Fathers With A Mission
A Checklist for Dads
The Top Ten Ways to Intimidate Your Daughter’s Date When He Comes to Pick Her Up:
10. Sprinkle some dust on your daughter before she leaves. Explain, “It makes fingerprinting easier.”
9. Challenge him at arm wrestling.
8. Introduce him to your good friend Tony Soprano.
7. Answer the door wearing a police swat team uniform.
6. Casually show him your collection of five shrunken heads, then yell up to your daughter, “Number six is here!”
5. Come to the door bare-chested. Do a lot of flexing.
4. Introduce him to the family by calling each family member to the living room using a whistle, then making them stand at attention and salute.
3. Have the funeral home director over to measure the young man.
2. Answer the door in a straight-jacket.
1. As they leave, speak into a walkie-talkie: “Subject is wearing khakis and a blue polo shirt, driving a green Ford.”
Here’s a more serious Top Ten list. A survey of elementary children was conducted a few years ago which indicated the ten most appreciated qualities for Dads:
1. He 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’s nice to my friends.
9. He only punishes me when I deserve it.
10. He isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong.
As parents our primary mission is to pass Biblical truths on to our children.
I Timothy 5:8 -- “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.”
As parents our mission is to pass on Biblical truths to our children and loved ones. To “provide” for our family means to provide love, financial security, and development an atmosphere of hope, faith and optimism.
We all struggle with obstacles to spending time in God’s Word—time constraints, misplaced priorities, and perhaps even some doubts about the relevancy of God’s Word to our lives.
The George Barna Research Group States that --
84% of Americans identify themselves as Christians
95% say they believe in God
And 68% of born again adults believe that the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves”
53% that the Holy Spirit does not exist
47% that Satan does not exist
30% that Jesus Christ died but never had a physical resurrection
Since the creation of Adam, Men were ordained by God to be spiritual leaders in society and in the home. Fathers have God’s calling and mission to pass on Biblical truths to their children. Before you can pass something on you must first possess it. You first need God’s Word in your life.
I. Have God’s Word in Your Life.
I Thessalonians 2:11-12 – “A Father deals with his children, encouraging them…to live lives worthy of God.”
There are many obstacles to knowing God’s Word and making it apart of your life.
It’s hard to imagine that there are any obstacles to the use of God’s Word in the Western world. Christian bookstores not only offer Bibles at reasonable prices, but also many different translations and specialized editions. Statistics reveal that the average household in the United States has three Bibles.
However, studies show that many church going people aren’t reading the Bible on a consistent basis.
Here are some obstacles to reading God’s Word:
1. Spiritual warfare. Satan, the god of this world, will do all he can to keep you away from the Word of God. As I mentioned last Sunday, the Word of God is quick and powerful and defeats the temptations of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-12 Paul declares, “A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” (NLT)
2. Not a High Priority. God teaches that parents are to make teaching the truths of God a high priority in the home, but parents are so busy with their own agendas and life that they neglect the number one calling. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 clearly teaches that parents are commissioned by God to pass on Biblical truth to the next generation.
3. Lack of Time Management. Lacking time management to the point where we believe the enemy’s lie—“You don’t have the time!”
Among Bible readers, the average total time per week of Bible reading is 52 minutes, or 7.4 minutes per day.
The average time for watching TV is three hours per day
The average time people are spending on the Web is 36 minutes per day.
A related alarming statistic is that high-school-age youth in one large city revealed that the high-school youth spend 55 percent of their time after school on the Internet.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. If you give 1% of your time for devotion and prayer you would give 14 minutes a day or if 2% 28 minutes a day.
Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
James 4:17 tells us, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
4. Lack of Self Discipline. Lacking discipline people are too tired, allowing other things to take the place of Bible reading. Even some legitimate things such as family, friends and entertainment take away time we should be spending in God’s Word.
Joshua 1:8 contains a warning and a promise: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
2 Timothy 1:7 the Apostle Paul reminds the youthful Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
5. Lack of Commitment. Lacking commitment—more are committed to gaining material things than to the things of God.
The Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) was only committed to making more and more money. He had no time for the things of God.
A couple Old Testament Leaders come to mind who failed to pass on Biblical and Moral truths to their sons.
Eli was a priest of God. But I Samuel 2:12 says, “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.” 2:17, “They treated the Lord’s offering with contempt.” The Lord condemned Eli for not providing guidance and disciplining his sons: “Why do you turn your sons loose to get fat on these offerings… and ignore me.” 2:29
Eli evidently was so busy doing what he thought was God’s work that he neglected his own family. I know of one nationally know minister whose wife divorced him because she said he had a “mistress.” His mistress was his ministry. He had no time for her or his family.
King David was another great Old Testament leader but he failed to pass on moral truth to his son Absalom. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was not totally obedient in all his life activities. He lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her. At his command he had her husband killed in battle.
Sin always has a ripple effect. The Bible says, “No mans lives unto himself or dies unto himself.”
Absalom, the King’s son knew of his father’s heroic leadership, but he also knew of his moral failures. Absalom chose to rebel against his father’s leadership and lived a life of immorality and practiced political espionage. Absalom rebelled against his father and tried to take over his Kingdom. Absalom failed in the attempt and was killed in battle.
When King David heard of his death he cried out, “Absalom, Absalom, my son Absalom.” King David was probably thinking, “Where did I go wrong?” “I would have done anything I could have done to have spared his life.”
Parents are not totally responsible for the choices their children make, but it is helpful when dad and mom live a God honoring life and teach their children by their example and by their words what it means to live a life of integrity.
It’s a tragedy when couples are regular church goers and claim to be Christians, yet live an inconsistent life. For some reason their children pick up on their inconsistencies and use them as their excuse to rebel and live ungodly lives.
King David repented of his immoral adultery and killing of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. God forgave him, but his influence had an effect on his children. The Lord referred to David as “One who followed after God with all his heart.”
You don’t have to allow obstacles to keep you from having God’s Word in your life. You can overcome the obstacles.
Men as spiritual leaders in the home you can practice the three “Rs.”
1 .Recognize the spiritual dimensions of the obstacles. You can put on the full armor of God and become a Man of Prayer. When you pray in Jesus’ Name you overcome the trials and testing temptations of the Devil. Eph. 6:12
2. Reorganize your life to include God’s Word. Become a Man of Purpose. Along with the Psalmist you can pray, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) (TLT)
3. Revitalize your relationship with the Author of the Word. Become a Man of action. With Jeremiah you can say: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us life up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven…” (Lamentations 3:40-41)
Jacob is an example of a father that did pass on biblical truths to his children. Jacob wasn’t a perfect father. He showed favoritism to two of his sons. But for the most part he demonstrated a consistent life of righteousness and loved and cared for his children his entire life. Jacob loved his children during good times and bad. (Genesis 37-42)
Jacob never gave up on his son Joseph. Jacob passed on moral integrity and godly principles to Joseph. Joseph endeavored to always tell the truth. He did not yield to sexual temptation. He did not give up on his faith with put in jail for unjust reasons. Jacob had passed on to Joseph a great legacy of faith.
The faith of Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 has great appeal to me. I can identify with Timothy. Many of you can identify with Timothy’s family situation. You find yourself in a similar situation. Timothy’s father was a Greek and an unbeliever. Timothy’s mother and grandmother were believers and followers of Jesus. The mother of Timothy was the spiritual leader in their home.
The Apostle Paul reflected on the household of Timothy: 2 Timothy 1:5, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now live in your also.” My mother and grandparents on both sides of my family were believers. Their influence had a great impact on my life. My father came to faith 30 years after I first became a Christian.
Let’s look at some practical applications of having God’s Word in your life.
II. Practical Applications
What kind of legacy are you going to leave your children? The greatest legacy you can leave is a heritage of faith.
You may say a lot of things, but the life you live and what you value speaks volumes.
Your most valuable assets is your children. Your most important asset is spelled T I M E.
# One hard working father worked long hours. He went to work before his children got up and came home after then were already in bed. One Saturday he took his little girl to work with him. She was looking around his office and asked: “Daddy, is this where you live?”
Children learn more by observation than by sermons you might give them from time to time.
A father told about his experiences growing up. "When I was a teenager, Dad would come in my room and say, ’C’mon, kid, let’s go.’ "’Where to?’ ’Lucy’s.’"
"Once a month Dad would visit Lucy Butchko, a woman whose body was twisted and pinned into a wheelchair by arthritis. He would reach his big arms around her frail body and lift her out of the wheelchair and place her in the front seat of our brown station wagon. Then he would fold the wheelchair, throw it in back, and drive Lucy to the monthly Communion service for shut-ins. Dad was a Vice President of a publishing company who shuttled shut-ins."
"Later, while in the hospital, trying to recover from a massive heart attack, Dad found out that a family down the street didn’t have enough money to buy groceries. So he wrote them a check. IT WAS THE LAST THING HE EVER WROTE, AND A LASTING LESSON."
# Another man said of his father, "Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were 8 children, all probably under the age of 12. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.
"The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants, and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to a circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.
“The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, ’You’re my knight in shining armor.’ He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her.
"The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly said, ’Please, let me buy 8 children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.’ THE TICKET LADY QUOTED THE PRICE. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped and the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, ’HOW MUCH DID YOU SAY?’ The ticket lady again quoted the price.
"The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his 8 kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus? Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground. (And we were not wealthy in any sense of the word) My father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, ’EXCUSE ME, SIR, I BELIEVE THIS FELL OUT OF YOUR POCKET.’
"The man knew what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eye, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with quivering lips and a tear streaming down his cheek, replied, ’THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THIS REALLY MEANS A LOT TO ME AND MY FAMILY.’"
The man telling the story about his father, said, "My father and I went back to our car and drove home. We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without."
Fathers have God’s Word in your life.
Live your life based on Biblical truth.
Action Points for Fathers
1. Tell your children three qualities you learned from your father or another father figure and how they have helped you to be a good dad.
2. Take some extended time to discuss with your wife how marriage can be an asset to your children. Consider three practical ways you can strengthen your marriage.
3. Determine to pass on Biblical truths by both word and deed to your children.