Fauxgiveness

When my wife and I moved into our townhouse almost 10 years ago we wanted to freshen up the walls.  Not that white isn’t a great color, but when it’s everywhere it makes you want to poke your eyes out with an ice pick.

So Cherie found a really awesome painting technique that, when completed, made the walls look like suede leather.  It looked easy enough to do. However, the project nearly cost me my right rotator cuff from all of the brush strokes.  But when it was done, this faux technique totally made our walls looked like a big old couch.

Now here’s the thing.  When we were done, PETA never once came and picketed at our house because of all the animals harmed in the making of our leather walls.  No one threw fake buckets of blood at me as I walked to my car so I could think about what we had done.

Not even one newspaper reporter came to our house or come to think of it I didn’t get even one nasty email from anyone.

Do you want to know why?

Our walls were fake.  They weren’t really leather because it was only a faux finish made to look like leather.

As Christians we have faux finishes too, but none more evident than forgiveness.

forgiveness(noun) The act of forgiving; pardon.

faux – (Adj) not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article

Forgiveness seems to be an elusive discipline for Christians even though we know God wants us to!

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Chances are we all believe this is true.  We know we need forgiveness yet when the opportunity presents itself we often cringe just like any other person.

However we’ve found a way to dance around actually have to do it.

Fauxgiveness.

Fauxgiveness is the equivalent of our leather walls.  From a distance it may look like forgiveness but upon further inspection it’s the farthest thing from it.  Here are some faux techniques I’ve seen used.

  • Fauxgive and Forget – This is a common technique used by Christians and Non-Christians alike.  It requires that we stuff anything anyone has done to us under the rug in our soul and pretend it’s not there.  Out of sight so out of soul.
  • Fauxgive and Tell – This is great for Christians because it lets you tell everyone that out of the goodness of your heart you’ve forgiven them and there are no hard feelings.  Usually people will nod in agreement and perhaps even say “amen” if they are truly holy.
  • Fauxgive and Laugh – This is great technique at parties.  This is where you take what was done to you and make it a joke. This makes it look like you are totally over it.  After all, if you can laugh about it you must be over it….right?

These are just three examples of Fauxgiveness, but I’ll bet all of us have used these techniques at one time or another.

Now on the outside this looks FANTASTIC because it appears we have embraced forgiveness with ease, but tragically what’s happening on the inside tells a different story.

The closer you look at the “leather” wall you realize that forgiveness hasn’t really happened at all.  We are still as hurt, crushed, confused, and bitter as we were when it first happened.

Fauxgiveness may fool a few people on the outside but our souls are never fooled.  It still longs for freedom that only true forgiveness can offer.

Forgiveness that realizes holding onto the past only weighs you down, not the other person.  Forgiveness that sees faking it as only prolonging the agony in your life. Forgiveness that looks into the eyes of Jesus and can’t help but reflect that love to others.  Forgiveness that places all the hurt and pain at the foot of the cross and leaves it for Jesus to handle.

Forgiveness that is tired of being tired and is ready to run free in the freedom found only in Christ.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28

Only Jesus can offer this type of weight loss for our souls and get us past Fauxgiveness.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I’m Scared I’m Going To Leave A Kid

Ok, before you judge me too harshly you can’t tell me you haven’t thought it, dreamt it, or done it.  Losing a kid is like the worst nightmare a parent could have I think.

Unless of course you are my wife who still dreams that Aniston (now 3 years old) is falling out of our bed (which she’s never slept in), off my side (again she’s never slept in), and proceeds to lunge across the bed to catch her only to realize midair that it’s a dream and she’s about to land on her sleeping husband…again.

It was funny the first time, terrifying the second, and now the only thing I can hold over her head because she is virtually perfect. :)

But all of us…I repeat all of us as parents have the fear of losing or leaving their kid somewhere.  Especially if you have more than one!  I don’t know how that Dugger Family (aka Baby Making Machines) do it.  They must leave handfuls of kids everywhere they go for crying out loud!  I be they just pin little baggies of change on all of them to make calls back home when it happens.

My fear is that I will get Aniston all strapped in and leave Easton strapped in his carseat on the driveway or still in the cart at Target.  I fast forward the story in my mind to when I realize I did it and how quickly I hope the police arrest me before Cherie get’s a hold of me and kills me.

The only thing that gives me any semblance of peace is that even Jesus got forgotten by his parents.  Yep…you heard me right.

Check it out…

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. hen they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2:41-48

The reason this encourages me is that even if I leave Easton in the dressing room at the mall I can always say “atleast I didn’t’ lose God!”

It also I believe is such a reminder from God Himself that we should not take ourselves as parents so seriously.  We need to realize that just because we have a small human developing under our care and depending on us for their very existence we can’t think we won’t screw up.

We will…believe me our parents did too and we made it through only casually scarred.

Not only do we need to remind ourselves of that truth, but our kids need to see that too.  The need to know we aren’t perfect and need the forgiveness of God just as much as anyone else.

Sometimes the best conversations we can have with our kids is the conversation that starts off “Daddy or Mommy really screwed up and I need your forgiveness for…”

The honesty and transparency we demonstrate in our life will be more impactful than showing them how to change the oil in the car or how to walk in high heals.  The habit of walking humbly and actively seeking God’s forgiveness is setting our kids up for a stronger relationship with God and us as their parents with every honest screw up we openly admit.

So whether you cut a guy off in traffic or forget a kid at a Sox game have the courage to admit you screwed up, ask for forgiveness, and remind your kids atleast you didn’t lose God.

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Let The Story Begin

Well to all my Parkview Christian Church readers out there this is an exciting week for us as a church.  Beginning this Saturday September 22 we begin a 31-week journey together that is sure to radically change us all.

It’s a journey that all of us have wanted to take but some have never seemed to have the time, focus, or endurance to do it.  Walking this road means we learn the truth about what we “thought”.  It means we see the good with the bad and the ugly about who we really are.  And it has the potential for the question of “what’s that mean?” to be replaced with the statement “I get that now.”

Choosing to take this journey will change our life because what we are about to embark on is walking through one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us.

The Bible.

That’s right for the next 31 weeks we as a church will be travelling through the entire Bible using Randy Frazee’s The Story as our guide.  This book is a tremendous tool as it threads the pages of Scripture into a wonderful narrative while respecting the Text through utilization of the NIV translation of the Bible.  Gone are the stale interactions you may have had in the past with God’s Word and replace that with a page turning experience you won’t want to put down.

Even if you don’t attend Parkview as your home church I’d invite you to join the journey with us.  You can get the book from Amazon or iBooks and simply read a chapter a week.  Pastor Tim and the rest of us on the preaching team will be teaching on that week’s reading over the weekend.   You can follow along by siply watching them on our Media Player tab.  Then, jump into small group or discuss with your family the questions located in the back of the book or in the Small Group guide.  Believe me the more you interact with what you are reading and hearing the more it will impact your life.

So just to be clear here is the plan each week:

  1. Read:  Read 1 Chapter a week from The Story
  2. Attend:  Attend a Parkview service either in person or on the web.
  3. Discuss:  Discuss what you’ve heard and read in a small group, with your family, or with a group of friends.

It’s that simple!!!

Now, before our journey begins and we extend our foot into virgin soil I’m reminded of the words of the men walking on the road to Emmaus.   After being taught the Scriptures by the resurrected Jesus Christ they say these words to each other in Luke 24:32

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he

talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

WOW

That is my prayer for all of us as we open God’s Word together.

I pray that with every page turn we allow the reality that the entire Bible is about Jesus and as we learn more about Him our hearts will begin to burn with a desire to know Him more.

Don’t miss this life changing opportunity to let The Story of God come alive to you.

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Fixn’ To Get A Texa-Cali Accent

When I was at a conference in Dallas, I had a chance to watch a baseball game at The Ballpark In Arlington home of the Texas Rangers.  As with everything in Texas, the park was bigger and more audacious than necessary, but it was BEAUTIFUL.

I had a great time eating bacon wrapped hotdogs (yes you read that right), getting souvenirs for my kids, and talking to all the people around us.  Oddly enough which wherever I go I seem to talk to people (shocking I know), but our new Southern friends were really cool.  They were very kind and seemed overly interested to talk to a group of Chicago pastors out “in the wild”.

The family behind us was taking their mom out for her first baseball game ever and she was having a blast.  I swapped parenting war stories with the daughter who had a little boy and girl about the same age as Aniston and Easton.  Nothing seems to bond people together like potty training 2-year-old stories for some reason.

The group of ladies in front of us was super fun too.  We learned that the Cub infection had spread coast-to-coast.  Apparently one of their dads growing up listening to Harry Carry from California, but don’t worry we prayed for her before we left.  :)

It was my California transplant that intrigued me the most.   She had a thick southern accent now and I had to ask how long it took her to get it.  She said, “Not long at all!  It just seemed to come naturally moved down here and now when I go back to California they make fun of my ‘Y’all’s’ and ‘Fixin’’ comments.”

It got me to thinking about how that is so true in our spiritual life.  When we decide to leave our old life of sin and replace it with the Grace of Jesus stuff changes.

I guess you can say we get a new accent.

You see when we meet Jesus, things we used to say, do, believe, act like, or even think don’t seem to fit anymore.  Our lives change as we start to follow Christ closer and realize the new life He has waiting for us in a relationship with Him.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Our lives HAVE TO CHANGE after we understand what Jesus did for us and we must start to take on the accent of Who we are around.  This may mean people you hung out with or know in your old life may not “get it” or even make fun of you, but just tell them you can’t help it.

After all, Y’all are just fixin’ to follow Jesus!

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: The First Day Of School

The day actually came.

I can’t believe it.

Today was the first day of 3-year-old preschool for Aniston.

I know, I know…BIG DAY!!!

It’s a day Cherie and I hoped would come but dreaded that it would all at the same time.  Our little girl is now able to walk, talk, write, say her colors and numbers, brush her teeth, climb in the truck herself, put her “pack pack” on, and more things that even sappy parents don’t care about.

As I walked into her class today it was awesome to see her eyes get wide and her mouth stay open just a little bit as she took it all in.  We found her cubby where she hung her “pack pack” and I even got to show here what the little strap on the top it was used for.  I signed her in, helped her wash her hands, and then knelt down to say good-bye.  She gave me her Beeger kiss and rubbed it in my cheek and then one of her famous big hugs.

But something strange happened right after that I wasn’t expecting…she let go.

No cling on, no crying, no “stay daddy”, but just a simple turn of the head and into the fray of kids without a problem.

I thought to myself, “That little stinker!  Doesn’t she know that deep down I want her to cling to my leg, shed a few tears, and plead for me not to go?  I think I may need to do this to you just so you know what it’s supposed to look like!”

Fortunately inner monologues don’t go audible and she didn’t here me.

So after she scooted along, I scooped up Easton and off Lil’ E and I went.  By the time I got to the truck, strapped Easton in, and sat in my seat it might have been 10 minutes from parked to drop off.  It was over that quick.  Day one of school was in motion and my little girl was off and running.

Part of me couldn’t help but wonder why she was so ok though.

  • Was it the preparing we did weeks in advance when we got her supplies?
  • Was it her little buddy Gibson who she confidently walked into class behind?
  • Was it the awesome little girl God blessed us with in her natural confident nature?

It may have been a combination of all of those things, but deep down I think I know the real reason.

You see, right before we left the house today I made sure we took time to do something.  After I did her hair (as best as I could) I scooped my little Beeg up in my arms and we sat on the couch together.  I wrapped my arms around her and said “Can daddy pray for you?” and she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “yes daddy.”

I prayed that she had a good day at school, was polite to her teachers, kind to her friends, but I also thanked God for her.  I thanked Him for the gift she was to her mommy and I.  I asked Him to help her to be brave and not scared at school.  I hugged her tight as I asked God to be with my little girl and keep her safe.  In Jesus name…we both said…Amen.”

I believe Aniston was ok today because I know she knows God is with her and He loves her.  She knows that because it wasn’t the first time she heard this.  We have prayed together, read the Bible together, talked about Jesus, and talked about the love of God since she was weeks old in the NICU at Christ Hospital.  She is covered with the love of God in her life and I guarantee she will continue to hear that as long as Cherie and I have breath.

We truly believe what Solomon says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Listen, I know this doesn’t guarantee she will be a perfect angel her whole life.  I know she may get into trouble and we may be looking for the return policy on her from time to time, but right now I can see this being true in my little girl.

And I can tell you this with 100% confidence, that it makes this weepy, sappy, red eyed dad feel good knowing that although her daddy may be driving away, her real Dad is right there with her as she traces her hand and colors outside the lines.  God loves that girl more than I do and that must be pretty intense because, except for my wife, I’ve never felt a love like this before.

So I will continue to pray and train our kids up in the Lord because I know that it makes for amazing eternal rewards and easier drive homes.

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