Summary: Using the priest Eli as an example of what not to do with his sons this message explores some basic suggestions, grounded in the word imploring a man to take a house and make a home.




1 SAMUEL 3:1-10


“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. [2] One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. [3] The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. [4] Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." [5] And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. [6] Again the Lord called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." [7] Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. [8] The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. [9] So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ’Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ " So Samuel went and lay down in his place. [10] The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (NIV)


From a biblical standpoint, Eli missed a great opportunity to purposefully give his children a godly foundation. The first two shots he took at raising boys were an abysmal failure, and he gave the world two monsters. Parents must understand you simply can not leave your children to chance. God is obviously a gracious God, because he gave Eli a third opportunity. When Hannah and Elkanah presented their precious young son, Samuel, to live with him at the temple, this time we see intentionality in the purpose of building a spiritual foundation in the life of the boy entrusted to his care.

Ask Eli this question: “What is your intentional purpose in the raising of Samuel?”

Eli may have answered: "My intentional purpose is to build a home where I can raise this young man to know the voice of God and to understand the importance of obeying God’s voice.”

There could be no higher call for the man who was privileged to be called ‘Dad.’ Eli’s job was to take his house and now build a home.

Any healthy male past the age of puberty can father a child, but it takes a man who understands his purpose in life to be a father. The mission of the man called “Dad” is to raise children in such a way that, like Samuel, they may be able to discern the voice of God and with a biblical foundation make the proper choice in their response. This encounter with God happened in the home of Eli and Samuel.

Being in the ministry our family has lived in several houses through the years. Each house is different. Some of the houses we loved, some we liked and some we hated. However, there is one commonality among all the houses in which we lived. It was my responsibility as the father, along with my partnership with Cynthia as the mom to take each house entrusted to our care and build a home for our family. Let me be quick to say that not every house a family lives in is a home.

To turn a house into a home takes commitment, time, understanding, wisdom, love and patience. Most of all it takes a deep abiding love for Jesus Christ and a commitment to His word.

I don’t know about your family but in our family certain rooms became teaching points as God allowed us to have the privilege of raising our daughters. I thought today I would go from room to room and with the help of God’s word, show you what is necessary to turn your house into a home. This message is designed to illustrate the intentional purpose for the Man Called “Dad.”


The front door opens into the house. It is imperative that the father intentionally understand that his purpose begins when his family walks through that front door. I remember years ago walking through the front door and hearing Jennifer and Taylor standing nose-to-nose, ripping each other apart. I was amazed at the words and the anger coming out of dainty little girls. I was grieved, as a father would be watching his children rip each other apart. Then I put my hands on their shoulders so they maintained this limited distance, and I said, “Listen carefully. This place is called home. It is unlike any other place. When you enter into a home, people do things differently. In a home, you build each other up. Did you hear that word? They ’build’ each other. Say it for me, very slowly."

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