A Father to the Fatherless
My family and I just returned from a trip to Jacksonville, Florida where we spent some time meeting with key city leaders and Bill & Deborah Fisher. We were encouraged to see what the Lord is already doing in the hearts of many leaders in the Jacksonville area regarding Bill & Deborah's "Father Loves Jacksonville" initiative.
We had the privilege to meet with worship leaders, youth pastors, church pastors, ministry leaders, media organizations & city officials with the single purpose: to cast vision as to what it could look like if God the Father's love blanketed the entire Jacksonville and First Coast Region. To visit Bill & Deborah's website go to www.FatherLovesJacksonville.com
We also met a prominent local Christian psychiatrist & author, Dr. Herbert Wagemaker, who has written a book addressing the anger issues that boys are struggling with in our culture entitled "Taming Oedipus". I had the opportunity to read his book while I was away and it further solidified my belief that many of the social problems in our society today are a direct result of a fatherless generation. You can visit Dr. Wagemaker's website at www.mentaldisorders.com
In the Jacksonville area, 73% of all marriages end up in divorce. That means the children of 3 out of 4 families are ending up living in a single parent home. In many of these cases, the primary parent is the mother. When moms have to take on both mother and father roles for their children in addition to holding down a job to support the family, you can see how severe love deficits can occur. The absence of a loving father figure can be devastating.
In statistics that we have been able to access on the Internet, children without the influence of a loving father figure in the home are...
5 times more likely to commit suicide
9 times more likely to drop out of school
10 times more likely to abuse chemicals
20 times more likely to end up in prison
It is obvious in our society that the absence of loving fathers is contributing greatly to many of the social ills of our day. In a 1996 Gallup Poll in the United States, 79% of those surveyed agreed that "the most significant family, or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home".
If fatherlessness is one of the key issues facing our society, what is the solution? Will all the divorced families reunite? Will all the hurting fathers receive healing? Will all the fathers who have abandoned their children come home? While we can always hope and pray that these things will happen, we know that this is not the real solution.
God is a Father to the Fatherless
I believe that there is a more permanent solution to our core love needs that has the potential to radically change the landscape of our society. In Psalm 68, God says that HE will be a father to the fatherless, that HE will put the lonely in families.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families... (NIV)
And in Psalm 27, David makes the declaration that even though his mother and father may forsake him, the Lord will always receive him!
Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. (NIV)
What would happen to our homes if each member of the family began to receive a revelation of the Father's love? What would happen when neighborhoods would begin to embrace the Father's love? Local churches? Perhaps even cities? What would happen to the crime rates if every one of the 'fatherless ones' began to be grounded in knowing that they do have a Heavenly Dad who is on their side? What would happen to drug abuse? Family violence? School systems?
I may be idealistic, but I believe that the message of God the Father's love as demonstrated through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, has the power to change our lives, our churches, our cities and even our nations. This is why I believe that the 'Father Loves Our City" strategies that are beginning to take hold are so significant. I dream of the day when entire cities will have a life-changing transformation that will impact every area of that city's life... their churches, their business community, their families, and even their local government.
The world is crying out for a Father's love and the Body of Christ has the answer. But we can only give away what we have first received. 1 John 4:19 states "We love because He first loved us". There are many believers in the Church who have had life changing encounters with Jesus Christ and with the person of the Holy Spirit, who have yet to really encounter the radical realization that they are completely and unconditionally loved by a God who wants to be their Father. This revelation has the potential to revolutionize every aspect of our society, however, I believe that this revelation can only be received one person at a time.
Before our families, our churches, our neighborhoods and our cities can receive the Father's love message for themselves, we must know it for ourselves. I would encourage you to ask God the Father for a fresh revelation of His intimate love for you. The only way we can relate to God as Father is, as if we come as a little child. (Matthew 18:1-5) Are you willing to humble yourself as a little boy or little girl and admit your need for a Father's love? For it is in the receiving of His love, that we will be changed forever...and so will our families...our neighborhoods...our churches...our cities...and even the nations.
For more information on our "Father Loves Our City" strategies, visit www.FatherLovesTheWorld.com.
In Father's love,