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June, 2014 - Issue #116
O Father, Where Art Thou?
by Jason VanderPal
What do Andy Taylor, Ward Cleaver, and Cliff Huxtable all have in common? Answer: They are all ancient history. Unfortunately, the airwaves of today have only a faint memory of such fatherly role models as those mentioned above. Instead, the role of a "father" is now represented by characters like Tony Soprano, Jay Prichett and Walter White.

Now, before you throw your remote control at me in protest, let me disclaim: I like watching "The Sopranos," "Modern Family" and "Breaking Bad." What I miss, however, is consistency in how we view what it means to be a father.

I think Jesus knew we would struggle with how to relate to God. In his most famous sermon (Matthew 5-7), Jesus taught that we should call God "Father." This may be hard for some folks because of the imperfect father some of us have experienced here on Earth. But Scripture teaches that our Heavenly Father is good (Ps. 106:1), unchanging (Ps. 102:27), full of wisdom (Job 12:13), full of love (Jn. 14:31), merciful (Ps. 103:8), holy (1 Pet. 1:16) and full of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).

I'm not sure what kind of father you grew up with. But I am certain that what the world today calls a father does not compare with our Heavenly Father who loves you and desires a relationship with you.

This Father's Day we begin a new series called "Stranger than Fiction" where we will be exploring some of the most shocking, fascinating and otherwise weird passages of Scripture. I hope you can join us. You can visit us at our Real Life Church Valencia Campus, Real Life Church Newhall@Savia Campus or watch live on our Online Campus at www.reallifechurch.org with an online pastor available for live chats.

Jason VanderPal is discipleship director for Real Life Church.

"The righteous man walks in his INTEGRITY; blessed are his children after him." Proverbs 20:7

A Special Thanks to Great Male Role Models
by Karyn Malchus
There are a lot of men in the Bible. They weren't perfect, but we can learn a lot from them. I never knew my own father and, as my husband and I started having children, I quickly realized how much I had missed out on.

As my children grew and I became more active in their school and then at our church, I realized that great male role models are hugely important for both our sons and our daughters. Sorry moms, but it seems like they hear our female voices more than enough!

There is something to be said for having men who model integrity, commitment, strength, respect, tenderness, wisdom and even lightheartedness. Our sons learn how to be good men and how to treat others. Our daughters learn what characterizes a good man and how she can expect to be treated. By the way, this goes not just for fathers, but also for male teachers, grandfathers, men in the church (I'm always trying to recruit the men!), scout leaders, male coaches and more. You all play a part in shaping our children and, therefore, the next generation. You leave your mark in a way that women just can't.

So, thank you for stepping up and leading. Thank you for not giving up when our society can make it easy to do so. Thank you for believing that God has given us male and female and that we balance each other, both offering things the other cannot. We honor you on Father's Day, all of you. You are awesome! And we are grateful.

Karyn Malchus is director of Family Ministries at Valencia
United Methodist Church. #VUMChereforgood www.umcv.org
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