Happy Father’s Day!

I like to say it, and I like having it said to me.  And no matter who you are, It’s one of those three word sentences that always sparks memories and emotions.  On the one hand, as a Dad when I hear it I am reminded of the blessing my boys are to me.  Being a Dad to my two boys is one of the greatest blessings, challenges, and joys of my life!  Hearing “Happy Fathers Day” from them or others always fills my mind with great memories of the last 19 years that I have been their Dad so I am so very thankful for them.
On the other hand, it brings back memories of our own Dad.  And If you are like me and your Dad is in his eternal home, the sentence most likely brings back a flood of memories that take you back to his lap and the joy you had in his presence.  And the older I get the more I realize just how much Dad did for us and taught us. So the memories just get sweeter in the midst of the sadness that goes with what I miss from his daily presence in mine and my boys’ lives.  My Dad was a hard working business owner so he stayed busy but he always kept family as priority in his life.  Growing up we spent every day he didn’t work with family and most every vacation or weekend camping trip I can remember was done with family and usually alongside some aunts and uncles.  So as I look back I see that he was teaching us to Love our Family and to spend all the time you can with them. What a great lesson.  And there are so many things like this that he modeled for me, like how to how to work hard and provide for my family, how to treat others, and how to help others.  He showed me how to love my wife by loving my Mom from a teen to the end of his days.  He showed me how to love my boys, and how to help them navigate this difficult world we live in, and so so much more.  So when I hear Happy Fathers Day I also think of how thankful I am that God blessed me with My earthly Father and for all he taught me to help me be a Dad today.
And lastly, Fathers Day always makes me think of my Heavenly Father and I am so very thankful for his word and example for all of us Dads.  As I was sharing with the kids this past Wednesday, God’s word has great instruction from cover to cover for Dads and kids so we need to stay in His Word daily so we can understand what God has to say about it.  A great verse that speaks to Dads and family is found in Colossians 3 starting in verse 19 as it speaks to how we are to love and encourage our families.
“19- Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” 
So to the Dads I say “Happy Fathers Day”, remember the things you have been taught, Love your Family, Love your God and stay in his word, it will bring you great joy in life.
And if by some chance you have not wished your Dad Happy Fathers Day, what are you waiting for? Put down whatever is in the way and run back to your Fathers arms – he is eagerly waiting for you.
Chris Best

Für Elise

I sometimes enjoy listening to classical music when the mood and work seem to be the right fit.  When I have an opportunity to go to a symphony then the listening takes on a multi-sensory dimension that lifts my mind and heart.  Beethoven always stands out in the classical world and of his many composing works, “Für Elise” is one of my favorites.  This is a German word meaning, “For Elise,” yet no one really knows who “Elise” could have been.  According to Wikipedia, it could have been transcribed wrong with the identity being a student of Beethoven’s named, Theresa.  This song was not published until 40 years after the composer’s death and was so deaf he could not perform the song just a year after composing the work.  In fact, he could not hear the applause of the audience after performing that someone would need to prompt him to turn around to the crowd.  If you want to watch an orchestra perform the song then listen here.

As I watch such performances played today, I am always captivated by the interactions between the director and the orchestra.  A well-directed work exhibits precise control of timing and emotion.  The fine and grueling work of practice for discipline brings out the emotion in the song.  The director has a big picture of how written notes on a page should sound like in life.  He or she translates into experience what has only been written instructions and knows how to incorporate every instrument into the piece. It may be that a specific instrument is only played for one or two notes, yet without that instrument, the song fails to be formed correctly in reality.

I would present to you that every church is to be as a symphony directed by the Holy Spirit Himself.  This director deity makes real in Knightdale what has only been written on pages.  It is through obedience to the Holy Spirit that Jesus lives today in the lives of those around us.  Each one of us has been gifted by the Holy Spirit so we can play our “instrument” in whatever role He directs.  Our gifts are meant to be employed in concert with others to produce a “symphony,” a sounding together.  At times we may experience the minor notes, but in a symphony not only do the minor notes make sense, they make the whole piece sound good together.  Each church will bring the praise of Jesus in how we relate to one another and the world and give our praise to God, the Father.  Our songs are not dedicated to an unknown person, but “Für Gott.”  In our performance, may we be deaf to the crowd and turn around to the applause of God.

Jarrod Scott

Following Him

Do you remember the last time you felt completely lost?  Maybe you were travelling out of town for the family vacation and driving with the utmost confidence that you knew exactly how to get there.  Maybe you weren’t necessarily “lost” but admittedly you “just couldn’t find your way”.  Maybe it was a time when you went on a hike through the woods in the mountains and somehow couldn’t remember exactly how to get back where you started.  Or maybe it was a time when you walked out of the shopping mall, sports stadium or concert and looked out into a large mass of vehicles in the Parking Lot and couldn’t remember exactly where you parked your car.  I can personally look back on times like these in my life with laughter.  However, during those times of being lost, it is certainly not amusing at that moment.  In fact, at times it can be very stressful, we can feel hopeless and even sometimes afraid depending on the circumstances.

We can also relate to this in day to day life can’t we?  In daily life do you ever feel lost or maybe where you just don’t feel like you could find your way?  Maybe you’re dealing with a certain situation with family, friends, your job, your health or many other things that life may bring your way.  You’re searching for the reason, the right solution or the right direction but as much as you think about it and try to work it out on your own you continue to feel helpless, tired and all the other things that can come with self-dependence.  You feel lost or maybe, your telling yourself you just can’t find your way.

It’s during those times that I am reminded that I have an Amazing Savior and Lord that wants to give me strength in my weakness, hope in my hopelessness and direction when I just can’t find my way.  One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths”.  Notice the 3 commands in this passage.  “Trust in the Lord”, “Do not lean on your own understanding” and “In all your ways acknowledge Him”.  We often times put too much trust in ourselves when we are in the middle of our situations.  It’s like those times when we are lost and just keep driving because we “just can’t find our way”.  The longer we drive the more humility it will take to have to stop and ask for directions.  You see, Trusting in the Lord calls us to Humility and an admittance that His way is better than our own.  We often spend much time “thinking” but not much time “praying”.  Godly wisdom comes through seeking the Lord in His word and through prayer.  James 1:5 reminds us “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him”.  As we receive God’s guidance through seeking Him in His word and prayer we begin to obey the last command, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths”.  As we acknowledge the Lord in all our ways He begins to show us what is most important, what our priorities should be and how He can be most glorified in our life through daily Trusting Him.  So today, if you are lost or maybe you just can’t find your way, trust in the one who is able to give you direction.  Trust in the one who is able to stand firm when you lean on Him.  Trust in the one who is able to make your paths straight.

Jason Hicks