“You May Not Have One–Yet…”


Date: 06-21-15

My Thoughts:

As I look at our Church Family, I see many who do not have a father.  Some were literally orphaned, being raised by the state, foster care or an inconvenienced grandparent. As on Mother’s Day, so too, on Father’s Day, this often adds to the heartache and emptiness many may feel. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many of these I am thinking of have a blessing. They have a ‘father figure’…. A caring man who has stepped into the role of father….

Some of these men sacrifice much time and energy weaving this ‘orphaned’ child into their already full-family and full-schedule lives, but they are doing a marvelous job at a quiet miracle. Many of these ‘adopted fathers’ did not apply for the position, nor did they volunteer. Instead, they were chosen by the disconnected ones who yearned to have this father influence in their lives…. I am also witnessing some wonderful grandfathers who have stepped in to fill the void left by a heart-breaking wayward child…. “Wonderful” just doesn’t capture it, does it?

Not long after becoming a Christian I discovered a promise Jesus made to His disciples found in  Luke 18:29-30 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”  (This promise is echoed in Mark 10:29-30.) As I began to observe my relationships, I discovered that, in fact, several men had stepped into that role as father while I was away from my father. I found this fascinating. As with all relationships, these were messy and often awkward, but over time, we have build enduring bonds that have filled that void….

Lifestyle worshiper, you may not have one—yet. But I am suspicious that when you take inventory of your relationships, you may just be surprised that this promise has been fulfilled in your life as well.

Perhaps you might want to pass along a Father’s Day, “Thank you.” to one of these men, too? What do you think?

Main Text: — Mark 10:29-30 — I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life[NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds— His name is the YHWH [Blessed Be His Name]— and rejoice before Him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.  — Psalm 68:4-5 (NIV84)

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you—John 14:18 (NIV84)

 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. — 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the men around me whose relationships have become more like a father to me. Let my life pour into others as they have poured into me the Love of the Lord Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“So You Want to be Religious”

Date: 10-14-14

Text: — James 1:26-27 — 26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: ‘Religious’ words are mere ‘mutterings’ if not followed up with actions.

My Thoughts: 

It is interesting that, in fact, James uses a very rare word for ‘religion’ in these verses. It appears to mean “mutter forms of prayer.” I believe he chose this word (through the Holy Spirit) to reflect on those who talk about how faithful and religious they are. Their ‘religious’ words are mere ‘mutterings’ if not followed up with actions. … And the actions? That’s what verse 27 addresses…

And it is this very subject that our devotion in Heartwork address: serving the orphans and widows among us.  Lifestyle worshipers, there are widows and orphans all around us. Many, though living in traditional ‘families,’ have been disconnected or disenfranchised, as well, but by no direct fault of the parents—except that they have been swept up in the hurriedness and busyness of this polluted world. Do you think he was referring to this when he says, “Keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (v. 27)? Or could James also include other forms of soul pollution for the religious? Your thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing;  — Psalm 68:5-6a (NIV84)

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. — John 14:18 (NIV84)

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. — 1 Timothy 5:3-4 (NIV84)

Heavenly Father, Your heart’s desire is to reconnect Your orphaned and widowed creation with Yourself. I ask the Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, to empower me to tend to the needs of those You have brought into my sphere of influence, even in my own household. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike