Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finally 16

Hebrews 12: 1 - 3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

For obvious reasons, I don't often write about events that I have not witnessed with my own eyes. However, as I watched first my dad, and then John and Andrew return from an evening of celebration of Andrew's 16th birthday, how could I not share this wonderful event with you?

I felt slightly left out as the night was taking shape. John took care of the invitations (I never saw the official list), RSVPs (I was never really told an official count), reminders, etc. Every male, older than Andrew, who has played a role in his life, was invited. Knowing that many of the invitees would be unable to attend either due to distance or schedule, each person was asked to write a note of encouragement, wisdom, or advice to Andrew as he continues on this journey from childhood to manhood. The men present last evening read these words to Andrew. Some came with a gift as well; either symbolic, relational, or fun. Many came with a card, but only because their wives told them they couldn't go to a birthday celebration without a card (and without women present they were all very happy to admit this fact).

The evening was advertised as one of messages to Andrew and desserts for all. The desserts, or course, were prepared by the women in Andrew's life - his mother, grandmother and sister. I'm not sure how fair that was since we weren't invited but I'm just going to assume that when Mariana, Eden and Hope turn 16, the desserts will be made by John, my dad, and my sons. Thankfully they have a few years to work on their culinary skills, and I have a few years to lose the weight I gained yesterday by sampling everything that we made - several times.

If you happen to be one of those men who was invited, but you have not had time to write down some thoughts, please do that. You may think that you don't have anything to share, but I can tell you that as I read through each message Andrew received, either sent to John before the party or read to Andrew last night, each person defintely had something to share. There were recurring themes and unique themes; each one important and special. It's probably a good thing I was not invited as I would have gone through a whole box of tissues throughout the course of the evening.

I wanted to share a few of the comments here but when it got down to it, I realized how difficult the task of choosing just a few would be. Not to slight anyone and keeping the authors confidential, here is my best attempt at choosing messages which summarize the evening:

"Andrew, through my walk with God, I developed three P's in my life: Patience, Perseverance, and Prayer. I pray that God continues to lay His hands upon you, guiding you through your life...giving you patience. I pray He takes you on this wild adventure helping you endure your suffering and struggles in life, teaching you strength in your faith, wisom, and love...giving you perseverance. I see your life path right now and know God is lighting the way. I pray that God brings your life great satisfaction!"

"There is one main message I want you to receive tonight, and to remember in the future: that is to remember who you are, because of whose you are. Most men face an 'identity crisis' at some point or another in their lives. There will always be voices willing to tell you what you can't do - that you are not good enough, smart enough, tough enough or that you just don't have what it takes. These lying voices may even try to convince you that you are not loved, nor even worthy to be loved, that you are worthless, irrelevant or insignificant. But the God who created the entire universe with His words, took the time to knit you together in your mom's womb and He would say otherwise...There is only one voice that matters - God's voice. Listen to what He says about you, because His voice is the only voice of truth."
"As a young man growing up...I certainly knew who God was. I went to church every Sunday. But I did not have reverence for God; I did not fear him a bit. Looking back at those years, I can still remember vividly, with much regret, many of my ungodly behaviors that did later affect my adult life. My prayer for you Andrew, is that when you reach my age you do not have such regrets. God does reward godly behavior on this earth. But most importantly, he has prepared in heaven for those who love him an indescribable reward that "no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived. (1 Cor. 2:9)"

"'If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.' Mark Twain The quote is simple, but true! These words have served me well in that, if I am honest and truthful in what I say to people, I really don't need to remember what I've told them. I just rest assured knowing that I was honest with what I said. Hopefully you can find similar value in these words."

"So Andrew I challenge you to listen to God. Hear his voice. Talk back to him, praise him and give him the glory. Pray, and never stop. Have an on-going conversation wtih your best friend who holds the stars in his hands. Love your best friend with every fiber in your body, and learn to trust him with your life. When you know what is important, all else falls into place."

"Throughout high school and college you will be making many decisions that will affect everything else in your life forever. These choices involve the friends you make, the college and career you choose and potentially a girl that eventually will become your wife. It's like you have a fresh piece of paper with markers with no erasers. With each choice, you make a mark in the paper. You get to choose what your life's picture will be. As that picture emerges, you will begin to understand that each decision you make puts a mark on your paper. Great choices help make a wonderful picture, while poor choices can cause some unwanted smears or smudges."

"Tonight I pronounce you with the title of young man. You are no longer a child, but you are now an adult with all the rights and privileges that it brings you. And as an adult, I challenge you with this passage of Scripture:
Romans 12
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance iwth the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teacher, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others,let him give generously; if it is leadrship, let him goern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Andrew, set yourself apart from others as a man of God fully prepared to take on the righs and privileges and responsibility of manhood. You have heard these men share tonight about what it means to take on this role. Learn from them, and also learn from others and from Scripture. use your gifts for the Kingdom of God, and strive to hone them for the glory of God...Live the role that God has destined you to be."

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