Love Being a Dad

THE ASK

My daughter asked me to go car shopping with her. She is smart, capable and confident but still, she wanted her Dad to go with her. She had a car to trade in and quite a lot of cash to put down. She knew the style of car she wanted and was looking forward to driving models from two manufacturers.

I of course said, “Yes”.

We went on the last Friday of 2019. We met at a dealership about 9:00 and I asked her,

“Before we get busy with a salesman, tell me your goal, is it driving home in a new car?”

She said,

“No, I want to decide on the car I want and then shop online for the best price.”

I said, “Okay, good plan”.

Nine hours later she drove home in her new car.

THE TEST DRIVES

She drove the first model and liked it a lot. Then she drove a similar model and liked it less. Then we went to a different dealership. She gave their model a thorough test drive and talked with the saleswoman at length. We left and went somewhere to eat a quick lunch and process the next move.

She wanted to go back and drive that first car again. They still had a copy of her insurance card and license and so the salesman did a smart thing, he handed us the keys and said, “Go have fun”.

We did.

IMG_0049

By the time she finished negotiating their price and her trade it was late afternoon. After arriving at an acceptable deal she called her husband who was at work. They went back and forth for over an hour discussing all sorts of things. Once they finished she signed the paperwork.

He left his office and stopped to pick up the title to her car and then came to the dealership, arriving about 6:30. They hugged and we hugged, and then I said good bye. I was happy for her and proud of her, but I wasn’t ready for the day to end.

Kelsey and Me

Top Ten Things I Love About Helping My Daughter Buy a Car:

10. Her smile when she drove that first car.

9. Her resolve in getting the deal she wanted.

8. The questions she asked me throughout the day.

7. The way she looked at me when she wanted me to weigh in.

6. The things girls care about that boys don’t when it comes to cars.

5. The amazing array of stuff in her trunk that had to be collected.

4. How sweet she was on the phone with her husband.

3. The way she hugged me when it was finally finished.

2. Telling me how glad she was that I was her dad.

1. Getting to be a Dad to such a wonderful girl.

TO CLOSE

Drive thru coffee during a test drive: $8.79

A quick lunch to talk and process: $18.53

A late model hard-top convertible: $32,000

Getting to spend the whole day with my daughter: PRICELESS

Feeling Blessed

I’m blessed every day in so many ways.

But this morning I’m appreciating my blessings a little more than usual.

On Retreat

I’m writing this blog from my room at Camp Allen, a Christian Retreat and Conference Center about an hour outside of Houston. It’s beautiful and the accommodations are fine. The bed was a little stiff in the way that a concrete slab is a little stiff. But I slept well, woke early, and rose to write.

I’m here with our church’s elders, ministers, and spouses. We arrived Friday for dinner then had an evening of sharing our lives and getting better connected, what a blessing.

My Daughter

My daughter and son-in-law live in the down town Houston area. They are young, urban professionals and think that coming to our house in the suburbs is a two day drive with a hotel stay. She texted me this week to say that she thinks about her Mom and Dad everyday and that she loves us, what a blessing. 

My Friends

I have great friends, not many, but they are enough. They are enough in the way that warm maple syrup covers the whole pancake. The way that a cool, sunny, Houston morning in February is an absolute pleasure. They provide a wonderful sense of belonging and connection, what a blessing.

 To Close

I could go on, but won’t. I’ll close with this. Garfield the cat once said:

“Ah, Christmas, it isn’t the giving, it isn’t the getting, it’s the people.” 

The Christmas season has passed, but I like the sentiment. My friends and family are more than what I get or give. It isn’t about that, it’s about the people, the bonds of caring and mutual acceptance.

god lending a hand

The true joy of life is the people.

Shalom

Having Divine DNA

“You’re the spitting image of your father.”

“You look more like your mom every day.”

Such Things

Such things are said when children mirror their parents. It may be their looks, how they talk, or their mannerisms and personalities. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” we sometimes say.

father son playing guitar
Kids want to be like their parents.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend said to my adult son, “You are becoming more and more like your dad” I’m not sure how he felt about that? But I loved it!

Nurture/Nature

Is it DNA? Something genetic that gets passed down? Or is it nurturing within the family culture? We imitate those we are closest to.

873-06441267
Sons want to be as strong as their Dads.

Fathers and Sons

Not to bias this piece with gender, but there’s an interesting beatitude about sons and the Father in Mathew 5:9:

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God.”

It’s The Only Beatitude That:

  1. Requires a specific action: “the peacemakers.”
  2. Promises a blessing of words: “will be called”
  3. Connects behavior with relationship: “sons of God.”
dad and son changing tire
Be with your father, become like your father.

The Context

“Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Now when he saw the crowds…”  (Matthew 4:25, 5:1)

The eight blessings were rooted in the Psalms and the Prophets. The huge crowds of Jewish people understood what he said and what it meant. For them, the diseased, paralyzed, and demon-possessed, the outcast and lost sheep of Israel, Jesus offered connection, he offered them the Father.

To Close

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, for the Father embeds his divine DNA in the hearts and minds of his children.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”

Shalom is a word the Jews say when greeting and parting from each another. 

It means Peace.

 

To Whom Shall I Turn?

Trust Defined

  1. A confidence in the reliability of others.
  2. A willingness to rely on the actions and integrity of another.

Examples of Trust

  1. Sharing something deeply personal.
  2. Sharing information that could be damaging or embarrassing.
  3. Confiding in someone you believe will keep it confidential.

Can I Trust You?

Parents ask their kids this question. Friends ask their friends. It’s the question we ask when we need help, advice, or a listening ear. “Can I trust you?”

friends-talking-on-a-bench

Bearing Burdens

Shouldn’t our personal matters stay private? Are there things that shouldn’t be shared? Just the same, we often feel the need to confide. Are we weak? Shouldn’t we be mentally/emotionally strong enough to just handle it ourselves, keep it inside?

What Paul Said

Paul encouraged believers to carry one another’s burdens. I like that idea.

But remember that God is always at our fingertips, when our fingers are laced in prayer, our hands folded humbly before him. God bears our burdens too.

humility in prayer

Some Of Us

Some of us share our lives freely. But some of us don’t. Some of us find it difficult to trust. Maybe we’ve been betrayed. Maybe our confiding was met with disdain or disinterest. Maybe we shared too much, or too soon? Maybe some of us are just full of pride.

A Few Thoughts About Trusting

  1. Always take it to God first.
  2. People in authority aren’t automatically the best confidants.
  3. Don’t confide in those who are too eager to hear your secrets.
  4. True friends care more about you than the information you share.
  5. Don’t use sharing/confiding as a way to make new friends.
  6. Don’t share the burdens you’re already carrying for someone else.
  7. If you have to ask if they can be trusted, then don’t.

Closing Thoughts

I recently was feeling burdened with something serious and heavy. I really wanted to talk about it, to share it. But whom could I trust?

As a minister, preacher, pastor, and all around holy man, confiding doesn’t come easy. People confide in me, a lot, all the time. But I thought about it, and decided to trust a friend, a really close and good friend. But it was still hard to do. I needn’t have worried; my friend listened, understood, and encouraged me. My burden will go no farther.

Preachers need to stay close to God. 

ManPraying

But they need friends too.Thanks friend.

broken-friendship-quote1

Shalom

Logo slide reverse

Contracts or Connections?

cross at sunset“Don’t cry, don’t be afraid, and don’t show weakness.” Are these the universal rules for manliness? Often it gets lumped into one rule: “don’t show, share, or talk about your feelings.” Men and boys are allowed their enthusiasm and excitement while on a playing field. They can root, holler and yell at sporting events, but that’s about it. If they lose, or their team loses, they can show disappointment, but no real emotions. Remember the line, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

It’s a social contract isn’t it? Feelings aren’t shared. Shame, fear, guilt, sadness and grief; it all gets pushed down and sealed over. Our culture insists that emotions are feminine while emotional disconnection is masculine.

Jesus was a man and he showed his feelings. But men struggle with his emotionalism. He openly wept and cried. He showed compassion and concern. He loved children, especially the infants, holding and blessing them. He wasn’t a woman; he was a man and was masculine. If you doubt that, then ask the money changers in the temple courts. Jesus made a whip and whipped them out of the temple. It wasn’t miraculous. It was a man with righteous anger cleansing the stains of greed and exploitation. Now see him carrying the cross, bruised, battered, and beaten. See him hanging there, scourged, impaled, and bleeding. Jesus, the son of God, will soon die for you. Is he a real man yet?

Men, can we overcome the social contract we were born to honor? Can we admit that we need genuine connection with Jesus, and not just an embracing of his intellect? We are naturally drawn to his strength and amazing power. But can we also be drawn to his heart and soul? I know, we aren’t going to join a circle, light some candles, and share our feelings. We don’t have to. But our relationship with Jesus needs to also have heart connection.

Let’s reach out to Jesus a little more. This week, let’s find our Messiah’s heart by seeing a child in need. Let’s experience his mercy and grace by giving some mercy and grace. Be Jesus to someone, sharing his soul as well as his mind. Let’s strive for a real connection and not settle for an impersonal contract.

Quiet Moment to Connect

2015-09-08-14.21Have you ever been singing a well-known song when, wham – out of nowhere, the lyrics just knock you over? That happened to me last Sunday while singing a much loved classic, “How Great Thou Art.” Here are the words that reached out and gripped my heart.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Stuart Hine, an English missionary to Poland, wrote these lyrics. He was moved to do so by a poem by Swedish preacher, Carl Boberg entitled, “O, Great God.” Hine added the lyrics and made a new arrangement of the melody that Boberg gave to the poem, making it into the song we know as, “How Great Thou Art.”

Turns out that Hine had some unforgettable experiences in the Carpathian mountains which inspired him to write the song. The mountains were special to him and from these mountain experiences he completed the song. I find that looking down from lofty mountain grandeur inspires me also. I treasure the brooks and streams and gentle mountain breezes, all of which remind me of the Spirit of God.

Our Father is also in the urban centers with their crowds of people, cars, and buildings. He may be harder to find in the city, or maybe city life makes it harder for me to look for him?

Be encouraged to find a quiet moment to reconnect with your Creator. It takes faith and our heart’s desire to find Him when surrounded by so much that discourages closeness with the Father. But, try anyway. He is there and wants to be found. And, He’s worth it. Thank you Mr. Boberg and Mr. Hine for “How Great Thou Art.”