|Papa with Saraa|
My Dad is just the kind of person you always hoped existed out there somewhere.
You know how when you see a preacher on TV or even perhaps at your church give some sermon illustration and you wonder secretly if he really practices what he preaches. Almost like you'd like to have a secret camera in his car or at his dinner table. But, somehow deep inside you feel like you would surely be disappointed. Well, my Dad is the opposite of that. If you put a hidden camera in his car or at his dinner table you'd find that he is as committed and righteous and fun and hilarious as you'd hoped he would be. With my Dad what you see is what you get. Authentic.
True, he preaches a hard message sometimes. He's not the seeker sensitive, tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear kind of pastor. He still uses the word "Hell" on Sunday mornings. And when he tells you to suck it up and "be a man!" he really does mean it. But, the thing of it is, he's just as hard on himself as he is on others. And I think that's what makes all the difference.
Differing weights and differing measures--the LORD detests them both. Proverbs 20:10
That's not to say he doesn't have grace. In fact, he extends grace and acceptance to people that I would have written off long ago. People who have used up all their chances with me, my Dad will be perfectly comfortable sitting down over a cup of coffee, visiting them in the hospital or friending them on Facebook.
When I think sometimes of all he has had to put up with in his life, it's a wonder he's not a whiner or completely neurotic or cold-hearted. But, he's none of these things. If you've ever met him I bet you'll want to ask him to adopt you or at the very least be your spiritual father. If you've met him you know what I mean.
|Papa with all his grandkids in 2008. |
Next time we all take a picture together
there will be six more children to pile on Papa.
One of my very earliest memories of my Dad is him kneeling on one knee on the floor of the room our little church plant rented on Sunday mornings. Tears were streaming down his face. One fist clenched as he prayed fervently in tongues. I do not remember exactly what he was praying for or what was happening in the service. I just remember being a little girl watching her Daddy pray.
When I was nine years old I told him I wanted to preach. He said, "OK, go write a sermon." So, I did. It was about divine healing. Yes, perhaps I was an overly-serious nine year old. He was so proud he let me read my sermon to everyone--everyone who came to dinner, everyone at church, relatives at family dinners, etc. He was so happy his baby wanted to preach like him! Lest you think him very nepotistic, letting his kids use his pulpit for their own development and showcase, it wasn't like that. I remember several other little children over the years who are not related who preached their first sermons behind his pulpit. He got them a chair, set it up behind the pulpit, gave them the mic and Amened them the whole time.
Isaiah 11:6, "...a little child shall lead them."
|My nephew and Papa having a sword fight. Diego wins.|
He's always been the Fun Dad, too. We could joke and horse around and play pranks on him. We never got in trouble for things we did in fun--even if we pushed the envelope. I remember once when my sister and I dared him to do a cartwheel on the church lawn and he split his pants. I still find that wicked funny.
|Brother-in-law, brother, Dad, and nephew. Very manly.|
|Papa with his two oldest grandchildren, |
going out for a proper tea.
I'm a blessed daughter.