Message: “Father’s Day 2019” – Joel Slater/Christian Gaffney

Sunday, June 16th, 2019




The Dowdy family has had a huge weekend!  Sarah and Nikko were married yesterday, and we are one happy family that has grown by one member with hope of more to come!  (I will need to forward this to Sarah and Nikko though I’ve told them several times that we want grandchildren ASAP otherwise, what’s the point of marrying?)

We look forward to what the future holds - God has big things in store for them.   

With this thought in mind, I’d like to share my heart on Father’s Day.  I wondered how I would feel coming into this day with a married daughter.  I could feel a sense of loss as my baby girl is no longer in our home and Tracey and I are now true empty nesters.  I could also reflect on the sweet memories when my daughters were younger, miss those simpler days of family life and the bond that comes with all of us living under one roof.  I could also feel resentment toward this guy Nikko who thinks he can just steal my daughter away!   

Instead, I am blessed to have added a son to our family. He is a remarkable young man, and Sarah loves him deeply, as he does her. Nikko has demonstrated strength of character. He has treated Sarah the way a father prays his son-in-law would.  He will learn more about that as they continue to grow together and find all the unique things that make them Nikko and Sarah Custodio.  They will live together and build a family that will outlast the years Sarah spent growing up in my home. 

My prayer for Sarah as she grew up in our home was that she would know we loved her with all our hearts. We prayed for her to find the right man for her future.  We wanted her to see and understand the joy of serving the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We wanted her to have faith and follow the Lord wherever that would lead her.  We see that in her now, and we are so thankful for what God has done in her life and how He used us for His will as part of that.  

We, as fathers, must be intentional in raising our children to honor and serve the Lord.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us how intentional God wanted the children of Israel to be.  “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Today, I am a blessed father! I want that for every father of Expectation Church. Start being intentional today, and see how blessed you will be.


Adapted from Kurt Bruner – Focus on the Family

Father = source

Our biological or “earthly” fathers are a source of the DNA that make up who we are. However, God our heavenly father is the ultimate source for our lives. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

Father = provision

One of the primary roles of a father is to provide for his children, something that shouldn’t merely be a “duty” but something that brings them joy. Jesus himself demonstrated this when he said, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11).

Father = correction

No child enjoys correction, but disciplining your children is a vital part of parenting. Not only does it correct inappropriate behavior, it provides the child with a sense of security knowing their boundaries and demonstrating that parents love them enough to say no. “Good parents mirror the fatherhood of God when they administer the short-term pain of discipline to shape a child's long-term character,” Bruner says.

"The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son" (Hebrews 12:6).

Father = love

When you look at your child and feel that unconditional love swell and fill your heart, you get a taste of how deeply and completely God loves us as "our Father in heaven."

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" 

1 John 3:1 

1.    How did your relationship with you father shape your image of God?

2.    Jesus instructed us to approach God as our Father when we pray. Why do you think that word picture can be either comforting or threatening? How does it make you feel?

3.    What words come to mind when you think of a father? Why?

4.    Name a few TV dads that have been popular over the years. What words best describe these Hollywood father figures?

5.    How do those TV dads compare to fathers you've known in real life? How do you think those images shape society’s attitude to paternal authority?