Is There Room at the Table?
Hello and thank you for joining me for Give Him 15. We have a wonderful guest with us today. If you follow us regularly, you know that on Fridays we try to bring in a prophetic voice who can talk about what God's saying to the Church right now, as well as what He's saying to the nation. You also know, something that God has gripped my heart with, that I try to keep before you on a fairly regular basis is the life issue - protecting the babies and ending abortion. It's very dear to my heart. I feel like it's an assignment on my life that's connected to the Supreme Court and praying there. The recent decision made by the Supreme Court regarding the reversing of Roe vs Wade was wonderful, but we still have a lot of work to do at the state level.
Our guest today is a person who has been contending for life for many years. She is in the thick of this battle and you're going to be excited to hear from her. Kelsey Bolender is a dreamer who is believing for a million adoptions to change the landscape of the Life Movement in America. What an incredible dream. As the mother of ten children - she may mention how the Lord took her that direction, it's quite a story, but she’s a mother of 10 children, six of whom are adopted. Kelsey is passionate about coaching families in their own adoption journey. In fact, because of this passion, she has founded Zoe's House, which is a Christian adoption agency.
Without taking any more of her time, I want Kelsey to share with us. What is God saying to the adoption movement and the pro-life movement today?
Kelsey begins to share:
“It's so good to be with you today, Dutch. Thank you so much and we so appreciate you and your stand for life and what the Lord is doing to bring that subject to the fore-front in the Church. You and Chuck were in our region, in Kansas, this past summer, and you came because you felt an urgency to help us contend for the ‘Value Them Both’ Amendment which was actually struck down a few days later. And yet, in the wake of that, so many are asking, what do we do now. We knew the vote would be close, we didn't really know it was going to be that close, and that we would lose. So, what do we do now? I just keep hearing, sensing, and telling everyone around us that we keep doing what we do, and we keep moving forward. In fact, when Chuck was here in Kansas, he said that this is going to be a long journey of worship. Before we get into any of the action points, we have to focus on that and remember our first and foremost action must be to worship. Chuck talked a lot about David’s life and driving out the ‘Jebusites.’ But in doing that, establishing the ark of God's presence and the arduous journey of patiently worshiping God, must be at the forefront.
“So that's what we're doing here in Kansas City and at Zoe's House. We've actually been having a daily prayer meeting for about a year now, beholding the beauty of Jesus each day and asking Him to bring His presence to our city. Out of that place, He's actually showing us strategy. Here in Kansas - post Roe v Wade and post “Value Them Both” - nothing has really changed as far as the abortion landscape. Here in Kansas women are still free to have abortions and we have not seen a change in that. Therefore, we are continuing to do what we do at Zoe's house: serving women, serving children, and proclaiming life. We're praying and we're keeping on keeping on. I think the word of the Lord is DON’T QUIT. I can't tell you how many times I've been tempted to quit, and God’s word to us each time is “don't quit.” We have to continue on.
“But here's the other thing. Hebrews 11:40 has been such a bullwork for us. Many of the saints of old didn't receive the promise because God had something different in store. Scripture tells us He has something more perfect. He wanted us to be part of the storyline and when we receive the baton from the prior generations and take it further, something happens. Dutch, over the years you've called it the “synergy of the ages”, when we actually tap into what God has done in the past and bring it further.
“So here in Kansas City, we have researched what God did. We found that George Whitfield was a revivalist here in America during the 1700s. In 1740, George Whitfield opened the first orphanage. His heart was for the children. The first orphanage in Georgia was opened by George Whitfield and he called it Bethesda. We're saying, okay, there's something regarding taking care of the children that opens up a revival spirit. In 1854, a pastor on the east coast - Charles Loring Brace - had a heart for the orphan crisis that was happening, particularly in New York City. He started the orphan trains that became the precursor for the modern day foster care and adoption movement - all because a pastor said I'm going to do something about it.
“Here we found out that back in the 1800s and early 1900s, Kansas City was called the ‘Adoption Hub of America.’ We began asking, ‘Why is this, God?’ We then found out that 20 women in 1870 came together with the heart of God and said, ‘We've got to find the orphans and we must help them,’ and started the Women's Christian Association. Out of this began a women's home, children's homes, and an adoption movement right here in Kansas City. We're are now telling the Lord that we want to take the baton and go on, taking this movement forward.”
“Let me jump in here for a minute here. You're blowing me away with some of these facts. I had no idea regarding this history, Kelsey, that adoption - the heart of God for the babies - has been so connected to revival! I also had no idea of these deep roots there in Kansas City, where God led you and your family. Of course, I know for the last 20+ years, you and Randy have been involved in the prophetic movement and you've always tried to move by the Spirit of God, listening to and being led by Him as to where God wants you to be. You’ve been associated with Mike Bickle’s House of Prayer in Kansas City, and worship as well as LIFE has always been on your heart. I'm not really surprised that God caused you to land in this region. I don't think you probably knew all of this when you guys were led to settle in Kansas City, starting this work, and yet here you are.
God does that, He goes back to roots we don't even know about, plants us there to pick up the baton and continue, as you said - with the synergy of the ages. I'm just blown away by some of this and I feel like it's even consistent with the assignment on my life. My heart is to see revival in America - a third Great Awakening. I've always known that it is somehow connected to the life issue, that if we don't end this plague - this curse of the shedding of innocent blood - there's a limit to what God can do. I believe however, that the victory that broke this decree over the nation nationally from the Supreme Court (June 2022) did something to allow God to now move us forward. I'd love to hear what you feel about that. I believe God can now begin to do things at a state level legally and legislatively. I feel the Supreme Court’s ruling now allows God to lift the curse off our nation. Now He can begin to deal with regions and states.
“I'm still blown away that God planted you guys there in KC, at this place that has such a strategic life and adoption history. Kelsey, tell us how that happened. Why are you there?”
“You're right, Dutch. Randy and I knew we were coming to Kansas City to be part of the International House of Prayer in 2003, but didn't know exactly what God’s plan was for us 20 years ago. Back then we had three children. We were very pleasantly done with our family, feeling that it was complete. Then we started praying for the ending of abortion in a very focused way. We actually moved to Washington, DC for a year and regularly stood on the steps of the Supreme Court praying regarding the abortion issue. We felt we were to help Matt and Kim Lockett start Bound for Life back in the day. We were challenged that if we're going to pray, would we also actually be a prophetic witness regarding what we were praying. So be careful what you pray!
“We ended up believing that if we were to adopt a baby that perhaps might have been aborted - or had been saved from abortion, that it would be a sign - not only to heaven and earth, but even a motivator to the Church to wake up - we have to love the unwanted/unplanned babies. We have to care for them and we have to care for the women. So we did that.
“My husband says adoption is like tattoos - you think long and hard about the first one. All of a sudden the second and third come easily, and then your arms are full. Like you mentioned earlier, Randy and I adopted six children and now have ten children. We didn't see that coming and yet, it's the brilliant strategy of the Lord to declare that He's the father to the fatherless and He wants children set into families - the lonely He sets in families. It’s Psalm 68:6. Romans 8 - talks about the spirit of adoption. The gospel is birthed out of this spirit of adoption and we're groaning for that spirit of adoption to be complete. The earth is even groaning to see the sons of God revealed right through that spirit of adoption.
“So we started Zoe's House out of a prophetic desire to see abortion end. Now that we are post Roe, we're realizing that we need new strategies. Recently I was with a group of executive directors from across the Midwest. They are all involved in pro-life ministries, from post-abortive counseling, to pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and other life-giving ministries. I was so surprised at what they said. Across the board, they said that they weren't ready for June 24th - they were not prepared for the overturning of Roe v Wade. I was shocked and in my heart a little saddened. Something rose up within me and I saw that we now have to be a trumpet - we have to hear new strategy. You know, we call it a new wine skin, but it's really innovation and creativity; it's having new ways to do the right thing.
“Last year I finished grad school. I took a class called Grand Strategy in Military Operations. This was a part of my National Security Degree and I took it with a friend who was a worship leader. It's really interesting to take this kind of class with a worship leader whose literal weapon is a guitar. We think of all of this in regards to the Spirit of God. I thought it would not be interesting. It was a huge book about the strategy of warfare. Business people use this book because it's so brilliant. Strategy is the most important element when we're in a spiritual battle or any kind of battle. We need strategy to see opportunities because we only have limited resources. Therefore, we must maximize what we have. In the pro-life movement right now, we need to maximize and ask the Lord, the best divine strategist, what we are to do. We must employ new ways of doing things.
“As we talked to the Lord about this, He challenged us, ‘Well, you really like the babies and you're pro-life, but are you pro-child, are you pro-family?’ We began to step out and say, yes we've been about the adoption of babies. But now Holy Spirit is leading us as we're stepping into the foster care system. We found out that in the state of Kansas, there are 500 kiddos right now who are ‘adoption ready.’ In the foster care system, most of the time reunification is the goal. But these kids’ parents have already had their rights terminated. These 500 in Kansas are the closest thing to orphans that we have in the United States and there are thousands of them across the nation. The state of Kansas is actually working with us to say, ‘Will you help find families for these 500? They're not babies. Most of them are older kids - will you help us find families?’...because the state realizes that family is the way to go. So we're stepping into new ways of doing things, and I think that's also the word of the Lord: strategy!”
Dutch jumps in:
“Kelsey, this is amazing and truly incredible.
“I want to challenge the people for a moment. When you get to be our age - Ceci and I are at the age where we can't adopt, but we have the ability to sow financial gifts into the adoption process. There are a lot of young families who could be foster parents or want to adopt, and it has become so expensive to go through this process. I know that part of your ministry is to raise funds or believe for funds to offset some of the financial needs for these families who can and desire to adopt. At our age, we can't adopt - we are too old to do this, but we aren’t going to sit on our hands and say we can’t do anything about this dire situation. We sow into Zoe's House every year and try to sow generous gifts to help a family adopt a child.
“I want to get on board with what you’re talking about today. I feel that God places people like you, Kelsey, on the front lines of strategy for adoption, and you’re doing it. But He also wants those of us who can, to get on board and partner with you, sowing financial gifts into this plan, and I believe adoption is God’s plan. The purpose of Give Him 15 today was to make you aware of this nation-wide need and not necessarily to raise money for Zoe's House. But honestly, I really want to raise money for Zoe's House, this ministry we personally know and love. If you know of other ministries or groups of people doing this and you'd rather sow into them, do it. But let's get behind God’s desire to take care of the fatherless and embrace adoption. Knowing how many children are currently in foster care and are ready for adoption is blowing me away; you just don't hear about it. But obviously, this is something God is saying to us right now. We're going to pray into this and we're going to begin picking this up here on Give Him 15 and talk more about it.
“Kelsey, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I would like for you to take a minute or two and close us out in prayer. I believe God will touch the hearts of believers to get involved, to take in these dear children, and support these efforts.”
Kelsey begins to pray:
“Father, we thank You for the spirit of adoption. Lord, that is the gospel and it's what You do for us. You bring us in as our Father. Lord, I pray for a spirit of adoption to be released over the Church of America. Come and take in those who are fatherless, create a home, set the lonely into families. We cry out, Jesus.
“I pray for hearts that would say YES across the Church. I pray that the Church - the body of Christ - would rise up to say yes, God. I pray they would begin to say there's room at our table for one more. I pray, God, as many sit down at the dinner table tonight, they'd look at their table and say oh there's room for one more at our table, there's room for a sibling group, there's room here because revival is family. I pray that You would do that across this nation.
“I also ask You to reveal the history to each listening today regarding where You've planted each one. When you planted us in Kansas City, we didn't know You were planting us in the adoption hub of America. God, I pray for each one listening, that they would begin to see where You've planted them and the history there, and the batons that can be picked up to further the life movement and to further a Great Awakening here in this nation.
“Father we're looking to You. We desire for the nation to be restored, and a Great Awakening to happen, for the gospel to be known in America and known on the shores of other nations. I pray that You would restore us and release the spirit of adoption. In Jesus name, Amen.”
“Amen and thank you so much, Kelsey. This has been powerful and we're going to have you back on. I want people to go to the link and check out what you're doing. Zoe's House is a 501c3 and your gifts will be tax deductible. Kelsey is also the co-author of the book: The Spirit of Adoption - Winning the Battle for the Children. I encourage you to visit their website see what they're doing.
“Friends, thank you for joining us today; I really appreciate it. We will see you on Monday!”
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