Daddy, Fix It

I used this illustration in a talk I gave last Sunday evening and was asked to share it here for others.

Jesus encourages us to receive the Kingdom of God like children (Luke 18.17).  What does that mean?  What does it look like?  How are we to approach our heavenly father like little children?

 

When my son turned three years old I bought him a radio controlled, “Crocodile Hunter” Jeep.  Admittedly, this gift entertained his father as much as it entertained him, but that is not the point.

Before wrapping his present I went ahead and charged the batteries so that it would be ready to go right out of the box.  That afternoon, we took the jeep out to the driveway and had a blast – a very short-lived blast.  I was not aware that as the battery in the car lost its charge, the ability to maintain control over the vehicle would also decrease.  I was maneuvering the jeep down the driveway (that had a downward slope to the street) when I no longer had control of the vehicle.  It was lined up perfectly to roll straight into the street — at the exact time that a full-sized vehicle was coming down the road.

I could not have timed it better if I wanted to.  The small Jeep rolled under the car perfectly lined up with the rear tire.  The driver never knew what that bump was and never stopped.  The Jeep was completely smashed.  We hadn’t even had the toy for two hours and it was toast.

I was devastated, but my young son seemed unaffected.  He walked straight out to the mangled wreck, scooped it up in his little arms, walked back up the driveway to me, looked up and said, “Daddy, fix it.”

My son was absolutely convinced that I could fix it.  Perhaps one of the saddest (yet most necessary) days in the relationship between a dad and his child is the day a your child realizes that you can’t do everything.

 

Many things in our lives feel broken, crushed, mangled because of foolishness on our part or drive-by negligence in the world.  You have a heavenly Father who loves you so deeply that he organized history itself to move toward one particular moment in time in which He sent His one and only Son to die for your sin, to “fix it.”

You can come to your Father and hold up the mess you have made and say simply, “Daddy, fix it.”  He immediately forgives and accepts you; He begins at once restoring and redeeming you, changing your heart to desire Him more and more, helping you to turn away form your own self-destructive desires.  He begins to give you eyes to see the pain of others so that you might be a source of hope and encouragement for them, keeping them from running headlong into the street.

As a chid of God you will never have to come to a day when you realize that He cannot fix everything.  Your heavenly Father watches over you to such a degree that not a hair can fall from your head without His will (Luke 12.7); in fact He causes all things to work together for your salvation (Romans 8.28).

Have you trusted God with the mangled mess of your life?  You can.  He is good and loving; gracious and kind.  He can fix it.

A Secret Decoder Ring for Your Best Life Now – Hope for Hump Day with a View toward Sunday

This week at Hope of Christ, we will continue to look at the last chapter of Philippians.  Specifically verses 10-13:

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me

Everyone loves secrets and mysteries.  Whether you’re Colonel Sanders with your 11 secret herbs and spices, or Coca Cola with your secret recipe for Coke, New Coke, Coke Classic (which was the new, new Coke, making the old new coke, the new old coke), or Coke Zero (which is the new, new, new Coke based on the old New Coke which, again, is the new old coke, recipe).

Even Paul loves mysteries.

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. -Romans 16.25-27

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. -Ephesians 3:1-6

Even authors today delight in claiming that they have found the secret to life’s mysteries.  It’s what sells.  Write a book claiming that you’ve tried a few things; they worked for you; they may or may not work for others.  See how many copies you sell.  But announce to the world that you have figured out “the secret.”  and watch those royalty checks roll in.  But the secret has to be exciting.  It has to be something that I can do by focussing more on me. In fact, If you could spend about 200 pages telling me that the secret to my happiness is just a little more selfishness and self-will and self-love and self-promotion and self-esteem, I won’t even mind (or notice the hypocrisy) of a couple pages claiming I should think about others too.

We love secrets.  As long as they’re not too secret.  We like secrets that are decodable.

And Paul says he has figured out the secret.  He has figured out the secret to living your best life now.  And it seems to be a slightly different take than others who write books focussing on that very idea.  Whereas one author tells you that the secret to your best life now is, “don’t ever get satisfied with where you are,” Paul has found that the secret is actually the opposite of that advice.  The secret is…

well, some secrets are better revealed Sunday mornings.  But I promise one thing.  It won’t be a crummy commercial.

New Year’s Resignations

Well, it’s January 8 and you know what that means? Yes it means it’s Hump Day again, but more than that, statistically speaking it means most of us who made any sort of New Year’s resolutions have already failed at most of them. And some who haven’t failed are already finding sticking to their resolution to be a struggle and frustrating and you are questioning why you are even bothering.

Maybe you resolved to make healthier choices with food or drink. You resolved that what you eat and what you drink will not be your source of comfort and joy this year. You will show self control. You won’t become one of those self-righteous sticks in the mud who can’t enjoy a good meal or dessert or beer or glass of wine, but you will enjoy them as gifts from God, not as lifelines.

But then there’s the invitation to a friends house and you don’t want to be rude. And there are all those cookies and candy and you don’t want to be wasteful so they HAVE to be eaten so that you can get them out of the house and start your resolution in earnest. And now you’re feeling like your resolution is pretty much a failure.

Or maybe you resolved to have a little more unconditional love in your heart. Maybe toward your wife or maybe toward your children. A little more patience, a little more compassion, a little more empathy and listening and less talking and correcting and screaming and ignoring. The problem is that conditions aren’t always that optimal for unconditional love. Sometimes it’s too early in the morning for this conversation again. Sometimes it’s too late in the evening to listen to them. Sometimes they are acting like CHILDREN. Sometimes he is so frustrating. Sometimes she is so cold. And you fall and you fail and your resolution didn’t get you anything except, if you told your family what it was, a dirty look or critical comment.

You tried. You meant well. you fell flat. Now what?

For half of us, we will resolve more better. Dig in your heals. Do better. Try harder. Take that hill. Move that barge. You thought you were resolved, but you ain’t seen nothin yet. Grab those boot straps and get up!

For half of us we will resign. You tried, you failed, but who could possibly succeed surrounded by these sinners? You don’t know my wife. You don’t know my husband. You don’t know my children. You don’t know my circumstances.

Or, worse, you realize you failed and it is entirely your own doing. You resolved. You were earnest. You were sincere. You wanted to do good, but the more you wanted to do better the more there was something there pulling you back down, tripping you up, tempting you to give up or give in.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand (No, not in your spouse or your children or your pantry, but right there in your own heart). For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin.” Romans 7.21-23.

“I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7.19.

What is there for resolvers and resigned alike? What hope do you have if you couldn’t even make it through the first seven days of 2014? Wretched person that you are, who can deliver you from this body of death? (Romans 7.24)

There is Christ. There is always and only Christ. Christ for the resolvers so sure that their sins only exist in response to other people’s sins. Christ for the resigned who are certain that they have blown it for the umpteenth and final time.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 7.25-8.1

If you are going to resolve this year, resolve that you will know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Resolve that you will not take even one step away from total and absolute dependence on Christ for your deliverance. Resolve to remember that if grace were something you deserved it wouldn’t be grace. Resolve that the gospel not be something those annoying sinners in your life need but something you need this year, this day, everyday.

If you are going to resign this year, resign yourself to the fact that you are indeed the worst sinner in your life and God loves you and sent his Son to die for you and He does not condemn you anymore, so neither should you. Resign yourself to understand that if grace were something you could earn it wouldn’t be grace anymore. Resign yourself to absolute and utter dependence on Christ and His work this year, this day, everyday.

Resolve to know Christ and Christ alone. Resign to need Christ and Christ always. And enjoy the journey.