Week 2: Not Many Fathers

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A lot of the books in the New Testament were letters written by Paul. He wrote to churches and pastors. Paul also planted churches, that’s why he was called an apostle. Paul planted a church in the city of Corinth. This city had a lot in common with America. They were very intellectually arrogant, prosperous and wealthy and had a lot of immorality, just like America. Paul established this church and they started doing some crazy things. Paul wrote the book of Corinthians to correct them.

“I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”  1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NIV)

Because of Paul’s deep love for these churches he planted, he considered the people in these churches to be like his children. He was their spiritual father and a father is supposed to admonish, discipline and correct children.

One of the most painful parts in a person’s life is when you start talking about a father that was horrible; not only for the things that happened, but also for the things that didn’t happen that you wish would have happened. The devil wants to destroy the relationship that God designed for your growth and your maturity.

God intended you to have a relationship with your fathers: your natural father, your spiritual fathers and your Heavenly Father.

Your relationship with your mother is extremely precious, but it cannot replace your relationship with your father. God designed it that way. That’s why the devil attacks this relationship so much.


The last verse of the Old Testament. The verse that sets up the coming of Jesus, summarizes the problem of why Jesus even needed to come.

“He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  Malachi 4:6 (NIV)

God intends for us to be blessed. That’s why all of hell is committed to messing up all your relationships, specifically the relationship with your father. That’s why we have stories about hurt, abuse and disappointment from a father figure in our life. This is such a big deal that research offers us proof about how crucial this father relationship is.

  • Fatherless homes, fatherless children are:
    • 5 times more likely to commit suicide
    • 8 times more likely to go to prison
    • 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
    • 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
    • 20 times more likely to have behavioral problems
    • 32 times more likely to runaway
    • 33 times more likely to be seriously abused
    • 73 times more likely to be fatally abused
  • Fatherless homes produce:
    • 90% of all homeless and runaway children
    • 85% of all children with behavioral disorders
    • 71% of pregnant teenagers
    • 71% of high school dropouts
    • 70% of juveniles in state operated facilities
    • 63% of youth suicides
  • Daughters of fatherless homes are:
    • 53% more likely to marry as a teen
    • 92% more likely to divorce if they marry
    • 164% more likely to be a single parent

Those statistics break the heart of God. This is not the life He desires for us. So what are we going to do about this? For every problem on the planet, for every problem you face, God has the solution. Here are some principles to help you in this area. Some tools to help you get you started on the processes that can be worked out over time. It is a spiritual journey of growth you will work on most of your life. Take these three steps and God will do a great work in your life.

1. Allow God to heal the father wound.

Your Father wound may not be from your biological father, a spiritual father, a teacher, coach or some other authority figure who disappointed you, abused you or hurt your feelings.

In John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart,” it says that when you have a father wound, you become a poser. You pretend to be something that you are not.  Because you are trying to make up for something that you are not. It usually comes out in one of two ways: you either become overly passive or overly aggressive. When a man becomes overly passive, the wife has to run the home, raise the kids, take care of the finances and the guy is basically in charge of the remote. Because of his woundedness, the guy just gives up. Men who are overly aggressive, bully everybody. In their insecurity and woundedness, they pose as “tough guys” and assert themselves with an overly aggressive attitude, not because they are tough but because they are broken. What do we do about it?

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  James 5:16 (NIV)

Notice the last two words of this verse. You need to … be healedIn fact, I would go so far as to say that every one of us needs inner healing in some kind of way. The question is how do we get this healing? 

The first part of the verse says to confess your sins to each other. It doesn’t say to confess them to God. If you confess your sins to God you get forgiveness, but that is not God’s formula for healing.

God’s formula for healing is confessing your sins to another person and pray for each other.

There is a miracle that occurs when you get close enough to another person to that you can take the mask off and confess your hurts and needs to another person. You are only as sick as your secrets.

As soon as you allow the truth of your hurt to come out, your healing begins.

Get into a small group or a Celebrate Recovery Step Study. Not so you can go through another bible study, but so you can get connected into deep relationships with other people and take our masks off. Some of you have confessed your hurts to God and you have been forgiven for years but you have never found healing because you have not followed God’s process for inner healing. As soon as you share and are prayed for, you begin the process of great healing in your life.

2. Find a father and be a father.

No one had a perfect dad. We all have a father wound. Our father’s had father wounds. Our grandfathers had father wounds.

Look around and find someone who can be a father figure: a coach, a mentor or an encourager in your life. Find someone who can be a positive role model for you. Don’t stay fixated on your broken relationship with your father; instead, find good, positive men that can speak into your life. Have conversations with them, watch how they treat their wives, kids and friends, watch what kind of decisions they make. Find these guys at church, in your small group or serving on a Dream Team.

This guy might be someone you will never meet. There are parenting, financial and marriage experts out there. Read their books and listen to their podcasts. Instead of focusing on the disappointments and wounds from your biological father, shift your focus to positive role models.

There is more to this second step than just finding a father. If you are truly going to be healed, you’ve got to be a father. Get involved in someone else’s life. Be a small group leader. Get involved in Rock Brook for Kids. It will minister to you even more than it does to them.

“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 68:5-6 (NIV)

We are fatherless. There are not many fathers. What is God doing about it? God sets the lonely in families, Small Groups, on Dream Teams. If you don’t have a biological father then get connected with a spiritual family. God wants to set you in a new family and in some new relationships that will provide you with everything you have been missing. Often times when we are hurt or wounded we think the solution is isolation. God says the solution is not isolation, the solution is to establish new, healthy relationships.

When you do that, “he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” They’re not prisoners anymore, they have found freedom.

You find freedom by getting connected in relationships with other believers.

God wants to set you in a relationship that can move you from being a prisoner to singing. Some of you are walking around in a prison of pain that is more binding than a prison of bars. God wants to set you free! He does it by setting you in a family.

3. Relate to God as Father.

When Jesus addressed God, He called Him Father. When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to pray to Our Father, who art in heaven. Jesus said that the key to a powerful prayer life is to address God relationally not religiously.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in heaven. He never changes or casts a shadow.”  James 1:17 (NLT)

Look at the last phrase of this verse. God never changes. Everyone changesBut God never changes. No matter what happens, He never kicks you out of the family. He loves you. He never changes, He never casts a shifting shadow. That means he never turns his back on you.

“He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation became his prized possession.”  James 1:18 (NLT)

God doesn’t want you fatherless. Allow God to heal the father wound. Make the decision to change from fatherlessness to finding a father and being a father. And seek to relate to God as Father.


Check Back

How did the following truths affect your relationship with God this past week?

  • The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God!
  • My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God.
  • The relationship God made me for is to be his son or daughter.
  • The #1 thing I need to understand and remember: How much God loves me.

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NIV) and Malachi 4:6 (NIV)

The “fatherlessness” of our generation has led us down a path that’s far from how God intended. His intention is that we would be blessed by our fathers. No matter our experience with our earthly fathers, we have the promise of God to be set in families through our church family. This week’s message encourages us, men and women alike, to look to fathers in our life and to be a father to someone else so that we can begin to change our generation!

Application

  • We shared a list of statistics on how “fatherlessness” has affected the youth of our generation. Discuss why fatherless homes have had this affect on our culture. What can we do to change that?
  • Every man needs the affirmation of another man. Discuss why men are wired to need that, and why certain affirmation can’t come from women in their lives.
  • Read Psalm 68:5-6. Discuss how God sets the lonely in families and how He is a Father to the fatherless.
  • Read James 1:17-18. Discuss how God, our Heavenly Father, loves us and desires that we would see him as Father. Why is it so important that we relate to Him as Father?
  • There are three father relationships: natural father, spiritual fathers and Heavenly Father. Whether your natural father is living or deceased, what are you most thankful they shared with you? What short-comings do you need to forgive in them?

Tell Someone Else

Acknowledge your spiritual fathers this week. Think about who God has put in your life to father you and thank them this week. If you can’t think of who they are, begin looking for spiritual fathers that will pour into your life and pursue relationships with them. Then find some people in your life that you can be a father for and begin investing in them.

 

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