Aiming To Be Wise Men
AIMING TO BE WISE MEN
Sermon By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / June 16, 2019
Our 43rd Annual Camp 2:52 Summer Youth Retreat is now just one week away.
This year we have 65 campers (up 40% from last year's 46) plus 27 staff , 8 kiddos and 6 cooks.
Michelle Maas has been vigorously shopping all week ($1,400 worth of groceries). Give her a hug in advance
In looking for a Father's Day quote for the footer of today's FamilyMatters,
I stumbled across a thread that led me to a Father's Day sermon by Noel Whitlock.
I know of Noel, but I have not met him personally. He is the pulpit minister of the College Church in Searcy, Ark.,
which is the home of Harding University. Jeannie and I have so many fond memories of our many hours of wor-
ship and Bible study at College Church from when we were students there in the early mid-70's (1972-1976).
Jim Woodroof was the preacher way back then, and we benefited greatly from his sermons.
A portion of what I will share with you this morning is borrowed from Noel's sermon.
Not being a father, I often feel somewhat inadequate for this occasion (Father's Day). I feel a bit un-credentialed.
Every year I have to muster up the courage to speak on this day. I reason within myself, I know what the word of God
says on this vital topic. Perhaps its rationalizing on my part, but I also like to think I have played a small part
in helping our fathers (assisting our dads) by means of my role as a camp director and minister for many years.
Billy Graham has written,
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.
Fathers play such a piviotal role in the well-being of society.
Stats reveal that about 10% of kids from intact families get in trouble and 90% fare quite well.
On the other hand, these stats are reversed for children from broken homes: 90% get in trouble and 10% do okay.
Obviously, these numbers are not ironclad. Some broken marriages end in divorce but both mom & dad stay involved
with their children. And some “intact” homes are not always what they appear to be -- some are virtual “war zones”.
As Christian men, we all need to walk wisely. Eph.5:15-16 states - -
Be careful how you walk (live), not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time,
because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Children are resilient. They can survive even in a broken home.
But when children reside in a home with a christian father they often do more than survive, they thrive!
S0, WHAT CAN DADS DO TO ENHANCE THEIR WISDOM?
Having a high I.Q. can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
Some really smart people make really dumb decisions. Intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing.
Having a high I.Q. will invariably fail you, if it causes you to freelance everything about family life.
What is far better is being just smart enough to know that you need help for life's greatest assignment.
The task of raising godly children is too vital to just wing it. It is too crucial to just fly by the seat of your pants.
First of all dads need to PRAY.
I think this is the starting point to being a really wise christian father.
Your task as a father is so important that you need lots of help, especially wisdom from above (Js.3:17).
Before a man talks to his children about God, he first needs to talk to God about his children.
Neil Whitlock has written: “Men of real strength are not men who can lift more weight over their head,
but men who can bow their heads in devoted prayer and who most rely on God's strength and help.”
Js.1:5 urges us, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
The following story is taken from, A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup For The Soul, by Michael D. Hargrove.
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, OR, I had one of the life-changing experiences
that you hear other people talk about. You know, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly.
Well this one occurred a mere two feet away from me.
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming
toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First, he motioned to his
youngest son (maybe 6 years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long and moving loving hug.
As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father says, 'It's so good to see you, son,
I missed you so much!' His son smiled somewhat shyly, diverted his eyes, and replied softly, 'Me too, Dad!'
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9 or 10) and while cupping his son's face
in his hands he said, “You're already quite the young man. I love you so very much Zach?' They too hugged
a most loving and tender hug. His son said nothing. No reply was necessary. While this was happening, a baby
girl (perhaps 1 or 1½) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the
wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, 'Hi baby girl!', as he gently took the child from her mother.
He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close up to his chest while rocking her from side to side.
The little girl instantly relaxed and simple laid her head on his shoulder and remained motionless in total pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, 'I've saved the best for last!',
and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her
eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, 'I love you so much!'. They stared into each
other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant,
they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the ages of their kids that they couldn't be.
I puzzled about it for a moment, then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display
of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if
I were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, 'Wow! How long
have you two been married?' 'Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those', he replied,
without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. 'Well then, how long have you been away?', I asked.
The man finally looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile and told me, 'Two whole days!'.
Two days?! I was stunned! I was certain by the intensity of the greeting that I just witnessed that he'd
been gone for at least several weeks, if not months, and I know my expression betrayed me. So I said almost off-
handedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend),
I said, 'I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!'
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with an intensity
that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person.
He told me, 'Don't HOPE friend...DECIDE!'. Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand
and said, 'God bless.' With that, he and his family turned and energetically strode away together.
I was still watching that exceptional man and his family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me
and asked, 'What 'cha looking at?' Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, 'My future!'.
As wise men who want to be the best fathers and best husbands we can be,
daily pray for our family life is an indispensable ingredient.
Secondly, is the word “time” - - dads need to SPEND TIME.
Every day offers us 24 hours, but where we spend and how we spend these hours is critical.
Yes, sleep is essential. And yes, we have jobs that require a sizable portion of our time.
But what with do with other eight hours can make a world of difference.
Time is one of the most precious and valuable gifts we can give to those we love.
When it comes to young children, there is a principle called, “compound interest”.
Money saved early on grows exponentially. The same is true with time spent with our kids when they are young.
If you wait until they are old to start spending time, your investment will not bring such good returns.
This window that is wide open in these early days (from birth to age 10 or 12) is soooo important.
When kids become teenagers their time and interest begin to cause them to start sprouting wings.
Perhaps those who start late can redeem the time, but quite often you will find out that the time
you wasted in choosing other things when the kids were young, is almost irretrievable.
Like all of us, dads often rationalize:
“My kids aren't interested in me” - - they'd rather play a video game or they'd rather play with their friends.
Your children need to hear and see you say, “YOU are important to me.”
Sometimes dads reason, “my time is better spent earning a living.”
If you build our career to the neglect of spending time with your children you will be making a foolish mistake.
Another evasion comes when dads, “There will always be plenty of time later.”
Years ago the late Harry Chapin became famous with the song, “Cats In the Cradle”.
That top-of-the-chart song was actually written by Harry's wife. She wrote the song when she was pregnant with
their first child as a warning to Harry who was busy building his musical career. It's a terrific song that talks
about a father who did not take time to spend time and play ball with his boy when he was young.
Ever so sadly, when the father grew older and longed to have his son spend time with him, the son followed in
his dad's footsteps and treated his father in his old age the way the father treated his son when he was young.
Thirdly, dads need to AFFIRM AND ENCOURAGE those they love.
Dads, listen to me here, your words carry a tremendous amount of meaning.
What you say and how you say it speaks volumes about what is in your heart.
Words have the power to build up or to destroy or tear down.
Being the “enforcer” is not the only role of a father.
Children need to hear their fathers affirm and encourage them.
Some psychologists says that it takes about 7 or 8 positive statements to offset one critical or negative statement.
Other psychologists argue that it actually takes about 15 positives to overcome a negative.
It is fairly easy to be overly critical with our mate or our children.
But it is nigh unto impossible to affirm and encourage too much.
God Himself teaches this very truth (Isa.42:1) - - several times in the gospels we hear a voice from God saying,
This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. cf. Mt.3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mk.9:7; Lk.9:35 & Jn.12:28
Godly fathers need to speak words and set examples that will nurture their children in loving God, Jesus and the Church.
The significance of a having a father who is constantly building up rather than tearing down cannot be overestimated.
P.S. One final note - - a point emphasized in the “chicken soup” story: you dads must not minimize the
importance of loving your child's mother (your wife). Nothing more-powerfuly facilitates the well-being of
a child than for that child to know deep down that his or her daddy really, really, really loves their mommy.
If you truly want to affirm and encourage your children, love their mother with all your heart! I know this can be
painful to hear for those who have suffered broken marriages. But for those who haven't, this is a vital word of exhortation that can not only work to reinvigorate your marriage, but also brighten and secure your child's future.