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Father's Day 2005

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Father's Day Thoughts

June 12, 2005                                                                      

·We appreciate dad's don't we.

·In fact, we need to intentionally show dad's some respect.

·Pop culture wont!

·Everybody Loves Raymond



·Dad is a bumbling idiot who couldn't exist without the guidance of an all knowing wife.

·Carl's Jr. "Some guys wouldn't eat if it weren't for Carl's Jr."

·We can make light of the dad's of the world, but frankly, it is the dad who has more

impact on children in terms of their life direction than anyone else, including mom.

·Researchers from Switzerland examined whether parents' religious habits were transmitted to their offspring. They studied different variables, but one critical factor towered above the rest: the practices of the father determine whether children grow up attending church or not. And here's the shocker: the habits of the mother have almost no influence over their kids' future devotion.

·When Mom is a regular churchgoer but Dad attends infrequently, just 3 percent of their kids go on to become regular churchgoers.

·When Mom is regular but Dad never attends, just 2 percent become regular attendees.

·When both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 33 percent of kids grow up to attend regularly.

·When Dad is regular but Mom only goes once in a while, the figure jumps to 38 percent.

·Here's the real bombshell: when Dad is faithful but Mom never attends, 44 percent of the kids end up as regular church attendees'

·If the kids see religion as "Mom's thing" they are more likely to become disenchanted. But if Dad leads by example, children are twenty-two times more likely to become lifelong churchgoers.

·I've learned early on in my very limited fathering experience that what I do is noticed by my son.

·I tend to use a certain tone of voice with Nathanael that is different than what I use with our dog.

·When I use an authoritarian voice with our dog to get her attention, Nathanael always stops what he is doing and turns to look at me. No smile. No cry. Just a look that says, "Something is different about that voice."

·Whether I like it or not, I have impact on my son's life even in the little things.

·If I'm worth my salt, I take that to heart.

·With that in mind, I need to be intentional in how I parent my child.

• On this, my first official Father's day, after not being satisfied where any part of my message preparation was going, I've decided to simply share from my heart the desires I have as a new dad as I raise my son.

·      do this, understanding that with time a certain level of sceptiscim creeps into our soul. Many times out of the heartaches and frustrations that come along with the joy of parenting. I am aware that my level of naiveté is considerably higher than the experienced parent. In fact I'm probably the least experienced parent in the congregation. I am aware that to some my desires are perhaps laughable, or maybe just warranting a smile and a shake of the head. But I know no other way to approach the privilege God has given me to be a dad then to enter in with optimism and an intentional plan for the coming days and years as I get to know Nathanael. Truthfully, any comments of "just wait until..." are received with an understanding that life is filled with unknowns and hidden futures, but when God is in control, who am I to worry about those things I only have today to prepare for.

·        With that said, here are my desires as a dad...

·        Give Intentional Direction

·      Proverbs 22:6 "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."

·      What this means is I can't sit back and simply let the world direct Nathanael down it's path. If I believe God's truth is authentic then yes, it matters what Nathanael's source of truth is while he is growing up. Eventually he chooses his way, but until then I need to be intentional in giving him direction.

·      When facing life, we need good direction. It doesn't just happen on our own. We may head off without anything but generalities, maybe even finding our way eventually, but in God's wisdom, He has called us to intentionally direct our children down the path of wisdom He chooses for all of us. There are not many paths to God. Only one. Jesus. And He's all we need. So, as Nathanael's dad I'm called to be his guide towards God's truth as he begin life's journey.

·      I need to direct him in understanding that life isn't just about Nathanael as well, That God would have Him be an instrument to use according to His plans.

·      His hopes and dreams and visions of worldly success only matter if God is in them.

·      Many things can be accomplished without God's blessing, but none can have eternal value without it.

·        What a privilege and responsibility. May I never take it lightly. And may I understand that how I live my life affects the validity of my direction.

·       Give Intentional Time

·      Being a listener

·       James 1:19b "You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."

• Tall order. But I think the key to avoiding that part of slow to get angry is the first directive: Quick to listen.

·      My dad modeled for me a patient ear, and still does.

·      The power in something as simple as listening to a child, no matter what age, is the reinforcement that that child matters to you as a father or mother. In fact, listening is a universal sign of value and respect to others.

·      If I never have time to sit and listen to Nathanael I'm telling him he doesn't have value. May I be man enough to never say with my life, "I'm more important to me than you."

·      Right now all Nathanael says is, "Baa, baa." He also is skilled in the clucking language of some indigenous African tribe I saw on a National Geographic special once. But the time I spend with him now builds foundations for the future.

·      What I'm trying to remember and prepare myself for is the time when he is able to share his thoughts on the world. Will I be ready and willing to hear what he has to say or will I be to busy with TV, a book, a meeting, a church event or that project that will always be there later?

·      As I listen I also teach him to be a listener. If he never experiences it, he'll never know to give it to others.

·       Experience life together

·      Intentionally make moments to share. Build the story of his life with me in it.

·      I desire to be intentional in sharing experiences with Nathanael.

·      Camping trips yes, but more importantly, just the everyday stuff

·      I need to be intentional about never letting my job as a pastor get in the way of my relationship with my son.

·      He needs to know that the job matters and how I do the job matters, but I'd be willing to leave that job if it became more important to me, than he is.

·      There is a call in ministry, but my first calling is to minister to my family. If I neglect my son for the sake of the church, I've misplaced my priorities.

·      I want to be there when he fails as much if not more than when he succeeds. It's in failure that we grow. It's not something to be afraid of My times of disappointment with his actions and choices doesn't disqualify him from my love as his father.

·      I want him to know that the opinion of others towards him never changes my love for him or more importantly God's love for him. While we serve as God would have us serve with His love, it is unhealthy to live to please people. The truth is you never will and when you do it's just because someone else wasn't in the room.

• There will be times of roasting marshmallows, catching fish, throwing baseballs and shooting hoops.

·       There will be times of help with home work, talking about earthworms, sea anemones and what's a star made of.

·       There will be times of heartache and times of great joy.

·       There will be evenings with Nathanael in his room, pouting over his discipline for talking back to mom or refusing to help clear the table after dinner.

·       There will be Christmas nights when we stay up to 1 A.M.. Putting together some new toy or project.

·       There will be new skills learned, and new friendships made.

·       There will be family get togethers and church events. Soccer games and/or concerts and/or science fairs and/or whatever he becomes interested in over time.

·       Eventually there will be girls... and my job will have been to already instilled in Nathanael the importance of value and respect for the opposite sex as humans, part of God's creation and not to give in to a sub-standard world view that says God's way in relationships is negotiable.

·       It's all about intentionally giving my time to Nathanael and experiencing life with him. Not hearing about it from someone else.

·        Model Intentional Single-mindedness

·      Above and beyond all else, I want to model single-mindedness in my devotion and love for Christ.

·      He will have to chose on his own, but may he never reject God because his father was apathetic about God. Yes, pastors can be apathetic about God.

·      In the midst of my failures and short-comings, successes and times of effectiveness I hope that he sees a man who has set his love for God at the center of his life and because of that I am a better dad than I would be on my own.

·      May he have no question as to my desire to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. And my neighbor as much as myself And may he know that any success in this area is not from me but from the presence of God's Holy Spirit working in my life.

·      As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

·       Conclusion:

·      As I re-read what I wrote, I already know I have a challenge ahead and I will not be perfect in this process.

·        I have a lot to learn. Hopefully, because I am willing to learn I will grow in my ability to be the dad God would want me to be.

·        I'm also reminded that this is a life-long journey. Dad's have influence in their sons

life when their 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55...

·       Maybe the only thing I can give to you dad's and granddad's here this morning is the challenge to consider sitting down and think through what you want to be as a dad.

·       Then, with the direction of God's truth and His presence in your life, be intentional about it.

·       What I shared with you this morning is pathetically incomplete. But at the same time it is a bit wordy.

·       Because the foundation that gives power to being a man of God, is a life that is set on honoring God.

·       Nothing is more important. Nothing has more power.

·       Romans 12: 1-2 "And so, dear brothers an sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

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