Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. – 2 Peter 1:16-18

A greeting card company executive had a great idea. He would go to the local prison, set up a table in the prison cafeteria, and offer to send Mother’s Day cards for the inmates free of charge. The idea was so successful that they had to order another truckload of cards!

He figured that if it worked for Mother’s Day, then Father’s Day they would do the same thing. However, to his surprise, not a single inmate took advantage of the opportunity on Father’s Day.

It is well documented that inmates have a strong relationship with their mothers but distant, if any, relationship with their fathers.

Jesus Christ had a strong relationship with his Father. At least twice (as recorded in the Gospels) God the Father spoke these encouraging words of love to his Son, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This affirmation of love from a Father to a Son was so powerful that one of the men present remembered it many years afterward.

The relationship of father and son is powerful but overlooked by too many today. This is Father’s Day. How will you handle this day? While it may have very well been set up as a day to sell greeting cards, I hope you’ll take advantage to re-establish – or strengthen – your relationship with your father. Take him out to lunch this week, if possible. Sit down and talk with him.

“What?” you say. “You obviously don’t know my father!” Don’t have to. Heard it before. Been through it myself. It took a long time, but my relationship with my father has strengthened and grown over the years. Because Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, made me a forgiven man, I was able to forgive my own father. He wasn’t anything horrendous. He was just this man, you know? Mostly harmless. A sinner like the rest of us. Doing his best, most of the time, to raise a family and make his way in this world. He had his failings. Just like I have mine. The older I get, more I realize how much I’m like him – and different from him – but more importantly, I realize how I am forgiven like him by God the Father. He accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to make me a new person. A new and better son and father and husband in my own right. He also has forgiven my father and made him into a better husband and father.

Here’s some thoughts from Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror, for your Father’s Day. (From A Look in the Mirror #103 A Man’s Guide to Father’s Day”


Sons to Living Fathers: If your father is living, take him to lunch—maybe just the two of you. Prepare a list of things you appreciate and a summary of the ways you feel let down. Read the list of things you appreciate to him. Give examples. Then, tell him about the pain you have felt. Talk about it. He will probably express regret.

Regardless of his response tell him, “Dad, I thank you for being my Dad. You mean so much to me. I forgive you for the past. I love you very much, and I want us to have a good relationship. Why don’t we plan to spend more time together? Maybe we can have lunch or breakfast once every (week, month, two months, quarterly).”

Sons to Deceased Fathers: Write your father a letter. Spend a few days jotting down notes, then sit down and write it out. Tell him what you appreciate, the good things he passed along to you, all the things you miss, what you regret, the places where you think he let you down. Then, by God’s grace, thank him where you can, and forgive him for everything else. If emotion comes, don’t hold it back. A good cry can heal many hurts. Let it all go. When you are done, ceremoniously burn the letter as a symbol of putting the past behind you once and for all. If you can’t let it go, consider a few sessions with a professional Christian counselor. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life with a seed of bitterness eating away at you.

Sons to Fathers-In-Law: My father-in-law has been my encourager, mentor, and champion. Why not send a special letter of gratitude to your father-in-law for welcoming you into his family, giving you the hand of his daughter, supporting you through the years, and whatever else you can say that expresses gratitude? If possible, consider going to lunch and presenting your letter in person.

Never Knew Your Dad? Write God a letter with all the questions you have about your father. Tell God how much you miss not knowing or not having a dad. Thank God for the men who have filled in gaps. Ask God to fill in everything else. Consider finding a younger man who doesn’t have a dad in his life and get your families together.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Becoming the Lord’s Prayer

Recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, what we call the “Lord’s Prayer” is really the “Disciples’ Prayer.” Jesus didn’t pray this prayer (His prayer is recorded in John 17).  He gave it to us to pray.

In my life, prayer often becomes too memorize, too formulaic. I love the Lord’s Prayer, but it has become so ingrained in my mind that I can say it without consciously knowing what I’m praying, and that bothers me. I won’t stop praying the Lord’s Prayer but I will make greater effort to actually pray it like I mean it.

But I also want to take this concept of prayer further in my life. Instead of just something I say, I want prayer to be something I am.

I want to be the Lord’s Prayer. Everything I do, say, think, and feel I want captured by the love of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus prays, “ Father … I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word” I want to be that kind of person.

When Jesus prays, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” I want to be that kind of person.

I want to be the prayer that Jesus’ prays. In other words, I want to be used by Jesus to bring His Gospel to the world. I want to be able to do that in the things that I say or don’t say, the things I do or don’t do. In everything fiber of my being I want to be an instrument of the Good News of Jesus.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Day of Summer Vacation

Friday night was an excellent celebration of 8 young men and women who are moving on to high school in the fall. I’ve been honored and privileged to be a part of their life and education for the last three years.

Yesterday was the last day of their 8th grade year and the last day of school. School’s out for the summer!

My oldest son slept in this morning. Got up about 9:00 a.m. It took him until 1:41 p.m. to utter those age-old words that I think every thirteen year old  says near the beginning of summer vacation.

“I’m bored.”

That got me thinking about boredom. I just looked at a topic index for Nave’s Topical Bible and boredom isn’t on the list. The closest thing is “boring the ear” and that is about putting rings through the earlobes.

But while the word doesn’t show up in most English translations of the Bible, I think the topic is covered 2 Samuel 11. While Israel’s army was off fighting the Ammonites at Rabbah, David stayed home. He was lying around one evening then got up and walked around the patio of his home. That’s when he saw Bathsheba. The rest is history. Adultery, murder, death.

Had David been where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing – being a man after God’s own heart – none of the pain, suffering and death would have happened.

David knew that he should follow in the ways of the Lord. But he let himself get into a situation where he could get bored. He wasn’t doing what God wanted him to do.

If we follow God’s ways, we will never get bored, right? I dont’ think so. I think that in a perfect world that would be true, but not in the real word.

However, if I find myself getting bored, I’ll seek out God in His Word and listen for His will in my life.

So what did I do with my son who said “I’m bored”? I got him involved in the tech ministry at church. He isn’t bored anymore!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day Anniversary

Sixty-five years ago, this message was handed to the tens of thousands of men at various marshalling points throughout England:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.

The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

My grandfather was one of the men that boarded a transport ship, sailed across the English channel and stormed the beach at Normandy with his brothers-in-arms. The night before, thousands of paratroopers dropped inland to open the way from the beaches into the countryside.

My grandfather survived that day. He lived to fight throughout the coming months. He was wounded in the Battle of Bulge but survived to live another forty years – and I am here because of that! My grandfather is a hero to me because he “did a job that needed doing” and didn’t think of himself first.

They all were individuals who fought together as a whole and attained the victory that saved the world from tyranny and unspeakable violence against the innocent.

Their legacy is that we are here today. Those of us who live in free societies have a responsibility to carry on the work of freedom.

This is no less so for those who are members of the Church. As followers of Jesus we are saved as individuals. Jesus died for each one of us. He loves each one of us.

But we also work together in the Church to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world enslaved in the tyranny of sin.

As we remember D-Day, let us learn from my grandfather’s, and all the grandfathers who fought and died that day, example of self-sacrifice. Let us “do the job that needs doing” and fight against evil with the Good News of Jesus Christ.