My Dad is known by a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Some know him as a church planter who took a team of 19 people and lead them to be a church of over 750. Some know him as a missional leader who has planted two other churches and been part of the revitalization of several others. Some know him as a pastor of pastors who oversees and cares for numerous pastors in the Northeast region. Some know him as a man of profound wisdom who serves on the national executive committee for Sovereign Grace Churches. There are thousands of people who have been directly impacted by my Dad’s ministry and the various roles he has had over the years. But none of those things are what I think of when I think of my Dad. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been an incredible mentor to me and much of what I know about church planting, pastoring and leading comes from him. However, when I think of him, I don’t think of him primarily in those roles. I just think of him as Dad and that’s how he has always wanted it to be.
You see, I know my Dad as the guy who would stop whatever he is doing to talk with me when I needed him to. I know my Dad as the guy who I would see every morning reading his Bible and then sharing with us at breakfast about what God was teaching him. I know my Dad as someone who would weep as he confessed sin and asked for my forgiveness, even when I was the one who had been incredibly provoking to him. I think of memories like watching March Madness together, going to Sixers games, snowball fights, building igloos, crazy car, backwards night, family devotions, hiking trips, camping trips, canoeing trips, him always winning at monopoly and never giving up Australia in Risk. My Dad has been the person to keep me grounded when I’ve been tempted to get too high on myself. He has been the one to lift me up when I’ve gone through the most discouraging and challenging parts of my life. He’s my first phone call in a crisis and my first person for advice. There is no man that I respect and love more than him.
To honor him on Father’s day, I like to pass on the top 5 life lessons I have learned from my Dad in each role that he has had in life. Some of these things are literally things he said to me word for word. Some of them are things that he modeled and that I have sought to put into words. Everything is directly from him and are lessons for which I am profoundly grateful. Men of Christ Church, I hope these bless you and serve you as your continue to pursuing growing into the man that God has created you to be.
My Dad on being a man:
1. A poor worker blames his tools. Always take responsibility and don’t make excuses.
2. At the heart of masculinity is this question, “How can I serve?”
3. Don’t contribute to the problem. Be part of the solution.
4. At the end of the day all you have is your integrity. Whatever you do, don’t compromise that.
5. The strength of a man isn’t proven through fighting, but through learning how to create peace with those who want to fight. Strive to be a peacemaker.
My Dad on being a husband:
1. Remember that your wife is God’s daughter first. Don’t hurt her, because you don’t want to mess with her Dad.
2. Love your wife in such a way that she primarily identifies as your wife and not just the mother of your children.
3. The best romance comes from the closest relationship. Every day intentionally pursue your wife as your best friend.
4. Communication is the heart of your relationship. Above all else, always talk.
5. Love doesn’t mean never having to say you are sorry, but being willing to say you are sorry first.
My Dad on being a father
1. Invest in relationship intentionally. Have regularly scheduled one on one time with each child, so that there is a foundation that lots of spontaneous times together can build from. Parenting is ultimately about influence and influence only comes where there is relationship.
2. Always be available for your kids no matter what is going on in your work life. God can use other people to fill in what you might not get done at your job, but only you can be your kid’s Dad.
3. Nothing will affect your kids more spiritually then your own example. Share with them your life in Christ.
4. You have to let your kids fail, so that they can learn from their mistakes, but make sure that you are there for them when they fall.
5. Everything in life is a teachable moment. Slow down. Be present. Use life as your schoolroom.
My Dad on being a pastor
1. People are always the priority. The other stuff you need to do will get done. Don’t rush past people.
2. The busier you are the more you should pray. Don’t just work harder, but trust God for the gaps between what you need to do and what you can do and be dependent on Him to make up for those gaps.
3. Character gives you influence that gifting alone never can. Focus on applying your preaching to your life. You are preaching for you.
4. Be patient and trust God to work. We serve a big God who can do things that our leadership can’t.
5. Freedom is found in being content in being faithful and letting God define what it means for you to be fruitful.
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