Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Father's Day

Man did I blow it on Father’s Day. We had a big Sunday dinner at our house, had 19 people with assorted kids…special food for the Dads, goofy cards, pranks and hugs. We had a great time visiting, watching the baby become one with her strawberry shortcake, and listening to the boys thunder in the backyard. By 11pm that night, I was exhausted and ready for sleep.

It was then I realized I forgot to call my own Dad. He lives in another town. It was one of those “life before my eyes” moments and all the times I let him down paraded by like a really bad reality TV show. The tears started to flow. My hubby tried to console me and said, “We’re Dads, we can handle stuff like that.” I sobbed.

I got out of bed and contemplated calling, but then thought it might cause more of an alarm at their house than soothe my conscience. I wrote an email apologizing, and then called the next day. My Dad was great. He needled me that he even got the card a day late; I could hear his forgiveness as we talked a while.

After I got off the phone I thought some more about this uncomfortable moment and saw a parallel to how we treat our heavenly dad: God. We don’t include Him in a lot of our life either.

Bill Cosby illustrates this phenomenon in a funny story about a Dad that plays catch with his boy in the yard, takes him to football practice, helps him train, goes to all his games, is there when he moves on to a college team, attends those games, then is sitting with his buddies watching his son play in a bowl game, and the camera zooms in on the boy after they win the game, and the boy says to the camera, “Hi Mom!”

We are so like that young man. We forget the One who put us on this earth, and the One who can take us out (another Cosby-ism). God stands by us when we trip in life, He’s there to pick us up and dust us off when facing our accusers. (John 8:1-11) He provides when we don’t plan for rainy days. (Matthew 14:13-21) How often do we call on Him by using His name in vain or to curse others, and yet He listens every single time we call, just in case we really do need Him. (Deuteronomy 4:7) I can imagine if God were the dad in Cosby’s story, His love would so overflow for his kid he’d turn to his buddies and proudly say, “That’s My son!” (Matthew 3:17)

Yes, my Dad taught me several good lessons. This one taught me it’s better to call him not just on Father’s day but any day and for no reason. He treasures our relationship, as do I. My heavenly Father agrees with that practice. The Bible says we are to “pray without ceasing”. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) I should talk to God all the time.

Because God is more concerned about a relationship, not a religion.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The other night we had a prowler at our bedroom window. I know this because he awakened me with his attempt to cut the screen on our window. The noise of me trying to wake my husband scared the intruder off, and we called 911.

The next day I made it my mission to meet our neighbors and warn them of this prowler. It was nice getting to know them, but I was ashamed it took a prowler to get me out and meet them. These are people that are very familiar with my gregarious son, but some had never met me after living there for 3 years.

The imminent danger to my neighbors is what pushed me to knock on each door. Every face I met was a bit surprised to see me standing there, but after I explained myself, they were very happy that I stopped by to warn them. One couple decided to get another dog. Other neighbors exchanged phone numbers with me. I even had a couple make themselves and their firearms available at a moment’s call.

I think evangelism keeps us inside our homes as well. It is an unwelcome task to some, bringing visions of Bible thumping grim reapers screaming, “Repent!”

As I learn more by reading my Bible and getting to know Jesus, I find there is an evil out there that lies in wait for us. It is like “a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour”. (1 Peter 5:8) We sit inside our living rooms, peeking out the blinds and wondering if our neighbors know. What will it take to drive you to your neighbor’s door to meet them? Will it take some crisis in your house, or theirs?

Jesus had no fear of walking up to a person that never met him and asking them questions. Sometimes all it takes is a genuine, “Hi, how are you today?” to get a really deep conversation off and running. What is the worst thing that can happen? Are you afraid of getting your feelings hurt or much worse, are you afraid of getting labeled a Jesus-freak?

I may look over my shoulder now and then for the robber who tries to break in to steal, but I resolve to put on my spiritual armor and face the enemy who will rob my friends and family of something more important: eternity with God.

2 Timothy 4:1-5