Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
During the Memorial Day weekend our 6 grandchildren spent the night at our home. It was a noisy time of family fun. That Sunday, May 27, our grandson Jake hurt his ankle playing with the others in the sprinkler when he slipped and fell. For quite a while Jake limped around. In fact, Jake limped Sunday afternoon and even on Monday. I had trouble believing a little slip caused such on-going pain, so I encouraged him to stop limping. Yet, when Jake’s mom and dad took him to the doctor, after an examination and an x-ray, the doctor put Jake’s ankle in a cast and is treating him for a broken bone. Boy, do I feel like a bad grandpa!
That’s not the first time I have had trouble believing one of my offspring was feeling badly. When Andy was about 5, and playing with Josh on the same T-Ball team, he claimed he did not feel well didn’t want to play one day. I thought Andy was making excuses, so I encouraged him to “be tough” and play. But Andy kept saying he felt sick. I finally relented and drove Andy home. In the car, on the way home, Andy threw up in the back seat. I realized my lack of compassion for my son. I felt guilty, without understanding, like I wasn’t the best dad.
Overall I think of myself as a good father. I have come to believe from Scripture that the first job of parents is to teach their children about their Lord. I have sought to teach my children about Jesus, with my words, and even more with my life. But, there are still many examples of my failure. My children have a list of times that “Dad” acted in ways that are less than stellar. They now remember and remind me of my failures and inconsistencies as they tease me.
I believe that fathers are also to love and care for their children. Kathy and I have made many decisions in life that were specifically intended so that we could be good parents to our children. These decisions extend from decisions about our work and our jobs, to what kind of gifts we gave at Christmas and birthdays. Kathy and I did not always agree about what was the best way to parent our children as Christian children. But, when we disagreed we discussed our differing opinions as to what was the best way to parent. We decided how we would act and, as much as possible, we did so accordingly. Nevertheless, there were many times we felt we had made mistakes as parents.
There is one Father, however, who is always wise, always loving, and always compassionate, who always does what is best for His children, even if His children do not always appreciate His love. Listen to these words about our heavenly Father from Psalm 103. “8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:8-14) What a blessing to have the Almighty Creator of all as our loving heavenly Father!
Jesus points out in the New Testament that, even though earthly parents try to love their children, our heavenly Father loves us even more wisely and fully. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 from the Sermon on the Mount. “9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11) God gives good in response to the requests of His children.
Yet, the most loving act of our heavenly Father is that He sent Jesus to save us. We are God’s created children. Jesus is the “one and only” Son of God, or as more directly translated from the original Greek in the King James Version, the “only-begotten Son” of God. Imagine, the heavenly Father sent His “one and only” Son to save His “created children,” to save you and me! 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
America observes Fathers’ Day this Sunday. In many places of worship we will give God thanks for our earthly fathers. I know my own father is God’s gift who has helped me begin my life in faith, and has helped me to grow in my understanding of God’s gracious love in Jesus. Thank you, Dad! But, we can especially be thankful for our all-loving, all-compassionate, all-sacrificing, and all-wise heavenly Father. When our earthly fathers fail, as we all do in this sinful world, we can be sure of the eternal, saving love of God our heavenly Father.
A Child of God, Thankful for my dad, and especially for my Heavenly Father!
P.S. Colony Days events at St. John went especially well this year. The weather was great! Our parade entry was one of our best. The food lasted, and one of our largest groups ever was fed without long waits. (We figure we fed about 1450 people!) The youth had a good Rummage Sale. I sent out “Thank You E-mails” to 50 people, and I’m sure I should have sent more. THANK YOU to all who gave of their time and efforts!
· Here are some pictures from the St. John Colony Days Parade entry. https://photos.app.goo.gl/qFvmhNBncWpb1xJ56
· Here are some pictures from the St. John 2018 Youth Colony Days Rummage Sale - https://photos.app.goo.gl/fSm6zdhB49HbnnCE7
P.P.S. I took Ethan Mirly and Galen Swigart fishing on Monday. We did not have any bites. But, at least this week we saw other people get bites. Here are a couple of pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/enjhPXagvLATmoiy6
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.