Greetings from the road!
We are in the middle of a Midwest Tour and feel very blessed to be ministering on the road this month - even back in South Dakota.
It's hard to believe that Father's Day is this coming weekend, but the holidays just seem to come faster and faster these days. We appreciate all of the Father's in our lives and the blessed role they have in our families, cities and nation.
Here is Larry's article from our newsletter this month - enjoy!
In the area where I grew up, most of the fathers I knew had grown up in families struggling to make it. This month I turn 76 years old. I feel very privileged that I was able to spend my childhood years being raised on a farm, one mile outside of Peever, South Dakota, with a population of 208 if everyone was home! The amenities on our farm were not that great and left much to be desired, especially to today's standards. Our plumbing consisted of an outdoor bathroom with a path to a three holer. We didn't have a water tower, but we had a windmill. Yes, we had running water… you would have to run to get it. And our garbage disposal entailed the pigs and chickens awaiting the slop pail every day. We had batteries that provided power for the radio. We didn't have electricity and used oil lamps with wicks that needed to be trimmed often for light. We had chores that needed to be completed every day, and we always spent most of the day outside.
Why have I shared this? I shared this because it was my experience living on the farm that also built in me a work ethic. I remember hearing how businesses in the big cities would go and find farm boys to work for them because they came with a built in work ethic. As the years went by, we learned to enjoy work as it put "grit" inside you. One of the other things that I remember from that time period was that many families were weak on emotional expressions.
One funny joke that illustrates this is one day a mom was feeling a lack of appreciation. She said, "Henry do you love me?" Henry was driving and seemingly ignored her. She persisted again, "Henry, do you love me?" Henry's expression was solemn as his hands gripped the steering wheel tighter with no response. One last time mom said, "Henry, do you still love me?" Henry finally looked at her and said,
"I told you 40 years ago, I loved you and if anything changes I'll let you know."
While I am super thankful for the work ethic that I was raised with as our family worked hard and long, the trouble we experienced was that our communications suffered. I love, however, that the Bible certainly shows how these two can be joined and actually instructs us that this is a way to teach our children to serve the Lord as Deuteronomy 6:6-9 states,
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Even more than that however—more than a good work ethic, more than tender words, more than providing needs and wants for our children, the greatest thing that we can pass down to our children is what Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Why??? It is simply stated in Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul."
We can give our children so much these days…much more materially than my father could give me. We can even give our children a good work ethic, an excellent self-worth and opportunities far beyond what we could ever imagine, but ALL OF THAT is for naught, if we don't keep the main thing…the first thing…knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, saving them from eternal torment and separation. I pray that as we live in these last days, we are all being challenged as our families are under attack, many ripped apart for a number of reasons that we don't want any left behind knowing Christ has shed His blood for each and every family member. The greatest mission I have as a father is to do all I can to make sure my family is in heaven with me when that day comes.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4
May this weekend be full of joy and memories, but also a wonderful chance to establish a culture of Truth in your families! Be blessed!
Chef's Salad Dressing
1 cup Wesson oil
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup malt vinegar (or 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
4 T. grated onion
1 T. lemon juice
Place ingredients in a jar and shake well.