Tomorrow is Frazer’s second annual Father’s Day Run, and the proceeds from this event go to support Stella’s Voice, a Christian ministry rescuing orphans in the nation of Moldova. Some of the girls who have been rescued travel around the U.S. in the summer, and they sing this beautiful song that says, “there are no orphans of God.”
The Bible says, “even if my father and mother forsake me, God will take me up.” Maybe this Father’s Day weekend you can celebrate because you have a wonderful dad; maybe your earthly dad was terrible, or maybe he was never there at all. The girls from Moldova have learned the truth: no matter what the situation with your earthly dad, you have a heavenly Father who loves you and cares about you. There are no orphans of God.
Lots of people in today’s culture are running from children; they view having children as a burden, an annoyance, or a prison that keeps them from being free to do whatever they want to do. It’s not surprising in that environment that kids are also running from their parents, their values and their beliefs.
This Saturday at Frazer is our second annual Father’s Day Run. The race is open to everyone, but we wanted to create an event that would especially encourage dad’s to run with their sons or daughters. Not just literally running together, but spending time together, doing life side by side. Because when it comes to being a dad, spending time is always more important than spending money. So don’t run from your kids, run with them. There’s no greater prize in the race of life.
Imagine you have gotten lost in the deepest jungles of Africa in a place so dark there are no trails, and no way you can see to get out—when suddenly you find a map out. Would you say, “I don’t know; this map looks old, and it has some words I don’t understand, I don’t know if I can trust it; I think I’ll just feel my way out of here.” No! That would be foolish. You would take the map.
God’s Word in the Bible is the map He has given us to get through life. Sure it’s old, and you may not always understand it, but if you search it out, God will use it to guide you in His path. Don’t be foolish and trust your own feelings; trust the word of God, and take the map.
I read recently that Google gets 4 billion searches a day. People have lots of questions. We need lots of information. I like Google. I use it all the time, too. But you know what: Googling can’t tell you why you are here; it can’t tell you what your purpose is in this life; it can’t heal your deepest hurts; it can’t give you hope beyond this life. Googling can’t give you the answers to the most important questions. The only source that can do all that is not Google, but God’s Word, given to us in the Bible.
I love this prayer from scripture: “you have given me your commands; now give me the sense to follow them, so that I may live.” It just makes good sense to search for answers from the one who created you.
One of my favorite stories is about a little boy named Jamie Scott. He was trying out for a spot in the school play. His mother was very concerned about him because he was mentally challenged and wouldn’t be able to learn the lines, and she was afraid it would crush him not to get a part.
Well, when school was out that day, his mother was waiting anxiously in her car to pick up Jamie. She was dreading seeing him running out the door because she could almost anticipate what the look on his face would be. But no, that wasn’t the look she saw at all. Jamie came running to the car with a real sense of excitement and joy. He had a great big smile on his face and he had never been happier. When he bounced into the car he said, “Momma, Momma, you’re not going to believe it, but I got the best part of all in the school play.” His mother said, “You did? Well, that’s great. That’s wonderful! What part is it?” Little Jamie said, “Mom, I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer for all the others.
“Isn’t that great? We have all been chosen to clap and cheer for others. I Thessalonians 5:1 says, “Encourage each other and build each other up.” Do you know that everybody you meet everyday is fighting a battle of some kind or another? Everybody struggles with something. We all need to know that somebody is clapping and cheering for us. If you spend your days clapping and cheering for others, you will make their day better and in the process, you will make your own day better. Let’s spend everyday clapping and cheering for someone else.
A little boy sat down to eat lunch at his grandmother’s house, and right away he started to eat. His mother said, “Billy, wait until we say the prayer.” “Oh, we don’t need to pray today,” answered Billy. “But you know we always pray before we eat at our house,” she reminded him. Billy said, “Yes, but today we’re not at our house, we’re at grandma’s house, and she already knows how to cook.”
Hey, prayer is appropriate anywhere, anytime. Even in the routine ritual of saying grace before we eat, prayer is important. Not just because we want the cookin’ to be blessed, but to remind ourselves that there’s something in this world more important than our appetites, bigger than our own egos, and we ought to be grateful. Take some time to say thanks today.
Amy Grant wrote a great song years ago, based on the words of Psalm 119: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path.” The Bible is like a flashlight, showing us where to go.
But often, we don’t want a flashlight. We want a floodlight, showing us everything, so we can understand right now what’s going to happen every day of our future. Yet God doesn’t work that way. He says, “I’ll give you enough light to take the next right step. Then I’ll show you how to take the next one, and the next one.”
If you find yourself in the dark, don’t wait for a floodlight. Use the flashlight God has given you; obey His word, and take the next right step. You can trust him to light your path all the way home.
As students, we would get excited when the teacher announced an open book test, thinking it would be easy—no need to study. But often they turned out to be the hardest tests of all, because you had to spend time to understand the book in order to answer the questions.
You know, life is an open book test. God has given us his Word, the Bible, to equip us with the wisdom we need for any situation we face. But it’s not just a matter of randomly opening the Bible and finding simple answers. We have to spend time with it, digest it, and understand it deeply, so that God can begin to form in us the kind of thinking that lines up with his plan for our lives. That’s when we’re ready for the test.
Throughout this summer at Frazer we are teaching through the book of Psalms in the Bible. It’s basically a book of poems or songs that are prayers God has given us to make it through every season of life.
I love this promise in Psalm number 119: “your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies; I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”
I can assure you there are a lot of people in this world who are smarter than me. It’s cool to know, though, that if I will build my life on the commands and principles of God’s word, He will give me all the understanding I need—more than any human teacher, more than any enemy that might be against me.
This week, I’ll be gathering with other United Methodist pastors from across Alabama for what we call Annual Conference. To be honest, it’s not my favorite thing: in fact, I hate meetings!
But meetings can be important. The most important meeting of your existence will be when you meet your maker. Some people think when they stand before God, He will weigh all their good deeds against their bad deeds. But the fact is, none of us can be good enough for God. We’re all sinners. The only question God will ask is: “what did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? Did you put all your belief and trust in him, for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life, or did you reject him?”
That’s a meeting we’d all better be prepared to take.