F.E.E.D. is an acronym for “Family Emphasis Enrichment and Development”. From Mother’s Day through Independence Day Weekend we will be focusing our sermons on how we can be better parents, a better spouse, a better son or daughter, how we can be more connected to our local fellowship, and many other virtues which should improve as we grow in our faith. A secondary purpose is to remind the congregation that we need to focus inward for a portion of our yearly messages and activities. You often hear the term personal development, F.E.E.D. will speak to this growth dynamic, so each of us should be prepared to evaluate where we are in our growth process.
The last couple of months have been very busy for both Janet and me. As I write this article, she is probably catching up on planting flowers and getting ready to travel to book club. We have been very busy loving on our parents. 3 weeks ago we completed some small projects in Kansas for Kirk (85) and Marilyn (85). This week was time spent with my 84 and 85-year-old parents. As we launch our series of messages on “Family Reunion,” my ongoing personal challenge is to live up to everything I am asking you to consider. As we age family reunions take on a whole new meaning and aspect. My mother and father have transitioned into a new phase for them and for all three of us brothers. The most important thing I can do each day is to make sure I honor them as the people God blessed me with as parents. Thanks Mom and Dad for everything you did and are still doing. One thing they did this week was to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. I wonder how many people can say they experienced that milestone? Watching them age is painful in light of the cognitive issues they navigate every day. The 5th commandment has no time limit on it and we should be mindful of all our parents did throughout our years of living under their care, comfort, and command. Let me interject about how our society has completely messed up the God-given principle of parents being the sole authority within the home. Just to clarify, I understand there are cases where the traditional parenting model was not what you experienced. Since these articles end up on our Facebook page, I should let the reader know my view (which is also the Biblical model) of parents; it would be comprised of a father (male) and mother (female). My heart goes out to those of you who lived, or are living, in a dysfunctional parental home. No matter your current situation… God cares about you. The truth is we all live with some level of dysfunction. Some people call this controlled chaos, whatever term you choose to use, it's written about all throughout the Bible. The Old and New Testament have real-life stories, of real people, whose family life was really messy. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being seriously bad and 10 being an extremely good home life, the best I have ever seen is about a 7/8. What people plaster on their car about their honor roll children or their Facebook post might be ten’s, but a sin-fallen world that affects every family brings the number way down. No one wants a dysfunctional family life, especially driven by poor parenting or no parenting, to be the reason why you are mad at God or have nothing to do with your family. As I consider my own challenges, I need to be intentional in fulfilling the 5th Commandment. I want the last words spoken by me to my parents to bring honor and/or life-affirming feelings to their souls. How many of us need to use our next family reunion to correct previously misspoken words to our parents? It’s not about who is right…it’s about who is going to make it right.