Fatherhood has no doubt been my favorite role in life so far. To hear the words "Dad" is a special honor. However, I discovered early the difference between my responsibilities as a Man and the need to operate as a Father. While there is some crossover, there truly is a distinct difference. Only intentional men bridge the gap between being a man and becoming a father. Let me explain in the comparisons below and through the wisdom of Proverbs:
1. Knows the Way vs. Shows the Way: A Man is known for knowing the way. This is why we don't ask for directions :). And if we don't, we'll figure it out. It is always difficult for a man to admit that they don't know how, can't do it, or when we discover we lost our way. However, knowing the way is not enough for a Father. A Father has to Show the Way. This is first done through living an example in front of your child, then subsequently expressed in leading you child(ren) in the way they should go as well.
Proverbs 22:6, " 6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
2. Gives Life vs. Speaks Life: Most men can produce life through pregnancy. However, giving life does not make one a Father. A true father Speaks Life. There is a generation of children today (yours as well as other's kids) who need LIFE spoken over them. It may take the form of encouraging words, asking them about their day, or showing them how to throw a split-finger fast ball. Our culture is in desperate need of men who will begin to step up as "fathers" and speak life into others.
Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
3. Provide For vs. Provision Over: At different times in life I have felt the pressure to provide financially for my children and family. Whether it is the necessities of life, or the extras... I've wanted to provide for my children. However, the wisdom of yester-year father's has become clear... "Money Doesn't Grow On Trees". There are often financial limitations. But, "Providing For" your children doesn't make you a father. This may sound redundant, but... "A father provides PROVISION OVER his children." This is more than shoes on their feet, food on the table, and a roof over their head. A father personally looks after their well being through emotional support, relational security, and spiritual investment. These can't be purchased at a store, and can't be found on Amazon.com. Only a Father figure can provide Provision Over their children. Check out what Proverbs says about this in the link below.
So this Father's Day, let's celebrate all the men who are fulfilling their roles as fathers. Make sure you say thank you to the father's in your life, and if you're a man, keep your eyes on the prize and fulfill your destiny in Christ. Let's close the gap, and become "fathers" to all those the Lord sends our way!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
It seems like the older I get, the less time is just for "me". Recently, however, I had some much needed time in contemplation that was spent in the vehicle. I was traveling out to western PA (Breezewood) to meet with the head of the Assemblies of God in Tanzania, Pastor Barnabas.
The first 2 hours my youngest (4 yrs) was my traveling companion. She was excited to have dad all to her self, and she maximized every moment in conversation. It really didn't matter what we talked about, she just wanted to engage me in conversation. She had no agenda, nothing to request, no demands (except chewing gum)... she was just glad to have dad with her... and air-conditioning on her feet :)
I dropped her off with my mom near Harrisburg, and continued the next two hours in the vehicle with my dad (who's the head of the A/G in Penn-Del). Other than preparing for the upcoming dinner meeting, there was no agenda, no request (other than coffee)... it was just good to be with dad. In fact, the 2-hours there, and then to 2 hours back to Harrisburg we randomly chatted away, and followed every rabbit hole that we found. From one topic to the next, we covered it.
We arrived, picked up my daughter, and started out for the last leg of my trip to return home. Since it was quite late, my daughter quickly fell asleep and I was alone with the steady sound of the PA Turnpike beneath my tires. So I started to pray.
There were many things on my mind that I wanted to cover in prayer (the church, my family, personal items, Hope4Philly, etc...), but my inner-man was telling me that these petitions or even spiritual war-fare type of prayers were not appropriate. That's when it hit me... When was the last time I had spent time with my Heavenly Father, just simply to be with Him? No Agenda, No Requests, No Demands... just be with Abba Father.
So, for the next 90 minutes, I experience the most refreshing time with my Father. I can't tell you what we really talked about, what was accomplished in prayer, what victories were won. But one thing I can assure you, I sure enjoyed spending time with my Father in Heaven, who sat in the passenger seat on Rt.76 eastbound.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Although strange, perhaps you heard this story of from a zoo in the Eastern Province of China about 4-Liger cubs (born from a tiger mother & lion father). After a few days, for no known reason, the mother abandoned her cubs, leaving them helpless and hungry. The unlikely hero for 2 of the cubs was a small black dog. She began to nurse them back to health. What a strange picture and an unlikely union between a dog and these Ligers.
There are many unlikely unions found in the scripture. When God interacts with and involves humanity, there is a coming together of the divine and the created, a union between the sacred and the secular.
One common thread we see with every Biblical character is that of faithfulness. We see God's faithfulness in every situation, and we see men and women struggling to be faithful. The hero's of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 are known for their faithfulness, while others fall away from their faith, and are not loyal to the Lord. There seems to be an "unholy-union" between God's Faithfulness and our Faults... a constant tension between our limits and our perception of God's expectations. Perhaps we can learn from those who have gone before us.
Where we can get into trouble is when we allow our faults to define who we are and where we are going. The heroes of Scripture were certainly not without their faults, but they always brought these faults to the Lord and exchanged them for His faithfulness. In fact, not only do we see God being faithful to them, but we see them developing FAITHFULNESS in their own lives.
The Unlikely Union if found in the fact that our Faults (when brought to the Lord) actually produce faithfulness in us. SO.... confess your faults and find the faithfulness of God active in your life, and begin to order your life around the character of Faithfulness.