This is my Father's Day message for 2006. It echoes what I tell men when we go on our mountain retreats. Possibly the hardest message I've preached. Cuts to the quick.
Posts from June 2006
I've just finished up the "Desperate Homelives" sermon/teaching series. This was one series I have been looking forward to since last September. The spiritual warfare was strong while preparing this, especially the last sermon about men and fathers.
I apparently hit a nerve with that one. Many have come to me since Sunday morning (or have e-mailed me) with thoughts of "Wow! Finally, someone speaking the truth about this subject." The truth about being the Christian man we have been created to be is a hard one for many to swallow. It requires understanding our identity in Christ. It requires identifying your wound, inviting God into it for healing, and living the free life God has called us to.
Folks, this is life-changing. For further study on this, read John Eldredge's Wild at Heart (for men) or John & Stasi Eldredge's Captivating.
How is a Christian supposed to handle the aging of his/her parents? This sermon looks at a subject that is impacting many in our nation, but hasn't been addressed much in the church.
I have been receiving e-mails regarding this sermon. Apparently, the church as a whole has been ignoring the step-family too long. Here's a quote from one church member,
"[My husband and I] both come from divorced parents and all our lives we heard the same message in church. We were made to feel inferior because we were from "broken homes" don't you love that terminology? Anyway all we ever heard was if you are divorced you are doomed for hell and if you are kids of divorce, your life isn't worth much. You are so in touch with the real issues of life, you don't sit on some exalted mountain and hand down judgment. You understand that people are human and have made mistakes but that God loves us anyway!!!"
Wow! That was so encouraging and exactly what I believe God wants you to know. He loves you and desires to be Lord of every relationship and area in your life.
In reading Erwin McManus' book Uprising, I came across this statement: "It's so easy to confuse Christianity with Buddhism, especially on this particular journey. We know that greed corrupts and destoys, so we conclude the only way to be free is to detach ourselves from all human desire until we withdraw ourselves from the world in which we live. Jesus, on the other hand, was accused of being a glutton and sinner. He clearly enjoyed the life that He lived. He was chastised for not living a monastic existence. Even His disciples were authorized by Him to break the rules. Jesus was having way too much fun for the religious observers who watched Him with disdain. I think they were also envious."
I read this while I was getting my haircut this morning (BTW - the older I get the shorter time it takes to cut my hair, yet it costs the same. Frustrating.) and thought this was so profound.
Some Christians have convinced themselves, or been convinced by some Christian leader that they are not supposed to enjoy life. What a mistake. Is it possible to be holy and enjoy life and the pleasures of life? Absolutely. When did we decide that being holy equalled being boring or miserable?
We were created to enjoy this creation of God and the world was created to declare His glory, satisfy our desires and meet our needs.
Be careful not to fall into the Enemy's trap of greed and use the exuse of just "enjoying creation" to do so. Greed is evil and will destroy. The goal is not so much to have less, however, but to give more.
McManus states it this way "Generosity is the result of a life in continuous overflow.
So, enjoy life. Live to the fullest. That's the plan.
This is part 4 in my Desperate Homelives series. Talking about being a single adult may seem strange coming from a guy who's been married for 16 years. As I looked at godly unmarried people throughout the Bible, I began to see how God has given special ministry and opportunities to unmarried adults. The sad truth is that most churches (ours included) have not done a complete job of ministering to and with unmarried adults.