June 19 // Father's Day

Allen Jessee - 6/20/2022

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- Well, happy Father's Day, everybody. Man, welcome to Highlands today. So glad you're here. Hey, before I get into the message, just a quick announcement. Many of you know Pastor Robbie Gaines who'd been with us for a number of years, and most of you know his story. They had a little baby by the name of Ivy. He's been in the hospital since his birth, but you know what? God has answered our prayers. And after 10 long months of being in the ICU, little Ivy is gonna get to come home sometime around the 1st of August. So, we're all just praising God for that. And continue to pray for them. You know how our church, we encourage you get in a small group? So, as Pastor Robbie and Brittney have shared the story of Ivy, a couple of our small groups have said, "We wanna help them get into this home and do a little fundraiser for them." So, one of our small groups down in Bristol decided we can do a car show. So, when pastor Robbie comes and speaks next week at our Bristol location, we're gonna have a little car show from two to six o'clock. If you got an old car, you got a fast car, you got a car you like, go down put it in the car show and we'll just sort of have some fellowship together. And then a small group here at our Abing location deciding, "Well, we can do a golf tournament to raise some money for their down payment." And so, they've owned that and that's been incredible. Isn't it neat to see people in our small groups take initiative for a family, can help another family? So, I just pray that you guys would bless that and honor that. Get you some buddies come out and play golf and let's help this family.

- It's Father's Day, a time to celebrate all the wonderful fathers out there. Not just for being shining examples of how great a dad can be, but also for being wonderful reflections of who God is. Like God, you've provided for us. You've shown us how much you care from the very beginning. With God, you've guided us, helping us navigate through every decision, big or small. You've been present. It sounds so simple, but it's so important just knowing you're there when we need you. You've been patient with us, helping us to grow and learn from all the mistakes we make. And like God, you forgive us, offering us grace so those mistakes can never define us. The most of all, you've loved us unconditionally as only someone filled with God's love could. So, today we thank you dads for all of this and so much more. Happy Father's Day.

- Today I wanna speak to dads, all right? Now, I know what you're saying. You might be sitting there as a guy and you might say, "Well, I should have stayed home today because I'm not a dad." But if you're a man, there's a chance you could be one day. So, I want you to hang in there with me. I wanna talk today, actually about the need in our culture for a godly dads. Now, anybody say why. Why would you go there? I mean, why do you believe this? Well, we live in a society that is increasingly devaluing masculinity and manhood. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that manhood in our culture today is just simply under attack and it's certainly being redefined. You can turn on any sitcom and men are portrayed as immature boys and fathers are often portrayed as beer gut idiots. And it just, you know, it just makes me upset every time I see that. The fact of the matter is manhood matters and masculinity makes a difference. So, I gonna give you a few stats today. And this is not to discourage you, but just to help us define reality, because reality is our friend. Stats and data, our friend. So, let's look at these. This is where we are today, or actually this was 2019, pre-pandemic. So, there're not a lot of studies after the pandemic, but this is where we were in 2019. I doubt it's gotten any better. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 90% of all runaway children are from fatherless homes. 85% of all children with behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes. 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes. 75% of all adolescent chemical abuse patients in drug treatment are from fatherless homes. 85% of all youth in prison are from fatherless homes. Now, these stats are not only shocking to us, but I would say on the other hand, they're really not surprising. They confirm what criminologists, psychologists, educators, and we as evangelical Christians know. And it's this, that a father's influence is just simply out of proportion when compared to his mocked and diminished role in our Western society. Now, let me be quick to say this as well. The mother's role is an extremely important role in developing healthy kids, we all know this. It's not a matter of one parent's role is more important than the other. That's not what I'm trying to say at all. But what is important to see is that God has actually designed the roles of mom and dad to serve in a complimentary fashion. And together, both parents reflect the nature, the person, and the heart of God in a way that neither role can on their own. The mother's role will always be primary as we raise our children in intimacy, care, and nurture. And as our children mature, he or she will increasingly look to the father and he will be the role model in processing decisions and adopting values. And this has been proven widely in child behavior studies, even secular child development studies would confirm this. And where the father is inadequate, or indifferent, or just plain absent, the task of maturing in a responsible manner becomes so much harder for the child, and the stakes spiritually could not be higher. According to another study done by the Lutheran Church and upheld by Baptist Press, this is a recent study actually. It says this. "If the father does not go to church, even if the wife does, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshiper." The best number I can find is about 18%, and that's not what we want, right? Now, maybe you're a single mom and you're saying, "Well, my goodness, preacher, where does that leave me?" Can I just encourage you today that God is able to do exceptional things in the life of people who believe in Him. So, I would just encourage you single moms. You believe God to help you be the exception to that rule. That as a godly mother, God is gonna help you do what needs to be done. So, again, the goal of these stats is definitely not to dishearten you, but you know, if you're a single mom today, you could give testimony to the fact that it's difficult to raise kids doing it on your own. I mean, I hear that every week in our prayer requests. That same study goes on to say that when the father regularly attends church even when the mother does not, 66% of the children will attend church. And here's, of course, what God wants. When both husband and wife attend church, 75% of the children will eventually become regular attenders. Now, all that to say this. We're not talking luxuries here, right? I mean, we're talking necessities. And we need a generation of godly men to understand the importance of being an influential godly father. You know, here's the truth. You can produce a family, that doesn't make you a father. You can be married, but that doesn't make you a mate. You can be a male, but that doesn't make you a man. And what I wanna say to dads today is the way we live our lives and the way we lead in our homes has an effect on our children, has an effect on our marriage, and it will have an effect on our family for generations to come. So, let's go back to God's Word. These statistics are easily proven. You can just go to the internet. You can find these things. You have questions about it, let me know and try to get you the source I found mine from. But let's look at God's Word today because I believe that is the foundation for all of life and for our successful kids, and for our successful family. So, I wanna give you four things today and we'll look at some points under these overall points, but here's the first thing I want you to understand. This is what the scripture says. What kind of man does God make? What kind of men does God... What does He desire for us? And the example today that I want to use is the relationship between Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, and his spiritual son, not his physical son, Timothy. And there's a couple of books Paul writes to young Timothy. So, here's what we see in 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul tells Timothy, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." So, when Paul is mentoring young Timothy, He's trying to help Timothy to understand, "This is the kind of man I am making in you, Timothy. You're to be a fearless man. You're to be a strong man, you're to be a loving man. And you are to be a man with a sound mind." Those four things is the kind of man that God is able to make. And if you're here today and you're listening online or TV, I would just encourage all the men who are listening to me, God does not want you to be fearful. He wants you to be a fearless man. He wants you to be a strong man. He wants you in the culture in which we face to be a loving man. And he wants you to guard your mind and have a strong mind as you honor him. Then Paul goes on in 2 Timothy 2:2, and we find Paul giving this charge to young Timothy. And he says, "In the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, Timothy, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." So, what's Paul doing? He's saying to Timothy, "All right, Timothy, I'm gonna teach you some things. And I want you to pass these things on to your friends and your family, the things that I'm pouring into you." And we believe Paul taught Timothy how to lead the church. Timothy was a young pastor. We see Timothy in the writings in scripture in his youth age, in his probably mid twenties, maybe to early thirties, but most believe somewhere in the mid twenties. We sort of don't see Timothy any longer. We believe though, that Paul taught Timothy how to be a godly husband and how to be a correct father. Although we never see evidence in scripture that Timothy was married. We only see him as a single person, but we don't know for sure if he got married or not. But we know he was teaching in the church to fathers and husbands. And so, Paul teaches Timothy these truths. In the church, Timothy was to choose men who in turn would be able to teach others what Paul had taught Timothy. And this would be how these men became disciples of the Lord and strong leaders in the church and the family. This was the plan of discipleship for the early church and for the church to grow. And these who were taught would in turn teach others. And thus there would be this continual cycle of learning and teaching. And we know the outcome of that, right? I mean, we know that church history tells us that this teaching produced a strong church with healthy families. It's kinda man God makes. So, the second thing I want you to see is what kind of men God desires. What does he desire from us as men? Well, let's go back to that verse in 2 Timothy 2:2. This is what he says. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these two faithful men who will be able to teach others also." So, let me give you two or three things here. God wants you to be faithful to Him. He wants you to be faithful to His Word. He wants you to be faithful to the church. So, how does he want us to be faithful to Him? Well, it's interesting just as Paul himself was counted as faithful. Notice here in 1 Timothy 1:12, where he says this about himself. And he says, "And I thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who has enabled me because He counted me faithful, and He put me into the ministry." So, Paul is actually trying to teach us, be a man whom the Lord can trust, be a man whom the Lord can depend on, and be a committed man to God. Make that commitment first and foremost in your life, that not only has He saved you, but you as a father or as a husband or just as a male. You're gonna commit first and foremost, you're gonna be faithful to the Lord. Secondly, He wants you to be faithful to His Word. Men who would hold the scriptures in high regard. Notice what Paul teaches here in 2 Timothy 1:13. He says, "Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me. This is how Paul taught Timothy scripture. And he says, "Do it in faith and love, which are the qualities that we find in Christ Jesus. Men who are actually living according to the scripture that you go to the scripture to set your values and your priorities on how you're gonna live your life. You're gonna be faithful, not only to God, but as you read God's Word, you're gonna be faithful to God's Word. And then the third part of this faithfulness is that He wants you to be faithful to the church. In the process of being faithful to the church, that's almost somewhere on the list for a lot of us as families today. And when I don't have anything else to do, and I've got a free weekend, and I'll try to make it a church that weekend. Well, I would just encourage you to try to flip that and make church one of your priorities as a dad, as a husband. And you say, "Well, why would you want me to do that?" Because Paul teaches the Ephesian believers in chapter six, verse four, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat 'em, rather bring them up in the discipline and the instruction that comes from the Lord. So, dad, you wanna keep your family in church. And as a result, the scripture says your family's gonna prosper. You're gonna have a healthier family, you're gonna have a happier family. And God's just gonna bless your family. So, be a man, a man whom the local church can trust and depend on, be a person who has uprightness and integrity. I love the scripture that says, "Hey, as for me and my house, we're gonna serve the Lord." You can choose who you wanna serve, but in my house, we're gonna put the Lord first. We're gonna be faithful to God. We're gonna be faithful to his Word. We're gonna be faithful to his church. Now, these next couple of points are really mere opposites of each other, but I want you to understand them. God not only shows us the kind of man he makes and the kind of man he desires, but here's what God wants. Here's third thing I want you to get. God needs teachable men, teachable men. So, a couple of things here. If you're teachable, you have a willingness to be taught by others. You know, unless men are willing to be taught, God's method of how he's gonna reach the world with the love of Jesus is not gonna work. You finally realize you don't know everything and you can actually be taught. And as you're taught, you'll become a better husband, you'll become a better father. Timothy himself is another great example where he was willing to be taught not only by Paul, but he was willing to be taught by his mother and his grandmother. Look at what it says here in chapter one verse five of 2 Timothy. Paul says, "When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you," He's talking to Timothy. He says, "Dude, you first saw that it dwelled in your grandmother, Lois, first, and your mother, Eunice. And he says, "I persuaded..." He says, "This faith," He says, "I'm persuaded is in you also, Timothy." So, Timothy was a teachable guy. There was a time when Timothy's young, he's beginning to grow. And Paul says, "I'm gonna mentor you. I've seen so many things in you I like." And you know, Paul traveled on his missionary journeys. So, he asked Timothy to go with him on his second missionary journey. Look here in the scripture's what it says. "Paul went first to Derbe and then Lystra where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. So, Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. And in deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek." So, Timothy, actually, as a young man was willing to travel with Paul, set under his teaching, allow Paul to mentor him and learn from him before he tried to go out on his own and build the church. He wanted to know everything he possibly could. He was teachable. And the second way the scripture encourages us to be teachable is, eventually, guys, we gotta be willing to be taught by ourselves, right? I mean, self-study is an important part of becoming the man God wants you to be. There's a time where we grow up, sure, we're here on the weekend and we're here in our small group. And hopefully, you're having a quiet time every day in the Lord, but you're taking some responsibility where you're becoming a man of God because you're placing yourself in the Word of God. And not only are you learning from others and being teachable from others, but you're also learning from yourself as the Holy Spirit speaks to you and becomes real in your life. So, we encourage you all the time, have a quiet time, get connected in a small group. And as you study the Bible, your kids will see that, your family will know that. Pray before you eat a meal together and your kids will recognize, "My dad has a heart for God." Are there anything that you're doing in your life right now where your kids will know by the choices you make? "My dad loves Jesus." I would just encourage you to make choices along that line. And 2 Timothy 2:15 says this, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." In other words, Paul's saying, be a man who doesn't wait for others to teach you, but take the initiative and hey, study on your own. In other words, be a man who takes advantage of every opportunity to learn whether it be at the feet of somebody else, the teaching of the church, or in the privacy of your own home. And then I want you to finally notice this last point. The scripture says not only we as men need to be teachable, but God's plan is this, God needs teaching men. So, we're to be taught, and then God wants us to go on mission and where to be teaching. And you might look at me and say, "Well, it's not for me, I'm just a normal working guy. I'm not a teacher." Well, let me challenge it a little bit on that thinking. Would you be willing to teach other men? The same is true. If we don't take up this banner of teaching others, then the plan that God had his method to reach the world is never gonna work. Again, Timothy provides a great example for us. What he learned from Paul, he was willing to teach others. We see this over in 1 Corinthians 4:17 says, "For this reason," Paul says, "I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord who will remind you of my ways in Christ as I teach everywhere in every church." Paul could depend on Timothy to teach others. Men who were not ashamed to share the faith of God to other people. You don't have to know every scripture and verse, but if you're a child of God, you ought be able to share your testimony with other people, that coworker, you know. I hope you're not ashamed of salvation that's within your life because that's your greatest story that you can share. And God needs teaching men who are willing to teach according to their abilities. Not everybody serves maybe as a teacher in a formal sense. Maybe God didn't gift you that way, but I'll tell you this. Everyone should be able to teach somebody else something, right? I mean, you're doing it whether you are saying you're doing it or not, you're teaching your kids something. And maybe you need to look at the courses you're teaching your children. We all have different abilities and different gifts. We all have different experiences in life, and experience is as an incredible teacher. So, just as I wrap up my portion today, I would say, for the gospel to spread and for the Lord's church to grow, God needs the right kind of men, men who are faithful, men who are teachable, men who are willing to teach others, men who are willing just to put God first and serve Him. Now, obviously, this need is not limited only men, all right? Today's Father's Day. I wanted to sort of challenge men. That same thing is true with older women. Older women should be willing to teach younger women, and young women should be willing to learn from older women and then begin to apply that with your children in your family. Women, I would say same thing for men. Put God first in your life. All of us should be both student and teacher. I remember the words of the Psalmist in Psalms 145:4, it says this, "One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts." So, let me just close with this question and this story. So, guys, let me ask you something. In your home, if you were to ask your kids, what choice are you making in your home on who you're serving? What choice are you making? Would your kids know, "My dad loves Jesus." Or would your kids think something completely different from that? Because honestly, it's your choice, isn't it? Do your kids see anything in your life if you claim to be a follower of Jesus where you're putting God first in your life and in your family. I heard about story of a college student and he had a same professor for a couple of classes. And just seemed like this professor was so smart and every question, all the students had, he knew the exact answer. And you know, it was like, yeah, this guy knows everything. And so, the student decided, you know what? "I think I can come up with a way to get this guy. I think I can come up with a way to show he don't know everything." And so, he come up this little plan. He said, "I'm gonna go find a little bird and I'm gonna put it in the palm of my hand. And I'm gonna go back to my professor and I'm gonna say, 'Hey, I've got this bird in the palm of my hand. Is it alive, or is it dead?'" And he said, "I got him because if he says it's dead, I'll just open my hand, it'll fly away. And if he says it's alive, I can crush that little bird and open my hand, it'll be dead. So, no matter what answer he gives me, I finally got this guy." So, the day comes and he goes to the professor and he asks him the question. "I got this bird in my hand, tell me, professor, you know everything, is it dead or alive?" Professor thought a minute. And he said, "Well, the choice, the answer, the choice is in your hand." And I would say the same thing to you guys. The choice of whom you're gonna serve, of whom your allegiance is gonna be, it's in your hand, it's on you. And I would just ask, I challenge you today, the culture in which we live, your wife, she needs a godly man, your kids, they need a godly dad. And I know we can get caught up in all kinds of other things today in our culture, but I just wanna challenge you, put God first. And when you put God first in your home and your family, and you just follow His word and you're faithful to Him, God's gonna just bless you in incredible ways. Let's pray together. God, I thank you so much for Father's Day. And we can come and just give a word of challenge to our men. And Lord, I pray at every location, those online and on TV. Often we think what's the greatest thing we could do for our family. And most of us think we gotta be the income producer, we gotta be the provider, and that's true. Lord, the greatest thing we can do is we can give our life to you. And if there's a man today that's never surrendered his life to Jesus, or maybe you're listening and you're a lady, or maybe you're a teenager and you've never given your heart and life to Jesus Christ, I sure wanna challenge you. Make the greatest decision you can for yourself and for your future. And that is to allow Jesus Christ to be your Lord and savior. So, would you just pray this prayer? Just say, "Jesus, I need you, ask you to forgive me. Today, Jesus, I surrender my life to you." And if you're a dad or a husband, just pray. Say, "God, I want to be a godly husband. I want to be a father that puts you first in my home." God has surrendered my life to you. Hey, if you made that decision online, just click that little raised hand button right now. We wanna celebrate with you. If you're in one of our locations, hey, go and grab somebody and tell 'em you gave your life to Jesus today, or you recommitted your life to be a godly dad. That's an awesome, awesome privilege that God has entrusted us with these kids. And from experience, they're only there for a short time, guys, and then they're off on their own. And may our children look back at how we've mentored them and raised them and know that we made a choice to put you first in our life. Have your will and way, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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