Do Your Daddy Issues Define You? Which One?

My son is a great reminder of the influence or ‘issues’ I pass on. Now, the truth is, I only want credit for certain desirable actions seen in him… like when he prays, ‘thank you God for defeating the devil and destroying the keys of death.’ Or, when he makes up songs in his raspy voice, ‘You’re the one I want, You’re the one I picked, You’re my ripe apple baby!’ I don’t know where he gets it, but I’ll take partial credit.  However, when his strong will is on full display or he has a big time attitude, I would rather attribute those behaviors to my wife and in-laws.

I personally have my own ‘daddy issues’, don’t we all? YES! It’s my dad’s fault that my penmanship is so atrocious and I’m sure he has some responsibility for these cowlicks.

Our society is full of examples of the effects that our fathers, or lack thereof, have on us… just go to a prison, street corner, or a home for runaways… just read the staggering statistics… just listen to the countless stories that place the blame for ones condition on their ‘daddy issues’. A common refrain is ‘I can’t help it, it’s all his fault’! The truth is our relationship to our father can be foundational to our sense of identity.

On this topic, the Bible has much to say. The idea of God as Father is discovered in a multitude of places throughout Scripture. For children of God, his fatherhood serves to reinvent our identity, shape our sense of self and be a force that transforms the way we view everything, including ourselves.

So…What if we chose to be like our Father in heaven? What if our ‘daddy issues’ were influenced more from above than from down here? It is possible! Read the following scriptures and think about the implications they have for your identity…

Adopted: Galatians 4:4-7 ‘I am a child of God!’
Love: 1 John 3:1 ‘God greatly loves me!’
Compassion: Psalm 103:8-13 ‘God sees me and knows me!’
Merciful: Luke 6:35 ‘God has been so merciful to me!”

If we receive God’s parenting, our identity will be profoundly impacted. We will still have to pass the blame for our ‘daddy issues’. For instance, when we are loving, we will have to confess, ‘I can’t help but love, cause my Father loves me, it’s his fault.’ If we show compassion, we must say, ‘I can’t help but be compassionate. I was jacked up but my Father was compassionate to me. It’s his fault, I’m like this!’

What does the idea of God as your father mean to you?


How Do I Know If It’s Success or Being Blessed?

Do you ever wonder why God seems to ‘bless’ the proudest of people? Does it ever disturb you that the most successful are at times the biggest scoundrels?

God can still accomplish great things through proud people, and He at times even blesses the work of the pompous. However, we shouldn’t necessarily equate success with honor. Popularity is not the same as blessing. The Scriptures say it this way:

Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.

Any one of us can find ourselves in the midst of notoriety and accomplishment yet still miss out on the joy, peace, and gratitude that accompanies true honor from God. In the Hebrew language this Old Testament word for honor poetically refers to the soul of humanity. It’s not a reference to our outward performance but rather our heart’s well-being.

I am incredibly grateful that God is gracious to the proud, among whom I am first. However, if a person is inwardly rotting away from pride they are not experiencing the blessing of God, no matter how popular or successful their life may seem to be.

The pathway to true honor always come through humility. A heart that is being cultivated for God is always an indicator of true blessing. So I am asking myself these kind of questions…

1. Do I experience joy in God’s blessings?
OR Do I constantly crave more, bigger, and better?

2. Do I fully acknowledge the hand of God in everything (good and bad)?
OR Do I only focus on circumstances and situations?

3. Do I use my platform to point to Christ?
OR Do I try to take the credit?

4. Do I have a spirit of gratitude?
OR Do I constantly criticize & complain?

5. Do I have a continuing commitment to my personal/private spiritual formation?
OR Do I neglect ‘practicing what I preach’?

Paul sums up these ideas best in this passage…
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Preparing the Heart for Good Friday

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
What is bad news for us is only made ‘good’ through the cross! Notice the responsibility: ‘our trangressions’, ‘our iniquities’, ‘we have gone astray’, ‘we have turned’ but Jesus takes it all upon himself on the cross. Take time to confess, repent, and acknowledge your culpability in the cross!

I Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
What makes no sense to this world, is for us who believe, the very thing that gives our life meaning! The message of the cross is God’s power saving, forgiving, delivering and sustaining. What a cost Christ paid, what pain he accepted! Praise Him for his sacrifice, acknowledge your debt of gratitude.

1 Peter 2 :14 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
All our sin is covered by the cross! Every heartbreak, disappointment, failure, and act of shame has been pierced through, condemned to death. Declare death to your guilt! Let the cross of Christ cover your pain and release your regrets. Die to sin! Live for righteousness! Christ has made the way!

1 John 4: 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Look to Christ on the cross and see how bad things are, that He had to die for us! Look to Christ on the cross and see how good things are, He loved us that much! Receive His love, revel in it! Let the love of Christ mold you, shaping your heart & filling your soul with His purpose.

What can your church learn from a hospital?

I’ve spent a great deal of time in and out of the hospital recently. Sitting around various waiting rooms I began to think about what could a church learn from a hospital. In many ways these institutions are dissimilar. However, there are innumerable real life lessons discovered down the hallways of a hospital that bring focus to mission and visions for life both individually and corporately.

Here are a few reflections…

-Bad stuff happens, be ready!
Life inside a hospital causes you to quickly learn that suffering is inevitable in this life, for some more severe than others. Some try to ignore the possibility of pain, others figure out things to blame the suffering on. But ignoring is ignorance and too many people are busy arguing questions that people who are hurting aren’t even asking. Jesus clearly tells us hard times are part of our humanity. (John 16:33…In this world you will have trouble.)

So, as churches and as followers of Christ we need to prepare ahead of time. We need to be ready for the likelihood of suffering and not be swept away by trouble whether that be our own or that of another. In Christ we have the power and the perspective needed to endure any and every trial, as the remainder of the previous verse states…
John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

-The proper diagnosis determines treatment
If it’s discovered that you have cancer, advice to ‘take two aspirins and call me in the morning’ is a prescription that would get many doctors a sucker punch on the chin. Diagnosis is foundational and leads to the proper course of treatment. This is why so much time is taken to determine and confirm the right diagnosis, so that the very best plan can be made.

Often in our lives, and in our churches we are more interested in treatment options than we are fully understanding the diagnosis. Christian bookstores are filled with the equivalent of self-help books, sermons are laced with 6 steps to a happier, holier home and a hotter husband. We love to do stuff, we value helping ourselves.

Yet the gospel truth is that everyone of us are ravaged to our core by sin, a disease more menacing and demanding than the vilest cancer. We are held in sins vice grip, and none of our 6 steps to freedom or self-esteem exercises can break it’s power. Only through the loving and costly grace of Jesus Christ can sin be overcome and salvation found.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For some this does not seem to come across as an encouraging story, BUT I believe that only when we discover the gravity of the diagnosis of our sinful state, will we be able to fully embrace and rejoice in the glory of Christ! The biggest problems in our churches and in our lives are not divorce rates, financial or sexual issues, rather, it’s sin! So then, turn to Christ, run to Christ, and trust Christ today, everyday, and every day after!

A Day of Prayer & Fasting for Kate

I have never felt so helpless in my whole life!

Since getting the results on Tuesday our lives have seemed to weave in and out of reality, moments of relaxation quickly upended by the reminders of what Kate is facing. Our only hope this week has been our Creator God and his rescuing love found in Jesus Christ. Prayer has been passionate and desperate, I guess it always should be.

Now is a time for faith and prayer, and we are so deeply grateful that we have a host of warriors battling along with us in prayer. Now is an urgent time, so I have a request. If you are willing and if you are able, would you please consider fasting and praying with us tomorrow Monday February 7th, 2011.

Throughout Scripture fasting plays a critical role in many God ordained events:
-Moses fasted for intimate fellowship with God Exodus 34:28
-David fasted for his sick child 2 Samuel 12:16
-Ezra called a fast for humility and to ask for God’s provisions Ezra 8:21-23
-Daniel fasted to discern God’s will & seek God’s counsel Daniel 10:2-3
-Jesus fasted before beginning his public ministry Matthew 4:2
-Church leaders in Antioch fasted for God’s divine help Acts 13:3
-Paul fasted as servant of God for those he served 2 Corinthians 6:5

Here are a few requests for those who will partner with us:

For Healing… for Kate’s complete healing from top of her head to her toes
Psalm 107: 19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

For Wisdom… for Holly and I, for the doctors, and people we consult with
Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

For Jesus to be Glorified for Christ to be seen as POWERFUL & to be praised
John 11:4 Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that, God’s Son may be glorified through it.’

Again, I want to thank the countless people who have prayed and encouraged us for some time. We would be honored if some of you could join us in this day of seeking God in prayer and fasting. Please pass this along and ask others. If you need some guidance in fasting, I have found this site to be helpful…
Awake21 particularly the  ‘Prayer, Fasting, and Personal Devotion Guide’

The Gospel of Hosea

I absolutely enjoyed studying the book of Hosea last week. It is an incredible story of God’s faithful, redeeming love towards his unfaithful people. It goes a little something like this…

Chapter 1
Hosea, go marry an adulterous woman
with a really weird name (Gomer)!

What? Are you sure God?
Your marriage will be an example to Israel of their unfaithfulness

Thanks for the opportunity, I think.
Hosea, I want you to name the children to be born:
1)after an old place of shame 2)no mercy 3)not mine

O.K. if you say so!

Chapter 2
Hosea, my people have been unfaithful, they are a disgrace.

Please be merciful God!
Oh Hosea, by the way, I still love them and want them to be mine.

Thank you Lord for your unending grace!
I want to bring my loved ones back,
turn their shame to hope, give a fresh start…

God you are so good to us!

Chapter 3
Hosea, bring your adulterous wife back home,
go love her like I love my people.

It would be my honor Lord!
Hosea, even though she is your wife, and you love her,
you will have to pay  a price to redeem her.

That’s fine Lord, no price is to great for my love!
One day your Redeemer will pay a great price,
the life of His Son, to redeem his people.

Forgive and save us O Lord!

Here is my talk from Cornerstone on this: 1-23-2011 Scandalous: Hosea

Prayers for the Week

As I start a new week, there is so much potential, so much opportunity. I want to make the most of this week for God’s glory. Here are a few of my prayers for the week…

to be holy:
1 Thessalonians 3:12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
I pray that I can live out the holiness that Christ has given me!

to be fruitful:
John 15:7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
So this prayer is actually a prayer to remain “in Christ”, that he will bear fruit through my life.

to be prayerful:
Ephesians 6:18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Matt Chandler said this on twitter this morning, “The frontline of any battle is prayer.” I want to fight from my knees this week…

to be filled with the knowledge of his will:
Colossians 1:9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
I pray for God’s revelation this week!

What are you praying for this week?