Picture 1I hope everyone had a great Sunday! Today we went to RRC again and got the opportunity to talk with Pastor Chad (who spoke last week) before and after the service – Ryan actually met him yesterday at the Men’s Fraternity. It’s nice to start feeling like we are part of the community by meeting and getting to know some of the people in the church. We also signed up for some events – Sweatacular is next Sunday and I’m sure you’ll want to see the photos we’ll be taking at that event. It’s basically an ugly sweater party with games, desserts and dancing. It should be crazy-fun. Now to find ourselves some ugly sweaters…

Aaaanyway. So this week Pastor Shawn (the lead pastor at RRC) preached on the new sermon series, AKA, which is about all the different names for God. An excerpt from the Red Rocks church website sums up the series even better:
What’s your name for God? Some call him Master, some call Him Lord, many call Him Father or Friend. It’s interesting to notice that in many ways, we tend to relate to and talk to God in the name we know Him by. If we have trouble embracing and trusting Him, it may have a lot to do with our limited understanding of His name or names.

Today’s name focus was on Abba (meaning Father), so he talked about father-child relationships and how our human, earthly fathers affect our perspective of God as our heavenly Father. Thankfully, I have a great father who is not only present in my life, but someone I respect and love – and I know he feels the same about me (didn’t expect to get a call-out, did you, Dad? haha). I also have a great father-in-law who loves me just like a real daughter and who has always served as a great role model for Ryan. We are both very blessed to have wonderful, supportive and loving parents.

But many people have not had positive experiences with their earthly fathers and we got some more sad statistics today – “sixty-eight percent of children without a father present in their lives are more likely to drink and abuse drugs.” An even more sobering fact is that “ninety-five percent of those on death row hate their fathers.” And there are some who don’t even know their real fathers, whether it is because they are physically distant or are just emotionally detached.

As the pastor said, we were designed to want a child-father relationship, which is why the absence of a good father-figure can negatively affect a person’s life. And in light of those statistics, I can understand why the idea of having a heavenly Father is less-than desired and can even be detestable for those who’ve had bad experiences. Who can blame them? They’ve had terrible representations of what makes and defines a true father.

So even though I have always loved the idea of God as my Father in heaven watching over and protecting me from above, I need to remember for some, that belief doesn’t come so easily. Many people have had negative interactions, or no interactions at all, with their fathers (and/or mothers) on earth so they may not trust or desire a relationship with another Father/parent in heaven. This fact serves as a good reminder to not just throw “God is love” at people but to be sensitive and compassionate to those who may be struggling with trust issues or even with what to believe.

However, what we as believers should all know – good father-child relationship or not – is that despite earthly fathers’ inadequacies, mistakes and shortfalls, our heavenly Father “steps in” and covers for negligent fathers. The pastor explained this concept so well when he read a quote by Loui Gigilio that states, “God is not a bigger version of your father, he is a perfect version.”

So what I personally got most out of this sermon is the reminder that God is even more of a father than my own and He will never fail me. And that is an awesome feeling – knowing that I can never be rid of Him. Not only is He ever-present, but also by His love, He will always protect and always persevere after me even if I don’t realize or see it.

Again, I hope you also got something from this message, even if it doesn’t directly apply to you and your beliefs.

In Christ,