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Summary: Let's look at the heart of a father. Fathers are a gift from the heavenly Father. Here is a well known story Jesus told about a special father - special because Jesus was using Him to describe what the heavenly Father is really like.

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THE PRODIGAL FATHER

Luke 15:11-24 11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.” 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired men.” 22 But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.

-Maybe you’ve heard another version of this story:

The Prodigal Son in "F"

Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings, and flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune, feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments.

"Phooey, my father's flunkies fare far finer." The frazzled fugitive frankly faced facts. Feeling frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, he fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father's feet, he forlornly fumbled, "Father, I've flunked. I've fruitlessly forfeited family favor."

The farsighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch a fatling from the flock and fix a feast.

The fugitive's faultfinding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former folderol, but the faithful father figured: "Filial fidelity is fine but the fugitive is found. What forbids fervent festivity? Let flags be unfurled, let fanfares flare." So father's forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive's future fortitude.

Intro.: Putting the silliness aside, let’s talk about one of the greatest needs in our world today. Listen to what one author wrote about it: “It is being recognized more and more. Its effects are being felt over several generations. It is repairable only by the men in our society. It is within the true domain of 'home improvement.' It is known as 'Father Hunger.' Father Hunger is painfully felt by several generations. Grown men, some of them fathers themselves, feel a longing and emptiness created by the absence of fathering.” By Kate McGoey-Smith Home Fires

On this Father’s Day I thought it would be an appropriate occasion to take a look at the heart of a father. Fathers are a gift from the heavenly Father. Of course, everybody knows how sweet and wonderful Mothers are, but today I’d like to look at the story Jesus told about a special father. The reason this father was special is because Jesus was using Him to describe what the heavenly Father is really like. I’m afraid that we often get wrong ideas in our head about what our heavenly Father is really like. It is normal for us to see Him as distant and either aloof or angry. Many people view God the Father the same way they see their earthly father, and even to relate to Him in the same way. Sometimes this is good, other times it is not. Maybe we don’t think we can ever really gain His approval because we could never gain the approval of our earthly father. Well, Jesus told this story to show that God the Father is not distant or unkind or unconcerned about us. Jesus really shattered their image of who God is. Many have called this parable “The Prodigal Son.” However, I have entitled this message “The Prodigal Father.” Prodigal means “recklessly extravagant.”

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