Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Father’s Day Message; 15 June 2014

Scriptures for this Sunday: Luke 15:11-32

You can read these Scriptures here:  NIV

Affirmation of Faith: UMH 887

Hymns for this Sunday

UMH 554 – All Praise to Our Redeeming Lord

                      verses 1,2,3, 6

!!!!!!(use melody UMH 57)

UMH 695 – O Lord, May Church and Home Combine

         !!!!!!!(use melody UMH 378)

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Today is Father’s Day, and today is set aside to celebrate our fathers. It is a day of recognition. It is a day of remembering the contributions of our fathers, past and present. It is also about preparing future fathers, something that the Church should be diligent about not only on Father’s Day but every day of the year. It is a day to highlight fatherhood and the parenting done by men in all of our lives. Some of that parenting was done by our biological fathers and some of that parenting was done by men who mentored us somewhere along our life’s journeys.

Father’s Day is a happy day filled with ties, all you can eat buffets and mugs boldly proclaiming, “The World’s Best Dad!”

Father’s Day is a day to honor men who function as mentors to many young people thus becoming “adoptive” fathers to these youths.

Father’s Day is also a sad reminder that many fathers in our society are physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually absent from the lives of their children and from the families that they started. (“It is all fun and games until you have to get up at 2 am to change a diaper.”)

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As I stand before you today, June 15, 2014, I am very aware that there is a reason why God made it necessary to have both a male and a female to create and nurture a new life. Fathers offer a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the development of their children. While single moms are capable of successfully raising their children (I am an illustration of that), we know that life works best when there is also a male role model, preferably fulfilled by the father present in the life of a child, as they grow, mature and discover their place in the world. As a society, by and large we no longer understand why it is important for children to have both a mom and a dad.

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It is complicated being a parent. It involves intimacy and distance, it involves order and chaos, it includes safety and taking appropriate risks. Being a father means a need for immediacy, and patience to wait an extra moment to intervene or respond to a cry at a time of need. Being a parent involves appropriate distance so that children can learn problem-solving, patience, and self-reliance.

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A huge part of being a father is about mirroring God’s movements in his life as well as nurturing a child’s experiences and uniqueness. It is about the intimacy of care and mentoring, and privacy and space of

  • self-reflection (“have you thought about…”)

  • self-creation (“what do you think you should do….”) and

  • emotional growth.

A huge part of being a father is helping children to imagine what they are capable of accomplishing and encouraging them to do that.

So this morning we honor the incredible impact that fathers have on our lives. Dads, don’t ever think you are not important in the lives of your children. Make every effort to be involved in their lives.

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Today I want to use a lens from Paul’s letter to Ephesians when he wrote, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV2010). I want to use that advice from Paul and see how Paul’s advice is rooted in the teachings of Jesus and is demonstrated in the story of the Prodigal Son that we heard this morning.

{Pictorial Review of the Parable Found in Luke 15:11-32}

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One of the ways to look at this story is to think of it as a story of a loving father, rather than the story of a son who was a little too eager to fly the coop. That story relays this father’s intimacy with both of his children and his willingness to give them space to grow and to figure out who they are. It is a story of order and chaos, the safety of a nurturing environment and teaching children about taking risks and being responsible for their actions. That story demonstrates the need for immediacy and patience; that story teaches about vision of waiting patiently to intervene at an appropriate time, to do so without infringing on his child’s autonomy and understanding of who he or she is. It is a story of a father being willing to keep his own emotions in check so that his children can learn about responsibility, self-reliance, patience, and problem-solving, and last but not least, coexistence.

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This story does NOT end with, “… and they lived happily ever after.” We do not know what changes the Prodigal Son made in his life, if any. We also do not know what lessons that the older “goody-two-shoes”-son learned out of that experience. We do not even know whether these two brothers ever learned to see eye-to-eye or sit at the same table again. All we know is that their father was willing to give his children the space that they needed, provide guidance and ways to reconciliation when necessary, and to love both of them unconditionally. It is a story of a father who did not exasperate his children, and taught both of them about the Love and Grace of God in the process (Ephesians 6:4).

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Today, as we celebrate Father’s Day, I thank God for fathers who persevered, changed diapers at 2 am, lived through their children’s rebellion phases, sat through recitals and school plays, slept with bugs during camping trips, who stood by their families and stood their ground under harsh circumstances and did a million other things to fulfill the office of fatherhood. I thank God for fathers who made a choice to love their children rather than leave their children. I thank God for fathers who made a choice and an effort to lovingly impart wisdom and the knowledge of God, teach the value of work, the need for integrity, the courage to hope and to dream, and who did it selflessly and with love.

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Happy Father’s Day!

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{Time Permitting: “Art is a lie that tells us something about the truth”}

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