Summary: WWW.STEVENSCREEK.NET: Various Scriptures Used. A message to men encouraging them to build their lives on a firm Biblical foundation. The sermon was presented to a seeker-sensitive congregation.
Dr. Marty Baker / June 16, 2002
Video Clip of Extreme Sports
Television is full of commercials promoting some soft drink, SUV or dandruff shampoo using images of sports. Gusto-filled 20-somethings are seen jumping off cliffs wearing nothing more than shorts, T-shirt and a parachute. Others ride mountain bikes at breakneck speeds over rocky terrain or snow board down mountains of new fallen snow.
The message is clear: These young men are living life to the fullest. They are connected to the pulse of being alive. However, these young daredevils only fool themselves, for they have not come close to pushing the envelope of the extreme.
You see, I believe that there is an even greater adrenaline rush than extreme sports. I believe that there is something more daring than death-defying stunts. In fact, I’ve discovered where you can find life on the edge, a life filled with tremendous excitement. Where? At home. Raising a family is an adventure. It is challenging. It is stretching. It is exhausting.
Imagine this, you have to hold down a job and keep the bills paid. You have to develop and protect the little human beings entrusted to you and at the same time nurture a marriage by making yourself vulnerable and open before another person, day in and day out. It can really take you to the limit. But, the payoff is worth it.
It is intoxicating, yet sobering. Confining, yet freeing. Demanding, yet rewarding. Fulfilling, yet depleting. Dangerous, yet safe. Unsettling, yet comforting. Guys, we are men engaged in the ultimate extreme sport and that is, fatherhood.1
Over the past fifty years, the face of fatherhood in America has changed dramatically. The expectations for fathers have shifted.
In the 50’s and 60’s, men were considered good dads if they were breadwinners and disciplinarians.
In the 70’s, involved fathers participated in their child’s birth and helped shoulder domestic chores.
In the 80’s, earnest fathers began to get in touch with their feelings and the feelings of their kids.
In the 90’s, fathers were expected to balance work and family, while their roles became more diverse and challenging: stay-at-homes dads, step-dads, single custodial care taking fathers, surrogate fathers and more.
What will be said of fathers in this millennium? What does an extreme dad look like? When I describe fatherhood with the word extreme, I am describing a person who believes in taking his position seriously. An extreme father is willing to expend great energy in being the best dad that he can be. Let’s talk about it.
The Bible gives us several pictures of extreme fathers. From these snapshots we are able to clear our vision and see what we can become. When I think about an extreme father, I think about a provider.
A Look at Extreme Fathers ...
1. An extreme Father is a provider.
God has placed in each physically-capable man the responsibility to provide for his family. In the beginning, God placed Adam in the garden and instructed him to take care of it. There is something glorious about meaningful, God-honoring work. Work provides us with a sense of dignity and a sense of reward.
The Bible explains that
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
In another verse, the Bible states that if a man does not work, he should not eat.
Dads should never feel guilty about going to work. If we never come home from work, then we should feel guilty. While doing our jobs and drawing our paychecks, we should feel proud that we are faithfully meeting the needs of our children and fulfilling our roles as fathers.2
Our work enters into the danger zone, when we allow it to become our top priority. My Dad was a worker. At one time, he worked full-time in the mill, held a seat on the city council, was the janitor at the church and the bar tender at the Moose Club. Of course, when the church found out about the Moose Club job, they found a new janitor.
I never felt neglected by my Dad. He worked hard, but he was involved in my life. Dads, don’t feel guilty about going to work, but if you never come home from work, then there may be a problem.
Extreme Fathers work hard, but they also take on the role of the protector.
2. An extreme Father is a protector
The Bible gives us a picture of God as an extreme protector.
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Just as God protects his children, we, as dads, must provide protection for our own. This past Thursday, Stevens Creek hosted a Pastor’s Conference sponsored by Focus on the Family. Noted author H. B. London led the sessions along with Tom Minnery. In one of the sessions, they shared a video clip that speaks to the concept of fathers as protectors of their families. Look to the side screens.