There is always more Corn Pops

cornpops.pngAsher had a meltdown the other day. And, by the other day, I mean, well, a lot of days. Asher is four and just feels everything really deeply, which makes him wonderful. But, on this particular day, he had a meltdown over the fact that we run out of Corn Pops, his current favourite cereal.

And, so he cried and was really distraught that there are “no more Corn Pops!”

As any good father would, I knelt down and held him and said, “Daddy can get you more Corn Pops. Would that make you feel so much better? Daddy can buy more.” And, instantly Asher looked up and said, “Yes daddy, please can you buy more Corn Pops.” And then, because I price match, I found another box in the pantry, and Asher started running around yelling and cheering.

I bring up this little story (one that happens in various ways with all our kids throughout the week) because of one reason: As a dad, I love to give good things to my kids. If I have the ability to give them something that they love, need and lights up there day, I’m going to do it. Especially if it’s like $3 for a box of cereal.

But, here is what struck me: If I love to give good gifts to my children, why do I ever think that God, the true Father, is any different? Have you ever noticed how sometimes we feel like we need to convince God of or can’t be really honest with Him about our desires, wants or needs? That somehow we believe that God isn’t into abundant giving of all that is good and needed.

Now, of course, I’m not saying God will give us all millions – or anything close to prosperity gospel (all health and wealth). But, on the other hand or other extreme, neither is God stingy, scarce or miserly in the gifts He wants to give.

Jesus says this, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV).

Or, in James 1:17a (NLT), we read, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father.”

What I realized is that just as much as I love to give good gifts to my kids (and follow with me – it gives me GREAT JOY), I believe the same is true with God – that He loves to give to us and it gives Him GREAT JOY. He isn’t up in heaven with a spreadsheet, calculating what we deserve or what He can afford to give. God is in heaven ready and willing to give good gifts to us as His children.

I write this to remind you all of something that we should already know: God is a good Father, who loves to give good gifts to His children. So, let’s live out of that reality today – not out of scarcity, but out of one in which there are lots of Corn Pops in the pantry for all of us.


“I’m Not Going to be Scared”


Scared.pngIf you are a young parent (or have been one), you might know this experience… Your child has a bad dream and crawls into your bed, and you get no sleep because the amount of kicking they do in their sleep is, well, unreal. We’ve had that experience with Hudson and now, as he’s grown older, we’re having it with Asher.
A few nights ago, Asher ran into our room and said, “I scared.” And, he climbed into our bed to snuggle, which usually means we let him fall asleep and then one of us gets so tired with the lack of sleep (whoever he is kneeing in the back!), we get out of bed and take him back to bed.
But, on this night, something different happened. We prayed with him about how Jesus takes away his fear, and Asher looked at us and said, “I not going be scared” and ran off to his room. By the time we got to his room to tuck him in, he was already under the covers and asleep.
It got me to thinking, what if I acted like that? What if when fear grips my heart and mind, I decide to trust so deeply in Jesus that I move forward saying, “I not going be scared.”
Because Jesus is clear that perfect love casts out fear. That fear comes from the enemy. That fear is not part of His plan for us. In fact, fear cuts down the future that God has for us.
So, I write this all as an encouragement and a challenge. The next time fear grips you, pray about it and maybe try to be a little like Asher. Say, “I not going be scared” and move forward into what Jesus has for you.
Because no matter what our fears are – monsters in the dark, bad dreams, debt, difficulty, divorce, death – Jesus’ love is greater than all our fears. So, we can trust in Him. And, these days, I’m trying to be a little more like Asher when I get scared by saying that because of Jesus, “I not going be scared.”

Asher’s Prayer

Asher Prayer.pngParents, have you ever had a moment of fear about what your child was about to do next? You know, that feeling when you realize that what is about to happen probably isn’t good…and generally that always happens in public.

Are any of you with me?

Well, last month, we were at this large family gathering. It was actually a blending of two families and we were trying to get to know one another, and it was pretty great. Then, it came time to pray for the food and, just as the prayer was about to begin, Asher yelled and screamed, “No!” and said that he wanted to pray.

I instantly had that feeling come over me as a parent – when I didn’t know what was about to happen, but I knew it wouldn’t be good.

I was ready for more yelling, silliness or for Asher, in particular, more wrestling with his brother. But, here is what happened…

Asher said, “I pray” and then he started, but stopped and told us all to close our eyes first. Then he prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for being here at Grandma’s with us, for the food, let’s have fun. Amen.”

I looked at my wife and my jaw dropped. Because, Asher has never done this. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever really prayed out loud before. Most of the time, he’s the one talking through my prayer. In fact, he’s more likely to yell during grace than to do anything else.

So, I share this with you, not because I have perfect kids, but for this reason…sometimes things stick and shine through, so have hope!

Read that again…sometimes things stick and shine through, so have hope!

Sometimes, after fighting through grace at meal times, fighting through bedtime prayers amidst yells from your kids that they don’t want to go to bed and fighting through reading Bible stories while your kids wrestle…sometimes things stick and shine through.

Jesus talks about it in Matthew 13 when He asks us to sow seeds. And, here is the thing…seeds take a long time to grow, but sometimes they sprout and grow, and you get to see this when you least expect it (like at a family gathering when everyone is watching).

So, I share this with you to encourage you to hold onto hope. Parenting, grandparenting and seeing change in any relationship takes a long time. Sometimes, it just feels grueling, like you’re toiling for no reason. Sometimes, in beautiful moments, you see that it’s stuck and it shines through.

So, don’t give up, because Asher sharing a deep and beautiful prayer when least expected has reminded me, we never know what’s going on underneath.

“Jesus Fights Bad Guys Daddy”

IMG_6616The other day I saw Asher drawing intently. He was just really going at it and was so excited. And he said “Look Daddy, look at what I drawed”. I asked him what it was and he said, “It’s Jesus! He’s ALIVE Daddy! He’s Alive!!”

I thought that it was really very cool that he knew that Jesus was alive. I felt like…well that I was a good dad and even better pastor. And then I asked him what was happening on the other part of the page and he said, “Daddy those are the bad guys, Jesus is getting them.”

“Oh” I said, “Jesus is fighting and getting all the bad guys?” And he looks at me seriously and says, “Yep daddy, Jesus is getting the bad guys.”

I thought to myself that maybe I wasn’t as great a dad/pastor as I thought. Because Asher is all boy and is always turning things into weapons (like tape measures) and batarangs (like hangers). He’s always dancing around being a ninja, a knight, or an angry bird. He loves to wrestle, and I thought this was all just influencing his thoughts about Jesus.

Until of course I realized that Asher is right: Jesus does fight the bad guys.

Sometimes when we think of Jesus we just think he is all “nice, meek, and mild”. We hear that Jesus is love (which is true) but then think Jesus is passive (not true). We imagine Jesus just being a really nice person who lets us do whatever we want, smiling all the time. But that’s not really the picture that the Bible paints of Jesus. Yes Jesus is love incarnate, but love isn’t passive. Love actively stands against injustice, love actively stands up for the hurting, love doesn’t let the status quo reign. The cross is the supreme self revelation of God – revealing God to be self-sacrificial love. But the cross is also the place where Jesus does fight the bad guys of sin, death, darkness, injustice, and evil.

So while I don’t want to read too much into a 3 year old’s drawing of spots, and red marker – I think Asher is on to something. Jesus is love, but Jesus is also a protector. Jesus is also a savior from evil and injustice. Jesus does fight the bad guys, not in the way we would with violence and retribution, but he does fight the bad guys none-the-less.

Of course Asher probably wasn’t thinking about how Jesus fights the bad guys with non-retributive love and self-sacrifice when he drew his picture…but either way he is on the right path.

On that day Asher reminding  me about an important part of who Jesus is: getting the bad guys. So today if you are struggling in a tough part, Asher would want to remind you that Jesus is with you, standing up for you, and standing against the dark. I think that’s a good reminder.

My Son the “Soccer Star”

I want to share something that’s kind-of-personal. I don’t think my son Hudson will ever be a soccer star like I hope. I mean maybe a miracle might happen, but it just doesn’t seem to be in Hudson. And here is why: he’s too compassionate.

Hudson doesn’t have that competitive edge that leads to real greatness in sport. Hudson is more likely to be found on the soccer field giving the ball to the opposing team (“here you have it – let’s share”), singing songs of encouragement while running around the players (“Go blue lighting!”), or upset that the team isn’t sharing back with the ball (“But daddy sharing is good!”).

So all of this leads me to believe that a future of soccer stardom may not be in his future.

But is this a bad thing? He might not have competiveness, but he has compassion. He might not have intensity, but he has generosity. He might not have that sports edge, but he loves to encourage.

All I mean by all of this is that kids are different, and each are shaped in a unique way. The point is to find ways for their uniqueness and special gifts to shine forth. For some that’s in competitive sports, and intense playing. For Hudson it’s not so much, at least right now.

But what Hudson is good at is coaching. Because that’s what he is doing right now.  He is teaching our second child Asher to play soccer. He is encouraging him, sharing with him, and playing great with him.

So he might not be a soccer star, but he might be a star coach. The point is we all have unique gifts; let’s not lament what’s not there, but encourage what is.

And on the plus side Asher has a competitive streak. He just tackled Hudson and took the ball, so who knows we still might have a soccer star in the family 🙂


“Daddy Watch Me! – I’m Going to Do Something Crazy!”


I love my little boys. They are a wonderful part of my life. Asher saunters / stumbles to me everytime I walk in the door. Hudson runs at me full tilt and jumps when I walk in the door. Often it’s a 50/50 chance whether Hudson will hit Asher while they both walk to me. Being a dad is a really beautiful thing.

But I have noticed something about Hudson, especially recently. He often says this to me, “Dad watch me!”

  • Dad watch me as I jump off this couch
  • Dad watch me I’m doing something crazy
  • Dad watch me and see me write my name
  • Dad watch me as I jump over Asher…

The point is that Hudson loves having my attention. In fact, if he could have my attention all the time – that’s exactly what he would want. And I think wanting our parent’s caring, loving, and attentive gaze is important and natural. Hudson wants me to be part of his world. He wants to experience his world with me. It’s not enough for him to jump over Asher unless I’m watching, laughing, cheering him on, and entering into it.

And I think we want the same thing often as well. We want people to experience life with us, to enter into our worlds and join us there. We like knowing we matter.

But here is the beautiful thing, we have this with God.

The Father’s attention is always turned to you, you never have to say to him “Watch me”, “Pay attention” “This is important”. Because to God everything you do is important, because you are important.

God wants to enter our world and experience it with us.

The question is are we letting him? The question is are we truly deeply aware of how much we matter to our heavenly father.

As a father I’d love to give Hudson and Asher all of my attention all the time. But sometimes I forget what a gift it is to have God’s attention all the time. We never turn to him and find him turned away but ready to enter our world, our conversation, our experiences with him.

So this week as you live, remember you are living with a caring Father right there with you. Because he loves you.

Asher in The Dishwasher and its Spiritual Ties

IMG_3171My little boy is scary fast. I mean this in all honesty; you’d think with such short legs it would take him forever to get anywhere…but no. In a few seconds of your back turned he can be up the stairs and into the bathroom. In essence, he ends up in all sorts of situations so quickly. Twice in the past week my oldest son, Hudson, who is three, has yelled, “Daddy come see something crazy, look where Asher is”.

And I’ve discovered him in these two places: the dishwasher, and our Tupperware drawer. I, of course, took pictures.

But it’s amazing with a little lapsed focus, where IMG_3151this little man can get to. In almost no time he’s into something that might not be healthy or good. You really have to keep an eye on him. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a real life thing.

And I know this might be a bit of a stretch but I think it’s same with our spiritual lives. I think that if we don’t spend regular time in reflection and paying attention to our spiritual lives, they can end up in places we wouldn’t have dreamed so quickly. Things can be going well, but we aren’t paying attention, we aren’t reflecting and focusing, and all of a sudden we end up in a dishwasher, stuck in a drawer, or worse, stuck in a moral failure, a moment of weakness, a mistake that takes years to rebuild.

The point is that we don’t often go from making good decisions to really really bad ones. We often, instead, go from making good decisions to forgetting to think about decisions, to bring God into our choices, to reflect on how God has or hasn’t been active in our lives.

The main point is this: when we forget to pay attention to what’s important, it’s only a matter of time before trouble comes. This is the same thing with my son, but it’s also the same thing with my relationship with God, my wife, and my character. When I stop paying attention to Jesus, my wife, or my character, it’s only a matter of time before something slides and trouble comes.

So my challenge to you today is this: pay attention to what matters. Spend time reflecting on your relationship with God this week. Ask yourself where he has been active, when you’ve felt distant from him, and what you can learn from this. Pay attention to your important relationships; friends, family, or spouse. In essence, just be alert to all that’s going on around you.

And that’s it for me today, because I gotta go.  Asher is trying to climb into the washing machine 🙂

Welcome Home Daddy

1393638_10153351907470643_1110248634_nComing home as a young dad is a great thing. This is a picture of how my boys welcome me. Hudson runs full tilt and jumps at me, and Asher giggles and walks till he gets to me and hugs me too. They both move as fast as they can, and shout “daddy” or in Asher’s case “da”.

It’s an amazing and a beautiful thing. I look forward to it everyday.

There is something about being welcomed isn’t there? Something that makes you feel special, known, and appreciated. It makes me feel such a part of their lives, and reminded that I’m a part of something special.

When I look at this picture and think about this type of welcome, I can’t help but think of God. Because God is the true Father, and I think he welcomes us in the same way. The Bible is clear, that just as my boys run to me, God runs to us. In the story of the Prodigal Son, a picture of God, the Father runs, throws his arms around his son, and welcomes him home.

This is who our God is, and what our God does. He is a God who welcomes. And I just think it’s good to be reminded of that. That when we walk into God’s presence his posture toward us is one of embrace, welcome, a full-tilt run towards us.

Sometimes I go into God’s presence quietly, meekly, and with uncertainty. But Hebrews says we can boldly walk into God’s presence with joy, with certainty, and with expectation. Because God is ready and waiting to welcome us.

So maybe take a look at this picture again, but this time think about God embracing and welcoming you. And the next time you’ve been away from God’s presence for too long, don’t hesitate to walk right back in. Because you know that God is ready and waiting to run to you and welcome you home.

Dads, Dedications, and Decisions that Last a Lifetime

295563_10152669437890643_2115517437_nOn Sunday it’s a pretty special day for me as a parent. We are dedicating our little boy Asher. You only get to do that once…well actually we dedicated Hudson twice but that’s a story for another day.

As a pastor this is a really cool moment because you get to preach at your own little man’s dedication. But it also raises the question of what do you preach on at a dedication?

For Hudson, I preached on why I follow Jesus so that when he grows up he can listen to it and understand why mom and dad make the decisions we do. But on Sunday I want to share about something different because my boys are different.

On Sunday I want to explore a simple question: how can we live in such a way to leave a legacy? For me specifically it will be about how, as a parent, I can leave a legacy of love and grace in Asher’s life. But it applies much more broadly. How can you live in such a way to shape generations? To change people’s futures? That your lives echo into the future changing them?

That’s what we are exploring because my guess is that when we come to the end of our lives we won’t care about more money, better promotions, cleaner houses, or better vacations. We will care about what type of legacy we have left, whether we will be remembered and whether our lives mattered.

On Sunday we are going to figure out how to do just that. How to leave a legacy that lasts and lingers.

But before we get there maybe think back in your own life. Who has left a legacy there? How did they do it? What was it about their life that caused such an affect?

For me that was my dad. Even though he passed almost 3 years ago, he is far from gone. His life continues to leave a mark in mine. Even though he won’t hold Asher until heaven, his legacy will shape and change Asher just as it’s changed me. So the question is how do we live lives like that? And come Sunday we’ll find out.

Blogging Break for New Baby

Hi everyone. So I love blogging…but I’m taking a break for a little while. Want to know why? Because as much as I love blogging I love my new little boy even more. Yesterday our family grew by one as Asher George Mills joined our family. He’s a bit of a big boy at 8’3 and 21 1/2 inch long (or tall I guess!). And so I’ll be taking some time just to spend with him and my amazing wife, and big brother Hudson. So as important as all of you are this new little gift has all my attention!

So I’ll get back to my regular blogging schedule in about a few weeks but for now I’ll be spending time with Asher. But as often happens on here, I’m sure he will give me lots of new things to blog about! I’m sure he’ll be teaching me all sorts of new things about God, grace, family, and community. But until then here are a few pictures of our new little bundle of awesome. And yes in case you are wondering, Hudson loves being a new big brother. Last night he sang himself to sleep singing, “Baby here, baby here, big brother”.

So I’d like to introduce you to Asher George Mills born on 10/11/12: