Fathering Like the Father | Week 7

Week 7 | God’s Friend

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This week 4 Pax met at Adventure Park to continue our latest book study: Fathering Like the Father. All Pax are invited and encouraged to attend. While we are now about 47% of the way through the book, there is no pre-requisite to jump in. Read this backblast and the attached homework and come join us next Saturday at 6:15am for Chapter 8. Next week we will be discussing communication with your children. This week we discussed Chapter 7 – God’s Friend.

So long as we love we serve. No man is useless while he is a friend. — Robert Louis Stevenson

Those macho-dad images can mask the softer side of fathering. We want to emphasize that fathering like the Father means becoming friends to our children without surrendering the family headship role.

What forms does friendship take as we look up to our fathers and down to our children? How can we spin off God’s relationship with Abraham to become father-friends at home?

Friendship as Attitude

  • Rules minus Relationship = Rebellion
  • Rules plus Relationship = Positive Response
  • What happens when you have a Relationship minus Rules?
  • The foundational attitude for friendship is trust—Abraham trusted God, and God trusted Abraham.
  • Your friendship with your children depends on your attitude toward them and their attitude toward you.

Friendship as Presence

  • The sad reality is that many fathers who work hard to support their families and really love their families, injure them repeatedly by not being available when needed.
  • Abraham could be God’s friend because they knew each other intimately.
  • In order to raise emotionally healthy and protected children, the doctors stated in an interview that kids’ number one need is a nurturing, consistent connectedness with a parent or other important adult. This goal can be achieved only when society begins to put children first and revolve everything else around them—including our jobs.

Friendship as Togetherness

  • Friendship is not only attitude and presence, it is togetherness—father and child doing things together
  • Christian families ought to be like teams with Dad serving as coach.
  • God’s description of the kind of man he wants in congregational leadership emphasizes faithfulness in family life (1 Tim. 3:4–5, 11–13).
  • Jesus also called that serving relationship a friendship. He said to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
  • As servant-leader dads to our children, we coach them and teach them based on what we have learned from our heavenly Father.

Friendship as Love

  • If we approach [fathering] as a biblical activity, we grow in our understanding of what God expects of us to whom he gives this important responsibility.
  • The Bible says a great deal more about husbands loving their wives than their children, perhaps on the assumption that if they achieve the first, the second will follow.

And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when he died for her.…That is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves. For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself a favor and loving himself when he loves his wife!…a man must love his wife as a part of himself.

-Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33 TLB

  • Being a father-friend may mean jumping into holes on more than one occasion, holes you’ve seen before, holes whose dangers and fears you know, but holes out from which you’ve successfully climbed in the past and now can help your children do the same.

A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic.…A father never feels worthy of the worship in a child’s eyes. He’s never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him.…Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough, so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who will live the longest. One day they lose and the bet’s paid off to the part of them they leave behind.

-Paul Harvey

Making It Work

  • Demonstrate obedience to God in every aspect of the family context, and serve Christ in a way that reflects friendship with him.
  • Be there for your children when they need you the most. Make it a priority!
  • Reflect God’s kindness, forgiveness, discipline, and love so that your children can see the heavenly Father in you and learn to trust him as their friend too.
  • Look for ways, even at the earliest ages, to spend time with your children; do things you both enjoy and form a close bond.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why do you think God initiated a friendship with Abraham? Why did Jesus initiate a friendship with his disciples?
  2. In your opinion, why are there not more Bible characters called friends of God?
  3. Of the four characteristics of friendship presented in this chapter (attitude, presence, togetherness, love), which one needs your greatest attention?
  4. Does your relationship (friendship) with your children need to be repaired in any way or tuned up just a bit? What can you do about it?

Father/Child Dialogue

  1. Dad, tell your kids about a great friend you had when you were their ages (perhaps their grandfather). Talk about things you did together and how those memories continue.
  2. Kids, tell Dad about your best friends at school or in the neighborhood. Why did you choose them? Then talk about what you most love doing with your dad.

Homework for 8/3

Thoughts for the week:

  • Are you communicating anything negative to your children? If you’re brave enough, ask your wife about it.
  • In what ways do you communicate God’s Word to your children? Do you have family devotions together? Do you read and memorize the Bible together?
  • Talk about the results of parenting that you anticipate. What end product do you desire? Have you ever told your children what you hope for them?
  • How do you provide opportunities for feedback from your children??