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 the Sunday Message; Father’s Day 2016

Scripture for Father’s Day 2016 will be Galatians 4:1-6; Ephesians 6:1-4

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010, The Message, ESV}

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Today is father’s Day and today is about remembering the contributions of our fathers, past and present. Today is also about preparing future fathers for the role of parent and husband, 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. Father’s Day is a day to honor our biological fathers and dads as well as men who function as mentors to many young people thus becoming “adoptive” fathers to these youths.

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As I stand before you on Father’s Day 2016, I am intensely 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. It is impossible to watch TV without observing the portrayal of the modern-day husband and father acting as lazy, incompetent and irresponsible. We know that this is not an all-representative portrayal of fatherhood because all we have to do is look around this sanctuary to see excellent examples of husbands and fathers that are dependable, industrious, competent, and devoted to their wives and children.

The uncomplimentary portrayal of dads is not new in our culture. Fathers and husbands are portrayed on TV as deranged (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “Simpsons”), troubled (“The Sopranos”), incompetent (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Roseanne”), dimwitted (“Family Guy,” “Married With Children”), absent (“Grace Under Fire,” “Two Broke Girls”), and irresponsible (“Yes, Dear”). There are few instances where the father has a job, works hard to provide for his family, is devoted to his wife and spends time with his children (Tim in “Tool Time,” Phil in “Modern Family,” Greg and Jimmy in “Yes, Dear”), and even these fathers are portrayed as constantly creating messes that mom has to rescue them from.

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Dads were not always portrayed like that. There was a time when dads were portrayed as having flaws, but they were close to what was then thought to be a normative representation of a family (“The Waltons,” “Little House in the Prairie,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Family Ties,” “Growing Pains,” “Full House,” “7th Heaven”).

I believe that being a father is about reflecting God’s presence in his life as well as nurturing a child’s experiences and uniqueness. It is about the intimacy of care and mentoring, privacy and space for self-reflection, self-creation [regeneration and renewal], 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.

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In his letter to Ephesians Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV2010). In the letter to Colossians Paul also wrote, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Col 3:21, NIV2010); another translation says, “Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.” (MSG).

  

Art is a lie that tells us something about the truth (Pablo Picasso). The movie The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro gives us a great illustration of the role that “fathers” and “positive role models” play in all of our lives. During the movie we see the character of Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro) helping a young father – the character of Matt Ostin – figure out what it means to be a father and a husband, we see him mentoring several young coworkers (both male and female) and we see the positive impact that he has on the microcosm and culture of the company where he is “interning.” I do not want to give away the plot of the movie but I can almost guarantee you will enjoy watching it and will be blessed by it. It is currently available on HBOGO and HBO on Demand.

Almost as if he tried to support my message and the message of the movie, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, tweeted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, “The future of society requires the fruitful encounter between young and old.” {Illustration}

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I think, or at least I hope, that attitudes toward fatherhood are changing for the better in our culture.

{Illustration.}

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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 rebellious 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 the choice and effort to lovingly impart wisdom and the knowledge of God, to teach the value of work, the need for integrity, the courage to hope and to dream, and who did it selflessly and with love.

Happy Father’s Day!

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