The Intimate Posture of a Child

The whole lap thing has gotten me pretty worked up a bit. I mean here I am a 22 year old Pastor walking through life and thinking I know things, when in reality I know very little of my Heavenly Father.

My first thing with the illustration is why the lap? I mean I guess I can understand a small child sitting in someone’s lap, that’s “normal” and happens often.

Santa Claus is KNOWN for being at the mall during November – December as parent’s, kids, teenager’s, etc. go to take the photo of Santa’s lap…Maybe that image is “creepy” to you, and well it definitely would be “creepy” for me at 22 to DESIRE to sit in Santa’s lap. Well I’m sure you get my point…sorry for the tangent.

Good thing is God is NOT Santa nor will he EVER be. (Phew)

We’re talking about a God that surpasses our very knowledge. We’re talking about a Father who know’s our intricate details in our life, but CHOOSES to act as if he doesn’t to share a conversation and be WITH us. This means as I speak with the Father he doesn’t say, “Matt I know what you’re about to say,” and cut me off, instead he is eternally patient to hear my story, hurt’s, pain, joys, discouragement’s, and successes. Not only does he want to hear this from me, He wants me to be as close to him as possible so he could hold me, laugh with me, hug me, and WHISPER (not yell) how proud he is of me. Are you close enough to the Father, that if he whispered you could hear Him?

Job 4:12

“This truth was given to me in secret, as though whispered in my ear.

Heavenly Father wants us to be in the most intimate position you can be in as a child, sitting in Daddy’s lap explaining how your first day of kindergarten went. Telling him about your promotion or lay-off, mission’s trip or foreclosure, new family member or a loss of one, new experience or a past hurt. He, the God of the universe is telling YOU to come sit in his lap so he could embrace you fully. Surround you in his presence, and whisper that HE has everything all taken care of and he will walk you through ANYTHING this world throws at you.

God is just beginning to unravel a journey of fatherhood & sonship to me that I may have lacked growing up, but am now starting to understand. Funny how when there’s a hole and void in someones heart nothing but the love of a FATHER could help.

So to all the earthly Father’s….call your kid’s and let them know you love them RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE…and we’ll get to that VERY point in my next post…

Sit in my lap…(Part 2)

In continuation of my previous post I would like to discuss the past…You know the thing that so many of us either love to talk about (Accomplishment’s) or totally avoid, (Hurt’s, pains, etc.) 

My past although is a pleasant one has some unwanted hurt, pain, divorced parent’s, as well as excitement, love, learned opportunities, success,  etc. All of which has helped shape me today.

Maybe the lap sitting thing was hard to understand because well I never sat in daddy’s lap past the age of 7. He wasn’t there. Due to some circumstances beyond my control Daddy was gone and now my sister and I lived with Mommy. I mean Daddy was still around we saw him often, and he drove us to school, but he wasn’t home anymore. 

Disclaimer: My father and I now have a fantastic relationship, and I have seen God TOTALLY transform his heart, as he did Saul on his way to Damascus. I love my Father with all my heart, as he does me. 

Ok well although daddy loved me, let’s be real parent’s make mistakes. I don’t know many parent’s who would claim to be a perfect parent? So my parent’s were just like any other. Trying to understand life, parenting, marriage, etc. 

There was one time where I am coming to read one of my book’s to Daddy. I crawled onto his lap maybe 6 or 7 year’s old to read to him. I began to read as he was watching t.v. Well, as I began to read I was shrugged away because the Orlando Magic was playing. 

It didn’t phase me than, but that was the last time in my memory EVER being in my father’s lap. Funny how a simple thing as trying to watch the game can distract us from things. 

Anyway’s flash forward (Cue dream music) to the prayer meeting I’m having with our lead Pastor from my previous post. You know the one where God wants us to spend time sitting on his lap, and for some reason I was getting frustrated and confused. 

God showed me that image of being shrugged off by my father, that I unknowingly have been caring for 15 years. I began to weep as I felt a heavenly Father begin to tell me that he not only WANTS me on his lap, he DESIRES me to be with him on his lap. 

Why on his lap you may ask, seems kind of weird? Well I thought so to, but God has shown me even more…

Sit in my lap…

Image

Maybe it’s the reading that I have been doing, the prayer time, or just the hidden emotion’s that have been stuffed away. Whatever it is, it is something that has brought me back to this blog. As I walk this journey of what I feel God doing in my life my goal and vision is to pursue His purpose in all that I do.

With that being said God has been showing me thing’s about HIS nature, and His love for me. Could it be Crazy Love from Francis Chan, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, or just personal revelation’s….but something (The HOLY SPIRIT) is showing me a different side of Fatherhood in God than I have ever seen before.

It all started with a prayer meeting I was attending at my church. Our lead pastor was sharing a revelation that God had shown him. That God loves when we sit in His lap and just enjoy time with well….GOD. The same way father’s enjoy spending time with their kids. Although I am not a Father, I couldn’t wrap my mind around that. Something inside of me was just upset, mad, and a little frustrated as he shared his story. Why was I against something so sweet, and desirable? What was it in the revelation that God is a Father, he loves His children, and wants to be with them that I couldn’t understand. I mean I know God loves me, He’s a father, and he’s ALWAYS there for me, but sitting in His lap? Could that be possible? Attainable? Something just told me it was WAY TO INTIMATE. That’s not what God is like, or is it? As I took the meeting to explore, battle, and share this I will hopefully in the next couple of days unpack my thought how God, want’s me to be a child enjoying time with Him sitting in HIS lap…

“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” (Part 2)

When I think of Lord I see King Aragorn from “Lord of the Rings!”)

 

Today we study Kurios ((koo’-ree-os)!
This is the greek interpretation of our english word “Lord.”

Definition: a person who has authority, control, or power over others; amaster, chief, or ruler.

See as my friend Doug had told me, “Many receive Jesus as their Savior, and not their Lord (Kurios).” He showed me that at times I even look at Christ as my Savior and miss the fact that he also to be my Lord. Lord is a word that usually holds great position as in master, supreme authority, or owner. See we must understand what a Lord is to understand the full gospel of receiving Christ as our Lord. See a Lord or man of authority usually rules over someone or something.

If we accept Christ as Savior to redeem us, than we must also accept him as Lord to DIRECT US. He now calls the shots! It means that we are taking a hands off approach to our lives and allowing Jesus to have full custody of our hearts, minds, and bodies. What we do we submit it under His authority and Lordship. He is our shepherd that cares for, guides, and corrects us. He’s my Lord that i wish to serve, make proud, and do His will. He’s a Lord that makes all things right, and has full authority of the heavens. He as MY Lord has full authority over me if I release myself to His service, and it is an amazing place to be.

See my Lord Jesus Christ ALWAYS has OUR best intentions in mind. We are now his mouth piece to carry out his word. He is just, and loving to all those that call upon and receive His name. He saved us, and now we give ourselves to Him so that we may one day live in paradise with him. See he is Lord of our future land, and Lord of our current life. When He speaks I wish to listen. When He calls to me to GO, I wish to be obedient (Often times this is VERY HARD!).

My father God, and Lord Jesus Christ love me dearly and because of this I can see Him as my Lord. The one who will guide my life, and in my surrender take care of every need. Name a GREAT ruler who doesn’t care for those whom he rules. My Lord is the rarest of all and his Kingdom shall reign for all eternity.

So how about it do you accept Jesus Christ as you LORD, and SAVIOR…..?

“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

Often times I have heard this phrase, and only once have I said yes. Growing up in the church setting most of my life i have heard, seen, and asked this question to people. This is the basis of our entire Faith as a Christian is to accept Christ as our “Lord and Savior.” After sitting in my car the other day one of my friends had said this phrase, “See many people accepts Jesus as their Savior, but not as Lord.”

Hmmm…. What exactly did that mean! Unable to shake this question in my head I realized that we do ask one question for Salvation,  but there are actually  TWO ANSWERS! Join me as we look deeper in these two words. First off is Savior!

Definition:
savior [ˈseɪvjə] n.
a person who rescues another person or a thing from danger or harm

Ok so I see how this is rather simple. Do I accept Jesus as my personal Savior? Well yes Totally 100% I accept him. As do many others who come to see Jesus for the first time and have that experience. We see that Christ is our Savior and wishes to rescue us from all harm and as we surrender our lives to Him, He begins to do a transformation in us that defies the laws of this world. We see that in Him we can be made new whole because of His sacrifice on that brutal cross that saved us from our own iniquity. He IS our Savior, and so much more. He wishes to free us from a life of sin and move us into a relationship with Him. He can redeem us from our past and set us on course for a new life. He is our Savior and forever will be the one, and THE ONLY ONE that can set your soul into Heaven.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Tomorrow we look at Christ as also our LORD the one we seem to most commonly miss, and/or forget….

Does God Brag about You!?

Tribulations come in and out of season, it’s a time of testing and growth. Somehow we are supposed to be joyful in some of the most toughest and most trying times in our lives.

God has asked us in

Romans 5:3-4

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Ok so we are supposed to be joyful in hard times because we it produces our character and builds our faith and hope in Christ. I can understand that and I believe that is one of the hardest things to do especially when things are SO BIG it seems impossible to ever get out. Just think when  money is tight, car starts to fail, we get laid off, and life’s necessities need to be replaced what do you feel? Joy right? (WRONG!) Least for me I get stubborn, upset, confused. Well came across this scripture in my friday bible study and this was our discussion.

Job 1:7-12

And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Our smallgroup came to this realization! As a father takes pride in his son/ daughter succeeding in life, so God rejoices in our accomplishments and relationship with him. GOD BRAGS about his servant Job to Satan, GOD is excited and thrilled in his son, and wishes his enemy to see his son’s success. This made us look at the verse in Romans differently all of a sudden. Romans talks about being joyful in tribulations, and it suddenly hit us. God bragged about Job, Satan in return wanted to test his faith, which brought tribulations upon Job. See we can take joy in tribulations because it comes after God smiles at you, and says “Satan see my son/ daughter?” Satan says yes, and God brags about your love for HIM. See trials come what seems to be after God bragged about you, so be JOYFUL in the trail because God thinks very highly of you, and LOVES YOU!

GOD BRAGGED ABOUT YOU SO ENJOY THE FAITH TRIAL!!

But…But…I’m Scared

Teaching Karate in the Tampa area is an amazing job. I have been with Extreme Youth Sports for 2 years now and absolutely love my job. Kids love to come in with their awesome uniforms and loud “HIYA’s!” The passion and skill of these young 3-15 year olds amaze me everyday. God does some amazing things in classroom settings and loves to stop and teach me valuable lessons through his young ones.

Had a student who during class was putting on his “Sparring gear,” (Pads that cover body for no injuries) and came on to the gym floor for stretches and techniques. I look over and i notice him crying during the warm ups, and i ask if everything is alright and he says “yes.” As we continue on he continues to warm up and his dad motions me over. We go outside and have an awesome conversation about his son and where he stands with Hand- to- hand sparring. Apparently he has had a “bad experience,” that has “knocked him off his horse” as they say. He was now terrified to spar again because his experience had crippled his confidence and enthusiasm for sparring.

STOP! God begins to speak…

“Matt,

Do you see this boy terrified for whats about to come. The uncertainty in his eyes because the past experience that has crippled him? Can you see the fear that has slipped in due to one traumatic experience of getting knocked down, even though he has done this countless times? His experiences have shaped this new fear in him, and now he doesn’t want to spar. See you know he’ll be ok because your his instructor and you would never let anything happen to him. You watch for his safety and pair him with competitors that he can handle, but will also stretch his abilities. ”

God wow I see now thanks!

We are no different than children you and I. We all have the capacity to be fearful and timid to situations. Our past experience has crippled us and caused fear from us moving forward. One bad “sparring” experience and we want out of the game. We cry, get scarred, immobilized! We want out even though God looks down sees our “safety gear, knows our capabilities, and would never match us with something we can’t handle.

I ask these questions:

What are we fearful of?

What past experience has immobilized our future?

Do we realize God our Instructor watches us and knows HE won’t give us anything we can’t handle?

But…But…Im scared

Although sometimes we have so much fear we to must trust OUR ” Instructor” allow the stretching to take it’s course and when we fall, get back up. He knows what we can handle and any experience that has crippled us into a state of fear can be gone with a simple attitude adjustment and a loud “HIYA!”  (Just Kidding) Know our past doesn’t have to cripple us, but can motivate us to keep up with the fight and persist on doing “HIS” ministry!!