Do Something Dangerous

One of our family’s favorite movies is “Dudley Do-Right” based on a cartoon with a Canadian Mountie as the main character. The Canadian Mountie is a legendary figure with “Maintien le Droit,” or “uphold the right” as his motto. The responsibilities of the Mountie called for bravery, heroism, and strength. They were fearless and they […]

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How to Make Smart Staffing Decisions

Three weeks ago I participated in my first Purpose Driven Church Conference in Lake Forest, CA with Pastor Rich Warren as the host.  Wow! Practical, purposeful, encouraging and inspiring with lots of ideas shared. In this post I simply share one of the 45 minute breakout sessions dealing with choosing the right leaders as staff. […]

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Examining the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality

The 2018 General Synod of the Reformed Church in America commended the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality to churches and classes for “reflection, study, and response … as a means of deepening our understanding of the biblical teaching on human sexuality and finding a pathway forward toward unity in mission and ministry.” (The […]

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#HowToNavigateInAPolitically/RaciallyChargedCulture

Wow, that is a long hashtag, and by the way, don’t look for it on Twitter, because I am not much of a twitter guy.  However, I am a guy who is deeply concerned about the political and racial divide in our country.  We have seen this divide most recently in the emotionally charged issue […]

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Reflection on the RCA General Synod 2018

Reflection on the RCA General Synod 2018 A little over a week ago I returned from the RCA’s General Synod held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Being asked to write on my experience has forced me to intentionally reflect on the experience. I would boil my summary down to two words: Cautiously Optimistic. […]

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All Conditions of Hearts

Be merciful to those who doubt. Save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear. Jude 22 and 23. The hard facts about the work of evangelism is not everyone responds. In reference to the parable of the sower Jesus tells in Matthew 13, hearts come in all conditions. […]

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Strong Leadership Development Systems

Book Recommendation:  The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler, Bethany House Publishers 2012 In my previous posts I had the privilege to highlight the reality of the need for proper character development in Christ in order to lead in healthy ways.  In this short offering, I want to present the idea of the necessity of conviction […]

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And the Walls Came Tumblin’ Down

Growing a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church is no simple task. But it is one that is crucial to the advancing of God’s kingdom. It is just as critical as a witness to the world and to larger church. In other words, this is about more than us! A few years ago, my wife and I purchased […]

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The Logical Implications of Being “For” Something

One thing emphasized by the leaders of the Gospel Alliance is the desire to be known for what it stands for rather than what it is against. Choosing to be for something, however, always results in rejecting other choices or options. This idea of saying “yes” to something resulting in saying “no” to other things […]

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When should I stop loving my son?

I ask, because I know people who live with a constant anxiety that God will stop loving us. They seem to think that our relationship with God turns on and off like a light switch, with God’s love responding to our own fickle affections.

If God’s love as my Heavenly Father is similar to my love for my kid, then it is a fair question to ask: when I should stop loving my son?

To be honest, loving my son can be difficult. He’s put me through the ringer. It’s been months since he’s told me that he loves me. There was a stretch of two years when I didn’t see him at all. During that time, he said horrible things about me to civil authorities. Before that separation “he” was my daughter; when I regained custody, he asked to be referred to by male pronouns. 

Those bombshells shook me to my core and deserve more discussion than this post can allow. Add to them a few more minor, typical teenager, transgressions. For example, this past Christmas I gave him several thoughtful gifts which he admitted were things that interacted with his interests and needs. Meanwhile, he didn’t give me anything. I don’t think he even said, “thank you.” 

I could go on, but you get my point. Right now, we have a very one-sided relationship. I love him terribly and would do anything for him. He is actively rejecting me. He needs my help and doesn’t hesitate to ask for it … but if asked, he would say that he doesn’t want a relationship with me. 

When should I stop loving him?

Do I stop when he tells me that he doesn’t love me?

Do I stop when he tells me that I’m not his father? That I’m just the guy who supplied the seed and pays the bills?

Do I stop when he doesn’t respond to my gifts with thankfulness?

When exactly do I let his choice to reject me override my choice to love him?

If God’s love is our model for love, then some would suggest that I’m well past the time when I should stop loving my son. My son rejected me, I should reject him. He’s making decisions to distance himself from me; isn’t it time for me to turn love into wrath and transition from grace to judgment?

My premise, and my reason for writing this, is to show that God is more committed to you than you are to Him … and that’s great news!

The way I read it, the Bible teaches that God is sovereign. That means in control, powerful, ruling over everything. He speaks, and a universe is created. He judges, and nations fall. He loves, and it becomes an insuperable bond.

This idea isn’t based on my experience, it is clearly stated in the Bible…and isn’t that what really matters?

Right after Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) and “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) he said something important about how long-lasting his love is. 

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

If God is really God, then He is in charge. He sets His love on people, adopts them as daughters and sons, and never lets the go. I can’t explain why he loves the people he loves, but I know that once He loves that he never stops.

In theological words, this doctrine is called “Perseverance of the Saints”. That phrase speaks to the idea that God’s love perseveres despite the ups and downs of our human turmoil.

Perseverance may be defined as that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart is continued and brought to competition. It is because God never forsakes His work that believers continue to stand to the very end. – Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (pg. 546)

Perseverance of the saints is the biblical doctrine that God infallibly preserves in faith all of those he has given to the Son (John 6:37, 39, 44, 63-65) so that they are never lost. It maintains that none who are truly redeemed by Christ can be condemned for their sins or finally fall away from the faith. For as the apostle Paul states in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Monergism.com 

In theological debate, many people would disagree with these ideas. The concept of God choosing, electing and sovereignly loving seems very undemocratic. Isn’t our free will the most important thing about us?

If free will sovereign, then it is time for me to stop loving my kid. He’s made his choice. His will has decided not to be in a loving relationship with me.  Shouldn’t I honor that and step away?  It’s time for him to feed himself, provide for himself and figure live out on his own … right?

Of course not!  No matter what happens, he’s my kid. He’s accused me of unfair and horrible things; despite this I never could stop loving him. He rarely reciprocates my acts of compassion, I’ll do them anyways. He’s made choices that break my heart; those make me want to draw closer to him, not further away. He’s told me that I don’t love him; who cares, I still do.

If I, even though I’m a sinner, can love my kid like this … isn’t it possible that our perfect and loving Heavenly Father loves with even more patience and passion?

One of the greatest struggles of my spiritual life is the worry that I’m not acceptable to God. I am weak, sinful, shortsighted and foolish. I am far from worthy of God’s love and many of my daily choices would show that I love myself far more than I love Him.

Left alone, my heart would be in trouble. I chose self far more than I chose God. If God was only about judgement and free-will, then He’d freely let me drift away in a confused halfhearted stupor.

But if God is our Father, then no matter how often I push away He keeps on loving. Once His love is placed on me, nothing can separate me from Him. That thought gives me hope. I don’t have to worry about losing God. I don’t have to live with the fear that my sins will push God away. 

Grace. Unmerited favor. Love I don’t deserve. That is the foundation I cling to.