Summary: We will not become the Dad God wants us to be accidentally, instead it will require intentionality.

Being An Intentional Dad

#FamilyMatters – week 9

1 Thessalonians 2:8-12

YEAH – that was pretty awesome….

TODAY – is Father’s Day 2017…

Happy Father’s Day to every DAD out there this morning…

MY - goal this morning is…

• TO - first and foremost honor God our heavenly Father

• AND SECOND – to honor, encourage and challenge the DADS in this room…

(and when I say dads I am talking about…

Dads and step dads, foster dads, adopted dads) to live out more fully this (radical, awesome, empowering… most of the time intimidating call to DADhood…

NOW – this will be the final message in our series families…

A SERIES – where we have uncovered powerful truth, timeless principles and met several biblical families that have taught us invaluable lessons and practical steps about…

• How when it comes to your family and how it should look and live, it all begins with God

• Being single and finding your soul mate

• Ingredients that if we put them into our family they will always work and have a positive impact.

• The 4 keys to successful parenting

• Dealing with family conflict in a healthy, God-honoring and relationship restoring way

• Praying desperate prayers when our families face real problems

• Faith in the family means – leaving where you are, living out what you believe, looking beyond the here and now, leaning on God’s promises and learning the cost of following Jesus.

• AND – today we are going to talk about being an intentional dad

AND LISTEN – if we, if you, if I…

PUT – these truths into practice …THEY WILL - help our families (as diverse as they are)… BECOME – better.

BECOME - what God intends them for them to be.

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. – John 13:17

The one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. – James 1:25

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.

26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” - Matthew 7:24-27


The Truth About Being A Dad,

According To 13 Really Funny Famous Guys

On how kids' songs should really go:

“There should be a children’s song: ‘If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep.’” – Jim Gaffigan

The truth truth...

“Having children is like living in a frat house -- nobody sleeps, everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up.” -- Ray Romano

On how simple dad-hood should be:??

"Be a dad. Don't be 'Mom’s assistant.' That's depressing, just waiting for her to write you a list, walk around a store staring at it, calling her from the cereal aisle to make sure you got the right thing. Be a man. Make your own list.

Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a 4-year-old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. It won’t take away your manhood; it will give it to you. I did that. I spent more time with my kids. And I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don't know what I'm doing. But my kids love me. Go figure." -- Louis C.K.

The truth:

"When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they're crazy, because 'sacrifice' infers that there was something better to do than being with your children." -- Chris Rock

On yelling:

“My daughter said, ‘Why are you yelling at us?’ and I said, ‘I’m trying to discipline you!’ And then she looked up at me with her tear-stained eyes and said, ‘This is how you teach children, by making them cry.’ And it was such a clenching reminder — she won not only the argument, but she won life with that statement. I just burst out laughing, and I think they were so surprised that I burst out laughing, that they did too.” — Stephen Colbert

On the only thing you need to know:

"Having a kid is like falling in love for the first time when you're 12, but every day." -- Mike Myers

Yeah Dads are pretty awesome.

They are a breed of their own.

AND THOUGH - not easy by any stretch of the imagination , being a good one, is very powerful and has immeasurable potential.

HOWEVER – (as every DAD in this room knows) being a good dad is not simply going to happen by accident.

UNDERSTAND - if being a great dad came in a bottle we would all be one.

INSTEAD DADS – if we want to be a good one, if we want to take our DADhood to the next level we will have to be very intentional about it.

‘intentional’ – designed, planned… done with intention and purpose.

UNDERSTAND – some things are just not going to happen unless we are very intentional about it, right?

I MEAN – no one…

• Looses weight

• Pays off debt

• Gets in shape

• Earns that degree

By accident.

NO - it takes intentionality.

WHICH IS WHY - this morning I want to talk about being an intentional dad.

BECAUSE – intentional dads get it done.

AND – do you know what?

I SEE - a lot of dads doing just that at The Grove…. Getting it done. NO - not perfectly, but still striving all of the time to be better, to do this DAD thing right.

YEAH - I’ve noticed and DADS and so have your families…

KEEP – doing what you are doing.

KEEP – pressing on to that goal.

YES TODAY – I want to talk about being an intentional dad.

BUT – before we go there… I want to say 4 quick things to every Dad out there…

#1 – Be Positive…

Be positive about being a dad, and the difference that you can (and were actually designed) to make in the life of your kids

#2 – Be Realistic …

Don’t be overwhelmed by what you ‘aren’t’ doing; rather focus on some small step that you can ‘intentionally’ begin taking this week…

AND LISTEN – over time these small steps will add up to huge impact.


#3 - Be determined…

Really dedicate yourself to the privilege and responsibility of fathering… Make being ‘an Intentional DAD’ one of your top priorities in life…

#4 – Be Hopeful…

He hopeful that you can become the DAD you want to be… WHY? Because you really can.

AND LISTEN DADS – this is so not all on you. YEAH - God is in your corner big time on this one.

AND DADS – when you look to your future as a DAD keep these 2 verses in mind…

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20,21

SWEET – let’s do this.

Our text for today is found in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2.

2000 year old God-breathed words that want to speak to us today.

NOW - Paul started this church during his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 17). Unfortunately he was only able to stay there about 3 weeks because his quick success was met by strong opposition that forced him to flee the city.

HOWEVER – he was ministering just down the road in Corinth. SO HE - sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to check things out because he was driving himself crazy wondering what happened to those new believers after he had left.

WELL - when Timothy his partner in the Gospel returned, he brought back good news. AND - in response Paul sat down and wrote this letter we now have in our bible - a letter he concludes by saying,

I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all Christians.... – 1 Thessalonians 5:7

Now when Paul wrote the verses that we are going to dig into this morning – he wrote them to describe the kind of leader that he was when he was with them… Understand - he did not write them to give us a model for dads, but nevertheless that is exactly what he did.

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.

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, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. – 1 Thessalonians 2:8-12

we dealt with each of you

as a father deals with his own children

Being an intentional dad means…

Walking with God

Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. – 1 Thess 2:9,10

AND LISTEN - walking with God is what Paul is referring to when he uses words like (holy, righteous, blameless)…

AND UNDERSTAND DADS - (and everyone for that matter)

walking with God is most definitely not something that will just happen by accident.

I MEAN – the chances of simply waking up in the morning and finding yourself mature in your faith is a likely as the San Diego Padres winning the world series.

NOW UNDERSTAND – it’s not that God doesn’t want us walking with Him… He does.

IN FACT – it’s one the things that God did with Adam and Eve when He created them… Genesis 3 tells us that God would take walks with them in the cool of the morning.

BUT THEN CAME – the tree, the fruit, the serpent, the lies, the bite, the sin, the fall…

RESULT – what was once so natural, so easy, what was once just a normal part of life (walking with God)…

BECAME - difficult, unnatural and rare.

BOTTOM LINE – Dads in order to have a solid walk with God we are going to have to really want it, a lot.

AND – we will have to

Go after with all we got,

Pursue it with great passion…

AND DADS – I think we know what it is to pursue something.

I MEAN – have you ever pursued…

• A career, A goal

• A person, A hobby

With great passion

Just a few verses about passionately pursuing our walk with God…

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

– Jeremiah 29:12,13

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. – Dt 6:5,6

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33


What can a dad do to intentionally improve His Walk with God?

1. Read the Word on a regular basis

2. Pray on a regular basis

3. Attend church on a regular basis

4. Hang out with other guys who want to pursue and walk with God.

5. Take the EHS course when it is launched at The Grove

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5

As we take our relationship with our Heavenly Father deeper, we will find that not only will we be more willing to be the dad we want to be, but we will literally be empowered to become that dad.

AND – do you know what sometimes it’s the very fact of becoming a father that moves a DAD to walk with God.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years.

– Genesis 5:21-23

Being an intentional dad means…

Expressing Our Love

NOTICE – in our text that Paul says to the church, to the men and women in Thessalonica…

We loved you so much…

NOW - in the Greek language in which Paul wrote, those words expressed an intensity of love that gives over & over again.

Paul is saying, “It’s hard even to find words to express how much - but we really do love you.”

YOU KNOW - I think this is an important character trait for fathers because ‘expressing love’ does not come naturally for most men. IN FACT - I’m convinced that is the reason the Bible tells husbands to “love” their wives, because we have to learn how to love.

NOW - the Bible almost never tells wives to “love” their husbands because that usually comes naturally for them. Instead, wives are told to “respect” and “submit” to their husbands, because sometimes that is hard to do.

AGAIN – most men have to learn how to express love.

AND - that is definitely true in the father & child relationship.

It like a lot of parenting stuff doesn’t usually come easy for us.

BUT AFTER - we bring that little bundle of joy home… we eventually figure things out… and we overcome our discomfort with expressing our love…

BUT THEN – do you know what happens - they grow up, & just about the time we get good at expressing love, it all changes. And we get uncomfortable again.

A few years ago the cartoon strip, “For Better or for Worse,”

(you use to have them in these things called ‘newspapers)

It shows Dad coming into the room where his teenage daughter was sitting on the couch watching television & munching popcorn. So he decided to sit down next to her & help himself to the popcorn.

As he was sitting there, a little thought balloon appears over his head. He’s thinking…

• I remember when Elizabeth was little, we'd snuggle up together to watch TV

• She’s so big now, she’s a pretty young woman!

• I’d love to put my arm around her

• But maybe she’d think it was wrong. Maybe she’d push me away. I don’t know what to do.

• I wonder why my daddy never hugs me any more.

While he’s thinking that, his daughter is thinking, “I wonder why Dad never hugs me anymore?”


DADS – it is always good and right to express our love to our kids… no matter the age.

AND – as you think about expressing love, keep in mind.

The 5 Love Languages

1. Gifts

2. Quality time

3. Words of affirmation

4. Acts of service

5. Physical touch

Being an intentional dad means…

Pro-Active Involvement

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. – 1 Thess 2:8

DADS – to become the dads we want to be requires our involvement…

Requires us to share not only…. Things, an address, facts, stuff activities…

BUT – our lives as well

AND LISTEN – to make this a reality is a lot harder than we think… because…

• We’re busy

• We’re pulled in so many different directions by so many different things and people

• We’re tired at the end of the day

It will take ‘t.i.m.e.’ which we do not have much of.

• We are selfish and may have to give something up that we want to do in order to be their for and with our child.

DADS – being there… OUR – involvement matters.

I’ll never forget an example of this I saw being played out on JinTao baseball team during the playoffs - in the championship game, several years back.

There was one kid who was catching – He would look around every time he caught the ball to see if his dad was there.

He wasn’t.

I found out later he was out playing golf.

Apparently he really loves to play golf.

DADS – our involvement (being there) really matters.

HEY DADS (PARENTS) – have you noticed how every time you go to your child’s event at school or somewhere else… they are always scanning the room to find us.

AND – when they do, they always break out in a smile.

A smile that is birthed in a heart that knows, ‘I matter.’

DADS – to become the DAD we want to be requires that we become very intentional about our involvement.

WHICH – will mean that we may need to …

• Turn off the game

• Get off our laptop or phone

• Do something that interests them

• Tell our friends we will catch them next time on the golf course or wherever.

NOW – in my studies for this conversation I came across the following quote.

I have noticed that in the last generation, the definition of successful parenting has changed from spending time personally with your kids (hanging out with your kids) to being an activities director for your kids.

– Rick Warren

HE SAID – so much of we do is we take our kids to places and watch them as they interact and have personal time with someone else.

NOW – he said that there is nothing wrong with this, but that is must not be a substitute for personal time.

(I don’t know, I just thought his words were worth thinking about)

AGAIN… dads the goal today is no to

beat ourselves up with regret…

BUT - just to ask ourselves this question,

“what small step can I take this week

to be more involved in my child’s life?”

Being an intentional dad means…

• Walking with God

• Expressing our love

• Pro-active Involvement, AND…

Using Affirming Words

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting… 1 Th 2:11,12

(hey kids do not use these stuff as a score card for your DAD? Instead us it as a template to pray for him)

UNDERSTAND – throughout the Scripture we find God the Father encouraging His children…

God Encouraged

• MOSES at the burning bush when he told him to deliver the nation of Israel.

• GIDEON by calling him a mighty warrior

• JOSHUA (with His presence and assistance) as He set out to conquer the promise land.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

God encouraged Jesus (His one and only Son) after His baptism in the Jordan River…

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

- Matthew 3:17

THAT – is the kind of Father I want to be…

A DAD – who encourages with His words, His presence and His assistance…

UNDERSTAND - there is power in our words.

AND – the words of a DAD seem to carry more weight than almost any other. Words are important. Words can either lift up or tear down…

AND LISTEN – if anyone knows which is more our natural bent – it is our kids…

Proverbs 12:18 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

AND PAUL WRITES – in Ephesians 4

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Eph 4:29

DADS – let’s commit today to begin speaking ‘more’ encouraging words to our kids…

Words that heal.

Words that strengthen – rather than negative words which wound and discourage.

“I love you”

“I believe in you”

“I am proud of you”

“I know you can do it”

“You did a great job”

Christian author John Eldredge says it like this:

“Your son or daughter, no matter how old, will always want and need to hear these words from you: You have what it takes; you are worth fighting for.”

Dads, let your daughter know that you think she’s beautiful, you think she’s smart, that she’s talented. That you believe in her.

Dads, let your sons know that you think they’re capable, that they can accomplish anything. That you believe in Him.

DADS – let’s try to catch them doing something right and commend them for it… in front of others if possible.

You are my son/daughter

Whom I love

With you I am well pleased

AGAIN DADS – what small step can we take this week to be intentional about speaking affirming words…

AND LISTEN – when we do that…

WHEN WE – affirm, encourage and comfort with our words…

DO YOU KNOW – what we will become dads…

A place of refuge for our kids…

At the lowest point in his life, having been pursued and persecuted by the king (the father of his best friend), a former shepherd boy named David lived in hiding.

• He had been a national hero; now he was in exile.

• He had been a member of the king’s court and now he sleeps in caves.

• He had been anointed as the next king of Israel; now his future looks dark.

• He had mercifully spared the king’s life; now that same king seeks his.

UNDERSTAND - David’s problems loomed so large that he felt like a man among lions. He trembled like a child among hungry beasts. Finally in distress, David turned to his father, his God and cried out.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until disaster has passed..." Ps 57:1

Within a few years, however, David became king, defeated all his enemies, united a kingdom in turmoil and won the respect and regard of his people. How were such thing accomplished? David provides the answer in later Psalms.

I love you , O Lord, my strength. the Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." - Ps 18:1-2

THAT’S… the kind of DAD I want to be.

YEAH I KNOW – that I can’t be almighty or as all knowing as God is… AND OBVIOUSLY - I want my children to first and foremost turn to God as a refuge, NEVERTHELESS I still want to be a refuge. I want my kids to know…. that there is always a safe place that they can run to. I want them to know… that they can come to me for refuge from:

• the storms of life,

• attacks of peers,

• the pressures of adolescence,

• disappointment, pain, heartache, ridicule and fear.

AND YEAH I KNOW THAT: my being a refuge will require that I be alert and observant to my children’s words and moods…

IT WILL MEAN - that I’ll have to develop and refine the art of listening (being quick to listen and slow; to correct, reprimand, instruct and advise) and using affirming words which will make me more approachable….

AND FINALLY - I know that being a refuse will require my coming along side of my kids when they are need...

Helping them, picking them up and carrying them if necessary…

Being an intentional dad means…

• Walking with God

• Expressing our love

• Pro-active Involvement,

• Using affirming words, AND…

Pursuing The Primary Purpose

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children…urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

– 1 Thessalonians 2:11,12

QUESTION – what is our primary purpose as a dad?

TO (through) our affirming words, our proactive involvement, and our expressions of love

urge our kids to live…

Lives worthy of God

Lives sold out and on fire for Jesus

Paul said it this way in…

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord… - Eph 6:4

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.

– 1 Timothy 4:8

DADS – we cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by lesser things…

We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children…urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. – 1 Thessalonians 2:11,12

NOW- the meaning of the Greek word that is translated urge, is a form of the verb martureo, which means to bear witness.

The noun form of this word is where we get our English word martyr.

So how do we bare witness to our children to live a life worthy of God?

The best way is by being an example of someone who is living a life that is worthy of God…

(Paul certainly did this)

B/L DADS – when we give them an up close and personal example, of what it means to live a life that is worthy of God… they will be motivated to want it also…


Fellow Jesus followers you have a father who wants to…

• Walk with you

• Continuously expresses his love for you

• Be intimately involved in every moment of your life (mountain high or valley low)

• Affirms and empowers you with His words and Spirit to live out your primary purpose…