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Challenge to Fathers

Today I read about President Obama’s challenge to fathers in the New York Times.   He was encouraging us to be better fathers than his father was to him.   I don’t care what you think of his politics, I think we should all applaud the President for taking time to make a very important appeal to the fathers in our country.   I was more specifically moved by the description he had of his own father.

a myth to me, both more and less than a man.

This reminded me of a special prayer request I had from a child this week.   I’ve been leading a 4th grade Sunday Morning small group, while trying desperately to recruit some new ones, and in my group I pass out prayer cards.   I tell the kids that if they’d like me to pray for them about something, then to fill out the little card and give it to me before they leave.   About 1/2 of the kids do it and most of those cards are for sick dogs and cats (which I do pray for!)   One particular prayer this week, was on a card without a name and it simply read:

“Please pray that my Dad will call me this week.”

As we celebrate our fathers, and as we let our families celebrate us as their fathers; take the time to find a kid that is waiting for their Dad to call.   Remind them that there is a Father that loves them more than any earthly father could.   Or you could take the time to tell them you’re proud of them.   Not sure what to tell them you’re proud of?   Just tell them you’re proud of them.   Makes no difference if you have the details.   Just make the choice to make a big difference in their life.

Happy Father’s Day!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Lisa · June 22, 2009

    Is it totally weird that I’m 31 and I still put that particular card in the proverbial box every once in a while, even though I’m pretty sure it will never happen? Father’s Day is not the easiest holiday for everybody out there…

  2. Matthew · June 23, 2009

    Ultimately we all have [at least one] father to be thankful for.

    Happy Fathers Day

  3. Gina · June 24, 2009

    I have a close friend walking this very path. At 20 years old, Fathers Day is heart breaking. A painful reminder that dad has another family that he’s focused on.

    Those in kids ministry see this more often than most. Because these kids are in the thick of it. Thanks for bringing this to light, Jonathan. There are so many kids out there that grow up with the wrong perspective of their Heavenly Father b/c their earthly dad wasn’t around.

  4. Sam · June 27, 2009

    Great Post. Always tears me up to hear kids say things like that.

    Kids ministry needs more men. So many fatherless kids.

    Nice plug for Obama you flaming West Texas Liberal. LOL
    .-= Sam ´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-27 =-.

  5. David Bryant · June 29, 2009

    We were visiting the Star of The Republic Museum at the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site (http://tinyurl.com/b5wm6m) over the Father’s Day weekend. There was a section of the museum geared towards children’s exhibits. As part of the exhibit they had a book out for kids to write in. Each section on the page started with the sentence “My dad is a hero because…”.

    As my wife thumbed through the book she came across an entry that read something like “he is not, he left my mom and me”. Another a few pages later said something like “he is not because he hits my mom”.

    I think those two entries were the most moving part of the entire museum. They were definitely the saddest part.
    .-= David Bryant ´s last blog ..Fall Down, Go Boom =-.