A 3:3:3 Father’s Day (sermon notes)


A special message for fathers, children and mothers for Father’s Day 2013. Here are my sermon notes from the message on June 16, 2013.  You can hear the online sermon at the Adventure Church website.


(note: Remember, we are all children, so this applies to all of us).

Honor Your Father

This is a command (the 5th) and is also mentioned several other times in the Bible (including by Jesus).

Ephesians 6:2-3 – Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.

What does it mean to “honor” your father?  We go through stages, that overlap.  First, we honor our father by being obedient when we are younger and under their authority/household.  Strive for “first time obedience” which is especially honoring of him.  Second, we honor our father by showing respect, involving him in our lives, allowing him to participate with us and on behalf of us in our lives.  (illust. – Sadie and Willie returning dress on Duck Dynasty). Third, as they (and we) grow older, we honor our father by caring for him.

Learn from Your Father

Proverbs 2:1-5 – My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

note:  this passage, written to a son from his father, encourages an active seeking of help and advice from the father.  From our fathers we learn about life as well as about how to do things.  We can also learn from our father’s mistakes.  In any event, I believe that dads want “better” for their kids and desire for their children to learn from them – both the good and the bad.

Forgive Your Father

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” – Matthew 6:12

Fathers make mistakes.  Sometimes big ones.  Forgiving them for those may be the best father’s day present you can give him.  Forgiveness is about leaving the past in the past and focusing on the future.


This section is for mothers — all mothers.  Even if you are not with your child’s dad any longer, you have one of the largest influences over the nature of your child’s relationship with his/her dad.

Encourage (don’t nag) Dad

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – encourage one another and build one another up, …

Try not to impose what you think is right upon the dad/child situation.  This often leads to a situation where whatever dad does it’s not “good enough.”  Be encouraging.  Tell dad “thank you”.  Compliment him.

Praise Dad in Front of Your Children 

I read a blog post recently titled “Is Dad a Hero or a Bum – the Answer often Depends on what Mom Things.” — That is so true.  Praising dad in front of your child strengthens the relationship more than you can imagine.  You can do it — at one time in your life you thought at least something about this guy was pretty awesome.

Be a Partner

Don’t setup a situation where it is “mom and the kids v. dad”.  Don’t hide things from dad.  Don’t complain about him with the kids.  Instead, do all you can to be a partner with the dad — unified in parenting the children as a team.


Be a Godly Example

Like it or not, good or bad, you ARE an example.  But are you a Godly example?

John 13:15 – For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

Being a Godly example involves being an example in these areas:

Character – this is what you are all of the time, no matter where you are or who is around.  Your kids are watching you.  Are you a man of honesty, integrity, consistency?

Discipleship – this is showing your kids what it looks like to follow the Lord Jesus and grow in your faith.  Do they see you going to church, studying the Word, etc.

Service – your kids need to learn from you that life is not about them (or you) but about other people.  They learn this from your example in serving others who need help, serving your church, and serving your community.

Demonstrate Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is the theme of the Bible — God loves us not because of anything that we can do and in spite of anything that we have done.  Your kids (especially your daughters) will come to believe that God loves them the way that you love them.  Love them unconditionally, which means:

Love them for who they are, not what they do

Love them in spite of their mistakes and bad choices

Remember: love is an action not a feeling

Leave the Right Legacy

You will leave a legacy of some form.  But, God has given us the power and the freedom to choose what our legacy will be.  Will you leave a legacy where your children and your children’s children seek to know the Lord personally?  Or will it be a legacy of absence, abuse, excuses or mediocrity?

Keep “Thanking God” at the Forefront

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

The First Presidential Proclamation by George Washington, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God …

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people … and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. …

The people of our nation will gather around tables this Thursday to eat turkey and stuffing, to tell stories and talk football, and, to devise strategies for Black Friday shopping excursions.

My hope and prayer is that we will not forget what Thanksgiving Day originally was meant to be – a day of acknowledging God and thanking Him for the blessings He has granted us.  It is because of God that we have food.  It is because of God that we have family.  It is because of God that we have leisure.  It is because of God that we have Christmas!

Here are some ways to keep “Thanking God” at the forefront of our holiday this Thursday:

  1. Pray a personal prayer of thanks for all that you have received this year.  Thank Him for family and friends, for responsibility and opportunities to serve, for church family and mentors, for days of joy and for days of trial.  We learn about God and ourselves in all circumstances and should be grateful for everything that draws us close to Him.
  2. Sign on to the blog:  The Thankfulness Experiment and share some of your specific “thanks”.
  3. At your Thanksgiving Table, have each person share one thing for which he or she is thankful.  Start with the youngest at the table sharing first, with the eldest sharing last.
  4. Pray together as family and friends.  Pray for our country, for freedom, for our President and government leaders.  Pray for your church, your pastors and leaders, and for your church family.  Pray for family.  Pray for friends.  Pray for those who do not have a table that even closely resembles your own.
  5. Send a personal note, an email, a text or a tweet of thanks to at least one person who has made a positive impact in your life this year, thanking him for the effort.

Giving thanks is personal.  It’s powerful.  It’s special.  And, it makes a difference.  Remember who is ultimately responsible for it all – the Lord God Almighty.

Happy Thanksgiving!