Salvation is found in no one else [other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth], for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12 TNIV).
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)
This is a nine part series of articles for Heartlight. They are based on seven lessons I learned from my father that I want to pass on to my own adult children. My dad passed from this life twenty-seven years ago at the age of fifty-one. Some years I miss him more than others, especially in September, the month he died. I believe you will be blessed as well by these messages and so I gladly share them with my Heartlight readers.
Dear Zachary and Megan,
Your Daddy Al died twenty-seven years ago this month. Zach, you were just a little over two months old. Your grandfather was so proud to have you in the world. We brought you to Abilene to have your picture made with G-Daddy (your great grandfather), Daddy Al (grandfather), me (your dad), and you (our precious gift). Daddy Al was sick and near the end of his life, but he very much wanted us to get this four generation picture done before his death. G-daddy was 75, Daddy Al was 50, I was 25, and you were newborn. Four generations of Ware men, all twenty-five years apart. How cool!
We got everything all set for the pictures, sat down together, and you had a significant "diaper malfunction" that required several of us to need to have our clothes washed! We had to come back the next day to try again. The awful stinky mess gave us a huge laugh when we needed it most and we were blessed to get the picture made the next day.
Megan, Daddy Al didn't have any girls — just "three hairy legged boys" as he referred to us. He so much wanted a granddaughter. He loved your mom so much because she was the first girl in the family to come along and help MiMi even things up. I know he is so proud of you, your accomplishments, and the godly young woman you are.
But, beyond all the sappy and sentimental stuff, I want to share with you seven lessons that Daddy Al taught me as he raised me. He wanted to pass on a legacy of faith and godliness. These memories came to me as I was reading John 4 and my thoughts were powerfully stirred to remember and relive so many things. So you might want to read through that chapter as you open your heart to the message of Jesus and some values your grandfather wanted you to have.
Principle One: Jesus is everything!
Principle one is simple, clear, and powerful! Jesus is everything. He offered the woman at the well the living water, the real water, and the only water that could satisfy her soul. When she found this living water in Jesus, notice what happens to her water jar. She leaves it by the well and goes back to share her story with the villagers — the very villagers who had ostracized and marginalized her. She risked their ridicule and their rejection to share this message of Jesus with them. Yet, somehow something had changed in her. They could see it and sense it. There was a ring of urgency and authenticity in her testimony that they believed. So they came to meet Jesus. And when they did, like the woman, they discovered that Jesus was God's Son. They came to believe that Jesus is everything!
Daddy Al taught me that Jesus is everything in many ways. He was always involved with youth or college students. Even though he was a pharmaceutical rep, his real gift was leading young people to Jesus. Over the years, there were hundreds impacted to follow Jesus because of him. Despite their frustration with church, he could point them to Jesus. He shared Jesus with teenagers and they could feel his love for them. They sensed his passion and urgency.
Daddy Al's urgency and passion were there because of his own experience. You see, when he was high school, Daddy Al was putting off his own commitment to follow Christ and be baptized. One of his best friends was following his example. They had talked about confessing Christ and being baptized together, but they put it off. They wanted to sow a few more wild oats. Yet one horrible night, a few minutes after Daddy Al's good friend drove away from the drive in hamburger joint, he heard an awful crash. Daddy Al rushed down the street to find his friend bleeding profusely from his neck. He put his hurt friend in the car and some other guys tried to drive them to the nearby emergency room. Daddy Al was putting pressure on the place his friend was bleeding. Unfortunately, this friend died in his arms.
Even though your granddad confessed Christ as Lord and was baptized a few weeks later, he never lost that nagging sense of "What if I had done this sooner?" Daddy Al's passion and urgency to help teenagers and young adults meet Jesus was stirred by this experience. It helped him walk me through the death of one of my good friends with whom I had tried to share Christ in high school. Daddy Al helped me see it as the fuel God would use to have me share Jesus with others even more passionately. For after all, Jesus is everything.
We had planned on me going to a private university for years, but I was worried about the cost and where the money would come from to pay for it. Daddy Al's job seemed uncertain. We sat at the kitchen table and he prayed and turned all this over to the Lord to work out. After the prayer, your Daddy Al looked at me with his tired eyes, but clinched jaw and said, "Phil, for 25 years I have served the Lord and he has never let me down. I do not have any doubts that he will see us through this time and get you through your college years." And he did.
I received several scholarships; dad's company kept him employed and helped him get treatment. He lived to see me graduate from both high school and college. He did your mom's and my wedding. When we did his funeral, it was hard, but joyous. We sang toe tappers and heart tinglers. They were his songs — songs of faith, joy, emotion, and hope. They reminded us that Daddy Al believed first and foremost that Jesus is everything! It was his guiding principle. I pray it will also be yours.
With all my love,
Who most impressed on you the truth that Jesus is everything? (Why not take some time and write them a note of appreciation? Or if they have gone on to be with the Lord, why not let their spouse or one of their children or grandchildren know how important they were to your faith development?)
What does it mean to you for Jesus to be everything?
Why not share your answers to the previous two questions on my blog: