Summary: To invite a more personal relationship with our Creator God by seeing Him also as a loving Father who loves each of his children without end.

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Reading: Deuteronomy 32:1-6

I suppose that I’m like a lot of us… I’ve always wanted to please my father, but many times I have felt like I just never could. …that I never could quite live up to his expectations.

• My Dad has always loved baseball. Some of the only toys he had as a kid growing up in the 50’s was a ball, a bat and a mit… and that was just fine with him. He grew up playing baseball with the fellas in the neighborhood; his heroes were Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb; even when he was too old to play he was out on the field in the church league… until a separated shoulder benched him for good! (He was safe, though!) So, when I was 4 or 5 I can remember him taking me down to the ball fields and signing me up to play baseball! I was going to be an all-star! I was going to follow in his steps! The only problem was… I hated it! And I wasn’t any good at it. So, they put me way out in the outfield where I could stomp on the ants and practice throwing my glove up in the air & catching it.

• My Dad was an engineer before he retired. I thought that was pretty cool until I turned 7 or 8 and realized that he didn’t drive trains… he drove a desk; in an office building… engineering whatever engineers engineer. Since then, about all I’ve learned about it is that it involves numbers and a lot of math. I hated math. I can remember nightmares as a kid… the teacher would ask, “a train going 60mph leaves Atlanta at 1pm and another leaves at 2pm going …” AHHH! Dad always pushed me in math and some of the greatest fights we would have revolved around him trying to help me with my math homework! I always did okay, but I never enjoyed it and it never came easy to me. I know that frustrated him.

• Sometimes I felt that I never would measure up to his expectations for me… but then I became a father and began to understand a few things differently!

Happy Father’s Day! Fathers, I hope you’re enjoying your special day… you deserve it! (sorry we don’t have flowers for you this year.) We have taken a lot on the chin in recent years… its not easy being a father. We get beat up by a lot of folks in our society and told pretty often that we’re not doing a good job. But most of us realize how important the role of fathers are in the family! That’s why I want to encourage you, fathers, to keep on keeping on!We’ve got the biggest responsibility in the Universe and we need to be encouraged and praised for what we are doing right!

o The Bible says to fathers, “Don’t exasperate your children, but raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

o Someone once said, “anyone can make a kid, but it takes a man to be a father.” AMEN, indeed!

• Ken Canfield, heads the National Center for Fathering, compiled a list of comments from kids about their dads…

o “Without my father it would be like a ball without any air inside it. Whenever I’m feeling sad, he comes and cheers me up by telling me a silly joke or buying me a pack of baseball cards… My dad is a hardworking man, but he still has time for me.” --6th grader

o “He is a Frito-Lay man. That is an important job. Because Frito-Lay means chips which is food. That is so important because that you could not live without food.” –1st grader

o “He comforts me when I am not okay. He sacrifices his time when I want to do something special and he doesn’t want to… He always listens to my side of the story. He treats my mom very nicely which makes me feel wanted.” --4th grader

I wanted to talk about Dads this morning, not only because it is Fathers’ Day, but also because I want to talk about God as being our Father. We’re continuing our series on first principles, “First Things First”.

• Last week I introduced this series with THE fundamental, most basic tenet of Christianity… “There is a God!”

• But, as I mentioned, that’s not exactly “earth-shattering” news. Even the pagans of ancient Athens believed in gods…

• Most people even today believe in a god… but what kind of god do they believe in?

• Today, I want to look at this claim a bit closer and observe that not only is there a god… but He is different from all the other so-called gods out there!

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