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.

Don’t Fear-Stand Still-See God Work (My Prayer)

Many of you know by now that 3 days ago on Tuesday afternoon we were given a heartbreaking report from Kate’s latest MRI. We are devastated but holding out hope, fearful but clinging on with whatever faith we can in the moment. The prayers and comments we have received in the past few days are staggering. Kate desperately needs your prayers and for that matter so do we! Here is one way God has spoken this week, a glimmer of light in our darkness.

Holly’s sister Carrie wrote this to me this morning…
“Over the past few days, very close, authentic friends of mine from all different locations and places in life have emailed, called, or sent fb messages concerning Kate.  They have fallen in love with Kate and your family over the past year and a half.
The messages were compassionate and full of commitments to pray.  The one thing I started to find is most of them were using the same scripture, Bible story, and text.  I started reading Exodus 14 which many had spoken of and it spoke to me so heavily.  Of course it is a story that I have heard and taught about many times.  But it infused such a hope and renewed strength that I had to share it with you.”

I (Aaron) was reading this same Scripture a week ago and here is my journal entry for that day…

:::Friday 1-28-2011:::
Exodus 13: 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.

OBSERVATION: God took them the long way, the way around was the way for Him. This way, the people wouldn’t be as distracted or have the opportunity to lose heart as much, so God orchestrated every detail of their journey.

Exodus 14: 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

v.31 31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

OBSERVATION: The people experienced God’s deliverance not by the easiest way but by God’s way! His faithful provision and deliverance in their darkest hours so that…
-they feared (reverenced)
-they believed (trusted completely)

APPLICATION: ‘God, you could have at any time delivered us out of our struggles. At any second of the past 19 months Kate could have received total healing by your power. I believe that you have ALL-Power so this isn’t hard for you. However, for whatever reason you have not yet, and we’ve journeyed through valley’s BUT still you’ve been faithful every step.’
Now I pray for deliverance, as we have this MRI on Tuesday…
-that we may fear and believe
-that those faithfully praying will fear and believe
-that a lost world will fear and believe

Well, it didn’t happen on Tuesday, but oh how we pray this would be true now more than ever! Thanks for praying, thanks for trusting God on our behalf. So, we will keep on praying Exodus 14:13-14 prayers to our God!


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

Disagreement + Disrespect = Disobedience

Disagreement + Disrespect = Disobedience

I am not completely certain that this formula is ALWAYS true but it seems to me that it is almost ALWAYS ALWAYS true. This morning as I flipped news channels I quickly started becoming sick of watching this pastor in Florida talk about burning Quran’s.

I would love to know how this pastor believes that God told him and his ‘church’ to hold a “Burn the Quran Day’. Even more, I would love to know how this pastor thinks he will hear God tell him to cancel the festivities, since this is the only way he will dissuaded from going forward.

There seems to be an absolute unwillingness on this mans part to listen to counsel of others, whether that comes from government, military, and even the evangelical community at large. This man and his church have positioned themselves as renegades, faithful only to their private interpretation of how things should go.

This doesn’t seem to me to be the way of Jesus. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, check this out…
Matthew 5:43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This also doesn’t seem to be the way Paul followed Christ’s teachings either…
1 Corinthians 5:12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside…

I am not saying that we should not disagree with things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should always stand on truth. However, I am saying that if our standing for truth requires that we disrespect others, their beliefs, and things that they deem holy, then we are not only behaving rude we are actually rebelling against Jesus who calls us to reach out in love.

I would love to know your thoughts on this…Agree or disgree??? (just be nice!)

“Negative” is Great News

Thursday July 29th Kate went to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for a PET Scan. As you can see in this picture she has her brave face on, but it’s not just an act, this girl is bravery and courage exemplified. She amazes doctors, nurses and her parents still with her resilience and spunk!

Finally, yesterday evening after a long day of waiting Holly got the call we had so desperately been anticipating. I was at home and the house was surprisingly quiet allowing me to read and study a bit. As I read the Bible I was fascinated by God’s interaction with Moses and the Israelites in Numbers chapter 11. In this story the people are complaining, Moses is complaining and even still God is gracious in his patience and in his offer to meet their every need. Moses, overwhelmed by the size of the need isn’t sure how to respond and his doubts are starting to win, but then God SPEAKS…

Numbers 11:”Is the LORD’s arm too short?
You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

I love that question! Is God’s arm too short? Is he unable? Has he been cut off from supplying our needs? Is he too feeble to help? Well, the answer is… just wait and you will see.

As I sat on my couch, I once again was reminded that God’s arm is not short, he still saves, he still provides, he is able rescue! His arm reached down and provided food to fill every need of this mass of Israelites. His arm reached out and delivered Jesus Christ, his crucified son from the grave, conquering sin and death. His arm can still reach out to us today in the midst of our suffering and deliver. So I prayed simply, “Lord reach out and rescue!”

As I prayed these words my phone rang and I answered to the sound of a sobbing wife! Unsure of the cause of her tears I anxiously waited for her to speak. Through tears of joy she told me the PET Scan came back negative, and that the doctors are ‘cautiously optimistic’. At this point there were no better words we could have heard from this test, so we began to celebrate and thank our God whose arm is still mighty and able to deliver.

Since receiving this great news the response has been overwhelming! So many friends far and near are praising God that our and their prayers have been heard. So again I say thank you! Thank you Father for hearing and responding to our cries in Jesus’ name! Thank you Lord for surrounding us with an amazing army of intercessors who have faithfully lifted Kate up in prayer. We celebrate the fact that we have been able to see Christ glorified in our pain. The stories that come in are amazing and we are grateful and humbled!