I’ve Moved

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, but I wanted to write one last time and address anyone who chose to follow this blog.

First, thank you so much for reading. Whether you read one post, or all posts, I really appreciate that you blessed me with your time and read my words. In an age were it seems like everyone has a blog it is truly an honor to get even one person to click “follow” on WordPress.

Second, I’ve moved blogging locations.

Over the last year or so I’ve felt pulled to write more specifically to husbands and dads. Not that it’s exclusive or anything, but I want to talk about loving our wives and raising our children. We have a unique position in our homes to influence our marriages and our offspring’s lives, and it’s time we step up to the plate and do so.

The best gift you will ever give your children is a great marriage. If you don’t have kids, this is an amazing time to strengthen your relationship with your spouse as you’ll never have this much free time again. 🙂

So lastly, I want to invite you  over to my new place.

It’s still in its infancy, but I am now simply adamhillis.com.

My hope is that this won’t just be a place for you to read some words written by a fellow dude, but it can be a community of husbands and dads that want to have great marriages and awesome kids.

In an effort to grow this community and get people talking, anyone who subscribes by 8pm (PST) on Sunday, March 20th AND comments on any of the posts at adamhillis.com will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card for either iTunes store or Google Play store (whichever is your preference).

Again, thank you so much for reading AdamInk. I hope to you see you at my new place!

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Only Begotten?

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Several days ago my brother-in-law asked an interesting question on Facebook. It caused me to think about what I believed about it and why. I knew what I believed and where to study to give a greater emphasis on the why, but actually doing the work and putting it into writing was sort of a powerful personal experience. In the many years I have professed being a follower of Christ I can’t think of a time that I studied something and put it into writing. Lots of studying, but no writing beyond a journal entry here and there.

My answer to my brother-in-law’s question ended up being much longer than I anticipated. Also, Easter will be here in less than a week. Thought it made a good post. 🙂


Christians place great emphasis on the belief that God sacrificed his only son for all us sinners. Can God only have one child? If so, then I can understand the importance. If not, then I do not see how God sacrificed that much. Just have another child. It is not as if God assumed human form and raised Jesus. What do you think?

You ask a big question… While I may not have the answer you’re looking for, I’ll try to give it a shot. I’m no theologian, so bear with me…

The answer lies in the mystery of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all existing as one being. Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’ …in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (That scripture isn’t meant to start a debate about Evolution vs. Creationism, but to point out that the word “us” is used.) Then in John 14:9, “… Anyone who has seen me [Jesus] has seen the Father….” (There is way more verses than this; I’m just using these because they’re the easiest. Google “the Trinity” and you can find all kinds of stuff.)

Our English language is incredibly non-descriptive compared to the Greek. In the original Greek language used that we translated our English Bible from “only begotten” doesn’t simply mean “an only child.” It’s more of an “only of its kind” type of word. It’s a compound word where the first word means, “only, alone, by (one’s) self” and the second word means “be, be made, become, come to pass.”

This was a piece of the Trinity, a piece of God, the Creator of the universe incarnate in human flesh.  This “only begotten son” was the sole representative of the Being and character of the one who sent him. None like it before, and none like it ever again. The Father/Son relationship between God and Jesus wasn’t one established by birth on earth, it had been established for all time.

God placed Adam and Eve on the earth blameless and perfect. They were given the option NOT to sin. But they did sin, and sin demands death. If you weren’t perfect before God he could, should, and would take you out; you don’t obey, you die. Since then, every man and woman born has sinned and sin still demands death. That is why in the Old Testament they sacrificed animals as atonement for sin. God required blood as penance for screwing up. But since perfection is demanded, the animal sacrificed had to be perfect. It was always spotless, perfect, and the most prized animal in the flock; often the first-born.

Jesus was born on earth with the same option as Adam. He had the OPTION to NOT sin. He walked the planet in perfection for 33 years. He’s the only one that has made it without screwing up. Since he was spotless, blameless, and perfect he was the only person/animal/thing worthy of being sacrificed as atonement for the sin of man. Sin demands death.

As the “only begotten son” of God, or the “only one of his kind”, Jesus was sacrificed to atone for every sin that had ever been committed or ever will be committed. He was the only acceptable sacrifice as the “only one of his kind”. No one could ever earn their way to Heaven by sinning and sacrificing, sinning and sacrificing, and over and over again. Now the idea of having to earn your way to Heaven was wiped away because of the ultimate sacrifice of God giving his son, and Jesus giving his life. Sin demanded death as payment. Now the debt has been paid.

We couldn’t earn our way to Heaven. But even if we tried to pay the debt of death, it isn’t owed anymore because of Jesus. All he asks of us is that we believe he is who he says he is, and believe that his death was the final atoning sacrifice for our sin. Those two beliefs are what allow us to spend eternity with him in Heaven.

Abandoned Abandon

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WFR_PanoIt’s been a week since returning home from our church’s youth Winter Camp. I notice I always miss the worship experience of our camp settings after we return to the “normal” rhythm of Sundays. There is something so powerful during those extended away times together that I wish I could bottle up and pour all over our group when we gather for services.

One of my favorite books is Praise Habit, written by David Crowder. He discusses how we inherently know how to praise. As kids we easily talk about our favorite things—often screaming to our parents “Look how cool this is!” knowing they will join our excitement and adoration. Then Crowder says later in life we “praise pizza and football players.” We have no problem giving ourselves fully to whatever has a hold of us when we’re young. But as we grow into adolescence and adulthood we seem to become more self-conscious.

I’ve probably read Praise Habit about 4 or 5 times over the last several years. There is something Crowder says that has remained firmly lodged in my heart:

“Somewhere along the way we abandoned abandon… Expression with childlike spontaneity has become difficult. It bares too much of us.”

The idea that as worshippers we have “abandoned abandon” is so profound and powerful to me. It conjures up images of King David dancing in front of the ark in his underwear claiming he’d become even more undignified in praising God than his current state of half-nakedness was showing him to be. It’s that kind of abandon we’ve abandoned.

We have forgotten what it’s like to be so free and excited about something that we scream at the top of our lungs, “MOM! Come look at what I just did with my (fill in the blank with your favorite toy)!!!” And we won’t stop screaming until she walks down a flight of stairs, through the kitchen, through the dining room, and into the living room and says in agreement, “Whoa! Cool! That is great!”

The last night of our Winter Camp we were singing “Alive” by Hillsong Young & Free. Our students were jumping up and down, singing as loud as they could, “You are alive in us, nothing can take your place! You are all we need, your love has set us free!” About 75 of them climbed on stage with the band and the whole place was going crazy for Jesus. Tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed it from the back (running sound). These students love God. They recklessly abandoned to Him making “fools” of themselves in praise and adoration to their Creator, and they would become even more undignified than this.

Camp is where I most often get see people abandoned to the Lord. We don’t stop screaming until God comes down and sees what all the yelling is about. And when he does his presence is palpable. He responds to the abandonment of self.

My prayer for myself, the students I serve, and the Church (big “c”), is that when we return to “normal” from a camp, a retreat, or conference, our abandon to God wouldn’t be abandoned. I pray we recall the experience we had with God when away from our routines and the presence and power we felt when we cried out to him unashamed. Let us bring that back with us to our “normal” and recklessly pursue Jesus —ever willing to be even more undignified in our praise to him.

Age Perspective

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Our church’s Jr. High Camp is going on right now and I’m currently surrounded by nearly two hundred 12- and 13-year-olds. Half of the staff is aged 16 to 20 and the other half are 21 to people in their 50s. I’m consciously noticing the various perspectives of the different ages represented. Not just the difference between being 15- and 40-years-old, but even the little steps in between.

So much of the way we talk, behave, make choices, and live life is determined by how we view the world around us. Though our views are impacted by race, religion, gender, geographical location, who our parents are, and more, the one thing that is constant is that our speech, behavior, choices, and the methods of living are changing ever so slightly as we grow older.

I’m always amazed at how much life can happen in just two years. During the two years after graduating High School: I moved out of my mom’s and in with a friend, sold drugs, then quit selling and doing drugs, moved back in with my mom, plugged in more to my church (I was living a double-life while doing/selling drugs), was in community college while working nearly full-time, then enrolled in a 4-year Bible college, moved to California, and met the woman who became my wife.

If all of that life experience didn’t shift some perspectives, then I don’t know what would. The lessons God taught me in that short span have impacted me to this day.

Now I’m 31 and I don’t even think I could fit the last two years of my life into a book.

As people get older, life’s lessons either prick our heart or mangle our soul in an effort to shift how we view the world around us. My personal belief is that this is what God wants. He doesn’t want to slap us with lightning and give us all the wisdom and perspective we need at once. The process and grinding through struggles and triumphs creates the building blocks that the Holy Spirit uses to help us see things the way he intends.

Pastor Wayne Cordero said, “Lessons are attained one of two ways: through wisdom or through consequences.” The point he made is that we can either learn from people who have gone before us who share what they know, or we can learn the hard way. Most of us probably choose the hard way. I know I have a lot.

But when we want the path of wisdom and actually receive the perspective of people who are older than us, we can save ourselves so many bumps and bruises. I’m so thankful to have family and friends that are two years older than me, forty years older than me, and every age in between. All of them bring an incredible perspective on life and wisdom that I want to gain.

Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” I’ve found a few grays this last year, but don’t quite have my “crown of splendor” yet. What a blessing it is to have people in front of me that do.

Contentment Update

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As part of the 1yearwardroberesolution Team we were asked to send in an update on how we are doing. Many are at or near their halfway point. Christi (who is behind 1yearwardroberesolution) was writing an article for a magazine and wanted to use a couple of updates from her team members. She ended up posting my email to her blog, and so I thought I’d post it too. 😉

I encourage you to check out Christi’s blog: http://www.theoneyearwardroberesolution.com/

All of her social media links are there as well. She’s definitely most active on Instagram, as that is where this all started, and is a great follow.

-Adam

 


My year started February 1st, meaning that August 1st is six months completed of the 1 year wardrobe resolution.

I feel like my year-long journey of being content with what I have is mirroring the summer and winter solstice.

February 1 was my summer solstice. The days were bright and life was good. Two months later things were dimming but still bright, and I felt like this challenge wasn’t going to be as hard as I originally imagined. But as the months progressed and daylight shrinks to smaller amounts I’ve sometimes found it much harder to stay the course.

Though I haven’t fallen, the temptation has been murderous at times. Most notably for me was just this June when Google I/O happened. Part of my 1 year wardrobe resolution also includes refraining from any “techy” purchases. Google I/O is a two-day event where Google announces their new “techy” stuff that is coming out. Naturally I tortured myself watching videos and reading blogs about all the amazing things that are coming that I won’t allow myself to buy.

The “won’t allow myself to buy” part never changes. But the reason it doesn’t change is the important part of walking this resolution out. Am I doing it because it’s a challenge to be conquered? Or am I truly allowing my heart to be content with the things that I have and enjoying what’s right in front of me?

The biggest blessing during these first six months has been our second son, Abel Jonathan Hillis, who joined us May 8th. He’s kept my focus on him, and my money’s focus on paying hospital bills while trying to save for a larger vehicle for our family. My wife and two boys are why I want to be content. I’d rather my money be spent taking care of them and providing a better life for us than getting the next great Google toy. And I’d rather my time be spent playing on the living room floor than perusing eBay for a steal.

I consider August 1 as my winter solstice. This is the halfway point where every day for the next six months only gets longer and brighter. But February 1, 2015 isn’t just a day of completion, and it won’t be marked with purchasing whatever I want because my challenge is over. It’ll be the day I find out how much this lesson in contentment has been teaching me for 365 days.

 

Real Life

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I’m sitting in the veterinarian’s office waiting for test results because Mowgli (our dog) vomited blood last night. Lisa just texted and told me that while she went to the bathroom to pee, Asher grabbed the dog food (that was on the counter–we thought out of reach) then dumped it on the floor along with the newly folded clean laundry. Grandma was on the watch and I don’t know if she realized that little boys who will turn two in 3 months are faster than most Olympic track athletes. We also have a 2-week-old that needs changing and feeding.

It hit me.

I’m a real dad, and this is real life.

Dealing with one crisis while another one is going on at home is real fatherhood and what normal, average dads endure on a regular basis. This will be my “norm” for probably the next 20 year

These are the things I gave up pursuing a career in audio engineering for. I knew that starting out at the bottom, working long hours for minimum wage or less, would mean I’d miss stuff like this. Now, 7 years later, I’m in the thick of it and I’m happy.

I’m stressed.

But it feels like real life family stuff.

These moments of minor crisis that make you feel the walls are crumbling (but they’re not really even cracked) are what bind us together as a husband and wife team. They make us family. It’s the times when “You do this, I’ll do that, then we’ll meet here” that give us those small victories one after the other. And little by little we get better at running this small business we call “The Hills Family.”

I’m running on 3 hours of sleep today, and probably a combined 30 hours for the last week. But it’s not even bothering me because today I know I’m a real dad and a real husband.

This is real life.

Lent Is Over

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Lent is over.

My social media fast is done.

I still haven’t re-downloaded Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Why?

Possibly my most prevalent anxiety in fasting social media was that I would be missing out on something. There would be a hilarious picture everyone knew about that I didn’t, or I would miss details of the Blazer games on Twitter (we don’t have cable). But what I discovered was how much I had missed by being glued to my phone most of the day. Instagram only came to the Android operating system (the kind of phone I have) in April 2012, and it took me less than two years to forget the other things I enjoy.

In the last 40 days I finished a 250-page book, and started two others. I began reading the Psalms before I go to bed instead of trolling photos and tweets, and I can honestly say that I have been sleeping more soundly. My phone still comes out during commercials (those things suck) and I play a game or two, or respond to an email, but I think I’m getting better. 🙂

I’m certainly not anti-social media now, or anything crazy like that. And I’ll probably download all the social media apps again before I post this because it still is the best way to let people know what’s happening in your life. But taking a break for 40 days has made me realize the power three little applications had over my time and helped shift my perspective. Though they will once more be on my phone, I can promise you I won’t be on it even half as much as I used to be.

Whether you think you have a “problem” with social media or not, I challenge you to take a break for even one week. See if you have a “The Cable Guy” experience like I did.

If you’ve never seen “The Cable Guy” with Jim Carrey, at the end of the movie the cable goes out and everyone discovers reading again. 🙂