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THE POWER OF A FATHERS LOVE (6/19/11) SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2: 11-23 KEY CONCEPTS: On this Fathers Day, we realize the value of a loving human father as well as the power of Gods love. OPENING COMMENTS: Happy Fathers Day! As I worked this past week to prepare todays sermon, I realized that I was procrastinating in a way that seemed out of the ordinary since I rarely procrastinate on anything this important. But all this week, I did everything but finish the sermondusting, talking on the phone, checking my emails, re-arranging my sock drawer, cleaning the bathroom thats when you know Im avoiding something when I clean the bathroom! And then I realized what it wasI was dreading the emotion that comes with Fathers Day, especially with my Dad no longer on the earth. Solet me just go ahead & address that head onso we can move forward with the power of todays sermon message. OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Back in April, as the anniversary of my Fathers death approached, I had a good friend use the imagery of heavenly & earthly fathers remind me that Two of your Fathers are now in heaven. Your Heavenly Father has left nothing undone. If your earthly father had unfinished business (within your family), he is now in the presence of the One who will truly advocate for him & bring about the needed changes in the family members who remain on the earth. You, Renee, are a part of the family; however, you cannot fill the role of either of your Fathers. WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME? PRAYER:

GENERAL APPLICATION: For those of us who no longer have our earthly fathers with us, I hope the insight my friend shared with me brings you some sort of comfort. And that sometimes, when life is beyond our control (which seems to be quite often for some of us) we can remember that not only do we have Jesus as an Advocate, but we also have earthly fathers in Gods presence who are also pulling for us & cheering us on as members of our cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) And that bring us comfort if our fathers (& mothers) have passed away. TRANSITION: And what about those of us who still have our earthly fathers with us on this earth? On this Fathers Day, what might we learn about the power of an earthly fathers love that could encourage us to accept the love of God via the imagery of a father? GOSPEL READING MATTHEW 2: 11-23: Todays reading recounts the courage & commitment of both parents to insure that the Baby Jesus remained alive in the midst of Herods terrorizing. According to this reading, Joseph the earthly father of Jesus was told by way of a vision to flee to Egypt in order to protect not only Baby Jesus but also Mary. Joseph obeyed, which angered King Herod who ordered the killing reign of all male children less than 2 years old. Only after Herods death did the holy family return to Israel, settling in the district of Galilee. According to tradition, Joseph was some sort of artisan who worked with wood, stone or maybe other substances in the making of items. Most believed him to be a carpenter, although there is some debate over that vocation at this time. Regardless of what Joseph did

for a living, what we can discern from his life is that he must have truly loved Mary & Jesus. He took his role as protector & provider seriously & he was a good & honorable man.which points to the fact that he was a wonderful role model for Jesus. Tradition also points to the fact that Joseph probably died early in Jesus life sometime after Jesus 12th birthday. Scripture shows an ongoing relationship between Jesus & his mother, Mary; however, little else is written about Joseph following Jesus 12th year & the incident at Temple (Luke 2:48) And yet, its not hard to imagine that Jesus must have benefited from Josephs love. You can see it in the way: y Jesus treated his mother, Mary y Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery (for Jesus surely knew how people gossiped about Mary, Joseph & that babys birth) y Jesus responded to all women who desired to be a part of his ministry y Jesus insured that Mary was taken care of by one of his followers even as he hung on the cross GENERAL APPLICATION: I think we can say that Jesus benefited from not only his connection to his heavenly Father, but also his earthly father. And so, too, can we! Our earthly fathers are not perfect - & neither was Joseph! And yet, when we have the confidence of a fathers love, we are more secure in our lives. THE POWER OF A FATHERS LOVE: Theres a neat song by Bob Carlisle that talks about the power of a fathers love. Three feet tall & full of questions You must have thought I was the smartest man alive I didn't always have the answers To every little how & where & why Like Daddy, why's the sky so blue today? Does Jesus really hear me when I pray? When I grow up, will I be just like you? Will I be tall & strong & brave? CHORUS(1): There is no power on earth like a fathers' love So big & so strong as a father's love A promise that's sacred, a promise from heaven above No matter where you go... always know You can depend on a father's love CLOSING: So, as we close this mornings sermon, it is my best hope & strongest prayer that your earthly father will model for you or has modeled for you the profound reality of love. And if your father is no longer with you or has not been a part of your life or your relationship isnt all you need/want it to be that you can (& will) allow God as a heavenly Father to love, support & nurture you. God bless our fathers & all those who have fathered us! Amen.