Reflections From the Empty Nest

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By Pastor Martin Schlomer

Something weird happened yesterday! Our youngest son, Wesley, turned 21 and moved away … permanently. He took all (or almost all) of his earthly possessions and headed north to Bellingham, WA. Some of you may be thinking, “Martin, he moved out last September to attend WWU! Did you forget?” This time is different. He isn’t returning to WWU. He has a full-time job at Lynden Door. I woke up this morning with this thought, “He’s not coming home! Puyallup is no longer home! Have I prepared him?”

I must say that, by the grace of God, all three of my sons love and serve Jesus. I can’t ask for anything more. As a Dad, this is the most important value and priority to me. I’ve watched God change them, challenge them and mature them. This reality overwhelms me with emotional gratitude.

Looking back, would I do anything different? You bet! There is one thing I would do that rises above everything else. I would affirm them more for their character than for their accomplishments. You can have great accomplishments but lack character. This doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t celebrate accomplishments; however, we need to keep the emphasis on what is most important. This is Peter’s point in 2 Peter 1.5-8. If we keep our focus on building their character in increasing measure, this character will keep them from being ineffective and unproductive in their knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 8).

As I look to my future with my sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchild, my focus will be affirming them in their character. Two weeks ago, on a whim, I wrote a Facebook post affirming the character I saw in one of my sons. I was amazed at the overwhelming and positive response! It shouldn’t surprise me. Almost everyone I know is hungry for encouragement in things that matter. I urge all of us to take our children aside this week and affirm the character we see developing in their lives! It makes a difference. Proverbs says our word carry the power of life or death. Use your words to bring life!

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Father’s Day

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By Brian Waple

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a day on which we honor our fathers and show them how much they mean to us. How should we celebrate our fathers on this special day? In my family, we get together and share a meal, or we’ll go do something we haven’t done before (one year, Cindy pirated me away to Seattle, where we met our sons and went on an Argosy cruise). In whatever we do, it’s the time together that makes it special and memorable for me, time spent in familial fellowship.

We are told that Jesus often spent time in familial fellowship with his Father. In Luke 6:12, we read, “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.” Because He gave so much to those around Him, Jesus needed these times alone with His Father to recharge Himself, to draw strength for the road that lay ahead. In John 17 (the High Priestly Prayer), we read,

“I do not ask for these only [referring to His disciples] but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved me.”

In this prayer we see the intimate relationship Jesus shared with His Father, and how He was passing on that very same relationship to His believers, both then and now.

So this Father’s Day remember to celebrate our Heavenly Father, for it is through Him that we draw strength for our own unique journeys. And it is through Him that we enter into the loving relationship we were always meant for—being one with the Father.

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