Summary: a Father’s day message. Stories remind fathers that they are important in leading their children to Jesus, enabling their sons and daughters to know God’s love from their example.

In Jesus Holy Name June 21, 2009

Text: Ephesians 6:2,5:16-18 (The Message) Father’s Day

“Take Them by The Hand and Lead Them”

Two weeks ago, the June 8th cover of Sports Illustrated placed on their cover a 16 year old Bryce Harper with this caption: “Baseball’s Chosen One”. According to Sports Illustrated he is the most exciting prodigy since LeBron James. Bryce Harper loves to play baseball. He is special. He and his parents have decided that he will forgo his Jr. and Sr. year of High School. He will take his GED. Enter the Jr. College in Las Vegas and hope to be the number one baseball draft pick at the age of 18 in 2010. We can all wish him well.

His story reminded me of advice for new fathers given by Jimmie Piersal.

“A dad’s guide to changing a baby’s diapers.”

1. Spread the diaper in the position of a baseball diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home plate and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound.

2. Put 1st base and 3rd base together, bring up home plate and pin the three together.

3. Of course, in case of rain you’ve got to call the game and start all over again.

Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a Dad. Dad is a son’s first hero, a daughter’s first love. Rose O’Kelly wrote: “Your dad is the man who does all the heavy shoveling for your sand castle and then tells you you’ve done a wonderful job.”

Steven Farrar in his book: “Point Man” writes: “It is the responsibility of parents and ultimately the father, to make sure the children grew up in an environment that will enable them to one day be competent, responsible parents in their own right.”

It’s Father’s Day and we celebrate you and honor your role in teaching your family and children about a loving heavenly Father. Let me ask you a couple of questions:

Do you play pitch and catch? Do you attend the T-ball game, the dance recital, the swim meet? I hope you do. Let me tell you why.

I remember a teenage girl in one of my past youth groups. She was bright. She was a leader. College would never have been a problem. But in her Senior year things came undone. Her parents had divorced when she was only 2 and her mother had one a wonderful job of parenting. But I remember her telling me this story.

“I remember my first dance recital. I was three. I was really excited. My dad was invited…but he never came. Over the years I learned to adjust…but he never came for a birthday or other important events in my life.”

In her senior year, her grades fell apart… she was trying to reconnect with her father. She even managed to go and live with her father and his new wife in the last part of her senior year. Why? She wanted a Father’s love. It never happened and she felt abandoned, she had an emotional hole in her heart.

Norman Wright in his book “A Dad Shaped Hole In My Heart” tells the story of Jairus an official at the synagogue who came to see Jesus with a desperate plea for his daughter, who was deathly ill. Before they reached the house, a friend arrives with the sad news that Jairus’s daughter had died. But, Jesus went to Jairus’s house anyway and brought the little girl back to life.

Wright reminds us that daughters were not valued in Jairus’s day and he was exposing himself to potential ridicule for going to so much trouble over on insignificant girl. But love for his daughter compelled him to take the risk. He would not abandon his daughter without trying.

Wright goes on to remind us that many daughters feel abandoned and forgotten by their fathers. Whether their fathers are simply emotionally absent or physically absent due to adoption, divorce, or death, these daughters go through life with emptiness in their hearts where a father’s love should have been.

Sit down with your son or daughter at dinner. Pick them up from the dance at 1:00 a.m. don’t let them find their own ride home. Read a bed time story; give a long hug when the kids at school have dropped them like a hot potato.

Godly fatherhood comes at a high cost. Time, energy, attention and focus are to be given if you want your child to know a God of love. You can not put it off till next year.

The Marine Corp is always looking for a few good men, so is the Lord in this only going battle against Satan. He wants you. One man can make a difference. Churchill saved England. Lombardi turned the Packers from door mats into legends. Joe Montana led the 49’s to four super bowl titles …. No one has executed the two minute drill more consistently.

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