Mike Connell talks about connecting to the Fatherhood of God in his latest interview with City News.
“There is a great need for people to experience the Fatherhood of God,” says Mike Connell in a recent interview with City News. “This generation that is arising has so many broken families and there is a lack of knowledge of what a father is and what a father does.”
Connell is the senior pastor of Bay City Outreach Center in Hastings, New Zealand. Best known for his ministry in deliverance and inner healing, he is also a lecturer at City Harvest Church’s School of Theology. City News caught up with him in an interview when he was in town to teach at SOT in June 2016.
Connell says that in the past months, God has been revealing His Fatherhood to him in a much deeper way. He explained that the lack of fatherhood in the life of this generation’s youth affects their identity.
“When you’re not strong in your identity, you find that you’re outside of yourself. So you find that there are many young people who are lost because there is no one to father them. I think the church has to make sure that in this coming season, they will father the generation and not just provide leadership for them. Leadership will lead them to a vision but fatherhood direct them to their identity.”
To know God as a Father and live out their life out of son-ship, one has to first build a relationship with God, Connell says. “I think a lot of people don’t do that. They talk to Jesus (when they pray) but not to the Father.”
Connell goes on to speak about how a Christian can relate to God as his Father and find his identity in Him.
1. IMITATE JESUS
“From a Hebrew perspective, to be a son is to be a builder of the Father’s house. This means to have a relationship with Him and to work with Him in building His house and expanding His Kingdom. It just come out of who you are, it’s a family business. Jesus is our Elder Brother and He is the perfect representation of the Father.
“Want to know what the Father looks like? Study Jesus. How did he relate to people, what did He teach, what did He do? And you see what the Father is like in the way Jesus handles people. Jesus touched the leper, that means the Father would touch the untouchable. He is not afraid of being polluted by the leper. He is not afraid to touch them because He knows that the need is not just physical but in the heart as well.”
2. EMPOWERMENT BY THE SPIRIT
“Jesus’ baptism in the Spirit is also the promise of the Father. What happens after he received the promise of the Father?
“Firstly, He had access to heaven and unlimited access to the Father. We don’t get that kind of access to our earthly Father but Jesus get that access to His Heavenly Father all the time. At the baptism of the Spirit, we too gain access to the Father, at all times. We are never alone. We can always access our Father.
“Secondly, He was touched by His Father—the Spirit of the Father came on Him. One way you communicate love to other people by touching them. The Holy Spirit came on Him and He experienced that touch from His Father.
“Thirdly, the Father speaks to Him and affirms His identity and belonging. ‘You’re my Son, You belong to me, You’re part of me.’ These are words of affirmation. ‘My beloved Son, I’m pleased with you.’ Most people never heard their father say ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m pleased with you’. They just get criticized. So the father’s blessing that came on Jesus is what He promised for us as well.
“Empowerment for life is not just getting the Holy Spirit and tongues, it is access to the Father and getting the blessing. It is to live a life that’s intimate with the Father and be His representative. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live like a Son of God and to represent the Father to do His work. People’s understanding of getting baptized in the Spirit can be very shallow. This is Jesus’ example and it’s the same thing we get.
“When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He empowers us to live a supernatural life. This means that supernatural becomes normal. For God, supernatural is normal. If the physical world is made by the spiritual world, then the spiritual world is above it; the spiritual world can change the natural world. That’s what Jesus did, He tap into a realm that is higher than the natural realm to overcome it.”
3. WHAT JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT THE FATHER
“To me, the best picture that Jesus gave of what the Father is really like is in the Parable Of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15. The prodigal son is living with the pigs. He had basically wasted his father’s property and now he has come back. His father has already forgiven him.
“What kind of father is that?
“Most fathers would have scolded him, but his father ran to him and hugged him and made him feel welcome because he had a repentant heart. Our Father in heaven is like that. It’s rather hard to get hold of [the fact but] the Father welcomes people that smell like pigs.
“The elder brother thinks his younger brother doesn’t deserve it. He thinks: I’ve worked so hard and you didn’t do these things for me. That is what religious people are like. Religion is all about whether you deserve it or not. However, Jesus says the Kingdom of God is not like that. He says, you’ve missed the point: both sons are lost.
“The elder son represents the religious teachers and the younger son represents the prostitutes and sinners who have gathered round to listen to him. The reason why Jesus tells the story was because the religious people are criticising Him for mixing with the wrong people. He says, that’s what the Father’s like; He doesn’t give you what you deserve.
“I meditate on that verse a lot and I realize that God is truly a loving and generous Father. He really loves us far more than we realize. You really need to have a revelation of that, otherwise the only picture you’ve got is your own natural father. when you use the word ‘father’, what comes to mind is what you’ve experienced and you project that image towards God.
“The second one that’s extraordinary is in John where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Jesus knows who He is, He knows where He is going. He takes off his cloak, put on the servant’s rags and goes and washes the disciples’ feet. Then He says, ‘I’m Your Lord and I do that, so now you need to do that too.’
“Remember Jesus represented the Father; imagine the Father coming to wash your feet! Yes, that’s wow! God’s like that. It’s hard for us to understand.”
4. REVELATION OF THE ABBA FATHER AND THE PATER FATHER
“We need two revelations of the Father. There are two words to describe the Father: Abba is like ‘Daddy’, it is intimate. But you also need the second word, Pater which means the ‘Lord of the house’, someone that deserves respect and honor. Abba is ‘Daddy come hug me’ while Pater is honor and respect. So we need both revelations to walk right with God. If you only have intimacy, you become overfamiliar and disrespectful. If you only have the other one—honor, respect and fear—then you won’t become intimate with Him. You must have the balance. That is in Jesus’ prayer. There are always the two sides.
“Respect is the first thing because when you respect someone, you attract them to you. Disrespect drives them away.
“You can’t disrespect God; you’ll drive Him away. Romans 1:21 says, ‘Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.’
“Two things here: disrespect and ungratefulness. The result is the people falling away. If it’s a Kingdom principle, it works anywhere, so think about human relationships. You go to the checkout and you smile at the cashier, show her gratitude, immediately she smiles back and gives you first class treatment. Gratitude inspire you to do more.
“Disrespect is overfamiliarity and it always ends up being unthankful. That’s why we need to be thankful all the time. The Bible says comes into His gates with thanksgiving, come into His courts with praise; that is respect and honor. Worship is intimacy. After that you listen to Him speak to you; and that is the pattern to how we come near to God.”