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MY Dad is the Greatest!
As a kid I got in trouble when the teacher called my parents to let them know what they heard me telling another boy: “My dad could beat up your dad!” I didn’t understand the big deal…I mean, it was true, he could. Were they gonna make him prove it or something? J Well, many of us believe our dad is the greatest and we cannot all be right. But it’s a special relationship, father/son, or father/daughter.
Ill.--A young couple took their two-year-old daughter to the home-improvement store. She got tired of walking, so the husband let her ride on his shoulders. As he walked, she began pulling his hair. Although he asked her to stop several times, she kept on. Getting annoyed, he scolded, "Madison! Stop that!"
"But, Daddy," she replied, "I'm just trying to get my gum back!
"God has ordained 3 great institutions here on this earth: The home, the government, the church. The oldest, and greatest of these institutions is the home. The church is a great institution, but is only as great as its homes. Our nation is great, though it has been far greater, but it is only as great as its churches.
“As the home goes, so goes the church, as the church goes, so goes the nation.”
Through the years, much of the burden of having the right kind of home has been placed on “mother.” But the Bible places most of the burden squarely in the lap of “Dad.”
It is Dad’s responsibility to set the moral and spiritual example for the home/to see to it that the Word of God is honored and revered/take lead in matters of discipline/make sure children are raised in nurture and admonition of the Lord/in church faithfully…greatly increasing their chances of being born again just as soon as they reach the age of accountability (for them). Thank God for Christian mothers, some of which have many of these responsibilities fall to them…but remember, dad will answer to God for it!
It was Joshua who said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He was the leader of the band.
Eve may have taken that first bite…but God came looking for Adam!
We live in a day in which it is very difficult to be a good man. It is even more difficult to be a good husband. But it is most difficult to be a good dad.
The world has a warped concept of what it means to be a good dad. Just turn on the TV and you’ll know it’s true. Have you noticed that the dad of most TV households is made out to be a buffoon and an idiot?
So, men, who can we pattern ourselves after if not Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, or Ray Romano?
Well, our standard should be the Word of God…and Ps. 128 gives us some tremendous concepts on how to be a good dad, and how a family can best support dad.
v. 1 “Blessed”…means to be congratulated. If you do the things in the following verses, you should be commended, congratulated. In the original language it’s plural…it actually says it twice! Blessed, blessed is the man! That’s double joy! But if you don’t do what this Psalm says, it will be double trouble!
So, if you want double joy, if you want to be the best dad you can be, if you want to be the leader of the band as you are called to be, then tune in to channel 128 this morning to see the dad that God built:
v. 1 First and foremost, a good dad will fear God…walk in old-fashioned character and integrity.
What will your kids remember about you when you’ve left this life? What do some of you remember about your dad?
I wonder what my kids will remember about me? Will they remember the things I bought them? What did your dad buy you on your 12th birthday? Don’t remember do you?
No, they’ll remember our character, whether good or bad. Allow me to read a letter now that I wrote to my dad, and sent to mom to hold and read there on Father’s Day.
“What do I remember about you, dad, from my childhood? Among other things, I actually do remember one of your sermons, because it’s the best one you ever preached. Your first church was also named Grace Baptist, but you didn’t preach it there. You get asked to preach out at other places sometimes, but you never shared this sermon there. You have preached about once a week at your church in NM, despite doctor’s orders not to, and despite the fact that you have full approval to retire because of your health, but you didn’t preach the sermon I’m talking about either of those Sundays…
…as a matter of fact, it wasn’t a Sunday, it was a Saturday when I heard you preach this sermon to a congregation of 1…me! It wasn’t a long sermon, but boy was it lifechanging! It wasn’t alliterated, but it’s as easy to remember as my ABC’s! It didn’t contain a poem, but as I look back on it, it WAS poetry!
We went bike riding in the mountains, you were on your off-road enduro, the Yamaha IT 175, I was on my first little mini-bike (yes, you raised me right!) I was about 10 years old. We drove as far into the mtns of NM as we could go, many miles from our house, then we unloaded the bikes and kept going. We went forever it seemed until we reached the “end of the road”, then we continued, and made our own roads, following game trails, and creeks, climbing hills and conquering difficult terrain…it was the most challenging ride I had ever had. I didn’t know where we were going, or how you could possibly have known. Today I know how. Ev’ry time we topped a hill, you could see the big hill in the distance where we were headed. I didn’t know that then.
We came to the foot of that hill…a very steep hill, so steep that you could practically touch the tree tops from the hillside above them, growing almost parallel to the steep hill. Dad, you climbed that hill on your bike. I sat at the bottom in awe! I could never do that! I thought.
You came down the hill and said, wanna climb it?/no way!/jump on and I’ll take you up/ok, I said/what a rush! I’m glad you took me up there, ‘cuz I couldn’t do it myself. That was fun. We descended and climbed it again, and again. Looking back, you must have known what you were doing, that this was a big challenge for me. You must have known I wanted to climb this mountain. You were right, I did. I wanted to be just like you!
It was my request to try it. I got a run at it, I had my speed up, I had my balance, I hit the bottom of the hill, I shot up the hill, I was doing it! But the bike was slowing, I looked up to the top of the hill, I was only 2/3rd’s of the way there. I panicked, and I hesitated…then I crashed, I fell over, I slid, I tumbled, all the way down the hill…and flat on my back at the bottom, I was hurting!
You sped over to make sure I was ok…I wasn’t…at least I didn’t think so. No broken bones, but I had cuts and scrapes and bruises, and one leg was just killing me! I was barely able to get to my feet, and it hurt too bad to walk.
Shame for this day to end that way, but what can you do? I thought, “Now dad will ride me back to the truck, drive me back to mom, who would nurse me back to health. He’ll have to come back for my bike later.”
That’s when dad preached the sermon. It was only 1 sentence:
“Well, get back on it and follow me back to the truck.”
I thought, “What? I can’t walk! I certainly can’t ride, much less over the hills and thru the woods we came by. The terrain we had crossed in getting there would be a bigger challenge than the big hill I wiped out on, because I was hurt. I was finished, and he needed to take care of me like usual and get me home!”
Dad, did you know then that it was my pride that was hurt, and my courage that was bleeding at that moment when you insisted that I get back on that motorcycle and follow you back out? I think you must have! You hadn’t forced me to try the hill, but now you were forcing me to get myself out of the woods.
You were right, I couldn’t walk, but I was able to sit, and steer. It took us twice as long to get out of there because of me. You must not have been in a hurry, even though it was getting dark. And though it hurt at times, and I even crashed again on the trip back to the truck, by the time we got there my bodies’ endorphins had taken away most of the pain, and I had accomplished a lot more than I thought I could…so much so that I said to you, I’m gonna come back and climb that mountain!
A few days later we went back, and I hit that hill running hard, and crashed in about the same place. I descended the hill more gracefully than before, because by now I had turned crashing into an art form! I got another run at it and made it…all the way to the top! I went down quickly, and proceeded to climb it several more times successfully.
You taught me some things that day, dad. You taught me how to fail forward…how to get beat up but not beaten down…how to lose and not quit…how to win and not take the credit. You taught me determination, and patience. You gave me a lesson in character that I couldn’t find in a textbook, or even in myself until you brought it out!
Just like you could see that mountain in the distance, and knew how to get us there, you must have seen what I could become down the road, that I could be a success as long as I get back up just one time more than I fall down!
I bet if I went back and saw that hill today, it wouldn’t be as big or as steep as I recall, but it was that day, and still would be had I not faced it. You didn’t make me face it, you made me want to face it.
Thanks dad, for the best sermon you ever preached!”
Now, allow me to share a 2nd story, also a true story, about a young boy, who grew up in a Jewish family in Germany. He had profound admiration for his father, and their entire family life revolved around the synagogue…their faith.
As a teenager, the family was forced to move to another town to find work. The boy noticed that the family stopped attending the synagogue, but started attending a high-society, fashionable Lutheran church. He asked his dad, why have we switched? We’re not Lutheran, we’re Jewish!
His dad said, “attending this church will be good for business. We’ll make contacts, we’ll rub shoulders w/ the right kinds of people.”
The boy later testified that that was the day he lost all respect for his dad. Each day he started frequenting British Museums, and formulating new ideas, and began putting them down in the form of a book…a book which contained a whole new world view. He conceived of a movement which he believed could change the world, to free the world from what he called the “problem of religion”. The young man’s name was Karl Marx, the father of Communism. And it all started the day he lost respect for his father!
How will you be remembered? By your character.
v. 2 A working man/comes home and eats the fruit of his labor/he feels fulfilled by providing for his family/he gives an honest days’ work…for he knows what the Bible says: If a man will not work, neither shall he eat.
(I’m glad our government is sensitive to help meets the needs of people who cannot work…but it’s wrong for feeding those who WILL not work)
And yet we need to be reminded to keep our family first. Consider very carefully the cost of climbing the corporate ladder…your family is too high a price to pay.
No one ever said on their deathbed, I wish I spent more time working, I wish I made more money.
How will you be remembered? By your character.
Wanna be the leader of the band? God wants you to…but you’ll need to be a man of character.
2. Dad’s companionship
Joke--A woman went online to a computer dating service and said she didn't care about looks, income or background. All she wanted was a man of upright character. Then a man came in and told them the only thing he was seeking in a woman was intelligence. The service matched them together at once because they had one thing in common - they were both compulsive liars!
v. 3 A husband is to be to his wife, like a wall is to a vine. For my Kimberly, I’m to be her support, her strength, something solid, and something she can cling to. She, not the dog, is to be my best friend, and I hers.
Sir, you are to be a wall to your wife: spiritually/emotionally/physically
Wanna be the leader of the band? God wants you to…but you’ll need to be a wall for your wife.
3. Dad’s childrearing
Letter to parents:
Dear Mother and Dad,
It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for the thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up-to-date now, but before you read on, please sit down. Please do not read any further unless you are sitting down. Okay?
Well, then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire recently are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital, and now I can see almost normally and only get those sick headaches once a day.
Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory and my jump were witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me in the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt-out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It’s really a basement room, but its kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set
the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.
Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing the pre-marital blood test and I carelessly caught it from him. This will clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily.
I know you will welcome him into the family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different culture and religion than ours, I know your tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the language barrier. I am sure that you will love him as I do. His family background is good too, as he has learned ways from his parents to make money without actually working.
Now that I have brought you up-to-date, folks, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged, I do not have syphilis, and there is no man in my life. However, I am getting a "D" in history and an "F" in science, ...and I wanted you to see those marks in the proper perspective.
Your loving daughter, Janice
v. 3 another beautiful picture. Let me tell you something interesting about olive plants: they grow very, very slowly, but if cultivated properly, they will yield fruit for up to 800 years!
Guys, we’re not raising mushrooms, we’re raising olive trees, and that takes time.
We want our children to be strong/stable/well rooted/well grounded.
We need to water them, and shower our children w/ time, and cultivate a relationship w/ them…do some pruning at times…well, quite often! And we need to introduce them to the light of the Son of God, and protect them from the pests that are around and would like to eat them alive! Most of all we need to add a lot of spiritual miracle grow—Prayer!
So, we’ve seen dad’s character, dad’s companion, dad’s childrearing…
…there’s bound to be some guys here today who are saying, “I’d like to be that kind of dad, but I can’t. I can’t be that kind of a dad, because I didn’t have that kind of a dad.”
You can’t do one thing about your ancestors, but you can do something about your descendants! Break the cycle!
All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.