Today is Father’s Day.  To all the fathers out there, congratulations.  I wanted to take a quick time out and talk about the heart inside of the father.  To do this, I’m going to skip a fun intro and get serious and deep pretty fast.  To all the mothers, wives, and daughters out there I want you to think through a couple of things.  I want to give you a verse and then share a survey with you.  First, Peter wrote this.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. NIV

That’s the verse, here is the survey of Dad’s spiritual impact on kids.  In a family, where neither parent attends church, 6% of children attend church when they grow up.  When only a mother attends church, 15% of children attend church when they grow up.  When only the father attends church, 55% of children attend church when they grow up.  When both parents attend church, 72% of children attend church when they grow up.  There is something about a father heart that is different.

Knowing this, if you were the enemy trying to tear a family apart, what would be the best way to do that?  Here is the answer.  Take out the father’s heart.  How do you do that?  Before even becoming a father, try to ruin a father’s heart as a little boy.  How?  Make sure his relationship with his dad is damaged in some way.  Maybe the absent father, maybe the father who was always disappointed, maybe an angry, cruel, or violent father.  That way the wounds from his father will derail him long before he becomes a father.   Then later, if he is dating or married, make sure his girlfriend or wife always shares their disappointment with him making him feel like a failure.  At work and in life make sure he feels weighed and measured and comes up short when compared to others.  That way you can take his past wounds and mix them with the disappointments of others and that will leave him paralyzed as a father.  And whatever happens, as the enemy, make sure he is never celebrated, never built up, never respected.  This will go a long way to take out a father’s heart and maybe tear a family apart.

So, moms, wives, and daughters think through your role in celebrating and protecting the hearts of the men you love.  One last thought, do you think it’s a coincidence that our culture is aggressively destroying masculinity?  It’s not a coincidence at all.

I know, that got serious and deep pretty fast so let’s downshift a little.

Do you remember how you viewed your father as you grew up?  In general, probably around age 3 or 4, you thought your dad was Superman.  He could take a bullet, couldn’t he?  Then you became a teenager and you probably felt like your dad was out of date.  Dad’s advice just didn’t seem to match your real-life experience.  Much later, moving into your thirties, you probably wanted your dad’s opinion before you made a big decision.  Why did your view of Dad fluctuate so much over 30 years?  Pride.  When you and I were 3 or 4 we didn’t even know what pride was.  When you and I were teenagers, we had enormous pride.  And dad just didn’t get it.  Then later after experiencing life humbling us a little, Dad’s advice seemed pretty good to us.

The Bible talks about this.

Proverbs 12:15 Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice. MSG

We can treat Jesus the way we treat our dads when our pride is at its worst.  As loving and as clear as Jesus is, we can act like we know better than Jesus.  And that leads me to the Jesus question for today.

Jesus asked in John 8:46, Since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? TLB

Doesn’t that sound like a dad talking to a child who doesn’t listen?  In this chapter, Jesus has a discussion with the Jewish leaders, and it gets combative.  It’s combative because Jesus is trying to talk about their true spiritual condition and they refuse to see their need of Jesus.  It gets so heated, that at the end of the chapter, they pick up rocks to stone Jesus but Jesus escapes.  You should go back and read all of John 8.

When I saw this question today, the first thing that jumped into my head was what Jesus taught in Matthew 6.  Do you remember what Jesus said?  Jesus said, do not worry about your life.  And remember Jesus pointed out how useless our stress and worry is?  Jesus said, with all your worry, you can’t add an hour to your life.  Let’s read it.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. TLB

How does this impact you when you read this?  Does Jesus sound hopelessly out of touch with your life?  You might think, this ‘don’t worry’ stuff is good for others but that can’t possibly apply to me.  Then Jesus ends with ‘seek first the kingdom and his righteousness’.  What do you think about that?  We are supposed to not worry about life and prioritize God and what He is up to.  That’s weird.  We live the exact opposite today – don’t we?  We worry so much about life that we can’t possibly imagine having the time or energy to prioritize God or what He is up to.

Then I am reminded of today’s Jesus question.  Since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Why don’t we believe Jesus?  He is God and comes to be with us and tell us the truth about life.  Why in the world would we be skeptical of what Jesus says?  Or even worse, kinda smile at Jesus and ignore what He says?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we can treat Jesus the way we treat our dads when our pride is at its worst.  We think Jesus is out of touch with what is happening in our lives.  We think we know the best way to live life, and it’s not Jesus’ way, so we do life our way.

Raising kids can lead you to have a mental breakdown sometimes.  It can have moments of stunning frustration.  In every one of my daughter’s lives growing up, they faced challenges.  Friends, sports, music, figuring out who they are.  They would come home tired, angry, or in tears.  And as a loving parent, you want to know what the deal is.  So, you ask.  They may or may not tell you.  If they told us what happened, we offered them advice.  Do you think they followed it right away?  Nope.  Because what we said didn’t seem to have any relevance to the real situation they had in their lives.  Our advice seemed out of touch.

It was so frustrating as a parent.  We saw our kids struggle, we told them the truth, and they continue to loop in doing the same thing.  As their lives continued to struggle, they refused to make any changes.  It is the very definition of insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

It’s no different in the way people can follow, or not follow, Jesus.  Our lives can be a struggle.  We go to Jesus for a reset to a new life.  Jesus tells us the truth.  We ignore the truth and continue to loop in doing the same things over and over.  Our lives continue to experience struggle while at the same time, we refuse to make any changes.  It is the very definition of insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Is that not a fascinating way to live?  Experiencing pain and struggle and not making intentional changes.

Jesus says, don’t worry about life.  Your worry is useless.  Your worry has no power.  In fact, with all your worry you can’t add one hour to your life.  Worry is wasted energy.  Instead, seek first the kingdom of God.  Replace your worry with your focus on God’s kingdom.

When you hear that, do you believe Jesus?  Is it easy for you to hear what Jesus said and immediately stop worrying?  Nope.  Worry is so ingrained in us, that it has become our natural default setting.  Do you think Jesus is hopelessly out of touch with your life?  Somehow that ‘don’t worry’ stuff is good for others but can’t possibly apply to you.  If you struggle to believe Jesus, Jesus wants to know, Since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?

Last year, I went for a regular yearly check-up.  My PSA came back at 4.1.  They suggested I go to a Urologist to get it checked out.  I didn’t think anything of it.  They did a biopsy and I was positive for prostate cancer.  That was weird because other people are supposed to get cancer, not me.

The next step was to have a contrast MRI to see if the cancer had spread in my body.  I had to wait till after Christmas and New Years to have the MRI.  I remember waiting and wondering, what do I do if the cancer has spread?  That sense of fear and dread moved in on me because I wouldn’t know for a couple of weeks.  I would pray and quickly try to think about something else.  I know what it’s like to have every reason to worry.  I know what it’s like when what Jesus said seems out of touch.

As I waited, I was alone one morning, I was spending time with God reading in Luke.

Luke 1:74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. TLB

It just crushed me.  It hit me in the heart, God rescued me.  God rescued me from who I was and all the miserable things I had done.  God rescued me from sin and hell to be able to serve Him without fear.  I just started crying and I could feel the worry and anxiety just melt away.  I told God, ‘Okay, let’s do this thing.  Regardless of the outcome, no fear, let’s do this.’  I know what it’s like to have every reason to worry.  I know what it’s like when what Jesus said seems out of touch.

How are you living?  Do you believe Jesus or are you struggling to believe Jesus?

So how do we do the opposite?  Remember I said it’s normal to live lives with so much worry, we can’t possibly imagine having the time or energy to prioritize God or what He is up to.  It’s almost like our worry has become us worshipping our problems.  How do we flip that to do the opposite?  How do we stop worrying and prioritizing God’s kingdom?

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. NLT

Turn away from worshipping your problems to worshipping God.  How?  Stop worrying, instead pray.  Then focus on what is true, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.  It’s not a tip, not a technique, not a life hack.  It’s spiritual transformation.  And do this over and over and over until it becomes normal.

Why would we do this?  Because Jesus loves you.  And Jesus knows that you worry and He wants to remove that from you.  He didn’t say this to mess your life up, Jesus said this because it will make your life better.

So I leave you with Jesus asking you, Since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?