When you hear the word “father,” do you think of someone who is loving…or angry? Someone who is pleased with you…or constantly disappointed? Someone who is always available…or someone who is too busy, preoccupied, or distant? When you think of “Father God,” what images come to mind?
Regardless of the type of father you grew up with—or without—it is likely that your view of God is influenced by the relationship you had with your father. Author John Bishop wants to help you discover that God is not just like your dad. Instead, God is the Father revealed in Scripture, where the truth is clear. God is a father who is:
• always there
• up close and personal
• fully pleased
• in complete control
• completely safe
Filled with biblical insight and practical tools for reflection, healing, and restoration, God Distorted will enable you to break free from the lies of the enemy and see your heavenly Father as He truly is.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I am broken, just like many of you who by God’s grace are reading this book about dads, children, and God. As much as I knew my earthly dads (yes, plural), I have learned to know God even better. By no stretch of the imagination or résumé am I an expert on parenting, or on the role of fathers in the lives of their children, or on the character of God as the perfect Father. However, having had four very different earthly fathers, being the father of three very different kids, and serving as a pastor for over twenty years, I at least have a broad, varied, and hopefully helpful perspective in being both child and father. I was the child dreaming of the perfect father, and I finally found him in the God who I now know was always there.
Writing this book has been an experience full of irony that isn’t lost on me. Take today, for example. This morning I got a Father’s Day card from my daughter Katie and son-in-law Jordan. I am sitting here staring at a card that says so much and ends with “I love you, Daddy. Forever and always—Katie Lee.” But just moments ago I hung up the phone with my son, David, who is currently incarcerated at our local county jail. He had to end our call abruptly because he was being put in lockdown. Talk about emotional whiplash! Honestly, God. Really?
To hear David’s voice and his words, “Dad, I love you and will call you when I can.” Yeah, those words break the heart of a daddy. That’s when the irony hurts. Who am I to write about fathers when I am mad at myself as a dad, aggravated by the residual issues from the fathers I had, and frustrated with God and others? I know David has made
wrong choices. Lots of them. I get it in my head, but I really have a hard time being okay with it in my heart. But then God lets me know that this is exactly why He wants me to write this book. He has me right where I need to be, learning exactly what I need to learn, in order to share what He wants me to share.
In life—not just as a pastor, but as a dad—I have heard more stories than I can count about brokenness, pain, anger, resentment, and insecurity that are directly related to dysfunctional father relationships. I have plenty of my own! I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned some things that have helped me both cope and become better at being a dad.
I can’t explain every situation, but I can empathize with most. Whether you are fifteen or seventy-five, you are still the child of your dad. The wounds of a dad, admitted or not, can bring so much pain and confusion to the heart of a child.
I cannot change your past, but I am praying about your today and am hoping that the words in this book will help you walk toward a new future. Have you been broken and hurt? I have too. Have you felt controlled, abandoned, ignored, or rejected? I have too. I get it. I don’t necessarily know more than anyone else, but I am willing to share with you my journey to healing, in the hopes it may benefit you in some way.
I am a child who was abused, abandoned, and left. I am a father who is trying to be a better father. But most importantly, I am a child of God who has learned to be healed and be a healer of others.
Why This Book? Why Now? Why Me?
It is my life’s passion to help people meet the God who loves them so much He died for them. But often we have to begin by tearing down a wall of preconceived ideas and distorted images of God that have been created by the images projected by our earthly fathers.
I am a confessed accidental pastor who somehow by God’s grace has been blessed to be part of a church that has seen over eight thousand people baptized in eight years and has seen tens of thousands changed by grace and for the glory of only God. We are in a part of America where people don’t really want to go to church. In my life personally and in our lives corporately, God has been distorted into something that isn’t right. The God distortion needs to be changed. It needs to be different for our generation—a generation that has been broken by dad issues and needs to be restored and reclaimed by God. Fathers—and the lack of them—have in many cases tainted our view of God and prevented relationship with Him. I have dedicated my life as a pastor to knowing God and making Him known. I don’t care what struggle you have or what God looks like in your mind, but I can say without hesitation that the God I have come to know is the answer to the deepest longing of your heart.
My intent is not to make fathers feel or look bad, but to help us as children identify the fears and insecurities we still carry as scars from our childhood. I have been challenged as a father while writing this book, and I am now determined—passionate, even—to do better as a result of what I have learned.
What Is This Book?
This book is split into three parts. In the first part, we identify eight different types of fathers. You are probably going to recognize yourself and your family members somewhere in here. It’s not always easy reading about what goes on in the home, how children develop emotionally and relationally, and what impact that has on their God-image. Some of the stories are extreme examples, and you may see your father as a milder version of the one described. Or you may even see Dad as a combination of more than one description.
In part 2, we begin a journey of discovering who our heavenly Father truly is, as defined in God’s Word. What aspect of His character specifically speaks to the wounds of our past? What does God promise that can heal the deep fears that drive our dysfunctional behaviors and steal our joy? This is where you meet a God who loves you more than anyone ever has, could, or will, in spite of the things you might hate about yourself.
Part 3 is where we get practical. It is my sincere hope that here you will experience healing and then bring restoration to the lives of those around you. Maybe you feel constantly discouraged by the Enemy and want to fight back. Perhaps you struggle to live differently, even as a child of God. When you learn, pray, and perhaps cry, and when hope is rebirthed in your heart, maybe you will see the need to forgive someone for hurting you. This section addresses all of these issues, and more, giving you all the tools you need to do better than you have before.
Following part 3 is a study guide to help you work through the fears that distort your view of God. That will be the opportunity for you to pray, read the Bible, and allow God to speak healing into your heart.
I pray that you will, by the end of these pages, see God more clearly and understand His unconditional love and acceptance of you, right as you are today.
Table of Contents
Foreword Ruth Graham xi
Part 1 Our Perception: Understanding Different Daddy Types
1 Image Distorted 3
2 My Daddy Story 11
3 The Father Who Wasn't There: The Absent Father 15
4 The Father Who Was There, but Not "There": The Passive Father 21
5 The Father Who Expects Perfection: The Demanding Father 27
6 The Father Who Rescues: The Enabling Father 31
7 The Father Who Is Always Right: The Controlling Father 35
8 The Father Who Hurts Others: The Abusive Father 40
9 The Father Who Blames: The Accusing Father 46
10 The Father Who Is Good: Good Is Still Not God 52
Part 2 God's Perfection: Discovering the True Heavenly Father
11 The Perfect Father 59
12 God Is Always with You 68
13 God Is Up Close and Personal 78
14 God Is Fully Pleased 87
15 God Does Not Owe You 97
16 God Is in Perfect Control 107
17 God Is Completely Safe 117
18 God Is Always Accepting 128
Part 3 Our Reflection: Experiencing Healing and Restoration
19 Mirror, Mirror 139
20 Getting Off the Orphan Train 143
21 Finding God in the Garbage 151
22 The Battle Plan 161
23 Taking the "T" Out of Can't 171
24 Finishing Strong 180
Study Guide: My Progression: Letting Go of Daddy Damage
A Personal Application of Chapter 3: Letting Go of the Fear of Abandonment 185
A Personal Application of Chapter 4: Letting Go of the Fear of Rejection 189
A Personal Application of Chapter 5: Letting Go of the Fear of Disapproval 193
A Personal Application of Chapter 6: Letting Go of an Attitude of Entitlement 197
A Personal Application of Chapter 7: Letting Go of the Fear of Failure 201
A Personal Application of Chapter 8: Letting Go of the Fear of Being Hurt 205
A Personal Application of Chapter 9: Letting Go of the Fear of Being Blamed 211
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am on staff at Living Hope Church led by Pastor John Bishop. I had the honor of sharing some of my story with him that was subsequently included in God Distorted. Aside from my own story being featured, I was eager to read this book because I lead our recovery and restoration ministry and have seen pain and brokenness in the lives of men and women who have distorted views of God. As much as I was enjoying reading the book, I found myself asking how I could use this to minister to others. I didn't expect to really find anything for me as I had "dealt with my issues." But then I came to chapter 14 - "God is Fully Pleased". The words on page 89 really left me undone. I read them once, then again, and then just sat there staring at them. "Am I good enough?" The very question rocked me to the core. At that moment, in the middle of a crowded and noisy coffee shop, I became acutely aware of God. I felt as if He put His finger on my heart and said, "Yeah, it's time to deal with this now." As I continued reading I loved the story about the elephant chained up, and the quote, "It is not the chain that binds him; it is the memory of the chain." Those words really resonated with me as I realized I have been trapped, not by something that is happening to me, but by my memories of what has happened. I have allowed the past to not only influence, but define, my future. God Distorted and those specific words have been the catalyst for amazing breakthrough in my life over the past couple of months. I believe this book will be a tool for so many people to bring healing, restoration, and freedom, even the people who think it's for "other people".
In God Distorted, John Bishop uses his personal experience with life and faith to create an insightful and explosive text about how the human experience with earthly father impacts our view and to a great extent, experience, with our heavenly Father. I can appreciate the authors descriptive on how much he wanted an earthly father who loved him unabashedly, having lost his own father very early in life and then subjected to an abusive stepfather. As readers, we can definitely see how experiencing anything more than a “good” earthly father with whom we can communicate well can poorly affect our relationship with a “good” God. Bishop has some great discussion points on process of forgiveness and with how to persevere and live the Christian life in spite of hardships. The first part of the book deals with reviewing and rethinking our earthly parental relationship with our father; while the second part focuses on our Father God and the biblical aspects. Finally, part three deals with rebuilding or restructuring our relationship with God with the new knowledge that we have and pursuing a Christian life full of his graces and mercy. I think every new father or father-to-be should receive this book as preparation for the fatherhood role. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
The Father of Us All In reviewing the book “God Distorted”, we come to fully understand the role the Heavenly Father has over all of the earthly fathers and what are expected from them, when it comes to fathering children. The question that lingers is ‘What makes a child relationship with their mother and father solely different from one another? The distinction between the roles are one is nurturing and the other is disciplining. Children oftentimes cleave to the mother because of her nurturing spirit and her gentleness, while the father is oftentimes, known for his strong disciplining spirit. As a child, our perception of a perfect father is distorted when something wrong is done that change how the child looks at the father. The author talks about TV dads versus Real dads; the perception from TV dads is that there is a perfect dad, but the reality is there is no one perfect except for God. Moreover, we find ourselves searching for the perfect father when we are hurt or disappointed by our dad at home. How we relate to our earthly father should not be the same as how we relate to our Heavenly Father. Yet we tend to treat God the same way when we have a temper-tantrum, when we cannot get our way. The author reminds us that “God Is God, Not Your Earthly Dad” , with that said we ought to change our perception of God as our earthly dad and more so our Heavenly dad.
Interesting Thought How does humanity visualize God? Do we see him as omnibenevolent, all forgiving, and always there? Well, John Bishop, author of God Distorted, would argue that if we do not see our earthly father as omnibenevolent, all forgiving, or always there we could potentially have a distorted view of God, our Heavenly Father. It is interesting, for most of us in Christendom we do see God as our advocate. In Bishop’s book he recounts nine different father types that conclusively match our earthly father. If we have one of the eight fathers than we have a distorted view; the ninth would be a perfect father who is always there, always supports us, and disciplines accordingly. Finding your distorted view of God can be quiet the struggle, because no one wants to think they have a distorted view. “God Distorted” was a real eye opener into my life. Further, it allowed me to see how my conception of God is consolidated in a true understanding of God. Of course, I did not have a perfect earthly father, no one does. However, this book explained how my view of God is not distorted. When I think of God, I think He is (as John describes) always there, always praying for us, always doing His will to complete my life. There have been moments in my life that I can now reflect back on, and realize I did have a distorted view. But, I would be the rare exception. Growing up, I really did not have a permanent father figure. So in my case how could I have a distorted view of my Heavenly Father, God? John will also, rather succinctly, explain this understanding as well. Overall, I felt the book was a concise example of how people do distort their images of God because of the mistakes earthly fathers have made. As I continue to grow as a Christen and the Lord blesses me with children I will refer back to it, so I do not become their distorted image of God.
God Distorted. How Your Earthly Father Affects Your Perception of God and Why It Matters. John Bishop WaterBrook Multnomah 2013 paperback, 240 pages Book Description When you hear the word “father,” do you think of someone who is loving…or angry? Someone who is pleased with you…or constantly disappointed? Someone who is always available…or someone who is too busy, preoccupied, or distant? When you think of “Father God,” what images come to mind? Regardless of the type of father you grew up with—or without—it is likely that your view of God is influenced by the relationship you had with your father. Author John Bishop wants to help you discover that God is not just like your dad. Instead, God is the Father revealed in Scripture, where the truth is clear. God is a father who is: • always there • up close and personal • fully pleased • in complete control • completely safe Filled with biblical insight and practical tools for reflection, healing, and restoration, God Distorted will enable you to break free from the lies of the enemy and see your heavenly Father as He truly is. About the Author JOHN BISHOP is the founding and senior pastor of Living Hope Church, which has grown from four families to nearly five thousand weekly attendees. John has a master’s degree in leadership and evangelism, and is an international speaker with a passion to both encourage and challenge pastors to propagate what matters most to the heart of God: reaching the lost. John lives with his wife, Michelle, and their three children in Battle Ground, Washington. This has been my favorite read this year. God Distorted gives a factual look at the Father image of God. John Bishop reminds the reader many, many times that “God is not a bigger version of your earthly father”. Part 1 “Our Perception” identifies the eight earthly father types and how each can affect a child’s life. Part 2 “God’s Perfection” shows how our Heavenly father treated his disciples and followers to understand how He thinks of us. Part 3 “Our Reflection” discusses healing and restoration. A study guide follows. The author uses scripture, his own personal experiences, and stories from people that he has interviewed. I think that the father types can also be affixed to other prominent people who had a part in a young child’s life. Of course, I recommend this book; it would be especially good for fathers-to-be, for new fathers, or for a men’s study. It is a valuable read for anyone for a correct perception of God. Visit the author’s website for a Sneak Peak of God Distorted. Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided, by WaterBrook Multnomah, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received.