What I’ve Been Learning About “Father Wounds”

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Married mom and dad best for children

I’ve been mildly obsessing over this topic for the past few months.

Recently I went to an intense and unusual men’s conference. There was almost no verbal teaching there. Instead it was very hands-on and experiential. That weekend I saw man after man experience emotional release around the issue of his relationship with his father. Some of these were mature Christian men who had been stuffing their feelings down for decades. Since then I feel I’ve been noticing the father wound issue everywhere, in friends, family, and strangers, and in seemingly every movie I see.

On the ride home from the conference, our carload of guys debriefed each other and compared our experiences for 12 hours. When I got home I wanted to learn more. I began meeting with all of my adult children to be sure I hadn’t wounded them as I had seen so many others wounded. I…

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Narrow Way Chronicles: Exclusivity of Inclusion

In a recent tweet I shared:

#Pride, #Presumption, and #Partiality create a culture of self-righteousness and hidden agendas. #churchpolitics”.

I thought it appropriate to elaborate because intent can be misconstrued and I wanted to allow for robust discussion.

Today, the term “inclusivity” does not prompt ideas of church unity. Opponents of the Way continue to do a “bang-up” job in hijacking and perverting the Creator’s intent on certain ideologies that is designed to reflect His glory. The ideology of “Inclusivity” is no different. History teaches that diversity and inclusivity have existed since the beginning of time. The Old and New Testament scriptures clearly show examples of communities that included all races and social-economic backgrounds.  It is only after the coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Christ, do we see intentionality of this idea of Inclusive Communities. ….so let’s not get it twisted. ;-).

The intention of the tweet; however, was addressing my limited time and experience with the subject with regard to church unity. My sincere hope and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be active in guiding my hand to write; as well as an active guide to those who are reading these thoughts.

It is written, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Compassion and True Fellowship

The issue: Are our churches TRULY inclusive? With our drive to expose evil, false doctrine and plant churches, have we created a culture of elite communities? Is the mission still about the Gospel or has the mission become about growing a denomination, positioning for political leverage or making your brand known? Do we reflect true Koinonia or is the local church another social construct that is intended have a “positive” effect on the community? If true Koinonia is the intent, what should it look like and how much of our application is modeled biblically?

I have often been engaged in conversations with persons that boastfully share that they are socially connected with”like-minded” Believers. Notice I didn’t say, fellowship; and, that gave me pause to think (Hence the #ChurchPolitics).

What does the idea of being like-minded mean?

Secular society uses this phrase often. Should I assume that this idea takes on a different connotation because I perceive a spin of conservative Christianity or It is safe to assume that being like-minded is a belief or series of beliefs that is shared commonly through a connection of cultural norms to one may be accustomed; and if not accustomed, Idolize?  We’ve seen this in Charismatic circles.

It is elitism; BKA partiality.

If you initiate a Google search the topic, you will find little teaching or exhortation that addresses this, especially in conservative circles. Largely because most of our siblings still have that big plank in their eye.

Partiality is a sin and it greatly displeases Elohim our God. Because it is hidden, it is easy to deny that we have issues. When we choose to “do life” with people that do not foster sanctification, we stifle growth. Not only of ourselves but others that desire true sanctification.  Jerry Bridges exhorts: “It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that make(s) us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.

Partiality convinces us that God’s choice isn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty or handsome enough, not quiet enough, or charismatic enough. Partiality says this person is not acceptable to my standards. Partiality shows no grace and therefore, shows no love. This is wickedness.

When we opt in for partiality instead of inclusivity we become complacent in our relationships. We are not intentional with the put offs and put-ons, and we do no “one anothering”.  The result is isolation among the saints. This is a dichotomy of true fellowship. Koinonia and sharing the Gospel is what the Father wants and desires for His children. Lastly, partiality is hidden and presumptuous sins. Partiality is heinous and damaging to the Body of Christ.  In Psalm 19:13 the writer prays:

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 

The church is not as inclusive as we like to think we are. Partiality is a real issue, more than we would like to admit. People choose not to bind themselves to a local body because they do not feel loved or safe.  At any rate, Jesus teaches compassion. Though the Savior operated as a prophet, he was remarkably compassionate to sinners. Do we desire or display that same compassion or do we make assumptions about people based on limited information or gossip? Moreover, what are we willing to risk or sacrifice to engage in true Koinonia? If your local body struggles in this area please check out this teaching by Arturo Azurdia of TCP titled “The Antioch Paradigm”.

 

Exodus 15: The Songs at the Sea

A well written piece on the Songs of Exodus

Sign of the Rose

Ivan Aivazovsky, The Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea (1891)

Exodus 15: 1-19 The Song of the People

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
 2 The LORD is my strength and my might,1 and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.1
 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.
 6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power –
your right hand, O LORD…

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The Desire and Danger of Jealousy…

The Urban Witness

Jealousy at its most basic level is the desire for the glory that someone else is receiving. When we see others elevated in anyway and we desire the glory they are receiving we are displaying jealousy. All of creation was created by Christ, through Him and for Him (Col 1:15); Christ is the focal point of all creation and deserves all glory present within creation. When He is denied that glory rightly due Him, God becomes jealous. As a result, jealousy in and of itself is not necessarily bad, as long as it has as its result the desire for God’s glory. For instance, if an event occurs and no one attributes glory to God in that situation, then we might be right to be jealous (on behalf of God) that God receive the glory for the event. This might best be translated as zeal, or being zealous for God…

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Social Media: The Marauder of Genuine Relationships

Narrow is the way

Shall we bid “au revoirue” to realistic and genuine relationships? Since the invention of chat rooms and social media, genuine and organic relationships have seemingly escaped the human experience. A few years ago, my family made the decision to deactivate our Facebook and Twitter accounts. At first there was much defiance (my children were teens at the time). Later on, we all discovered it’s effects on our spiritual and relational growth. This sacrifice allowed us to build a stronger family foundation, more intimacy with the Father, and added more time for family discipleship. This became our time to engage in challenging conversations, and has brought lots of laughter in our home. This also allowed for very transparent conversations about life, relationships, and hard-core questions about my past mistakes. Unbeknownst to me this would be a crucial time for my family’s growth. It was instrumental in the aversion of generational influences.

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Pride and Social Media (You may want to share this on Facebook) LOL

Narrow is the way

The following is an excerpt of Dr. John Barrett’s blog on http://www.dtbm.org. You can hear the full sermon on sermonaudio.com:

In light of my previous post concerning the effects of social media. I felt the following resource was very insightful and explains why this medium is detrimental to ones spiritual walk.

How To Identify My Pride 

The best source of insight into pride is an examination of your self asking honestly—Which of these areas apply to me?
Pride always makes me think that the sermon was for someone else other than me—because I’m okay!
Pride makes me always critique church (and any other teaching) on the basis of “what I got” rather than “what I gave”.
Pride makes me think of myself first and others second.
Pride makes me always look for my name on a list, always look for my face in a picture…

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The Beauty of Hymns: Jesus, I my Cross I’ve Taken (Music written by Bill Moore, Lyrics Henry Lyte)

Narrow is the way

1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,

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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent

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The Freedom to Forgive and the Bridge to Reconciliation: Part 2


Psalm 130:3-4 reminds us:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark our sins, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Reconciliation begins when we forgive those that have trespassed against us.

For it is also written:

For if you forgive others (for) their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others (for) their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus acts as the prophet by way of reminder of Psalm 130:3-4. This prescriptive text provides the reader with the proper perspective…Sin, forgiveness, and our limitations as fallible humans. Moreover, we all have sinned against the Holy and gracious God…and everyone is accountable for our actions.

Continuing our conversation on forgiveness and the bridge to reconciliation, we previously discussed struggle to forgive. We sited Joseph’s remarkable response to his brothers after they conspired to fake his death, leaving him in a pit which resulted in him being sold into slavery.

Today, the struggle to forgive is as it always has been; and though some of us have the benefit of Christ as our mediator, we continue to be challenged.  Our ever present sin nature assures us that it’s better to remain in a place of hurt and self-centeredness; and in that place, we’ve resolved to resent the offender. Especially if the offender is clearly wrong. For many of us, it’s easier to stay there and keep the status quo.

As I walk in the Narrow Way, I’m grateful. This journey of maturity and sanctification continues to provide insight and wisdom that is breaking the fallow ground of my heart. Praise God! On the other hand, these lessons are becoming more difficult. Answered prayers are coming to fuition and I’m coming to fully understand the seriousness, weight, and size of sin.  Unbeknownst to us, much of it is encased in pride. This sin is no different. Choosing not to forgive is a great evil and breaks the heart of the Father, for which I was chastised.  In that chastening, a choice was presented to me.

The Choice: self-centered thoughts verses a more intimate relationship with God and God’s people. I chose the latter.

When resolved to hold on to resentment, it effected my fellowship with the Father and how I connected with Believers. Trust was always an issue.

God is not pleased with this way of thinking.

He has already provded atonement for the sins of mankind so that we may be reconciled to Him; and, in turn, we should extend that same grace to others, especially toward the household of God.

What is the practical application?

For those who are sincerly struggling to be free, please understand without the benefit of God’s wisdom through Christ, you will continue to be tormented because satan has full control over your soul (Eph. 2:3). I beg you to repent of your sin and believe the Gospel. Without God’s Spirit and a regenrated heart, one cannot understand true wisdom from above, which is the only wisdom that is perfect!

Friends, we must be aware of the “little foxes” and resolve to:

  1. Trust Elohim to be the one who will balance the scales of justice, He IS the perfect judge.
  2. Pray daily for a heart to reflect Eph. 4:30-5:2 and die daily,
  3. Starve your flesh and feed your Spirit with the Word of God. Eliminate elements of your life that will not add value to your sanctification, and
  4. Walk in humility.  Don’t think for a moment that we cannot slip and fall into pride and presumption. The struggle is real.

Lastly, the atoning blood of Christ is for all who believe and nothing shall separate us from the love which He so lavishly laid upon us! Therefore, resolve to honour all men. love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King! To forgive today is tomorrow’s reconciliation.

Selah