So, it’s been a while… too long, we know. Life has been nuts with a lot of great changes; finding out we’re pregnant, moving, business, etc. and we weren’t quite ready for all of it. It’s been great walking through all of it but I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve dropped a few balls in the process and our blog was unfortunately among the list of casualties. I know we have plans for this and God has given us prophetic words and visions for this through not only ourselves but from other people around us. SO, all that said… I know there are other blogs coming that will update on all of that stuff I just mentioned BUT I wanted to take some time and write a blog about my experience last night while at Bethel’s Worship night at New Life Church.
When I first started believing there was a God and learned about this Jesus that gave his life for me, there was often mention of this idea of adoption. It all sounded good in theory and I know it talks about this idea in the Bible (Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 8:15) but it was always just something I thought I had just automatically by “accepting Jesus into my heart”. I think this is a lie we tend to believe as “Christians”… that we say a prayer and then we do our best to live a “good life” but we never really accept that there’s MORE.
I absolutely love Bethel and what they’re all about. They have always been about bringing Heaven to earth… and they walk it out. When I was apart of the Rock of Roseville we would go up to Redding and go to Jesus Culture or just go up for a Sunday and they were always the most wild and crazy experiences. There were nights of pure laughter (the joy of the spirit or being drunk in the spirit), there were days of seeing angelic activity in the skies, there were nights of prophecy and things that were just unexplainable. There were smaller gatherings as well where our youth group had a retreat and Banning Liebscher came and spoke a prophetic word over me. All this to say, I love Bethel and some of my greatest experiences and encounters with God have been with Bethel so they hold a special place in my heart.
So yesterday, after being up until 1:30am with good friends, getting up with the wife at 6:30, heading to a lunch meeting with a friend and then doing a shoot in 5 degree weather… I was pretty beat. We had been holding out hope that we’d be able to go to the worship night, my mother had said that they might have a few extra tickets. Last minute surprise, we got to go. Of course, I was battling whether I wanted to go or not. I was tired, my stomach had been feeling upset all day and I felt like I could throw up at any point… but I decided to go… and am so thankful I made that decision.
Bethel started their set and we’re running through their playlist and worship was just awesome… duh. But then they did their thing that I love, they let the spirit take over. At one point the worship leader (a young African American male who could dance and sing the lights out) waved off the next song and just began to wait on God. Normal worship bands do this, but in my opinion they still rush through it and there’s still the set list they have to get through but this went off for a good 20-30 minutes before we got back to the song. Love. Anyway, during worship they paused and had said that God wanted to deposit something and in that moment God was already doing something in me. At that point God began to paint this image for me. There was a boy in a corner, cringing and hiding form the world. He was beaten and battered… dirt all over his face, cuts and bruises and was cowering and full of fear. Then he showed me His hand as he reached out to the boy and the boy refused His hand. God said to me “This is you and you think that you are unworthy to accept my hand. You think that you’ve done and been through too much to accept my hand… my adoption and love of you”. Of course this just broke me as I could see how all through my life He’s been there extending His hand, waiting for me to just accept it, to accept real adoption… to accept being a son.
There was a posture change as I began to accept His hand, in the natural and in the spiritual as well. As this transformation and posture change happened I felt God say “This is my son” and there’s just, nothing in the world like that. There have been father figures in and out of my life, some good… some bad but I’ve always searched for a place where I could come to and be accepted as I am and be made into more. This isn’t to say that the father figures I’ve had have failed or that it hasn’t available. I have resisted both physical fathers and God’s adoption all through my life. This was the first time I truly accepted that position and not resisted and it was something I’m still having trouble putting into words. Searching for this place to become more than I am, to become a son… resisting opportunities and thinking that I wasn’t good enough to find out… God thinks I am good enough. In fact, God desires me to be apart of His family SO MUCH so that He sent His son to death so that I could be apart of His family. Mind blown. We all know that God sent His son to die for our sins… but what does that really mean? We’re missing the boat if we’re content with just accepting that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ death on the cross.
If you haven’t had this kind of experience, seek it. The end. It will change your life. I know people say that and you sit there and go, yeah… right. Good for you. I know I did. I’d sit there and listen to people talk about being a son and being adopted like it was something I knew all about and what’s more is I thought that I just automatically had it. PHHAA. I was a fool. Don’t be a fool like me. Accepting God’s adoption of you, I think is the single most important thing you will ever do.
After I was born my father left, he wasn’t ready to be a father and walked away. When my mother got married the next time, it was to David Carton. At that point he had to adopt me so I could take on his last name. That wasn’t something I necessarily had a choice in as I was roughly 3 years old. This adoption was automatic, there was nothing required of me for it to happen. Looking at it now I think there was that expectation with God, that He would just come in and I would be adopted, the end. I’d get all the benefits of being a son and la te da. That’s not the case. It requires something of you. It requires you to get rid of who you were (in my case with my father it required me to give up my last name, my previous identity). This adoption process with God requires the same thing, you have to give up your identity and that’s a lot harder to do when you’re older and more set in the things you do. When you have a choice, you don’t always want to make that choice because that means giving up things you like to do, or so we think. Those choices and decisions make up who you are and you think by being adopted that you have to surrender all those things that you like to do… because you do. But it’s not as bad as you make it out to be in your head. It’s not this begrudging daily service where you have to die to yourself and live this miserable life for God. Sure, there are aspects to this that require you to die to yourself, but there’s so much more life that is given when you fully commit to this. When you take on this new identity as a son of the most high LIVING God, you don’t care anymore about those things that you “have to give up”, it’s a joy to not be apart of those things anymore… it’s not even a worry or care that you “can’t do those things”. You now get to be apart of a bigger story… and there’s no going back.
This…. this is what’s missing from the church today. We’re not acting in the bigger story because we’ve believed this lie that adoption is an automatic process. I accept Christ and now I’m a son. That’s not the case and there’s so much more to being apart of His family. In closing I would just like to encourage you to really look at this and what the case may be in your life. Have you been ACCEPTED his adoption of you or have you gone on thinking it was an automatic? Honestly, I hate when people try to do this at the end of a post. Challenge you in some way when they don’t know what you’ve walked through, they don’t know your story, who you are… like they think their challenge is somehow going to make a change in your life. Maybe that’s just something I need to work through but if that’s you… don’t brush this off like I do. Take it to heart.