My dad has been with the Lord 21 years now. I still think of him almost everyday. He was my first Pastor he was good dad, gentle in nature and had a sense of humor. He was beloved by his congregational members for his easy going nature and his skills as a spiritual shepherd.
When I was young he would take me with him on “visitation” (his terminology for visits to members who were sick or had missed church). We were always welcome, they were so happy to see their pastor. When they were sick he prayed for them. We made hospital visits when members had surgeries. They loved to see him come through the door. He taught me so much about the office of the pastor and the responsibilities of the spiritual shepherd.
He loved teaching people about Jesus. He was an inspirational preacher. You would always feel challenged and encouraged by his weekly messages. He led us into the community to invite people to church. I remember going door to door with handmade flyers about church events. He was known in our communities as a good man, a Godly man and a gentleman.
My dad was not a perfect man. He was human and failed at times as a father, a husband and a shepherd. He was usually quick to admit his shortcoming and readily asked for forgiveness. He set a good example for me to follow. I really miss him.
If my dad were here today there are so many things I would like to say to him. But I think most of all I would like to listen to him again. To hear his voice to hang out with him to sit close to him that would be great. Life on earth is too short.
I would love to introduce him to my adult children. He only met my oldest Mikah when she was about 4 years old. He loved kids and his gentle nature made him a magnet for them. As a pastor the kids of the church would flock to him before and after service to give him a hug or just hold on to his leg as he stood and talked with people. He always recognized them and picked them up for a hug. I would have loved for my children have known him growing up. He would have been a great Grandpa.
He taught me how to be a good father. He took time for each of us. He was always very proud of us and talked about us to everyone he met. At his funeral total strangers came up to me and told me all the things dad had related to them about me and my brother and sister. We knew he loved us. We really loved him too. There was never any fear in our hearts to approach our dad. We were welcome in his presence at all times.
Father’s day reminds me I have big shoes to fill. I heard a story about Joel Osteen that really touched me. My dad knew his dad in the early years, as a fellow minister. We always had a lot of respect for John Osteen and his ministry. One of my aunts (my moms sister) was a charter member of Lakewood.
John was diagnosed with kidney failure in the late 1990’s. As the story goes each of the children took turns spending time with him. Joel knew his dad had always wanted a pair of handmade Italian leather shoes. Joel saved up took his dad on a vacation to Italy. He took him to a shop where they measured John’s feet and hand crafted some dress shoes for him. After John passed away of a heart attack in 1999, his mom gave those shoes back to Joel. In his early days a new pastor at Lakewood Joel would slip those shoes on before he went to the pulpit and afterwards he would go into his dads office and remove the shoes.
Over the years I have tried to take the things my dad taught me and put them into action in my own life. I am grateful to God for giving me a good dad. I am hopeful that my children will feel the same about me at the end of my life. If God grants me a long life I hope to be the best Grandpa ever!
Two weeks ago our oldest daughter gave us our first grandchild a baby girl, Allison Hart. We are so excited about her and my plan is to spoil her and spend all my children’s inheritance making her happy. Lol
For all you dads, granddads and men who are helping positively influence the children and youth of our communities, I want to wish you a Happy Father’s Day! I would also like to invite you to join us at the Grace Place for a Father’s Day Celebration the weekend of June 20/21st (Sat. 6pm or Sunday 10:30am). For direction and additional information check out our website at: www.graceplaceaustin.com www.graceplaceaustin.com