Learning from Dads

FWell, hello again….it has been a while. Family, work, and a week away at the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale Divinity School have kept me from posting for a while.

Today is Father’s Day. I am fortunate to have a great dad. For better or worse he has the nick name Yoda…not because he is short or looks like a Muppet, but because he is kind and wise. I am glad to say that we are close friends, he has always been one of the most important people in my life. He is a great role model for what a life looks like that is full of grace and truth. He introduced me to Jonathan Edwards who has been a spiritual father through his books and sermons for the last 20 years. He’s been in the hospital for the last 3 days. Thankfully, he will be fine. My tribe of women (aka my wife Mandi and our three girls) all visited him after church today. That made a good Father’s Day great.

I am also thankful for my father in law. He is one of the most humble, servant-hearted (is that even a word) people I know. And that’s a good thing too. Mandi’s mom has Parkinson’s disease. She got it when she was 50, she needs lots of help now. God set her up with one of his best for that. He is a great example of what it means to put the needs of others before yourself.

In addition to my dads, I have had great spiritual fathers too.

Dr. Frank James, a professor I had while I was a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He hit home for me the fact that good theology was both rational and relational, that good theology always led to good practice. Something I would find out later was central in the thinking of Jonathan Edwards.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was a spiritual father to me for the 6 years I knew him before he went to heaven. Charlie loved Jesus more than anyone I have ever personally known and he was the most thankful person I have ever met. He had a profound and deep impact on how I think and how I relate to people. His wisdom, humor, and even his communication style have become part of me. Outside of my father, he has probably influenced me more than any other single person. He got me hooked on C.H. Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, and Fénelon.

Steve Poole, who has been a pastoral mentor and friend for many years. A captain of grace and a fountain of wisdom, Steve has guided me through many hard times personally and pastorally. He is never afraid to tell me the truth and hold me accountable, but it is always packaged in grace and seasoned with salt. He has kept me focused on the important things: loving God, loving others, and making disciples.

I am who I am today because of my fathers and spiritual fathers, I am very thankful for a heavenly Father who has taught me so much through these men. What about you? How have your fathers and spiritual fathers shaped you? I would love to know.

Happy Father’s Day,



  1. Wishing you and your dad a very Happy, Blessed Father’s Day!! You are a spiritual father to many and God has blessed us by connecting us. Praying for your dad’s health. Please give him my blessings too. You are both examples of what Godly men should be. Much Love to you!!!


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