Father's Day

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  1. Honor the dads – Children distribute keychains with a cross.

  2. What do you get a man for Father’s day? Culturally, we treat it differently from Mother’s Day. Mother’s are honored and revered. There is a certain respect to it ... almost as if we are apologizing for all the trouble we give mom during the rest of the year. Dad’s are more like the person in the class that we have to invent a prize for. After Best Dressed, Most Likely to Succeed, Top Student, and even Cutest Smile have all been awarded, there’s that one person that we invent a prize for: Coolest Pencil Case, Best Milk through the Nose trick, Neatest Handwriting, Most Interesting.
    1. Father’s Day is 100 years old and we haven’t improved past the necktie.
    2. Maybe it has become a joke because we aren’t really sure how men and fathers fit into our culture these days ...

  3. What are men good for? Some have suggested that if cloning is perfected, then genetically men would be obsolete. If you are a man, that’s not encouraging news. It makes you feel like a telegram in a world of text messaging. But surely is man is good for more than his genetic contribution to humanity. Some people don’t think so and some men don’t think so either by their actions ...
    1. Story about English class ...

  4. What are men good for? For the last few decades there have been initiatives trying to heal a brokenness, aimlessness and confusion among men
    1. The Wilderness Men’s Movement – Burned out suburban men go into the words and paint their faces and chests with war-paint. They sing and dance in leather loincloths and tell tall tales around a fire. They flee the world of women. It’s all deeply spiritual. We’ve had that for a lot longer in Arkansas – we just call it deer camp.
    2. But seriously, there are some initiatives that have recognized that men and Father’s play an important role in raising children. The impact of a father or father-figure in the life of both men and women is critical to shaping a child’s identity and spirituality. This is one more reason that I applaud Heart to Heart – they are putting together a mentoring class for Fathers. (Abortion and child-rearing are not just women’s issues).

  5. What are men good for? Are they good for church? I want to say yes, but I will confess that sometimes we feminize church and Christianity. Articles have been written about the reasons why men stay away from church. Quote: “It seems like Jesus is the Bearded Lady.” Jesus seems effeminate – he’s called sweet and beautiful. Men find it hard to relate to that. That’s just not who I am or ever can be – I know better.
    1. When Jesus is nothing more than a good boy – a sacrificial lamb to take the punishment for us, then we lose sight of his mission.
    2. Jesus called men and women to follow him. [For the purpose of today’s sermon, we will focus on how he called men. There’s another sermon worth preaching sometime that affirms how Jesus called women].
    3. Jesus called men into a risky adventure. He called men to give their lives for a worthy cause. To fight for something good. To win a prize through pledging loyalty.

  6. This is what is missing in our culture and our church. We have shied away from the reality that men are looking for a battle to fight, a problem to solve, and something to create.
      photo of Gulf oil leak
    1. I think most men would do more of that if they had a mark to aim at, a goal to strive, a vision and a prize.
    2. One of the reasons this fountain of filth is still billowing in the gulf is because we are not calling out heroes – we are only interested in naming villains
    3. Have you noticed that we rarely declare anyone a hero anymore? Why did men fight dragons in stories of old – to be heroes!

  7. Malachi 2:10, 13-17 – I want you to hear this as a Father talking to his sons. The Father is God and his sons are the men of Israel. In this dialogue I think we not only find a way to name the problem, but we also see the first glimpse of the mark and the goal for men and fathers ...

  8. The men had broken faith:
    1. With one another – They have one father, they are one family
    2. With their wives (women) – God protects those who are oppressed and abused. He is especially concerned for them. He is willing to have men join him in this mission. But when they do not, when they become oppressors themselves (intentionally or unintentionally) God begins to draw his sword.
    3. With the next generation (their children) – God has entrusted children to their parents. To men and women both. Men have a role is passing on faith to the children just as women do. And I say men, because it isn’t just fathers in a community (elephant herd).

  9. Most men I know would gladly stand up and accept this charge. Men have pledged themselves to lesser things. You don’t need to be scolded, you don’t need stats and facts, you know that you are called to something great and that you are called to keep faith with one another, with your wives and with women, and with children.
    1. But how?
    2. Your mark, your goal, your King is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The best description of a man is a Son of God.
    3. He is the message that will turn the hearts of the children back to the Fathers and the hearts of the Fathers back to the children.
    4. What is a man good for?
      1. A man is good for his brother man’s sake – young and old alike.
      2. A man is good for his sister’s sake – for the women he is called to care for
      3. A man is good for his children’s sake – his children by blood and by the blood of Christ
      4. A man is good for God’s sake! Let that man be a Son of God!

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 20 June 2010

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