December 19, 2016
My Spiritual Father
Kathy and I were saved when I was 18 and she was 15 years old. A few years later we moved up to the Trinity Alps in northern California. We lived there a year without the benefit of having a spiritual father and mother living alongside us. I was starving to be nurtured and felt lost. I began to cry out for God to send me a father.
I was working as a mechanic in a repair shop at the time. One day while I was laying on a creeper underneath a green Jeep Wagoneer the Lord spoke to me saying, “The man who owns this Jeep will be your father.” I had been praying fervently that day about the void in my life, but I didn’t even know the man who owned the Jeep.
When the customer came in to pick up his vehicle I collected his money and explained the work order to him. I was so nervous that I could feel my heartbeat in my throat. He was about twenty years older than me and seemed very warm and loving. I accompanied him to his car, still trying to gather the courage to tell him what God had said to me and hoping I wouldn’t sound like a crazy person! He got in the Jeep and rolled down his window as I stumbled over my words.
Finally I blurted out, “God told me that the man who owned this Jeep would be my spiritual father!” (I was choking back tears.) How awkward is that?! To my great surprise he turned off the engine and opened the door of his truck. He stood up, wrapped his arms around me and said,“I would be honored to be your father!” This man’s name is Bill Derryberry and he has been my mentor for more than 40 years. His love and discipline have changed my life. I am forever indebted to him! The love that Bill and I have for each other has resulted in many people being born into the Kingdom through both Bill’s encouragement in my own life and the contagious nature of love when it is expressed through someone.
A Call to Family
We in the Church have given birth to children and then left them fatherless and trying to survive on their own. Jesus never intended for us to make Christians but rather to make disciples. The word disciple means “learner.” The very nature of a disciple is that they need someone to teach them.
When the Church of Jesus becomes a family instead of a group that gathers in a building, people won’t just come to church, they will become the church. It will no longer be a place they go to but a tribe they live in, a people they have responsibility for and a family that nurtures one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and health, until death do us part. They won’t church hop just because the worship isn’t as good as Joe’s Super Church down the street. They will be committed to a family where they hear the voice of their Shepherd in the people who are leading them.
So where do you see yourself in the family of believers? Have you submitted to spiritual mothers and fathers? Or is God asking you to be a mother or father to the people in your life? Maybe you’re still searching for a community to call your own. Wherever you are in your process, I want to encourage you to get connected, plugged in and committed to a spiritual family. What’s one step you can take towards that? I’d love to hear what you’re thinking in the comments below!
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