"The Fathers Legacy" Fathers Day 2016
Pastor Terry Inman
I have been thinking a lot lately about Legacy—what I want to leave behind. One definition says legacy is something outdated or discontinued. Tragically that description fits all to often in our culture. Real Dad’s are on the endangered species list.
The contribution of healthy and loving Fatherhood is underestimated and undervalued today. So before I get started lets hear it for Dad’s that are here today leading their families and worshiping our heavenly Father!
Here’s a live legacy moment. My oldest granddaughter Madeline posted this photo at her Fremont Christian School graduation. She said, “Not many people have their grandfather help perform their graduation. Glad I got to graduate with him on stage!”
I liked it! It nearly popped the buttons off my already snug shirt. So of course I forwarded it to my 2024 friends! Some of them even liked it!
I am very proud of Madeline.
I have to admit that I’m probably a bit proud of being Dad to seven sons and grandpa to twenty-seven.
This is definitely one way to leave a legacy. Strength in Numbers!
There’s even a verse in the bible for dads and doting granddads, “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged:” (it adds) “Parents are the pride of their children.” (Prov. 17.6 NLT) Grandpas get silver crowns!
Pastor Ron was on Facebook this week from his family vacation in Maui. He is happy the kids and the grandkids are there for the first week and he is happy just he and Robin are there the second week!
I get that! Now Robin a true grandmother said, “All the kids should arrive today and will spend a week of family time celebrating my birthday from last December where I turned 60” Noting about her and Ron?
Most Dads I know weren’t thinking about the family plan when they first laid their eyes on the beautiful young woman they wanted to marry.
I don’t remember saying to Mary, “will you Mary me so I can be a wonderful father of seven and grandfather of 27! Actually I’m rather happy about what came with the package. It’s our legacy!
So lets talk about “A Father’s Legacy”. Some of us were fortunate to have good models for Fatherhood. Some of us did not. Producing kids is easy raising kids is challenging.
It was fun giving some tools to some Dad’s today. I’m not going to hammer you but I do want share some tools for being a Godly Dad and encourage all of us to respect our Fathers here and our Father in heaven.
Something Pastor Mary said, the other day reminded me of a prophetic warning in the last book of the Old Testament. God’s people were living unfaithfully and they were complaining that he wasn’t answering their prayers. Among another things they were depreciating the value of marriage. The Prophet Malachi reminds them of God’s purpose for family.
God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. (Godly offspring) So guard the spirit of marriage within you and don’t cheat on it. (Mal. 2.15 MSG)
No matter what some in our culture and our government think, children do best when they have a Dad and Mom that love them and each other.
Now I am not putting down some of you that find yourself parenting single. I applaud you for doing the hard work of two parents. There are moms that we should also celebrate on Fathers Day and Dad’s we should also celebrate on Mothers Day!
A few years back President Obama affirmed the value of Dads while speaking at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago.
"Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that way too many fathers are missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes.
They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. The foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.” Politico.com
Now you may be wondering why I quoted the President. First he’s a father. He loves is daughters. He has also been vocal about his disappointment over his Father’s absence.
He also professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I respect him and I pray for him. Even though I cannot embrace some of the decisions he has subsequently made that I believe are in conflict with the scriptures. His support for our supreme court’s re-definition of same-sex marriage is inconsistent with his statements about the importance of fathers.
The President said, “without fathers the foundations of our families are weaker.” I am not here to bash our nations leader but the bible says, “When the foundationsare being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psa. 11.3 NIV) One thing we can do is to be good husbands and fathers!
Children come into the world though the intimacy of a man and a woman. They are best nurtured by the unique contribution of both genders. We do not always live up to our creator’s ideals for family but it does not change his recipe for success.
Some people say telling the truth is hateful. The bible says speak the truth in love. The first thing the bible says about family affirms the need for parents of both genders. Male and female reflect the image of God.
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The first thing God did was “bless” this couple and His first words were, “Be fruitful and increase” (Gen. 1.27-28 NIV) God blesses fruitful relationships. It not enough to affirm biblical marriage, we need to model biblical marriage and family.
Genesis tells us how the first female was differentiated from the male.
Adam was anesthetized, God removed a rib and shaped eve. This word for rib is a derivative of Tesla “curve”. That’s where the curves come from!
God may have done some bioengineering with Adam’s DNA? However it happened, Adam was attracted and quickly became quite re-attached.
Adam’s first words are profound, Woo-man! “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Gen. 2.23 NIV)
The reason he recognized her as an attractive mate is because he had been naming the animals until their first meet up. The bible makes it clear that this gender specific male and female creation was intentional.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Gen.2.24 NIV)
Immediately the serpent went to work perverting their God given roles.
Both were seduced by Satan to defy their creator’s clear instructions.
They ate forbidden fruit. Eve blamed the devil and Adam blamed eve.
The first family and the human race were estranged from our creator. They raised a son whose rebellion against God took the life of his brother.
But we have a good—good Father. He raised a son that gave His life for us. The bible says, “in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1Cor. 15.22 NIV)
We are restored to God and given a new start at his plan for humanity. God wants to bless the earth though strong marriages and families. Fathers and Mothers play a very significant role in that blessing!
So today let me keep it simple. There are three things that Dad’s can do to create a great and godly legacy—to raise Godly offspring. Love God, Love your wife, and love your children. In fact one of the best ways to love God is to love your wife and kids!
God gave Moses and his tribes the manual for living as His special family.
It called the Ten Commandments not suggestions.
Then He said, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6.4-7 NIV)
Our love for God engages our “heart”, our passions our affections, our emotions—it is love from the very core of our being. We love him with all our “soul” our personality, our identity, our intelligence, our motivation our total being.
We love God with all our “strength”. Guys this is putting some hustle and mussel to our love for God. How much spiritual weight are you lifting?
Loving our wives also takes heart, soul, mind and body. The bible says, Husbands love your wives like Christ loved his bride the Church. He gave himself for her. Most of us would probably give our lives to protect our woman but it’s the daily sacrifice of self that requires the most mussel.
One of the things that really helps our children feel cared for, safe and secure is the assurance that their Dad and Mom really love each other!
Finally loving your kids is not about working hard and buying them all the stuff their friends have. It’s about giving them your Fatherly affection, attention and affirmation.
Let me just break these three things down a bit. Mom’s affection comes pretty naturally. Dads may have to work at it a little more. Affection is a feeling word. It gets communicated though warmth, tenderness and compassion. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psa. 103.13 NIV)
In our desire to see our children mature emotionally and excel in sports, school and eventually in work we can totally miss their need for affection.
Attention is simply being genuinely present to them. Not just at their baseball or soccer games. Mary’s dad used to say that kids need us to talk to them and listen to them eye to eye with focused attention.
“Impressing” our children with our values and our biblical world-view is not an occasional lecture. It’s also not abdicating their spiritual enrichment exclusively to kids church, youth group or Christian school.
Dads we are the best teachers and leaders our children will ever see and hear. We are their life coach. Nurturing their faith requires our full attention. It’s a constant conversation; it requires a lot of listening.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deut. 6.6-7 NIV)
The final Legacy we can leave as Dads is to give our children affirmation. We could give a whole biblical teaching on passing on the Father’s Blessing. In Genesis 49 there’s a whole chapter devoted to the dying Patriarch Jacob giving his final blessing to each of his 12 sons. They are all different but he influenced their destiny with his fatherly approval.
We are born with an innate need for our earthly Father’s approval. Many who haven’t experienced it languish in life. Some of us find it difficult to experience our heavenly Father’s approval.
I have listened to many hurting people that carry a deep father wound. They got plenty of correction but not enough affection, attention and affirmation. Dads were not perfect, we don’t always get it right.
But we do have a Father in heaven that is more than ready to help us fill these big shoes. Let’s ask him to help us leave, “A Fathers Legacy”!