t have access to food or water and it’s just not right, and the church, um, there’s so much beauty and resources and, and power in the church to make a difference and to wipe some of these figures off the face of the Earth. But we just have to say yes to doing good, to loving our neighbor, to living a more generous life.

Jim: Uh, y- Chris, y- why did you have to say no that night?

Chris: Hm.

Jim: Why couldn’t you have unloaded the truck right there-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … and said, “Okay, our mission was complete”?

Chris: Yeah. So, um, one, I was just-

John: Mm.

Chris: … overwhelmed, right? I d- I’d, I’d never seen that much suffering that immediate. Um, and two, the next day we met 33 kids who are the kids that are still in our programs around the world now, uh, in Zimbabwe. Um, and those resources were allocated for those kids and it gave them three weeks worth of supplies to live, food and water.

John: Right.

Jim: So you didn’t have enough for everybody was the issue.

Chris: Yeah. We literally didn’t, you know, we didn’t have enough to go around but, you know, a part of me, and it’s so complicated. I wish I would’ve pulled out a candy bar. I guarantee I had a candy bar in my back.

Jim: Right, just something.

Chris: But ultimately it was even greater than that. It wasn’t saying no to that specific kid, it was s- saying no for five years to what God wanted me to do-

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: … to help kids like him all over the world.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: But then as I began to study extreme poverty, I began to realize there was, there was 150 million orphans in the world and I remember being paralyzed by that thought.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: Like oh my gosh-

Jim: Think of that.

Chris: … how am, how am I gonna help 150 million orphans?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chris: And so we begin to… I did a year-long research program and I began to realize like first of all, we just have to get started, right? We can’t allow, um, our being overwhelmed to, to allow us not to do something so I just said, “Okay, God, if you could just give me enough faith to take one step, one step forward, how can I care for these 33 orphans in Zimbabwe?” Um, and then what I realized, I began to have conversation after conversation after conversation with my friends in Austin at the time who were, who loved God and wanted to make a difference but they just didn’t know how. And so we wanted to do our best to help people find simple ways to make a difference in the world and not be paralyzed by the largeness of all the issues.

Jim: Uh, Chris, uh, in your ministry Help One Now-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … um, or- orphans is a big part of that, what you just described.

Chris: Yes.

Jim: Can people get this idea of, um, the fatigue of compassion?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: A- and why does that happen and then wh- how should we fight it as Christians? How should we resist that fatigue?

Chris: Yeah, I think fatigue… Compassion fatigue is huge. I experience compassion fatigue, right? And th- I do this as a vocation. Um, and so I think, one, is just being, you know, we have to give ourselves grace. We’re not perfect people. But I think the compassion fatigue is typically when we begin to focus on things that don’t matter as much to God, um, and I think that’s when we begin to experience compassion fatigue.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chris: And God has to realign us, right, like serving our neighbors, loving on people, caring for the orphan or the widow, um, those are things that bring life and joy to God and they bring life and joy to us as well. So typically when I experience compassion fatigue, I know I’m probably not aligned very well. I need to realign my own priorities, um, in life and it, it’s kind of a checkbox, right? I need to say, “Okay, God, what am I doing wrong?” Because serving someone else should bring hope and joy and peace and life but also we’re humans, and so oftentimes we need to do what Jesus did. We need to get away from it and find our boat and find our silent place and reconnect with God so we can reengage back with some of the hard things in the world.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: And so, um, and also here’s what we’ve realized. Compassion fatigue happens when you’re not committed to the long journey.

Jim: Huh.

Chris: And so we’re seeing the greatest hope 10 years after starting Help One Now because it’s not a mission trip. It’s not a checkbox of like, “I’m gonna sponsor a kid and kinda do my thing.” These are real friends who matter to us deeply and so now they become part of our natural community and it’s hard to get fatigue when you actually know the stories-

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Chris: … and you experience them year after year after year. So that’s why. One of the ways to make the biggest difference is to find long-term partners that you can literally experience life and do joy with.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: So it’s not just a project where you check it off and move on, but it’s a relationship where you wanna go deeper and deeper.

Jim: Chris, um, y- oftentimes people’s passions come out of their pain.

Chris: Mm.

Jim: Why do you care about the orphan? Why do you care about, um, children who struggle in this world?

Chris: You know, I didn’t. It took me a long while to connect this, but, um, like many people, I grew up fatherless in a broken home. Um, my mother had been married four times by the time I was eight.

Jim: Wow.

Chris: Um, my dad was in my life till about a three-year-old and then he disappeared and then when I was eight, he just showed up out of nowhere and reentered my life for two or three years and then he left again and we’ve never heard from him since.

Jim: Right. Wow.

Chris: And this is why I love the local church. Like going through that brokenness, um, you know, you just have to be resilient, right? You have to either find a way to create hope or your life’s gonna be destroyed and you’re gonna be on a, on a negative pathway. And so what I loved about that moment is the local church entered my life out of nowhere and it was everyday normal people who really made a big difference.

Jim: Interesting.

Chris: So I’ve talked about it in the book. It was a plumber. It was a small youth pastor, but.

Jim: What did they do that made a difference?

John: Yeah.

Chris: They cared. You know what they did?

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: They stopped being so busy and they said, “You know what? There’s a opportunity right in front of me that could make a difference. Let’s just care. Let’s take time out of our busy schedules.”

John: Mm. Yeah.

Chris: “Let’s be deliberate. Let’s actually slow down and listen to the Holy Spirit.” I think, you know, and this was, that was the late ’90s. Now life’s so busy. There’s so much going on. It’s oftentimes we forget the small voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “Slow down. I have work for you to do and you’re on my schedule, not your schedule.”

Jim: Right.

John: Mm, and so often that work is right in front of us, as was the case for the people around you. What would’ve happened, Chris, if, um, those folks wouldn’t’ve, would not have intervened? What do you think your life would’ve, would’ve done?

Chris: I have no words. I can’t, I mean literally like I can’t imagine where I would be without a plumber, a small-town youth pastor, and a teacher, a 4th grade teacher.

Jim: Yeah, I love the teachers.

Chris: I was homeless and she said, “Hey, you’re gonna come live with me.”

John: Mm.

Chris: And so she took me in informally into her family-

John: Ah.

Chris: … and for a year and a half just began to care for me and she was a teacher and her own marriage was struggling with alcoholism from her husband. And so even in the midst of her own problems she found a way and the strength of God to reach out to me and to help surround me with people who cared. Um-

John: Well you, you were also in trouble with the law. I mean, you had a lot of-

Chris: Yep. Yeah.

John: … really, uh, hard things going on, right?

Chris: There was a lot. I bo- I grew up with, um, all my siblings were basically drug dealers. Um, all of them are in jail or no longer alive. Um, uh, grew up in Northern California in, uh, just a very rough neighborhood. Um, and so those moments like a- helped me to remember the importance of doing good.

John: Mm.

Chris: That God uses everyday normal people to make the biggest difference in the world. It’s not the superstars, it’s not the heroes, it’s not the ultra-wealthy. It’s the everyday normal people who are… And it’s the story of the Good Samaritan. He’s just walking to work one day and God gives him a opportunity to make a difference and he says yes to that opportunity. So I think our job is to say, “Okay, God. What opportunities, big and small, every day but throughout our lives, can we say yes to and that would make a difference?”

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today is Chris Marlow. He’s written a fascinating book called Doing Good Is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are. And this resource is full of practical steps that you can begin to apply today to make a difference. Check it out at or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And now more from our conversation with Chris Marlow on Focus on the Family.

Jim: Uh, Chris, I, I wanna hit on some practical approaches to helping the poor and needy. Uh, you listed some great ideas in your book, Doing Good is Simple. Uh, let’s start with number one. You say, “Do something rather than nothing.” (laughs)

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So instead of being paralyzed, it is so important. If you look at all the issues in the world, just start somewhere. And don’t do it alone. Start with a community. Um, that is a su- you know, whether it’s your small group or your family, um, you know, neighbors, like get others involved so that you feel like you’re doing it in a community. So start, um, do something rather than nothing. Two, start small. It is so i-… And this is why… The concept of the book is when we get overwhelmed by anything, we typically stop doing it.

Jim: That’s true, like exercise. (laughs)

Chris: Yeah, absolutely.

John: Or a to-do list. (laughing)

Jim: I gotta lose weight.

Chris: A to-do list, I know.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: I know, we’re like in March and our whole goals are already destroyed because like we get overwhelmed by the chaos of life.

John: Yeah.

Chris: Um, so start small. Um, h- I think this is really important. You have a passion in your life. Everyone listening to the show, you have a passion, something that keeps you up, something that drives you. It’s your passion. No one else can have it. We may have like-minded passions. You know, for my daughter, her passion is anti-trafficking in Thailand. For my other daughter it’s doing justice work through the arts. And so how do they both use their passions to make a difference in the world?

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: Um, bus- we have teachers going around the world training teachers. Business folks training business folks. So instead of doing traditional missionships, they’re doing trips based on their passion and so find your passions. Um, and I think that’s, those are, um… Obviously you have gifts. We call this the impact matrix, right? God’s given you gifts. A talent is something you earn. A gift is something you are born with. And so we each have a gift in our lives-

John: Mm.

Chris: … and if we use those gifts to do good, it will bring glory to God and we’ll see a transformation.

John: Yeah, and Chris, you, you shepherded that gift in your kids. Uh, one of your daughters started a lemonade stand.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Chris: Right.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And that really illus- illustrates what you’ve talked about thus far.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Start small, do something.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Tell us about the lemonade stand.

Chris: Yes, it was Austin summer day which meant it was 180 degrees.

John: (laughs) Yeah.

Chris: Or it felt like that. Uh, we’d ate like four breakfast tacos that morning.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: ‘Cause that’s what you do when you were in Austin. And I had these 33 orphans I was trying to figure out how to care for. Um, when I left Zimbabwe, they had two weeks worth of food so the pressure was like, “Whoa.” Pastor John is trying to care for these kids. What can we do? So we went back to our friends and our family and we begin to say, “What are some small steps we can do to make a difference?” Our daughters were seven and five at the time. And so one morning, there was a bunch of construction going on in our neighborhood. They were building new houses. And so they just put together this lemonade stand and they, they just wrote on this ch- board, chalkboard, um, you know, “All the food is going to care for orphans in Zimbabwe.” And I remember this was a construction worker. They would come and they would drop a $20 bill to get a glass of le- (laughs) you know, to get a cup of lemonade.

John: Yeah.

Chris: And r- it showed me back then that everybody no matter where you’re at, people really wanna make a difference in the world-

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: … whether it’s a seven or five-year-old kid or whether it’s a 35-year-old construction worker. It was an example of what people wanna do.

John: Mm.

Jim: Yeah, you know, that’s interesting, Chris. There’s something in the human heart-

Chris: Yes.

Jim: … that you wanna help.

John: Yeah.

Chris: Yep.

Jim: Uh, I think that’s the character of God, a common grace in-

Chris: Absolutely.

Jim: … all people. Or most people.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. And I think even those, you know. Uh, if we’re not making the world better, we’re not truly living to our highest potential and we know that.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: I don’t think any of us when we… You know, as the older you get especially, you don’t want your life to be about building your empire. You want your life to be about building God’s kingdom and building God’s kingdom is loving your neighbor.

Jim: Yes, it is. Y- you really do encourage people to make a commitment and not give up.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: Um, speak to the tried and true Christian doing a good job with their walk, maybe in their 40s, 50s, 60s.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Uh, they’ve done a lot of things and they feel good about their life.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: How do they not grow cool toward continuing to do good?

John: Mm.

Jim: I mean, “Lord, have I not done enough?” (laughs) I mean-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … I don’t wanna put words in anybody’s mouth, but you know what I’m saying? It, you, you can f-

Chris: Yep.

Jim: Back to that fatigue point, I think.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: You can really, uh, grow a little weary, um, sometimes, and how do you stay motivated?

Chris: Yeah, I think we have to protect our hearts and I think the way we do that is by constantly engaging with Jesus and also those who are pushing hard to make a difference in the world, right? And so when we get angry or frustrated or, or bitter, um, we can be led astray.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: And instead of ending our lives, um, it really, I think the last 20, 30 years of your life should be the most joyful and the most part of bearing fruit, um, because you have the experience, you have the time, but I do think the challenge with that is we think we know more than we do.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: And so that goes back to-

Jim: Another human characteristic.

Chris: Another human characteristic, right, like-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: … you know, I’m 55 and I know everything. It’s like, no we don’t. We gotta constantly be going back to God saying, “God, teach me.”

Jim: Mm.

Chris: “I’m a disciple. I’m your student. I wanna live like you and I wanna li-…” And most folks ruin their legacy their last 20 or 30 years of their lives.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: And so how do we avoid doing that? But also, here’s what I love. Um, Jesus is a burden and it’s light. And so we could trust like God’s in control of the world and we can just follow what he wants us to do to be obedient, whether we’re young or whether we’re old. And what does that look like?

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: And so that’s the question we have to ask every day. “God, how can I bring glory to you and help the world become better today?”

Jim: Without a doubt. Chris, let me ask you. Uh, y- the stories are great and, uh, what the Lord is doing through your ministry, Help One Now. Uh, one story in particular in your book, how a small loan helped a family living in poverty start a chicken business. (laughs)

Chris: Mm, yeah. Yeah.

Jim: You know, you’re thinking, “Chickens? Okay.”

Chris: Yep.

Jim: But describe that opportunity and how it changed their life in ways you never even expected.

Chris: Oh, this is, um… I’m gonna try not to cry ’cause it’s, um, it’s ultimately as humans we’re all kinda the same, right? We all kinda want the same things in life.

Jim: Sure.

Chris: We want a home. We want safety. We want our kids to go to school. Um, we want purpose. We want opportunity. And so in Zimbabwe, this was like, you know, we’re five years into our story of Zimbabwe. 33 kids have become more of a, you know, a built-out program by then, and our, our local pastor there says, “Hey, we need to start helping families thrive and flourish. The way for us to end, um, the orphan care issue is to prevent it all together and help families stay together and have opportunity.” And so we begin to give these small micro loans. Um, and so we gave… It was a, it was a $300 micro loan to a family in Zimbabwe. Um, he actually worked for the government part-time and then they started a, a side business with his wife and himself. Um, and I remember it was a Wednesday evening and we’re at his house and we’re going through the books and he’s basically showing me how much more money they earn, about 400% more in eight months they’re earning than before-

Jim: Hm.

Chris: … the business started. And they were just, they were in tears and they were so thankful and I asked them this question, and I go, “How does that make you feel?” And I was expecting some amazing response of like future or college or… And he, he says, “Well, I’m very excited because every Thursday at the market I get to take my little boy to go get a ice cream cone.”

Jim: (laughs) Oh my.

Chris: And like he had tears roll down his eyes and I had tears roll down my eyes.

Jim: Uh.

Chris: And it was this moment of like, it was a father in Zimbabwe, created in God’s image, who was just finding, trying to find a way to build his dreams for his family and take his son to get a ice cream. And often when we’re talking about doing good is simple-

John: Mm.

Chris: … those are the stories. We’re try- we’re trying to help dads and moms thrive and flourish and be able to take their kid to get an ice cream cone.

John: Hm.

Chris: And it took $300 to make that happen.

Jim: That’s amazing.

John: Wow.

Jim: I mean, and the joy, that’s the thing.

Chris: Uh.

Jim: The joy. When people look at the goodness in this life, those are the characteristics that do flow from God.

Chris: Yes. Yep.

Jim: Uh, not the other guy. And joy, that kind of-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … universal joy, that’s something from the heart of God, in my opinion.

Chris: And I think that’s the spiritual formation. When we give back, God gives to us, and it, it reveals to us, one, why we exist as humans-

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: … but, two, our purpose in life, that we can help others flourish and they can also help us flourish and it becomes this community of people who are helping each other, you know, solve all of life’s issues together.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: And it’s an amazing joy. And that’s how you overcome compassion fatigue. It’s such a joy to be a part of it but you’re also not taking on too much.

Jim: Right.

Chris: I’m not trying to solve the whole world’s issues. I have a very focused plan and I’m trying to lean in every day to solve these key issues that we’re focused on.

Jim: And let’s reinforce it with this last question-

Chris: Yep.

Jim: … because I think you’re hitting on it, and that is addressing those worldwide problems like poverty and orphan care or disease.

Chris: (laughs)

Jim: It can be overwhelming.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s like i- i- it’s such a big elephant. I don’t know where to take the first bite, right?

Chris: Yeah, it’s-

Jim: Um, but ultimately, that’s not our job. It’s God’s job.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s the bottom line. Talk about that responsibility and role that God has-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, and then what he’s given each of us to do.

Chris: Yes.

Jim: Just very clearly right at the end kinda summarizing it.

Chris: Yeah. Here’s what I would say. G- if you believe in sovereignty, God’s in control. He knew everything that was gonna happen before time and our job is to be obedient to God. I call it the impact matrix. You have passions, talents, resources, um, and networks. Um, how do we leverage those four things to do good in the world? And it should be through the day to day rhythms of our life. Um, it doesn’t mean you have to move to another country or you have to take a mission trip every three months. It’s literally you’re gonna make the biggest difference by saying yes to God as you move out the day to day activities of life. And listening to the Holy Spirit, but also realizing that it’s God’s power, not our power, that’s gonna make the difference and God just wants to use us to show His power of love and grace and resurrection to the world.

Jim: That’s a great reminder from our guest, Chris Marlow, that taking the initiative to simply do good right where you’re at and when we’re faithful to serve others with God’s love, the world is going to notice and become attracted to Jesus as a result. That’s what I believe. Uh, we hope you were inspired and perhaps challenged by this conversation today. I strongly recommend you follow up by getting Chris’s book, Doing Good Is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are. Uh, we can get a copy into your hands when you send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family. Uh, that’s our way of saying thank you for working with us to support and strengthen families and help people grow in their faith doing ministry together.

John: Hm. Donate generously as you can. Request that book and ask about other resources that we have for you when you call 800-232-6459. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by

Jim: At the beginning I mentioned our Wait No More program where we connect Christian couples with children that no longer have parents. The courts have terminated those parental rights or the parents have passed away. Uh, they are the kids, uh, in foster care. We’ve been doing Wait No More for over 10 years now and, uh, nearly 5,000, uh, families have initiated the adoption process for those foster kids who are available and I’m so proud of that. Uh, you know, privacy issues, we can’t look over that, uh, line but, uh, that’s often more than one child because of sibling sets and-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, maybe two or three kids are being adopted at any given time. In addition to that, that’s encouraging couples to consider, uh, foster parenting through the foster system. Jean and I have done that. We’re supporting, uh, families who are doing either adoption or fostering. Really good things to do, and that’s one opportunity where you can start being active today. I urge you to prayerfully consider how your family might get involved because when we work in that direction together, God can do amazing things, and you know, I can’t wait for the headline someday. I’ve thought of this with The New York Times saying, “Christian church wipes out the waiting adoption list.” Wouldn’t that be awesome? Um, I am hoping that that day will come because the church has acted so, uh, courageously and so forcefully to wipe out that list.

John: Mm, well, uh, a- as God stirs your heart, call us and let us, uh, partner together with you. Uh, we’ll have a link to Wait No More at our website and you can also call us. Uh, the site is Our number, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back tomorrow when we examine the powerful influence of faith and God’s providence in the founding of America. That’s next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Doing Good is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are

Receive Chris Marlow's book Doing Good is Simple and an audio download of "Changing the World Through a Lemonade Stand" for your donation of any amount!

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