Sunday, June 29, 2008

Things That Come With Salvation


Key Scriptures: Psalms 110 NKJV

1 ¶ A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.

First grade teachers aren’t stupid.

It is not that first grade teachers do not understand calculus, it’s that they have the good sense not to try and teach it to first graders.

Success in anything, including Kingdom living, is more than a one step process. We must master the first step before we move on.

It is God’s master design that each person who is born in this world, as well as every individual who gets born again, grows up, becomes mature and productive in life. This is the divine intent.

The Church is God’s vehicle of salvation and education beyond salvation. We have been commissioned and commanded to go into all the world and reach, teach and keep every one who is willing to be gathered, discipled and then used for God’s glory.

Arguably the Apostle Paul wrote the New Testament book of Hebrews to the Jewish Christians who were members in the church at Jerusalem about the year AD63, (after his first imprisonment in Rome about AD61 but before the persecution of Christians by Nero began in AD64). This book of Hebrews speaks directly to a matter of great concern to the Apostle.

Paul was afraid that his Hebrew Christian brothers would fall away from their earnest pursuit of Christ. The danger they faced was not from persecution but rather from the circumstances of life which presented attraction for them and made it easy to return to the Jewish beliefs and practice the traditions and Laws of Moses.

Paul encouraged them to realize that it is not enough to merely accept Jesus as Messiah and add Him as an ingredient to merely spice up their religious life, rather Paul argues that Christ came to change everything. And, in order for anyone to be safe, secure and productive in their salvation, they must do those things which accompany salvation. They must grow up and mature in Christ.

The intent of Paul was to show the superior excellence of the Gospel message to that of a legalistic approach to God, as was the case under the Law of Moses which requires continual sacrifice and demands perfection or execution. Perfection however, as Paul describes, can only come through Messiah.

It was important for Paul to show the believing Hebrews that they had lost nothing by converting from Judaism but rather they were actually following and fulfilling the plan God had all along. The Law of Moses was intended to be a school teacher, leading and keeping God’s children on a certain path until Messiah came to deliver them to a new and living way.

In Paul’s argument he continually appeals to the Hebrew Christian’s knowledge of Jewish history. In one such case Paul chooses an historical figure to make his point. That figure, a well known priest from Abraham’s time, was the Prince of Salem, Melchizedek.

The Priest Melchizedek, as the scriptures tell, did not have a father or a mother, neither beginning nor end, was the Prince of Peace, the King of Justice but was not a member of the tribe of Levi from which all priests came by order of the Law of Moses. Of course, as did Paul, we understand that Melchizedek was representative of Christ.

Several times in Hebrews, chapters 5 & 7, the Apostle quotes and makes reference to Psalms 110:4.

Psalms 110:4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

This prophecy of David concerning Messiah was an indication that God was going to do something new when Messiah came. And indeed, Jesus, God’s Son, was not born from the tribe of Levi which according to the Law of Moses, all priests had to be from the tribe of Levi … rather, Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, as was prophesied Messiah would be, became the High Priest forever having received the duty to offer the blood of sacrifice for the sins of the people. This, the Apostle Paul declared, was accomplished both on earth and in heaven by the hand of Jesus, King of Justice and Prince of Peace.

Now, back to our message for this morning … let’s turn in our bibles to the book of Hebrews, chapter 5. We will be reading this passage from The New Living Translation today.

Hebrews 5 NLT

Before we go there, let me first inform you that what the Apostle Paul is about to say to these people may not actually be about these people at all … or was the Apostle Paul being facetious … look first with me a bit farther on down in the passage, Hebrews chapter 6, and we will get back to Chapter 5 in just a moment …

Hebrews 6 NLT

9 ¶ Dear friends, even though we are talking like this, we really don’t believe that it applies to you …

Don’t think it applies to you? What ? … back to Chapter 5

Hebrews 5 NLT

10 ¶ And God designated him to be a High Priest in the line of Melchizedek.

11 There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don’t seem to listen, so it’s hard to make you understand.

12 You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food.

13 And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right.

14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.

Hebrews 6 NLT

1 ¶ So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.

2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

Paul’s admonishment here is not an indictment against the church or the teachers who are teaching the basics. Rather is an indictment to the believer who has accepted Christ and has for a long time been sitting in church on Sunday morning and/or Wednesday evenings without ever applying the principles of God’s word to their daily life in order to grow up and take on some Kingdom responsibilities.

In a time when you are needed to be teachers of others, Paul said, you still have not learned enough or become responsible enough and still must be taught by someone else.

Basically --- Paul told them --- “You aren’t growing up!” “You aren’t becoming productive citizens of the Kingdom of God!” “You haven’t matured yet!” “You are still acting like babies!”

Now remember Paul also said:

Hebrews 6 NLT

9 ¶ Dear friends, even though we are talking like this, we really don’t believe that it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.

10 For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do.

11 Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and patience.

Forget for a moment what these verses were attempting to say to those Jewish Believers in the Jerusalem Church in AD63 and focus on what the Spirit of God is saying to those of us now. I hear the voice of the Lord saying:

“You are meant for better things, things that come with salvation!”

I Challenge You …

1. Desire the milk of God’s Word while you are a baby Christian. (1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk …)

* Attend a church that values milk for your moment and can give you the next bite you need.

* Thank God there is milk in the cupboard of Christ.

2. Don’t stay a baby Christian. (Hebrews 5:12)

* If you do … you will certainly:

> Grow spiritually dull and indifferent

> Not inherit God’s promises on planet earth

> Never be responsible enough to care for others

3. Grow up and become productive adults (Ephesians 4:15)

* Take adult responsibility for the Kingdom – more than merely an adult attending a movie to critique it’s personal worth.

* And if you do … what you hope for will come true.

As with any other life, the Christian life is one which demands that if we are old enough, we take responsibility for our own growth. Are you doing all that you can to grow up in Christ?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Metro Church, Longview


The Church

God does not first seek our permission before He upsets our plans.

God has a plan

He will succeed

We have a chance to participate

Most likely what you are going through now is not punishment for you past but positioning for your future.

Because God knows that success is more than a one step process.

And success often belongs to those who can endure that process.

You see, life is a journey and the fact is:

The journey is your friend.

It is the journey which prepares us to operate at destiny capacity.

Destiny neither waits on nor depends on any man.

Because Truth is not determined by a show of hands.

God has a plan

He will succeed

And we have a chance to participate

What is God’s plan?

In the Old Testament God’s plan was to bring Messiah.

God did this through a series of events which started with Adam and Eve after their fall in the Garden of Eden.

That plan continued according to design through the generations for 1600 years until the flood of Genesis 7, 8, & 9, from which God saved Noah and his family.

Like pieces to a puzzle God orchestrated His plan for another 400 years until He made covenant with Abraham.

God kept His hand upon Abraham and his descendents, sharpening His plan for another fourteen generations until David.

From David until the birth of Jesus still took another fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:17)

Not one thing was left to chance from Adam to Messiah. It was too important. God had a plan and in order for it to succeed He had to involve allot of people, generation by generation. These things would not have happened by themselves.

Take for example:






The Old Testament is a documentary of God’s unfolding plan through generations.

God has a New Testament plan as well.

The New Testament, specifically Matthew through Jude, is a catalogue of God working to accomplish His plan in only one generation. The New Testament covers only one generation, about 40 or so years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This portion of the Bible reveals the plan of God for each generation.

What is the plan of God for our lives today?

In the Old Testament God’s plan was to bring Messiah. The coming of Messiah was the fulfillment of part one of God’s plan. Now Messiah would begin part two of God’s plan.

The New Testament plan of God is found in:

Matthew 16 NKJV

13 ¶ When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"

14 So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus reveals His vision in verse:

18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The Church is:

The Body of Christ

The Bride of Christ

The Family of God in the Earth

1 John 3:8b says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

What is God going to use to destroy the works of the devil?

“The Church in Power” in every generation!

But first Jesus has to build that church, and He has to build it in every generation. That’s why the New Testament pattern of building the church covers only one generation. It is meant to be reproduced in every generation thereafter.

After that Jesus had reached manhood, went out on His own to work His ministry, spent three and one half years teaching His disciples, had been crucified, was dead and buried, He came to life again and spent 40 days appearing to more than 500 people before He took His followers to the Mount of Olives and He ascended into heaven.

At His ascension Jesus gave His disciples a firm commandment, a great commission, instructions, if you will, on what to do to continue God’s plan to build a church in their generation that would be strong enough to defeat the devil. We read this Great Commission in:

Matthew 28 NKJV

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

The strategy for building the church was to make disciples. This is what Jesus told them: “I will build My church, now you go and make some disciples – students of My Word, My Will and My Way!”

The implication was that making disciples would build the church. The foundation of the church would be laid on the Apostles and Prophets, but who were these leaders? (Ephesians 2:20)

The Greek word translated Apostle literally means ‘One Who Is Sent’. (John 20:21)

Jesus spend 3 ½ years making disciples but once Jesus finished making His disciples, He sat down and they went forward. At Jesus ascension from the Mount of Olives the disciples stopped being called disciples and started being called Apostles. Disciples are students, Apostles are the teachers in this case and they provide the foundation and the structure for the church.

It was so in the first generation and it has been so for every generation since and will be until the church is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7ff)

The church will continue to stand in the way of the devil until the church is taken out of the earth. A world without a church belongs to the devil just as a nation without a church or a city without a church or a generation without a church will fall prey to the devil.

Remember, Jesus’ vision was to build a church and He would do so by making disciples.

Is there any way to see if the vision was being accomplished? Sure there was … and there is today … God has not left Himself without a witness!

For example, when we look at the Authorized Version of the Bible, the KJV, we can track the progress of Jesus’ vision and easily see what happened in that first 40 years, the first generation of Believers if you will … let me explain:

New Testament Disciple(s) Church

Gospels 226 3

Acts 29 22

Epistles 0 71

Revelation 0 19

In the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the word translated Disciple(s) is mentioned 226 times and the word translated Church is only mentioned 3 times, two of those in one scripture verse. You see in the beginning the main focus was disciples and the church was just a dream, a vision, a hope of Christ. As time goes on and we get to the book of Acts we see the word disciple spoken only 29 times and the church being referred to 22 times.

Now, after we leave the book of Acts and get into the Epistles, from the book of Romans all the way through Jude, and even throughout the book of Revelation, the word disciple is never mentioned again. Rather the Church has become the only focus and is now the force Jesus intended to be reckoned with in the earth. This process of making disciples in order to build a Church On The Rock took only about 10 to 15 years of that generation. Perhaps the reason it took so long was that it was the first attempt!

I know Jesus wants us to be disciples and there is a season of life when we need to be taught the first principles of our faith and give ourselves in pursuit of learning Christ. However, the major portion of our life is meant to be spent as functioning members of the church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Family of God in the earth, joined together and committed to one another and to the principles of our faith so that we stand firmly in the way of satan’s attempts to take over our lives, families, communities, our schools, our economy, our government, our nation and the world.

So, what am I saying this morning?

God has a plan …

A New Testament Plan

For Each and Every Generation

To use mature followers of Jesus to Make Disciples

For Disciples to be the Church

And the Church Destroy the Attempts of the devil!

God has a plan

And He will succeed …

Even if it cost Him your life!

God has a plan

He will succeed

And you have a chance to participate!

How can you participate in God’s plan?

1. Be a disciple of Christ - A student of the Word, Will & Way

* Have a goal to graduate and get a job

> Don’t be a church bum or spiritual junkie

* Thank God for the milk

> First grade teachers aren’t stupid …

2. Commit to membership in a local church

* Be a part of a functional family of God

* Not a party barge or cruise ship, but a fishing vessel

3. Make Disciples of Christ for the generation to follow … raise up runners for the next lap!

* After we are a child we become a parent

* Teachers are first students, then teachers

* Milk should be in abundant supply in the church

> Suffer the little children to come to Jesus

> Strong meat belongs to the older saints

* Have some strong meat eating meetings

God has a plan … do you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Power of God To Heal (Part 1 - The Seed)


Key Scriptures: Luke 5 KJV

15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

17 ¶ And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

If we want to see a healing God we must be a healing Church. If we want to be a healing church, we must be a healing people. If we want to be a healing people, we must speak a healing word. If we want to speak a healing word we must hear the healing Jesus.

Words are like seeds. Luke 5:15 tells us that great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Jesus. Hearing was the key and was precursory to the healing.

It was the same with the little woman who had the continual bleeding we read about in Mark 5:

Mark 5 KJV

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him

When she heard of Jesus! That’s when it all began to take place in her life; that’s when it all began to make sense; that’s when it all at once seemed possible. Why? Because, the word of God is like a seed which grows to produce fruit after its kind.

Seeds reproduce after their kind. Sow corn, reap corn; sow beans, reap beans; sow wheat, reap wheat. It’s the law of after its kind.

Everything reproduces after its kind.

We understand this from the very first revelation God gives about Himself and His Kingdom law.

Genesis 1 KJV

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

This law carries over into the sowing of spiritual seeds as well. The Words of God are spiritual seeds which we sow in the earth, in our lives and in the lives of those who hear us. These seeds are meant to reproduce after their kind.

We can see this in the closing remarks of Mark 16:

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Jesus also taught this in the parable of the Kingdom found in Luke 8:

The Parable of the Seed

Luke 8 KJV

1 ¶ And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

These first three verses I included not only for context sake but also to show how Jesus’ ministry was partially, if not almost completely, funded. (Perhaps this answers a question of one of you listeners)

Dr Cho, Senior Pastor of the largest church thus far in all of Christendom, speaking at a pastor’s conference in his home church in Seoul, Korea, said to a group of us pastors in attendance: “Make your appeals for financing the gospel to women.” It is women, he continued, that usually control the family finances and/or the family. If they want to give to something usually they can find a way. The man however, must usually ask the wife if they have any money to give.

Well, back to the message for tonight ---

‘The Seed of God’s Power to Heal’

4 ¶ And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Now this was the message Jesus spoke to the multitudes who had gathered around Him to hear His words. However, Jesus had a different message for those whom He had called to walk closer to Him. To these students of Jesus, not just because they wanted to be students, but rather because Jesus called them to be students with the knowledge that they would one day be sent out into all the world to build the church He had a vision for, He gave them more.

9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

That’s what we have been talking about. How much more plain could it be? Jesus is confirming it. The word of God is a seed sown in the hearts of many different types of men and women who each one hears it and receives it and guards it and acts on it differently.

12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

Jesus said if those who hear it had guard it, treat it precious, protect the seed of God’s Word, they will have a greater opportunity to continue believing it and will, as a result of believing it, be saved. Hmmm … very interesting!

13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

This type of person hears the word with joy but does not water it and let it get deep enough in their life to develop a solid root system. Why? Because they are looking for another new word to receive with joy. They have a hard time being satisfied with the last word they heard and fall short of commitment to what they know, rather they are more committed to hearing more and when temptation comes, they fall away. What?

Basically they don’t water what they have but are rather spend their time in efforts to plant more and better seeds … this again gives them joy! I know people who are more interested in all the things they don’t have than in taking care of all the wonderful things they do have.

These people are easily distracted by the joy they get in hearing something new and paying attention to the new, but without making a lasting commitment to the true word they already possess, when they are tempted and enticed, they move on to something else and let go of what they had. They fall away from the word they received.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

These too are people who hear but get distracted and forget to protect the seed in its initial root and growth phase. However, these people are distracted not so much by the new things which call to them but rather by the old things in their lives. Cares, riches, continual pleasures … they forget to tend the plant and without cultivation, water and fertilize, the plant cannot produce healthy, full ripened fruit. They might not let go of it but they do not tend it to make it healthy and productive.

15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Placed in good ground, watched over and properly cared for, the seed of God’s word will bring forth fruit in its season.

Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

True, we must have patience, but God’s word, like a seed will bring forth predictable results. Seed reproduces ‘after its kind’! And, it takes time.

This means that if we sow seeds of salvation, God will work with us everywhere confirming His Word with signs following in their season. What signs? Salvation!

When and where we sow seeds of salvation we see people saved. When we sow seeds of seeds of prosperity we see people prospering. When we sow seeds of contentment we see people happy. When we sow seeds of discontentment we see people grow discontent. When we sow seeds of signs and wonders we see more signs and wonders.

When we sow seeds of healing, we see an increase in healings. This is a Kingdom reality. God’s Word reproduces when and where it is sown.

Isaiah 55 KJV

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Therefore what we must do is be responsible enough and strategic enough to determine what is the most important thing in all the world to our Father God, make it our greatest priority, accumulate huge amounts of certified seed and spend the priority of our time sowing those specific seeds, watering and fertilizing them in our lives and in the lives of others, and then to make sure we are conscious not to miss one crop or fruit of the spirit which God wants us to grow in our lives and in our church, in our community and in our world.

As for the seeds we have planted which are not from the storehouse of God … we must stop fertilizing and watering them, giving them our time and energy or any place in our garden, pray for a crop failure and replace them with a Godly plant.

Seeds are your future harvest. The power of God to heal is contained and experienced in the seed of His word concerning healing. If you need a healing today, get some word of God. How much word do you need? Well, how much healing do you want?

Like every other promise of God, healing will take faith and patience. (Hebrews 6:12)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reflections of God


When God wanted us to know Him and could have revealed Himself in any image, He chose the image of a Father.

Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)

In recognition of this special relationship and its potential, God gave each child an earthly father. Besides the responsibilities of provision, protection and preparation for life, the father is designed to be a reflection of God. It is God’s plan that every person will come to know Him in their childhood years and continue valuing Him throughout their adult lives by seeing and hearing Him reflected in the life of their earthly father.

The way a child sees their father is often the way they see God. And the relationship one has with a father can and many times does color their relationship with God. A poor father image is a difficult, but not impossible thing to change. Children are super impressionable.

As far as my children were concerned, my voice was the voice of God for their young lives. I believed that God intended it to be that way and so I worked very hard to make it that way. I paid attention, was consistent, spoke clearly, kindly and was firm with love and grace. Now, in their mature years, leading their own families, they still seek my counsel for life’s major decisions.

Early on Brenda and I bought into the reality that the way we treated our children would be how they would grow up expecting God to treat them. And as well, the way we allowed our children to treat us would most likely be how they would treat God. And one more thing, just for good measure … the way our children saw their parents treating one another would be a difficult pattern for them to avoid in their future. So, we dedicated our lives to becoming what we were created to be … reflections of God. And, we are still working on it.

Early in 1998 both my son and my daughter married only eight days apart. My son joined the USAF and my daughter moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband to attend College.

That first day afterwards, my wife and I were home feeling all alone and she found me crying. Being the good wife she is, she attempted to comfort me. With her hugs she asked me what was wrong. Through my sobs I told her that I felt lost and had just realized for the first time that all I ever wanted to be was a father. What, I asked her, was I going to do with the rest of my life?

Now, looking back on this last decade, seven grandchildren later, I understand God so much better. His motives are so much clearer and His counsel proven. I realize now more than ever the importance of those early years but also I understand that you don’t stop being a father just because children grow up and leave home. A father is a father forever, as mine still is to me, even beyond the grave.

Today is Father’s Day in the America. Let me ask you: What makes a father’s day?

Turn with me in your bible to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1. This morning I will be reading from the New King James Version. I want to invite each of you watching today to get your bible or follow along in scripture with us on the screen as we read from God’s Word.

Luke 1

26 ¶ Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

36 "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."

38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

This passage has so many applications for life however, for the sake of our topic this morning, I offer the most basic of interpretations.

Mary has just been asked to bear the Son of God and she said yes!

There are three things we will discuss this morning that make a father’s day.

The first thing that makes a father’s day is simply this:

#1. When the woman you choose, chooses you.

No man can be a father, in any biological sense, without some woman becoming a mother. Fatherhood begins with a joining of lives together as family. In this sense: a father requires a mother; a happy father requires a happy mother; a successful father requires a successful mother … family is designed to begin and continue strong by choice.

The second thing that makes a father’s day deals with the child’s attitude towards the father. This too can often be the result of a mother’s willingness, and demonstration of respect and support.

Luke 2:49 (Jesus said to His mother) “… Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?"

John 8:29 “I always do those things which please My Father”

John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.” (Identification)

* Its when your child is not ashamed or afraid of you

* Its when your child does not deny you but chooses to associate with you and wants to be around you & work with you

* That makes a father’s day!

#2. When your child proudly says, “That’s my father!”

Every time a child, young or grown up, chooses to identify with, embrace or value the relationship with their father, it makes his day.

#3. When others choose you to be their father.

From Queen Esther who chose to have a father-daughter relationship with Mordecai, to Elisha and Elijah’s relationship or that of Joshua and Moses, or Boaz and Ruth, each person needs another person on whom they can rely to be a reflection of God in their life.

1 Corinthians 4:15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

Every Timothy needs a Paul and every Paul needs a Timothy to be fulfilled. (I Timothy 1:18 – “son Timothy”)

What makes a father’s day? It’s not the tie, the shirt, some new socks or the new tools from sears that makes a father’s day.

* Its the chance you give us to live the father’s life.

* Every day I get to be a father is father’s day for me.

* Its the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah:

Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.

God has designed it so that man cannot be a father unless someone chooses him and continues choosing him.

In the same way, God cannot be your Heavenly Father unless you choose Him and He cannot perform the joys of Fatherhood unless you continue choosing Him.

I have a word to those of you watching or listening this morning about what can you do to make this a great father’s day? You see …

All God ever wanted to be was a Father. So, choose God, fulfill His dream and … don’t forget about us earthly fathers … we have dreams too! Father’s day won’t happen by itself and fathers won’t be happy just because it’s the second Sunday in June. You make our father’s day.

In conclusion I have a word to you fathers … I borrow what Phillip said to Jesus - a bit out of context perhaps, but true nonetheless:

John 14:8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied."

Your family, your community and your world will benefit from the Father in you --- satisfy us --- Show us The Father … the father in you!

Be a reflection of God to a world that needs fathers.

Let’s stand and Pray For Our Fathers all over the world today.