May 12, 2019
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Acts 13:14b-16, 26-39
The Legacy of a Mom
I think most know that my own mom is in assisted-living out in Burlington and many of you pray for her, Darlene, and I so appreciate that! This morning I want to share a bit of my own testimony about her and my Grandmother, Hazel Donner.
There is a verse in Paul's letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, that reads like this:
[2Ti 1:4-7 NLT] 4 I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. 5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Faith follows family lines! In scripture elsewhere, we read that the effects of sin move down the family line to the 3rd and even to the 4th generation, but the effects of righteousness flood the family line down to the 1000th generation!
This morning I want to talk about a grandmother's and a mother's legacy.
A few weeks ago on Easter I was talking with our 8 AM Easter service visitors after the service and called myself an Angli-Bapti-Costal! Well the Baptist root in there is from my own Grandmother, Hazel. You share the faith that first filled your grandmother, Hazel and your mother, Darlene.
My grandma was a relentless prayer and gift-giver! Every time it was possible to give a gift of any kind, as a child - graduation from 1st grade! - my "gram" as we called her, would see to it that I received a book or some kind of bible book mark or something that would move me toward a faith of my own.
She listened to a radio broadcast out of Nebraska called "Back to the Bible." And they were a small ministry that used their influence and the technology of the day to propagate the message that the Scriptures are to be central to our lives, not peripheral. The Bible is more than an ornament for the coffee table in the living room or the bookshelf in the library. Even laying on your desk at work - unopened - it has little power. But opened, it is one of the most formidable forces in the Universe!
Perhaps the greatest legacy I got from GRAM was her love for the Bible as God's Word. She didn't sit me down a read it to me, but I was constantly reminded of her faith, by these little gifts she gave me. And one in particular made a big difference. Back to the Bible published a series of adventure books - teen adventures like the Hardy Boys or the Nancy Drew Mystery series - called the Danny Orlis series. I still have a stack of those in my library, because as I finished one of them, I knelt by my bedside as a 10 year old and "gave my heart to Jesus", just like what I saw in the book.
After that the gifts changed, as I told my Gram what I had done, and was soon confirmed in the church in Kanorado, Kansas. I was now given Bible Study tools and correspondence Bible courses to study - to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest - we've heard that somewhere, right? I also still have those certificates of completion I received in the mail, back from Back to the Bible Broadcast! I was a Bible Study Achiever! And my Gram's prize pupil.
Ladies, I cannot emphasize too much, the power that you have through faith and love and relentless prayer, to influence the young lives around you, whether your own children or others' children. Christian comedian, Mike Warnke, once said, "If you have a little grey haired grandmother praying for you ... just give up now!" God has a special place in His heart for little old grey haired ladies! I'm tellin' ya. And even those who are "secret" grey haired ladies!!
The legacy of a mom! A mom who loves Jesus and His Word! The power is almost inestimable! The power to influence a 1000 generations! How can we wrap our minds around that?
Paul goes on to charge Timothy with one of my favorite verses in all of scripture:
6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Where do we think these things come from? Power, Love, Self-discipline? They come through the family line, through the family system - they are modeled for children in the lives of their parents and grandparents! They come through a home that is the incubator of love. Last weekend I spoke to my daughter's wedding from 1 Cor 13 about marriage and family being God's "TEST KITCHEN." And the recipe is given in 1 Cor 13:
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else . Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT
Consider the words we just heard as your recipe for a long and happy married life. There's a good mix of real character, of long-suffering generosity... of never-flagging hope... and some gracious bull-headed-ness will make something that is both sweet to the taste and good for you and for the world around you.
Make sure you have all the ingredients!
> Patience with each other...
> Kindness in your voice and
> Gentleness in your manner...
> No jealousy or puffed-up pride or self- aggrandizement. Never "me first!"
> Trash the shame and disrespect we so often use as weapons.
> Put your spouse first, ... always. Period.
> No irritability or taking offense now, you're giving up those rights!
> No delight when someone else "gets what's coming to them"
> instead, celebrate honesty... be someone else's safe place... believe the best not the worst...
> if the other falls, pick them up... falling is a part of life, but failure need not be.
Mom's... we celebrate you this day.
Ladies - if you're a mom or not you have incredible power. The power of Faith, of Love, the power of Influence on your children, your grandchildren, other people's children! Our children here at REZ.
I still remember my Sunday School teacher from those days in my early childhood. Mrs. Taylor!!
Never forget the power that you have.
Just look at this...
MOM and upside down ... WOW! MOM... WOW... MOM... WOW!
Let's have all the ladies stand, young, older, mom or not...
Father, we pray you will bless our ladies here at REZ. Each one has incredible power wrapped up in a small package!
We pray that you unleash Your Power in each one and through them to all of us, and to everyone around them. Let them be like the rock thrown into the pond that sees the ripple effect that touches every shore. Help them to be encouraged this day and refreshed in the many many tasks that they take into their hands. Grant grace and power to each one, now, in the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You set the solitary in families: We commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God our Father, you see our children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
You have told us, that "no greater love hath anyone than this, to lay down his life for his friends." We commend to you a young hero, Kendrick, who did just that this past week, in giving his life to save his friends at the STEM School here in Highlands Ranch. Father, protect us from this violence and growing hatred we see in our culture. Change hearts and minds to see that You O Lord, are the answer and that in following You there is great reward. We pray for the families effected by this week's shooting and pray that you will save us from these kinds of activities. Give us wisdom and peace as we move from this tragedy to a true peace that is rooted in Your ways, Lord Jesus. In your holy Name we pray, Amen.