See The Glory of God The Father

Why You Need To Tap Into The Glory Of God As A Christian

Jermaine Arphul
Jun 19, 2022    49m
No matter where you may be in life, tough times or good times, it's important that you stop and tap into the glory of God as a Christian. God the Father is always with us and for us, and only He can meet our needs and satisfy you. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Jermaine Arphul: [00:00:22] Dear Megan. Megan's my wife, by the way. On this Father's Day, I would like to help you narrow down the field on the things that I want. Please do not get me game seven tickets to the NBA Finals. For those that don't know, it ended. It ended game six. So don't waste your money on that. I'm not going to Oakland or San Francisco or wherever they play. Please do not get me a $3,700 gold-plated Walkman by Sony. Please do not. We have four kids, and we need that money for other things that are way more important. I love the throwback stuff, but please do not spend money on that. I'll pass on the bobblehead with my face on it. I'll pass on that. Please don't get me that. Or socks with my face on them. I will pass on that. I will accept, but will be really surprised if you get me Rangers tickets to the World Series. They are only four games out. They've still get a chance. Surprise, surprise. Anything can happen. That's why they play the game. Also, will be surprised but would gladly accept Super Bowl tickets to go see the Dallas Cowboys play. Yes, even though they can't, they haven't win anything since '96. All right. One thing that you definitely cannot get me so don't even try is food from Chick-fil-A on Sunday. Don't try it. They're closed. And then I know one thing that you can never give or buy me as much as I think I would be an amazing like president. You can't buy me a country. Can't do it.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:02:36] I would love to do that, but can't do that. One thing that I know you can't buy it for me is the freedom that I have in Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can. Only Jesus purchases that for us. It's freedom from sin and death. And then speaking of freedom, today is a day where we can celebrate freedom of slavery being done. On this day. It was affirmed that slavery is done. So glad to be free from that as well. That's worth shouting for. So yeah, a guy that I follow did something like that. I figured I'd take a shot at it. But Father's Day is a day of celebration for a lot of us. I do want to recognize those dads who are doing it well. And by that, I mean God is working through you, right? Through your faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is empowering you to lead well. And so I just wanted to say, you are seen, you are valued, and you are respected. And thank you for leading well. I do know that Father's Day can be very, very sensitive for some because some - in fact, I was just talking to somebody before this - have recently lost their dads, like as recent as like this week or the last couple of days. And so that can be very hard to have to deal with today.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:04:07] It can be hard for those who just didn't have a dad and have wished that they had one, one that was present. And so it can be hard for some dads to, you know, quite frankly, you know, you had a great relationship with your dad and all that you hope for with your son or daughter, it's just not translating the same way. So it can be a hard day because maybe you're feeling like a failure today. And there are so many other different emotions. I could go on and on about the different aspects of what it feels like on Father's Day, which is why I'm not going to focus on earthly dads. Today we're going to focus on our Heavenly Father. You know, the one that met you before you were born? That guy. The one that is with you in every single circumstance, the one that is guiding you, and the one who is our redeemer, the one who we are going to see in Heaven, in eternity when we move from this life to the next. Amen? That's who we're going to focus on. And my prayer is that we would focus on Him because when we do, we can see Him more clearly. If we see Him for who He truly is, things change. You can't help but be changed. And as we look at today's passage, I hope that this is not just a Father's Day message that you just check off the box and we go out and eat lunch afterwards.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:05:44] I hope that this is something that actually moves you and allows you to see God more clearly. And maybe for some, it'll be the first time that you really, truly accept Him for who He is, a loving father and ever present help. One that's a guide and one is our redeemer. So let me just pray before we get into the Scripture and then we'll go from there. God, thank you so much for today. Do not take it for granted, our freedom that we have in you. And Lord, I pray for those who don't know you that are listening right now. Would you speak to their hearts? Holy Spirit, convict them of their sin. Seal them at the conversion of repenting and believing. Lord, I pray that as we look into your Word that we would see you. I pray that we, as we look into your Word that we would see the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ and the work that He's done. Lord, we thank you so much. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. All right. So we are going to be in Acts chapter 7. It's a super small passage today so this will be short, just 54 verses, 1 through 53. So we'll be there this morning. And if you haven't been around for the last couple of weeks, we are picking up where we left off. Last couple of weeks, we've been in Act chapter 6 and we've been looking at Stephen, mainly Stephen, who the Scripture says is a man filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:07:22] He's filled with the Holy Spirit and he's filled with wisdom. And today we're going to look at him being filled with boldness to step up as a man and share the good news of Jesus Christ no matter what is out in front of him. And I was thinking about this. I've noticed this about myself. Every time that I stay prayed up, when I am really being intentional about just getting on my knees or really just taking some solid 15 minutes or so of staying prayed up and praying to Him and getting into the Word, man, I feel like I can't be stopped. I feel like there's nothing that can stop me from sharing the love of Christ. And I've also found when I'm not in it, it's hard. It just seems like it's a work to do. And praise God that He works in spite of me. But I think when you look at Steven, especially you men out there, they're listening. What a great model to look up to, a guy that's filled with the spirit, a guy that gets wisdom from God, and a guy that's not afraid to be bold. That's a good act to follow. Not as good as Jesus, but it's a good act to follow. Right? And so I hope you look at today's Scripture and you see God for who He truly is, and that this is an encouragement no matter where you're at, especially as dads, but this is also a message not just for dads.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:08:51] It's Father's Day. I know, but it's a message for everybody to see God for who He truly is. So in Acts chapter 6, Stephen has been accused. The haters start coming out. You know how it is, especially those who follow Jesus. You know how it is. When you start stepping up and truly following Him and start proclaiming Him and doing the things of God, the haters start to come out. Satan tries to put obstacles in your way. We see that in Acts chapter 6. He got accused of blaspheming God and Moses. He got accused of blaspheming the temple and the law. And they put false witnesses on the stand to try and take him down and even threw Jesus under the bus in the process. Go back and look at Acts chapter six. You'll see. And so he's at this kind of like this kangaroo court, you know, in Acts chapter 7, and they ask him, well, what do you have to say about all these charges against you? And here's his response. In Acts chapter 7, verse 2, Stephen says, Hear me, brethren and fathers, the God of glory appeared to our father, Abraham, and when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, Leave your country and your relatives and come into the land that I will show you. So Stephen starts to what I think proclaim the story of the Bible with all of it being tied together by the threat of Jesus Christ.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:10:24] He points Him out. So he kind of breaks up everything by addressing these claims. Oh, I'm going to talk to you about Abraham and Joseph and how that ties to Jesus. But also, I'm going to retell the story about how you rejected them, the prophets and the patriarchs. I'm also going to talk to you about Moses and how y'all rejected him and tie that into how you rejected Jesus. I'm going to talk to you about how God doesn't need a temple to dwell in. Yeah. David tried to build one, but he doesn't need one. It's great that we get to come here and fellowship and worship Him. But God is not confined to a building. And God was way present long before He gave you the law of Moses. And so that's like the summary of what Stephen is recounting, retelling. He is giving them this story, this content with all the Old Testament involved, most of the Old Testament involved. And then he gives the message in the last part of it. And that message is, you've rejected all of these people. Thereby, you've rejected God. And they don't like it. They do not like it. We'll find out their response next week. But that's a summary of it. And what I want to do is I just want to dive in and just highlight a few things that can apply to us as we look at this particular passage.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:12:00] So he starts by talking about Abraham and How God met Abraham first and established a covenant with him, a promise for Abraham to follow Him and for God is going to do amazing things with Abraham. And I just got to think Abraham had to have been thinking, Really? You want me to leave all this stuff behind and go? Okay. I'll start going. Right? And so he leaves and it even says, you go down, he kind of stops and then God's like, No, keep going. If you read in Genesis, you'll see that. There's even a time where Sarah, his wife, laughed at this promise. Like it's too good to be true. I don't know if you've ever felt that way before, but sometimes I'm like, really, God? That can't happen now. How many of y'all have wandered through life wondering where am I going, God? I don't know this road that I'm on. I've never been on this road before. It doesn't look familiar. I don't know how to parent with losing my husband. I don't know how to be a dad because I never had one, one that was present. God, how do I navigate this? And what I want you to see is that when we look at the Scriptures, we can see God working through that. And when we look at the Scriptures and see God, He is our God. He is taking us through this life and leading us to the promised land.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:14:00] That's what He's doing with Abraham. That's what we can see, one of the things that we can see from here. God promises to Abraham, He makes a covenant with him in verse 8, and He gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and so on and so on. God was long at work before He gave the law to Moses is what Stephen is saying. And so he tells the story of Abraham, which brings me to a question for all of you, especially, it's Father's Day, dads, so I'm going to challenge you a little bit, especially you dads. Can you retell the story of the Bible? I had a student that I met with last week and praise God, he's been saved by Jesus and he is on fire and he's doing a lot of cool things for Him and His glory. And he came up to me, he's like, Hey, man, God's doing some cool things. I'm getting involved in some conversations with some people my age, and I want to sit with you, the youth minister, and I want to have a meeting with you and this other person I've been talking to, to show them what it means to be a Christian. And yeah, on one hand, I'm like, that's awesome. Yes. But on the other hand, I was also like in my head, I didn't tell him, I was like, Oh, man, my job is to teach you how to pass on the story of Jesus.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:15:39] My job is to teach you to tell the other people that don't know about Christ, the story of the Bible. And so we sat down at lunch and I shared that with them. Go to our website, 8 Ways to Follow Jesus. You want to learn about following Jesus and how to retell the story about how to follow Him? Go there. I will tell you that. God was in the beginning and He created everything. And in that creation was Adam and Eve, our ancestors, that everything was good in the first two chapters, right? You know that. And then in Genesis 3, the second part of the story, sin entered into the world through disobedience and man's relationship with God became fractured. And so we have all this sin and death, all this just terrible things that are happening in this world that's a result of sin. But God sent His son Jesus to redeem us from that and to restore our relationship with Him. And through faith, we get written into this story. And that's the majority of the Bible is telling this redemption story. And then at the very end, the last chapter is that God is going to restore everything that it was and the new Heaven and the new earth. Can you tell that story, fathers? Are you telling that story to your children and asking them to repeat that story to either a sibling or a friend?

Jermaine Arphul: [00:17:27] See, that student, I love that he was in that position where he got to share the gospel. But I told him, I said, I'm not going to do this for you. I'll tell you what, I'll sit there with you and model it for you. But the next time you're up, buddy. I'll be there with you, maybe to help you fill in the gaps. But the next time, you're doing it. Can you retell the story like what we see Stephen doing? Can you do it in a way, because you know us in our day and age that we have, it's got to be kind of quick. No one wants to sit and listen to a 30-minute sermon. I'm just kidding. Like, you know what I'm saying? Like, you got to be able to retell the story. So can you retell the story like Abraham did? And then also, can you point out what we see, or not Abraham, what we see Stephen showing us, that God is with us as we are wandering through life. He's with us. That's what it reminds me of when I look at this and think about the story of Abraham. He's with you and you're hurt. All of us are going through different stages in life where sometimes we don't know exactly where we're going. But because of who God is, a loving father and an ever-present one, we are reminded that God is with us and He fulfills His promises. He fulfilled His promises with Abraham, and we know that because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:19:17] And so I've talked to some students this week. There's some tragedy that happened over this past week with a middle schooler and lots of questions were raised. Why? Why, why, why? Basically. And some of y'all have wrestled with that. You've had to wrestle with some tough things. So if God fulfills His promises, then why this? If God fulfills His promises, then why this? And I'll never forget I gave a sermon to the students about a year ago and we looked at John chapter 11. And I don't know if you remember that story where Lazarus dies and Mary and Martha are like, Yo. Especially Martha. Martha, she couldn't wait for Jesus to show up because Lazarus was Jesus' BFF. You know what I'm saying? Like and you knew days before that he wasn't well. And so Jesus shows up, and Martha's like, Hey, where were you? How could you let this happen? I know some of us have felt that way before. We don't understand. God, you're not making sense right now. I think, Martha, I would have been like, if I was in her shoes, I would've been like, hey, what? Like, couldn't you do that thing you did with a centurion? Like, just speak and, like, he's well, right? You got the power. Why didn't you do that? Well, Jesus reminds Martha that He's the resurrection and the life.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:21:06] And Martha says, Okay, okay, that's a church cliché. I got it, got it, got it. And Jesus is like, No, no, I don't think you got it. When you're going through a situation like that, Jesus is reminding us all that it's not what you understand. It's what you believe. It's what you believe that's going to pull you through. It's what you believe that's going to hold you through those tough times, that God is Romans 8:28, working things all for the good of those who love Him. That nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. God does fulfill His promises, and it may not look the way that we want it to be or what we expect. But He's there with us in the midst of it, and there's a resurrection on the other side. Because if you have faith in Jesus, you know that there is more to life than what we see here on Earth. Amen? There is more to it. If this was all there is, it would be really bad and depressing. But there's more to it. And so we can believe and trust in His promises. And we see that. That's what, when I think about this story of Abraham, that's what reminds me. He goes on, Stephen, and brings up Joseph in verse 9. The patriarchs became so jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet, God was with him and rescued him from all his afflictions and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:22:47] Okay. So clearly, we know if you go back to Genesis and look at the story of Joseph, it is very clear Joseph had some family problems, right? Like, come on. When you get put to a pit and be left for dead and then get sold into slavery, you got some family struggles, to say the least, right? Every single one of us can relate. Every single one. We got family problems. And I know that we can relate because we're all sinners in need of grace. We all have let somebody down. We all have struggles. And what we can see is that God met Joseph in those struggles. God met Joseph in the pit. God met Joseph even when his dreams were dashed. We all can relate. We've all had dreams that didn't work out the way we wanted to. As fathers, parents, single moms, dads, if you have kids, look to God The Father is an example of how He worked with Joseph through the thick and the thin. You know from experience that our kids are not going to just step onto a discipleship belt treadmill and just go straight on this line. I'm going to grow up and I'm going to just learn about God. I'm going to love God. I'm going to live for Him. No. there's ups and downs along the way. But that doesn't mean that we give up on our kids. The Father was with Joseph through the thick and the thin. Our kids need us, especially as dads, to be with them through the thick and the thin.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:25:04] We see through looking at Joseph that God's hand was at work the whole way through. Joseph even said it, I understand, to his family. You guys were doing this for evil. But God turned it around for good. And so we can trust that God is with us in the midst of our struggles and the midst of our family's struggles. We can trust that God is with us the whole way through, Even in our wandering with Abraham. I laugh a lot because I love watching young dads. Some of the older dads, you can relate. I love watching young dads. And even if you don't have kids, if you've got, if you're like an uncle or an aunt, you can relate to watching young dads that have like toddlers. You know? And you know how toddlers are, right? As soon as they learn how to walk, oh, it's game over. Like I'm going. I don't care where the cliff is. I'm still going to walk off. I'm exploring. I'm going. And it's so great to see the wonder in their eyes. And they're just like, you know, heads bobbling like this and going. Like, it's great. But what's more great is watching the dad just follow them around. If the daughter, the son or daughter around, trying to make sure like, they don't fall off the cliff. Oh, you fell down. Picking them back up to get up. That's what God The Father is like for every single one of us.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:26:43] He's with us in our wandering. He's there, even when we may not see it. Some of y'all, you need to be picked up today. And that's my prayer, that you would be picked up by God today, whether it is just struggling with the loss, have some family struggles, or you don't know where you're going. That's my prayer. Versus 23 to 36, Stephen starts to talk about Moses. And again, he retells the story of Moses. And he's using that story to kind of convict this court, this religious court, religious leaders who are trying to convict him. He's turning it around and saying, hey, God was with Moses long before y'all built this temple that you guys are idolizing. And one of the things that I want us to see is that God reminds us. God reminds us that He sometimes will develop us through detours like Moses. You guys remember the story of Moses? First 40 years of Moses's life, he is living the high life. He was in royalty. And at 40 years, he thought he knew what he was doing. So he was going to go back to his people and take justice and matters into his own hands. I'm 40 so I can relate. You know, you feel like you know it all. And God is like, no, you don't. You don't know it all. And he had to flee to Midian and live a life of obscurity for the next. How long? 40 years.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:28:31] And in that time frame, God came to him and gave him a word and said, I'm going to use you to save my people. And Moses is like, All right, but let's go. I'm in. No, he wasn't. No, he said, I can't. Like I can't do that. And God's like, Oh yeah, you can't do it, but I can and I'm going to use you to do it. So He used Moses. We all go through detours in life. And God wants to develop us through those detours. He wants speak to us through His Word. So we can all relate. And here is my favorite part that I did with Moses. He didn't just rescue him and just let him go. You ever think about that? You ever think about, okay, if we all trust in Jesus, why don't we just go straight to Heaven? Right? Why don't we just go, Whew, we're gone. What are we staying here for? It's because there's work to be done. There's a mission. He rescued Moses because there was a mission that he had to accomplish. There's a mission for each and every single one of us that love and profess Jesus Christ. Mark 16:15, Jesus says, Preach the gospel. Fathers, preach the gospel to your kids. Demonstrate it. I went out with some high schoolers last week, and I asked them, I said, Hey, how do you like process or how do you know what a godly man looks like? Like one that's here on Earth?

Jermaine Arphul: [00:30:34] Oh, well, that's easy, they said. They said, You can just tell by the look on their face. You can just tell by how they act. Fathers, dads, are we out there demonstrating? Are we playing our part in showing Christ to our kids? God has a mission for us. To preach the gospel and to let our light shine so that they know and can recognize God The Father, the works of the Father. Matthew 5:16. Sometimes God wants to develop us through detours. But we also have a mission. Let's a preach the gospel and to let our light shine. Are we doing that today? It's a challenge. It's a challenge for all of us. He keeps going. Recounts this story of Moses. Showing us that God has a mission for us. Showing us that God wants to save our souls through how God uses Moses to rescue His people. And then he kind of turns the corner into the prophets, and he quotes Amos, one of the minor prophets in verse 42. it says, But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of Heaven as it is written in the book of the Prophets. It was not to me that you offered victims and sacrifices 40 years in the wilderness, was it, O' House of Israel? Verse 43. You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the God Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I will also remove beyond Babylon. Stephen is saying you rejected the prophets, thereby rejecting God.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:32:37] And all along the way, he's just tugging on this thread of Jesus being in the work of all of that. Jesus was with Abraham. We see that. We know that because of the work that was done on the cross. Joseph was a type of Jesus, right? Think about Joseph's life. Think about Joseph's life and how he was a demonstration of who Jesus was. Joseph was rejected by his brothers. He was sold for a prize, handed over to the Gentiles. He was falsely accused. He is made to suffer for sins he didn't commit. Hmm. Does that sound familiar? And yet Joseph was rejected. And so Stephen is pointing, linking this to Jesus. Moses, think about Moses. Do you remember Moses was like going up to the mountain to meet with God and down at the base of the mountain, everybody else is like, all right, he must be gone. Let's go ahead and create another idol, golden calf. They rejected Moses there and God in the midst of that. They didn't think that God was with them anymore because they couldn't see Him. But what we know through Jesus Christ is that He is with us, even though we don't see Him. My favorite, one of my favorite passages is Luke 24. We're talking about seeing God the Father, seeing God through the Scriptures, seeing God through the prophets and the patriarchs, and seeing God through the work of Christ.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:34:38] One of my favorite passages is Luke chapter 24. I don't know if you can remember it at all, but it's two disciples on the road to a mass. And they are bummed because they think Jesus is done. They think all the promises that were made were not fulfilled. And they just have this crazy encounter with somebody we know as Jesus looking forward. They sit down, open up the Scriptures, and read it from beginning to end. And they discover that Jesus was in all of that, not to mention with them the whole time. They didn't see it at first until they got into His Word. I said it earlier, when I get into God's Word, when I stay prayed up, I see God. I'm filled up by Him and I am empowered. But I also have four kids, eight, seven, five, and three, and they all are trying to beat me in every athletic event possible, and they play in a lot of sports and things. So it takes a lot of my time. So I have to be super intentional on how to create that space. And I know many of you are in that same boat. You may not have four kids, but life gets busy and it's hard to stay in God's Word. And as a result, sometimes we don't feel that connection. And it's because we're not seeing Him through the Scriptures. We're not staying prayed up with Him. This might be a convicting word for us dads who are super busy.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:36:30] It might be time to slow down and spend some time with your family and get into God's Word and let the Spirit lead you and lead them. So Stephen is saying these things. He tells this story. He ends by saying in verse 51. So the first 50 verses were the content. The last few here that we're about to look at, last three is the message. He says, You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit. You are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you now have become. You who received the law as ordained by angels and yet did not keep it. Man. Calls them stiffed-neck and uncircumcised in heart and ears. Stiffed-neck being stubborn. And uncircumcised in heart and ears, meaning they do not have a relationship with Him. Maybe they showed on the outside, but not on the inside. And so he's saying, it's funny you guys are putting me on trial, but God is actually putting you on trial for rejecting Him all this time. And you're rejecting Him now and you rejected the Righteous One, aka Jesus the Messiah. A little word of advice. I'm not sure how well it's going to go over when you call someone stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. I'm just saying, like this conversation, this little message here was something good like back then.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:38:32] I'm not sure how that's going to go now. But it does not excuse us from sharing the truth about Jesus Christ. Amen? But can we do it in a loving way? Can we do it in a loving way? A word of encouragement for us today as we wrap up. Let's be bold like Stephen. The only way we can be bold, though, is when we stay tapped into the Holy Spirit and with God in the Word. Let's be committed to preaching the gospel just like Christ has committed to us. I pray that we would be strengthened by our awareness, that we would see God the Father in the Scriptures, that we would be strengthened by the awareness of Him and to know that through Jesus we are approved and loved despite our mistakes. And it's not too late to make a change, y'all. I'm just trying to speak into the dads out there that maybe you're feeling like a failure. Look, it's not too late to make a change and to start now, this day forward and being more like Christ to our wives and to our families and to the people we work with. Single moms, those without dads. I was talking to a mom. She shared this with me. And I want to impart this to you. Cling to your Heavenly Father. He's here with you now. He's here with you then or He was here with you then and He's with you always. Stay in God's Word, abide in God's Word, and surround yourself around godly community.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:40:31] That's how you're going to get through. That's how you're going to get through. Cling to the Heavenly Father. He's the only one that will bring you the satisfaction that you desire. My prayer today, one of my prayers for today is that I have friends who I know they might be listening and they've heard this whole thing. They've heard all of this. Like if you just look in God's Word, you will see God for who He is. Here's the message of Jesus Christ. Share that time and time again. And I know they've heard it. But yet they still don't see it. They're still rejecting Him. They're still resisting it. And I hope that if that's you today, that maybe, just maybe, this story that we're about to watch, this 121 story that we're about to watch that happened right here in this building, in this worship center and out in the halls, maybe, just maybe, you'll see God in the midst of things. Maybe you'll see Him being that loving God that's ever-present. And even though we don't know where we're going, He's putting the pieces together. Maybe you'll see God for who He truly is, who is our guide and who is our redeemer. After you watch it, take a minute to reflect. If you love the Lord and you receive this and you're affirming this, just take some time to thank God. All right. Let's turn our attention to the screen and we'll wrap up.

Nick Christofferson: [00:42:16] My name is Nick Christofferson. I've been going to 121 for a few years now. Starting out, it was my mom and I. She raised me as a single mother, lived in Indiana for a while. Then as soon as I could get out of Indiana, I moved up to Texas. I love the state, I love the people, everything around it. Eventually, I met my wife where she got me going into church more. One day on Easter 2000, I want to say '17, my wife worked night shift at Baylor Grapevine so she was sleeping that day. She got off work and went to sleep, and Kaylee and I went to church. And usually, we go to the 11:00. I'm kind of an early riser so I like to get up and go to the 9:00 service. And I go in and sit down in my very antisocial spot in the very back row of the back of the church. And this gentleman sits in front of me. Just started thinking, is that my dad? So I took a picture of the back of his head, sent it to my mom. I asked her, Is this my dad? And she texted me back, OMG, yes. And then back when we used to, before COVID, Ross would make everybody very uncomfortable and tell us to stand up and turn around and greet each other.

Nick Christofferson: [00:43:35] So when he did that, I said in my head, if this gentleman turns around and says his name is Paul, because I knew his name, I'm going to freak out a little bit. He stood up and shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, My name was Paul. So right then and there, it was kind of the conclusion that this is my father shaking my hand at church, staring me in the eye. I couldn't believe it. So at that point, I didn't know what to do. I didn't hear a word Ross said that entire time. I picked up a little piece of paper from behind one of the seats and the pen and wrote on it. Followed him out. He went to the bathroom. I wasn't going to follow him to the bathroom so I figured I'd wait outside. And waited out there for him. And he came out and I went up to him, looked him in the eye, and said, It's nice to finally meet you, sir. I shook his hand, handed him the note, and walked away. But two weeks later, I get a phone call from a private investigator that my father had hired this gentleman to track me down and give me his information.

Nick Christofferson: [00:44:46] I was convinced by my wife to give him a call, and we talked for an hour, I believe an hour and a half. And I always remember what he said. I don't want to get off the phone with you because I haven't had you for the last 30 years. So and of course, that made my wife start to cry. She was sitting right next to me. So we set a time to meet, and we met at a place that he actually used to own called Coal Mines. It's in South Lake. First time I ever met him, and it was great. I mean, it was, talked about everything. His wife was there, Lisa. My daughter was there. Obviously, my wife. And just talked about everything. I mean, it was like catching up with old friends almost. I feel like we instantly just became best friends. I told my mother and my father, The past is the past. We're all adults now. Whatever happened then, it is what it is. I would love to move forward. This is a big piece of me that I was missing, and my mom was more than happy to do that. My father as well. They actually met for the first time in a long time when my son was born in the hospital room.

Nick Christofferson: [00:46:20] And that was a really good time in my life, is to have them be able to talk and converse and just to have them together. I never had both my parents in the same room before. To this day, I still can't believe the way it happened. You don't meet somebody that significant in your life that just randomly pops up at church. Come to find out they'd been going to the same church for five years before. They went to the 9:00. We went to the 11:00. We just tried to soak it up as much as we could. So we already had lost 30 years, which I don't fault anybody for that. He was a good man and I got to spend three good years with him. And he ended up passing last September, which I still don't understand that. But the one thing, the one thing we always agreed on is that everything happens for a reason. We might not understand it. We might not like it. I mean, might not know what to do with it. But I believe He put him in my life for a reason as short as it may be. I also believe that Lisa's in my life for a reason and I'm in hers for a reason. He loved my daughter and he loved dressing up in the dino costume and chasing her around the house.

Nick Christofferson: [00:47:58] And he was there for the birth of my son. So he was able to hold and enjoy the whole piece of it. It was a hole that was able to be filled. I was able to make memories, and my kids were able to make memories. We have pictures and videos and I wholeheartedly believe that God put us in the position that we were in and the time we were in for a reason and a purpose.

Jordan Hill: [00:48:42] Of redemption. And it's an incredible story of an amazing father and the amazing Father that our God is and how He does redeeming, miraculous work. If you're new here, one of the things we do at the end of the service is we just have a moment of stillness and quietness with to reflect with the Lord. We've been talking about a lot, especially the last couple of weeks, about how just we got to abide with the Lord. And when we abide with the Lord, as we hear from Him, we get to take things to Him in kind of a more clear and direct way. And so why don't we spend now just a couple of minutes here and let's just reflect with the Lord. Let's just bring to Him whatever you're carrying in today, and let's just posture yourself in just a position of stillness so that we can better listen to Him now. So let's do that.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051