By Larry Liu
17 Jun. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: How to be A Good Father||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: Everlasting God||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Hosanna||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: I Give You My Heart||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: You Are My Anchor||video||audio||lyric|
Worship song: Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest
|Verse 1||Hosanna, hosanna,hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, hosanna,hosanna in the highest
|Verse 2||Glory, glory, glory to the King of kings
Glory, glory, glory to the King of kings
|Chorus||Lord we lift up Your name
With a heart full of praise
Be exalted, oh Lord my God
Hosanna in the highest
|Verse 1 CN||和撒那，和撒那，和撒那归于至高神 he sa na, he sa na, he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
和撒那，和撒那，和撒那归于至高神 he sa na, he sa na, he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
|Verse 2 CN||荣耀，荣耀，荣耀归万王之王 rong yao, rong yao, rong yao gui wan wang zhi wang
荣耀，荣耀，荣耀归万王之王 rong yao, rong yao, rong yao gui wan wang zhi wang
|Chorus CN||主，我高举你名，zhu wo gao ju ni ming
来同心赞美 lai tong xin zan mei
权柄、尊荣归主我神，quan bing, zun rong gui zhu wo shen,
和撒那归于至高神 he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
Worship song: I Give You My Heart
|Verse||This is my desire to honor You !
Lord, with all my heart I worship You !
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore is in You
|Chorus||Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your way in me
|Verse CN||这是我心愿 来荣耀你
Zhe shi wo xin yuan, lai rong yao ni
Zhu wo yao jin xin lai jing bai ni
Yong wo di shen xin ling lai zan mei ni
Wo quan xin ai mu shi ni, zhu
|Chorus CN||主，我 献 上 我 心
zhu, wo xian shang wo xin
我 献 上 我 灵
wo xian shang wo ling
我 单 单 为 你 活
wo dan dan wei ni huo
我 的 每 个 气 息
wo di mei ge qi xi
每 个 警 醒 时 刻
mei ge jing xing shi ke
主，你 来 掌 管 我
zhu, ni lai zhang guan wo
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 22:6
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Good morning. How is everybody doing today? Great. Happy father’s day!
This is my first father’s day. I am so glad to join the fatherhood club this year. Our baby girl is almost 4 months old. I want to tell you it is so great to be a father.
I can still remember the day she was born, just like it was yesterday. On Feb 25 at 3 am, my wife and I run out, and jumped into a taxi. And we pray that God, please help us make it. There were not many cars on the road. We got to Fuxing Hospital very quickly. I held her hand and told her to keep breathing, just relax. It was easy for me to say.
After the physical examination, she quickly went into the delivery room. So I wait outside the delivery room. I walked back and forth, I just walked, waited, prayed, and looked at the clock over and over again. After a couple of hours, the door opened. Doctor told me, it is a girl. Mom and girl are both safe. It is a girl, it is a girl. I have a girl. Wow, that’s incredible. That’s an incredible moment for me. I know at that moment I received two of the greatest gifts from God. A new life is given to us, and with that, I was given a title: father, the most honorable title for a man ever to have. From that point, I have a title: father.
Our life changed forever, we know we cannot go back. After that exciting moment, I feel that being a father is both an exciting, and (sometimes) a terrifying assignment from God. You know everything is new. Our baby keeps growing and growing. There are so many things we need to learn. At every stage, we have new problems, so we have to keep learning. It’s not easy.
I remember the day I got married, on my wedding day, I strongly felt that there is a responsibility on my shoulders. I need to love my wife, and lead my family. On the day Joyce was born, I felt there are more responsibilities on my shoulders. I need to love her lead her and train her.
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Jessica called me and asked me to share a special massage on father’s day. I prayed to God to “show me what to share.” I know there are many couples who are going to have babies or just had a baby this year in our church. I read statistics that experts estimate that 20 million babies will be born this year in China, an increase of 5% over last year. No matter you like it or not, a baby boom is coming.
You know, I just felt a strong need to share a massage, how to be a good father. You know I don’t have much experience yet, I am not a good father yet. But we have the Bible. The Bible is our authority, guide and mirror.
Today we are going to look at some of the Bible verses. You know in the Bible, there are many verses talking about parenting, how to raise your child, in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Today we are going to look at a few verses, also talk about a couple of principles. I cannot cover all the principles today. I want to share two of the most important principles. I hope today’s message can bless you, father. I hope this massage will bless you and help you become a good father. For brothers, no matter if you are married or not married yet, I hope today’s message will help you prepare yourself. For sisters, this message is not just for men, I hope after this message you can pray for your husband or pray for your future husband, so they can be a good father, and you can raise your children together, biblically.
Let’s look at Ephesians 6:4, “Father, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” The Bible tells us: Fathers, we are responsible for training our children in Christian principles, values, and to believe in hope. Have you heard the Chinese saying: “If you raise a child, but don’t teach him, the father is to be blamed.” Fathers, we are playing a very important role to bring the children up, to teach them, what is right, what is wrong in God eyes.
Recently I watched a movie, called Courageous. I am sure you watched it before. It is a great movie for your families to watch together. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you watch it. Courageous, the Chinese name is 勇气 yong qi. It talks about how to be a father and a responsible man.
One line from that movie that I like very much goes like this: “Part of being a man is to take responsibility.” Fathers, we are responsible to protect our children, to love them, and to train them. Not only in training our children, we are responsible for all kinds of things. God gives us the assignment we need to do, faithful to the work, faithful to the service and ministry.
Part of being a man is to take that responsibility. It is a very important role to represent heavenly father.
The way our earthly father trained us is often how we see our Heavenly Father. Many people may be hurt by their earthly fathers. After they become Christians, it’s so hard for them to understand the love of Heavenly Father. I think after we become Christians, we need to forgive our earthly father if we were hurt by him, and seek reconciliation with our father, and tell him that we love him. Today is father’s day. It’s a great opportunity, a great day to tell our father “I love you. Thank you for all you did for me.”
You may say “Well, I know I’m responsible to train my child, but how? How can I be a good father? How can I raise my child biblically, so my sons or daughters can follow the Lord, know His truth, have a loving heart, good character, and serve God faithfully, and also be a good soldier for the Lord? How can I do that?” What do you think we should do? We have to teach them, right?
My first principle is this: teaching your child to love God, His truth, and help them live it out. Proverbs 22:6 said “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” You know, for a child, the view of the world and himself is pretty much formed by age 3, and almost set in concrete by age 6. So the first 6 years, the early ages, are very important. We have to teach them what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes, and teach them about our God, his amazing grace, His love, His promises, and help them to love God with their heart, their soul, their strength and their mind. Think about if we just tell our children “You need to love God and believe his words, because it’s so important,” but we don’t believe in it. I mean if we don’t submit to God, we don’t do it, how do your children think?
Let me give you an example, when I grew up, when I was in school, after school I wanted to watch TV. My parents always told me that do not watch TV. It is not good for you, it is a waste of your time. You should go to your room, close your door, and do your homework. So I did that, and my parents would watch TV after they said that. I was thinking, if you think watching TV wastes time, why do you do that? I think it will not take very long for your child to figure it out.
Before I prepared this message, I asked a few mature Christians. I just see that children are so different, how did you raise your child? I found that the answer is almost the same. Just teach them, help them live out God’s words, and the family come to God together. Some of them will say that bring your children, come to God in the morning, and it depends on the ages. If they are very young and cannot read, you can read to them. But when they grow up, getting a little bit older, you can lead them to read and pray together. Some people will say that we’ll have a quiet time before they go to bed. The families come together to pray and talk about the Bible story. So it’s very important for the early ages of these children. It’s too important to ignore.
I remember I went to a couple’s house, they have three kids. I had dinner with them. Before the dinner, the father asked his children “Who wants to pray for today’s meal?” The youngest one raised his hand, “I want to pray!” At that time, he was only three years’ old. Just a very simple prayer, “Father, thank you for the meal. Amen!” We don’t have to ask your children to pray long prayers. You need to help your child develop the habit of praying and reading His words. I read somewhere that a father said “I have to teach my child everyday, teach God’s words everyday and we pray together everyday. Sometimes, the children’s hearts are so hardened, they don’t want to accept it. You have to do it everyday.”
Fathers, we are spiritual leaders at home, and our children need to see it demonstrated by their father. To be a good father, we need to teach our children to love our God, to follow Him, trust Him, and serve Him. First of all, we need to do it. Remember, since they will want to be just like you, and you need to be just like Him, we need to be like Jesus every day, be an imitator of God Jesus.
I want to give you an illustration. I want to ask you: have you ever taken an airplane before? If you have taken an airplane, please raise your hands. Ok, thank you for listening. Extra points at the back. Just think for a moment. You and your little child are on the plane, flying on the plane. Suddenly, the airplane has a problem, oxygen masks fall out, my question for you is: who do you put the oxygen mask first? You or your child? If you listen carefully when you take an airplane, the flight attendant will always tell you that you are supposed to put oxygen mask on you first. I know, in our heart, we want to save our children’s life first, and we want to put oxygen mask on our child first. But the right answer is that we should put oxygen mask on ourselves first, because you can have energy to save your child, otherwise, both of you are going to die.
Do you see the spiritual connection here? We need to connect to God, we need to breathe the spiritual air. We need to take care of ourselves, we need to have a good relationship with God, and we can pass it on, we can help our children. It’s very important for us to have a good relationship with God first. If you are not married yet, you don’t have a child yet, prepare yourself. Now it’s the time for you to prepare yourself to be a godly man.
Some of you say that “You know, I tried everything, I demonstrated it, I did the best I can. It just did not work. My child just doesn’t want to accept Jesus. My child just doesn’t want to listen. What should I do?” Well, I think you have to pray. We often need to pray for your children. I believe, God can truly change people’s heart, that includes our children’s. As parents, we need to continue to pray for our children. It will take time, there is no shortcut. I believe God can teach us so many things when we raise our children. Actually, many times, I believe parents and children will grow together in the Lord. God can help us become more patient, and trust in Him and rely in Him.
Ok, let’s move on. I want to ask you another question: fathers, what do you think the best gift you can give to your child? Toys? iPad? Piano? There are expensive and good gifts, but I don’t think it’s the best gift. Actually, I put down two things for the best gift. One is spending time with your child, and another one is to love your children’s mother. You got to spend time with your child and love your children’s mother.
Let me explain this. I think it’s very easy for fathers to think this way: I need to work hard, so I can provide the physical needs for my family. I need to work hard, day and night, and sometimes I have to stay up late or bring my work back home, because I want my wife and my child to have a happy life. So I work very hard for them. Maybe one day, you can be promoted. Maybe one day you can earn more money, you can buy the things they want and give them to your child and wife.
Do you think those are the things they really want? I just think there are so many distant fathers in our society. Children can see their father or mother, maybe they are very successful in their career, can touch them, but they just can not feel their heart, just can not feel them and know their belief, and cannot get their guidance. Do you want to be that kind of father or mother? Be distant to your children? I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t work hard. I believe we should all work hard. We work hard for the right reason, we work for God, not money, not our manager, or not even our family. We know, we can ask God to give us wisdom and strength to help us and to work with Him, for His glory. I think that is the right attitude. We work with God, and we work for God. Brothers and sisters, I want you to check your heart, and see which category you are in. Pray and ask God to help you have right attitude to work.
Fathers, if you want to have a good relationship with your children, you must spend time with them, to listen to their problems, answer their questions, to know their heart, and encourage them, guide them, and share your life with them. We have to communicate with them. If you just sit there and watch TV, that’s not good enough. You don’t follow what happened in your child’s life. I know, living in this big city, everybody is busy, we are all busy. You know we have to balance our work and lead the family. I believe leading the family is the first ministry for us. You are the father and husband in your family. God put you into that place, a very unique place, and nobody can replace your role. Fathers, or husbands, just take your responsibility and lead your family.
Loving your wife, your child’s mother, is another of the best gifts to give to your child. The Bible comments that “Husband, love your wife, just as Christ loves the church.”(Ephesians 5:25) You can provide security peace, and comfort for your children by loving your wife, your child’s mother. You and your wife are probably two of the most important people in the world to your children. Can you imagine one parent yelling at the other. How do children feel? Our children deserve security, and knowing that their home will always be there. Their home is filled with love.
To wrap this up, fathers, we need to take the responsibility to train our children. Not just simply shift the responsibility to your wives or grandparents or teachers. We have a primary responsibility to train our children, to teach them God’s words, help them deal with their life problems. We are more than just providing physical needs for our family. We need to teach our children to love our God, follow Him and serve Him faithfully.
I’m sure it’s not easy to be a good father. We need to make a sacrifice, but I think it is worth it. Can you imagine yourself, 70 or 80 years old, regardless what job your son or daughter is doing. You look back, reflecting on your life, you see your children walking with the Lord, have loving hearts, good characters, and are good soldiers of the Lord. That’s the great joy we can get. John talked about in 3 John, verse 4, says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” May God bless you and your family.