New Hope Notes
Traits Of A Good Father
Pasotr Sheldon Lacsina
I am so thankful to be here. This is home to me. One of the things I am most grateful for is Pastor Wayne mentoring us. We have the best pastor and mentor in Pastor Wayne. Many of you may be wondering how come Pastor Wayne is not here?
But the spirit of God is here, that’s the spirit that Pastor Wayne passes on to every single one of us. So I am eternally grateful for men like Pastor Wayne who have instilled Godly values in every single one of us. That’s his heart. To always lead you to Jesus Christ.
In this series, Life Hacks, we are going to be talking about spirit-led solutions for everyday struggles. We all have struggles, every one of us.
Talking about the Hokulea coming in, I was there this morning on shore. Seeing the Hokulea come in was, we call it chicken skin here in Hawaii. Just watching the people and feeling the spirit of God present there with all the believers there is just simply amazing.
To know that the spirit of God continues to lead his people, even today, to navigate through the fleshly feelings we have. The times where we get those moments of emotional breakdowns, God constantly will help us navigate through all the ups and downs in life.
Seeing almost 50,000 people at Magic Island was amazing because of one event that took place. I am so thankful that we have a God who knows how to bring people together.
We’re going to learn these simple spirit-led solutions that will help us with everyday struggles. Like those who were on the Hokulea struggled with swells and whatever else, we go through struggles every day.
For some of us, it was a struggle to be here, not just the parking, just to be here. It is hot outside. It’s summertime, so we get to be in an air-conditioned building. More than that, we’re thankful that we get to learn from God tonight.
Part of this series is going through the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22. This is a foundational scripture for those of you who are calling yourselves believers, Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, disciples. It’s very important. Why? Because this is the fruit of the spirit.
We don’t want to follow our flesh. We want to follow our spirit. In its entirety it makes up the fruit of the spirit but today we are going to talk about goodness and faithfulness because goodness and faithfulness really come from God. You cannot have goodness without God because He is a good father.
From the beginning of time when everything was formless and void, the spirit of God was hovering above the surface of the waters. Then God spoke and He said, “Let there be light.” And God saw that the light was good. God does good things, and goodness apart from God is really not goodness at all.
Sometimes what we think or feel is good may not actually be God. We’re going to learn a couple of things on how not necessarily to follow what we feel, but to be spirit-led and follow what the spirit says.
Since this is Father’s Day weekend, let me give you a little bit of my background. I grew up in Waimanalo. I have three other siblings, an older brother six years older than me, then my sister one year older, and a younger brother six years younger than me.
My dad left when I was seven years old. We didn’t really know he left. We just thought he was gone for a looong time. Because he was in the military, we just thought he was somewhere else. We were doing things that normal kids did back then. We went outside and came home when the streetlights came on. So we really didn’t know what was going on in the family.
As we continued to grow up, I met my wife Heidi in the seventh grade. I was 12 when we met, and she was 13. I’m 45. So we’ve been together for a few decades. When you say decades, you know you’re getting up there,
We had our first child when I was 15, Heidi was 16. It was a tough time because I was a teenage father at 15 years old and I thought I knew how to parent at that age. What I didn’t know was the struggles that would come with it - not necessarily the taking care of my son - it was dealing with everything else that came with it.
Because of all the dreams and the future that I thought my life would be like, it’s like everything came crashing down. It didn’t help that one day we got a phone call that my dad had passed away. I just thought that I didn’t have a relationship with him, I don’t really know him, and so I wouldn’t really feel anything.
As time went on, I was thinking that I would never see him again, dealing with pressures of a 15 year old, 16 year old trying to graduate, I just felt like giving up. I actually went up to the Pali Lookout and wanted to jump off. I thought that if I jumped off, then it would be that much better because I could end my life. I thought that God would understand.
But as I looked over that railing, something told me, “That’s not you.”
One day we were in the editing room for the Dream Releasers video to go with the curriculum. Tim Savage, Pastor Wayne, John Burgess were there. As we were viewing the cinematic shots, something looked familiar. Pastor Wayne was saying, “Hey Sheldon, what do you think, ah?” I started crying. He’s looking at me, “Wow, that emotional, huh?” So I explain to him that it is where I almost jumped off the Pali Lookout. So at that moment, I thought what great news God gave me at that specific moment. I didn’t know what voice that was until later on in life, but now I recognize it as the voice of God that said, “That’s not you.”
After graduation, Heidi moved from here to the Big Island. I had to follow her but I couldn’t until I graduated. By the time I graduated, which was by the miracle of God, I got to move, but her dad said, “There’s no way you can move in with us unless you go to church.”
Heidi’s father just started attending a church on the Big Island. I didn’t want to but I made that deal and said, “Okay, I’ll go to church.”
When I moved up to the Big Island and entered this church, I thought, “What kind of church is this—you sure this one church? Because this is a gym!”
As we walked in, they were playing worship music, they had guitars, electric guitars, drums and keyboards, and I’m thinking, “This is like a concert. This is not a church.” As they’re doing worship, I thought, “I can—I can do this.” So I sat there and I would listen. And listen.
On Father’s Day June 16, 1991, the pastor said at the end of the service, “If you want to be a good father, you need God.” I could understand a little bit about a good father and a bit about a not-so-good father, but I wanted to be a good father. It was that day that I lifted my hand and received Jesus as my Lord and savior. That was 26 years ago but the moment I said that prayer – and many of you experienced this—everything changed.
Every single one of us is going to struggle with goodness in our life and being faithful. We want to learn these traits of goodness and faithfulness so we can grow with God and be spirit-led.
I’ll read four of our scriptures this morning before point one.
Psalms14:2-3 says, “The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.”
Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me the doing of the good is not.”
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”In other words, we may not have any good in us, but God does. Anything good that we get or receive comes from God.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Goodness comes from God. Faithfulness comes from your faith in Him. In order for us to develop the fruit of goodness or faithfulness, we need to allow God to do whatever He needs to do as we persevere with Him.
Don’t persevere with emotions. They will lead you into all kinds of places, but God will never lead you astray.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials, because testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may mature and complete, not lacking anything.”Not lacking anything means you may be mature and whole again, that there will be goodness and faithfulness. Goodness and faithfulness will follow you all the days of your life.
Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings…”Whenever God wants to bless us, He looks for a faithful person. Faithfulness precedes God’s blessings.
2 Corinthians 6:16 says, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’”
The root of goodness is God. Here’s the problem. We think because God is good, He’ll do good things for us the way we believe good to be. Just because something feels or looks good, it doesn’t mean it’s God.
We’ve heard stories about people winning the lottery. But years later, they were broke, bankrupt, with families falling apart, some of them suicidal. What sounded good didn’t turn out good because they didn’t have a foundation of how to care for finances and didn’t know how to handle the money, all the people coming at them, family members coming out of the woodwork. They couldn’t handle it.
The only way we’ll have goodness in us is when God dwells in us. God is saying, “Everything I do is good.” Everything you think is good may not be God. That’s why it is so incredibly important to stay in the Word of God, doing daily devotions, your scriptures, observations, applications and prayers. Why? When we persevere with God, he will never lead us astray. We want to be spirit-led—so that when we encounter everyday struggles, we can be victorious.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”
In other words, if you’re not going to follow the ways of God, you’re always going to be at war. For some of us, we’re looking for God. You really don’t have to look too hard because God is already looking for you. He is looking for hearts that are set on Him so that He may strongly support those whose hearts are fully committed to Him so that you and He can persevere together.
Psalm 73:28 says, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”
It is our faith in being near to a faithful God that is our good, and when faithfulness is lived out, God’s blessing pours in.
So many of you have been faithful through the years ever since New Hope was birthed. We have seen God’s blessings, even so much more for the future and the hope that He has for this place. We have seen lives being changed. I was part of the building fund in Hilo and when we built, I was so thankful. I am thankful I gave back then because part of the giving I see going into people’s lives today. Everything we do is attached to a soul. The chairs you sit on, the bulletins we fold, everything we print, every video that is shown, everything is attached to a soul that someone might say yes to Jesus Christ. That is something eternal because God is good.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”In everything we do for Him, work hard. Many of you volunteer here and you put your hands to the plow and say, “Lord, I am doing this because you are faithful."
2. WELCOME THE SPIRIT OF GROWTH.
The second thing is to welcome the spirit of growth. Sometimes someone will pull you to the side and love you toward God’s very best. Don’t get offended. Welcome the spirit of growth and just say, “Lord, there’s something that someone else sees in me that I don’t see quite yet, but You see something in me.”
On this Father’s Day weekend, some of you may find it tough to celebrate because you may not have had a great father or maybe this is the first Father’s Day without your dad because he has passed away. If you think of where you are today and the memories you have, whether good or bad, I think of them as fruit. There are good fruit and some bad fruit, but they both have seeds inside of them that have potential to become better fruit.
Take that seed, put it in your life, and now you bear good fruit. It’s called the Father filter, you filter everything through God and say, “God, all of these things happened in my life. Can you filter it and give me the good that can come out of all of this?” And watch what God does with it, you take that seed in potential form and you let God grow that. Welcome the spirit of growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
When you welcome a spirit of growth you can see God’s goodness and faithfulness clearly. Whether you are a supervisor, manager or owner, when someone is teachable, it makes your job that much easier.
Lord, may we become people as believers to be the most teachable people that welcome your spirit of growth so that You can teach us new things.
Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.”
God has given us grace and glory. Those two words actually mean favor and dignity. God gives that to us. But you need to be in it for the long haul. You just can’t welcome the spirit of growth when it’s convenient for you. You welcome it even when it’s tough to deal with.
Even if it takes years to mature, don’t throw in the towel. Use it to wipe the sweat off your brow and say, “Lord I’m in it for the long haul because you are faithful, and I know you will always meet my needs according to your riches and glory."
3. CELEBRATE EACH STAGE OF FRUIT.
Here’s our last thing…celebrate each stage of fruit. On these islands, we got some good fruit—mango, lychee, papaya, pineapple, bananas. Here’s fruit we enjoy but some of us think that our lives have to reach a certain mark to say, “I’m matured, now I can be fruitful.” But God says that every stage of your life is a different stage of fruit in your life.
When the mango tree is blossoming with little flowers, I know mango season is starting. I celebrate the blossoms. There’s going to be small little mangoes and it’s still good because you can make pickled mango vinegar & sugar. We can make something good out of it. It’s a green stage but it is still good.
You may be in blossom form right now. Maybe you’re coming to know Jesus Christ but don’t have it together yet. Celebrate every stage of the fruit in your life because every stage is perfect in its season. We’re going to do many bad things but God holds onto the good memories. Why? Because He treasures His time with you and I. That’s why He wants us to celebrate with Him.
In the parable of the Talents, God is letting us know that you can be faithful with whatever He gives you. Be faithful in the little and He’ll make you faithful in much.
Matthew 25:21 says that the master was full of praise and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful handling this small amount, so now I will give you more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”That’s what He’s after. Whatever stage of fruit you’re in, He wants to celebrate together.
You might be at a place of life where you’re grieving. Then grieve together with God. We think of celebration as just partying but the Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry. When you do it with God, He will treasure that.
Psalms 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”When you choose to celebrate with Him, you welcome the spirit that says, “Lord teach me,” and you say to Him, “I’m going to persevere with you, I’m not going to let my emotions lead me,” then you’re going to see goodness and faithfulness follow you all the days of your life. Amen.