good news weekly 5.21.22
coming in June, a fresh take on an amazing tradition, Good News Summer Camp. pre-school-5th grade is invited to join us for four straight Thursdays for the perfect mixture of Jesus + Fun. no cost … please join us.
we also need a few more volunteers to pull this off … if you are able to pitch in, help us.
How becoming a parent changed the way I view my upbringing.
one of our leaders at Good News, Jon Clark wrote this for our newspaper, i thought it was too useful not to share here…
The way you view your upbringing is part of what makes you you – I recently had dinner with some friends, and the question was asked, “what specific thing did your parents do, that has shaped the way you are today?” One answer brought gravity to parenting in a way I’d never considered before. The story went like this; when 3yrs old, she picked up her newborn baby brother and put him on the stairs - thinking she was being helpful – when her mother saw him lying there, she screamed in fear and jumped in to grab the baby.Our friend reflected on how she crumbled (and peed herself) under the reaction of her mother, at the mere thought that she would disappoint her so greatly. You may think you can control quite a few things in this life, but 3yr old emotions are certainly not one of them. The story left me with an impression of myself, no matter how sincere I am in caring for my kids, I stand no chance of perfecting the impression I leave on them.
So what am I to do?
Cast my time into making sure they have enough impressions of me, that they might know my heart towards them. It would be ludicrous to believe that the sun doesn’t exist whenitscloudy(even during these winter months in the NW suburbs of Chicago),it takes purposeful time for the sun to prove its steadfast character between long, cloudy, and dreary seasons. The sun is always sitting behind those clouds. Why would I think my kids could know me any differently than they know the sun? I want my kids to know me, despite all my weak and impatient moments, as a dad that will burn for their hearts. This difficult task demands an often rare commodity, purposeful time – They should know my love is burning even behind some of those cloudy mistakes, and dreary reactions, because they have actually had the time with me to see it. I want my kids to be tan, I want them proficient on vitaminD(ad).;)
So what did I learn about my upbringing through this?
I would argue that the greatest “glass ceiling” of our growth toward maturity, is the habit of interpreting our past in the lens of the past.
Take this for example; say someone in first grade called you a “butt head” – I am certain that today you are probably not still struggling with this inner voice telling you that you are a “butt head”. Why? Because you now interpret that memory with a sense of maturity, one that applies logic and a sense of purpose and context. Even though your feelings were probably sincerely hurt in that 1st grade class,the memory doesn’t cripple you, making you self-conscious about your head truly being a butt...
This is proof that in many simple cases, we learn to interpret our past with the lens of today, a matured lens.
But I would argue that family dynamics and the transformative nature of these relationships impair our ability to do that as simply as we otherwise could. Since becoming a parent, I have realized that most of my retrospection regarding my upbringing - has been with a lens of the past, that comes with the maturity of the past. I understand that there are those who have had exceedingly difficult upbringings, but in many cases (mine in particular); my parents wanted to be the type of parent I talked about above – holding an overarching love that transcends those occasional clouds.
I view my upbringing with a different sense now – because for the first time, I get to take the maturity that comes from experience (a new lens) and apply it to my past. This makes be aboundingly more grateful and gracious, and easily less critical (as it often does).
Sometimes God calls us to surrender. Abraham exemplifies this as he trusted God for twenty-five years in many ways beyond what most thought was his ‘father expiration date.’ Although immensely difficult, the waiting produced something great in him because he trusted God was able to fulfill what he told him that he would do. Imagine waiting twenty-five years for something and then God asking you to give it back to him. It was no easy feat.
In Genesis 22, you see Abraham’s sensitivity and ability to hear God’s voice. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited son and this chapter shows his complete obedience. He takes the steps that God had shared without wavering which must have required immense faith. In fact, when his son asks him where the lamb is for the burnt offering, Abraham’s voice may have been wavering (we truly don’t know) but his answer is assuring, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”(v.8) But as they went up to the mountain and there was no lamb to be found, he had to lay Isaac down and bind him to the wood on the altar. It was in the moment that he took the knife to slaughter his son that the angel of the Lord stopped him. Imagine that!!! The angel of the Lord acknowledged Abraham’s fear of God and that he didn’t withhold his son from him. And that is when Jehovah Jireh provided a ram in the thicket instead of his son. Abraham called that place, ‘the LORD will provide.’ And God declared a blessing and provision over Abraham and his descendants because of his obedience.
May I ask what God is asking you to surrender?
Over the last few years I have learned a bit about the intricately married beauty of surrender + obedience + faith. I’ve wondered at times why I had to surrender things that were immensely important to me because it felt like a drastic cost to get my attention. But as time moves beyond the crisis and I’ve kept my eyes peeled, He’s allowed me to see stamps of love along with receipts of kindness. There had been a point of surrender that I got to last year that I really wrestled with. It was chalked full of emotions and questions like, ‘do you really have to take this too?’ But through prayer and deliberation I was able to get to a point of dismissing what I thought I deserved. Surprisingly enough, I found freedom knocking on my door. When I wasn’t prescribing to God how he was supposed to provide for me, I was freed up from the expectation I had laid out and I was trusting his provision to be better than mine. Unlike Abraham our Jehovah-Jireh moment probably won’t include a knife or a mountaintop or ram but I believe it comes at a moment when we are least expecting it’s arrival.
Last week, God brought a ‘Jehovah Jireh’ moment from that surrender last year and I mean I thought this thing was D-E-A-D. I share this to encourage you, my friend. God sees you, your surrender and the provision and blessing that is ahead. We get to see what Abraham couldn’t: that his story was a foreshadowing of an even greater surrender, Jesus Christ. He didn’t deserve death and yet he took it on because surrender was the path of love on our behalf. Keep trusting by faith and asking God for his perfect provision and like Abraham worship him while you wait.
Cup of Leadership
An appeal to an unexpressed intent is usually a bad excuse.
i.e. you don’t ‘credit’ for things you wanted to say.
i.e. you didn’t encourage anyone by thinking they did a good job.
i.e. you didn’t comfort by compassionate thoughts you never shared.
i.e. wanting to help but not ‘knowing how’ didn’t do anything.
we often offer ourselves comfort in our passivity by self-assurance of good intentions. this however is literally nothing.hoping someone who is depressed figures it out + hoping they jump off a bridge FEEL the same to the person who is being wounded by the silence.
serving others requires action. which inevitably produces misunderstanding. that can be difficult to handle, but so are the effects of becoming a person who hides in their passivity.
Super Christian Guy
Summer Reading List, Pt. 1
The Lonliest Americans — Jay Caspian Kang
An Asian Immigrant describes in great candor, the joys + pains of what it is like to be an outsider who is treated like an insider.
Even in Our Darkness – Jack Deere
A joyfully cynical description of finding faith after losing religion, Deer poignantly walks us through decades of finding hope through deep pain.
How (Not) To Read The Bible — Dan Kimball
An examination of the sections that feel anti-woman or pro- violence or anti-science, the author develops tools in the reader for discerning how to read the Bible accurately + honestly.
have a great weekend…
luke + kristen