Sunday Sermon 6.20.20
Everyone of us have at least one thing in common and that simple truth is we each have a biological father.
That father, his presence or absence, strengths and weaknesses; all he is and all he is not, have shaped our thoughts, ideas, expectations, confidence, predictions, trust and image of what fatherhood is and what fathers do.
In addition to the biological father, some have had the imprint of another father (or fathers). Other men, who have impacted the views, feelings, impressions and perspectives of how a father acts, speaks, relates, teaches, and loves.
Our family, that sacred place where fatherhood is modeled, is the seed bed for how we see, relate to, respect, fear, honor, and love our father. In our families we learn to anticipate with joy our father’s presence, dread and fear his presence or any number of measurable feelings in between.
Fatherhood affects childhood outcomes from infancy to adulthood; including physical, emotional, academic, social and behavioral outcomes.
Along with those outcomes, consider these statistics:
- Father involvement using authoritative parenting with loving and clear boundaries and expectations leads to better outcomes in every way for children.
- Children who feel close to their father are twice as likely to find stable employment after high school, less likely to have teen birth, less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience depression
- The quality of father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together
- High levels of father involvement correlate to higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self-control
- Children with actively involved fathers are more likely to earn A’s in school, and less likely to repeat a grade in school
- 24.7 million children live absent their biological father
- 39% of students grades 1-12 live in homes absent their biological fathers
- more than 1 in 4 children live without a father in their home
And of course there are the statistics regarding fatherhood from the National Fatherhood Initiative that state, children without fathers in the home are:
- 4 x greater risk of poverty
- 7 x more likely to become pregnant
- more likely to have behavioral prpblems
- 2 x greater risk of infant morality
- more likely to commit a crime
- more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
- 2 x more likely to suffer obesity
- 2 x more likely to drop out of high school
Fathers are vitally important and how we view our father has impacted how we view our Heavenly Father. We see God, our Heavenly Father through the lens of our childhood/adolescent father awareness. Good, bad, ugly, right, wrong, our image of God has been shaped by our father image.
There is no judgment or comparison here, simply a statement of facts. That image has shaped how we see God as our Father.
But here are some valuable truths that reveal what our Heavenly Father is truly like, what his character truly is and what makes his heart pound. In Luke 15, we find these awesome insights into the Father’s heart and we see how he responded to his son:
- when insulted and humiliated, he still distributed the inheritance to his younger son
- his son took all and left
- his son wasted his $$ on reckless living
- his son was totally spent, empty and hungry
- his son became desperate
- in humiliation, the son wound up homeless, in a pig pen
- alone and abandoned the son came to his senses
- the son considered the servants at his dad’s place
- he desired to return home as a servant and practiced his speech to dad
- he admitted he was wrong
- he set out to return home dirty, debased and unworthy
The Father’s reception:
- from a long distance the father saw the son coming down the road (he was actually waiting for him to return and looking anxiously for him – after a long time)
- with great compassion – he saw his son dressed as a beggar, but returning
- the father raced out to meet the son, swept him up in his arms, hugged and kissed him in tender love
- as the son started his speech, the father interrupted him and said, “Son, you’re home now”.
- the father called for the servants to bring his very own robe and placed it on his son
- then he called for the family ring and placed it on his finger (this allowed the son to conduct family business)
- he then called for shoes to be placed on the sons feet (slaves went barefoot, but not his son!)
- the son was home, now it was time to celebrate
- a feast was prepared and celebrating began
- the father’s heart was bursting with pride, happiness and love for his beloved son who was once dead was know was alive!
You see, the father’s heart is one of unconditional love. Always believing, hoping, loving. It is everlasting and unrelenting. The father’s heart hears our cries. The father’s heart is full of pride. The father’s heart has a plan for us. The father’s heart will provide and care for us. The father’s heart will protect us.
Your Heavenly Father is: loving, kind, compassionate, giving, faithful, merciful, strong, forgiving, good, righteousness, caring, sovereign, shepherd, ever-present, refuge, gracious, healer, powerful, one who saves, helper, and makes all things new. (I have verses for each of these if you want them.)
Our Heavenly Father shows pity, shows mercy, chastens whom he loves, loves us and is not only just but justifies us.
Our Heavenly Father gives life, loves his children, protects, provides, teaches and trains his children.
There is no man on the planet that can come close to modeling your Heavenly Father, but Jesus. But then, he wasn’t from this planet, was he?
So whether your father was a saint or a sinner, we can give thanks, this Father’s Day, for a Heavenly Father who loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and with all of his heart. He receives us, welcomes us, rejoices with us, forgives us, and celebrates with us.
God is love.
Abba Father = Daddy God, Happy Father’s Day.
Cheers to you.