As Time Goes By

It’s all relative they say. TIME. It goes quickly, and it also goes slowly.
How do we prepare for the future? By honouring our past . . .

Baxters 1994
With my family in 1994, making our own ‘olden days’ photo. Long time ago now!

A week or so ago my sister and brother along with my mother and I were together, just us four, for the first time since our dad died. Mum wanted us together to go through the house deciding who would take what when she moves out. We spent a few hours together going through each room putting stickers on pictures, furniture and heirlooms.
It was a happy time tinged with a little sadness. With great grace and wisdom mum knows it is time to move out, yet it is the house she and dad built together over 30 years ago. It’s the only house of theirs that the grandchildren have known, and one of the few stable physical points of their lives.
Mum was keen for us each of us to say what we wanted. But none of us wanted to go there first, each happy for the other to express their views first. I didn’t have a strong preference but in the end I finally said I wouldn’t mind some of the old photos of great grandparents and great-great grandparents. That seemed to me a great heritage to have, and now I realise how important their lives were, and that their past is important to me.
Throughout the Old Testament the people of Israel are constantly called by God to remember their history, and particularly God’s action in it. It was a powerful way God called them to confront what lay ahead.  From a biblical perspective the past is never irrelevant. It matters. It is a key to understanding how to live and gives vision for the future.
Even in the last letter in the New Testament, Jude writes to encourage us to “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 3). While each of us has to travel our own journey of faith, it has been handed down to us from those who have gone before.
As I write I’m watching the TV program Who do you think you are? I always find it fascinating how every week the person exploring their past is deeply affected by it and how it helps them understand themselves. Many are hopeful their new-found knowledge will help them be a better person, and many more have grown in appreciation of the life they have.
Every one of us has a history that has had an impact on who we are today. The greatest thing our parents pass on to us are not the heirlooms, money or houses but the heritage that goes back beyond them. God calls us to appreciate that history, to learn from that history and allow it to prepare us for the future.
One day in the not too distant future photos of my forebears will grace the walls of my home. However, it’s not the photos themselves but the relationships and heritage they represent that are important. They will help me remember who I am and the way I should live. They will also be there for my children, and their children and hopefully their children’s children and so on.
I am grateful for a special day spent with my mum, sister and brother. I’m aware for some that similar events have not always been as rewarding. But I wonder if they would be strengthened if we all took heed of God’s call to remember and honour our past. May God enrich us all as we endeavour to do so.
Stephen L Baxter
Here we are a little more recently with one extra daughter. My mum is in this one too.
Here we are a little more recently with one extra daughter. My mum is in this one too.

God is at Work!

There is always a sense of excitement when we see evidence of God at work in our lives and in our church. We are now a month into the New Year and our summer school holidays have finished with most schools starting back today.

Fairground Cafe Opens, MatNaomi, 28Jan13
Mat and Naomi serving their great coffee blend

Our Sunday morning children’s programs begin next week and Double Edge (youth group) starts on Friday, along with ‘Meet n Make’ and Boy’s Brigade starting soon. But even as we begin these programs, Fairground Café, an initiative focused on Elizabeth College, the Yr 11/12 College next door, is already up and running. It was, for many of us, a very moving moment when around 40 people gathered to pray for the Café and declare it open last Monday.
Despite the doom and gloom some in our community have towards the Church, the truth is Jesus is still building his church and he won’t be thwarted. I am confident that as we move into 2013 we can expect Jesus to continue his work amongst us and through us. In fact we have every reason to be confident and hopeful.  It is Jesus who is “the cornerstone that holds all the parts together” (Eph. 2:21) so we can expect it will prevail.
Fairground Cafe Opens 28Jan13
The Cafe as it looks from the school grounds . . . except this week there will be Elizabeth College students milling around

Yet, that doesn’t mean we can sit back and just let things happen, God calls us to be partners in the work of the gospel.
Over the past month or so as I’ve prayed and reflected on our church and God’s plans for us, a question formed in my mind as to what sort of church will the City of Hobart need in, say, five or six years; and what would it take for us to be one of those churches.
Over the past 100 years or so, Hobart Baptist has been, to varying degrees at different times, a bright beacon of the gospel in the city of Hobart. There was a time when the pastor of Hobart Baptist Church wrote the editorial for The Mercury, (F. W.  Boreham) and on Sunday evenings not only was our building in Elizabeth Street full, but immediately afterwards a second service was held in a packed City Hall. There was a time when the all aged Sunday school was so large, with over 400 attending, that it used rooms in Elizabeth College next door.
What would it mean for Hobart Baptist church to experience similar things again? Obviously times have changed, and so there would be profound differences, but the gospel has not changed. How do we faithfully present this gospel, in all its richness, to the particular culture that is the City of Hobart today? What would it mean to tweak our church life – our worship services, our programs, our outreaches, toward them? What would it mean for us to focus not on what we would like our church to be, but what our city needs our church to be?
This is the task before us. Fairground Café is exciting initiative but it is just one thing among many that we can and will be called to do.
As we move into 2013 it would be good for everyone to ponder these questions – whether part of HBC or not – what would it take for you to be the church in your city/town/region that God wants you to be? Yes! God is at work. I look forward to hearing what God reveals to you as you explore these questions.

Babette’s Feast and Christmas Grace

Babette’s Feast is the name of a favourite film of Jenny’s and mine. It is a gentle and moving story masterpiece that won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1987, and it’s a great one to watch again at Christmas.
The film is set in a small Lutheran community on the bleak and frigid coast of Jutland, Denmark where the living is strict, simple, sacrificial, and separated from the rest of the world. Two elderly sisters, daughters of the pastor, gave up opportunities to marry when they were young so as to remain in the village serving the church with their father. One day a mysterious Frenchwoman arrives and pleads for protection from persecution. The sisters have little money but allow her stay and in return she becomes their maid.
The film starts slowly reflecting the insularity and mundane regularity of the austere community life. Twelve  years after BAbette’s arrival, the two middle-aged sisters try to carry on the mission of their deceased father, yet it proves impossible without his strict leadership and the sect slowly splinters.
As the 100th anniversary of the pastor’s birth approaches the sisters want to celebrate it in a way that will help their friends. At the same time Babette receives word she has won 10,000 francs in a French lottery. Although initially expecting to leave the village, Babette eventually begs to be permitted to prepare one last supper as a gift for the community.
The meal is the climax of the film and here we learn Babette was once chef at a top Parisian restaurant. As the tired, aging and suspicious community members sit down for the meal relationships are stiff and cold. They cautiously begin to dine on Babette’s delicacies and as they do their faces show a hint of thawing. As the meal progresses it is not only their bodies that are fed, but their souls as well. Old wounds begin to heal and closed hearts are gently opened.

Babertte's feast was a celebration of fod beyond anything the diners had everexperienced
Babertte’s feast was a celebration of food beyond anything the diners had ever experienced

The film ends with the aged community members outside joining hands around the fountain rousingly singing old hymns. In the kitchen Babette sits in the middle of the mess of dirty dishes, greasy pots, and leftover food. She is tired as she talks to the sisters and reveals she has spent all her money on the meal and will be staying in the community.
The film is full of meaning for Christians as many missioligists, such as Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, have noted. That there are twelve seated at the supper is a subtle hint inviting comparisons to the Lord’s Supper. In fact it almost seems that somehow the spirit of Christ has slipped into the room and joined them in the meal, anticipating the great banquet that SScripture reminds us is yet to come. The meal itself becomes a time of deep thanksgiving and fellowship not only demonstrating the power of celebration, but like the cross, demonstrating the costliness of grace. It cost Babette all she had.
The film also reflects the heart of the mystery of Christmas. Babette’s gift ushers in the gift of grace, unasked and unearned, just as God’s grace enters our world through the birth of Jesus Christ. And just as in the incarnation God embraces our human existence and sanctifies it, Babette’s gift celebrates the good things of the world over and against the lifelessness of religious legalism.
Ultimately, however, Babette’s Feast is story of grace and reminds us how grace works: it costs the giver everything and the recipient nothing. And that’s what Christmas is all about.

Advent! A Season for Singing

Yesterday the season of Advent began, and churches all over the world will be celebrating it over the next four weeks during the lead up to Christmas. Not all Protestant traditions celebrate Advent, and I certainly don’t remember it from my childhood. Yet millions of Christian will celebrate it again this year.
Advent is different from the celebration of Christmas. In the seasonal calendar of the Church, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and continues for the next twelve days, ending on January 6 (that’s where the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, comes from). The celebration of Advent originated in the 6th century and is the four-week period leading up to Christmas. The word comes from the Latin meaning “arrival” or “coming” and is a time of preparation.

Advent is the time of preparation during the four weeks before Christmas
Preparation for Christmas is done during Advent

Over the four week period of Advent, Christians dedicate themselves to both remember and anticipate. They remember by looking back to Christ’s first coming, they anticipate by looking forward to his second coming.
By looking both back and forward we are reminded how we are caught between these two events. Looking back helps remind us that Jesus has come as a human being; that he was crucified, buried and on the third day was alive again. Death has been defeated and the victory won.

“Over the four week period of Advent, Christians dedicate themselves to both remember and anticipate.”

By looking forward we remind ourselves that full implications of the victory are yet to be seen and we still await its coming. Every day we still face the reality of death; in every community and individual the world is still plagued with sin; we are still to see peace and justice reign supreme; and hunger and disease are still with us. During Advent we anticipate the return of Jesus Christ the King and the time when all creation will be reconciled to God.
Advent can be a very personal time. As individuals we can affirm how much we need a Saviour and celebrate that Jesus Christ came for me. It reminds us that he is present in our world today whether we are aware of it or not. It brings us to the place where we again choose to draw near to him with the sure hope of resurrection and a new world.
My hope for each of one of us in this season of Advent is that in spite of the chaos, anxiety, hurts, and busyness that often fills our lives, we will take time to prepare.
My prayer is that in your preparation during Advent, you will find an openness to receive again the love and joy of Christmas. This joy flows from the celebration of God entering the world through the coming of the Son of God as a human being.

Trusting God, Forgiving Others

You may remember the story a few years back of the sad shooting in an Amish schoolhouse in the US that took the lives of five Amish girls and injured five others. With this tragic event the life of these simple Amish folk for a moment became international news.
The simple, 18th century lifestyle of the Amish seems quite strange in our modern age of conveniences and comforts. Yet their unique, genuine and deep faith in God shone through the media coverage.

Forgiveness
Almost instantly after the killings they offered forgiveness to the killer

Almost instantly after the killings they offered forgiveness to the killer and established funds not only for the families of those killed and wounded, but also for the family of the man who committed the murders.
Consistently the Amish have explained that their motivation has come from Jesus’ command to forgive those who hurt you. One Amish man wrapped his arms around the killer’s father and tried to comfort him in his grief saying, “We forgive you!”
It is interesting to read the comments reported in the media:

“We’re really strongly taught to forgive like Jesus did. We forgive the way Christ forgives us.”
“You need to go on and just trust. God will take care of us.”
“We think it was God’s plan, and we’re going to have to pick up the pieces and keep going. A funeral to us is a much more important thing than the day of birth because we believe in the hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors.”
“We need to go through trials to strengthen our faith. We need to accept it. There is no other way we can go on.”

As the injured girls began to recover some incredible stories started to be told. One was an interaction leading up to the shooting where the oldest girl in the school, 13 year old Marian Fisher, pleaded with the gunman, saying, “Shoot me and leave the others alone.”
Through their Christ-like response to this tragic event, the Amish demonstrated something of Jesus’ love and forgiveness to a world they normally withdraw from. Even in the midst of their own grief they turned media attention away from themselves and toward God.
Their humble trust is an example to us all. They showed how to allow God to be at work in our hearts in the very toughest of trials. They showed how a tragic event can become a witness to God’s love.
It is good for us to take hope and inspiration from their example. It helps remind us that no matter what we might be going through there is always a way to continue to trust in God and his goodness.
Stephen L Baxter

Knowing Love for One Another

Early on in our marriage Jenny and I committed to making a priority of meeting with a small group of fellow Christians during the week.
We have hosted weekly small group meetings in our home in since that time. They have been variously been called home groups, small groups, growth groups, cell groups, bible studies, life studies and so on, and yet have generally retained the same key components – time to share life together over a meal, a Bible study and prayer.

Our Cell Group in Hawthorn, celebrating our daughter’s 18th birthday

I believe these informal get togethers have been one of the keys to the ongoing stability of our marriage, our family, our ministry and our lives. By sharing our lives with others over the years we have learnt and grown, laughed and cried and seen many answers to prayer. Our children were an integral part to our times too; they contributed and learnt the faith not only from us, their parents, but from other significant adults. The adults in turn were enriched by their presence.
These weekly gatherings have become so much a part of the rhythm of our lives as Christians it’s hard to imagine life without them. It’s hardly surprising that, as a pastor, it would be my preference that every Christian is part of one, whether it is a weekly Bible study, home group, small group, prayer group, mission group, or a task focussed group.
There is ample research to show that effective small groups are the backbone of growing, healthy congregations and the glue that holds them together. They are the place where people experience deeper levels of community, acceptance and accountability. They are the place where people learn from each other’s wisdom and experiences. Here trust can grow and vulnerabilities be shared. Here one can lean on another through times of trial and growth. Small groups are the place where personal care of each other deepens at a practical, prayerful and personal level.
One of the surprises Jenny and I received when we first started being part of Hobart Baptist Church was how few small groups and Bible studies there are. I’ve often wondered why this is the case.
One reason is perhaps that in the past many found their primary small group was Sunday School, but with the decline of the all-age Sunday school over recent decades, they didn’t move onto new forms. For others, perhaps, the idea of a Bible study may be threatening. For others the thought of small group may look too intimate and personal, still for others the possibility of being asked to contribute or read out loud might be daunting and for others the idea of going out at night could be a problem.
What is more, being a city church makes it difficult to have home groups. We are so scattered across the suburbs of Hobart that it is difficult to easily organise ourselves into groups. However, I don’t believe this shouldn’t stop us from trying. After all, if we want to be a thriving, growing, healthy church, Bible study groups will need to be part of who we are. Ultimately I would love to see everyone who is capable having the opportunity to be a member of a small group whether that be in a home or at our church during the week, even on the weekend whether it be during the day or the evening.

“If we want to be a thriving, growing, healthy church, Bible study groups will need to be part of who we are.

The early church culture we read about in the New Testament is one where Christians are praying together, studying God’s word together, and caring for one another. For Jenny and me, our experience is that small groups are the simplest and easiest structure to allow us to do this.
I believe every practicing Christian should be part of a small group of some description, and if you are not already, then I encourage you to seriously consider it. Look up the pastor in your local expression of the church, and ask him or her what groups you can join in your gepgraphical area. Costly though it may be, one day you will be very glad you did!
Stephen L Baxter

On Being Together

Yesterday at Hobart Baptist we had our sceond Combined Service. It’s a time when the three different congregations making up Hobart Baptist Church came together to worship at one service and celebrate our diversity. The children did not leave for their programs in the middle of the service, but remained with us for the entire time; and later we continued our worship by sharing a meal together.

Casserole
We shared a delicious lunch together yesterday

Why would we do something like this? Why expend all this effort to change our normal pattern?
In Galatians 3:28 Paul says we are “all one in Christ,” “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female.” He reminds us that God does not see his people as the world sees them. God does not operate in categories of ethnicity, status or gender, but is in relationship with each person in the same way. When we gather together in our diversity we are reflecting something of the way God regards each one of us. Making room for each other and treating each other in the reality of that “oneness” becomes of itself an act of worship.
Throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament prophets to the New Testament letters, there is a theme of the promise of God of a New Creation – a world where everything is set right. In it, God’s Spirit fills everyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, or class. It is a place where that same Spirit gifts everyone for the common good of all. It is a place where broken lives and relationships are healed.
That’s why Jesus commanded us to be in unity. John records him saying (13:34-35), “A new commandment I give to you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Being in unity despite our differences is a command of Jesus.
From this passage, the American theologian Francis Schaeffer concluded that according to Jesus, the world has the right to decide whether we are true Christians based on the love we show to other Christians. So when Jesus said we are to love on another he was talking about something real and observable, something that needs work, yet it is something that is at the heart of what it means to follow him.
That’s why we take being together seriously and why we make the effort to worship God in all our wonderful diversity. It was an enjoyable time together yesterday. For some there may have been things that happened that were not exactly to their taste and therefore a little uncomfortable. I encouraged those people to, as an act of worship, move past the discomfort and choose to celebrate the diversity God has blessed us with.
Perhaps you too find it difficult to embrace all God’s wonderful diversity and choose to stay in an environment where you are safe and comfortable. Let me encourage you too, to look past these things as your act of worship.
Stephen L Baxter

The Sacred Nature of Unique Relationships

My grandma, Dad’s mum, was a very special person and I had a special relationship with her. Who she was, and what she said, still has an influence over me today. In her later years she wasn’t well, and she slept very little. But rather than complain about it she saw it as an opportunity, and thanked God that she had more time to pray.
At one point when I was in my early teens, Dad came up with the idea that my brother, sister and I should start calling him by his first name, Graham. We were a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed by this and slow to take up Dad’s suggestion.
Around this time we were visiting his parents and having a cup of tea in their sitting room. Dad announced his new idea. Quietly without any fuss Grandma drew me to herself, took both my hands and stared deeply into my eyes. She said, “Don’t do it Stephen! There is only one person in the world you can call ‘Dad’ and don’t rob yourself of that.” Well, that was the end of the matter. Dad never mentioned his idea again.
I remember the moment as if it were yesterday.

I love you Dad
Grandma had tapped into something that resonated deeply within me
I’ve reflected on that moment and told the story many times, and it hasn’t lost any of its potency nor is it any less profound. Grandma had tapped into something that resonated deeply within me. Today I would say that she tapped into something we can often lose sight of and discard – the sacred nature of unchangeable, unique and special relationships.

She tapped into something we can often lose
sight of and discard

Sacred is not a word we use much and when we do, we use it in a variety of ways. But I believe it is appropriate in this instance. Sacred is very similar to the idea of holiness, that is, something that is set apart and different from the ordinary. With a few words my grandmother described my relationship with my father as being different from every other relationship I have in the world. It is a unique relationship that no one else can have (although I may have relationships that approximate it) and the reason for this is that there is only one person in the world who ‘begat’ me.
I did not earn this relationship; it was a reality from my conception. I did not obtain it; it was given to me as a gift. I did not own it. I didn’t possess it. All I could do was live it, experience it, enjoy it, and honour it. In this sense it is sacred, different from the ordinary, set apart from every other relationship. Its uniqueness is reflected in that it is included in the Ten Commandments where it says to honour our parents (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16).
My grandmother taught me something profound that day. There are certain relationships in the world that are givens and it is important to acknowledge them, to live in them and bring out the best in them for the good of all. I could spend my life fighting them, or trying to disown them and change them; but in the end all I can do is work to live within them. Fighting only brings bitterness and estrangement and will not change the basic essence of them.
It is not surprising that the commandment goes on to say that we are to honour our father and mother “so that your days will be lengthened on the land your God gave to you.” Honouring has its own rewards.
I don’t think calling my father Graham would have been a mistake or a sin, but it did have the potential of diminishing a relationship which is precious and sacred. I am sure I could have called my dad ‘Graham’ and honoured him. But Grandma reminded me that there are some things in life that are precious and sacred and it is worth taking the time and effort to keep them so.
Stephen L Baxter

Belonging and Believing

Over the past few Sunday mornings we’ve been moving through a series of messages on ‘the Church’ at Hobart Baptist. A number of times I’ve made mention of the increasing numbers of people in our community who “believe without belonging”. These are people who somewhere along the way have dropped out of attending church but nonetheless would still claim to be believers. No doubt Belonging &/or believingmany of us are still friends with some who have done just this. They may even be part of our own families.
I’m sure you, like me are asking, why has this happened? What are the causes behind so many leaving the church over the past four decades? Most likely there are a number of contributing factors including the following “-isms”—consumerism, individualism, privatism, relativism, and pluralism.
One other “-ism” I would like to focus on is anti-institutionalism. Many in our community feel alienated from the institutions of our society. Since the 1960s there has been growing cynic-ism toward public institutions so that today people are more inclined to make their own decisions irrespective of conventional traditions or social mores. Because we are seen as one of the institutions of our society, the Church has been caught up in the disillusionment and alienation, and has had difficult time over the past four decades.
It’s not that people are less interested in the religious dimension of life, it’s just that they are wary of the church suspecting it is more likely to hinder their search than help it. Not surprisingly they rarely come to the Church looking for answers. They have moved away from what some call a “spirituality of dwelling,” where God is associated with places, to a “spirituality of seeking” where they prefer to navigate their own spiritual journey.
Their spiritual search is perhaps best captured by hit song of the 1990s by Irish band U2 (three of the four members claim to be Christians). Their song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” captures the mood of the “spiritual search” which is also reflected in films such The Matrix and Sixth Sense, and TV programmes such as Touched by an Angel and The X Files.

Today the Church struggles to find relevance in a world where many earnestly seek spirituality and a meaning for life, but reject the Church’s offering.  So what should we do?
Perhaps one important step is to change our expectations. In contrast to most of our evangelism in the 20th Century where we tried to convinced people to believe and behave so they can eventually belong, perhaps we should begin by finding was to include people in our community life before they believe. Here they can “belong without believing.” It’s not really a radical idea, in fact it is exactly what Jesus did. He chose his disciples before they believed he was the Messiah, before his death and resurrection and before they believed he was the Son of God.
So while there are some in our community who choose to “believe without belonging” there is also the possibility of a different group of people might “belong without believing”. These are people who prefer to think things through for themselves and welcome the opportunity to dialogue with others.  They are in the middle of a journey to belief and need the freedom to explore without having a pre-packaged belief system imposed.
By giving people the opportunity to “belong without believing” we offer them an invitation to explore God together and see where the journey takes us. In other words they can participate in church life, volunteer their services and begin to belong while they journey to believe. I’m not talking about church membership, but about belonging to a community that is welcoming, accepting and loving.
In our series on the Church we have been reflecting on the type of Church Jesus would want us to be. What would it mean for us mimic Jesus and accept people as his disciples before they believed in him? ‘Belonging before believing’ is an interesting idea worth thinking about.
Stephen L Baxter

Dad’s Day D ‘n’ M*

Sunday was Father’s Day, a day full of commercialism and consumerism, yet one when we can pause and take time to give thanks for our dads, living and deceased. As with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is more than often one of mixed emotions. In an ideal world, all of us would have positive feelings about our fathers. In reality, it is not true for many people.

"You matter to me"

Amongst any group of people there are those who did not or do not have a positive relationship with their father. From a biblical point of view this is not surprising given we are all broken, fallen human beings; coming from families that are never all they could be. But that doesn’t take away from the hurt, pain and sadness many of us carry. The result is that we can come into adulthood with what some psychologists call a “father-hunger’ which simply means that some of us have never truly been validated, nurtured or affirmed by a father figure.
Yet, the Bible calls us to honour our parents, something we can do despite the difficulties of the past, and something this Day gives us the opportunity to do.
Many men, despite having a “father-hunger” nevertheless go on to be very good fathers. Many women marry a man who is not emotionally absent like their father, and, by the grace of God, enjoy happy and fruitful marriages. Others, of course, are not as fortunate.
So what is a good father?
In the past a man was a ‘good father’ if he worked hard and provided well for his family. Today, we realise how much children need their dads to be loving and involved fathers. Children need time given generously and graciously, even if other matters are pressing. When a father takes time to listen to his kids, to laugh at their jokes, have fun with them, be present for the important events of their lives, he communicates an unmistakable message: “You matter to me.” Nothing says it better.
A good father loves his wife, and gives example to his sons what a loving man is like, while showing his daughters what they should expect in their own future. A good father has integrity. He keeps his word especially to his kids and his wife. In a time when a sense of honour and responsibility seem in short supply, children need such a model. Yet, a loving father does not live through his children. He does not expect to find his own identity nor sense of worth in what his children can accomplish, even as he takes pride in their good works.
Despite the stereotypes of men in our society, a good father is also a man of faith. He believes in a God of mercy and goodness. He is not embarrassed to talk about it, or to show his dependence on God. Such faith is a precious heritage to his children when lack of faith is everywhere.
Grace and mercy
Sadly, most have not experienced a father like this, and so Father’s Day is a day full of mixed feelings. As we remember our own father, no matter our own experience and memories of him, we have the opportunity to know and experience God as Father. Our Heavenly Father does not and will not let us down like our earthly fathers, and always has our best interests at heart. It is as we experience the love of our Heavenly Father that we can honour, and where appropriate forgive, our earthly fathers.
For us who know our Heavenly Father, it is possible for Father’s Day to be a day of honouring, forgiveness, healing and freedom as we allow the grace and mercy of God to impact our lives.
May God bless you and your family this Father’s Day.

Stephen L Baxter
*(Deep & Meaningful)