Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way they should go, and when they're older, they will not depart from it." I look at the years of input, of leadership, of great example, that my father set for me. And when I went another way, by his actions he said, "On the way you are going, I will not journey with you there."
I was raised in a Christian home, and from the earliest age I remember vividly my father was always at the dining room table, reading his Bible. My parents read Bible stories to me when I was growing up. They taught me their faith, and they lived their faith.
In my teens though, I started to make my own decisions, and was given the freedom to do so. I made new friends. I was having a blast going to parties and, as I got older, that involved getting pretty drunk. Ultimately it led me to a pretty dysfunctional and broken place.
When I was about 19, I’d been at the pub, I’d had a few beers, had a few more beers, and was driving home. And I was just going way too fast. I took this corner, and just totally slid out of control. I hit this power pole, and the car rolled over. It was a wreck. It all happened in a split second. And the next thing I knew, I was hanging from a broken leg in this car, trapped, with the power lines laying over the car.
I ended up with titanium in my right leg. I was in a cast and still on this rebellious sort of a streak, and I wasn't at work. I went out with a mate, came home, and I was stoned. My dad came into the room, grabbed my stuff, my drawers, just pulled them out, and tipped it all on the front lawn. He said, "You better find somewhere else to live."
I survived for a year, still doing my own thing. But my brother reached out to me. He said, "What are you up to? Let's hang out." So I said to him, "What are we gonna do tonight?" You know, what's happening tonight? Where's the party at? And he said, “I was thinking about going to church.”
So we ended up at this youth service. There might have been like 50, maybe a hundred people there, but the worship was on fire. I encountered God. I felt the physical presence of God in that place, and it was a turning point for me. From where I was, and what I was doing, toward God. I wanted more of that.
I was back home. And I got to spend a lot of time just in solitude, by myself, working. I'd spend long hours on an excavator working for dad. I’d put my iPod on for 10-12 hours on an excavator. And all I wanted to listen to was the word of God, and good Bible teaching.
I was listening to the MP3 Bible and it was Isaiah. And it said something along the lines of "Whom shall I send?" And Isaiah responded, "Here am I, send me." And I remember so vividly just saying out loud, "Lord, here I am, send me." Seven years later, the Lord called. He said, "I want you to go to Israel."
My wife and I had two baby girls and a baby boy on the way. But we sold everything and we went, with nothing but suitcases. We went to the land of Israel. What for? To serve. To serve in ministry over there. And it was just a total life changing experience.
The world I came from had a very theoretical understanding of God and the Bible. But I went to the land of Israel and the Jewish culture. The Hebraic world view has such a heavy, equal emphasis on not only knowing the word, the scriptures, but in doing the scriptures. And also the root meanings of some of the Hebrew language.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way they should go. And when they're older, they will not depart from it." Now I'm older. And I see and appreciate. Dad, I'm so thankful for your leadership, and you as a father in my life. I wouldn't be here doing what I'm doing. I wouldn't have made the decisions I've made to ultimately turn towards the Lord and follow Him. And for that, I'm thankful.
My job is to really protect that. Not only to protect them from that which is wrong, but to provide for them that which is good. And that comes as a father, it's making the Bible fun. It's making that time at our breakfast table, when we're reading the story book Bible, it's bringing it to life. My responsibility is now to train my children in the way they should go. And that requires my time, my love. And it requires me, as a father, to reflect God, the Father, in my home.
I feel like I'm well equipped, because of the experience I was given. Because of what my father did for me. Not only my earthly father, but what my Heavenly Father has done for me. To train and raise, and invest in my children in the ways they should go.