Summary: Today we take time to acknowledge and to thank those men in our lives that have served us as fathers. They may have been fathers, our grandfathers, our uncles, our older brothers, our coaches, our teachers, our counselors, our pastors, or that neighbor do
Sermonic Theme: Today we take time to acknowledge and to thank those men in our lives that have served us as fathers. They may have been fathers, our grandfathers, our uncles, our older brothers, our coaches, our teachers, our counselors, our pastors, or that neighbor down the street. We thank those men who have taken the time to invest some of themselves into us, which has made us a better person today.
Explanation: Being a father or serving as a “father-figure” to someone is one of the greatest things in the world. More than any other thing, children need fathers or “father-figures” who are physically present in their lives and who provide leadership to their children or protégés. According to Dr. Wade Horn who conducted the National Fatherhood Initiative, boys require an affirmation that they are man enough, while girls require an affirmation that they are worthy enough. A father, who is absent, does not have an impact on the socialization of his children that is really necessary for their positive development. And when fathers are spiritually absent, they have no spiritual impact in the lives of their children, and they convey an unclear image of exactly who God is and what role He should have in our lives.
Transition: Absentee fathers have created a kind of “wound” in our families and society. It will take real men who are willing to step up as family leaders to heal this wound. Today, we shall address…
Title: Healing the “Father Absence” Wound
Disclaimer: Let me say that I understand that for reasons of illness, death, desertion or divorce there cannot be a father in some homes. These situations are beyond the control of the mother. I do not want to discourage single mothers, but I do want to help men see their importance, not only in the home, but also in the culture at large today.
Opening Statement: When one mentions the word ‘father’ there is often a wide range of reactions – from tears of joy to pain and anger or disgust. Why is this the case? I share with you FOUR QUOTATIONS written by children about their fathers:
“My dad is a spiritual leader. He’s been there when I’ve taken a fall. He’s a great father. To me, he’s the father any kid would want. He’s a God given gift to me. He’s my dad.”
“My dad still lives with us but it seems as though he doesn’t. He doesn’t come to any of my games and shows little love to my mom. I think his job is more important than me.”
“I just want to thank my dad. Every time I’ve fallen, he’s caught me. I love him very much. He taught me how to work hard and, most importantly, how to love Jesus. He raised me up to be a godly son. I know that sometimes we fail and sometimes we both don’t do what’s right, but I’ve always known he loves me, no matter what.”
“Dad who? I have seen my dad three times my whole life. He left my mom when she was pregnant with me. He has never been around and I don’t think I even care to see him anymore.”
These different quotes from kids show us that a father can bring great joy or intense pain. Even on this Father’s Day, many of you identify with one of the four statements that I just read with a mix of emotions. We all have our own thoughts, feelings and experiences when we think of our father. Studies indicate that there are a couple of key questions that dads must not fail to answer in order to avoid this “father wound”. Children, adult children want to know, “Are you proud of me Dad? Do you love who I am? Are you happy to have me in the family? Am I important to you?”
Transition: This message today assumes that you want to answer those questions and that you’re going to be a father who is present in the home. It also assumes that you want to be a good leader of your family.
Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
Background: So let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12. Paul is dealing with the church in Thessalonica. He fathered these new believers and now he writes to them. But notice how he uses images of the family to warmly express his love and affection for them. Note that in vs. 7 he says, “We became children.” Again, “We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.” Then down in vs. 11 he says, “For you know we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children.” What Paul is saying is that his ministry with the church in Thessalonica was very much like being a mother and a father to them. Think about that. We are brothers and sisters together in the church. And our relationship within the family of God is very similar to the relationship within the home.