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Looks Can Be Deceiving

“She looks just like you!”

I said that to someone I had recently started working with, about her daughter. Then she told me their daughter was adopted.

An Adoption

My sister was adopted. It was public and well known. Most adoptions are not that way, but this was different.

  1. They adopted when I was 10, my brothers were 13 and 12.
  2. When you show up for church one Sunday with a baby, it gets noticed.
  3. Everyone knew my parents didn’t have a baby girl.
  4. And she didn’t resemble either parent.
  5. She was from Viet Nam.  

The Resemblance

No, she obviously didn’t favor either parent. But when she learned to talk, she talked like us. Her mannerisms reflected those of our family. She ate what we ate, did what we did, and went where we went. She was ours and we were hers. We belonged to each another. We were the same, we were family.

How That Happened?

Here are some things that made her one of us:

  1. She had our name.
  2. She had our values.
  3. She was believed as we believed. 
  4. She was loved equally and in the same way as her brothers.
  5. She was a Fyffe, through and through.

A Spiritual Adoption 

Paul wrote in Ephesians that God adopted us into his family, 1:5. That we are the Father’s workmanship, the result of his divine will, 2:10. That we were given his name, 3:14. And that we grow to become like him, 5:1-2.

We were created in the image of God, but that wasn’t about appearance. My sister didn’t look like my parents, but they were her parents, she was our sister, and we were one.

Our spiritual identity comes from God. We wear his name, reflect his values, and share his purpose. We became one with him.

  1. Identity
  2. Name
  3. Character
  4. Purpose
  5. Family

It all came from him, it all points to him.

To Close

We look different, but we were adopted and fitted into God’s family. It’s not about who you look like, but who you belong to.

I said to my friend, “She looks just like you!” Spiritually, we all look like the Father.  

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Shalom

Happy Father’s Day to Me!

Yesterday was Father’s Day and a really good day.

Why?

  1. I got to speak to hundreds of fathers yesterday morning.
  2. It was a good morning of great worship about God as our Father.
  3. My kids came over to the house after church.
  4. They stayed all afternoon to swim, eat, and talk. 

Some Observations

I spoke with several fathers who were happy because their kids were home from college, or drove a long way or made a great effort to be at church for Father’s Day.

For a Dad there is nothing like having the family all together in church.

It Was Amusing

At both services I asked some younger children what they were doing for Father’s Day. Here are some of their answers:

  1. We bought him some stuff.
  2. We are going to his favorite place to eat.
  3. We are leaving him alone for three hours so he can watch the game.
  4. Mom gave us money to buy him a gift. 
  5. I think we are going out for pizza.

Someone said this,

“Father’s Day is different from Mother’s Day, Father’s Day doesn’t cost as much.”

Well put.

I got Father’s Day cards and a power tool that I didn’t really need but absolutely wanted.

chain saw
Not the power tool I received for Father’s Day, but close, really very close.

I like Father’s Day, it’s a good idea. But if I can speak for Dad’s everywhere we don’t really care about having a special day. We appreciate the gifts because they come from our kids, but sooner or later we will buy whatever tool to tie we need. Men know how to bless themselves. 

No, it’s not the tools, the ties, or eating out.  It’s our kids. Father’s Day is another opportunity to connect and bond with our children. If our kids are grown then its another moment to have them close.

“It’s them, our kids, that are the true gift for Father’s Day.”

To Close

Yesterday was a good day. I got a lovely meal and a great new power tool.

But mostly it was good because my kids were home. We ate together and sat at the dinning table and talked for an hour. We played and frolicked in the pool. Later we watched a movie and snacked on good stuff. Happy Father’s Day to me!

I love being a Father.

“I Love You Dad”

The Many Faces of God

  • Creator
  • Judge
  • Shepherd
  • Rock
  • Lord
  • King
  • Provider
  • Sustainer 
  • Giver
  • Father

Just to mention a few.

God As Father

God as a Father is a dominant theme in Scripture, perhaps the most dominant of all.

Within the Trinity God is a Father. I’ve never heard the Trinity referenced without “Father” being first. Why is that? Is it the strongest and most natural metaphor? 

He is loving, kind, forgiving, patient, protective and reliable. 

This Sunday is Father’s Day. A day to honor Dads, to say thank you. My kids will come over and be nice to me. It’s Father’s Day, perhaps there will be cake.

Not Everyone

Not everyone had a Dad at home, and some who did didn’t have a good experience. Some have a Dad but due to divorce he lives somewhere else. Some have recently lost their Dad and Father’s Day will be hard.

Some would love to be a Dad but as a couple they are having trouble conceiving, which can be deeply disappointing and discouraging. 

Some Dads have lost a child, or children. Father’s Day will be hardest on them.

And Me?

The most interesting things about me are my kids. We wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. We thank God daily for the two we have. 

I imagined my kids being small replicas of me. They would look like me and talk like me and like all the things I like. Well, there are some similarities, but by and large my kids are not like me. They have different interests and ambitions and neither likes sports. Good grief. 

What I Like Best

  • talking to them
  • eating with them
  • traveling together
  • when they call asking advice
  • when something cool happens to them
  • when they come to me in the hard times
  • watching them mature
  • Christmas morning
  • birthdays
  • any day I get to spend time with them

To Close

God has many faces. My favorite is God as a Father. His example can be tough to follow but everything that makes him a good Father is everything I strive to be. 

Fathers-Day-Cards-To-Make

To All the Dads, Happy Father’s Day

 

 

Three’s a Crowd?

I was thinking about the number 3.

Biblically…

Gideon’s army was whittled down to 300.

Moses had those who worshipped the golden calf killed, 3,000 died.

golden calf
Not the calf the Hebrew people worshipped, but close, really very close.

King Saul took 3,000 men to hunt for David. 

Job had 3,000 camels.

King Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs.

Samson pulled the pillars down and killed 3000 Philistines. 

Peter and the apostles baptized 3000 on the day of Pentecost.

Jesus had 3 disciples who were especially close: Peter, James and John.

Elijah prayed 3 times for rain.

Jesus prayed 3 times for the cup to pass.

There were 3 on the Mount of Transfiguration: Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, 3 passed by, one stopped to help.

Jesus was 30 when he launched his ministry.

He was 33 when he died.

Jesus showed the 3 holes to his apostles, his hands and his side.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. 

There were 3 crosses on Golgotha that day.

Jesus was in the tomb 3 days.

God is 1 but 3: Father, Son, and Spirit. 

Personally…

My parents had 3 sons.

My first date had her mother tag along. 

It took me 3 tries to pass my driver’s test. 

I’ve backed out of the garaged 3 times with the car door open.

I’ve been in 3 automobile accidents, two were bumper bumps, one wasn’t. 

I’ve been to Israel 3 times. 

I’ve done mission trip to 3 countries: Mexico, China, and Haiti.

I’ve climbed Mount Everest 3 times.

 I asked a girl for a date 3 times, she said no 3 times, then she married me.

All of the above 3’s are true except for 3 of them. 

In Conclusion

After careful consideration I’ve determined that I don’t have anything significant to say about the number 3. 

But thanks for reading this blog to the end.

 

 

 

 

Button-Popping Proud

There’s some people that I’m button-popping proud of. 

Who Are They?

They just returned from a mission trip after a week of serving people in need. They served by rolling up theirs sleeves to do anything needed and everything asked. 

They are High School teens from our Youth Group. 

Where Did They Go?

They went to a place that cares for at risk kids. A place that takes in single mothers and their children when no one else can, or will. To a place that always has too much of not enough. To a place most of us will never volunteer to serve.

What Did They Do

They broke up and removed concrete, they tore out walls and repaired walls. They painted things in need of painting and spruced up what needed sprucing. They cleaned and helped and they did this and that. Most of it in the brutal Texas sun. 

Then, after working and sweating all day they spent their evenings playing with the kids. They played basketball and whatever else could be played. They sat and talked and listened, and made new friends. They found depths of care and compassion they may not have known they had.

They spent a week being Jesus to others in need.

I didn’t have mission trips when I was in High School. I didn’t go anywhere to help anyone. Mostly I focused on making money, working out for Fall football and hanging with my friends. All good summer stuff, but not quite the same. 

“But these times they are a changing.” 

At a time when the news is captivated with stories of kids killing kids there comes a story about kids helping kids. In fact, this summer Youth Groups from all over the country will travel near and far to serve others. 

I wish those stories could headline the news for a few weeks.

To Close

Thank you Parker for leading them. Thank you parents for going and helping.  

Thanks Southeast teens for being the heart of Jesus, for demonstrating the splendor of his love, and for reflecting the radiance of his light, for you are the light of this world.

And I am button-popping proud of you.

cross_jesus_wood_236183

To That Place Supernal

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

 

Who Said That?

Jesus did. It’s recorded in John 14:1 and was said to his disciples at their last supper. It’s a relatively brief statement, only seven words, but holds great meaning. 

Only Jesus

You might disagree, but only Jesus could say what he did and it not be lightly taken or thinly held. It was a serious thing to say and he backed his words with a serious promise.

What Was It? 

Their hearts could have been troubled because Jesus was leaving, he was going away. I can understand how disheartening that would be.

Reasons not to be troubled? Because they could trust God and trust Jesus. The trust was in reference to what was said next:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

“Do not let your heart’s be troubled.”

Reasons to maintain an untroubled heart:

  1. Trust in God
  2. Trust in Jesus
  3. Promise of a heavenly home
  4. Promise of his return to take us there
  5. Promise of our being there with him and the Father

Lot’s of things can get us down. Discouragement pounds our door and disappointment rises like a seeping flood. 

However, we have reason to lift our heads, to look above, and see the unseen. Our Lord is coming back, he promised, and he always keeps his promises. Until he does we soldier on, not losing hope. We choose victory over defeat.

We see a glorious future while others see only a grimy present. 

To Close

So hang in there. Hang tough and don’t let go.

Our blessed redeemer, by the power of his resurrection, will brings us to that home supernal, to the place that has been prepared for us.

god lending a hand

God Bless You, Shalom!

Case of Mistaken Identity?

My wife sent me to the store.

Is That Unusual?

No, it’s not unusual at all. I’m often sent to the store to get a few things that didn’t make it on the list. For this particular trip I was sent to pick up three items.  

Going In

I went to our local Kroger store and as I was going in a young father was going out. He was pushing a cart with a few bags of whatever his wife sent him to get. Also in the cart was his daughter who was three or four and about as cute as I’ve ever seen. 

little-girl-sitting-shopping-trolley-thick-blonde-long-hair-dressed-plaid-shirt-denim-shorts-his-head-black-72051755
Not the little girl in the store, but close, really very close!

What Happened?

Well, she noticed me and I noticed her and then she smiled and said, “Hi Grandpa.” She was so exited!

Maybe she was just being snarky and using the “Grandpa” in the way someone says,

“Hey Grandpa, you want to hurry it up or what?” 

But I don’t think so. Her greeting seemed genuinely expressed.

What Then?

I was about to respond with something fun when her Dad said softly, “Honey, that’s not Grandpa.” She looked at me, giggled, and they were out the door. The whole thing lasted 10 seconds.

An Assumption

I can only assume that I resemble her Grandpa. Evidently, he is also good looking and humble. There are so few of us. Or maybe I just looked old and any old guy could be Grandpa. To a three year old, everyone over fourteen is old and I’m so not fourteen.

The Point?

Okay, this is a pointless Monday morning blog. Except to say that I couldn’t help feeling good about her mistaken identity. She was adorable and I would be proud to be her Grandpa. It made me happy that she spoke to me.

Someone you don’t know may speak to you in the next few days. You can choose to smile and be kind or you can choose to smirk, be dismissive, and go about your day. It’s your choice, and mine.

To Close

I don’t know if any children ever called Jesus Grandpa, probably not. But if they did, I’m guessing he didn’t smirk, or be dismissive just so he could get on with his day. Come to think about it, he was never dismissive or rude to anyone. That was his charm. He genuinely cared about everybody. Thank you Jesus!

Shalom

A Battle: Colored Corn Starch

It’s not so much the heat, but the humidity. It’s more of a moist heat. 

Where?

Over Memorial Day weekend I attended our church’s Family Camp. It’s nice there, with a beautiful lake and all kinds of fun things to do. We had 30 families with a total of a 140 grandparents, parents, and kids. It was great.

What?

We had our annual “color war.” Teams are organized and given a Dixie cup used to fill and refill with colored powder. The whistle blows and we throw the powder on the other teams. It quickly descended into a free-for-all melee. That means all of them got a free shot at all of me. I left the field covered in blue, orange, yellow, and red. 

It was an epic beatdown. 

IMG_9486
Last year’s epic beatdown. This year was worse!

Result?

It was 90+ degrees with humidity around 114%. I was weak, dizzy, and confused. Then after the color war I was even worse! I ran and chased little kids because I could keep up with them. They chased me back and we laughed. When it was over I limped off in ignominious defeat. 

It was hot and sticky. I was a mess and I was done. 

Dignified?

Forget about it. There is no dignity in being a walking tie-dye shirt. But dignity wasn’t required. It was a time for silliness, for fun, and for interacting with kids and their parents in ways that never happen anywhere else. 

And Jesus?

Well, please don’t be bothered for I mean no disrespect. But I imagine Jesus being out there tossing the powder. I imagine the children running after him with wide eyes and big smiles. I can easily see him having fun, being silly, and making the children laugh. 

To Close

Perhaps I care too much about dignity and what others people think. Decorum and appropriateness are foundational to good character. It’s true. 

But don’t forget to laugh, to play, and be silly. There is an inner child in all of us, there is in me, and every now and then it’s a good thing to let him out to play.

Ours is more of a moist heat.

Shalom