Osteen’s happiness god not God

mqdefault

Chances are you’ve seen the Victoria Osteen video clip with Bill Cosby’s cut in response. Her assertion that God’s greatest joy comes when we are happy is causing quite a stir. Such unbiblical claims have led to her being called a heretic, false prophet and like the wolf in sheep’s clothing Jesus himself warned against.

Honestly, it’s about time. In fact, I hope this serves as a wake up call for both believers and our society at large to realize what we often blindly accept as “Christian” teachings simply because it’s delivered in a church, taught or written by a well-known pastor/author with a mega-following.

Why is it we’ve deemed whatever attracts the masses, proves popular and makes us feel good to be good? Is that litmus test or is it God’s Word?

“O foolish Galations! Who has bewitched you?…” Gal. 3:1

The gospel of Christ is not about our happiness!

We sure live though as if happiness is our right and calling, falsly believing our obedience, good deeds and morality should merit God’s blessing. So in the backlash against Osteen (again deservedly so) can we be honest to see how we often live as if we beleive just what she said?

Just consider what happens when you aren’t happy – what does it cause you to do? To feel? To believe?

  • That you deserve better.
  • That life is not fair.
  • That God is not good.
  • That others are to blame.
  • That you need to do whatever it takes to get happy.

Even when whatever you need to do to be happy is contrary to God’s word, you justify it’s okay because God wants you to be happy!

How easily we fall for Satan’s lies.

Just as the crafty serpent whispered to Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” we question God’s goodness and truth, determining we know better.  And before you know it we have sized-down the God of the Bible to be who we want Him to be, making ourselves to be our own functional god.

The irony is we will never find true happiness outside of God. The grass will always be greener somewhere else. We will never be totally satisfied or completely filled. We will always be striving, searching, seeking for more… Apart from Him.

Does He promise happiness?

No, He promises MORE! He promises more because our biggest problem is not whether we are happy or not. Our biggest problem is our sin.

God, therefore, in His great love for us meets our greatest need in the perfect person and work of a Savior. God left His own Son to hang on a cross to pay the price of all the sins of His people. We have been set free of the punishment of death we deserve because He took it on Himself. There is no condemnation, only grace. We can come into His presence boldly with no prerequisite or requirement to have it all together. He was perfect for us.

Now even when life gets hard and we experience the weight of suffering and sin, we can find rest in Him. So though happiness may not always be found this He does promise:

  • He will not leave or forsake you.
  • He is near.
  • He understands because He experienced all that we do.
  • He is your rock.
  • He is your strength.
  • He is your comfort.
  • He is your peace.
  • He makes you whole.
  • He is your All in All.

64664d14d20f853a1182a1fe662e7dae

Don’t want to miss a post? I would love for you to follow me by entering your email on the upper right-hand column after “Follow blog via email.”

 

Because Time Won’t Stand Still

Whew – alot has been happening at the House of Hatton this week. On top of the new routines and busyness the beginning of school brings there are a few other things that have filled our time.

First and foremost, our daughter is finally turning sixteen!!! I say finally because she is so young in her grade it has felt like a long-time coming as she’s watched and waited while all her friends have gotten their licenses. Last year on her birthday I posted 365 Days For My Girl and its hard to believe that time is now!IMG_6036

Mostly I am so excited because I definitely need her to drive herself to all her activities. Many days this summer I requested off from work or switched shifts simply because she had appointments to make and a job and activities to get to. So even if she never runs an errand for me (which she will) or takes her brothers to any of their practices (which she will) I will be a little less bound by time :).

On the flip side – Stop The Clock! Seriously, only two more years and she is gone! I want all the time I can get with her and will miss our car convos. I can’t tell you how often I have been teary in recent weeks thinking about friends whose children have recently gone to college and knowing this is just around the corner for us, too.

But somewhere in the midst of mothering, when kids are younger and it’s physically exhausting, it’s tempting to long for the next stage – for things to be easier and have more “me-time.” In the process though we neglect to be fully present and purposeful in pouring into their hearts and giving our undivided time. I, too, have some regrets in this regard and now that it seems so much clearer just want more time!

Speaking of time, another exciting recent occurrence is directly related to capitalizing on time with our pre-teen and teenagers. In fact, it is the #1 reason we have finally taken the plunge and are putting in a pool! 

Yes, it sounds delightful to sit out by the pool in my own backyard with a magazine.  And for my boys to get home from a hot sweaty football practice and cool off by jumping in.  But more than anything we want kids and our friends to gather at our home.

This is happening!

This is happening!

Whether you’ve thought of it like this or not, a pool provides the opportunity for ministry. A time to hang out with our kids and their friends in an atmosphere conducive to conversations. Likewise, my husband has loved doing “fireside chats” with our daughter and her friends gathered on the back porch around the chimenea, now we will have one more reason to host, seizing the time.

And for the last news of the week – I just received my personal trainer certification!  My most recent idea for re-inventing my “career” – as I tend to do every few years :). This path is being taken primarily to keep my flexible schedule so that I am able to write.

My book release is still a year a way, but I have other Bible studies, book ideas, blogs and grants to write. So in order to keep doing that which I love without a paycheck (yet), I decided to pursue another passion/hobby which is health & wellness. The beauty in this (if I do in fact get hired) is stepping out of my isolating little home office where I write to spend time with people – helping them set and achieve goals, making new friends and again, in a way – ministry.

If you think about it – all of life is ministry. Ministry is not just confined to the church, separate from the rest of life. Nor is it just for pastors – it is for all of us. It means joining in the “dance” as written in my last post Love Does and living your life for the good of others. Investing in more than yourself. 

Because time doesn’t stand still and much of what we are distracted by, consumed with and worried about is fleeting, Lord please help me to invest my time in the eternal: Your Word and Your people!

 

Don’t want to miss any post? Enter your email on the upper right-hand column after “Follow blog via email.”

Love Does

We were wired for relationships. Intended to revolve our lives around one another. To bear the burdens and be the “body of Christ” to one another. In living out this others-focused calling we refect the image of God as seen in the Trinity in what New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller calls the “divine dance.”

“The life of the Trinity is characterized not by self-centeredness but by mutually self-giving love. When we delight and serve someone else, we enter into a dynamic orbit around him or her, we center on the interests and desires of the other. That creates a dance… Each of the divine persons centers upon the others. None demands that the others revolve around him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them… ”   (Keller in his book Reason for Marriage)

When we stop dancing we become static and self-absorbed. No longer circling around others but spiraling down the demanding path of “Love Me” instead of what author Bob Goff calls “Love Does.”

thLove Does was one of my favorite books I read this summer. The premise of Love Does is the reality of Jesus’ love for us propelling us outside of ourselves and leading us to enter the “dance” of serving and loving others.  As is written in 1 John 4:19-21:

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Wow – our love of God is seen, not by what we say we believe, but by how we love others. If this is true we must ask ourselves:

  • Do our actions speak louder than words?
  • Do we “dance” around others or do we stay a “wallflower” because we don’t know what to do or say to someone who is in pain?
  • Do we circle around others’ needs or is our own circle confining us to not see who outside of it may be hurting and in need of a friend?
  • Do we pass off the people in our direct path to the professionals (pastors & counselors) thinking they can better handle the problems?

What I hope we all see and Bob Goff shows through the stories in his book is that action is better than no action.

We may not know exactly what to say or do. We may have limited resources and time. We may be inconvienced or forced to make sacrifices. And we may get a little messy in dealing with the suffering or sin of others. But the point is: Do Something! Love Does!

Our action – or inaction – does speak louder than words. Love goes where others will not. Love dances when others have stopped. Love gives graces when others judge or ignore.

Ultimately, Love reached down from the cross. Love set us free of our sins and covered us in righteousness. Love so amazing that when we get it we don’t have to know just what to say or do, but we know the One to point to. The only One who can fill us completely. The One who did for us what we can’t do for ourselves because of His deep, deep love for you.27a72912329e5a5abc8c11898b0f37b4

Don’t want to miss any post? Enter your email on the upper right-hand column after “Follow blog via email.”

 

 

When Your Child Hurts

  • Your child’s feelings are hurt after being excluded from a sleepover with friends
  • Your child loses an election, doesn’t make the team or a role in the musical
  • Your child sees on social media what he/she wasn’t a part of
  • Your child makes a mistake costing the team a win and feels the weight on his shoulders
  • Your child is sick and lays limpless in bed

As a parent whatever it is that makes your child hurt, hurts you. In fact, to me this hurt is one of the greatest. We want to control, shield and protect. But sometimes it is all out of our control and there is nothing we can do.

th

So what do we do?

How can we help our kids cope with hurt, pain and dissappointment? That is the question that consumed my thoughts last night as I tried to go to sleep. And the only thing I got is JESUS.  

  • We say He is enough and that He is all we need, but is He? 
  • In hard situations doesn’t “Jesus is the answer” sound too simple or trite? 
  • When there is real pain and nothing is fixed do we really believe He is all we need? 

This is really where the rubber meets the road in regards to the gospel applying to all of life. If He is all we need and He is the answer and our only hope than He must be the filter through which we shepherd our kids in their hurts. And the filter through which we deal with our own heart and hurts.

So we tell them, for the first time or thousandth time, who Jesus is for them- that He knows what they are going through, that He knows our hurts and that He meets us in the midst of our sadness, struggles and sin. And because He cares for us, not a hair can fall from our head without His ordaining. Nothing is outside of His control. Nothing is beyond His reach. Nothing can separate us from His love.

His opinion is the only one that matters and He is the ultimate resource. The ultimate resource because He understands what it means to be hurt, to be rejected and to be alone. He became like us not just to suffer for us, but with us. Jesus Incarnate experienced everything we do and therefore identifies with us in every way.  

Will our kids still hurt?  

YES.

Will we still experience their pain?   

YES.

Do we dismiss, then, our hurts as if they shouldn’t be a big deal or effect us?  

NO.

But to know and to rest in the One who is FOR us and works in and through all things for the good of those who love Him means I don’t have to have all the answers and I can be okay with things not fixed. I can trust that He will use our hurts to draw us more to Himself. To give us eyes to see outside of ourselves. To make us more compassionate on others who hurt. To reveal our idols and to show us where we fail to believe. To shape and mold us to be transformed more and more in His image and not conformed to the whims of this world.

The gospel never gets old and is always the same story. It is what we need to hear preached weekly and it is what we need to preach to ourselves daily. It is the A to Z of the Christian life and must be the filter through which we view everything. He alone offers true peace, hope and rest… even when we still hurt.

 

Grace to a Foreigner

Having just returned from Spain I have been reminded of all the ways God gives graces every day. It seems though when we are in our own element we often miss these ways He provides, protects and orders. We go about our routines, thinking we are in control, and give little or no thought to the One who holds us in the palm of His hands.

But feeling helpless in a foreign country, unfamiliar with everything and unable to speak the language, it was oh so very clear how God provides. And also so very clear how our unmet desire for control leaves us anxious and stressed. Praise be to God – He draws near to us even so.

A good summazition of our trip!

A good summazition of our trip!

So much so that I listed in my travel journal all the tangible graces we saw while away as a way to remember again His faithfulness. I share some here in hopes we will all be encouraged to look for these daily graces. And no matter how seemingly small or insignificant I hope seeing them leads us to Him with thanksgiving and praise.

God’s Grace to Foreigners in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Morocco:

  1. Right off the bat our flight was delayed. Praise God our connecting flight was also delayed or we would’ve lost our whole first day – which happened to be my youngest child’s birthday. 
    We made it just in time for our flight to Madrid.

    We made it just in time for our flight to Madrid.

    Chocolate con Churros for the birthday boy.

    Chocolate con Churros for the birthday boy.

  2. The next morning we went to pick up our rental car and about panicked that our luggage would not fit in the trunk and that it was stick-shift so if anything happened to my husband the rest of us would be stuck!  Praise God our suitcases did fit and though the entire trip was met by stressful driving, bad signs and unending roudabouts we were protected and brought safely back. 

    Back to Madrid in one piece. Good riddance to our little black Leon/"lion".

    Back to Madrid in one piece. Good riddance to our little black Leon/”lion”.

  3. At the time of our first stop in Toledo, Spain we had not yet mastered the parking garage pay stations and mistakenly put our credit card in the slot to discover it only takes cash Euros. Praise God after a couple heart-stopping seconds the machine spit out our main method of payment!

    Happy to be done with the never-ending quest for finding and deailing public parking.

    Happy to be done with the never-ending quest for finding and deailing public parking.

  4. Next on the itinerary – Portugal. With only my Mapquest printouts and no GPS or guarantee we were on the right track, we nearly decided to abandon plans for Portugal. But then the highway sign mentioned in passing by a Toledo museum security officer appeared, confirming we were headed the right way. Praise God the town of Marvao, Portugal that night ended up being one of our very favorite spots of the whole trip and a much needed “oasis” after the long, hot stressful first two days. 

    A view from the enchanting hilltop fortress in Marvao, Portugal.

    A view from the enchanting hilltop fortress in Marvao, Portugal.

  5. Navigating the San Francisco like city of Lisbon is amazing grace in itself. But after not being able to find our hotel and randomly parking just for the sake of not getting ourselves run over we stopped in a shop to ask for help. Praise God we were pointed to a hotel with a name nearly identical directly across the street and the receptionist was able to give us walking directions to ours plus a much needed bathroom!

    Lisbon, the city of seven hills, is truly the San Fran of Europe with the trams, bridge and diversity to go with it.

    Lisbon, the city of seven hills, is truly the San Fran of Europe with the trams, bridge and diversity to go with it.

  6. After all the stress getting into Lisbon we were worried about finding our way out and on to the highway back to Spain. Praise God for the light rain and it being Saturday morning so the streets were much quieter.
  7. The time on our side however was nearly lost when we discovered the parking pay station would not take our larger bills. Needing to make change, we furiously ran out in the empty, shut-down street looking for any passerby. Praise God for the one small open cafe where we were able to buy a coffee, which we desperately needed anyway, and get change. 

    A picture of the typical street scene in Lisbon, Portugal.

    A picture of the typical street scene in Lisbon, Portugal.

  8. Finally thinking we were on our way out we came up on a major traffic jam extending across Lisbon’s big bridge (think Golden Gate Bridge) due to an accident. After 30 minutes of barely inching forward just as we hit the bridge the lanes were cleared and cars flowed freely. Praise God, just in the nick of time, as my husband is totally freaked out by heights and may have had a panic attack if we were stuck indefinitely on it over the river.

    This bridge across the Tagus River leading out of Lisbon.

    This bridge across the Tagus River leading out of Lisbon.

  9. Sevilla, Spain was our next stop and the location for reuniting with good friends living in Spain. Praise God, meeting up with them could not have come at a better time.
    Our kids with our friends' girls in Sevilla, Spain.

    Our kids with our friends’ girls in Sevilla, Spain.

    All the girls ready for the Feria in La Linea, Spain.

    All the girls ready for the Feria in La Linea, Spain.

  10. The wild monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar are evil. We watched one tear into a lady’s purse almost destroying her passport after biting her arm. Another ran down a lady eating a sandwich and it seemed as if they were going to jump into our friends’ stroller. Praise God they didn’t and we got out of there unscathed.
    Enough said.

    Enough said.

    This is happening! He even bit her!

    This is happening! He even bit her!

  11. For various reasons we felt apprehensive about going down to Morocco. Praise God for the fabulous English-speaking tour guide and the comfortable place we stayed. 

    With our travel guide Aziz outside the Kasbah in Tanger overlooking the Meditteranean Sea.

    With our travel guide Aziz outside the Kasbah in Tanger overlooking the Meditteranean Sea.

  12. After ferrying back to Spain we planned to lunch with our friends in a Spanish beach town before going our separate ways. But the “guys” car and “girls” car got separated from one another with her phone in his car and his phone unbeknowst to the girls uncharged. An hour passed and we worried a wreck had happened. Praise God that was not the case and my son’s iTouch charger fit as the only right cord to recharge the drained phone so when we called again using a stranger’s phone we found each other.

    Lunched in Puerto Banus where $20million + yachts of the wealthiest Europeans lined the dock.

    Lunched in Puerto Banus where $20million + yachts of the wealthiest Europeans lined the dock.

  13. Much anxiety came from driving and parking but we were also worn down from lots of sight-seeing, fast-paced days and the late-night schedules the Spanish keep. Praise God our last few days were met by a nice resort near a Mediterranean beach away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. We were able to sleep well and significantly slow our pace.
    Alicante, Spain

    Alicante, Spain

    Los Arenales Del Sol

    Los Arenales Del Sol

  14. Despite the mishaps, Praise God for the many laughs we shared with each other and the memories of spectacular sights and experiences!

    Marvao, Portugal

    Marvao, Portugal

The more I ponder on these trip snippets and others, the more I am moved to gratitude – amazed by my God who gives graces in abundance all the time, even when they go unnoticed.

Not only that, but in giving abundantly He didn’t even hold back his Son. He gave His greatest gift for our greatest need – the righteous life of our Savior for our sin – changing our status as “foreigner” and the unrest that comes with it to naming us His children with all the blessings of undeserved grace, mercy and peace. 

In front of the Old Bridge in Ronda, Spain.

In front of the Old Bridge in Ronda, Spain.

 

Why Do Christians Fake Holiness?

“What does your husband do?”  A very normal making-small-talk kind of question.

Also very normal for the conversation to halt or change course as soon as I answer. As many of you know, my husband is a pastor which unfortunately often means people act extra “spiritual” around us or better yet keep their “mask” on and a safe distance.

So refreshing though was a recent conversation with someone I had just met. My answer to that question did not all of the sudden cause her to tame her tongue, filter her thoughts or pretend to be anyone other than who she is. Instead she preceeded to empathize with what a hard “job” I have and to tell me why she prefers to avoid the church.

I loved it! Not that she doesn’t see the need to be connected to a church body, but the fact no walls hid her true self and thoughts. I mean, how can you get to know someone if all you see is the facade – and you don’t really know who they are? But she was real – real honest – and therefore we could have a meaningful conversation, instead of the superficial fluff that catagorizes far too many of our relationships.

But, back to her reason for being disinterested in church. A reason Christians need to hear because her experience with Christians and the church is far too often felt by way too many.

In essence she said: WHILE GRACE MAY BE PREACHED, WORKS IS WHAT IS PRACTICED.

Guess what?

She is absolutely right and I want no part of that either!

There is a disconnect between what we claim to be true about the gospel and what we really believe. The good news of the gospel gives us a Savior who died a sacrificial death for our sins, but it doesn’t end there. He also credited his perfect, sinless, holy, righteous life to us and that is how God sees His children!

All of our sin – past, present and future – has been dealt with at the cross so there is nothing we must do to earn His favor. We are free to be deeply loved, broken sinners with a never ending flow of grace. And every one of us is in this same boat.

  • If this is true, why then do we pretend otherwise?  
  • Why do we hide our struggles and sin?
  • Why do we want others to think we have it all together and are “better” than we are? 
  • Why do we insist others must live up to a certain standard we impose?
  • Why do we distance ourselves from those who are “messy” and more visibly broken than us?
  • Why do we think our good works and high morals are what matters?
  • Why aren’t we free to fail?
  • Why aren’t we free to confess our sin and seek forgiveness?
  • Why aren’t we captivated by Jesus but stay so self-absorbed?
  • Why do we not see the idols we are worshipping instead of the One true God?
  • Why do we insist on remaining so guarded to others?
  • Why can’t we be honest about what’s going on in our lives and hearts?
  • Why do we live a lie if we’ve been freed by the gospel?

th

These questions for self-examination could go on and on. But here is the point: Jesus came for sinners – the broken and messed up – not for those who think they are holy and righeous or in need of no fix.  

So when we sit in church and in our holy huddles and go about our lives thinking our moral behavior and good deeds make us “good” Christians we speak a lie about the gospel. We are acting as the Pharisees did pointing our judgmental noses down at all those “sinners” not seeing the sin and discrepency in own hearts. Inadvertantly instead of witnessing to the gospel grace and freedom Jesus gives, we give off a ‘holier than Thou’ vibe that makes it seem like measuring up to perfection is what God requires.

This is not the gospel of grace. That is the law, done away with when Jesus came. Is there any wonder people aren’t attracted to the church or believers when this is what we seem to be about? And because deep in our hearts we know we also fail to measure up, we are faking our own spirituality!

th-2

For the sake of His kingdom and to the testimony of His grace, know that “Christ has set you free” so you are free to admit your sin, struggles, and pain without fear of condemnation.  “Do not submit again to this yoke of slavery” that lead Christians to believe having it all together and getting better is required.  That is not the gospel and does more to distance others than to attract. (Galatians 5:1 partially paraphrased). See the beauty in taking off the masks and being known, knowing the greater testimony is that we have a God who loves sinners who see their need for forgiveness and grace!

Don’t want to miss any post? Enter your email on the upper right-hand column after “Follow blog via email.”

“That’s Not Fair!”

th-1

How often are those the words that lead to fights between your children?

  • He got more ice cream.
  • She gets to have more friends spend the night.
  • He got to play the Xbox longer.
  • She didn’t help put the laundry away.
  • He has new shoes and didn’t need another new pair.
  • He got a cell phone two years before me!
  • And on and on and on….

These have all been said in my house with one incident occurring just the other night stemming from a discrepency in our parenting decisions between the first-born and the youngest. (Could probably write another post just on that!) But I know if you are a parent you hear these things too – and probably since its summer you hear it way more than you’ld like:)

And what is our typical response – at least mine?

“Life’s not fair!”

Easy to say to our kids, but how do we respond when life is not fair to us?  Not so easy to accept, is it? Sure not an easy pill to swallow in suffering. Or, in experiencing trials or hardship of any kind. What about if we’ve been the victim of injustice or discrimination? Or when someone else’s sin affects us, causing us pain.

“Life’s NOT fair!” And really there are often no answers that aren’t trite or solutions that make us feel any better. In fact the only thing I have to fall back on is the grace of our God who is not fair.

You see, we don’t really want fair. If God was fair, we would all be doomed. If God was fair, we wouldn’t be forgiven. We would be held accountable for all our sins. A punishment deserving death. But, because God is not fair He made a way for us to have eternal life by placing all judgment on His perfectly holy and righteous Son. And then He even credited that holy and righteousness to us!

That means we are viewed by God as He sees His Son – righteous! Even in our sin! No longer is my sin an issue to Him because He has cast His unlimited forgiveness and unconditional grace and love on me. No matter what!

And none of us deserve that! But praise God in His mercy He took “Life is Unfair” to an unfathomable conclusion exacting justice on Jesus and not on us. Therefore, as an innocent man our Savior understands “that’s not fair” because He experienced the ultimate injustice for us!

Glory be to God for His Goodness and Grace!

th

Don’t want to miss any post? Enter your email on the upper right-hand column after “Follow blog via email.”