I tried a new church this weekend. It’s a pretty far drive, but I made the trek because the pastor loves to surf. It says so in his bio. And he’s totally from my hood too: went to school at Pepperdine, used to be an associate pastor at Saddleback (Megachurch in the OC) – I mean, really, a fellow Californian – what’s not to like? (Unless you’re this guy.)
I’m glad to say I wasn’t let down. It was perfect timing to check out a new church as Mike Howerton, Lead Pastor at Overlake Christian Church, was just beginning his new series: The Game Of Life. In the next few weeks, Mike will go through 4 stages of life and show that God has certain lessons we are supposed to learn in each of these 4 stages. This week’s stage was the Exploring years, our first years, say from birth to early teens. He went over a few lessons we should learn, but I got stuck at Delight. It was something I needed to hear, and it is something you don’t hear (unfortunately) very often. He spoke of how God delights at our very existence. How it is so SO important that we recognize this at an early stage in life and continue to acknowledge it in our later years.
So often, it seems that we get stuck on the scolding. The what we’ve done wrong, and the reasons we should feel shameful in the eyes of God. We do this to ourselves and unfortunately we do this to one another. I can’t tell you how many, many times I felt evil, sinful, dirty because of what I’ve been told from people I look up to spiritually paired with the pressures I put on myself for perfection. I can’t help but feeling like I’ve let people I love down, like I’ve let the Holy Father down. And this is a dangerous place to be in folks, because it’s when I feel like this – when I need God the most – that I cower away from His presence: too embarrassed to confide in a Christian friend, too embarrassed to pray, too embarrassed to even utter His name.
But wait – God delights in you!
God doesn’t look at you and focus on the imperfections; sure, he’s aware of them and yearns for your trust and to follow him, but regardless – He DELIGHTS in you.
Mike gave the example of his daughter, Alexis, 10 years old, in the back of his car she says to him: “Daddy, I can read your mind. I know what you’re thinking.”
He looks in the rear view mirror, obliges her “Ok, what I’m I thinking…”
“You’re thinking: there’s no way my daughter knows what I’m thinking, but man is she beautiful.”
She knows her father delights in her.
I’m sure there have been many times where God has looked at me and said: “There’s no WAY my daughter knows what I’m thinking. What is she doing with her life?” And I’m well aware of that, but this Sunday, I was reminded that when God looks at me, he thinks “But man is she beautiful.”