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A Father’s Responsibility

I was the first person to hold her tiny, delicate form in my arms. My hands trembled as the nurse placed her tenderly in my arms. Miniature and fragile, could she break? Looking into her E.T. face, I instantly fell in love. I counted all her fingers and toes. There were ten each—tiny and perfectly formed—paper-thin nails and all. My eyes stung and my heart swelled as she turned toward me, and snuggled into my chest. I couldn’t help it. I promised her I would always love and protect her. I would shield her from evil and harm all her life. I promised to raise her to love and fear the Lord.

My mind jumped to the future. This is my little girl. Already, I was thinking what I would say to her when a young man would ask her out on her first date.

Then I started thinking about what I would say to her date! How do I prepare her for that?  I began to search the Scriptures. What does God say about fathers? What are a father’s responsibilities toward his children?

I discovered that a father’s responsibility to his children is to mentor them and to teach them the ways of the Lord, His commandments and His decrees. A dad must live a Christlike life before his children, teaching them to hear, trust, and obey the heavenly Father. Following Deuteronomy 6:5, I read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (vv. 6-7).

I found it is up to a father to help his child recognize that God is the teacher and ruler in the child’s life. It’s not about me, and what I could do as a father. It is about God, and what a child could become by learning about God

Her E.T. face is now beautiful. Her fingers are long and skilled at the piano. My heart still swells when she turns to me and hugs me. She’s married to a fine Christian man who became the main man in her life. But she’s still mine. And, most importantly, she is God’s.

God Calls

_DSC0718 copy     Sweat burned my eyes and stung the sunburn on my face. Equatorial heat and humidity made it difficult to breathe. My blue jeans stuck to my legs, mud clung to my boots, and made it difficult to climb the scaffolding. From up on the scaffold, Emmanuel asked me to toss him a roll of wire and a sack of nails.
“Emmanuel,” I asked in floundering Spanish, “what do you do for a living?”
“I am a building contractor. And you? What do you do?” He started another nail.
“I am a contractor, but I am praying, asking God what He wants me to be.”
“What are you doing right now?” he asked. “Aren’t you serving Him by doing what you are doing right now?”
“You mean building buildings? No, that just pays the bills and feeds my family.”
“No.” He drove the nail home with three blows. “I mean right this minute. Aren’t you serving Him by doing what you are doing right this minute? By being here, helping us build a church, and visiting my neighbors, and preaching? Isn’t that serving Him?”
“Well yes, I guess it is!” I clipped a short piece of wire. “But this is just a ministry trip. I can’t do this on a permanent basis.”
“Why not? Maybe God is calling you, like Abraham, to go to a country that He will show you?” He took the wire from me, ran it through the holes in the wood planks, and tied them together.
“Look,” he said. “See how these planks fit together? We fasten them with wire and nails? They will hold the planks in place when the concrete is poured inside. Together, they will give a proper shape to the concrete. When the concrete matures properly, we will take off the planks, and the column will stand on its own. We are the planks. God’s word is the wire and nails. He fastens us together, to help shape the pillars of the church He has given us to build. That is what a missionary does. He comes and helps form the pillars of the church until it matures sufficiently and then he pulls himself away and the church will stand on its own.”
God spoke to me clearly, “This is what I have for you. I want you to be a missionary.”
For as long as I could remember, I knew that God was calling me into full-time ministry. I had tried out several roles of ministry—preaching, youth pastor, Sunday school teacher, music ministry, and others—but never felt a confirmed call in any of these areas. I remember asking God to please clearly reveal His perfect will for my life. In my youth, I grew desperate to know what God had for me. It seemed I would never know. Then I had an opportunity to join a work and witness team from my church.
That trip changed my life. I understood my ministry role. Missions has been my life ever since.

What Are We DOING?

The church has lost its purpose of making disciples, and has focused inward. The book of Acts movement was without walls. People were the church. Is “If we build it they will come” a true principal of the church? I don’t think we really believe that, but evidence is born out in what we do and how we behave. Much of our tithes and offerings are spent on buildings, music, stage lighting, projection equipment, and public address systems. What would happen if we took monies set aside for these things, and spent it on getting “out there”? The church must re-focus on New Testament purposes that will cause a paradigm shift in who we are and what we do as a church.

Who should influence whom?

We need a new awakening! The world is rife with thinly veiled corruption and immorality that injects its parasitic perversion into the church, sucking the spiritual vitality from our members. Sometimes even church leaders fight bitterly for supremacy and control, with a taste for riches and status, and destroy the witness of the church on the stage of society. The Church has allowed society to influence and define frightening changes in her basic spiritual tenets and behavior, instead of the church having a defining influence on society. The question is, “Who should influence whom?” The church should be setting society’s moral compass instead of the world infiltrating and corrupting the moral absolutes of the church. Far too many church goers are content with a nominal Christianity, and need to be shaken loose from the evil parasitic clutch of Satan that bleeds them dry, and blinds them to true freedom and joy in Christ.

The Church has moved from being the major moral influence of society, and tends to take a tentative, apologetic posture for believing and preaching the truth of scripture. We’ve wilted before the onslaught of political correctness, and lost the spiritually empowered boldness that drove maniacal monarchs to martyr true believers. We cannot let the world change us! We must change the world!

My greatest concern, my greatest desire is to see the church fully overcome with the Holy Spirit. My hope is to see a new holy enlightenment flood the church in a holy deluge, that the church would become a modern day Noah’s ark, floating her people above the flood of immorality that pervades our society, lifting us to a new spiritual height, to land in His overcoming presence. We are not to be separated from the world, but by God’s design we live in it as His witnesses. We are not victims who are easily overwhelmed by the world’s evil influence, but we purposefully and intentionally win the lost, disciple the won, and influence the laws and norms of society.  The church must become the moral influence it was intended to be. Time to wake up, stand up, and be who we are called to be, in the strength and power of God’s word and His Holy Spirit.

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