I recently listened to a lecture by Mark Driscoll from 2011 to the students of New Saint Andrews College.
This teaching blew my mind and heart in many regards. It was the most heart-opening teaching on the Prodigal Son that I have ever heard.
Truthfully, this is now the 4th time I have listened to the lecture. I wanted the words to be emblazoned in my mind and heart, so I typed notes from the lecture for this blog post. I definitely want to encourage you to watch it, as the video teaching is much more dynamic than my text notes.
I am definitely challenged on many fronts with this lecture… but I am most penetrated by the following:
- The ultimate goal is not learning more … but for heart transformation so we can glorify God and more people can come to know his saving Grace through Christ… because of Him changing us.
- The life of a Christian is one of repentance. This seems to be resonating in my mind like a distant gong.
- Religious Christians counter the sin of religion by intentionally seeking relationships with lost people. I desperately need to get out of my bubble.
It is definitely interesting how being a dad has changed my perspectives on life, the world, and scripture. Today, the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke was illuminated to me in a completely new and wildly unexpected way.
My heart was awakened as we sang the classic carol “O’ Holy Night”. I started picturing the classic nativity scene. Then, the Christmas sermon our pastor delivered recounted the birth of Christ… comparing the evil tyrant King Herod, with the loving, humble, powerful King Jesus.
During church, I started reflecting on my wife’s pregnancy and the birth of our son. During my reflection, I started comparing and contrasting our experience with the experience of Mary and Joseph as new parents of Jesus.
I assume most new Christian parents think these things… however, it is new to me. My meditation on and experience of the miracle of Christmas is profoundly different than a year ago. So, here we go…
At church a few weeks ago I had another “new daddy” experience that broke me in half in a wonderful way.
It involved holding my baby son in my arms, while standing beside my sweet wife, as we sang “I Surrender All” at my church…
Before I share that moment, I’d like to set the stage a little.
So… an odd, incredible, and somewhat important event occurred about eight weeks ago… my wonderful wife gave birth to our first child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A beloved baby boy.
Having your a child is a profound and momentous occasion. You would think I would be glowing and gleaming with flowing blog posts about it the joys of fatherhood. However, I have found myself at a loss for words. Being a part of and observing the creation of life is so big and perplexing. I have found myself baffled and dumbfounded.
I really just haven’t known what to say.
My fantastic mother-in-law has asked me a simple question a couple times that I usually would not hesitate answering. Though no fault of hers whatsoever, the question has annoyed me for weeks. She asked, “What has being a new parent taught you about God and His love?” It was a great question. I felt like a paralyzed deer surrounded by headlights. My head and heart responses were the equivalent of white noise. I could not figure out why, and it really bothered me.
The question was straight-forward, clear, and made plenty of sense. The entire Bible is about God’s fatherhood and love, as shown through the offering and sacrifice of Jesus. Surely… with my loving Jesus, being a “spiritual” and ridiculously sentimental fella, and my being part of the miracle of life alongside my lovely bride and dream girl… I should be able to feel something magnificent and deliver a powerful, spiritual sounding, and deep soliloquy… or at least muster up SOMETHING. Anything!
As I hold the tiny, precious, and helpless human that God has blessed us with… and look at his beautiful face… tears well up. I often have no idea why.
Yet… I have been unable to respond to the simple question, “What has being a new parent taught you about God and His love?” The question has been a dripping faucet in my mind.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
This week, I think I figured out the reason…
I know I have not posted in a while. First, my lovely wife was pregnant with our first child… now we have a newborn! Ay ay ay, I have had great difficulty figuring out how to verbalize the depth and quantity of thoughts during all of this into blog posts. I will definitely be adding many of these thoughts in the coming weeks and months.
Today at church, our worship team introduced a new song during worship. The song is entitled “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue. The words below from the song really touched me and have been resounding in my head all day. The bottom of this post contains the complete lyrics and a the music video.
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.
‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.
I thought this would be a fitting way to start your week… with a focus on who you are as a son or daughter of God and co-heir with the risen Jesus Christ. Below are some reminders of who you are in Christ. As you read this list… remember, this is true of others as well. How is your heart impacted as you look at your spouse, friends, and enemies through the lens of these truths?
Who you are in Christ… you are MORE….