Dad You Be Happy

UntitledThe other day I was feeling very overwhelmed, tired, and just didn’t have much to give. Unfortunately rather than owning that, when my kids – were well kids – and did something wrong I got really mad. Like no reason to be that mad. And I couldn’t shake it.

The truth was I was already mad before they did anything, their little lapses just gave me a reason to let it out. The sad part is that sometimes we don’t get angry with the people who cause us hurt, just the ones who are easier to take it out on (our kids, spouse, etc).

But my kids did something amazing, because I think they are occasionally better people than I am.

My guess was that they hadn’t seen me that mad probably much. Because Hudson gave me a hug, got changed, and went upstairs and went to bed on his own and just waited for me to turn off the lights. This has never ever happened before. Asher also went upstairs, brushed his teeth, and while I was putting Eden to bed came in and said this to me, “Dad this a happy house, you not be mad. You be happy, I happy too, we happy family.”

Sometimes with a simple little phrase you realize how much you blew it, and also how much you have to learn and grow.

But here is the beautiful part of parenting even when you blow it; you get to keep trying, learning, and growing. You get to take moments like that where you blew it and ask for forgiveness, and be thankful for your family. Because parenting is not a sprint, but a journey – and sometimes it’s your kids who actually point you in the right direction.

3 (Marks): Journeying with Others: In the Beginning We all Need a “Helper”

traces-old-shoes-on-the-path-1425216On Sunday we looked journeying with others again. This is a key mark of a follower of Jesus, that they don’t follow him alone. Because we all need others, we need support, direction, and love. Life is meant to be lived together.

And this is actually what we discover way back in the very beginning. God shows up to Adam and says, “It’s not good for man to be alone”. And here I don’t think he is just talking about Adam specifically but humanity in general. That we were not created to live and journey in this world alone.

What is quite amazing is that pre-sin Adam still needed someone. That it’s not sin and challenges that causes us to need to journey together, but something in our very makeup. That it is simply put not good for humanity to journey alone. We all need others. We need a “helper” or “companion”.

Now this word in English gets read through patriarchal lens and it makes it seem like what Adam needs is a domestic wife to support him. That he needs a little helper at home. And this is not only demeaning to women but to God too, because that is not what God is saying.

God is actually saying it is not good for Adam to be alone, he needs a helper. He needs someone to save him, to protect him, to sustain him, to shield him, or to journey with him. The word “ezer” (helper) is most often used in the Psalms to refer to God’s activity of saving, sustaining, protecting, rescuing, or giving hope. So a “helper” is not a nice little addition to your life, but an active presence that guarantees your future through saving, sustaining, protecting and rescuing.

God is saying I believe that we all need those people in our lives. We all need companions who help us to journey into life, because life isn’t meant to be lived alone. This was the main point on Sunday, that life is meant to be shared with others. So I ended with a very specific challenge, to journey with two other people closely for the rest of this year. I truly believe that it isn’t good to live alone, so I challenged all of us to journey with others closely for this whole year. Two people at minimum (and your spouse doesn’t count) because we all need companions to rescue, protect, help, save, and give us hope.

For some of us we are doing this, and just need to keep doing this. For others we have friendships that can become deep and committed but we need to invest in them. And for others we don’t know where to start with relationships, but we are called to pray for them. Because God still wants to make sure all of us don’t live alone but with life-giving relationships.

So whether that means investing in your good relationships, investing in your potential relationship to become good ones, or investing in prayer for God to help you create some. We are all called to invest in relationships to live with and for one another. Because God is right, “It is not good to live alone”, we are called to live together.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Life was meant to be shared with others, and we need to journey together

Teaching Points:

  • It is easier to be selfish and self-interested in our world, but it not better
  • That we need to be journeying with others, if we want to journey with Jesus
  • Life is not complete without someone to share it with
  • “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul”. Simone Weil
  • Commit to journeying closely with 2 other people this year

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What relationships have impacted you most? Which relationships do you have now that are closest? Who have been your “ezers” or helper and companions in life? Are there people in your life who are this to you now? Are there people in your life who you are like this for them? Can you commit to journeying with at least two people for this year?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Journeying together isn’t just for adults but for kids and families as well. Studies show us that kids need 5 adults caring and pouring into their lives to truly thrive. So spend sometime thinking about the adults who can pour into your family, and what family you can pour into. Who are you journeying with as a family? And go spend time with them this week.

Challenge for the Week: Commit to journeying closely with 2 other people this year

Who are Your Journeying With?

Who you journey with is often who you become like.

This is just true, and it’s so subtle that we don’t often see it. But we end up becoming like those who are around us.

So on Sunday we are going to be talking about journeying together and why it matters. Why we are made to be together. Why we each need a companion, a friend, and a community we are moving with.

So why not think about that right now? Who are you journeying with? What are they like? Because it’s probably what you are becoming like. 

Do they invest in you? Do you invest in them?

Because the truth is relationships are sacred, and are meant to be shared. So who are you creating sacred friendships with, and how are you sharing them?

And come Sunday we’ll talk more about journeying with and deeper with those sacred relationships.

Baptisms, Faith, and Why You Need Others in Your Life

445128_29914509This Sunday was a beautiful Sunday, because it was baptism Sunday. There is something beautiful, special, and wonderful about joining with others as they commit to following Jesus publicly. There is something so moving about seeing and hearing people’s testimony and desire to follow Jesus.


And that’s what this Sunday was about.


But it was also about recognizing a key of faith: you can’t do it alone.


The only reason we had baptisms is because people invested in others. Is because people realized they can’t do faith on their own, and had others join their journey.


We often believe in our culture that it’s all about our own personal willpower, drive, and strength that leads to success. But not only isn’t that true, it’s one of the most damaging lies in our world. The truth is we are only as strong as those who are journeying with us.


There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. And that is true.


And so on Sunday we looked at how we need each other. But we ended with a very personal but important question: who are you journeying with? Who is close enough to you to support, care, and miss you when you drift? Who knows your struggles and your strengths? Who are you journeying with, and who is journeying with you?


This question isn’t a light one, but a crucial one to our faith. If we want to not only start well in life, but finish well in life – we need one another.


So we gave a challenge on Sunday. That if you can’t think of someone who is journeying with you, to invite someone in. Ask for a mentor, find a spiritual guide, don’t go it alone – but go together.


So that was our challenge on Sunday, and it’s a personal one, but it’s a needed one. Because we all need someone.




Sermon Notes:


Big Idea: Journey with others

Teaching Points:

  • It’s not starting that’s hard, it’s finishing.
  • We think succeeding is about us, and our willpower. It’s actually about others, and who is journeying with us.
  • We need others to care for us, support us, and miss us when we start to drift.
  • We simply can’t do this thing called Christianity alone.
  • The friends you have will often determine the quality and direction of your life.
  • To think of one person you can invite to walk with you this year.


Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What were your first impressions to the topic for today? Does it seem to you that growing older does limit your future? How would you answer the question “Who are you trusting to guarantee your future?” What do you believe your future looks like right now? What does your future look like with God involved? What does he want to do in your future?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today talk with your kids about their futures. Ask them what they want to do, and who they want to be. Today learn from your kids. Sense the enthusiasm, the belief, the sense of excitement and possibility. Learn from them, and seek to bring that into your relationship with God today.


Challenge for the Week: To think of one person you can invite to walk with you this year.

Journeying Together is Healing

1254520_81286112On Sunday we looked at the story of Ruth, and the power of committing to someone’s journey. The book of Ruth begins with Naomi her mother-in-law in a deeply dark place. She moves to a foreign country, and her husband and her two sons die. This leaves her alone in a foreign land, without support, without care, and with two foreign daughters-in-law.

She is hurt, spiteful towards God, and bitterness oozes out from her. She decides to journey back home. She is so bitter that when she arrives home and people say, “Is that Naomi” (which means pleasant in Hebrew)? She responds with, “No, call me Mara now” (which means bitter). So she has gone from being pleasant to bitter. She now totally identifies with loss, bitterness, and hurt as her companions. She says God sent her away full and brought her back empty.

This is the hard place that she is in. Yet in the midst of this difficult, and this Plan B, things change for her. Things change for Naomi because of her daughter-in-law Ruth.

Ruth commits to being with Naomi no matter what. Naomi seeks to push Ruth away, to say she can’t be helped, to say there is nothing that can be done (Ruth 1:11-13). But Ruth refuses to give up on Naomi. She commits to her that she will be with her no matter what. She says “Where you go, I’ll go, where you live I’ll live, your God will be my God. We will be together”.

And it is this commitment to journeying together that begins to change not only Naomi but also Ruth. Through a series of amazing events, God begins to restore to Naomi some of what she has lost. God begins to heal her. And this only happens though because Ruth committed to journeying with Naomi for the long haul.

The story ends with Naomi being happy and full of joy as she cuddles with Ruth’s new baby, her grandson. Her life moves from Plan B back to God’s promises.

From this story we landed on the main idea that we need each other. Not in the clichéd, hallmark, or sentimental way. But in a real – deep life – can’t get through life without one another. I need you, you need me, we need each other.

So we ended with a challenge. That for some of us we need to go be a “Ruth” to someone else. We need to commit to journey with them, to care for them, and to love them like Ruth did. And while we can’t be a Ruth to everyone in need, that is not an excuse not to be there for someone in need. That was our challenge.

We also challenged those of us who are in Naomi’s place to reach out to a “Ruth”. To not refuse the help that a “Ruth” can bring. To not push away that relationship.

Because the truth is the only way we get through life is with one another. This is the beautiful thing about the church ~ Naomi’s and Ruth’s commit to journeying together and both find a new hope in the process.



Teaching Notes

Big Idea: We need each other; we need to journey together.

Teaching Points:

  • Here’s the truth and this one is thoroughly biblical: throughout life you will face one situation after another that will be completely beyond what you can handle. Pete Wilson
  • We need one another to get through Plan B times.
  • Naomi means “Pleasant” in Hebrew; Mara means “Bitter”.
  • No longer are these emotions that afflict us, they are emotions that define us.
  • Ruth commits to journeying with Naomi.
  • People who are in a deep place of hurt often push away the only people who can help
  • When you are in Plan B, you need community more than ever. Yet because of the pain that comes along with Plan B, it’s easy to miss the God-given gift of community.  Pete Wilson
  • We need one another.
  • “I will go where you go. I will live where you live.”  Ruth
  • Just because you can’t help everyone does not give you an excuse to not help someone
  • We can’t benefit from the power of community until we dare to face who we are.  Pete Wilson

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

Have you ever been like Naomi, so consumed by hurt, that it defines you? How did it happen? How did you move out of it? Have you ever had someone “be a Ruth to you”? What was that like? How did they commit to journeying with you? Why do you think it’s hard to be a “Ruth” to someone? Why do you think it’s hard to allow others to be a “Ruth” to us? Who is God calling you to jouney with? Is God asking you to allow someone to journey with you?

Discussion Question for Families:

Talk to your kids about the importance of caring for one another. Talk to them about how Ruth helped Naomi by being there for her. Ask your kids if there is anyone they know that needs someone to be there for them. Ask them about ideas for helping them, and then use their ideas.

Challenge for the Week: Be a Ruth to Someone; Invite a Ruth to Journey with You