Baby Eyed Faith

  
 I have always had strong faith. Faith just comes really naturally to me. That isn’t to say that I have not gone without struggles. And I find myself deep in doubt more often that I am comfortable admitting. But overall I am quick to grasp faith in God, his goodness, and his personal impact on both my eternal and temporal my well-being. But I know after countless conversations over the years that I am not necessarily the norm in the faith department.
Staring into our one month old son’s eyes last night I started thinking of this verse from Matthew’s gospel in a different way. 

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 NIV)

My son Jonathan is a month old. This early in his development his vision is roughly 20/400. He sees nothing but a blur past the twelve to eighteen inch mark, and colors are largely something he will not even begin to appreciate for three more months. What does this have to do with faith?

Jon doesn’t have to scramble, cry, and worry for everything in his life, it is provided for him. He doesn’t have to fret for his safety and well-being. It is provided for him. All my son has to do is sit back and be. 

He just has to be my son. The very fact that he lives and breathes, that he is mine, bestows upon him the guarantee for protection and provision given to the fullest measure of my ability.

Even in my easy approach to faith there are moments of darkness. There is apparent blurriness. There are times when I do not have the answers and no answers seem forthcoming. Those are the moments when even walking by faith seems impossible. 

In those moments we must simply be. We must belong to the Father. We must realize that just being his guarantees us the fullest redemptive measure of provision and protection that is His to muster, which is all of it.

It’s yours. Just be His kid. 

That doesn’t guarantee you a steep bank account and a lavish life. But it is an unshakable eternal promise worth SO MUCH MORE.

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WALKING WITH GRANDPA

  

Today my parents came to visit us. It was a really good day. We didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary but it still stands to serve as a day that will mark a special place in my memories.

One of the best moments of the day came after lunch. The fellas in the family; my oldest son Ethan, my brother Brian, my father, and myself all went for a stroll outside—in the woods. It was great. Perhaps the best part of the whole affair was the simplicity of it. We just went outside, for a walk, together.

At one point I looked up to see my dad, who has never been an overly affectionate man, holding my three-year-old son’s hand. It was touching. Why? Because it was a perfect picture of rare and raw masculinity at work.

My dad is a man’s man. He loves the outdoors. He would rather be outdoors than anywhere else you can imagine. He likes all of the kinds of things that the men of his generation enjoy about the outdoors, but mostly he just enjoys experiencing God’s creation.

Back to the walk in the woods…

This picture perfect masculine moment came when my dad, a hard working outdoorsman of the rarest kind, used his strength in a way that offered my son protection. It was the simplest of gestures. But it carried so much meaning for me. It was more than my dad holding my son’s hand.

It was a multigenerational extension of strength, identity, and initiation—all wrapped up in the protecting hand of a grandfather. Something that is becoming rare in our society today.

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We are no longer at a crossroads in our civilization. No, the crossroads has long since passed, and may indeed no longer even be visible from our rear view mirrors. We missed the turning point. Men stopped being men. Fathers stopped being fathers. A generation grew up with dad’s in their homes that were not dad’s in any other capacity that mattered—and having lived that way they have believed that fatherhood is optional. My sons’ world is a world where the numbers of kids who know their dads is fewer than it has ever been, and the number who know their grandpas is fewer still.

I will be there for my boys. As much as I can be. My dad has always been there for me—and will be a grandpa to my sons. But what will the continuing repercussions be for a society that finds itself lacking grandpas who want to hold their grandsons’ hands?

What will the implications be for boys, of all ages, who don’t have someone to model strength for them? To tell them who they are? And give them a loving push into manhood?

The answer is all around us. It’s in our prisons. It’s in our broken sense of honor, justice, and morality. It’s found in the depravity that permeates our culture like a dirty poisonous fog. It’s death.

Without the guiding embrace of a man, on some level, a boy cannot become a man—and a man cannot truly live.

God walked with Adam in the Garden. He showed him strength, purpose, and identity. He showed him fatherhood. And ever since the Fall we’ve been fighting to get it back.

Thanks for reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Welcome: A Letter to My Son on His First Day in This World

  

Welcome to the world son. It’s a lot different out here, huh?

It’s big. And cold. And wonderful.

Sometimes it can be scary. Sometimes it can be miserable. But it is also beautiful.

Everything is new. Not as new as you. And not as cool as you, but it’s all new to you. And you’re new to everything.

There are quite a few people who have been waiting to meet you. Some of them are pretty awesome. They have already been in love with you for a while.

Your mom, brother, and I are crazy about you. We’ve been talking about you and getting ready for you for months. We’ve prayed for you every day together.

You’re a little brother now. And big brother has been really excited about you!

You’re a grandson, nephew, and cousin too—and those are all names that come attached with more awesome people who love you a whole lot.

The one mommy and I are most excited about though is the name son. We welcome you into this world because you’re our’s. We both get to love you, teach you, and help you.

You don’t know it yet but you’re a minority now. Not every sweet little boy or girl has a mommy and a daddy. And while we’re not anything that special we are yours. And you are ours. And we promise to do everything we can, the best that we can, as often as we can. It’ll have to do because you’re stuck with us.

So welcome to this world. It’s crazy (I think I already mentioned that but it is worth repeating). I can already tell how awesome you are. My little gift from God.

You’re going to grow up to do some pretty amazing things. Just try not to grow up too fast ok?

April 15 – Pray: Hallowed Father

Read: Matthew 6:9-13

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9 ESV)

Prayer is such a powerful and important component of the Christian life. During his Sermon on the Mount Jesus laid out a really practical example for what healthy prayer looks like. It began with a statement of reverence.

Ultimately God is our Heavenly Father. He is to be revered. He is holy. He is unique in such a way that words can not accurately describe and the human mind can not begin to fathom.

Even though He remains beyond our comprehension God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity as a Father. He really is. It is often difficult to comprehend. Especially if we do not have a mortal father from which to draw a clearly defined example.

Reverence for our Hallowed Father is demonstrated out of what the Bible often calls the fear of the Lord. It means displaying a realistic perspective of God’s power and sovereignty. It means having a healthy fear of God, but not being afraid of God.

I think of it as a child who stands in awe of their father or mother. They realize that there is ability, power, protection, and control that far supersedes what they know or understand. While they do not think of it in those terms they live it, accept it, and depend on it. It is all they know. It shapes everything about their little world. I believe that having that healthy reverence for God can be something we live from, communicate from, and pray from. I believe it shapes everything about our little world.

Vomit, Crying, & Gratitude

Last night was a rough one in the King house. Our 12 month old son Ethan came down with some kind of stomach bug out of the blue. One minute he was happily soaking up Sesame Street with his mommy on the couch and all-of-a-sudden he was vomiting like crazy. Yeah, I know that’s gross. Sorry. It was a mess, but that was the least of our concerns. Our little boy was sick. To compound the issue I had to leave for our weekly ministry gathering shortly after the ordeal began.

This went on throughout the night. My wife would try to get some fluids in him to prevent dehydration, but his little body would reject them, and up they came. He got splotches on his tummy that indicated the onset of dehydration. It was scary. We prayed a lot. I was largely distracted during our service. My mind kept going back to my little boy. After service was over I made my goodbyes and headed to the pharmacy to get some special juice that is supposed to help with that kind of situation. It did. He drank it, and kept it down. He drank some more, and kept it down.

Jamie and I took turns sitting up with him on the couch throughout the night. We slept sporadically. When morning came it seemed his energy had returned. He laughed, he played a little, and then…. he cried.

It wasn’t a cry of pain, or a whimpering wailing of discomfort. It was the kind of short bursting cry that comes from being just a little spoiled, something that I am completely ok with at his age. And while I am usually easily annoyed by prolonged bouts of crying, especially during my more cranky moments, this morning was different. I was grateful. I was just happy he had the energy to cry.

Sometimes something that is annoying, aggravating, or challenging can actually be a reason for rejoicing. Yes, life is sometimes hard, but often our attitude has the power to shape the perception of our experience. Today, I’m grateful for the grace to see with gratitude.

February 10 – Well Pleased

Read: Mark 1:9-11 & John 1:32-34

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11 ESV)

Growing up one of my favorite feelings was always that experience of knowing that my parents were pleased with me for something. Sometimes it accompanied a task or an accomplishment, but often it was just there. It was a sense of cherished love and value that came simply as a result of being their child.

I really believe we can experience that same kind of affection from God. Yes, it comes in ways that are similar to those of my own childhood experience. Sometimes God is pleased with us and our actions, but usually the feeling of acceptance, love, and appointment is derived simply from belonging to Him.

Both parenthood and childhood are pleasurable experiences when enjoyed through a righteous and wholesome relationship. God is the Father. All who come back into the Father’s family can and will experience the Father’s good pleasure. I hope that the thought of God being pleased with you, His child, will put a smile in your heart and joy in your steps today.

I Know Him

When I close my eyes I can see my son’s face. The dimples. The smile. I can hear his precious little giggle, and the way he flaps his arms when he gets excited. I can remember the soft feel of his skin when he throws his arms around my neck for a hug or reaches out his tiny hand to grab mine.

He is my son. I know him. I am wonderfully blessed to be able to work in a career that affords me a generous amount of time with him every day. I relish every precious moment of it. At this point in his young life, I know everything there is to know about him.

I’ve spent a lot of time in ministry teaching, preaching, and training people to join their heart to their mind in “knowing God”. Something I’ve spent much less time thinking about is how well He already knows me. My needs, my laugh, my idiosyncrasies, and guffaws. He knows all that could, would, or ever will be known about me.

For some that line of thought may be potentially terrifying. I find it gloriously freeing. We spend so much time in this life playing to the mob, trying to appease the expectations of those around us, fearful that they may discover us for the phonies that we are.

How amazing that God, who knows me, died for me, not just in spite of myself, but to bring me around to an altogether different destiny. I am His. He knows me.