Daddy, Does Jesus Drive a Car?

10155716_10154023179635643_2268177282718299247_nThe other day Hudson and I were playing race cars. It was going great, and then he stopped and looked at me and asked: “I want Jesus to come over and play”. Because Hudson has a relationship with Jesus, he wants to play and connect with Jesus. This is a good thing.

But Hudson wasn’t quite done his questions. He was trying to figure out why Jesus hasn’t come over to play with him. So then he asked the next obvious question, “Daddy does Jesus have a car to drive or not?”

At first glance this question seems almost silly. We chuckle, and we grin. I sure did as my son asked me that question. Hudson wanted to know if Jesus lacked transportation and if that’s stopping him from coming over.

And so we chuckle a bit because the question seems so silly doesn’t it…because Jesus doesn’t need a car to visit us. It seems funny to think of Jesus needing a car, except that is exactly what the incarnation teaches us. That Jesus is human and experienced our needs as we do.

The point is, we are so accustomed to thinking of Jesus as the divine Son of God, that we forget or dimish his humanity. But if we forget Jesus’ humanity – Jesus quickly becomes distant, unapproachable, and irrelevant to our lives. So Hudson isn’t too far off in his question. He is trying to relate Jesus to his world, where people drive cars, play race cars, and watch TV. Hudson is just reminding us of Jesus’ humanity, which is something we need to be reminded of.

We do not simply follow a God who pretended to be like us, but one who became one of us. He became one of us, so we could become like him. This is just a good reminder that Jesus is both divine and human. We cannot forget either fact. To miss out on either side, is to miss out on who Jesus is. So I’m not sure how Jesus would get around today, but what I am sure of is that he would want to come over and play race cars with Hudson. So that’s what I told him, and then we made “vroom vroom” sounds for the rest of the afternoon.

Modern Family

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series called Modern Family. The whole point will be to see how we can have the healthiest families possible. And I want to define “family” as broadly as I can. Family are the people you consider family. For some of us that means a more traditional style of family perhaps like mine – a wife and two kids. For you it might mean an adoptive parent, a group of such close friends they aren’t friends anymore but family.

The point is that we are all journeying with people whom we have relationships with. And with these key relationships how can we make them as healthy and as whole as possible? That’s the point of this series. So however you define your family, I want to explore how to make it as good as possible.

Because I know two things about “family”. First, is that families and their structure are incredibly diverse today. So I want to recognize and appreciate that. Second, is that all families at some point are dysfunctional. By that I mean all families at some point struggle, have tension and difficulty to work through.

So that’s what I want to look at how to ensure that we know how to work through the difficulty, tension, and struggle we have in our family structures, looking at it from God’s perspective. So whether you are single, a grandparent, parent, or whatever, I want to look at how we can have the best relationships with those closest to us.

So that’s where we are going and on Sunday we are going to look at one question.

How can we be extraordinary?

And I think it’s a good place to start.

modern family

Parenting in the Modern Age

I was reading about C.S. Lewis and came across this quote from his wife Joy.

She writes this:

“Provoke not your children to wrath” (Eph 6:4) Easily said; but how are we to avoid it? Strife between old and young seems inevitable. Today the world changes fast and inconceivably fast; in pastoral and agricultural times, what a man knew was of use to his son, but in the industrial age Father’s knowledge is out of date before the son is half grown up…Our problem, then, pending the reconstruction of the world, is to reconstruct our own lives so that we give our children as much warmth and attention and time and teaching as the present world will allow…and let us remind the innumerable Americas who don’t seem to know it that begetting and rearing a family are far more real and rewarding than making and spending money.”

All I can say is that this stopped me and made me think. I also think I’m going to stop blogging for today and go and play and be with my boys…

Go to Timeout Daddy!

941103_10152862084975643_260761294_nWe have a three year old, which also means that we have a timeout spot. For us it’s the stairs. This has been helpful because pretty much every place we go has stairs.

Everybody’s different, but for us we use timeouts to help Hudson make right choices. Some people use timeout’s for punishment but we want it to be a corrective. So the general rule is he able to come off timeout whenever he is ready to say sorry, eat his supper, or do whatever it is he was supposed to in the first place. This is important to us because then Hudson still has some control, and if he makes the right choice right away he can get out of timeout quickly. There isn’t a set punishment time, instead he sits there as long as it takes to make the right choice. Because we want our kids to make the right choices. What is funny is that our kids also want us to make the right choices.

So the other day I’m in a bad mood. I’m grumpy. I’m complaining, and not being “happy”. So you know what Hudson does? He puts me in timeout.

He says, “Daddy no whining, you go to timeout. When you happy you come off and say sorry and we play. Okay!”

My little boy is no longer just learning the right choices, but expecting them from others. This is a really good thing, although I did have to spend sometime in timeout.

What I’m learning if I’m to be a good father is that it’s a lot about consistency. Consistently living what I’m asking. Consistently living up to my own expectations I set for my boys. In essence I need to model what I am trying to teach, and practice what I preach.

So maybe it’s a good moment today to simply take a second and ask yourself, “Do you need to go to timeout?” Is there something you expect of others that you aren’t doing? Are you making the right choices you ask other people to make?

Because trust me its so much better when we say we’re sorry, act the right way, and get back to playing…

Changing the World Locally and Globally

I really believe we are all called to change the world. I believe that often begins by changing the world of those around us. This is a part of our calling as Christians – to be making a difference.

And when I talk about these things I always put it in this language: being locally grounded, and globally focused. Jesus says we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we are to reach out and love them. There is then this great discussion on who is our neighbour, found in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus essentially ends up teaching that our neighbour is someone that is within our reach to help.

There are many next-door neighbors who need help in all sorts of ways: babysitting, cutting the lawn, a friend, meals, or support. The point is that if we can be part of making their lives better, we should be. That’s the locally grounded piece. But if our focus is purely on those around us but we miss the fact that we can be blessing to the world, I think we’ve also missed the point. God has blessed us in Canada, North America, and Europe I believe we are blessed to bless others.

So for me I consistently ask this question: which neighbor can I bless locally? which neighbor can I bless globally?

I think these are good questions to think about, and even greater questions to take action on. And if today you are wondering who you might be able to bless locally? Here’s a good way to get started, sit on your front porch, pray, and watch. Be open to God leading you, and pay attention and I’m sure you’ll find a way to start to bless and give. And if you’re looking for a way to bless globally, well there are many amazing organizations. For me though I’m really invovled in cbm Canada that does amazing work focusing on breaking the cycle of poverty and disability. And if you’re interested in what they do you can check them out in the video below.

The point is that as Christians we need to be involved with both our global, and local neighbours. We need to know names, and faces. We need to be making a difference because as John 1 puts it, when Jesus moved into the neighborhood he changed everything.

Irresponsibility Kills Roots

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On Sunday we explored a key to all our relationships: responsibility. The truth is that if we want to have deep relationships, if we want to have solid friendships, if we want to have healthy roots in our families, we need to learn to be responsible. Irresponsibility kills roots and kills relationships.

My guess is that in your family and friends the people who bug you the most are in some way irresponsible. They aren’t owning and being accountable for their own stuff. Because the reality is, that whenever someone is irresponsible, someone else has to pick up the slack. So on Sunday we explored this theme of irresponsibility and looked at the first family in Adam and Eve.

What we discovered is that irresponsibility is really easy to see in someone else, but really hard to see in ourselves. So we asked ourselves, “Are we being responsible in our relationships?” Through the story of Adam and Eve we discovered some signs of irresponsibility. The first is blame. Whenever we start blaming, we are trying to shift responsibility. Adam blames Eve for eating the fruit, Eve blames the serpent, and people have been blaming ever since. But if we want healthy relationships we need to stop blaming and start owning our issues. The second sign of irresponsibility is when people start hiding. Whenever you start hiding conversations, maybe your spending, or where you are spending your time there is a responsibility problem. Adam and Eve, right after they eat the fruit, hide so that they don’t need to take responsibility. We need though to stand up and stop hiding and start owning our mistakes, failures, and become accountable. The last sign of irresponsibility was if we are creating new rules. Rules are created to curb irresponsibility, although they never really work. After Adam and Eve’s failure the story of the Bible is really a story of creation of many new rules to curb bad behavior. Finally, with Jesus the rules get thrown out (the Law) and he gives us the task of being responsible (loving God and others). So the point is that if we are needing to create lots of new rules in our families, friendships, or even businesses there is a responsibility problem that needs to be dealt with.

So we ended off asking people to honestly think through this question: “Am I being responsible” Because being responsible in relationships leads to deep roots. And I think that’s what we want. Relationships that last, thrive, and are healthy and whole. But that only happens when we start taking responsibility.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Responsibility leads to deep roots

Take Aways…

  • Irresponsibility always leads to more rules
  • Irresponsibility is easy to see in someone else and hard to see in yourself
  • Am I honestly being responsible in my relationships
  • When people are responsible rules aren’t needed
  • Whenever rules are broken consequences soon follow
  • Signs of Irresponsibility in a Relationship
    • Blaming
    • Hiding
    • Creating New Rules
  • Rules never create responsibility
  • Responsibility leads to deep roots
  • Ways to build responsibility:
    • Stop hiding and start dealing with things
    • Stop blaming and start owning things
    • Stop creating new rules and start taking responsibility

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? Were there any stories or examples Andrew used that you could relate too? As you look in your own life are there any areas where you blame, or hide? Are there things you are being irresponsible with? How can you stand up and start taking responsibility for them?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and talk with your kids about rules and responsibility. Ask them if they’d like to live without rules. Tell them that if they’d like less rules, they need to take more responsibility. Talk to them about how being responsible (doing what is right) builds trust and you need less rules. Use some recent examples either good or bad from your own family life about how to illustrate this. Talk to them about giving them more freedom as they show more responsibility.

Challenge for this Week:

Take responsibility in your relationships

Healthy Families Start Where?

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series looking at Roots. We are looking at how to have healthy roots in our families, friendships, and relationships. The reality is that if we want to have healthy connections with people we need deep foundations. So we are going to be looking at a few ways to develop that in our relationships all around us.

But before we get there it’s good to think through on our own: what makes relationships healthy? What are some of the keys to having healthy and strong foundations?

I know the answer is Jesus and love. Those are true. But why not press a bit deeper. How do you ensure that your family foundation is strong? How do you practice having whole and healthy friendships? What is the difference between relationships that last and survive difficulty and ones that don’t?

On Sunday we are going to be looking at the first family, Adam and Eve, to see what caused issues in their relationship and how we can learn from their mistakes. But we have all been a part of families and relationships for good or bad.

What have you learned that makes them work? What have you learned that doesn’t make them work?

Roots

Can I Go to Church Daddy?

Hudson has started getting into this habit. Here is what it is. He keeps asking to go to church.

Now this is a great habit, and no he doesn’t ask to go to church as much as he asks to watch the movie Cars. But he still asks it consistently.

The question for me is…why?

I mean I love our church. It is a huge blessing. It is an amazing place. But I spent a lot of time thinking and wondering why does Hudson keep asking to come to church. This matters to me because I’ve seen and known lots of pastor’s kids who didn’t want to go to church or to be associated with church. So put more succinctly I was wondering: what is it about this church that draws Hudson to it? What is it about these people that make Hudson want to go to church on a Friday morning?

I don’t think it’s just the nursery toys, although he does love the giant Mater that is there. I think the reason he loves to come to church is this: it’s his family.

You see on Sunday I saw how a dad here chased Hudson around for 15 minutes playing with him. I saw how older people in our congregation gave him cookie, after cookie, after cookie. I saw how people talked with him, helped him, and even saved him from falling overtop a chair (our little boy is a big climber). People picked him up, laughed with him, and asked him about Asher.

In essence, I saw people care. I saw people include him into the church family. And this is what makes church beautiful. Because church isn’t a building, but a people who welcome others.

This is what the church is to be: a family that welcomes. And this is why I love our church, and why I know Hudson wants to be there. Because people make him feel special and a part of things and our church does this not just with Hudson but with others too. I’ve seen parents showing off their new baby, I’ve seen seniors down on the floor playing with new kids, I’ve seen teenagers watching other people’s kids so that the parents can talk and connect. And this is a beautiful thing.

So I know why Hudson wants to go to church…because it’s a place he belongs. And I hope you too feel like you belong, because Jesus is clear, in his Kingdom, if we follow him we all belong…

Blogging Break for New Baby

Hi everyone. So I love blogging…but I’m taking a break for a little while. Want to know why? Because as much as I love blogging I love my new little boy even more. Yesterday our family grew by one as Asher George Mills joined our family. He’s a bit of a big boy at 8’3 and 21 1/2 inch long (or tall I guess!). And so I’ll be taking some time just to spend with him and my amazing wife, and big brother Hudson. So as important as all of you are this new little gift has all my attention!

So I’ll get back to my regular blogging schedule in about a few weeks but for now I’ll be spending time with Asher. But as often happens on here, I’m sure he will give me lots of new things to blog about! I’m sure he’ll be teaching me all sorts of new things about God, grace, family, and community. But until then here are a few pictures of our new little bundle of awesome. And yes in case you are wondering, Hudson loves being a new big brother. Last night he sang himself to sleep singing, “Baby here, baby here, big brother”.

So I’d like to introduce you to Asher George Mills born on 10/11/12:

 

 

 

 

The Depth of Love: Family, Faithfulness, and Hesed

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about love. And not so much the gooey, lovey-dovey feeling of love. Instead I’ve been thinking about love in the faithful, committed, covenanted, never give up, type of love.

In our church family there have been new babies born recently and each group of parents talk about how quickly they love their new little ones. Not just a “feeling” but also a firm resolve to protect them, care for them, be with them, guide them, and walk alongside them. I know that feeling from when Hudson was born, and I look forward to that experience again with our new baby due any day.

The amazing thing is that this idea of love as, deep loyalty, unending commitment, patient endurance, faithfulness, is what is found in the Bible. The idea of love in the Bible isn’t just a feeling but a commitment and a covenant – that never ends.

In the Old Testament when the Bible often uses the word “loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love.” The word is “hesed” in Hebrew. It speaks of God’s commitment to his promises, to his people, and his plans because of his deep love, commitment and fidelity.

The idea is simple: love isn’t simply a feeling or a contract. Love, or Hesed, is a covenant promise that cannot be broken. This is why when the Bible speaks of God as love (1 John 4) the point isn’t just that God has loving-feelings towards us. No, it is so much more than that. God being love means that he is defined by a passionate commitment, unfailing fidelity, a covenant of mercy, and a faithful promise to keep choosing to love you each and every day. This gets to the heart of God, and the scandal of God’s love. God’s love goes beyond just feelings and moves into action and deep commitment. So when we speak of God’s unconditional love for us, it isn’t just never-ending, good feelings about his people. God’s unconditional love means that his posture to us is one of faithful grace, active commitment, purposeful mercy, and consistent care because that is his promise to us.

In 1 John 4:8b – 9 we read, “God is love. God showed us how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have true life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to rescue us from our brokenness”

This is love. Love that is about action. Love that is about commitment. Love that is about sacrifice, fidelity, and a decision to reach out and give while we don’t deserve it. And this is what makes God so beautiful.

And this is also what makes me excited, because soon I will have a new son or daughter. That deep connection and desire to be committed to them for life I now know isn’t a biological evolution thing, it isn’t a psychological phenomenon thing, it isn’t even a socially prescribed thing. That deep desire for life-long love and commitment is a God thing. It starts with God, comes from God, is modeled by God, and is given by God.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing….