Tag Archives: Sonship

Choosing to be Fathered

As I’ve said before, the word God had for me this year was, intimacy.  Choosing to take the year and learn what it looks like to walk closer to God and learning to keep margin in my life so that this intimacy can be intentionally cultivated. So God’s been bringing back to something significant in the past weeks.  The idea of being Fathered or Sonship.  My sonshipbuddy, Chris, brought this up recently in going back through some teachings we’ve both been under about reorienting to God as Father.  I’ve brought a version of this teaching to the Boot Camps I’ve been blessed to lead over the last year.

Tonight, I’m sitting in a hotel room, and after I finished dinner, I decided to punch up a session taught by Morgan Snyder of Ransomed Heart.  I’ve heard this teaching before live and online and as I’ve mentioned, it is a part of what I teach now.  But something clicked this evening as I began to listen to Morgan again.  A couple of questions.  What places in my heart have I still not allowed God to Father in me? Where have I been Fathered and not even realized in?

I’ve overlooked this before, but part of the session, Morgan talks about the different people that God has used to Father him in recent years.  I started reflecting.  At the Anvil Boot Camp, I share some of Sonship and how God is trying to reorient us back to Him as Father. That this has always been his intention.  But have I really stopped to think about the varying ways that God has Fathered me?

When I think on this question, I see the answer immediately. No I have not and I have not fully appreciated this.  God will choose to Father us in some many ways and through so many different people.  After my dad died in 2009, I spent the next few years in a wandering daze.  I fell under bad kings and listened to bad advice.  I also tried to figure out life on my own, without God and without anyone else.  I lived in isolation. John Eldredge says something very profound in Wild at Heart.  “The world is rigged in a way that it does not work apart from God.”  I didn’t know this yet.

I’ve shared before a dream I had of my dad, about 6 months after his death, while my oldest son was in the hospital.  He met me in my office building, actually almost exactly 8 years ago this week, and through his arms around me and said he was going to help get rid of the devil in me. Very vivid dream.  Made me recall William Wallace in Braveheart when he sees his father after he is killed, tell him that his heart is free and not be be afraid to live by it.  I always looked to this dream as the start of something, although it took a few more years.41ebvat8gvl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

The first fathering began through a man named Tim.  This man is now my friend and pastor.  Actually, almost like a big brother.  He helped, although I didn’t realize it, though small conversations around baseball, to steer me in a new direction. The next most unlikely fathering, actually came through a lady that I worked with. Her name was KC and God put an urge in heart heart to give a book.  This book was Wild at Heart.  It sat on my desk for nearly 18 months before I read it, but I know God used that moment to continue Fathering me, and leading me back to Him.  Because of that moment, a ripple effect has taken place that continues to today.  My friend Steve reflected on it and shared this after we finished our 3rd Boot Camp this past weekend.  “All of the miracles coming out, simply due to someone caring enough about a friend, and giving that friend a book to read.”  It’s rather amazing to seek how Abba works.

nothinglost_bgsknifeOver the years since then, radical transformation began.  God placed other men in my life to help guide me.  Tim and I grew a closer friendship, other brothers have been used including Butch, Steve, and others, and thenguys like John Eldredge, Morgan Snyder, and a gentleman named Mark Woods became men that were also used to Father me from a distance. It’s kind of wild to think about, when we choose to allow God to Father us in whatever way he deems is needed, the change and transformation that happens over time will be tremendous.  God has even Fathered me through a knife that I had lost, when a new one arrived in the mail 6 months later.

As I reflect on this idea of being Fathered by God in radical a new ways, I realize that this is all a part of this growth in intimacy with Him.  Resting on that and resting in my identity as a son through Jesus Christ bring with it deeper and deeper meaning.  So think about this today, in your own life.  Have you felt unfathered in some areas, skewing your idea and view of God as Father?  If so, where?  Then think about what ways and through who God has already been trying to Father you and have been receptive of it.

It’s something we must choose.  The Fathering does not come forced.  God wants us to choose Him, but we must begin to change our perspective.  Will you choose to be Fathered?

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The Glory of Sonship

The title of this post says it all.  The idea of sonship has been something that has big in my life for the last couple of years and a significant part of my own restoration and walk with the Father.  Since my walk really began, a significant passion that has burned in my heart is in men’s ministry.  Like myself, I have known and still know so many many men that do not understand who they truly are and who they have been created to be.  Many, if not most, are still very much rooted in their false-self, whether they know it or not.  I was deeply rooted in my false-self and did not know at all who I truly was and who I was created to be and what I have already been called because of the finished works of Jesus Christ, should I accept.  That is my identity as a son.

The definition of sonship as provided by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “The relationship of son to father.”  I have learned a great deal in this recently, especially with my walk in the teachings of John Eldredge, Morgan Snyder, and others through the ministry of Ransomed Heart.  Sonship. So what does this truly mean.  For one thing, we know the doctrinal teaching of Jesus as the Son of God and that in Sonship, Jesus always was the Son of God as a part of the God’s triune nature, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In Peterson’s translation, The Message in John 16:28, Jesus says, “I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father.”  Jesus was always the Son.  The secret makes Jesus unstoppable is the abiding place of a son to a father.

So there, you have that Jesus is the Son.  What about us?  Paul writes in Ephesians 1:5 that from the very beginning the Father “…predestined us to adoption as sons though Jesus Christ to Himself”.  Romans 8:15 says that “…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”  That’s just the surface, but that tells a lot about who we are, but a lot about who we all to often to claim to be.  We are sons of the Father in Christ.  Our identity is rooted in that.  As Morgan Snyder stated, “Our greatest identity is son.”  That’s who we are and that’s who we were created to be.  Sons and children of the God the Father.

Talking especially to men here.  We have serious problem that has developed.  We have lost this identity.  We don’t know God as Father and don’t know ourselves as sons.  All too often this condition is rooted in a form of fatherlessness and wounds we’ve suffered.  I have learned that this identity is the primary place that we’re assaulted by the enemy, by the world, and by our false-self.   The primary place where we establish our view of our Heavenly Father is based on our experiences with our earthly father, good or bad.  We have all been wounded in some way.  In that, we don’t truly get to know the Father as Abba or Pappa.  George McDonald wrote that it’s better to not know the Father than to know Him wrong.

What is the answer to this loss of our identity?  There is only one answer and always been one answer.  Jesus Christ.  “The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  This is part of what was lost.  Our identity as sons.  Our true heart and true nature as we were originally created to be. That’s what has been lost in so many and you can see it all over the place.  That’s why fatherlessness is so high across our society.  A prime reason why so many marriages fail has a lot to do with men who have just lost who they are are and don’t know how lead their marriage and family from the abiding place as a son to the Father.  They have lost their identity.

God has invited us to leave that fatherless place in us to be Fathered by Him.  He has called us into sonship through Jesus Christ.  We need men to understand this and learn to live from this.  When you find this place and find this identity and begin to live from sonship, WOW!!!  The changes that begin to unfold are amazing.  It’s not without challenges and it takes time to truly learn to live in this, but you have to start somewhere.  And when you fall, you rise again.  As the saying goes from Robin Hood, “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.

You have been called son.  God has predestined that to each us.  We have to make the choice to fight for that identity and live as sons.

The Father’s Restoration

In about 4 weeks, I’ll be loading up my truck and making my way across the country back to the mountains of Colorado.  This week, I received final details for that week including things to do as a prepared, including finding more time to just speak to the Father asking Him to open my heart to all that He has ready for me on this trip.  I realized something.  I’ve been on fast forward since last January, after my first trip out there.  The Father grabbed a hold of me transforming every part of my life.  It was real restoration.  I think at this point however, I’ve almost become overwhelmed.

Just as I wrote the other day, walking in real relationship with God requires more of us than we expect.  Since last year, my life has been moving fast.  We’ve experienced more radical transformation in so many areas of our lives, in my home, than we expected.  It’s been something amazing to experience.  I do realize however, that if we are not careful, it can be very easy to be taken out again.  It can be easy to fall back into ways of the false-self.  It can be easy to put back on the fig-leaf.  It can be easy to let the exhaustion of the pace leave you spent and vulnerable to the enemy who is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.

tumblr_mx7ilvaljr1rii36xo1_500Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life.”  This is so crucial for all of us no matter where we walk with the Father.  No matter where we stand.  If we are not careful, our hearts can easily be taken out again.  We are constantly battling with our sin nature and the enemy wants to use that against us.  If we are not guarding our hearts, we can be taken out again and again.  So the key, I found, is to pray the Father’s restoration through Christ, every day.

I know this seems simple.  I realized though, this week, as I was beginning my preparation activities, that I allowed a little more distance to build again.  I was trying to do so much, so quickly, that I found it easy to put off walking with God.  I’d have thoughts like “Oh, I have to get work going early, so I’ll do that later” or “I slept later, so I have less time to converse with Him, read the Word, and journal…maybe tomorrow.”  This does not make me any less of a believer, but I realized that I need to make restoration and renewal an intentional thing…everyday!

Restoration is crucial for.  I realized that I need this time unplugged more than I thought I would.  It’s like the Father orchestrating another rescue of the heart.  Allowing me an opportunity to step back from the front lines and bandage my wounds and hit the reset button once more.  I’ve wrote time and again about unplugging from the matrix that this life is.  Do an honest assessment and ask yourself how often do you truly unplug?  It’s crucial.

We need restoration of the heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit every single day.  We also need times where we take days to get away from everything.  Whether we retreat to wilderness, the mountains, or the beach.  You don’t have to go to retreats to unplug.  You can get away on your own.  I realize I need this time each year.  It’s more than just going on a family vacation, which can also be full of distractions.  Find time to yourself to just be with the Father.

be-stillA friend of mine one told me he was counseled to do just that.  He had become cynical in his faith and was told to make preparations and go away into the wilderness.  Don’t even take his Bible.  Just a journal to record what the Father reveals.  He came back fully alive again, just as I did.  This life can run you down, so you need His restoration.  He wants to rescue you from this world.  Just a Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Be still.  Why is this so hard for us to do?  The Father is seeking to restore each of us.  He is seeking to walk with us and guide us.  He wants to speak to us and through us.  We have to be able to shut out the rest of the world, and allow that.  Why do you think Jesus always retreated to wilderness to be alone and to pray?  He had to allow himself to be restored and stay in connection with the Father.  This world can take anyone out.  Jesus faced just as much, if not more, temptation from the world and enemy as the rest of us.  He needed the time to stay connected to the Father and stay focus on His mission and purpose.  We need time to get away and stay connected to the Father to allow Him to Father us, restore us, and keep us focused on our mission and purpose.

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Let God Father You

I have come into a lot of growth over the last couple of years.  Learning more about God and growing in my faith in Jesus Christ.  One of the biggest things I have grown into is learning about God as my Father, my true Father.  My life has gone through a series of twists and turns in the fathering I received.  Events growing up led to a mix of seeing my earthly dad as a great man, while at the same time coming to terms recently that I was never fully initiated as man nor received the full validation I needed and that every boy needs coming into manhood.  I married early and pulled away from the family.  As I neared my 30s, things began to change in how our relationship grew stronger.    We spent some great times just hanging out and talking.  Then all of a sudden, he was gone.  I’ve shared this on many times, but it ripped my heart out losing him the way we did.

So what to do with all of this.  Not having my dad any longer I was lost.  I grew in my faith and it began to have a lasting effect on my life and my family.   I looked to God as my father now and I have wanted to grow in knowing him.  Something changed in me recently though while at Wild At Heart.  Before, I was looking to God as a backup father.  My dad, gone, so who do I turn to.  Ephesians 1 tells us that God is the originator though.  He adopted us into his family as sons, as his sons and daughters.  Verse 4 says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ.”  He is not the backup plan. He was my Father before I was created and has always been, and will always be.  God desires to bring us into Sonship with Him.  To allow him to Father us.

Morgan Snyder from the Ransomed Heart team shared some pretty remarkable things about this and has some awesome audio about Sonship on the Ransomed Heart site.  One thing He mentioned is that God is orchestrating a rescue of us.  Our earthly dad was meant to point us to the father, but never sufficient to take the Father’s place.  This is just a small snippet, but it’s pretty profound.  The invitation of the Father is to be his son.  He wants to Father us.

What does this do for our hearts and our lives when we allow God to father us?  One thing I can say for sure is that you feel alive.  Aside from addressing my wounds, the thing that made me most alive in my journey at Wild At Heart was truly learning that I was God’s son and that he believed in me as a man.  I heard one of the guys say that it allows us to be young again.  I believe this to be true.  In coming alive, I feel like I can do anything again and allowing God to Father me is leading me in a pretty awesome direction.  He’s initiating me into adventures and what feels like a new beginning.  I noticed my overall demeanor has changed.  I think it brings us to a point to where we just enjoy life.

We need to seek Sonship and seek God to Father us each day.  Know that we are our Father’s son and he loves us and believes in us.  Whether or not you had a good relationship with your earthly dad, coming to God as the Father is on a whole new level.  He has a name and identity for us. Spend time in prayer with him and get to know him for who he is and he will tell you who you are.  I’m paraphrasing, but George McDonald said that it’s better to not know the Father than to have learned him wrong.

Being a son was a the center of Jesus’s life.  He sought the Father for everything he did.  He came to do the will of the Father and new he was the apple of his Father’s eye.  He was one with Him In John 14, Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father.  Jesus replied that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father.  They are one.  We are the image bearers of God and God desires us to be drawn into Sonship with him as well.  In John 17, Jesus’s invitation is to know the Father through Christ.  This is the path to eternal life.  In Romans 8 Paul says that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead you received a spirit of sonship.

The invitation is right there.  God desires to Father us.  To bring us close to him as his sons.  God has rigged the world so that it does not work, apart from him.  Without him, things fall apart.  With God, there is life through Jesus.  The enemy has used many tools to draw us away from this.  In our wounds with our earthly dads or other men in our lives. The enemy hates the father son connection and is out to destroy it.  Look to the Father though and he will reveal the Truth to you.  Look in his Word and all he has shared.  He desires for us to be drawn to him as sons.

As you grow in Sonship and I am still growing, you’ll be amazed at the ways God will Father you.  He will come at you directly.  He will also use other people in your lives to Father you.  I have definitely found this to be true in the guys I’ve connected with and the conversations I’ve been able to share with others.  I may not have recognized it all before, it God’s definitely showing it to me now.  It’s pretty amazing to see.  There’s a place for us all in the fellowship of man if we open our hearts to the Father and let him in.

A Whole New World After Wild At Heart Boot Camp

The last four days have been absolutely amazing. I had the chance to spend time in the mountains of Colorado and attend the Wild At Heart Boot Camp. It was an experience like I could have never imagined. I am going to attempt to do this Boot Camp some sense of justice in sharing some of my experience. First, if you have never heard of the book, Wild At Heart, it is a book that I would highly recommend. A friend of mine, KC, gave me this book a few years back when I was going through a great deal of life struggle and trying to return to God. The book sat on my desk for well over a year before I finally picked it up in the summer of 2013. When I finally did read it, it was life changing for me and really began to drive my journey. Definitely a must read.

Wild At Heart was written many years ago, by John Eldredge. He heads up Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs.The unique thing about John is that he is real. He is not a religious theologian and is truly after God’s heart and helping people find their way to God. John and his small team conduct this and other Boot Camps. They are there in person and genuinely care about the hearts of men and helping them discover who they really are in God’s eyes, the image bearers of God, and discovering the wild and masculine nature of God and themselves. The journey also takes you through your wounds, renouncing and forgiveness of those that wounded you and of yourself, discovering your real name and identity in God’s eyes, becoming the warrior we are meant to be, learning to pursue the beautiful side of God’s image in Eve, and discovering that we are in fact God’s sons and how he wants to Father us into our inheritance in His kingdom.

Let me just say that this is not your run of the mill, hand holding, singing by the fire, men’s retreat. This is a raw and real treasure hunt getting into the heart of a man. The Ransomed Heart team, guides you through a real discovery journey in addition to a great deal of time to yourself to just walk and commune with God. Again it far surpassed anything I could have hoped for or expected. In my time of prayer and being with God I heard Him talking with me like I never had before. He opened my heart, opened my eyes, and allowed me to discover freedom and my true self. Putting aside the poser in me and the fig leaf that has plagued man since the fall of creation when Adam chose Eve over God. If you think I am crazy about hearing God speak to me, you’re wrong. He talks to us, we just have to be willing and open to hear it. All those thoughts that run through your head are not just you. You just have to listen.

Let me get into the setting. We were high in the Colorado mountains at Crooked Creek Ranch, near Fraser, CO at about 8,500 feet. What an awesome and majestic setting with the snow covered mountains rising high around us. Crooked Creek is an incredible place. It is a Young Life Camp and they set it up right. I was completely unplugged from the world for the first time in a long time. That in of itself was incredible. I was able to eliminate all distractions and let my heart experience every aspect of what God had in store. In the time leading up to the trip, I knew the enemy was attacking me. He was pissed and trying to dissuade me. I could feel it in my attitude at times, constant headaches, and feeling anxious and fears. He was relentless, so I had to be relentless in my prayer and arming myself. Getting there was half the battle.

So now I am there. What to expect. First, I was fortunate to be roomed with guys from Georgia. That was cool. Guys from all walks of life. Pastor, retail, emergency services, doctors, and more. All different guys, but all on the same journey of discovering who they were as men and discover everything God had for them. I had the chance to really bond with these guys I now call my Band of Brothers. This is something I never had. Guys I could do life with, so very blessed to have these guys come into my life and share the experience with them. These are connections I look forward to maintaining once home.

Through the experience, I was also able to further discover the larger story I am apart of. How my life plays an intricate part of God’s larger story. There are some, even so called religious leaders and Christians that will say God does not have time for all the small things in our life. I’ve heard this before. Let me tell you, He cares about every single bit of it. He cares if we skate through life in our own small story. He cares about the wounds that help bring us into sin and our false self. He cares about every single bit of. Above all, He has told us our hearts are good and made new because of Christ Jesus. Our hearts are not bad and we do not have to spend life carrying the burdens of our wounds. We can have life, in Christ, and we can live free from the bondage of sin and the religious veil that God himself tore in two, but so many religious ‘christian’ denominations have put back up with rules and false dogmas that are not from God and keep people in bondage.

So let’s journey a little into the sessions we did have. John and his team talked through various aspects of the masculine soul, our woundedness, our real identity, the warrior in all men, the lover in us and the beauty to rescue, and our place as God’s sons and allowing God to Father us as He desires. These guys shared so much Truth from Scripture and then their personal testimonies and struggles in life. It helped to make it all very real and relatable. We spent time in deep prayer together as a group, about 440 guys. Something else I have never really allowed is people to pray over me in a time where I was just broke down. Two team members walked to me, sat with me, listened to my story and then just prayed over me. They genuinely cared and it was something I desperately needed. I have always put on a false self shouldering many burdens that weren’t mine to bare, even acting strong when I was completely broken. I could bare my heart to these guys and my Band of Brothers free from any judgment, and they the same. Words can’t even begin to describe the power God poured into this time.

The greatest part of it all was being able to sit by myself or walk around and just talk to God and listen to what He had to share with me. Those moments of prayer, listening in silence with no distractions , and writing in my journal what I was hearing was incredible. God helped me to renounce my wounds and agreements, discover my real self in His eyes, discover the warrior in me, where I need to better pursue my bride and better initiate and validate my children as they come into being young men and women, and validating me as a man bringing me into sonship with Him. Simply incredible time with the Father. I could go on there forever.

Another part of the journey was the adventure. Discovering the sense of adventure that we lose when we leave childhood. Growing up it was all about adventure and discovery. We lose that when we become adults and the world tells us otherwise. There’s so much to see and learn about in God’s kingdom. As part of my journey, one of my brothers and I strapped on snowshoes and headed up the mountain behind us. Probably pushed near 9,500 to 10,000 feet. We met up with some other guys and made the long journey to the top and down the other side. The view of the valley from up there was breathtaking. It was a challenging hike trudging through 2+ feet of snow and tested you physically as a low lander, but we pushed through and made it. God had something special for the few of us that got to experience that.

All in all this was a journey I desperately needed and I am ever thankful that the Father brought me on this trip. I discovered a great deal about myself and feel very ready to go back to the world as a changed man with a renewed since of hope, armed with the armor of God, and ready to fight for my heart, the heart of my family, and to help others discover the heart of God and all God has for them in their lives. I am thankful for the connections and new Brothers.

I firmly believe in the ministry that God has inspired John and his team to share with the world. It’s very powerful and speaking to men and women all over the world. We had guys from Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, and Brazil among other places. People may think they are just about making money, but they are not. The cost paid for the event with all the food, which was awesome, accommodations, and resources was well worth it. It’s not overpriced. They only run a couple of these events a year on purpose, and all money for resources purchased there (books, DVDs, audio resources ) is donated. They don’t keep a dime of that. It’s very real. They invite us all to take the message and resources out to the world to share with others. I intend to do just that. You guys, I highly recommend you taking a look at this book and others they have if you have not. If you have questions about it, let me know. If you feel God calling you to a Boot Camp, go. You will not regret it. This won’t be my last event. Ladies, I recommend you check out Captivating, written by John and his wife Stasi. My wife read it and it’s been life changing. They also have a Captivating events for women in the same type of setting, but geared toward the feminine heart. My wife plans to attend one in the near future. Discover that you are the image of God’s beauty, mercy, and tenderness. You are the final touch of God’s creation.

I know I have shared a lot. This is just the tip of the sword of all I experienced. There is so much more, but I will leave it at this. Men, we are the image bearers of God’s wild and masculine side. We all need to discover this and get out from behind the fig leaf, the poser that we all are behind. Take this journey. Check out Ransomed Hearts website htttp://www.ransomedheart.com. It’s journey I promise you will never regret.

Until next time, God Bless.

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