Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fathering The Fatherless (Part 1)

I can't explain it really. I feel I actually stumbled into it with clumsy feet and have spent more than a decade trying to figure out the twists and turns of spiritual fatherhood and sonship.

How do you become a spiritual father to someone who has never had a spiritual father, who has lacked a natural father in their life or has daddy issues? My journey began in 2004 and to say that it is a learning curve is an understatement.

There are many things I've discovered relationally and spiritually, as a father, son, pastor and leader, that I will share as I write more. 

Having access to a spiritual father can be one of the most amazing relationships. Not only do you experience the comfort of affirmation, knowing that you're affirmed by someone, but you also experience a true sense of belonging.  If you're fortunate to have a father(s) that is transparent in their leadership - they lead from their weaknesses as well as from their strengths - you're doubly blessed!

These relationships have afforded me, as a son, encouragement, generational posterity, wisdom and blessings. I pray that every person will have the opportunity to connect with multiple spiritual fathers and mothers in their lifetime. Let me add, not everyone is a true spiritual father or mother.  Some might be considered more like a confidant or a mentor rather than a true spiritual father or mother. Be careful "naming" everyone as a "spiritual father/mother" in your doesn't work like that.

In my experience in spiritual sonship and fatherhood, I've learned to value this relationship and all that it affords. Here are a few things I've been able to glimpse...


Now, I'm not talking about getting your feelings hurt, your wings clipped or even the private correction that leaves a mark on your pride...I'm talking about the protection you're afforded in their care. They will create an ark of safety, if you will, and allow you to float under their counsel, ministry, etc. 

It's in this environment that you learn who you are as a person, a minister, a leader, a father, a son, a spouse, etc.  This is where you flourish, because you're afforded the freedom to be yourself while you're learning and maturing. 

Spiritual fathers create a safe place for you to dream and develop. They don't allow you to be pounced on or your spirit killed by people who haven't earned the level of relational trust they provide. By the way, relational trust is a byproduct of relational equity. This is achieved by mutual consideration not obligation.


How can you teach me to be a son, if you're not a son?  How can you teach me what you have never experienced for yourself?  Spiritual fatherhood and sonship is an organic process. It's an intentional relationship that crosses time, age, ethnicity and culture. For you to father well, you must learn how to be a son.

I think there is more to this than we realize. If I can learn how to be a spiritual son to my Heavenly Father, as I live a submitted life, then I can be trusted to be a spiritual father for the people He entrusts me to lead here on earth.

Before you sit up under someone as a spiritual son, find out who their spiritual fathers are. If they can't name

There are several examples of spiritual fatherhood and sonship in the Scriptures.  Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua, Paul and Timothy to name a few. These examples are important because they teach us the role and practice of spiritual fathers and sons.

Before Elijah became a spiritual father to Elisha, he had spent many years developing, processing, fine-tuning and establishing himself as God's prophetic voice. He walked through many situations that required faith, obedience and integrity.  Therefore, he could lead Elisha because he himself had walked through PROCESS. 

A spiritual father will teach you what to do and what not to do.  They don't just teach...they live it out. Their life is a living epistle. 


In my experience, having the voice of a spiritual father in my life, when facing uncertainty, has been a saving grace.  I have called my spiritual father(s) on multiple occasions to ask for prayer, seek counsel, talk about life and remain relationally connected. Their wisdom and advice have strengthened my leadership. The key to this must be able to RECEIVE instruction and correction on their terms...not yours. 

Listening to my spiritual father(s) have helped me overcome major battles in my life because they have helped me face them with confidence.

If you are blessed to have a "spiritual father" in your life, I encourage you to receive instruction from them, even if you don't like what they're saying. At the end of the day you'll be glad you did.  Spiritual fathers aren't trying to limit you, they're trying to lift you. They've walked ahead in life and ministry and know where the bends in the road are. If you'll receive their instruction, correction and warnings, you'll save yourself and your household from needless struggle.


When I'm able to be in the presence of any of my spiritual fathers, I spend more time observing, listening and watching them than speaking. I want to hear what they have to say, even when they're not saying anything.  What I mean is, their body language, expressions, actions and unspoken words resonate loudly in my spirit. 

Just being in the presence of a spiritual father brings added strength. Just knowing they're in the room, even if they don't say anything, brings empowerment and encouragement to me.

Rather than doing all the talking, try observing more. Chances are you'll learn more by observing your leader than monopolizing every conversation. Oftentimes, their presence alone will help you see what you couldn't see.


We've heard the old cliche "Take you to the woodshed" more times than I care to think. Most of the time, it's a reference to disciplinary steps imprinted on your spiritual backside.  Although, we don't always like to receive correction, I've learned to value correction especially when it's done correctly.  

You see, a true spiritual father wants to see you grow and mature into your purpose.  Unfortunately, we have many people in the body of Christ who have struggled to grow up.  Many are still behaving in childish ways, because they were never fathered into maturity. 

The Apostle Paul, a spiritual father, told the Church in Corinth, "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put aways childish things." (1 Corinthians 13:11)

We have learned firsthand today that age doesn't equate maturity. When you have a spiritual father in your life, they will instruct you and even correct you to pull you out of adolescence into adulthood.  Maturity is important to our growth and development. That's one of the reasons we need spiritual fathers in our life. Not only will they demand that we grow they will invest in our growth through spiritual impartation. If you can handle the weight they apply to you through teaching, training, expectations and demands, you'll blossom as a leader!


  • Who are you accountable to? 
  • Who asks you the tough questions? 
  • Who have you invited into your life relationally that is dealing with the real you?

Accountability isn't something to be feared, it's something to be embraced.  Accountability is more than just fact checking everything you've done's about reminding you of the calling that is upon your life.

Spiritual fathers lead those who are willing to be led. They lead them up, simply by walking with you as a watchful eye. They are there to remind you of who you are and make sure you never forget it. Spiritual fathers aren't walking around with a video camera trying to "catch you" in something...they're walking beside you as a friend that will not leave you even if you miss the mark or trip on the road of life.

I appreciate this and have come to value it in my life. A TRUE SPIRITUAL FATHER will not ignore areas in your life that need shaping. They will allow you to grow through your mistakes while believing in you, protecting you and covering you.  They will not give up on you.

No one likes to be corrected. However, if you can handle the correction, you've proven that you can indeed be led not only when life feels like a big blessing but also when life is tough.  You've proven that you are TRUE SON.  


I'm thankful for the spiritual fathers in my life. They have endured many hardships, life lessons, trials of faith and temptations to provide PROVISIONS in my life!  Even though they're the ones who "fleshed" it out, I'm the one who enjoys the blessings!  Their TRIAL becomes my TRIUMPH!  

This lets me know that I too can endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ and pass on my victories to my generational seedline!  If my spiritual fathers could SURVIVE and THRIVE...then I can do the same!  In fact, because they have taught me what they learned, during their hard places, I've already gained an advantage. They have "set me up" for success and equipped me with the tools I need to succeed.

The key is I have to be willing to posture myself as a son to receive the mantle of my spiritual father. 

If you feel fatherless, whether naturally or spiritually, I want to encourage you to remain teachable. If you do, God will send a teacher into your life who will help you. In fact, He may send multiple people, in various seasons of your life, who are teachers, mentors, confidants as well as spiritual fathers. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Does God have your undivided attention?

Does God have your undivided attention?
Most of us are guilty of staring into our phones...head down & disengaged from those around us.
We see it in restaurants, where entire families are looking down at their phones, rather than conversing with one another.
We see people walking through parking lots, hallways & stores with their heads in their phones...almost oblivious to what's happening around them.
In fact, I've even spoken to adults & children who won't take their face out of their phone long enough to acknowledge a greeting or a handshake. It's very rude to speak to someone & they won't speak to you or if they do, at best you get a grunt. Parents, please don't make excuses for your children's behavior. They're doing what they see you do & it's not only socially's rude.
We even see it in churches.
Pastors are preaching/teaching a word from The Lord & instead of listening intently, taking notes & being actively engaged in the service...heads are down in their phones & not because they're taking notes. Many are scrolling through social media, posting comments/likes/etc., on their timelines & their friend's timelines while the service is taking place. Some are even playing games.
They're making God compete for their time.
Seemingly, the Word of the Lord is no longer "exciting" enough for them to sit and listen to & learn. They have become...
What's worse is...the people sitting around them are being distracted by their actions.
Friend, I wonder what God thinks of a person who causes another person to lose focus on Him during a service? What does God think about a person who is knowingly causing a stumbling block for another person to receive the spiritual help they need?
I think the next time I see people doing this, no matter who they are...a church member or even an entire row of leaders...I'm just going to STOP preaching, LOOK at them & SAY...
"Please let us know when you're ready to
pay attention & we'll continue."
It's a matter of MATURITY & SELF-CONTROL. Both are byproducts of The Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) We should know better & we should do better.
God want's our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION & we must each hold ourselves accountable.
Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."