Family

Thank you, Clements

Clements Baptist Church,

The way you have treated me and my family during this transition has been beyond our wildest expectations.  The love and support you have shown has done so much in nourishing our spirit.  Last Sunday was a “defining moment” in our life and ministry.  You will forever have our gratitude for the years we had spent there and especially for the launching of us into a new frontier over the past few weeks.  We will treasure every moment, especially those at the very end as we poured out our hearts to each other.

I will say this:  Don’t let your Pastor, church staff and other leaders go long without letting them know how you feel about them.  It will encourage and feed their soul, spurring them on to a greater understanding of their calling and ministry in our Lord.  It has done so for us.  Tell them soon…and often!

Thanks for all the cards, texts, comments, posts, gifts and prayers.  You truly have launched us in an unforgettable way.  We love you guys dearly.

Forever grateful,

Justin, Mandy, Josie and Rece

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The Pain of Fatherhood

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. –Proverbs 14:26

When God’s Word and it’s thrust toward discipleship of your family comes into focus, pain immediately sets in. I mean to say it is an urgency. A desperate desire.

As a father and husband I am called to disciple my wife and my children. This is perfectly clear in Scripture. This pain I’m describing is something not suitable for words. I have a deep, unexplainable longing for the best for my wife and child. Not my best. God’s best. The conviction is this:  no one else is called to do what I am – only I can fulfill this calling in their lives.  I am called to show them God’s best.  I say it is no one else’s calling because I am their spiritual leader. My wife is married to only me. I am the only father of my child. The responsibility rests solely on my shoulders to do this, by the power of the gospel. And if I do it, it will be as a result of me loving God in such a way that they can experience His best.

But it is not my own self doing this thing. My flesh would love to outsource this discipleship (as many people think) to the local church or some other “professional”. That is not God’s design. Too many have chosen to outsource discipleship of their family. That is not Scriptural. I  have a calling placed on my life as a dad to mold and make a grown woman and growing child, through the leadership and work of the Holy Spirit, to be satisfied in God. Not in what He does for us, but in who He is. My flesh is satisfied in His blessings but the God in me is only satisfied in Himself.  Rightfully so.

The pain of fatherhood, to me, is so wanting to see God move in my family that the only alleviation is surrender. Only the killing of my own idols can make way for the true worship of God for my family. Even then the depths of what He can accomplish are not even being tasted. This pain I have is to see them become true God-worshipers. A desire so deeply rooted that it’s urgent and uncomfortable until it’s manifested in response to God’s grace. The question is not of His faithfulness to do it, but of my response to the pain of fatherhood.

The Supremacy of God

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,  Job 7:17

A proper, high view of God completely squashes any and all selfishness in life. Both Job and David (Psalm 8:4) communicate this truth:  Who am I?

How can a question be a truth?  For me, the question is so powerful, because just as there are not enough words to describe our God there are not enough words to describe the depths of my need for him.  Who am I?

When the sovereignty and supremacy of God are on display in our lives our motives, thoughts and actions move toward godliness.  On the other hand, when we live as if we are owed something by a holy God our passions will always move towards ourselves.  And who am I?

Any view of God that isn’t scriptural (supreme and sovereign) leads to such a tainted view of ourselves and our circumstances.  The work of Christ is the beautiful, bloody demonstration of His “setting his heart” on us while we were dead, pulse-less, helpless and useless.  What have we done to deserve such an unwarranted, inexplicable act of love?  Who am I?

The true answer of who we are is an indictment on our depravity.  The true answer to who Jesus is reveals the beauty that despite me he loved me.  And who am I to have anything in this life?  Not only do I have  a Savior but a wife and children (I shall go to him...).  Not only that but a breath to breathe, an able body, a loving church family, shelter, food and health.

I enjoy the very communion with the Father that Jesus relinquished on the tree.  Why did he lose it all so that I might miraculously gain it?   Who am I?

If I fail to see God as supreme in my life, then I make myself supreme.  I am my god.  And if I’m supreme then I can’t have victory.  Praise be to God he reigns!  From everlasting to everlasting…You. Are. God.

jb