Today is a day to embrace & celebrate the wonderful, Godly, hairy chested fathers in our lives.
I am a new father. This is my first Father's Day as a dad. I'm not exactly sure what to expect but so far it's going pretty good.
One thing that has surprised me about being a dad, is I'm finding myself saying things I never thought I'd say.
In fact, I recently came across a music CD that really summed up my current phase of life. I thought you might enjoy it. (Dads the CD)
Needless to say, parenting is teaching me lots of lessons.
Of course, teaching us lots of stuff about kids, but also teaching us things about ourselves, some of which are good, others not so good. But something I didn't see coming, if that being a dad is teaching me a lot about God.
The love that I have for my daughter is opening up a new dimension of my understanding of God's love for us, his children.
The love that I have for my daughter is beyond my comprehension. It's not rational.
Where does that love come from? Where does anything that's good in me come from for that matter? It comes from God.
James 1 says that every good gift comes from God. Every single one.
I'm not a perfect parent, far from it. But I do believe that anything that is good about me, is there because I'm made in the image of God. Imperfect image bearers, but image bearers.
What if the incomprehensible love I have for my children is a tiny picture of the incomprehensible love God has for me?
Closing a Series called no place like home. And we thought it would be appropriate as we close out a series on family, on fathers day, to return back to the simple concept of the love of the father.
It seems like Jesus is open to using our parenting as an illustration of God's love:
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? (Luke 11:11)
Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? (Luke 11:12)
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
And so we have in our own parenting, an imperfect picture, but a picture none-the-less of the heart of the father for us.
Brief Disclaimer: I realize that not everyone in here had a good dad. So as I was preparing for this message, I became deeply aware that for some of us, correlating the love of an earthly father to the love of our Heavenly Father is a beautiful illustration. For others, not so much.
Paul Young (the author of the shack) when talking about his dad who was not a kind man, says:
So my hope, is that no matter what your relationship was like with your earthly father, that you would hear my heart that what we're talking about this morning is the love of our Heavenly Father for each and every one of us.
To be clear, this is not a message about being a dad. This is a message about being a son. Or daughter. A child of God.
Pair of glasses. We all bring with us a pair of glasses through which we see God. And I believe that a huge work of the Holy Spirit is to change that prescription to help us see more clearly what God looks like.
Song : 'Good father. And I'm really grateful that churches across the world are coming back to God as a loving father. Think about the song we sing here that's being sung around the world 'You're a good good father. It's who you are. And I'm loved by you. It's who I am.' It's more than just saying 'God you love me.' No it's saying 'A good father is at the core of who God is. And a deeply loved child is at the core of who I am.'
Spookable. One thing that surprised me about having a baby is how unbelievably spookable they are. Every little sound. JUMP - I walk in the room and slide the curtains open and she just about jumps out of her skin. Everything in me wants to Grace, when she sees me, to feel safe, to feel at peace.
And feeling like your kid is scared of you is just the absolute worst!
Dahv - first time hurt miles - He just picked him up wrong and maybe it hurt his side, and just his smile just gradually turned into this look of fear. And how horrible that was for him.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
Abba = 'Daddy' The word Abba is a term of affection. It's similar to how we'd use 'Daddy'
I can't think of a phrase that is farther on the 'I'm scared' spectrum than 'Daddy'. We don't live in fear, but we come to God and say 'Daddy'. That has nothing to do with being afraid.
The Bible talks about the fear of the Lord, (The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom) but that's NOT talking about being afraid.
Awe & respect. That’s talking more about a kind of awe and respect. This sense of "Wow, God is big." Father God does NOT want you to be afraid of Him.
But then Jesus comes and finally reveals exactly who God is, and his message is this “Do not be afraid." I don’t think God ever motivates us though fear.
But 1st John makes it clear: “Perfect love casts out fear."
Fear is not the right reason to do anything. All decisions made out of fear are wrong decisions. Whenever we act our of fear instead of acting our of faith, we end up in the wrong place.
Now that doesn't mean that God never corrects and disciples. He absolutely does.
The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6)
Restorative not retributive. Like every good father, God's discipline is restorative not retributive.
IOW: God's discipline is to help us not hurt us.
Skillet Spankings When I was young, I used to get spankings, as I'm sure you can imagine. Well one day I had the brilliant idea to put a skillet down my pants to guard from the spanking. So I got a skillet, shoved in down the back of my pants and then went to my mom and deliberately started acting bad just so that I would get a spanking. In my young mind it wasn't an issue that my butt was not completely flat and pan shaped. Nor was it a problem that the handle was sticking out of the top of my pants. Needless to say my mom saw through the ruse, pulled out the skillet from my pants and moved on.
My parents disciple when I was young wasn't to hurt me, it was to help me.
Beckham - Pull things on top of him. Beckham - always trying to pull things on top of him. A lamp. We do the same thing with our kids. We don't want them to hurt themselves.
Just like a relationship to our earthly fathers - Any father/child relationship that is based on fear is toxic.
Respect, sure. Fear, absolutely not.
And here's the beautiful thing, when you get to know the heart of the father, you realize that there is no reason to fear. And that's why God hates it when we're scared of him. It's ruins the intimacy and trust that he wants at the center of our relationship with Him.
There's this saying that parents told us when Grace was born "The days are long, but the years are short." - THAT IS TRUE!
On one hand, I don't exactly remember what sleep is. I know it had something to do with a bed, but at this point, that's all a distant memory. It feels like it's been that way forever.
On the other hand, it's unbelievable how fast it feels like Grace is growing. It seems like every day she's learning something new.
But there are things that are still a challenge for her. For example, she can eat a little puff thing no problem. But if you set them out, she can pick them up, but transferring them from her hand to her mouth is something she needs to work on.
But as a parent, I'm not in a rush for her to be full grown. I'm enjoying her season of small steps. As a parent, those first moments when the tiny baby first starts making the sucking movement, it's like a major victory. And then when they first start holding their head up, and then they roll over, and then they crawl, and then they stand up while holding something.
Every season is beautiful.
God doesn't only delight the fully formed, fully mature Christian, he also delights in the baby Christian learning (or relearning) to take his first step.
In my experience with God, it seems like in his patience, he brings something up to me that I need to work on and there's something that he's gonna bring up to me NEXT. And then there's something after that that he'll work with me on. So there's multiple stupid things in my life going on at one time. But God is patient.
Religion can beat us down and make us thing that unless you are PERFECT in every area, that God is just up there in heaven tapping his foot impatient for you to be perfect already. No, he's a loving father, and as you continue to grow, you can rest knowing that he delights in even the smallest victory.
Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9 MSG)
It's gradual. And every season is beautiful.
Kids - Womb - Scale When kids come out of the womb, you know the first they do? They put them on a scale to compare them to other kids. They're not even breathing air for 30 seconds and they're already not adding up. "Baby, you're a little light. Maybe you should work on that."
Eli who's Graces cousin was born 2 months after Grace but got teeth before her.
But then out of all of our kids babies, Grace crawled first. Even before her friends who were older.
So what am I saying? Everyones journey is going to be different. Some people are going to receive Christ and BAM instantly their anger is GONE. For other people it will be a lifelong battle.
Don't compare your story with other peoples. God's not doing that, and God's not impatient at your gradual process.
Grace - adopted - in womb. Being that our daughter Grace is adopted, there was a time when we had already been matched with Grace, but she was still in the womb. But still this parent instinct was rising up is us, but we weren't able to care for Grace the way we would have been able to if she was with us. So we would pray that God would care for Grace in the womb and install in her this deep sense of her being loved and worthy of love. And we believe God did that.
That before Grace did ANYTHING, good or bad, that she was worthy of love.
Question: What is the deepest truth of who you are?
Is it that you're a piece of garbage? Wicked? Unworthy? Sinner?
We live in a world that's completely about performance. God does not love you based on performance.
Let me tell you a secret:
If what you believe about yourself is that you're just a giant piece of garbage, you'll never be free.
Your own self-condemnation will keep you in chains.
So what is the truth of who we are?
Well religion will you tell you that you're a piece of junk. We call it 'Total Depravity'. You're worthless. - But for some reason that we'll never understand, God loves the trash that is you.
You will always live up to the way you see yourself.
And you have nothing to build on. You have nowhere to go but legalism. You feel like you need the law to stop you from becoming the disgusting sinner that you really are.
No, the truth about you is that you're made in the image of God. Imperfect image bearers, but imagine bearers none-the-less. The deepest reality of who you are : You are built for love and joy and peace. And purity of heart. And Kindness. And when you understand that truth, you'll live there automatically.
Wholeness is when our lifestyle matches the truth of who we are.
How you relate to the world has everything to do with how you see yourself. You raise your daughters with a deep sense of value and they won't settle for a relationship where they're not valued.
I believe in original sin, Paul says 'All have sinned.' - I believe that. I just don't think that's the first word, or the last word about humanity.
Before original sin came original blessing.
I think that's significant that no matter how far someone has fallen, they're still bear the image of God on the inside of them in some way.
So for many people, the journey out of religion into relationship is getting rid of old broken, toxic ways of seeing yourself and letting God instill back in you your sonship (daughtership is that a thing). That the deepest reality of who you are is beautiful and worthy of love.
Quote - St. Peter Chrysolo-GUS - 5th century Bishop - Italy
Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in his image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; (St. Peter Chrysologus)
God created you in his image.
You bear his image no matter how broken you are. And with Jesus, he wants to restore you back to your original beauty.
I think about the most famous parable in the bible: The parable of the prodigal son. It's a story of coming back home. It's amazing when you see people come to Christ, I've heard many say that it feels like coming home. There's a reason it always feels like coming home! Life with him is exactly what you were created for.
Allow me to speak over you
God is LOVE! You are loved…loved…loved…You have been adopted and chosen in Christ. The first word about you is not sin and rebellion.
And the last word about you is not sin and rebellion.
Before you did ANYTHING, good or bad, God created you worthy of love; in HIS image.
Despite the cracks and bruises and abandoned hope, you're deeply beautiful.
You have a father who loves you perfectly. He not only loves you are as you are, but KNOWS you as you are.
Father God is not impatiently sitting there waiting for you to fail.
Father God is not shocked when you get dirty and ruin your church clothes.
Father God loves you faithfully, patiently, and consistently.