Sunday, December 13, 2015

Everlasting Father

Wet and dreary outside, warm and bright in the sanctuary. "Good morning! The Lord be with you," Pastor Brad said to begin our service. "I'm grateful you're here today."

The themes Brad has been speaking on during this Advent season revolve around the Names of Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. Today we will look at another of God's names, Everlasting Father.

1. This afternoon is the Christmas Program & Dinner. Everyone is welcome. 4:00 p.m.
2. A sign-up sheet will be passed around during the service for gifts for a needy family we have adopted.

Darlene opened our time of worship with a melodious "Hark the Herald." The congregation sang O How Shall I Receive You and the Brad & Darlene sang a duet about Mary's prayer for strength to fulfill her calling in the challenging role for which she had been chosen. After singing O Come All Ye Faithful as a congregation, John and Kristina lit the Candle of Joy, the third candle of the Advent Wreath.

The children came forward and Susan Jessico led a children's time with a lesson about community and how when everyone pitches in, it makes everything easier. A time of prayer then preceded the message.

Everlasting Father

Brad began with a story about a young marine in the 1950s who was stationed in San Diego. This young man's father, who had been a mortician and politician in a small town in Indiana, was also an alcoholic who ran around on his wife and eventually just left her with three young kids.

This young marine's life was one of confusion until it turned around in a major way after attending a revival meeting. Eventually this man had three sons who all came to follow Christ, one of them becoming a pastor. That pastor is Brad.

We all have memories of fathers, and they vary because despite good intentions fathers also can make mistakes. Not all our memories are the same. We can sometimes mistakenly project our image of our father onto our everlasting father. The truth is that our Heavenly Father is not just like our earthly fathers.

Maybe the words "I love you" never came from your father's mouth. The result for many people is that they keep trying to perform for their fathers, trying to "earn" his love, to hear those words that he is proud of us. And then we turn this attitude to God, trying to earn His love, to be worthy of His approval.

Some of us may have had angry dads who hurt us verbally, shredding our hearts.

Let's look at Psalm 103 where it tells what our Heavenly Father is really like:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

And in another place it says, "Come to me you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Rest.

God is not angry at you. He will not abuse you.

As it is written, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and give you hope."

God is love. He is on our side. He is compassionate and He cares for you. He is not angry with you. "And if that's all you get," Brad said, "I believe you're halfway home."

No matter how you mess up or how far you run, God's promise is this: "I will never leave you or forsake you." He's an Everlasting Father full of compassion.

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