Summary: Now the doctrine of believer’s adoption into God’s family is rich with assurance and commitment from our Heavenly Father. But until it hits home in a real way, it’s just not the same.

The title of my message is “Adopted, into the family of God.”

Now the doctrine of believer’s adoption into God’s family is rich with assurance and commitment from our Heavenly Father. But until it hits home in a real way, it’s just not the same.

Thankfully, God knows what He’s doing and He has proven himself to me in many, many ways. And may I say to you that many of these ways were very painful. But as I look at the life of great men of the Bible for whom I don’t hold a candle to, I can relate in many ways.

For example Paul, a Christian killer turned Church Planter; Moses and David, also murders. The Bible is full of killers, adulterers, liars, thieves, etc. for which God changed and used for His Kingdom and His Glory.

But this morning I’m going to talk a little about me and my life so far.

My childhood was normal outside the house. I had friends, my brother and I would fight until someone picked on him then we were on the same side. My friends and I would sneak alcohol from the house once in a while, but for the most part, we were pretty good kids.

My childhood wasn’t normal inside the house. I’m sure we weren’t unique, but I knew it wasn’t right. A few examples… my mom would spend hours cooking a meal for my father and when he came home, if he didn’t like what she cooked, there was more than a few times that he would upset an entire table of food and plates and silverware onto the floor, then make my mom clean it up.

He would accuse her of crazy, stupid things and many times include me in the so called punishment.

Another example: there was not only physical abuse, there was emotional abuse. On Sunday mornings it was a treat to go to Sunday school because I knew my dad wouldn’t go, therefore we would have a few hours of peace. But he would wait until we got dressed up in our Sunday clothes and as soon as it was time to go out the door he would stand in front of it and not allow us to go. We would be told to go change our clothes because we weren’t going anywhere.

I always wondered and never knew why that I was many times called out when my dad would be mean to my mom.

Then one day the answer showed up…I was a senior in high school, Carole and I had had an argument and she claims that she thought I was going to raise my hand to her as she shouted out “you don’t have to be like him, he’s not even your father!”

Everything stopped! I was stunned! Wow, the best kept secret ever. Later I found out that even my brother knew and never told me. I was devastated. I felt a little better knowing that my mom is my real mom, but even the “mean father” made more sense than no father. I was so sick about it that I was even afraid to go talk to my mom about it, so I kept that inside for quite a while.

Fast forward through the years…Panic attacks come fairly regular. I have a pretty good job, I married the girl of my dreams, we have three beautiful children, we flirt with church once in a while, but still…the panic attacks just keep coming and according to my wife, I was becoming too hard to live with.

Then …the year of severe training was about to begin. One of my best friends had just left a bar, slid on the gravel around a curve at a high rate of speed and wrapped his car around a tree, dying instantly, as Carole and I come upon him only 10 or 15 minutes later. The person to show up right before us was his sister. We all screamed with unbelief at what we were seeing.

Then only 2 weeks later, February 13th 1986, the digger boom truck that I was operating malfunctioned and the auger broke out of the stow and crushed my arm. A doctor was flown into Suburban General Hospital to perform emergency surgery as I was scared to death that I would bleed to death or loose my arm. And at the same time on the same day my dad was breaking the news to the family that he was just diagnosed with small cell carcinoma – acute, fast growing lung cancer that without treatment he would live for 6 weeks and with treatment he would live for 6 months.

So there we are, Neal in the hospital in Bethesda MD getting surgery and dad, the only dad I every knew, in Saltillo informing the family that he was dying. My wife is beside herself, my sister is screaming at my dad to get saved. Everyone is a mess.

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