The Smile of the Father

My son, a six-year-old with more energy than I ever remember having, did something pretty normal today. But I noticed keenly the way it made me feel. It brought a smile to my face and I wonder if that is how it is as we stand before God and try to squeeze out a life.

He had finished his lunch and was immersed in one of his favorite shows, “Brick by brick” which is a series where you simply watch a guy build lego sets. But then his watching turned into creating. He asked his mom to video him, or at least set it up, and the next thing I heard was “I am Ewen and today we are going to build a lego 100…”

On his own, desiring to bring to life his set of legos and somehow inspire others by filming it. Now, I doubt anyone will ever see the video. But his effort brought a smile to my face. There is something about witnessing your child come into his own, to recreate and create from scratch that stirs your affections, warms your heart, makes you feel human.

This, as meaningful as it is to me as a father, is just a glimpse in the joy the ultimate Father has when those he created live for what he has called us. In fact, in Christ, the smile of the Father is always on you. The smile of an unexplainable joy. The smile of assurance. The smile of correction and care. Always meant to comfort, spur on and draw home his children.

From my smile to his. What a life it is we get to live… Let’s keep going.

Worthwhile: May 3, 2019

It has been a bit of a whirlwind week here in Escondido but there is still plenty to share as you plan your weekend reading. A heavy subject, a better vision, and perseverance.

But first: As a member of the North County Inland Pastors Prayer group, I had the privilege of helping to draft and sign the Poway Statement on violence. It is for pastors and ministry leaders to stand together against violent acts like the one we just experienced in our community. You can view the statement at PowayPastors.org.

Anti-semitism and violence motivated by difference should have no quarter in the church and I think Jesus is bringing us as a universal church to an important moment of repentance and clarity.

Now on to the worthwhile bits for this week.


Related to the evil of white supremacy we have an article from Joe Carter on the roots of views that very well could be held in our pews.

When I was working in radio at a Christian station, of all the conversations with listeners I had the one that is most memorable is when a lady called in to complain that our station would promote a concert of DC Talk. She was appalled that we supported “mixing the races.” She even went so far to suggest that when Scripture says believers should not be “unequally yoked” it meant ethnic groups shouldn’t intermingle (and certainly never marry). I was stunned and told her she was wrong. This article brought that back to mind as I reflect on the prevalence of such a view in the church.

Take up and read to keep yourself from the same error.


Next up, we all could use a better vision given the age we live in. Why not have a “Christ-flooded vision?”

Christy Britton invites us to it in her article from early April.

A better vision awaits all who have the courage to seek the gaze of our heavenly father. When our vision is obstructed by the distracting sights before us, we need to change our field of vision. We must fix our eyes on Christ, and as we gaze on him, he will dominate our field of vision and we will be strengthened by what we see.


Our unbelief will be transformed into belief as we behold him.

Give it a read and keep your eyes up!


And lastly, mostly for pastors and youngsters, but also for all of us. The Long Haul. Darryl Dash writes about his own choice to not stick with a church and ponders the benefits of faithful, long labor in the same place.

We can be so enticed by what’s next or “greener pastures” that we fail to experience the fruit of long obedience in the same direction. Think about it as you read for yourself.


Thanks for paying attention and reading along. Have a great weekend and keep looking to Jesus!

Steady as We Go

It has been a tough weekend in the suburbs of San Diego. As you may have heard from news reports, a teenager, somehow influenced by hate, murdered a women and hurt others at a synagogue in Poway, CA. A block from San Diego City limits and just a short drive from Escondido where we call home.

We deplore hateful violence. There is no quarter for it in the church and we must actively and repeatedly communicate that such animus for other image-bearers is anti-Christ.

But it was so close to home. The alleged terrorist grew up in a neighborhood called Rancho Penasquitos, graduated from a good high school and was a member of a church in Escondido. A church, reformed in doctrine, certainly proclaiming the gospel, and meeting on the campus of respected seminary. The synagogue is the same neighborhood where members of our church live… this happened on our streets, where we do our best to flourish.

There will be much time for processing and working in the community for healing and I am thankful for the group of local pastors striving toward that end.

As I reflect on this today, I am struck by how quickly culturally we will move on from this tragedy and how active we must be to prevent it from happening again. But also that the gospel empowers us to keep on, to speak for justice in every day life.

Before my sermon at Reservoir yesterday I shared my joy at returning to the normal life of the church:

Coming off of Easter I was reminded in my own heart of the draw toward experience. The big Sunday, the whizbang sermon, the emphasis we put on special events. But more so I reflected on the reality that faith is lived out in community, in the day-to-day, nitty-gritty, happiness and sorrows of life. And the gospel, the good news of Jesus speaks to and holds us up in all of it.

What relief!

It is a relief. Because we need holding up. We need spiritual power for every moment of life, especially those with such darkness.

So we press on. Clinging to Christ, our hope.

Consuming the Bread of Life

Today I preached from John 6, specifically verses 22-58. It is a wonderful text and one that is truly vital for, I think every believer in Jesus, and certainly me. It has been an encouragement in my walk and pursuit of Christ.

The text has a confounding bit mixed in with some amazing theological encouragements. The declaration that the Father gives those that believe in Jesus to the Son and those that come to him will never be cast out. What grace, what joy to be included in this number.

The confounding piece though is that Jesus tells the crowd that is seeking after him that they need to eat him, consume his flesh, drink his blood.

Now the crowd did have some mixed motives for tracking Jesus down and attempting to force him to give them miraculous food. Just the day before he fed more than 5,000 and they sought more free lunches. But they were after temporary things and Jesus was set to provide something permanent and satisfying. Himself.

So he says that he is the Bread of Life. He is the sustenance, the provision, the life-giving portion for those that believe.

For those that reject Christ, this is a good place to throw a punch. The Savior claims you have to dine on him.

Of course when we have a fuller view of what took place during Holy Week, the death on the cross as foretold and the resurrection, we gain an understanding of what Jesus meant. That he must be seen, trusted, and pursued as the only thing, One that satisfies. That meets the internal desire for more. And that trust is in his body broken for us and blood shed to cover our sin and disregard of our creator.

This is then what we consume. A steady and daily diet of reminder of what Jesus accomplished for us. That we have been forgiven and called to life in him. That what aches in us is only satisfied in him.

As we head into Holy Week (the days leading up to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday) perhaps John 6 is a good place to linger. To meditate on Christ’s words and his promise. That we would consume the Bread of Life.