But to all who did receive Jesus, who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God. -John 1:12
Two weeks ago the kind staff at our local hospital were crazy enough to let my wife and I bring our baby boy Rory home. Having him here now means that today is my first official Father’s Day as a Dad, so with the holiday here I thought I’d take a moment to share some quick reflections on these first few weeks of Fatherhood. Specifically, I want to share what becoming a father has taught me about the heart of God.
One of the most amazing teachings of Jesus to me is His insistence that God is not an idea or concept, nor a distant and removed deity, but is instead a loving Father. Over and over again in His teachings Jesus emphasizes this aspect of God’s being. In light of this incredible focus of Jesus on the Fatherhood of God it is not too much of a stretch to say that if you haven’t come to know God as a loving Father, you haven’t come to know God at all.
You might have heard, but it’s an election year this year. As someone who spent his growing years planning to become President one day, this season always excites me. This election year has of course been that much more exciting with how particularly unpredictable it’s been. Trump? Seriously? The non-traditional candidate who has intrigued me the most though is Bernie Sanders, the fiery 74 year old Independent Senator from Vermont.
Words are unbelievably powerful. It’s a fundamental principle of both Scripture and life in general, yet is one that’s all too easily overlooked. Recently I had an experience where I was challenged on the words I use in my leadership that deeply impacted me. The experience grew me greatly as a leader, and I share it with the hope it may do the same for you.
I knew that I was in trouble almost as soon as the conversation started. It was the end of a long work day and I was in a meeting with a colleague where we were discussing a particularly sensitive issue. Emotions were running high, as the subject being discussed was one that had proven to be a pain point for this individual in the past. Against my better judgment, I chose to continue the conversation instead of recommending we pick it up when we were both a little calmer, and things quickly took a turn for the worse.
“So what’s your take on all this stuff that’s happening in Ferguson?” It was a question I tossed out to my friend Pastor Dr. Darryl Jenkins of Faith Community Church in Itasca back in August when the story was first getting out and the protests were heating up. We were out golfing together that afternoon, and honestly it took me a few holes just to work up the courage to ask the question at all.
Why? Because Darryl is a black man, and I frankly had little to no idea how to talk about the events in Ferguson with someone for whom I knew they must be more personal than they were to me. I even wondered if the question was too inappropriate to ask, and almost didn’t ask it at all. But I’m glad I did.