15 Nov FATHER: Leave Your Legacy
– All right, dudes, it’s Pastor Mark here, welcoming you to join me for Real Men, Wednesday nights, live here at Trinity Church in Scottsdale, or online at legacy.realfaith.com. We’ll try and post it elsewhere, but they’re gonna ban me because I’m in the middle of a special sermon series called “Act Like a Man”. If you are offended by that, you need to watch it twice because you need a lot of work. In each sermon, I’ll go through the reasons why God made men, why it’s good to be a man, and how to be a man that is a blessing to women and children, like Jesus Christ, the God-man, who is our perfect example. This is gonna be a fun time. It’s gonna be super theological, super practical, and as always, you’ll get a bit of comedy. So dudes, grab a Bible, grab a notebook, put your belt on, show up, get it together, see you on Wednesday. All right, all right, all right. Best night of the week, best place to be, best guys to be with, amen. Welcome to Real Men, we’re honored to have you. We like to say we build men up to bless women and children, and next week will be our final week, and we’re gonna go out with a bang. We’re gonna bring in John Lovell from the Warrior Poet Society, and I’ll do an extended interview with him, and we’ll put that online as well. And so you want to join us next week, but this week, what we’re dealing with is, fathers, leave your legacy. And we’re doing an act like a man series. And this is the next to the last talk, we’re gonna talk about fatherhood. But first, how many of you are tired, amen. So I dunno if you guys know this, we had an election-ish yesterday. And I’m exhausted, ’cause I was up late yelling at the television, watching my sweet wife become a conspiracy theorist right before my very eyes. And so you’ve probably been checking your phone all day, and a little frustrated ’cause we’re in Arizona, and we’re deciding do we wanna be Florida or California? And just so you know, there is a difference, and we have an opinion, and so it’s an interesting time. But what I want to do tonight is I wanna focus on the people in front of you, and the things that you do have dominion and responsibility over. And sometimes in life, whether it’s politics, or culture, or work, or something in the news, it distracts us, it diverts our attention, and we look over the people that are right in front of us. And as a husband, you wanna make sure you’re not overlooking your wife. As a father, you don’t wanna overlook your children. Last week we talked about being a husband. This week we’re gonna talk about being a father. And I don’t know what’s gonna go on in our country, but I do know what’s gonna go on in your family. And that’s, you’re gonna be active, you’re gonna be present, you’re gonna be a blessing, and God is gonna use you to minister to your family. And so I wanna talk a little bit about fatherhood. And as Christian men, for those of us who are Christian men, we have this unique perspective on fatherhood because our God is our Father. That’s an incredible thing. In certain religions, God is an impersonal force, or God is a pantheon of god’s and deities, or God is a goddess. In Christianity, Jesus Christ comes to the earth, He is the Son of God. And 65 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke, He refers to God as Father. A hundred times in the gospel of John, He refers to God as Father. Jesus’ favorite name, most frequent name for God is Father. And even told us, when you wanna learn how to pray, start this way, our Father. And so He called on God as Father. He teaches and trains us to call on God as Father. And we are the sons of God, that’s what the Bible says. And to be a Christian is to be a son of God, adopted into God’s family, with God as our active, present, disciplining, loving, providing father. So He sets the example for us of what healthy fathering looks like. And I was looking at it in the Bible, the word father appears about 1,600 times. And I looked it up as well, there’s about 1200 names
of men in the Bible. Most of those are just naming the fathers. And there’s whole lists in Old Testament books of just the fathers. What that means is out of the roughly 31,000 scriptures, almost 10% of them use the word father, or give the name of a father. That tells you that men are primary in the Word of God, and men are necessary for healthy life and flourishing. And then think of this, God shares His name with us. This struck me as a new dad. I was probably in my mid-to-late twenties, and I was tucking my daughter in bed one night. And we did this little bedtime routine, we’d pray together, read the Jesus storybook Bible, we’d sing together, even though I have a terrible singing voice. And then she would say, “Wrap me up like a burrito.” And so I’d take the covers, and just sort of tuck ’em in all around her. And I’ll never forget, with big, beautiful eyes, she looked at me and she said, “Huh.” She said, “I have two daddies.” I was like, “Really? Okay, I gotta talk to your mom, we gotta sort this out. One of us has gotta die.” So she said, “I have a daddy in heaven, and I have a daddy on earth.” She said, “I have a daddy in heaven, and I have a daddy on earth.” And it dawned on me, Oh my gosh, He’s a father, I’m a father, He’s letting me share His title and designation. How I treat her probably is gonna say a lot to her about what He’s like. I’m the little picture of the big father. So I wanna talk about fatherhood from a Christian biblical perspective. And I’m gonna go to the last book of the Old Testament, primarily Malachi. It’s the last book of the Old Testament, and God’s not going to give another book of the Bible, or send forth another prophet for 400 years. If you were gonna say something, and it was the last thing that was going to be said for 400 years, you would say what was most important. And what does Malachi focus on, or the Holy Spirit focuses on through Malachi, husbands and fathers. ‘Cause if you get the men right, they’ll get everything else right. If you get everything right, and you don’t get the men right, they’ll make everything wrong. Everything rises and falls with leadership, which means everything rises and falls with the men. So I wanna talk about covenant marriage and family, and then we’ll talk about covenant parenting and fatherhood. Malachi 2, “Have we not all one Father?” So there He is, God’s our father. “Has not one God created us?” Just like we bring our kids into this world, God brought us into this world. “Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant?” That’s the word I wanna talk about. “Of our fathers”, okay? So we have a heavenly Father, we have earthly fathers, and we are supposed to be faithful to our covenants. “And the second thing you do, you cover the Lord’s altar with tears. You’re weeping, and crying, and you’re all heartbroken in church, with weeping and groaning because He no longer regards the offering, or accepts it with favor from your hand.” So God has removed His hand a blessing from His sons. But you say, “Why does He not?” “God, why are you not blessing me? Why are you not active and involved in my life?” “Because the Lord was witnessed between you, and the wife of your youth,” the gal you married when you were young, “To whom you have been faithless. Though she is your companion and your wife by”, what’s the word, covenant, we’re gonna talk about that. “Did He not make them one?” So in a covenant of marriage, the two become one, we’re back to Genesis. “With a portion of the spirit in their union?” The Holy Spirit is the one who brings you and your wife together, and bonds you and your wife together. That’s why worshiping and praying together is the, it’s really the centerpiece of your marriage. “And what was the one God seeking?” What does he say, “Godly offspring”, that’s legacy. This should be the thing that really appeals to men. You wanna leave a godly legacy, you wanna live a godly life, and leave a godly legacy, godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless
to the wife of your youth. So I wanna talk a little bit about covenant. It’s this unique biblical concept of relationship. Outside of scripture, people don’t understand covenant. That’s why marriage, family is failing, and not thriving, because we don’t think biblically or covenantally. There’s a constellation of words in the Bible for covenant, it’s mentioned hundreds of times. In various English translations, it’ll be translated covenant love, loving kindness, mercy, steadfast love, loyal love, devotion, commitment, loyalty, patience, and reliability. My favorite is in “The Jesus Story Book Bible”. It’s this Bible, kids’ Bible that we’d read to our kids when they were really little. And this was the line throughout “The Jesus Storybook Bible” that explained the covenant relationship with God. “Never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love.” I remember reading that to my kids over, and over, and over, and over, and over at bedtime. It says, “Never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love.” That’s the kind of relationship that our heavenly Father has with us, as we are in covenant with Him. And so salvation, relationship with God is a covenant. It’s a special, unique, designated relationship. And the key to every covenant in the Bible is every covenant has a head, and the head of the covenant is responsible to see that the terms of the covenants are kept, and that the people in the covenants are cared for. They’re firstly responsible. So in our covenant of salvation with God, Jesus Christ is our head, that’s what the Bible says. Our head is Jesus Christ. So we have a covenant relationship with our Father, because the death bearer, resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and He rules over us as the head of our salvation covenant. And so if you’re a Christian, you have a covenant relationship with God. And if you are married, you’re supposed to have a covenant relationship with your wife. Well, we just read multiple times here in Malachi 2, he refers to marriage as covenant. And what He’s saying is that the men should love their wives, and it’ll affect their offspring. True or false, if you don’t love your wife, it affects your offspring. See, oftentimes we think of marriage and parenting as two separate things, it’s actually two sides of the same coin. The best thing you can do for your kids is have a relationship with God that includes loving their mother, and then you will have godly offspring. If you don’t love their mother, you’re going to do damage to your legacy. You’re not going to be as likely to have godly offspring. And so the relationship with the wife is covenantal, which means your family is a covenant family. Covenant relationship with God, covenant relationship with your wife, covenant with your children. Your children are brought into a covenant family. Some people can get very goofy about this, and have all kinds of, “You gotta do this, you gotta do this, you gotta do this.” I’m just talking about the relationship, and not all the signs surrounding it. In the covenant family, who is the head? The husband and father is the head. If you have a covenant marriage, and a covenant family, as the husband, you are the head. What that means is your child is not the head. Have you ever seen a family where the child is really the one in the driver’s seat? They’re the ones making the decisions because they’re the strongest personality, because they are selfish, because the parents feel guilty. For some reason, they have handed over the headship position to the child. The child is not the head of the covenant. In addition, you could tell your wife this, I’m not telling her, but your wife is not the head of the covenant. She’s not, she’s not. Now, I’ll explain how this all plays itself out practically, but as the husband and father, you’re the head of your household, you’re the head of the covenant family, you’re the head of the covenant marriage. And some guys defer that to their wife. They’re like, “Well, she’s stronger personality. She’s very difficult to deal with. She’s very, very stubborn, she’s more religious than
me. So I just sort of let her be the boss.” Well, you’re not gonna get Godly offspring, and also, you’re not gonna have a happy marriage. You’re not gonna look forward to going home, ’cause you’re gonna feel like you’re going to your second shift of work, and here comes your next boss and performance review. So you are the head, it says in Ephesians 5, “The husband is the head.” So here’s the question my friend, I love you, but I’m gonna pick on you a bit. The question is not, are you the head? The question is, are you a good head or a bad head? Are
you doing your job or not doing your job? The question is not are you, the question is how are you. That being said, let me talk a little bit about covenant headship, and sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as federal headship. Federal is the Latin word for covenant, that’s all we’re talking about. To be the head doesn’t mean you’re the boss, it doesn’t mean you’re the president. It doesn’t mean you need to be, or ever should be domineering and overbearing. It doesn’t mean you are the Lord, and everyone has to just obey you as you sit in your throne. We’ve all got a throne, that’s just how us men roll. We call it a recliner, but it’s a throne. And some men like to
sit in their throne, and just give orders to the rest of the family, that’s not it. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a covenant head. He serves humbly, He loves faithfully, He pursues continuously, He gives generously. Since Jesus is a head. As men, we have such a great gift, that our God entered into human history. We’re like, “What does it look like to be a healthy head as a man?”, Jesus, Jesus. And so within that, what I wanna teach you is, in your family system, singular headship, plural leadership. In your covenant family, you are the human head as the husband and father, but you and your wife are the plural leaders. So the way this works in our family, I would never make a decision without Grace. We make all of our decisions together, ’cause the Bible says it’s not good to be alone, and that she is my helper, and that means I need her help. And Grace and I are different, and those differences make us stronger and better. And so I would never make a major decision without Grace, and she wouldn’t make a major decision without me. Actually, earlier today she popped into my office, and she had a question about one of the kids. She’s like, “I think we need to do this.” I was like, “I think first I need to get some time with that kid, love on them, invest in them, check in with them, father them, and then I’ll get back to you if we’re gonna do that.” She’s like, “That’s a great idea.” So we agree together, but then I take first responsibility. I don’t boss my wife around. She’s a very strong personality, it wouldn’t work anyways, I’ve tried unsuccessfully. And after 30 years of marriage, I’ve learned that I need to honor her, and cherish her, and consider her. She has wisdom and a strong personality. As long as we agree, then we’re probably coming into God’s will. And when we make a decision, especially regarding the children, then they can’t divide and conquer strategy by turning dad and mom against each other. And then I take first responsibility for the implementation and
execution of the decision, because God holds me firstly responsible. So go back to our first head in human history was our father Adam. That’s what it says in Romans 5:12-21, that we’re all born in Adam, and we’re born again in Jesus. That we go from Adam being our head in death, and we go to Jesus being our head in life. So when Adam and Eve sin in the garden, who technically sinned first?
– [Congregant] Eve.
– Eve did, she partook, and then gave some to her husband, who was being passive, and had
abdicated his role as head of household. Now, what’s interesting is as soon as he abdicated his role of head of household, who showed up to replace him? Satan did. Everything I say is offensive, some things are very offensive, this will be very offensive. If you’re not the head of your household, Satan is. If you’re not the head of your household, Satan is. That’s Genesis 3. Adam and Eve there, and Adam’s like, “I’m not gonna take responsibility here.” Satan’s like, “I’ll take over, I’ll take charge, I’ll be the boss, everybody follow me.” God then shows up to hold Adam and Eve accountable. Who does He call out to first?
– [Congregant] Adam.
– Adam, He says, “Adam, where are you?” Now, if Eve sinned first, but He goes to Adam first, it’s because Adam is the head, that means he’s firstly responsible. Now, God is going to then deal with Eve. She is also responsible. They both sinned, they’re both responsible. But Adam had an additional responsibility, he was supposed to not only avoid sin, he was to protect and love his wife, and he didn’t. He didn’t, he was passive when he should’ve been active. And so this principle is as well, that ultimately to be a head means that we take first responsibility, and this will be crucial. We take responsibility even when it’s not our fault. Okay, let’s say you’ve got a child that has a mental health issue, or some learning disability. Is that your fault?
– [Congregation] No.
– No, probably not, unless you did something to harm the child. But is their wellbeing your responsibility? Yeah, you’re the dad, okay. Similarly, your kid hits the teen years, and they’re making bad decisions. And they’re rebelling, and they’re hiding, and they’re sneaking out, and they’re defying you. Is that your fault? No, that’s their fault, they’re making sinful decisions. But as long as they’re under your roof, is that still your responsibility, yeah. And what a lot of men will do, they’ll say, “Well, it’s not my fault.” But if you’re the head, it’s still your responsibility. I’ll give you an example from kids’ ministry, and then an example from Jesus. So my kids work in the back with your kids, and some of your kids are really naughty. And so this is why I’m doing this lecture. My kids try to reduce their workload, but there was one little boy who was just very defiant, bowing up, very difficult, just a normal standard issue boy, right. Gonna push every limit, gonna push every button, gonna defy every rule. And he would wear out the workers in kids ministry. And his dad came back to pick him up, and asked the teacher this great question,
“How was my son?” Okay, this is a really good question. It’s like, “Well, your son is demon possessed, and our nickname for him is Bin Laden.” That’s where we’re at with this kid, I’m just kidding. So they said, “Your kid’s really a difficult kid to, they’re tough, they’re wearing us out.” Really, here’s what the dad said. “Well, that’s my son, that’s my responsibility.” Said, “I’ll take care of it.” Took the kid home, talked to the kid, trained the kid, da, da, da, bring the kid back. First thing, kid walks in, the dad’s like, “Okay, go ahead.” “My dad talked to me, I’m sorry, I wanted to apologize.” Kid owned it, repented, it was heartfelt. His dad said, “Okay son, I told you how you need to behave, and I’m gonna check in with the teacher when I get back. And if you’re not doing what I told you to do, you’re gonna have to deal with me, I’m your dad.” Guess what, the kid changed his behavior very quickly, because he had a dad who took responsibility. Okay,
even if it’s not your fault, if it’s your kid, it’s still your responsibility. This is where fathering is exhausting and overwhelming. When your kids are little, they are physically going to wear you out. That’s why God gave children to young people, right? I mean, once you’re 50, you’re like, “I can’t do this, I can’t catch you, I’m done.” When they get older, they are emotionally exhausting. Any of you got teenagers or 20 somethings? They’re not physically exhausting, they’re emotionally exhausting. Relationships, processing things, healing up, talking to them, and coaching them. You need to know this, that being a father is a one way relationship. The Father’s relationship with you and me, it’s not two way. The Father is not in heaven saying, “Well, if you serve me, I’ll serve you. If you give to me, I’ll give you.” Grace is literally one way love. And the Father gives us grace and one way love, and as fathers, we’re giving grace and one way love, which means we’re always pouring out. And this includes taking responsibility, even when it’s not our fault. Give you the example of Jesus. Jesus Christ died on the cross in my place for my sins. Let me ask you this, were my sins Jesus’ fault.
– [Congregation] No.
– Did Jesus make me sin, no. Did Jesus make my sin His responsibility, yes. That’s what it means to be the head. Even if it’s not your fault, if it is your fault, it is your responsibility, but even if it’s not your fault, you’re like, “That kid is driving me crazy, and it’s not my fault. That’s not how I raised them, or parented them, but it’s my responsibility.” And if you’ll have the Father’s heart, and want to pursue that child, and give them grace, and help them, the Father is going to treat you the way you treat them. He’s going to give you grace, He’s going to help you. He’s going to father you so you can father them. So I wanna talk a little bit about the difference between a covenant and a contract. And I’ve done this before, and when I do, usually a light bulb goes on for men. And here’s the difference between a covenant and a contract. A contract is between two people. A covenant is between three people, the Lord is there. We just read that in Malachi 2, where he says that in the marriage covenant, who is the third person, the Holy Spirit. Okay, so God is involved in a covenant relationship. In a contract, I seek my will. In a covenant, we seek God’s will. So I don’t look at Grace and say, “Well, what do you want, and what do I want?” We pray, and we’re like, “Lord, what do you want for us?” In a contract, you serve me. In a covenant, we serve each other. In a contract, performance is recorded. This is why some men who excel at sports, and business, and military struggle at personal relationships. In a covenant, no record of wrongs is kept. There’s no performance review file. In a contract, failure is punished. If you don’t do your job, you’re fired. You don’t do your job, you’re demoted. You don’t do your job, you’re on probation. In a covenant, failure was punished at the cross. I don’t crucify you ’cause we already crucified Him. A contract usually is working toward a win-lose relationship. You’re trying to get more than you give. In a covenant, it’s a win-win relationship. I wanna give all I have to you, you wanna give all you have to me, we wanna mutually care for each other. A contract leads to a professional relationship, a covenant leads to a personal relationship. Now, all of our relationships need to be in one of these two hands. Some of your relationships are personal, they need a covenant. Some of your relationships are professional, they need a contract, okay? Of these two forms of relationship, which are men most apt to be strongest at, the professional, excuse me, the professional and the contractual,
or the personal and the covenantal? The professional, as men we deal with professional. You’re growing up, you’re like, well, you gotta do your homework, and then you get your grade point average. And you go play sports, and depending upon your performance, you’re a starter, or an all star, or you’re on the bench. Then you go into the military, and you gotta do your job. And then you go to work, and then you get a job description and a performance review. If it’s a sales job, you gotta negotiate contracts. And you’re gonna eat what you kill, you get a percentage of the waterfall from your sales commission, it’s all contractual. How many of you have seen the guys that win at work and lose at home, because they take the professional contractual and they bring it to their wife and kids? Okay, have any of you done this? Have you tried to run your family like a military unit, like a sports team, or a business? Okay, that’s why you’re here. Your wife is like, “You need to go, you need to go learn some things.” Stupidest thing, maybe, I’ve ever said to my wife, we were arguing one time. I looked at her and I said, “If you worked for
me, I would’ve fired you a long time ago.” That was not a foreplay moment for our relationship. It was a cold night at the Driscoll house. And she looked at me, she said, “Yeah, that’s the problem. I’m your wife, I’m not your employee.” I said, “Okay, shots fired.” So, but in my heart I was thinking contractually, and I was thinking professionally, and I was thinking, if I give, I should get, and if I do something for you, you should do something for me. I was being selfish, and not a servant. Conversely, how many of you know a guy who, he’s highly relational, he’s warm, he’s loving, he’s trusting. So he wins at home, but he loses at work. Because he loves everybody, he cares, he forgives, he’s kind, he’s generous. But at work he doesn’t know how to professionally button things up with a contract, so he gets gutted. Here’s the big idea, contracts are for professional relationships. Covenant is for the personal relationship with your wife and kids. And you can’t bring the way you win at work home, ’cause you’ll lose at home. You can’t bring the way you win at home to work, you’ll lose at work, okay? So in work, it’s all business, but you gotta literally change your mind when you walk in the door after your work day. I used to literally stop in the neighborhood, and I would pray. I’d be like, “Okay, Lord, today we lead an organization.” I’ve always had employees in real estate, and cash flow, and all of that. I go, “Okay, but now I’m going home, and I gotta literally change my mind.” Like, okay, this is personal, not professional. This is covenant, not contract. I’m not going there to win, I’m going there to serve. Okay, it’s a different mindset. That being said, if you have a covenant marriage, and you have a covenant family, the result is you’ll be doing covenant fathering. And so here’s what Malachi says, and this is right at the end of the Old Testament. Again, God’s not gonna say anything, at least publicly scripturally for 400 years. Again, think of you on your deathbed, think of your dad on his deathbed. Think of your granddad on his deathbed. Last words, here’s the last words of the Old Testament. “Behold, I will send you Elijah.” We’re gonna study his life next year. But he’s a prophet in the Old Testament, “Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Ultimately, John the Baptizer comes in the spirit of Elijah, and fulfills this prophecy. And here’s the big idea. “And he will turn the hearts of…”
– [Congregant] Fathers.
– “Fathers to their children.” That’s a covenant family, that’s a covenant father. “And the hearts of children to their fathers. Lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Similar translations will say, “With a curse.” What it’s saying is, God the Father has a heart for you, and He wants you to have that heart for your child. And then He wants that child’s heart to love you like you love Him. And if you don’t love the Father, and you don’t have the Father’s heart, then the whole generation of the whole nation is cursed. What does that look like? What does it look like to have a whole generation and nation that is cursed? It looks exactly like America. It looks exactly like America. True or false, men have a heart for sex?
– [Congregant] True.
– Okay, I mean, the only two kinds of men I’ve seen that don’t like sex are dead men and liars. All the other men like sex, okay. Dead men and liars don’t like it. Some men, all men like sex, some men love a woman, true? Few men love children. What just drove the election last night was our country really loves to kill babies.
– [Congregant] Yeah.
– [Congregant] Come on. – [Congregant] Amen.
– That was the issue. “Well, are we gonna be able to kill all the babies?” “What about the economy?” “What about killing the babies?” “What about secure borders?” “What about killing the babies?” “What about securing our cities with law and order?” “What about killing the babies?” It was a whole bunch of people decided we really like sex, we might like someone, we really don’t like kids. We really don’t like kids. And so we’re gonna do all we can to prevent having them. And if they are born, we’re going to make sure they don’t live. What we have is a whole nation where men don’t have the father heart of God, and they don’t have a heart for their children, and as a result, their children don’t have a heart for them. This is the cultural crisis. I’ll explain it to you maybe in this way. I’ll give you some statistics. Fatherlessness is the cultural crisis. The census tells us that there are 18 and a half million children growing up right now without their father. Our country has the highest percentage of fatherlessness of any nation on planet earth, any major nation. There are probably some small nation. In addition, 25% of children go to bed with no father in the home, no father in the home. The majority of children born to women 30 and younger are born out of wedlock, and the majority of those children never have their father living in their home. The presence of a father makes all the difference in the world. Let me just ask you this, what would your life be like if God the Father wasn’t in it? Okay, just like you need the Father in your life. Kids need fathers in their life. I learned this early on, even a good dad is a bad mom, and even a good mom is a bad dad. I mean, my sons would’ve not made it with just a mother. They would’ve bowed up, they would’ve dishonored, disrespected, disregarded her, or they would’ve become over mothered, under-fathered, and very soft. And that’s what we’re seeing. Current generation, record mental health, record therapy, record prescription drugs, high depression and anxiety. That’s what happens when you don’t have a father around. You have no security, and your confidence is borrowed from your
father until you get your own, and your father helps to strengthen you. What we see statistically is that 85% of teens with a behavioral disorder do not have a father. 70% of adolescents in drug and alcohol treatment do not have a father. 90% of homeless and runaway children do not have a father. If you do not have a father in the home, you’re five times more likely to live in poverty, and nine times more likely to drop outta school. Okay, we had a whole generation of feminism saying, “We don’t need the men.” Yeah, you do, you do. ‘Cause God in His divine wisdom has a child brought into the world through a man and a woman, and they are supposed to raise that child ’cause the child need a husband and a wife who are a mother and father, okay? That being said, for those of you who are young guys, you really need to think through the second most important decision you’re ever going to make, and that is who is your wife? Your most important decision is who’s your God? So you need Jesus, but then your wife. And when you’re picking a wife, don’t just think of a good time, think of a good legacy. Don’t just ask, is she good in bed? The question is, is she going to be good raising our children and our grandchildren? Because what happened in Malachi, where God rebukes them, He says, “You know what, you married her, you got her pregnant, but you don’t care about her, and you don’t care about your kids. And you married a gal who drives you crazy, and she doesn’t love the Lord, and now your kids don’t love the Lord. You have just punched your own legacy in the face.” Okay, how many of you are fathers right now, or grandfathers, raise your hand. Can we just honor all of those men? Your investment and involvement is an economic blessing, an academic blessing, a social blessing, a spiritual blessing, and a moral blessing to your child. There is no such thing as a perfect earthly father, but the presence of a father who is trying is a miracle. If you’re a guy who’s even here, what that means is, statistically, you are a miraculous minority. You care, you’re gonna try, and you know what, your heavenly Father will honor and bless that. And we’re a place that we wanna honor fathers and fatherhood. When somebody gets married, we celebrate that. When their child is born, we rejoice in that. When the fathers are activated, and they’re taking responsibility, that is a blessing to women and children. And I wore my favorite shirt, “More fathers, less government”, that’s the issue. We have replaced fathers with government. Or your father should feed you, your father should raise you, your father should discipline you, your father should disciple you. Your father should know you, your father should love you, your father should protect you. Your father should coach you as you get older, and help you. And for those of you men that have the spirit of God, you have the Father heart of God. God changes our desires so that we wanna be like our heavenly Father, and we wanna be fathers. And it’s the hardest job, it’s the most exhausting job. Economically, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a lot of kids. I’ve got five kids, I love ’em with all my heart. I love being a dad. When the kids were little, I loved it. When they were in the teen years, I actually loved it. Now they’re in their twenties, and launching, and I love it. I love being a dad, I really love being a dad. And let me say this, if your kids just know that you love them, and you’re trying, that’s 90% of the battle. If you love them, and you’re trying, that’s 90% of the battle. And I want to encourage you, because children don’t raise themselves. We had a guy named Dr. Spock, he was a non-Christian doctor. He dominated parental theory for an entire generation. He wasn’t a Christian. What he said is we’re basically good. He didn’t believe in original sin and the fall. And that children, really, just need a high self-esteem to achieve their full potential. They don’t need discipline, correction,
and parenting. They’re good, we just need them to think good about themselves, and then they’ll
grow up and do good. How did that work? Yeah, all those kids are Antifa right now, that’s exactly what happened. They have a very high self-esteem. They feel really good about their rioting. And so you and I as fathers, we know that children don’t raise themselves, they need to be raised, they need to be instructed, and corrected, and directed. And you have been lied to, I’ll closed with this. You have been absolutely lied to by mainstream media, and by culture at large. Every single movie, pretty much for kids, the dad is an idiot, the mom is carrying the load, and the pet saves the day with the child. All the sitcoms, the husband, the father, he’s the buffoon, the butt of all the jokes. He’s the problem, not the solution. We are told in college that men are a problem, not a solution. And culturally, there has been a pervasive demonic lie told, that Christian men are no different than other men. That is not true, that is not true. So godly men are the solution, fatherlessness is the cultural crisis. If there were more fathers, there would be less crime, there would be less poverty, there would be less addiction, there would be less mental health. There is a man named Bradford Wilcox. For those of you who are a little more nerdy, he is a sociologist at the University of Virginia. In my estimation, he is the leading sociologist on the earth in marriage, father’s, faith, and family. That’s his strength. Every year when Father’s Day comes, he’s the guy they have write the special report for “The Wall Street Journal”, he’s that guy. He’s got an entire organization dedicated to researching fatherhood. His work culminated in a book some years ago, called “Soft Patriarch’s New Men”. And let me just give you some quotes from him, because here’s what you’ve been told. Christian men divorce at the same rate as non-Christian men. No, we don’t. Well, Christian men are no better fathers than the non-Christian fathers, yeah, we are. Actually, we’re the best husbands and fathers, period. Now, we know we’re not perfect, ’cause we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit, but the fact is, if we really cared about women and children, we would want all of the men to read the Bible and be filled with the Spirit, ’cause those men bless women and children. So here’s what his research does after the largest data survey in the history of America, I’ll give you some quotes. “Conservative Protestant men with children, married men with children are consistently more active, and expressive with their children.” Now, what’s curious, he writes this, he is not a Protestant, he’s Catholic, but he’s doing the research, and he says, “Oh, those Jesus loving Bible guys, those are the best husbands and fathers.” What he’s saying is actively involved christian fathers are more expressive with their children. You know what that means, more hugs, more kisses. These hands are not for violence, they’re for blessing. You’re holding your daughter’s hand, you’re wrestling with your son, you’re playing catch in the yard, right? You’re blessing, that’s what we do. In addition, he says, “Church attendance almost uniformly promotes higher levels of paternal involvement and expressiveness among conservative Protestant family men.” And he makes this case that the church, when it’s rightly operating, raises up the best men in the whole society. And what it creates is a, he calls it a sacred canopy of meaning. They’re like, “Why am I going to work? Why am I loving my wife, why am I serving my kid?” Because I have a Father in heaven, and I wanna be like my Father. And I want the Father’s hand on my life, and I wanna have a relationship with my kids, like I have with Him. It gives a sacred canopy of meaning over everything we’re doing. In addition, it provides mutual encouragement and support. How many of you guys just come here, look around, you’re like, “I may be crazy, but I’m not alone.” There are other guys who wanna read the Bible. There are other guys who wanna pray. There are other guys that wanna have a good marriage. There are
other guys that wanna have their kids’ heart. That’s why we’re here, to mutually encourage one another. In addition, to find brothers that are with us in this battle to love our wives and kids. It’s like, “Oh, these are my guys, okay, we’re together.” Now our wives can be friend, now our kids can be friends. Now we have a community that is like-minded and supportive. And when my wife is talking to their wife, she’s gonna be told how to improve our marriage, and not drive me crazy. Okay, and when our kids are playing with their kids, they’re gonna get modeling about marriage, and family. And they’re gonna come home, and it’s gonna help them honor their mother and father. That’s what church is about and for. He goes on to say, “Religious attendance is associated with more empathetic behavior for married men with children.” More empathy, how are you doing, how can I pray for you? ‘Cause usually, what happens when you’re a dad, your kids frustrate you, amen.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– But if you are a filled with a spirit guy, the odds are statistically, rather than getting angry at the child, you’re gonna have empathy for the child. “Tell me about your day, what’s going on? Are you sick, why are you freaking out? What’s going on, let me understand, I’m here to help.” Because that’s the way my Father is with me. There are times I am a stiff-neck, stubborn son, and my Father is patient with me, and He gives me the grace to be that way with my children. He also says, quote, “Conservative Protestant married men with children are consistently the most active and expressive fathers, and the most emotionally engaged husbands.” He said the most likely guy to go coach a sports team is the Bible believing Christian dad. The most likely guy to show up for a student activity at school, or to get into the world of their child are you guys, it’s the Bible guys, it’s the Christian guys. And then lastly, he says, “Men who are regular churchgoers are more likely to spend time in youth related activities. They hug and praise their children more often.” You would think if the world wasn’t filled with a bunch of damndable liars, that every high school would have a class on how to have the father heart of God. That every college would have a class on how to have the father heart of God. Rather than just talking about all of the trauma in our world, they would be training men to not cause that trauma. But the whole world is run by a damnable lie, and it’s really run by the father of lies. And he doesn’t want people to know about the difference that the heavenly Father makes. It says, “They hug and praise their children more often.” And you’ll see it on campus. You will see children run to their father, not run from their father. You will see children jump into their dad’s arms without fear. You will see dads who are actively expressively involved in their children’s lives in a unique and supernatural way. And then lastly, it says, “And they yell at their children less than other fathers.” Doesn’t say they don’t yell at their children, they’re still human fathers, but their wick gets longer, and their grace gets bigger.
– [Congregant] Amen.
– So here’s what I wanna tell you. If you are a single man, don’t be just looking for a wife. Be looking also for a wife who will be a good mother, ’cause he is seeking godly offspring. For those of you who are the exhausted young fathers, we honor you, we celebrate you, we thank you.
Thank you for being active, thank you for being present. Thank you for being involved, thank you for caring, thank you for trying, you’re making a difference. For those of us who are older fathers, we now have an opportunity to coach up our sons to become fathers. And we have an opportunity to encourage the younger fathers. And lastly, we all have an opportunity to be a spiritual father. Even if you don’t have biological children, you can have spiritual influence. Paul was never a father insofar as we can tell, but he calls Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus, “My sons.” He says to the church at Corinth, he says, “You have many teachers, you don’t have many fathers.” He said, “I became your father when I taught you the gospel.” So in addition to fathering, we have spiritual fathering, and you need to know that’s the heart of your table leads. There are men that wanna be like spiritual fathers to love and encourage. So I’m gonna pray for you, and then we’ll see what God has for us next. Heavenly Father, just thank you that we can call you Father. And God, some of us didn’t even have a father on earth, but we have a father in heaven. And we thank you that the Bible says that you’re a father to the fatherless. God, for those of us who had a great dad, I pray we would just honor and thank him. For those of us who had a decent dad, I pray we’d be grateful, ’cause that’s still a miracle and a minority. For those of us who had a dad who was present, but he didn’t really know what he was doing, but he was trying, I pray we’d put a lot of grace, and be grateful for what we did receive. For those of us, God, who didn’t have a father, I pray that we would be the kind of father that we wish that we had. I pray that we would be the first link in the chain, and that there would be generations of godly offspring that come from us, looking back saying, “Oh, it all started when my grandfather, my great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, made a decision in his twenties to walk with Jesus, to obey the Bible, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to get married, and to invest in his kids and his grandkids.” God, this world has a lot of problems, and it doesn’t matter how many wars we wage, how many dollars we spend, how many elections we hold, or how many prescriptions we write. Until men are active and present, it’s not gonna get better. Other things might help, but really, Lord, you need, we need, the world needs, and children need fathers with the Father’s heart. And so I pray a special blessing over these men, as they’re in that important strategic ministry. In Jesus’ name, amen.