Dads, Car Troubles, and Peace…

Cars are fun.

That’s what I’ve learned over the past month or so. Especially those moments when they stall at a car dealership and you have to push them back into a parking spot while a family of four awkwardly watch only fifteen feet away while they wait for their brand new minivan. Those moments are a blast.

Or when you’re convinced to buy a car that is nearly double your price range and it only goes three weeks without a breakdown? And then, after you’ve taken it in and gotten it “repaired,” it breaks down exactly one week later? Crazy awesome.

Seriously, you should try it some time.

Bitter sarcasm aside, I’m really not as upset about my car situation (or lack thereof – you have to actually have a car to have a car situation) as I might seem – definitely not as much as I should be. And it’s really puzzling. I should be near livid that I spent more money than I’ve ever had for something that has broken down almost as many times as my old car. I should be screaming my lungs out at the dealership and throwing things. And yet – be it the jazzy music I’m listening to or the three dollar wine I’m drinking – I’m not.

I’m not happy about how things have gone, but my mind has not been lost (yet) and I haven’t kicked any kittens (…yet).

I wish I could say it’s all because I’ve become a secret Zen master meditating in the wee hours of the morning on how to become one with the butterfly, but I can’t. Well, I can say I do the meditating part; my eyes are definitely closed in the wee hours of the morning. But I can’t say that my relative calmness in the chaos of car breakdowns is due to some extra inner-peace-keeping regiment. I’ve done nothing out of the ordinary to prepare for the mess I’ve been tossed into.

What I am genuinely more surprised about is what I didn’t do (unlike the cars I drive): breakdown. A few years ago I wrote a post about how I was afraid of my car breaking down mostly because I wouldn’t know what to do. I was paranoid of failing cars not because I’d be without a car for a while and would have to figure out a way to get to and from work, but because of the scars that would be ripped open.

Like I said in that post, I kind of wish I had had a dad to show me the ropes on cars – even just the basics would have been fine. Instead, I’ve had to learn the way I’ve learned in the last 30 days; when my car stalls, sputters, and makes strange noises. In those cases I have to ask a friend or a coworker to check it out and offer what knowledge they have because any knowledge about cars would be helpful. What I didn’t notice until today, when my car wouldn’t start before work this morning, was that throughout this process of asking those closest to me in physical proximity, I’m no longer paranoid of when my car breaks down.

Again, I’m not happy, but that’s a far cry from being paranoid.

What I think is even cooler than not being paranoid, though, is discovering that I’m not alone in my lack of knowledge of cars. You see when you start to ask around to see who is and who isn’t knowledgeable about cars, you implicitly admit to those whom you’re asking that you don’t know much, which then enables them to admit it, too.

Fatherless kids – even the ones who were privileged enough to have their grandpas raise them instead – oftentimes feel alone. Donald Miller describes it best in Blue Like Jazz; it’s like there’s a secret knowledge about how to be a man that only kids with dads get to learn. If you don’t have a dad, tough luck in being a man.

And yet what Christianity says is that everyone has a Dad – the Dad. He may not teach you face to face or show you with His own hands how to do something. But if you’re patient and get quiet enough to listen, He will teach you. It might hurt the pride a bit and you might have to ask someone you’ve never really talked to before, but He will teach you.

No, God’s Fatherhood is not reserved only for men; women are as much His daughters as men are His sons. I only know what it’s like from the guys’ side and more specifically, the fatherless guys who had an odd assortment of father figures throughout their lives as replacements. But no matter how the demographics break down or where the lines of perspective are drawn, there is never anyone who is truly alone. We’ve all experienced the discomfort of not knowing something.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,”  – Philippians 4:6-7

As my previous month has shown, this passage applies to the simple things like learning about cars. When I was terrified of my car breaking down, God sent person after person after person to teach me one little thing after another about my car. And thinking back over these last couple of weeks, I could have reacted much worse than I did and not because my car broke down. Instead, I treated God as He is: my Dad. As a result, I was able to experience His peace in moments that are typically anything but peaceful.

Drive safe and God bless.

(And check your spark plugs and wires)

How We Talk About God…

Have you ever wondered how you express yourself? More specifically, have you ever wondered how you’ve expressed your beliefs or faith? This thought came to mind while reading Rob Bell’s latest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I know a lot of people have some issues with Rob Bell – his theology, demeanor, hair style, etc. – but that’s a different discussion for another time. A passage I read today discusses something that I’ve often thought about in the past and spent many a journal entry ranting over. It isn’t about what we believe or why we believe, but rather how we express that belief.

“Technical language has limits. It can describe some things very well, but in other situations, like love, it falls flat. It’s inadequate. It fails.” – 85

Bell asks a hypothetical question using a character named Sheila who had recently gotten engaged to a man named Simon. When asked about Simon, she begins to list his height, weight, what kind of car he drives, what his shoe size is, and that he’s also in a Tuesday night bowling league. What’s wrong with this picture, as Bell asks? The manner with which Sheila used to describe her fiancé didn’t really convey the message that he was her fiancé. She didn’t get excited when thinking about him; she simply listed facts. And yet everyone around her was expected to believe, somehow, that Simon was Sheila’s fiancé.

A question that came to mind while reading was, what if someone asked me to tell them about God? Would I, like Sheila, list off a bunch of doctrinal and dogmatic statements that describe how the Trinity works or why the particular denomination I’m a part of has the right view? If, as Bell points out, we claim to love God, shouldn’t our love for Him be evident in how we express Him? Instead of listing off all the Bible verses that describe God as Father, wouldn’t it be better for me to describe how He’s my Father?

Like Bell says, technical language is great for other things like giving a description of a suspect in a crime or trying to find the right part to fix your car. But when it comes to love, there’s a different language we ought to use to best convey that love. A couple posts ago, I talked about sincerity and how we sometimes have to fake it because being a sincere follower of Christ isn’t a part of our natural selves. But if were to utilize love – to embody Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 13 – then perhaps we’d find it much easier to be sincere with each other and with someone who doesn’t know about God.

Describing God by various doctrines and dogmas can be useful. But when someone asks us to describe Him, shouldn’t our first inclination be to describe Him in such a way that conveys our love for Him? In Bell’s example, shouldn’t Sheila’s first description about Simon be something about their love and how they were meant to be? In a Christian sub-culture that has so many denominations with their own various doctrinal statements, it’s so terribly easy to follow along and describe God in that technical language. But I agree with Bell; it falls short. It fails to convey the depth of love that God has for us and that we have for Him.

If you can find the time, take a few moments with God today. Recall what first drew you to Him. Remember the things He has done for you, but, more importantly, why He has done them for you. I think the answer to that will always be the same: because He loves you. God’s love for us is what changes our hearts; not our technical language. Therefore the manner in which we talk about Him ought to convey our true identity.

God bless.

The Importance of Family…

I miss my grandma.

Tonight I watched a movie I had never seen before: Antwone Fisher. Since I don’t appreciate movies being spoiled for me, I’m going to warn all readers that if you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do. It’s available for rent on iTunes. For those who have seen it, please continue reading.

Throughout the movie, I felt the tears welling up. At any point where Antwone was bullied and remained quiet to try and stifle the anger, any time he was asked about his father, or anytime he was made fun of for “not being with a woman,” I was clenching my fists and gritting my teeth. No, his story isn’t the same as mine. But I know what that kind of anger feels like. And even though, my anger never got me into trouble, I have often found myself ready to punch something until my hands bled.

Antwone didn’t meet his mother until much later in the movie. I’ve known my mother my whole life. Antwone never knew his father and neither have I known my father, but for him, he got to meet his father’s family. He met aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., etc., but the one person he met that really stood out to me – the one relative I broke down weeping over – was his grandma.

I miss my grandma so much. She passed when I was ten years old. At the time I didn’t know how to deal with the loss. My school gave me that whole week off and since I didn’t know what to do with myself, I spent every day in the church parking lot nearby playing roller hockey by myself. What I felt then is what I feel now. But the one difference between then and now is I know why I feel this way.

I miss my grandma because she never intimidated me. Instead, she would play cards with me. Cribbage, Go Fish, UNO, Skip Bo – whatever the game was, she’d play with me until she wanted to sleep, eat, or watch her TV shows. And sometimes, when she didn’t like what she was watching, she’d ask if I was bored with my Legos and would want to try to beat her again at cribbage. While I was in out of my mother’s custody and unsure about whether or not my grandpa loved me, my grandma taught me the most important thing I have ever learned about this world: There can be peace. Peace within yourself.

I will never meet my father. At the very least, the odds of actually meeting him are overwhelmingly not in my favor. His name isn’t on my birth certificate. He never called to check up on my mother. And, try as she might, my mother simply cannot remember his last name with much certainty. And believe me, she has tried.

It really does eat at me that I won’t be able to shake his hand or play a game of cribbage with him. When I think of why it bothers me, thousands of words come to mind and to spill them all here might take days – that’s if I can even make sentences out of them. I’ve asked God for help, too; I’ve asked Him so many times for the privilege of meeting my other half. But with whatever effort I or others have given – weak or strong – I come up with nothing but dead ends. If I only have a first name, I can’t even get started.

Instead of praying for that privilege again tonight, I prayed for something else: The privilege of meeting his family. I prayed that I might be able to shake hands with his brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, and – most importantly – his mother. I prayed for the privilege of having her aged hands cup my face and say, “Welcome.” As I wept, I prayed.

In all honesty, it will probably never happen – at least, not in this life. In the meantime, though, I can appreciate the honor and privilege of knowing the family I have now – no matter how irregular we may be. I can appreciate my mother for never missing an opportunity to say, “I love you.” I can appreciate my grandfather for teaching me the importance of taking responsibility, even when you don’t want to. I can appreciate my brother for teaching me what it means to take pride in a family name, even if it didn’t come from our fathers. And I can appreciate the sweet, but short time I had with my grandmother for bringing peace in the hurricane that is life.

I’m glad my roommate wasn’t home tonight. I don’t like it when others see me cry – especially over my father issues, which happens nearly every time I watch a movie about a kid who never knew his father. It isn’t pretty. Trust me. I go through hundreds of tissues trying to clean up the snotty, teary mess running down my face. It’s disgusting.

But I’m glad I watched that movie. And I’m glad, above all else, to have God as my own Father.

God bless.

Our Hearts; God’s Palace…

I’ve talked about this before, but I have some serious trust issues. Few friends know of my deeper struggles and shortcomings in life and even fewer friends know of my doubts and fears. When it comes to making new or deeper friendships, “Trust is earned,” becomes my favorite motto. But is this mindset, this attitude, appropriate for our relationship with God?

When I think about the meaning of the phrase, “Trust is earned,” I often wonder if people thought this way in the Garden of Eden. Did Adam and Eve ever have trust issues with God? Scripture doesn’t say whether they did or not; Adam worked hard every day with no notion of a wife nor any desire for one and yet God surprised him with Eve. It seems to me that trust in God was inherent in the Garden.

Why did this evaporate? Our simple answer is, “The Fall”; when Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband. But The Fall was only an act of sin; it was a break of trust. That snake persuaded both Adam and Eve – although he asked Eve directly – to distrust God; he told them He was holding out on them. When they ate that fruit, they displayed their belief that God wasn’t giving them everything. Their trust in Him was broken.

My trust issues, which I believe stemmed from never knowing my biological father, often have an influence on my walk with God. I often attempt to make moves on my own because I don’t believe God will provide. For example: finding a wife. There have been several seasons of my life where I was reckless with my approach to women. I didn’t proceed with caution to guard their hearts; I was trying – almost desperately – to win them over. I wanted a wife so badly that I took matters into my own hands. In a sense, I ate the forbidden fruit; I displayed to God that I did not trust Him.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” – Proverbs 4:23

This Proverb is often used as the reason behind the motto, “Trust is earned.” We want to guard our hearts and emotions lest we get hurt – and hurt badly. I completely agree with this idea and that’s why this Proverb is posted on the side of my blog: It’s the verse with which I go about my day-to-day and how I approach my friendships and relationships (obviously, not always; but most of the time). But when it comes to God, I think our trust in Him should be inherent.

In the prior chapter of Proverbs, verse 5 says this; Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” In fact this entire chapter lists the benefits of inherently trusting God; our paths will be straight, our bodies will be healthy, our bones will be well-nourished (Hebrew connotes a sense of “fattened” or “thickened”), and the Lord will be our confidence. Why then do I find myself becoming anxious about my future – finding a wife, getting a job, etc.?

I would have to say it’s because I’ve retrojected my experience with my fellow humans back onto God and His character. But this is something Scripture emphasizes throughout the entire Bible: God is not like our human fathers. He cares for us always; not sometimes and bails. Always.

Our lives in Christ are in constant change. Why? Because the side effects of that first break of trust long, long ago are still reverberating back onto us. We’ve become inherently dysfunctional; set to repeatedly mess up in our relationships with each other and God. The process in becoming like Christ – like the true sons and daughters of God we were created to be – is a process in which our old dysfunctional ways are being removed. We’re being rewired to the tune of God. What I am finding to be the most helpful action on my part is if I simply live out my days throwing my entire trust into God – truly trusting Him with all of my heart.

Yes, I will have doubts. Yes, I will worry. And yes, this life with all of its trials will bombard my heart and soul. But unlike my emotions, God doesn’t change. He cares for us the same today as He did yesterday and as He will tomorrow. The challenge of faith is then an issue of trust: If we remain steadfast with the One who is Perfect, our lives will be filled with peace. God wants us to inherently trust Him – not only so that we may remain faithful to obeying His commandments, but also because He’s building a new kingdom in and through us.

Earlier this morning, I met with my pastor, Tony. We were reading through John 12 and verses 42 and 43 stood out to him:

“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in [Jesus], but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

It reminded him of a quote from C.S. Lewis, which neither of us remembered correctly, but was something along the lines of this: We invite God into our homes and are glad He is there. But then he starts tearing down walls and removing the foundation; that’s when we want to throw Him out. What we don’t realize is that He doesn’t like the house we’ve built for ourselves; He wants to build us a palace.

No, our trust issues here in this life do not apply to God. We ought to do ourselves a favor by inherently – as if it were no problem at all – trusting in Him in all the renovations He’s doing in our hearts. He’s a big God and doesn’t want a small house; He wants a palace for His Kingdom.

God bless.

Perfection in Secrecy…

A few weeks ago, my church (Calvary Fellowship) began a seminar series from True North Star Ministries. This series has mostly been about child abuse (verbal, physical, sexual, etc.) and I must say the statistics we’ve heard from each of these classes have been rather mortifying. I won’t share them here, but I will say my eyes have been opened.

In the most recent class – this last Sunday – we were being instructed in two major categories; how to read the signs of abuse and how to positively influence abused children. Indicators for possible abuse are many and I don’t want to open that issue here, but what really stuck with me on Sunday afternoon was not how I’m trying to influence the kids around me, but rather how I am influencing them.

Honestly, I don’t know what kind of influence I’m really having on the high school kids I teach. And I especially don’t know about the elementary kids I used to teach. Why’s that? Because how I desire to influence kids – no matter how old or young – is hardly ever the way that I actually am influencing them. Maybe I’m wrong, but kids notice you when no one else is around. It’s like a sixth sense for them; they pick up the bad habits you don’t want them to.

Last night I went with some friends to watch the movie Courageous. I knew it had something to do with police officers, but I didn’t expect all the statistics about fatherlessness. 40% of today’s children grow up in homes without a father. Kids without dads are five or six times more likely to commit suicide. Nearly 80% of convicts are fatherless. Dave and Christi – the leaders of True North Star Ministries – have said several times that the most severe case of abuse is neglect.

For those of you who didn’t know, I grew up without my biological father around. Like Nathan Hayes from Courageous, I haven’t met him yet. When he went to his biological father’s gravesite and read him a letter he had written, I was immediately reminded of the letter I had written my father. And yet, like Nathan Hayes, I’ve come out of it all alive and out of jail – not unscathed, but alive.

I’m not trying to spoil the movie for anyone who would like to go see it, but there are five men who make a pact. What I found challenging was their reasoning: They were doing a good enough job. In our American society, good enough means sufficient; it means you don’t have to do anymore than what’s already been done. But, as they collectively pointed out, God doesn’t ask us to do a “good enough” job; He commands that we be perfect.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

One question Dave asked each of us in Sunday’s seminar was, “What kind of person are you when no one else is around?” As Matthew 5:48 says, we’re supposed to be perfect, but perfection isn’t about how others perceive us. It’s about how God perceives us – especially when we’re alone.

When we’re on our own, our pretenses and facades fade away. We reveal what kind of person we really are as we’re driving behind that car that just cut us off; as we’re cussing out the TV for yet another fumble; and as we’re sitting in front of a computer with an unrestricted web browser. In all of these cases – and in many, many more – God sees our heart. He doesn’t care about the clothes we’re wearing or what kind of person we’re pretending to be; He cares about the person we are.

My fatherlessness may seem like it’s a disadvantage in this world, and to some extent it kind of is. I have to learn practically everything either on my own or from someone else’s dad; how to change a tire, how to shave, how to commit to the girl I love, etc. But as I’ve grown to notice in my walk with God, I’ve had the best replacement ever for a father: God Himself.

No, I’m still unsure about myself with a tire iron and shaving is kind of a rollercoaster experience. But I know that God has taught me about being a man of strength, integrity, and – to borrow from the movie – courage. Since my biological dad was never there, I’ve had a lot of doubts about myself and who I am. In fact, I still do. Not as many, of course, but they’re there. But with God leading the way – having the perfect Father – I know what kind of man I need to be.

In Matthew 6 there is a common theme of secrecy. No, not in the sense of keeping everything a secret; but in the sense of reflecting God’s character when no one else is around. “But when you give… when you pray… when you fast,” do so in secret. Jesus teaches us quite clearly to be the man or woman of God when no one is watching.

As I said at the beginning, kids learn your good habits as well as your bad habits. Even though you tell them never to cuss, they hear you cussing under your breath. Even though you tell them never to watch pornography, they know what you’re doing when your door’s closed. And even though you tell them never to doubt God’s sovereignty, they hear you crying out in utter despair and confusion. All of this can change if we just follow Christ’s teaching.

It demands humility, yes. It demands getting help from others, yes. But above all it demands grace; grace you must give yourself. Religious legalism has a way of infecting our walks with the Lord, but you can find it out when you look for grace. Legalism doesn’t have it. God does. And since He gives it freely to each one of us, we must receive it, give it to each other, and especially give it to ourselves.

Christ’s message in Matthew 5:48 isn’t a “good enough” message. It sets a standard for the people of His Kingdom. If grace were not there already, it’d be impossible. But God has enabled us to live as He desires us to live.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1.

We can live in perfection in Christ Jesus. We can be Godly men and women when no one is around. We can break the cycles and habits our parents passed down to us. We can be men and women of integrity, humility, and courage.

God bless.

Shadow Function…

There’s a new movie coming out next week called Reel Steal. From the previews I’ve seen, it looks like it could be an entertaining movie. But there is a specific line in one of the previews that’s been on my mind lately.

“He has a shadow function.”

Of course, I haven’t seen the movie, but what I believe the plot to be is a former boxer finds himself “up against the ropes” of life in a new age of robot boxing. For one reason or another, he’s finding success difficult with this new style and probably becomes desperate enough to really try anything – even a dummy “beat-up” bot that’s used for training the real fighting robots.

What I think will be key in the rise of this movie’s story is the robot’s ability to “shadow” this former boxer. Whatever the robot sees the guy (played by Hugh Jackman) doing, he mimics. Ultimately, this robot will eventually rise to the top of the robot-boxing world because of his ability to copy what he sees his trainer doing.

In many ways, I find a spiritual importance for the ability to copy. No, I don’t mean plagiarism; I mean walking with our Father closely enough that we begin to mimic what He does. In John’s gospel, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise,” (5:19). Jesus had a perfect shadow function.

I talked about this whole God-the-Father business in my last post, but there I focused on what it meant in terms of identity. Here I’m focused on what it means in terms of action and purpose. There is a very prominent theme here in America that if you simply put all your time, money, and energy into one thing, you could make a lot of money and be successful. It’s often called, “The American Dream.”

My problems with this dream are 1. Jesus doesn’t teach this and 2. Our only examples of what this looks like in reality are very rich people who tend to be quite selfish although they occasionally make a few donations just to give themselves a heart-warming image amongst the lay people of America. But Jesus often shows us something much different than glorifying ourselves.

Tomorrow is the Ministry Fair at Calvary Fellowship – a time in the year where we display the various ministries our church has to offer. It’s also my second week with the high school kids and I’m planning on teaching from John 13:1-9, 12-17 – where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. Why? Because in this passage we see a reflection of our Father that we don’t often see in the world: Humility personified.

Washing feet in Jesus’ time was a slave’s job – but oftentimes it was passed off to the servants of the servants (or slaves of the slaves). Safe to say it was not a respectable thing to do for a career. But Jesus rolls up His sleeves, puts a towel around His waist, and dives right into it. Why? Because He was showing us and the world (especially His disciples) that God’s kingdom works differently. You don’t attain honor and glory by having so much money or so many possessions; you honor and glorify God by the character developed in you, which is reflected in the works you do.

So now the only question on my mind these days is: What does my shadow function look like? Am I trying to mimic the society around me or am I trying to mimic God and the examples He gives me? What does your shadow function look like?

The more I think about what God desires from me in comparison to what I’ve been giving, the more I realize it’s time for a reboot. It’s time for more humility, for less expectation of something in return, and for more of a self-sacrificial mentality. Hopefully, right now and especially tomorrow, I’ll begin to make that change.

God bless.

Breaking the Mold: “Like Father, Like Son”…

Last night I watched the movie Everything Must Go. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it about a 7. It’s good if you’re bored, but if you want to see a good movie, I’d watch something else. However, there was something that stirred up a few emotions last night.

If you don’t want me to spoil the movie, browse away now.

It’s centered around a man named Nick Halsey, a prominent business man for a major corporation who has made a lot of money for himself. He has a beautiful home with a beautiful lawn and a really nice car. But, like his father, he’s an alcoholic. The story opens up with him losing his job and his wife because of his alcoholism.

At one point in the movie – near the turning point – he watches an old film strip from when he was younger. He sees himself playing as a kid, riding his bike, and enjoying life with his mother. When the camera cuts to his father, there’s a beer can in his hand and he’s flipping off his wife. Nick sees himself making that hand gesture.

I’ve often heard the phrase, “Like father, like son,” and then I’ve seen quite a few cases amongst several people I know where this is true. I think there is even scientific evidence of this trait and, if I’m not mistaken, it’s called “genetic predispositions.” The way I’ve understood this is that one is genetically inclined to be like one’s parents – i.e. Nick Halsey being the alcoholic just like his father was.

This disturbed me a little last night because when I think of what my father did – or rather, didn’t – I get scared that I might do the same. In case you don’t know my story, my biological father bailed before I was born. On my birth certificate where it says “Father,” there are only a couple asterisks. No name. If the phrase, “Like father, like son,” holds true, then it means I might bail on my son before he’s born. And that absolutely terrifies me.

Last night I thought of all the other things that my father was: promiscuous, addicted to drugs, and probably a convict. And once one factor triggered my fear, all the other factors amplified it. I suddenly found myself slightly believing that I’ll fall not far from the tree of my biological dad and probably wind up homeless with a long string of one-night stands. I know it’s stupid now, but I believed it for a moment.

Key words: for a moment.

As per usual, I immediately dove into prayer. Crying, sniffling, and stuttering, I asked God for comfort – for His comfort. I did this for about 20 minutes or so and then turned off my light to go to bed. As soon as I laid my head down, I realized something. I realized why these fears are causing a lot of emotional pain for me; because they’re being purged from me.

I don’t mean to say God’s torturing me; I mean to say He’s removing the filth from me. Part of that filth is the fear of failure passed down to me from my father. If the genetic predisposition thing is true, God is re-writing mine. Essentially, by following Christ, I’m breaking the mold – not just of my biological father, but of humanity itself. My father was driven towards sex, drugs, and alcohol to burry his pain. But I’m turning to Christ for healing from that pain.

I wrote all of these thoughts down as quickly as I could so I could write this blog today. When I was done, I started to feel a little hope. And then a Scripture came to mind:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” – John 16:33

Jesus promises us this life will be excruciatingly painful and challenging (pun intended), but He also promises us that through Him, we’re freed from the sinful cycles of this world. We don’t have to turn to drugs, sex, commodities, alcohol, or money to numb the pain; it’s been crucified with Christ at His cross. We are now free – not only from hell and condemnation, but from ourselves and our genetic predispositions as humans.

Even though the movie wasn’t that great, it really brought to light things God has been teaching me all along. I, like Nick Halsey, can choose not to be like my father and to break those genetic codes. But unlike Nick Halsey, if I choose the cross of Christ every single day of my life – I will have peace within myself. It isn’t a peace that I had to fight for; it’s a peace that I simply needed to let in. God is knocking at the doors of our hearts not to place a bunch of rules and commandments over us; but to give us His peace – His peace that He knows we desperately need.

“Like Father, like Son” remains true… but becomes the greatest truth when God is our Father. In Christ, He is giving us His genetic predispositions. There is nothing greater than that.

God bless.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart,” – Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)