Father's Day 2022, Study Guide

Father's Day 2022

Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation. In this week’s study, we honor the dads in our lives as we talk about what it looks like to bring out the best in our kids.

Icebreakers for Life Groups

  • Are there any movies coming out this summer you are excited to see?
  • As we reflect on Father’s Day, what are your thoughts of the day? Do you have positive feelings about it? Or is it a hard day for you? We want to honor both feelings.

Read Ephesians 2:10

How do we bring out the best in our kids?

Point 1 – Accept their uniqueness.

The current generation in American history is the most “dad-less” of any so far. One stat says that 40% of American children grow up without the presence of a dad in their home. That’s devastating! Both moms and dads play a vital and unique role in their kids’ lives. So, for those men who are dads or who are father figures (don’t underestimate this!) there is a strong call to action here.

By the way, for any women engaging in this week’s study, please know that the points we are trying to make are equally applicable for you toward your kids or for you to utilize with the kids who are in your life (nephews, nieces, friends’ kids, etc.)

Our kids need to be seen for who they uniquely are. Isn’t it amazing that God loves us unconditionally and equally, yet also uniquely? It’s an inspiring way of considering how we can reflect that love toward one another, maybe even especially toward kids as they are walking through the various ages and stages of their development. How they see themselves is important. In reality, they are one of a kind! Yet, if we are honest, it’s one of those truths that is easy to lose sight of. “Like, of course, that child is unique... just as he is, she is, I am, and you are. We each get to say that we are unique and one of a kind.” True! But that does not make each person less special just because the truth is universally true about each person. Each and every person is the “workmanship” of God (see Ephesians 2:10).

To my fellow dads, we cannot play the comparison game. Your son, your daughter, they are not like their friends, cousins, or even their siblings. Sure, similarities abound, but that’s not usually what causes comparison. Comparison typically comes when we try to fit our child into a pattern or shape (think “cookie-cutter”) that we think he or she should be. That does not usually work out so well, and it might end up having the counter-effect of disregarding their uniqueness. In God’s eyes, your child has a destiny, to be “conformed into the image of his Son [Jesus]” (Romans 8:29), yet they will always maintain a uniqueness about themselves. Let’s honor that about each person, especially the kids in our lives!

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Write down the names of three or four loved ones (example: spouse, kids, parents, friends). Then, write one sentence stating something unique about each of them. Use details.
  • Why do you think it will be impactful to show a child that you embrace what makes them uniquely them?

Read Matthew 10:29–31

How do we bring out the best in our kids?

Point 2 – Affirm their value constantly.

Has someone given you some affirmation today? Maybe a loved one reminded you that you are not taken for granted. Maybe a co-worker or supervisor credited your work. Affirmation feels good! And it should. Would you be opposed to receiving more affirmation? Probably not, even if you are shy about receiving it. That’s because you cannot receive too much encouragement or affirmation. Verbal affirmation is vital to our well-being. That's one reason why we hold certain passages in Scripture as near and dear to our heart, because they speak directly to us in a way that is personal, meaningful, and affirming.

Maybe it is the way Psalm 139:13-14 reminds you that you are custom-made, unique, and intricately created. Or maybe the way 1 Peter 1:18-19 describes how you were ransomed from sin and death by the precious blood of Jesus. Perhaps, it is simply how God delights in you, see Psalm 149:4. This could go on for a while, and I hope you do see the way the living word of Scripture speaks to you! But the point is just that, God wants you to experience his affirmation every day.

So, now let’s flip the scenario. When was the last time you gave someone else affirmation today? Parents, did you affirm something in your kids? Affirmation is strong in and of itself, but the more pointed, the more powerful. What do we mean? There is an obvious difference between when your boss says: “Great job!” Versus when your boss says: “Great job on that presentation, I can tell you thoughtfully prepared, and it certainly shows!” Now, what about our kids? I want to challenge you to thoughtfully and generously affirm your kids like their spiritual development depends on it. Because this is one of the areas of influence we can excel at with just a little bit of intentionality and thoughtfulness.
Affirmation is not just in what we say, though. There are other, non-verbal, ways to express our affirmation of kids. Here are a few:

  • Visual attention. Otherwise known as “eye contact.” Especially in today’s world where many kids are used to peers talking to them while staring at a glowing rectangle (aka smartphones). Apparently, eye contact is a novelty these days. Show them–with your eyes–that they have your attention and your affection. Yes, the eyes truly do show a kind of affection.
  • Physical affection. Speaking of affection, an appropriate touch releases positive chemicals in the brains of both the human agent and the human object of the touch. Specifically, oxytocin–a chemical that produces positive emotions–is released and bonds the two people together during an appropriate and endearing touch, such as a hug, according to numerous studies. Some of you are naturally good at this. Keep it up! Some of you might not be “touchy-feely” kind of people. Okay! That’s fine. But everyone needs appropriate physical contact. So, you might have to learn this. Expressing love with our words is important, but so is our touch.

The three forms of affirmation we briefly discussed were verbal affirmation, visual attention, and physical affection. We encourage you to proactively practice each of these in your relationships, especially with the kids in your life. (P.S., all three of these are important despite how old your kids are.)

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Out of the three forms of affirmation discussed above, which one comes most naturally do you? Which one do you want to develop more?
  • Think about how God is revealed in Scripture. Can you think of any examples of the various ways He gives affirmation? What examples come to mind? How can you receive this as something personal for you?
  • Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to bring someone to mind. How can you give that person a form of affirmation? What form of affirmation might they need today?

Read 1 Corinthians 13:7

How do we bring out the best in our kids?

Point 3 – Apply grace daily.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15–16, NIV)

Dads, do you know what gives your kids an opportunity to come to you when they’ve made a mistake, or done something wrong, and be honest with you? It’s when you’ve shown them the grace that God shows us. When they know you have gone through the same temptations, some of the same trials, when they know you have experienced the same feelings and you remember what it was like to be a small child, or a teenager, and you love them anyway. Then they will come to you and not hide from you. A child will accept almost any consequence if, at the end of the day, they know the one giving the consequence cares about them and wants what’s best for them, someone who understands.

Our kids don’t need to know everything we’ve ever done in our past. They do need to know that we remember what it felt like to be a child and not have a lot of control over where we went, or what we did. They probably would get a kick out of knowing that we get grumpy when we’re hungry and have been out running errands all day. They probably would love to know that you understand having feelings you don’t quite know what to do with, or you’re overwhelmed with all of the pressures weighing down on you from all sides. That would give them a sense that they are not alone in this life. They want someone to look up to who made mistakes and lived through it and is trying to do and be better.

Maybe the practice of showing grace was not something that you grew up with. Maybe accepting God’s grace is still difficult for you. I would challenge you to spend some time reflecting on the areas of your life where someone you know has been gracious to you, also where God has shown you grace. And giving grace to our kids does not mean that there are no consequences for mistakes or bad behavior. It does mean that those consequences come with an understanding that we still love them, that we understand that we’re all human and we’re going to mess up sometimes, and most importantly, that we will always try to be there for them. We will not be perfect at this. That’s okay. It’s even okay to tell them that we will mess this up sometimes. It’s okay to apologize when we do and ask them to have grace for us. And because we have practiced modeling it for our kids, they will know how to show grace to themselves and others.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Did you grow up in a household that practiced showing grace to each other? If so, how does that impact how you parent? If not, how can you begin that legacy with your kids today?
  • How can you show your kids that you remember what it was like to be in the stage of childhood they are in? (Even if you have daughters, there are still ideas and feelings that you may be able to relate to.) In what ways do you think showing them understanding will benefit your relationships with them?
  • If you have made mistakes in the past, and your relationship with your child is not what you would like it to be, it’s never too late to apologize, ask for forgiveness and start new. God gives us daily grace and He wants us to give that to others, especially our kids. Is there a child you need to ask for forgiveness from?

Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT) Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Final Challenge Questions

  • How are you going to think or live differently in light of what you have read, heard, and discussed this week?
  • How does this week’s message shape or nurture your relationship with God?
  • BONUS: For those of you with kids or around kids: What is one truth from this message that you can share with your kids in a way that they would relate to or understand?

About Our Current Series

Money is a sensitive subject no matter if you are in a season of want or a season of plenty. It can be a cause of tension in relationships, while also feeling like the answer to some of our most difficult problems. It can easily become the thing we are so focused on that causes anxiety and worry. So, what does God have to say about our relationship with money as we journey through life?

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