Portraying God To Our (Spiritual) Children

The absent father portrays an absent God.

The disconnected father portrays a disconnected God.

The permissive father portrays a permissive God.

The angry father portrays an angry God.

I write this post in order to encourage my Father-friends, my would-be father-friends and my friends who, I implore, must raise up spiritual sons and daughters. (I think that should cover pretty much every male friend I know.)

Similar to how God has you at the head of your household, He desires to work through you to portray His image to your (and His) children.

Get it? Good. I’m going to go quickly.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says, You shall teach them [God’s words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

One Biblical parenting article I recently read said that this verse is the “teach-talk” principle–teaching, referring to formal instruction and talking, referring to the informal. Either way, communication of biblical truth takes place in a relational setting.

Many parents desire for their children to listen to them. They want to teach their kids, but when it comes to talking they struggle. I’ll let you in on my secret. Talk to them like they’re adults. 

When you do this, it will take time. Children don’t have your vocabulary, so you’ll have to teach it to them… through talking. Then, after they’ve learned, take up your role as father and release them into the world. Watch how our Heavenly Father does this in Matthew 17:5.

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

This is my Son” – God gives Jesus his identity.

beloved” – God gives his son emotional security.

with whom I am well pleased” – God affirms his son.

listen to him.” – God gives Jesus moral authority.

Look at the list above, and then look God’s example in Matthew. How great a job are you doing, Dad? It’s okay… I know well that I’ve screwed up too. Don’t let that stop you. Let these words remind you of your God given calling to raise up sons and champion warriors. Talk and teach. Create a genuine relational setting with your children and trust God to lead you from there.

A note to the would-be’s. Maybe you have yet to be introduced to your mini-me. Take these words and apply them to your outlook on how you speak into those whom you are helping grow spiritually. Who are you nurturing and how are you affirming identity, authority, and security in their life? Don’t toss away the blessings God longs to pour over those whom invite Holy Spirit to work through them.

And by all means, let me know how you are doing! Let’s encourage each other as we learn how to better champion our sons and daughters.

 


A couple of weeks ago Brittany and I were able to attend a conference here in Taipei by the name of The World Needs A Father. It was put on by a local church and some of the spiritual parents of Aroma’s leadership led the talks in which around twenty Aroma members were in attendance. Most of the thoughts noted down in this post come from what I experienced at this conference.

Aroma (東園) DongYuan Grand Opening!

If you had the chance to meet up with us while we were back in the USA then you probably heard all about Aroma starting up their second location. Well, on January 12th, 2018, Aroma DongYuan finally opened! Located in the heart of the WanHua District where, as a friend and non believer bluntly told me, “those people need Jesus“.

The Aroma exists to help people smell, equip them to become, and send them to spread the Aroma of Christ with excellence and urgency, through kingdom businesses and Spirit-filled communities, so that, Taiwan, and the world will be reconciled to The Father. This second location will be a great tool to do just that!

It just so happened that we opened it a day before the first location’s 6th birthday, too!

Right now, the cafe is fully operating and it also has a wonderful 2nd floor space to meet together where we will host regular prayer meetings. In the future we hope to have other ministries and possibly even church services meet there!

Want to take a look inside? Click on our Google Maps location to see more pictures!

Stop, then Start

Books are such great gifts. They’re jammed packed with fresh ideas, adventure, and inspiration.  Only in recent years have I learned to appreciate them and that’s a good thing because I can’t remember the last Christmas I didn’t receive a book.

It turns out I’m not the only one who gets books as gifts. A friend of mine recently shared a review about a recent book he received called Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel. As I read the description of the book, it listed out a few things it would help you do, with the Holy Spirit’s guiding.

You’ll consider one thing to stop that’s hindering you; how to start a new habit to re-direct your path; where you should stay committed; and when you should go even if it’s easier to stay. (From the Amazon.com description page.)

Without even reading the book, I started pondering this idea. After all, it’s a new year and that’s the kind of thing people do, right? After some good one-on-one with Holy Spirit the next morning I came to a conclusion. I want to start reading more. More Bible time, more books on how I can grow myself, my family, and my relationships with friends. More books on discipleship, more on coffee and perhaps a couple novels thrown in for good measure. I want to soak up more wisdom that comes from reading books. In order to do this I’ll need to cut something out to make more time, so for the year of 2018 I’m going to stop watching movies. I am definitely a movie snob, but I wouldn’t say I watch an excessive amount of films. I will say though, movies have always been the easy choice when it comes to deciding how to spend my leisure time. Reading Proverbs 5 rounded out my conclusion.

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:21-23

The last thing I want is for God to be dissecting my decisions and wondering why I spent ninety minutes watching the latest Netflix exclusive instead of reading and gaining knowledge that could potentially be more useful than what I learn on the big screen. I don’t believe movies are inherently bad, but for 2018 I want to see what knowledge can be gained through books and I also believe doing this will be a good way to practice self-control in an effort to not be lost due to great foolishness!

So… do you have any recommendations?

Justin

PS: I understand our blog isn’t usually this self-reflective. I suppose I wanted to write this in order that you all might hold me accountable to this goal! Thank you!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We are back in Taipei and have hit the ground running. With our time coming back aligning with the start of 2018, we’re feeling extra motivated. Like a lot of people, New Years is a time for us to reflect on all that’s happened and dream about the future and make goals for the new year. It’s no secret that God did big things in 2017, and we can’t wait to see what He does in 2018!

Here are some ways you can be praying as we get back into the swing of things:

Health: We’ve all had the sniffles and coughs, and we’re ready for them to be gone!

Time Management: Kennedy won’t start school until after Chinese New Year (end of February), so we’re trying to find a schedule that works for all of us for the time being. Pray that we find something that works for our family and allows us to still work in the cafe as much as possible!

Funding: We are still only 60% funded. If that number doesn’t increase soon, Brittany will need to begin considering a part-time English teaching job. This, of course, would cut into the time she’s able to put into Aroma, so it is not ideal! If you’ve ever considered supporting us before, now would be the perfect time! Please let us know if you’d like to schedule a time to chat more!

What are your hopes, dreams and goals for 2018? Leave a comment so we know how we can be praying for you!