Summary: Fathers make a difference through leadership, laughter and love.


A. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads among us today!! May God bless you on this special day that we set aside each year to honor our dads.

1. You might take a peak later at the article in the bulletin I put together. It reviews the interesting history of Father’s Day in the U.S.

B. Last month we celebrated Mother’s Day, and I broke into our sermon series on the life of David to address the subject – “The Difference Mothers Make.”

1. Today we will again take a break from our sermon series on David and focus on “The Difference Fathers Make.”

2. In my introduction of the sermon on Mothers, I mentioned that Mother’s Day is a difficult day for some people.

3. Well, Father’s Day can be difficult for some for the very same reasons.

4. Not all of us have had wonderful experiences with our fathers, and that can be cause for great heartache.

5. Some of us miss our fathers terribly, because they have gone on to be with the Lord.

6. And then there are those who struggle on Father’s Day because they are separated from their children, or they have never had the privilege of having children.

7. So for some, Father’s Day is a sobering day.

C. But then there are others who look forward to Father’s Day.

1. They look forward to being with their children, and the enjoy having their children show them special attention.

2. Others look forward to expressing their deep love, respect and appreciation to the great dads in their lives.

D. Nevertheless, whether Father’s Day is a great day for you or a difficult day for you, it is right for us to honor God’s plan for fatherhood, and to show respect for the fathers in our lives.

1. Both the OT and the NT contain the command – “Honor your father and your mother.”

2. And the apostle Paul reminds us that it is “the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Eph. 6:3)

E. I’d like to share a little humor about fathers as we get going.

1. One summer night during a violent thunderstorm a little boy went to his parents’ bedside.

a. With a tremor in his voice, he said, “Mommy, will you come sleep with me tonight?”

b. The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can’t, dear,” she said. “I have to sleep with Daddy.”

c. The boy turned and as he walked back to his room he shook his head and said, “The big sissy.”

2. The story is told about a father who had just made the perfect ham sandwich.

a. It had a thick stack of sliced ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce, and plenty of expensive, light brown, spicy mustard.

b. The man’s taste buds were aching with anticipation as he carried the sandwich to the picnic table in the backyard.

c. As he picked up the sandwich with both hands and brought it to his mouth, he was suddenly stopped by his wife who said, “Can you hold little Johnny for a minute while I make my sandwich?”

d. The dad took Johnny from his wife and sat there holding Johnny in one arm and tried to figure out how to eat the sandwich one handed.

e. It was at that point that the man noticed a streak of mustard on his finger.

f. Loving that spicy mustard so much, he just licked it off his finger.

g. Unfortunately, it was not mustard.

h. Later his wife said to him, “Now you know why they call that mustard ‘Poupon.’ ”

F. I have a preacher friend over in the Albany area whose congregation lets him say one gross thing per sermon.

1. I guess that’s my quota for today.

I. The Difference Fathers Make

A. Most of you have paid attention to the story of Nadya Suleman and her octuplets – that’s right eight newborn babies at one time!

1. At first the birth of the octuplets was celebrated, until the facts about their circumstances came to light.

2. One of the more troubling things was that Nadya was an individual who intentionally brought eight more children into the world without a father.

3. Keep in mind that she already had 6 other children – that makes 14 fatherless children.

4. What was she thinking?

B. Suleman’s case is so unsettling in part because it is an exaggerated picture of something that has become pandemic in the United States: the systematic abandonment of the norm of a two-parent home.

1. The media has gone wild over the spread of “swine flu” – even though it has had relatively limited impact so far (thank the Lord).

2. Yet almost no one is commenting on the alarming spread of “fatherlessness” – even though it is creating incredible and well-documented devastation for children.

3. According to the most recent census report, 24 million American children will go to bed tonight in a home where their biological father is not present.

4. That means one out of every three children is living without dad in the house.

C. And it won’t get better any time soon.

1. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that about 40% of American children were born out of wedlock in 2007, more than triple the 11% rate back in 1970.

2. And according to prominent African-American economist Walter Williams, the rate of fatherless black children is now an astounding 70%.

3. By contrast, Dr. Williams notes that in 1950, only 18% of black households were female- headed.

D. The number of out-of-wedlock births had actually been going down for more than a decade, until the past couple of years.

1. But now it is rising again, but not for the reason that most people would imagine.

2. When many people think of out-of-wedlock births they imagine teenage girls like Bristol Palin, who make a youthful mistake and now publicly and privately regret it.

3. But it is not teens who are causing the increase: it is the Nadya Suleman’s of America, young women in their 20’s and 30’s, who don’t see anything wrong with bringing a child into the world without a father, who are having children in increasing numbers.

4. In fact, a Gallup Survey found that 64% of young adults 18 to 29 think that having a child out of wedlock is “morally acceptable.”

E. Just before the “Octomom” burst onto the scene the New York Times Magazine published an article entitled “2 Kids + 0 Husbands = Family” that described a group of college-educated single mothers who admitted how they “wanted to make decisions about their kids and didn’t want to have to share that authority.” – That’s why they don’t want any dads involved (Source:

F. My preaching friend, Dan Williams, who did a parenting seminar for us a couple of years ago wrote, “so when it comes to the importance of fathers, we are now suffering from the ‘perfect storm’ of three converging trends in our society:

1. Immorality – our carnal culture has forgotten the crucial link between personal morality and relational stability.

2. Irresponsibility – as self-centered individuals place their own wants and wishes above the best interests of their children.

3. Ignorance – many people, both males and females, no longer understand WHY it is important for children to have both a mom and a dad.

G. Let me share some of the research that shows the difference dads make.

1. According to a Gallup Poll, 90.3 percent of Americans agree that “fathers make a unique contribution to their children’s lives.” (Source: Gallup Poll, 1996. National Center for Fathering. "Father Figures.")

2. From a study based on 17,000 children born in the United Kingdom in 1958 who were followed up with at ages 7, 11, 16, 23 and 33:

a. It was determined that children with involved fathers have less emotional and behavioral difficulties in adolescence.

b. Teenagers who feel close to their fathers in adolescence go on to have more satisfactory adult marital relationships.

c. Girls who have a strong relationship with their fathers during adolescence showed a lack of psychological distress in adult life. (Source: Dr. Eirini Flouri & Ann Buchanan, “Involved Fathers Key for Children,” Economic & Social Research Council, March 2002.)

3. A survey of over 20,000 parents found that when fathers are involved in their children’s education including attending school meetings and volunteering at school, children were more likely to get A’s, enjoy school, and participate in extracurricular activities and less likely to have repeated a grade. (Source: Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools. National Center for Education Statistics. Washington DC: GPO, 1997.)

4. Using nationally representative data on over 2,600 adults born in the inner city, it was found that children who lived with both parents were more likely to have finished high school, be economically self-sufficient, and to have a healthier life style than their peers who grew up in a

broken home. (Source: Hardy, Janet B. et al. "Self Sufficiency at Ages 27 to 33 Years: Factors Present between Birth and 18 Years that Predict Educational Attainment Among children Born to Inner-city Families." Pediatrics 99 (1997): 80-87.)

H. Let me make a quick, but important clarification.

1. Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying any of this to pile on single mothers who had no choice and are doing the best they can.

2. Rather, I’m pointing out these things to encourage dads – we do make a very big difference and we must not forget that! Amen!

3. My goal today is not to remind dads of their duties and responsibilities so much as to encourage and remind them all of their importance that we might respect the dignity of the role of father.

II. How Is It That Dads Make a Difference?

A. First of all, I would suggest that Dad’s make a difference through their LEADERSHIP.

1. God has ordained that the husband and father is to be the leader in the home.

2. He is to lead primarily through his example as he attempts to faithfully follow the commands of God in his own life.

a. God the Father is the perfect Father – altogether holy, righteous, loving and wise.

b. It is to that high standard that every earthly father should be aspiring.

c. Although we will certainly fall far short of being like God, no other target is worthy of our attention and effort.

d. It is so important that we fathers practice what we preach.

3. A father’s leadership also comes through the teaching and discipline he gives his children.

a. The Bible commands fathers to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

b. The Bible commands that fathers discipline their children – to not do so is to subject their children to all kinds of trouble and failure.

c. But the Bible also warns us to be careful that the training and discipline of our children is not too harsh or unreasonable, otherwise we may exasperate or embitter our children.

4. One final thing about a father’s leadership – it can be powerfully exerted in prayer.

a. Some of the most powerful pictures we have of biblical fathers is when they are praying for their children.

b. James 5:16 reminds us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

c. Job was a father who prayed for his kids and made sacrifices for each his children. The Bible says that this was his regular practice. He was concerned for their relationship with God.

d. As King David’s death approached, he prayed a special prayer for Solomon – he prayed, “Give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees…” (1 Chron. 29:19).

e. There is so much we need to be praying about with regard to our kids – we can pray for their protection and safety, their spiritual interest and faithfulness, their education, future mates, and families, their health and prosperity, and their effectiveness in the kingdom, just to name a few.

5. Fathers make a difference through leadership.

B. Second, I would suggest that fathers make a difference through laughter.

1. Like the great spiritual song says – “The Lord loves a laughin’ man, fits right into his heavenly plan, so come on and laugh, whenever you can, cause the Lord loves a laughin’ man.”

2. I believe that God has a sense of humor – one woman said, “He made men, didn’t he?”

3. I believe God has a sense of humor – just look at the dachshund or the platypus. God knew that we humans would start getting all uppity and try to classify everything and pretend we knew how everything should be ordered, and God said: "Oh, really...? Classify this - and thus He gave us the platypus.

4. Life can’t be all about serious stuff – there needs to be some laughter.

5. First of all, we dads need to be able to laugh at ourselves. There are times I do some pretty silly things – sometimes on purpose, other times just because I’m me.

6. Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between people.”

7. Laughter can bridge the gap with our kids, especially during the difficult teen years.

8. Someone said, “Laughter is like changing a baby’s diaper – it doesn’t solve any problems permanently, but it makes things more acceptable for a while.”

9. Someone else said, “Laughter is contagious – why not start an epidemic!”

10. So dads, let’s learn to lighten up and find the humor in ourselves and even in the difficult situations we face with our kids.

11. I think laughter makes a big difference in parenting.

C. Finally, I would suggest that fathers make a difference through love.

1. Certainly this seems like a “no brainer,” right? Of course fathers are supposed to love.

2. But what does love really look like between fathers and their children?

3. Years ago, Charlie Shedd held a contest called, “One Neat Dad.”

a. He asked contestants to send in letters recommending their dad for this great honor.

b. Here’s a list of the 10 most appreciated qualities for “One Neat Dad.”

1. Takes time for me. 2. He listens to me. 3. He plays with me. 4. He invites me to go places with him. 5. He lets me help him. 6. He treats my mother well. 7. He lets me say what I think. 8. He is nice to my friends. 9. He only punishes me when I deserve it. 10. He is not afraid to admit when he is wrong.

4. Notice that qualities 1 to 5 are versions of a single word – “Time!”

5. Time is an expression of love.

6. One father tells about a special trip that he made with his son.

a. He made arrangements for he and his son to attend a shuttle launch at Cape Kennedy.

b. So they flew to Florida and witnessed an absolutely spectacular morning launch.

c. While there they took in every tour of the Cape that was available.

d. He could see how much his son was enjoying the great parade of technology.

e. As they drove back to the airport with the rental car, they played a sharing game they often played “What did you like best?”

f. The boy turned to his father with a serious look on his face and said, “The best part about this trip was being with you, Dad!”

7. We dads make such a difference in the lives our kids as we love them in word and deed.

8. Let them see the tenderness of our hearts.

9. Let them see the hopes and concerns that we have for them.

10. Let them see how much we love them by the way we involve ourselves in their lives and by the time we spend with them.

11. The apostle Paul described the role of a father well when he was talking about the way that he loved and worked with the church at Thessalonica.

a. He wrote, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God…” (1 Thess. 2:11-12)


A. At this time I would like all the dads to stand so that I can offer a special prayer for you.

B. God has given us dads a very special privilege and calling, let us never forget that.

C. We can be dads who make a difference by leading, laughing, and loving.

D. Kids, I hope you are ready to tell your dad how much you love and appreciate him either with words, actions, a gift, or all the above.

E. Let me end with one final story: As Father’s Day approached, a father took his three-year-old son to the card store.

1. He showed him the cards for dads and told him to pick one out.

2. So the dad moved away to give his son room to pick the card on his own.

3. When he looked back, the boy was picking up one card after another, opening them up and quickly shoving them back into slots, every which way.

4. “Son, what are you doing?” He asked. “Haven’t you found a nice card for Daddy yet?”

5. “No,” he replied. “I’m looking for one with money in it.”

F. Sorry kids, the cards don’t come with the money already in them…you have to put it in there yourself.

1. Ultimately dads don’t want money and gifts from you as much as they want to know that you love and appreciate them.

2. So honor your father…that will be a blessing to everyone involved.


Sermon: “The Octodad Omission” by Dan Williams