Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Life & Character of a Father

A friend of mine, Mathias John (M.J.) Seiwert III, who is the Middle School Director at Christ Church in Lake Forest, IL recently experienced the passing of his father from this life to the next.  MJ loved and admired his Dad.  

As a Dad, I found the relationship that MJ had with his father not only to be heart warming and encouraging, but challenging and inspiring.  I so want the character of my life to be completely shaped by my Creator so that those around me (my wife and children) and the people I cross paths with everyday will be profoundly impacted by how God and His Grace has crafted me as a man, husband and father.  I hope MJ's reflections of his father will encourage, challenge and inspire you to grow a deeper relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Reflections On My Dearly Departed Dad...
by Mathias John Seiwert on Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you." ~ Isaiah 46:4 NIV

1. God Sustained And Carried My Dad Through 95.5 Years of Life On Earth
A. Through two world wars
B. Through the Great Depression
C. Through the death of both parents, all eight siblings, his first wife & most of his childhood pals
D. Through the ups and downs of working at and leading a trucking company for seventy years
E. Through smoking cigarettes for sixty-five years
F. Through running after a newborn son starting at the age of sixty-two
G. Through being a Cubs fan for nearly a century
H. Through the often inexplicable decisions of seventeen U.S. Presidents
I. Through app. four BILLION heartbeats, 35,000 days of life on earth & driving over one million miles
J. Through being confined to a wheelchair for the last twelve months
God truly sustained and carried my Dad through all that and more. What an amazing God!

2. God Made My Dad Marvelously By Hand

It seems that nearly everyone who ever met my Dad, from family members to business associates to workers in the grocery store deli department, was impacted by his
A. Honest character
B. Genuine disposition
C. Generous spirit
D. Affable personality
E. Kind manner
F. Unconditional love
G. "Kid at heart"
H. Enthusiasm for life
I. Loyal faithfulness
J. Sincere/devout faith in God
Such a masterpiece as my Dad was not cranked out in any heavenly assembly line factory. No, such a man as my Dad was made as we all are: by the very Hand of the Father, the Ancient of Days, with the closest attention to detail and the creative flourishes of spiritual gifts also shared by God Himself.

3. God Rescued My Dad From Hell

Because my Dad "confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in his heart that God raised Him from the dead, he is saved" (Romans 10:9 NIV). Furthermore, my Dad didn't just have an intellectual faith but also a practical one that lived out what he believed: he was constantly putting into practice the golden rule, striving to follow the Ten Commandments, and interacting with the LORD as if God is a person (which He IS! :) by talking with Him and seeking His guidance daily. What a blessed privilege that because of Jesus my Dad's sins are forgiven, paid for, and wiped clean.

4. God Wants To Do The Same For All Of Us...

Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sustained and carried my Dad, the Trinity wants to carry us through the trials that we face every day...if we will let Him.

Just as God made my Dad by hand with special gifts through which to display the splendor of God, He made us by hand and is waiting to unlock those gifts in us...if we will let Him.

And just as the LORD Almighty rescued my Dad from hell through Jesus' death on the cross and return to life three days later, the Trinity wants to do all that for each of us...if only we will let Him, if only we will say "yes!" to Jesus, if only we will answer the door of our hearts where Jesus knocks and invite Him in, handing Him the deed to our lives and allowing Him to be in control.

Because my Dad did this, his death, while bitter, has a sweetness mixed deep into the recipe: the expiration of his earthly body was not the end of my Dad--rather it was his graduation day to an eternal life in the direct/pure presence of God! What could be better!?

May the end of our earthly lives also be our graduation day--we cannot earn the degree, but Jesus passed all the exams for us and wants to bestow upon us PhD's in righteousness that last forever and ever...if we will accept His application to be LORD and Savior of our lives!

I miss my Dad dearly, but I WILL see him again.

I miss him so much, but we WILL have a catch again someday and I WILL hear the pop of the ball in the mitt as he gives me a left-handed heater that wowed Cubs scouts back in 1935.

I feel emptiness without him, but I WILL fill him in on the rest of my earthly life someday and experience again his rich pride in me and unconditional love for me.

I miss Him, but this is NOT the end...

May the above be true for all of us.

Cubs Game With M.J. And His Dad
MJ with his Dad, Mat, at Wrigley Field.

Monday, May 07, 2012

71 Toes: 7 motherhood ideas I love - Mother's Day Letters

With Mother's day coming this weekend, I thought idea #4 taken from 71 Toes: 7 motherhood ideas I love blog was fantastic.  Mothers, this week leading up to Mother's Day take some time to write a letter to each of your children and perhaps even your husband as an expression of your love.
Idea #4 Mother's Day Letters 
Being the fanatic about record keeping that I am I love to write letters to my kids. I want them to have a record of how much I adore every little thing they do. When Max and Elle were little I was great at it and I'd write to them all the time. But then it got harder and harder to set aside time to do it. So a few years ago I decided I'd ask for a couple hours alone in my room each Mother's Day so I could write a special love note to each of my kids. I love knowing that I have those compiled for them. I want them to forever remember how much I love them at every stage and what I've noticed about them each year.
For more ways you can cherish the moments you've been given as a mother visit 71 Toes: 7 motherhood ideas I love:

Proverbs 6:20-23
20  My son, keep your father's commandment,
 and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21  Bind them on your heart always;
 tie them around your neck.
22  When you walk, they will lead you;
 when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,

Sunday, May 06, 2012


There have been certain "special" words my kids have used as their language skills have grown and developed.  These words were unique because they were non-sense, or mis-pronounced words that meant nothing unless interpreted correctly.  Some of my favorites include "Waulkie" for water, "Obo!" for open, "Awpum Back Tuck" for awesome black truck, and "Mope" for milk.  Try has we did (and we really didn't try all that hard because they were so cute), we could not correct the pronunciation of these words.  I remember with my daughter that I would say to her, "Waaaaterrrr" and she would reply and repeat "Waaaaaulkiiieeee".  So cute!

Drew in his "comf-terble"
Most of these words or phrases have gone by the wayside as our kids have grown and developed into verbally "gifted" (sometimes to the exhaustion of their parents) children.  However, recently my youngest who just turned 5 was helping his mom make his bed one morning.  It was time for the comforter to go in it's place. Drew said to his Mom, "I'll get my 'comf-terble', Mom!" She tried to correct him ... "Comforter", and he said "right, comf-terble."  Love It!

Drew's version of the word, "comfortable," got me thinking.  I have been experiencing some dis-comfort lately for a couple of reasons.  I went through a minor surgical procedure two weeks ago, and as I sat with my bag of peas recovering, I felt the true nature of healing.  It is uncomfortable.  Over time, I gained strength and started becoming more active, which helped me realize that I needed to once again commit to an exercise and eating plan in order to regain balance in my health life.  So I started working-out again this week, and I am completely sore from head to toe. I'm uncomfortable.

Everything in me demands that I go get my "comfortable!" ...Except Jesus!!!  As a follower of Jesus Christ, am I supposed to be comfortable or uncomfortable?

Consider what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 16:24-27.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?  ESV
  • Leave what you know and what is comfortable, and step out in faith after Jesus.
  • Deny your selfish needs, desires, and ambitions. 
  • Take on humility and recognize you're broken and in need of healing.
  • Work out your salvation by loving others to grow and produce fruit.
  • Pick up your cross and follow your Savior to the point of death.  “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” ~Bonhoeffer 
Jesus has called me to pick up my cross-- not my comfortable-- and follow Him completely!