The Pop Culture Is No Culture For Pop 6/18/00


PSALM 128: 1 – 4

Jesus Christ is a home builder. The homes of America need and can benefit from His constructive wisdom and enabling power.

Home wrecking crews are varied and numerous. There is one source of bonding and building of family members. That one is Jesus Christ.

An indication of the destructive forces at work in America is seen in the fact that tonight 40% of the children in America will go to bed in a home where their biological father does not live.

Today’s TV dads are all that many of America’s 25 million youth will learn about fatherhood. The average household watches approximately 50 hours of TV a week with children accounting for 26 of those hours. Of the 100 family shows only 15 feature a father as a main character on a regular basis.

Studies show that programs that do feature fathers don’t do it in a positive light. Fathers are portrayed most often as an androgynous father. That is, he is not necessarily a feminine father but a male/female figure. Throughout the history of western civilization the differences in males and females have been recognized and celebrated. In the 1960’s social psychologists began teaching that the roles of the sexes are interchangeable. As a result many dads have become androgynous fathers, that is, feminized and weak parents.

Accept it, we males and females are different. Watch us dress and you will know it. The female coordinates everything. The skirt and blouse must match. Shoes and purse must compliment the outfit. The accessories must highlight the ensemble. The right fragrance is a must.

Now the male. Have you ever heard of a man trying to make sure his wallet matches his shoes. If his coat isn’t too wrinkled it is wearable. He takes down a shirt and smells its armpit and if it passes the sniff test he wears it. We are different.

The absence of the functioning father in the homes of America today is further revealed by the fact that 70% of the juvenile felons have no father figure in their lives.

A chaplain in a large prison was asked by an inmate to get him a Mother’s Day card. She did and the word spread rapidly. Others requested cards. She called Hallmark and they responded generously with free cards. Inmates stood in line to get Mother’s Day cards. Some time later the chaplain was looking ahead and noted Father’s Day was coming up. Again she requested cards from Hallmark. Again they responded generously. The warden announced the availability of Father’s Day cards and a time to pick them up. Not one prisoner requested a Father’s Day card.

There is a great wound in our culture called the non-functioning father.

Perhaps the greatest discovery of the last ten years in America is the influence the absentee or non-functioning father is having on our nation and the need to help men be better fathers.

Let us pray the prophecy of Malachi 3:17: “…turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.”

Jesus Christ said, “Honor your father and your mother…” (Matthew 15:4). Father’s Day is inventory time. Are you honored? The answer to that in part may be found in the question: “Am I honorable?”

Four insightful traits of an honorable and honored father are given in Psalms 28.

I. A WALK IN THE PATH OF GOD “Who walks in His way.”
“Blessed (happy) is every one who fears the Lord.”

The idea of “the fear of God” is confusing to some. Let me illustrate the beauty and importance of it. I feared my dad. That statement alone may make him look like a brute or tyrant. No, he was a good and gentle dad. He was a loving and self-giving dad who was very involved with his sons. I knew that if I disobeyed him or engaged in conduct unbecoming of him it would break his heart. I feared breaking his heart. A positive way of expressing it is I wanted to please him.

The only one who truly fears God is the one who is afraid of displeasing Him by forsaking the paths of His will. It is not fear of the punishment gained, but the pain given Him. In this way fear of God becomes a constructive, regulating principle.

To FEAR God means to be totally committed in obedience to God and loyal to His Word. Such a person is blessed because he has no other competing loyalties or desires and thus no resulting worries. He is free from contending pressures.

“…you eat the labor of your hands.” (Vs. 2)

An industrious man is an object of his family’s admiration. It has been said, “Youth is a blunder; adulthood is a struggle; and old age a regret.” It doesn’t have to be so for the godly.

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house.” The New King James gives a more literal translation of the Hebrew text. The wife is pictured as being like a vine in the inner courtyard of the house. Such a vine is considered an indication of Divine favor. By using the vine to illustrate the role of the wife, the Psalmist points out these characteristics: Attachment, Productivity, and Refreshing Grace.

By noting the relationship of the vine and the wall we see the role of the husband as related to
the wife. He is too: Support, Strengthen, and Shield.

Husbands, turn with me to Ephesians 5: 22, this is the male manifesto.

Please either tune me out now or don’t leave until I have fully finished developing the thoughts in this passage. Unless you stick with me through this you will get a distorted interpretation. It says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Most men know that verse. Some misinterpret it and grossly misapply it with dominant force. “Submit” is their battle cry.

Ladies turn with me to Ephesians 5: 25. Fellows, you can and should follow along also. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.”

Translated to a single word that verse means men “COMMIT.”

This is not a male female issue. It speaks of order in the family. To submit means to give honor to. Remember the earlier question: “Are you honorable?” If you are as committed to your wife as Christ to His church your wife will have no difficulty fulfilling her role.

“Your children like olive plants all around your table.”

Young shoots grow up around the base of a well-rooted tree. They draw their life from the tree.

The olive tree represented joy and peace. They will if the father is honored. He is more likely to be honored for the following reasons:

Certain positions carry with them honor. The role of the father does. Children pass on what they receive. It is also logical to say children can’t pass on anything they don’t receive. This pattern is seen in that abused children grow to be abusers. Let’s break the bad cycle and build a positive one.

“Heritage Family Builders” has developed an acrostic to make clear some things that are needed and should be passed on. The word is: A – R – O – M – A !

AFFECTION. If “love” is the noun “affection” is the verb. Affection is an act of the will. When relationship priorities are in order affection is shown.

RESPECT. Respect results when we realize the true worth of others. I sat at the bed side of a dear friend as she passed into the eternal presence of our Heavenly Father. Understandably her husband was expressing appropriate deep grief. Someone said to him in that moment “You would have no grief if she were not of value.” We respect others when we realize their value. Husbands/fathers RESPECT your wife and children. By respecting others we teach them respect. If a parent respects a child the child is much more likely to respect the parent.

ORDER. Order is the act of managing and modeling Godly leadership. It results in a refuge of calm. Children need creative freedom within well defined boundaries. We imitate the Creator of the universe when we have order in the home. The Bible asserts: “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord” (Psalm 37: 23).

MERRIMENT. Question: “Are you fun with which to live?” Merriment is an environment of enthusiasm coupled with uninhibited joy and happiness. There is life after failure. Realize the difference in failure and disobedience. When there is disobedience teach the child through proper discipline. When there is failure teach the child failure isn’t final unless you accept it as such. Don’t accept it as such. See it as an opportunity where you gain by losing. Laugher does good like a medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and laugh together. The father of the prodigal son realized the therapy of merriment in that he celebrated his return.

AFFIRMATION. Affirm one another. Help each other to realize who they are and whose they are. Every child has a right to live in an affirming environment that helps him or her develop their full potential. The following letter by Ricardo Montalban to his son originally appeared in “Family Concern.”

“Dear Son:
As long as you live in this house, you will follow the rules. When you have your own house, you can make up your own rules. In this house, we do not have a democracy. I did not campaign to be your father. You did not vote for me. We are father and son by the grace of God, and I accept that privilege and awesome responsibility. In accepting it, I have an obligation to perform the role of father.
I am not your pal. Our ages are too different. We can share many things, but we are not pals. I am your father, This is 100 times more than what a pal is. I am also your friend, but we are on entirely different levels.
You will do in this house as I say, and you cannot question me because whatever I ask you to do is motivated by love. This will be hard for you to understand until you have a son of your own.
Until then, trust me. Your Father.”

Some positions and persons are honored because of their power. The dad has the position from which and the power by which to bring up a child “in the nurture and admotion of the Lord.”

That means to train by discipline. This discipline relates to

  1. The Subject – the one subject to the discipline, the child. Loving discipline rapidly moves a child from a “have to” to a “want to” position.
  2. Self-Discipline – of appetites and attitudes.

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I’d rather one would walk with me than merely point the way. The eye is a better pupil, far more willing than the ear. Fine counsel is confusing, but examples always clear.” Edgar A. Guest

“…thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.”