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Pastor’s Perspective 07-28-2020

   On the day I am writing this column, my dad is celebrating his 87th birthday. In fact, I’ve already received several birthday wishes from church members this morning who heard it was my birthday. It’s the other “John Cook” who is getting older today. I’m holding at 63 for now. But I’ve been thinking all day about my dad and the impact he has had on my life. I consider him one of the greatest blessings I have ever received. And I’ve received many. He is one of those gifts that you unwrap only to find another gift inside. I want to share a few thoughts about the gifts my godly father has given to me.

The gift of his time. I was in high school when my dad came down on orders for a one-year unaccompanied assignment to Korea. It was going to be a hard separation for both of us. He took a week’s leave to spend time just with me. He took me out of school for a week to go deer hunting on Radar Mountain on the border between Virginia and West Virginia in a pop up camper with another man and his son. I remember cooking pancakes late one night on our little camping stove. I shot my first deer that week. An 8-pointer. I was 14. I’ll never forget that week. How loved and important I felt because my dad gave me the gift of his time.

The gift of his example. Too many children today are growing up without a father or positive male role model in their life. That is a major contributor to many of the issues playing out in our culture today. I grew up with a great role model in my home. My dad’s work ethic, his commitment to Christ, and the values he taught me and continues to live by have rubbed off on me and have profoundly shaped the man I am today.

And finally, the gift of his introducing me to Jesus. My earliest childhood memory is family devotions in our home right before we kids went to bed. We read the Bible as a family and all of us prayed each night. My dad’s faith was real. I could tell it was special to him. I wanted what he had. And he wanted me to have what he had… a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. A father can give no greater gift to his son.

So happy birthday, dad! And thanks for all you have given me through the years. ~ John