Newsletter June, 2000

JUNE, 2000

The Story of a Father 

Tony Evans is the senior pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas. His radio ministry broadcasts the Gospel message daily all over the world. The following is his testimony:

I grew up in the inner city, the ghetto of Baltimore, Maryland. When I was little, my parents would argue and fight all day. The talk of divorce was always there and our family life was just a mess.

One day when my father went to work someone next to him asked, "If you were to die today, do you know if you would go to heaven?" My father answered, "I don't honestly know." That person then shared with him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and led him to receive Jesus as his personal Savior. The man who went to work that morning was a different man when coming home.

The only time my father could read his Bible and pray was two o'clock in the morning when my mother was asleep. He would quietly go down to the living room to read the Bible and pray. One of his prayers was: "Dear Lord, grant me your strength, and only by Your grace to save my family. Without you Lord, I am completely helpless."

One night a year later, My father was reading the Bible when he saw my mother come down the stairway. He thought to himself, "Oh no, there's going to be another battle again!" However, that time was different; she was full of tears. My father asked, "Why? What is it?" She answered, "Every time I hated you, you loved me back. When I refused you, you accepted me. When I turned away from you, you would pray for me. I have been watching you and wondering how long this religious fervor and obsession will last. But you have been going non-stop for a year already. I am convinced that what you believe in is real. Whatever you have, how can I have it right now?"

Just like this my dad led my mom to the Lord and she became a fruitful vine. They then gathered the children around the table and witnessed to us the miracle that happened to them. As a result we too received the Lord as our Savior. Through my father's faith and devotion the whole family came to know the Lord and was transformed. In my community, I became the first in my family to graduate from high school, to enter college, then became the first African-American to receive a doctorate degree in theology from the Dallas Seminary. While I was in the Seminary, the Lord opened my eyes to the great need in my community. I started in my home a small fellowship which grew from ten people to a church of five thousand today. We also started a radio gospel program which now broadcasts through four hundred fifty stations in over forty countries.

I have said all these, not to tell you about me but about my daddy. He learned to trust God. Because of his devotion to the Lord, one family was transformed bringing as a result the formation and revival of a church.


Father and Daddy 


Father brings the child to church, Daddy worships with the child;
Father buys you your first bicycle, Daddy runs behind you to show you how to ride it;
Father never misses his golf tournaments, Daddy helps you retreat the ball from the roof;
Father remembers your birthday, Daddy remembers the grade for your Spanish class last semester;
Father wants you to make the basketball team, Daddy knows it is better for you if you do not make it;
Father feels proud when you become popular, Daddy feels comfortable when you stay home and keep him company;
Father looks good and handsome in his tuxedo, Daddy quietly wipes his tears in your wedding;
Father is only the one who gave birth to you, Daddy is the one who loves you always.



As The Eagle Sirs Up The Nest 

One Friday night in the gospel class, we were discussing Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified. The prayer went as this, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Despite being the Son of God, Jesus bore all kinds of suffering and pain while He was on this earth. We who have believed in Him know well that we have become the children of God. God has the highest authority, but often times we do not feel like God has rescued us from the sufferings. On many occasions, it even seems as if the sufferings are not only permitted, but also being arranged for us.

Suffering came due to the sin of our ancestor. As a result of disobedience, the ground was cursed and produced thorns and thistles. Suffering is also the retribution of one's sin. Since the whole world is under control of the evil one (1John 5:19), Satan constantly uses sufferings to attack us. However, many times what seems to be negative is indeed meant to be good from God. The purpose is to refine us so that through various trials we may become much stronger and more persevered. Just as Deuteronomy 32: 10-12 tells us, "… He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions; The Lord alone led him; …"

An eagle builds his nest on the high ground. He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold (Job 39: 27-28). There is no other kinds of bird can compare. As the eagle loves his young, he places them on the high secured ground in the nest. He gives them the best nurture and guardianship just as they are the apple of his eye. But one day, the eaglets in the nest were suddenly stirred up by strong wind. Initially, they thought it was the work of the enemy, but they soon realize it is the eagle flapping his wings near the nest. He keeps on to the point that the eaglets feel uptight, even falling off the nest. The eaglets must have been confused, "Does not he who placed us at the safest place love us, nurture us, and protect us? How could he all of a sudden bring us such a disaster?"

If the eagle, however, continues to keep the young in the nest, always keeps them well fed and comforted, they will never ever learn to fly. In order for them to grow and be able to spread their wings and soar, he must first shake their nest so that they may be pushed to hover off the nest. Certainly, none of the young is keen of flying at the beginning. As they make to their first attempt, they fall straight down. However before they hit the ground, the eagle would quickly come to catch them with his wings and bring them to the high altitude. Then, he pushes them off and saves them in time and brings them back up again. After several tries, the eaglets have finally learned to spread their wings and fly up above the sky. All the while, the eaglets still thought that they did it through their own ability and by their own strength, not knowing that it was due to the effort of the eagle. In reality, it is the eagle who sustained them upon his wings, so that they learned to fly up high.

"…The Lord called to (Moses) and said, 'This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: '…how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself…'" (Exodus 19: 3, 4). Here was the place (Mount Sinai) where God spoke to the Israelites. He brought them out of Egypt on the day of Passover and led them to Mount Sinai on the day of Pentecost. Through out these fifty days, the Israelites learned some essential spiritual lessons. Israelites were the eaglets; they had their own nest. God through Joseph placed them at the River of Nile on the delta called Goshen. It was a safe place. But one day, the oppressions were like strong wind compelling them to leave their safe nest, out of Egypt, and across the Red Sea. During the wandering in the desert, they experienced all kinds of challenges. Even though God protected them and provided them throughout the journey, to them these were the toughest fifty days of all. Nevertheless, it was because of this that their lives had never been the same again. God explained why He must do so. He said He, all the way like an eagle, carried them on His wings, The very purpose was to brink them back to Himself. They thought they were wandering by themselves. But during this journey, God showed them how He descended manna for food, how He sent water streaming out of the rock for drink, how He turned bitter pond to sweet, and how He caused them to defeat the Amalekites. All this while, their strength was given from above. The very reason why they could even walk that far was because they were placed upon God's pinions.

Israelites wanted to stay at their old nest, but the Lord said, "…out of Egypt I called my son… It was I who taught Ephraim to walk" (Hosea 11: 1-3a). There was a road called the road of desert. In order for God to have them as His own, He must let them travel such a long path. The result was "to bring them back to I AM". Now by grace the Israelites were able to stand at the foot of Mount Sinai and gathered together before the Lord.

Yes, the Lord does have expectations toward us. He wants us to grow. He wants us to soar. Therefore, He must first stir up our nests. When it comes to the time of flying, knowing that He cannot expect our unachievable, He gives us grace. Throughout this journey, He was like an eagle carrying us on His wings. His fly means our fly. All is through God's work. All is by His grace!