I am a lot like my dad, and I love it. For the most part. My dad has some idiosyncrasies that I have adopted and have tweaked them ever so slightly so that when one occurs, I comment, “Wow, that was a lot like my dad. Weird.” And as weird as it may be, a part of me enjoys that. You see my dad tells his kids about his dad quite a bit. “Pop-Pop used to say that”, is a common phrase I heard growing up. I don’t know my Pop-Pop very well–he passed away before I was old enough to know who he was or what his little idiosyncrasies were, or ones that my dad picked up, or even the ones that I’ve picked up. (From what I understand I am quite a bit like my Pop-Pop. At times it’s scary how similar we are, both in our physical attributes and in our moral/ethical values.) Here are a few of these idiosyncrasies that if you know my dad even a little bit, you know exactly what I’m talking about:
- I yawn like him. It’s all silent until the last few moments which has a loud mucous-y “ka”. It’s kinda weird.
- When I’ve been driving for a while and am tired of driving, I put my right arm on the passengers head rest.
- I shrug my shoulders and wobble my neck to “crack” them.
- We nearly have the same glasses. Black, plastic, Ray Bans.
In addition to these similarities, we say many of the same catch phrases:
- “You know what I mean, jelly bean?”
- “No banana today.”
- “It wasn’t me!”
- “Does it have eternal significance?”
- “Major on the majors, minor on the minors.”
Today America sets apart this day to commemorate dads, and that’s what I’m thinking about today: my dad. Yes I love my dad, and I love being like him (in some ways), but what I love, and appreciate most, is that my dad is a great example of how to live as a man of God. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 when Paul tells the church in Corinth to “imitate me as I imitate Christ”, I think of my dad as being a living example of one who could instruct a young disciple to imitate how he imitates Christ.
My earthly father has taught me many things, but I would like to share with you three portions of Scripture that over the course of my life he has either talked to me about or given to me as an encouragement and admonishment.
My dad gave me a Bible the Christmas before I graduated high school some six and a half years ago. In that last year of high school my dad and I were getting very close. We had a weekly drive to Calvary Chapel Bible College for a class I was taking there (it was about 90 minutes away) and on these drives we began to talk about deeper theology and ministry goals/ideas, we continued to work out together, and God was doing some tough things in my life and we were able to work through those. In the front of the Bible my dad wrote “To Ryan, our son, our friend, our brother.” It has stuck with me ever since; also in the front was this admonishment to me to strive for, but also follow in, regarding deacons in 1 Timothy 3:12-16.
Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one out to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
The second portion of scripture is what my dad (and mom!) gave to me throughout my formative years in their household (especially Mom in all of her years putting up with homeschooling me). Proverbs 1:2-9 reads:
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth–let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
The last Scripture is what my dad shared with me the week my family stayed with me before my wedding. It was a great time of being with them, preparing for the wedding, but also remembering the “good old days”. The text is David charging Solomon on how to rule Israel, and if you tweak it (slightly and not un-biblically), you can share in the insight my dad was bestowing upon me as I started a Dembeck family with Julia. 1 Chronicles 28:9-10:
And You, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.
I am thankful for my dad, John. I am thankful he is a living example of a man of God. I am proud to say that in many ways I want to be “Just like you”. Thank you Dad, and happy father’s day!
[I would be remiss if I did not wish my mom a happy birthday this fine June 19. Happy birthday Mom!]
This blog was inspired by Lecrae’s song, “Just like you”. When I heard it and how some men don’t have a father (or women), I wanted to especially thank God for my dad, and to tell Dad “before the Lord get me”.