August 2007: True Fathers
Bula Vinaka! We greet you this month in Fijian.
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July Circulation 5,761 . . . Target: 6,000 by the end of August - we need your help! Peter Jordan, Editor
1. Matters that Matter - True Fathers
2. Profound & Pithy - Some Strong Stuff
3. Feedback - Writeback -Talkback - Callback
4. Donna's Corner - In the Garden
5. Joy Dawson - In Need of Special Prayer
6. Renewal Gatherings - Times of Refreshing
1. Matters that Matter - True Fathers
Just about any man can be a father; some men become good dads to their kids; but very few become spiritual fathers to following generations. Even after my own children were grown, I resisted the call to actively be a father to others - it had to do with my wrong thinking that fathers are classified as old.‚ I didn't want to appear old‚ I wanted youth and the pursuit my own vision for the future, not having to be burdened with anyone else's dreams or aspirations.
In 1994, Donna & I while living in Vancouver became involved with Watchmen for the Nations, a Canadian endeavor founded by Bob Birch, a pastor well-known on the west coast. A young Egyptian doctor, David Demian, had come alongside Pastor Bob, who was by then in his 80s, serving and supporting him in ministry. Eventually Pastor Bob passed his ministry mantle to David, but remained as one of three foundational fathers along with Dr John White, noted missionary-psychiatrist and author; and Jim Watt, the lone surviving leader from the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940s.
Donna and I then enrolled in Spiritual Fatherhood 101. As I started to acknowledge this call on my life, we were invited to become fathers‚ in the Watchmen ministry and have been learning that role ever since. This new responsibility has affected us in our day jobs (YWAM Associates) and indeed, in all of life. We want to devote our remaining time here to nudging and encouraging the next generations into their destinies.
David Demian, on August 1st, near the beginning of 52 Days of Consecration,‚ (see below), wrote the following article about the significance of fathers:
"Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many
fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me." (1 Cor 4:15-17)
Who is a spiritual father? (For ease of communication I‚m using the term father‚ but I'm really speaking about both men and women, fathers and mothers). Some people will say that this is a person with white hair. But I don't think age is the most important thing in determining who is a father. To me the heart of a true father is simple: someone who wants to see his children excel beyond what he has done; and when they do, he is not jealous but rejoices.
With my Dad, I had an amazing example of this. When I was very young and trying to do something that was difficult in the natural, maybe beyond my ability, my Dad would come alongside me and say, "Don't quit David. Go for it." And when I was afraid to try because I didn‚t want to fail, he would say, "I'm with you." And if I said, "Dad it's too hard and if you couldn't do it, how can I?" Then he would look at me and say, "David, I didn't have someone to stand behind me and support me and push me forward. And don't worry if you fall I will carry you in my arms." And many times to my amazement I was able to complete things I thought were impossible. And what was more amazing is that the pleasure it brought to my Dad's heart was 100 times more than if I had done it myself. And I always felt like we owned the victory together.
I believe every generation's success and greatest satisfaction is measured not by how well they do but by how well their children do. If the next generation does less than the previous one, then the older generation has failed in its primary responsibility - to train and release the next generation to their full potential.
Even Jesus Himself said we would do greater works than He did. It‚s obviously not because we have a greater anointing but because Jesus‚ great pleasure was to see the church advance from glory to glory, from faith to faith. So he wasn‚t threatened by his disciples doing better than Him. He was secure in His identity relative to the Father. And the same needs to be said of spiritual fathers and mothers. When we are secure in our identity we won‚t feel threatened by the younger generation.
When I met Pastor Bob Birch I found a father who wanted to walk with me to see me released to the fullness of what God has called me for and not simply to fulfill his own vision. Some leaders have such big visions they can‚t fulfill them on their own. So they look for younger people with anointing to walk with them. But deep in their hearts they aren't interested in mentoring, they are interested in using them to fulfill their own visions.
I know that some of us have wanted to walk as fathers but we‚ve been unsure how to do so because we were never fathered ourselves. So we have left the younger generations, especially Gen X, to struggle alone and be hurt by the enemy, perpetuating the cycle of fatherlessness.
I believe there is a window the Lord is opening right now to redeem things in particular between the Fathers‚ generation (Boomers and Builders) and Gen X (late twenties to early forties). The enemy wants to lie to us that it's too late, and to tell us that Gen-Xers have found their own way and they don't need us. Or he wants to make us feel guilty for leaving them fatherless and tell us that it‚s too hard to go back and restore things and that it's easier to just reach out to the youth of today. But I know there is a deep God-given longing in Gen X to walk with the fathers and it's important that we don't overlook them at this time.
I believe as fathers we need to lay down our fears or feelings of regret, and trust God that if we choose to come into alignment with His heart for us as fathers, He is able to redeem all the years that were lost through the curse of not walking together.
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that has dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed." (Joel 2:25-26)
We will talk more in the next few days *(see below), about what the Lord is speaking to us practically now about how to walk with and release Gen X. But as a first step I would like to pray with all those who are fathers and mothers and who feel a witness that the Lord wants to give you a greater revelation of how to walk with the younger generation. If this is your heart, please pray this prayer with me:
God I humble myself before you. I ask you Lord to forgive me for the ways in which I have not taken my place as a spiritual father/mother representing your heart to the next generation. Forgive me for being selfish, for times when I was caught up in my own vision, my own journey and I was not the father/mother I needed to be. I ask you Lord to redeem and restore every lost opportunity. I thank you Lord for the multitudes of spiritual fathers and mothers in this nation whom you are raising up to lay down their lives to serve the next generation and I commit before you God, to be one of those.
Now let's make this declaration together in the spirit, to the next generation . . .
As fathers and mothers we choose not to think of ourselves but to think of the covering and protection of the next generation. For your sake, we will rise up, for your sake we will get our act together. For your sake, we will be true fathers and mothers. We will be there for you when you need us. We will release you, not to walk alone but to be there with you as you run in all that God has called you to. We will hold your hand and when you fall, we will be there to lift you up. We declare that Gen X will not be left fatherless but we, the fathers and mothers will hear the trumpet call in the spirit and rise up for such a time as this."
(David Demian is a man of singular passion: to be a friend of God. This passion has led him on an amazing journey in life and ministry. David lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada with his wife Ruth and their seven children. We count the Demians as family.
*To obtain earlier articles, go to www.watchmen.org - it‚s not too late to sign up for the remaining daily messages of the 52 Days of Consecration.)
2. Profound & Pithy - Strong Stuff
Leonard Ravenhill didn‚t mince his words for the church . . .
Why do we expect to be better treated in this world than Jesus was?
Today's church wants to be raptured from responsibility.
My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil's most wanted list.
When there's something in the Bible that churches don't like, they call it 'legalism.'
There's a difference between changing your opinion, and changing your lifestyle.
How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don't even have the strength to turn off your TV?
3. Feedback - Writeback - Talkback - Callback
Thanks for all your emails and other forms of communication; we‚re far too humble to publish most of what readers have to say to us (but don‚t stop writing and calling!) Here‚s a very small sampling . . .
Yes Donna, God speaks to me in the shower! He spoke to me very specifically once in the shower about buying some shoes! I know it sounds crazy, but just thought I'd let you know you're not the only one. :-) Debbie, New Zealand
Thanks for sharing so much of your lives and hearts with us, I have been mucho blessed and laughed a lot as I can identify so often with what you share!
My 8 YWAM years were just great years in my life and I thank the Lord for all I learnt and was able to do in that time (Kona's School of Early Childhood Education, then Holmsted Manor, UK, working with children).
Now I'm trying to save an endangered species!' No, not whales or some obscure creature, but I have the blessing of working with families . . . the family as God intended it to be and which is under attack! I love what I do! Here I am sixteen years later still using and putting into practice the things I learned regarding children in YWAM!
Just in case you want to take a peak our website is: www.lifeisrelationships.com
See what happens when you simply ask for my mailing address! Melissa Lee, NC (winner of a Poet of the Month Prize in June).
4. Donna's Corner - In The Garden
I recently spent some time with my dear friends Tom and Cynthia Bloomer. Tom loves his garden and God speaks to him in the times he is tending his plot of ground. He told me how sometimes he has to move plants from one place to another, or prune them, so they will grow better. I've been pondering this.
This last week I've been reading the gospels and noticing that Jesus speaks so often about the Kingdom, and how we're to take the gospel of the Kingdom to the nations. He speaks a lot in parables. With some of the parables, I'm still wondering, "Jesus, what did you mean?"
God is trying to get people into place so they can grow better; maybe they're crowding others so that they can't grow. We all need to be listening to our King. He's a very loving King, a King to be honored and adored. Everything He does is based on love; His laws are based on love, but He needs to be listened to and obeyed.
I‚m amazed almost daily, how those who truly have Him as King of their lives are being networked together for His purposes. Some are still more concerned about how they feel than what Jesus our King feels; but there is a uniting going on for His Kingdom which is becoming more obvious, because His Kingdom is within us. (Luke 17:21) That Kingdom is righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17)
I see God moving people into different parts of the garden‚ and it takes time to get the roots re-established; but once they are, they can really spread out. It hurts at first to be transplanted, but when we look back we are so grateful. We need love and care during that time from our friends, and of course we need to abide in His love.
And He is pruning some so that they will produce more fruit. Sometimes, because we aren‚t listening to our King, we think it is the enemy who is attacking us; or we're listening to others. Only God sees our hearts and He wants us to go back to the heart of our King. Seek first His wisdom and comfort. When we see others being pruned and sin cut out, we often judge them; but we mustn't; only God knows what He is doing in their lives. We must pray we‚ll be willing to be pruned so we can bear abundant fruit for His Kingdom. We need to come alongside others who are being pruned and be there for them. Do to them what we'd want them to do to us.
What amazing days we are living in. Is Jesus King of your life or are you still living for yourself? Are you living in the garden? Are you willing to be transplanted or pruned?
Love & Blessings,
5. Joy Dawson - In Need of Special Prayer
A Prayer Surge
Joy Dawson, a YWAM foundational value if there ever was one, is in need of prayer. Joy, who gave us much of herself and a lot of our basic Biblical values teaching - particularly in the early years - has suffered almost 15 years of acute and severe back pain. This has been her portion for all that time, worsened by an operation in 1993.
Mario Murillo, a dear and close friend of Jim & Joy Dawson, is asking the body of Christ to rise up in a surge of prayer for Joy on September 1st. If you would like to see Mario's full call‚ to prayer, go to our website www.ywamassociates.com
Would you mark September 1st on your calendar? Thank you.
6. Renewal Gatherings - Times of Refreshing
2007 Summer EuReport from Roy Jones
More than 300 YWAM Associates and friends enjoyed inTouch Camps in Sweden, Norway, Switzerland & France this summer. Most came from Western Europe, though Australia & the US were represented. One of our children's workers in Sweden was invited to speak at a nearby Camp and 12 youngsters gave their lives to Christ!
The old continent‚ will be host to several camps in 2008.
Watch www.intouchcamps.com for details.
Still to come in 2007 . . .
Sept 6-8, Singapore - Speaker David Demian, Watchmen for the Nations,
With Peter & Donna Jordan
Contact: Lin at email@example.com
And early next year we‚re going back to Hawaii!
Feb 24 - Mar 1, Kona - Speakers Dan Sneed & David Demian
Accommodations: U of N‚s Go Center (only a handful of rooms are still
available); and the nearby Royal Kona Resort.
Contact: Laurie Jordan-Worrall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time, here's a parting thought:
Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.