Tag Archives: Will Graham

Kingdom Impact: A Message From Will Graham

Will Graham Guest Post(1)

The man behind the wheel was an alcoholic. His marriage was broken. He was angry and bitter, and he didn’t mind one bit showing his disdain to the people who climbed into his vehicle.

The year was 1959, and Ron Baker was one of many Australian bus drivers who had been hired to transport people to and from my grandfather’s Crusade at the Sydney Showground. Night after night he put up with his riders singing hymns and worshiping. He’d drop them and sit in his seat stewing until the doors opened and his bus filled again with jovial people who were excited about what God was doing in their city.

Mr. Baker’s wife attended the Crusade and she committed her life to Christ. The following week, Mr. Baker found himself in the same stadium to which he had begrudgingly brought others. When the invitation was given, Mr. Baker walked forward.

God radically transformed Mr. Baker’s life following his salvation. He gave up those things that were poisoning his body, mind and marriage. He pursued theological education and became ordained.

As I contemplate the story of Ron Baker, I’m left with three thoughts.

1)      There are a lot of Ron Bakers out there. We pass by them every day; people who are hurting and broken, and probably know it. Their addictions control them, their marriages are fractured, and their hearts are far from God. In Mr. Baker’s case, he flat-out hated Christians, yet deep down he was searching for hope. Once he found it, it changed his life and eternity.

2)      As I approach an evangelistic outreach, I often pray that God would raise up “the next Billy Graham” from the people who respond to the invitation. I pray for the person that would reach the world with the Gospel. Mr. Baker, however, is proof that even if a person doesn’t reach millions, they can and do influence others, passionately sharing the Gospel to those around them.

3)      Evangelism is vertical. Mr. Baker and his wife made individual decisions for Christ, reconciled their marriage, and began living for Him. Their children were then raised in a Christian home and went into ministry. Mr. Baker’s grandchildren were raised by godly parents and began relationships with Jesus. Entire generations can be impacted when people turn to Christ.

It’s easy to think that a heart is too callous to be pierced by the Holy Spirit. We may believe that our neighbor, our co-worker, or the bus driver for that matter, could never find hope in Christ or be used by God to reach others. The story of Ron Baker, however, shows that God can reach and use anybody. We just have to do our part in sharing the Good News with them.

Blessings,

Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

A Thanksgiving Message from Will Graham

Will Graham Guest Post

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

I really do appreciate Thanksgiving. What’s not to like? You get to enjoy time with family, a day full of football, and—of course—food. More than just food, it’s good food. And there’s often a lot of it.

It’s true that many of us will be feasting on significant portions of tasty treats on Thanksgiving, but as we look ahead to this wonderful time of year, I’d like to focus on a different type of hunger.

While food that nourishes our body is good, it is nowhere near as eternally important as that which nourishes the soul. We need something that will feed the spiritual hunger that is within us.

My grandfather, Billy Graham, often said that there’s a “God-shaped hole” inside each of us. It’s that space that many people try to fill with wealth, possessions, sex, drugs, alcohol, work or relationships.

The problem is, the things of this world are fleeting, they’re broken, and they’ll eventually let you down. Money and belongings can be ripped away from you in a moment. Relationships falter. Drugs and alcohol wear off and leave you right back where you were, or worse.

There’s a beautiful passage in the book of Psalms that I’ve grown to love. “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9, NKJV).

It’s such a simple sentence, but it encompasses all that mankind has been seeking for millennia. It is God who fills us up. He is the One who refreshes our soul and dwells in our innermost self, meeting those needs and desires that seem to be so elusive. We hunger for Him, and He alone satisfies.

Let me ask you this: What are you filled with today? Are you consumed with bitterness and anger? Do you feel like you’ve gotten a raw deal in life? Are you chasing the things of this world to fill an emptiness in your soul? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

If so, I’d encourage you to seek God and the goodness that He brings. Rather than being consumed with the temporary and broken, you could be filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Draw close to God, let Him satisfy your longing and hungry soul, and you’ll truly have something to be thankful for this year!

Bless you,
Will Graham

Reaching The Next Generation: A Message From Will Graham

mi-pham-151954 sm girl with Bible sm blogThe stats are alarming and discouraging. According to a Barna report from 2016, “Nearly six in ten (59%) young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away, and the unchurched segment among Millennials has increased in the last decade from 44% to 52%.”

It is incredibly important to engage with young people today in a way that encourages a real, authentic and life-changing relationship with Christ. It’s possibly more important than ever!

What’s the answer to these problems? It’s more than simply dragging your child to church until they’re old enough to run the other way.

It begins first with living the life you want your child to live. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV). Parents, I would encourage you to take this to heart and invite Jesus into your life and home. Make sure your faith is more than lip service. Allow Him to direct what you see, hear, discuss, and pray as you go through your day. Love your child with the grace-filled love of Christ.

Second, disciple the children in your care—both at home and in the church—and encourage them as they learn and grow in the faith.Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them (the words of the Lord) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).

You only have a limited amount of time with your children before they are sent out into the world. Never miss the opportunity to impart Scripture and sear the Word of God on their hearts.

Similarly, pastors and youth workers, Sunday morning or Wednesday night might be the only time some of your young people are exposed to the Gospel. When church or youth group is over, they may go back to very difficult lives in homes where the name of Christ is never spoken. Disciple your youth. Feed them a healthy diet of truth from the Scripture, tackle the tough issues, and mentor them as much as you can in the limited time you have.

Finally, if the children and young people in your life have not yet made a decision for Christ, pray and watch for opportunities to present the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). As you pray, God will soften their hearts, break down barriers, and open doors for you. I truly believe it.

My friends, the Gospel is for every generation. Live a godly life, disciple your child, and reach the young people around you with the Gospel. Every day your youth are going into an incredible Mission Field. Equip them to shine the light of Jesus. There’s too much at stake to let this moment slip by!

Will Graham


Just Announced:

Sportscaster James Brown (J.B.), know for hosting The NFL Today on CBS Sports and Thursday Night Football on CBS Sports and NFL Network, and previously FOX network’s NFL pregame show, Fox NFL Sunday will be speaking at a two-day men’s event at The Cove on June 15-16, 2018.

What a great opportunity for you (if you are male) or someone you love to take their son, father, cousin, brother or men’s group from church.  Register now.

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Saturday Snapshot — Will Graham Teaches From The Book of 1 Samuel

Will Graham taught on 1 Samuel this past weekend, at The Cove.  From the disobedience of Saul, resulting in the loss of his position as king, to the anointing of David, a young shepherd boy, to the famous story of David and Goliath, Will taught how God’s Word shows us how to abide in HIS presence, grow in courage to obey HIM, and experience a life of adventure.

Here are a few snapshots from the weekend…

Always begin with prayer…
This is what happens in the green room before a seminar or concert.  Will, his worship team and emcee asking the Lord to speak.

Shoot Number 17097 - Cove

Shoot Number 17097 - Cove

Worship with Mark Christian (far right), Gina Kingsmore, Richie Kingsmore (at the piano), and Kameron Myers on the violin.

Shoot Number 17097 - Cove

While Will serves as Executive Director at The Cove, he has also been called to teach God’s Word and share the Gospel around the world.

BGEA SHOOT #17097 - Cove 2017

Will and Kendra Graham greeting seminar participants.

BGEA SHOOT #17097 - Cove 2017

After the seminar, worship leader, Mark Christian had some fun with his drone and captured a birds-eye-view of both the Training Center and the Chapel.

drone shot from Mark Christian at Wil Graham seminar in 2017

drone shot of chapel from Mark Christian at Wil Graham seminar in 2017

SAVE THE DATE:

If you’d like to attend Will’s seminar next year,  he will be teaching August 10 -12, 2018.  You can register for 2018 seminars beginning next month (September 2017).


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot — Will Graham Update

Will Graham not only serves as The Cove’s Executive Director, but has also followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Billy Graham, in answering the call to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

This week and throughout the weekend, Will is preaching in Peterhead, Scotland (3,838 miles from The Cove).   Please keep Will and all the souls that will attend his events this weekend in prayer.

Off to Scotland we go!  Enjoy!

Wil Graham in Scotland with litehouse
Will Graham
Wil Graham being prayed over in Scotland
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14
Wil Graham preaching in Scotland
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Scotland field near ocean Wil Graham preaching in Scotland Oct 2016

Scotland mossy rock near ocean Wil Graham preaching in Scotland Oct 2016 2 bright

boat view through stone arch in scotland wil graham preaching oct 2016Isn’t it fun to see God’s creation in other parts of the world?!

Join Will Graham at The Cove next year during his seminar August 11-13, 2017.


The changing colors of fall make this season one of the most beautiful times to visit our area.  Make sure to visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

 

Message from Will Graham: An Easter Message

EASTER MESSAGE WILL GRAHAM(1)

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with HIs wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

While the New Testament details the crucifixion extensively, my own personal belief is that there is no greater text dealing with the suffering of Christ than Isaiah 53:5. As we near Easter — a time in which we remember and celebrate the finished work of Jesus on the cross — I’m once again reminded of this emotional, poignant passage. This single verse shows so much about our own human brokenness, and Christ’s incredible sacrifice.

When Christ suffered, it was not pointless suffering, but it was in order to meet four of man’s greatest needs.

Forgiveness: Isaiah says that, “He [the Messiah] was pierced for our transgressions.” The word for transgression is that of rebellion or revolting. In other words, we have rebelled against God and His commandments. We’ve sinned against Him, and we need forgiveness. God’s answer is that He sent His only Son Jesus to shed His blood for our sins in order to forgive us of our sin. (See Hebrews 9:22)

Substitution: Man is not only sinful but he is guilty and deserves punishment for breaking God’s commandments. When we break laws in society, punishment is given to us. For example, we receive a fine when we are caught speeding. However, when we break God’s law, the punishment is death. (See Romans 6:23) Therefore, man’s need is not necessarily to get out of punishment or a reduction in punishment, but man needs a substitute. Jesus was pierced, crushed, chastised and wounded — for OUR sins. And because Jesus loved us, he chose to take our place. He became our substitute.

Peace: Since we broke the covenant with God, our natural human status is to be in conflict with the Lord; the opposite of peace. Knowing this, and knowing that we could never afford to pay for such a peace, God gave His Son to take the wrath the God in order to appease His holy nature. Man was in debt to God and God paid His own bill. Jesus’ chastisement on the cross enables us to have peace with Him.

Healing: Due to our own actions, we allow sin to come into our bodies and start to bring about death. This is spiritual death, and because it is spiritual, we need a divine cure: Jesus. Christ’s death on the cross allows spiritual healing to come to our dying souls. By His wounds we are healed.

Our sinful human nature is not a surprise to God. Yet in His love for us, He provided a way for us to find forgiveness, substitution, peace and healing through Jesus.

Perhaps as you read this, you are beginning to realize that you’ve never found forgiveness, or healing, or peace. You’ve struggled to do the right thing, trying to earn your way to heaven, only to fall time after time.

If this sounds familiar, now would be the perfect time to find out the true meaning of Easter, and place your faith in the One whose death and resurrection we celebrate this season!

God bless you.  — Will Graham

 

Will Graham: A Christmas Journey

A ChristmasJourney

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

Christmas is often called the most wonderful and magical time of the year. I have to admit that I feel the same way. I love the crisp weather, spending time with family, eating delicious meals and treats, and watching the kids open up their presents.

All those things are great, and there’s no reason to not enjoy them. Of course, if they are the only things on which I focus, I’m kind of missing it, aren’t I?

Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas, and Christmas is an incredible time to share Christ with others. There are many different ways to do this, but a few in particular that are very easy.

The Christmas Story: I understand that the kids want to get to the presents, but please don’t neglect to read the story of the birth of Jesus, found in Luke 2. This is the easiest way to instill in your children a love and appreciation for the meaning of Christmas, and it’s a nonthreatening way to introduce unsaved family to a key portion of Scripture.

Share Your Testimony: Do you remember that time in your past before Christ saved you, and how your life has changed since Jesus (the One whose birth we celebrate) came into your life? Take this opportunity to publicly share your gratitude for what He has done for you.

The Greatest Gift: Yes, we open gifts on Christmas, and it is incredible fun. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to explain the greatest gift of all. God so loved you and me that He sent His only Son to us that holy night in Bethlehem. He came to redeem and save us. Best of all, that gift is free and available to everybody, regardless of their circumstances or past.

An important point to remember in all of this as you’re sharing the Christmas story, your own story, and focusing on the gift of Christ Jesus is this: An unopened present is an unaccepted present.

What good is it if I bring a gift to your house, put it under the Christmas tree, and you never open it? It might be wrapped in the most beautiful paper and tied with the finest of bows. It could be a one dollar trinket or the deed to a mansion. But until you open up that gift, until you accept it, you have not yet received it. It’s not yours.

The same is true of Jesus. He’s standing with His arms wide open. He’s knocking on the door. But He must be received. My friends, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life was accept that gift.

This Christmas, don’t miss the opportunity to share the Savior with your family and friends. In doing so, don’t let the moment pass without inviting them to open the present and accept the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Will Graham

Will Graham: 4 Ways to Support and Encourage Your Pastor

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director

People often compare me to my grandfather. They may say that I look a little like him, or that I sound like him. They ask if I study his preaching style to make my delivery similar to his.

Wil and Billy Graham

Not many people, however, pick up on one similarity that has nothing to do with genetics. Before beginning our evangelistic ministries, both my grandfather and I served as pastors of local churches.

In the early 1940s, after graduating from Wheaton College, my grandfather became pastor of a church in nearby Western Springs, Ill. He preached whole-heartedly and watched his congregation grow, even as he understood it was temporary and felt a growing passion in his heart for evangelism.

Similarly, as I was finishing my studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., I was called to lead Wakefield Baptist Church, a church plant of Bay Leaf Baptist Church, where I had been a pastoral intern.

I must admit that I did not want to be a pastor. I committed my calling to God and told him, “Whatever You want me to be, whatever You want me to do for the Kingdom, I’ll do it. But please don’t make me a pastor!”

It’s not that I didn’t respect the pulpit and pastorate. Far from it! I have always had a great admiration for the saints who lead their flocks week in and week out.

But from my perspective, pastors were underappreciated and underpaid, serving long and thankless hours only to hear complaints because the message was too long or too short, the music was too contemporary or not contemporary enough. You get the picture.

Despite my misgivings, when Dr. Ron Rowe, a wonderful friend and mentor of mine, suggested I become an intern in his church, I listened to his counsel. He suggested that I may eventually end up working for my father at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) or Samaritan’s Purse, and that both organizations work closely with the local church. He thought that serving in a church would give me a good understanding and help me later in my ministry.

I became the reluctant pastor. And, my friends, I loved it! I loved almost everything about being a pastor; the congregation, the staff, the deacons and leadership teams, and opening up God’s Word every week to boldly proclaim His truths.

When the day came that I felt called to leave my church and help my father at the BGEA, I sat down at my desk and wept. Here I was in a calling I had done my best to avoid, and now I could hardly bring myself to leave. But when God tells you to go, you go.

Why am I sharing all this? It’s because October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and – as a former pastor – I want to encourage you to go out of your way in the coming weeks to encourage and uplift your pastor.

Have you ever considered how much your pastor gives, and the sacrifices that he and his family make? In many churches, the pastor is not just the preacher, but also the accountant, janitor, chaplain, librarian and counselor. He rejoices with young couples as they pledge their lives to each other, beams as he cradles an infant for dedication, and cries with families who have lost a loved one. He’s on-call 24/7/365.

Burn out is a real thing, and a real risk, when we go too long without rest. It’s no different for your pastor. He needs time to be alone in the Word, not just working on a sermon, but being filled with the Holy Spirit and the full counsel of God. He needs time away with just his wife and family to recharge and be rejuvenated for the sake of the ministry.

There are several things you can do to support and encourage your pastor this month:

  1. Pray. I’m sure most of you pray for your pastor. Thank you for doing that. If you aren’t making your pastor a focus in your prayer time, commit to do that this month. Tell your pastor that you’re praying for him.
  2. Say something. A word of affirmation and encouragement costs you nothing, but I guarantee it means so much more than you can imagine to your pastor. Tell him how much you appreciate him and his family.
  3. Break down the walls. Disagreements can arise that build up walls between people in the congregation, and between people and the pastor. I had to deal with it in my church, and my grandfather dealt with it in his church. Make Pastor Appreciation Month a time of reconciliation, where you put aside the differences and focus together on the Gospel.
  4. Provide an escape. If possible, show your pastor how much you appreciate him by surprising him and his family with a brief time of renewal. Perhaps you have a deacon in the church who can preach for a Sunday, or maybe you can offer an extra day off during the week along with a hotel stay in a nearby city that will allow him to get away to relax.

At the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, we’ve decided to make pastors a priority as well. We’ve developed Leadership Renewal Retreats which are three-day events specifically designed to refresh and rejuvenate pastors, encouraging them in their ongoing ministries. The program, lodging and meals are all free for qualified pastors and spouses. We hope that your church and pastor can take advantage of this great opportunity.

My friends, as a former pastor I can attest the great blessing it is to lead a congregation, but I can also stand here and say clearly that it isn’t easy. There are struggles. This month, show your pastor how much you appreciate him in whatever ways you can.

Will Graham
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Click here for more information  and to register for a Leadership Renewal Retreat or a Pastors’ Institute (both free for pastors and their spouses) at The Cove.

If you would like to be a blessing and give to the Leadership Renewal Retreat project, click here.

 

What’s Happening at The Cove – August 2015

COMING TO august

I lift up my eyes to the hills. from where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord,  who made heaven and earth. The Lord is your keeper;  the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day,  nor the moon by night.”
Psalm 121: 1-2, 5-6

Make plans to attend a retreat or  The Cove this summer. Click on an event for more information and see what’s happening here during the month of August!

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS(1)

Click on the link below for August dates or call 1-800-950-2092.
August Personal Spiritual Retreats
Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat with John Parrish,  August 3-6, 2015

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS

An Evening at The Cove -  Join us for dinner, concert and meet & greet with Laura Story,  August 6, 2015

When People Whine, A Prophet Prays, and God Speaks 
with Will Graham,  August 7-9, 2015
Lodging is full for this event, but we do have seats available in the auditorium.

Finding Power for Life 
with Jonathan Falwell,  August 11-13, 2015
Lodging is full for this event, but we do have seats available in the auditorium.

Grace Upon Grace
with Lloyd John Ogilvie,  August 14-16, 2015
Note: This event will mark Dr. Ogilvie’s final time speaking at The Cove, so we plan to make this a special time of celebration for him.  

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing
Ron Whittemore with David Gaines,  August 18, 2015

The Unexpected Adventure of Being Salt and Light
with Lee Strobel,  August 19-21, 2015

Seasons of the Soul: Overcoming Trials and Dealing With Tension 
with Pedro Garcia,  August 21-23, 2015
Lodging is full for this event, but we do have seats available in the auditorium.

An Evening at The Cove -  Join us for dinner, concert and meet & greet with Jason Crabb,  August 23, 2015

Not I, But Christ
with Wayne Barber,  August 28-30, 2015

©FRONIERGROUP.BGEA2007_2645d

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A Father’s Day Message from Will Graham

Wil and Kendra Graham and family pic 2013
Will and Kendra Graham and their three children.

Never Take Fatherhood Lightly
Will Graham, Executive Director at The Cove

Fathers, ours is one of the most awesome and rewarding callings in life.

There are so many blessings that come with being a daddy: watching our children grow; teaching them (and having them soak up those lessons like little sponges); seeing their personalities begin to take shape; and the beautiful fleeting moments throughout the day that make you smile and thank God for your family.

I love my wife and three children with all of my heart and can’t believe how blessed I am to be a husband and father. I know you feel the same way.

Hopefully you already model your parenting after our Heavenly Father, but – on this Father’s Day – I thought it would be worthwhile to go back and look at a few of the traits that God exemplifies, which we as the earthly caretakers of our children, should emulate.

First, God loves us, just as we should love our children. God loves us with an all-consuming, sacrificial love that knows no bounds. He sent Jesus as a living sacrifice because of how much He loves us. Do you love your children with a sacrificial love?

Would you be willing to lay down your life for your son or daughter? In Romans 8, Paul writes that there is nothing on earth or in heaven that can separate us from the love of God. I find God’s love for broken sinners like us to be an incredible thing.

Second, God provides for us, just like it’s our responsibility to provide for our children. I understand that times get tough, but we also realize that our role as fathers is to make sure our kids have what they need (not what they want, necessarily, but what they need).

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us not to be worried or anxious, because God will provide for us. We as fathers, in turn, should not take lightly the responsibility of providing for our own children.

Third, God disciplines us, just as we must discipline our own children. Discipline is not an easy topic, is it? Of all the things I love about fatherhood, discipline is not really one of them. You want your child to be happy and care-free, but a loving father also must discipline his child in order to raise him correctly.

Again, God is our example in this: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12, ESV). In fact, there are many verses in the Bible which show that – when done correctly – discipline isn’t an act of aggression, but an act of love that could ultimately save your child’s life.

Finally, God comforts us, just as we should comfort our own children. How many times has your child come up to you crying and hurting, either with a physical wound or an emotional one? You’ve lost count, right?

Sometimes it’s necessary to use the opportunity to encourage them to be strong, because life will not always be easy. But often we have the wonderful blessing of simply wrapping our child up in our arms, holding them tightly, and comforting them. It’s this image that I picture when I read Psalms like “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (9:9, ESV) and “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (46:1, ESV)

Our heavenly Father is the rock to which we cling. Are you the same for your child?

Our heavenly father loves, provides, disciplines and comforts us, and this is just a start. Entire books have been written about God being the perfect example for us as fathers raising our families.

My friends, just as God loves us so much that He pursues us relentlessly despite our human wickedness – so much so that He sent Jesus to die on our behalf – I encourage you, most of all, to love your children and view them as a precious gift worthy of all you have.

Never take this honor of fatherhood lightly.