1. My dad sung the gospel to me. He didn't just tell me the gospel. He sang hymns to me while he rocked me in a rocking chair as a toddler, and he sang along with the Statler Brothers, Steve Green, Michael Card, and the Promise Keepers while spinning LPs and driving in the car.
2. On September 14, 1991, my dad (and mom) took my brother and I to see our second place Atlanta Braves play the first place LA Dodgers. Without any shame, my dad started the "Darr-ull" chant to mock the Dodgers' Darryl Strawberry. Darryl had gone 4-5 the day before, but on that Saturday evening after a long rain delay, Darryl went 0-5, and the Braves went on to victory--reclaiming first place. I was a little embarrassed at my dad's taunting at first until pretty much the entire stadium joined him. I'm certain that at some point I'll shamelessly embarrass my daughters the same way.
3. My dad taught me to say, "Roll Tide!" And he let my brother and I stay up to watch the 1993 Sugar Bowl National Championship game versus Miami. Plays from that championship game and my dad's reactions are etched in my memory forever.
4. When I was in middle school, my dad taught a youth bible study on the life of Joshua and Caleb from the book of Numbers. God gave Joshua and Caleb strength, courage, and faith to stand on God's promises even when there were giants in the land. And Caleb kept fighting when he was old. That Bible study showed me just how manly the Bible is.
5. My dad taught me theology. He taught me doctrinal truths that I still believe--that churches should be led by a plurality of elders and that God is sovereign in electing particular people to salvation. The local churches we attended growing up didn't teach or practice those truths but my dad taught them to me nevertheless. Dad has shown me that it's okay to disagree about such things and still cooperate / be an active member in a local church that isn't perfect. He shows me what it means to make the gospel the matter of first importance.
6. My dad taught me to to catch a football and shoot a backwards layup. And he told me his own personal sports stories to encourage me. The football story involved heading out into the street to catch a pass during a pick-up game in his neighborhood as a kid. Dad caught the pass and flipped over an oncoming motorcycle in the process. (I'd like to think that he held on to the ball.)
7. My dad laughs. A lot.
8. My dad was my high school Algebra 1 teacher. I got a B instead of an A in that class because I turned in a notebook late. Dad wouldn't let me turn it in at home. He has a strong sense of justice. He told me, "It wouldn't be fair to the other kids." I'm so thankful for a dad who stood on principles and taught me that the world doesn't revolve around me.
9. When I was a teenager, my dad taught me the Greek alphabet, and he showed me how to do a word study with Strong's Concordance and Gerhard Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (a reference set I later stole from him). I learned to love studying the Bible by watching him take out his Greek New Testament to prepare for Sunday School.
10. My dad confessed his sins to me. There have been times he's come to me and been honest about his sins even now that I've left home and live far away. I'm grateful for the way he's modeled vulnerability and humility.
11. My dad shows affection for my mom publicly. People would comment to them about it at church sometimes when I was a teenager. If they were hinting at something, my dad wasn't taking those hints. And I was never actually embarrassed about that. It was just mom and dad.
My dad is not perfect, but he's modeled the way for me to live as a Christian, a husband, and a father in so many ways. I'm thankful. Take time this week to tell your dad how thankful you are and then invite your dad to church this Sunday. Happy Father's Day!