My Dad, The Christian

Yeah, my dad could have killed you with his sunglasses, his camera case, his belt buckle, his bare hands or his good looks. Your choice. I grew up with very loving, supportive parents. I always knew how fortunate I was to have them (except for a couple years in my mid teens when I hated everyone in the world). My dad and I have always been close, and I have fond memories from my childhood of us playing Frisbee, boxing, watching a ton of movies together, and having long talks about love and life. And though I had many great friends when I married Jen, I asked my Dad to be my best man in our wedding. What I didn't have in my childhood home was the gospel. In fact I didn't even sit through a worship service until my teens when new friends began to tell me about Jesus.

This is one of those images burned into my memories. Dad driving us everywhere.

After my conversion I was the one telling my family about the gospel - and even when I lacked tact they patiently listened. For years my friends and I prayed for the conversion of my family. In 2000 (after seminary) Jen and I returned to Chicagoland to plant a church. My mom and dad came to every service. At first it was to see and be a part of something their son was doing. They soon found themselves wanting to be connected to this thing, this community. My sister was the first to trust Jesus around 2000. My mom was converted in 2002. My Dad was always more distant. He was always interested in talking about all things biblical, but when we moved to where he stood with God things shut down.

Dad laughing

My Dad,  a very private man, came to love and be loved by the church. In fact, many assumed he was a Christian because of his regular attendance and gracious spirit. But if anyone would ask, he'd explain that he is not a believer. Until earlier this year. As our conversations about the gospel continued he became more open, and I could see my father being drawn to Christ. Turns out what was holding him back was the gravity of his own sin. He knew he couldn't measure up and saw his own unworthiness. This year my dad finally saw and embraced the good news that Christ's death atones for and conquers all sin. He is repentant and believing and being transformed by the grace of God.

dad_2008

Since his conversion he has been reading incessantly. In the past month he has read Keller's, The Prodigal God, Piper's, Don't Waste Your Life, Dever's, What Is a Healthy Church?, Anyabwile's, What Is a Healthy Church Member?, and he's pages away from finishing just finished Grudem's, Bible Doctrine (and is half way through Driscoll's Vintage Jesus.) I believe Keller's book was his favorite, but he also really enjoyed Grudem's Bible Doctrine. What makes this so compelling is that my Dad hasn't read books for years, and finds reading difficult due to Huntington's Disease.

So, my dad is a Christian. I've prayed for hs salvation for 19 years and am now focused on helping him to grow in grace. I just hope I can keep up with him!