It’s here.  (Technically, for a few more minutes.)  Talk about cutting it close!

A day of enormous love and celebration for the men we love too much to even put into words and the importance of their presence and love in the lives of children everywhere.  Happy Father’s Day to my dad, the greatest man I’ve ever known.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers—hope you had the perfect day!

I would say this is a personal post, but what my dad does extends beyond our natural family.  He is a wonderful father to me and my two brothers, plus he’s a minister and spiritual father to so many.  Unlike a banker, when he comes home, he is still a minister.  It isn’t a hat to take off.  And you know what?  We benefited in countless ways because he stayed true to God.

I’m sharing the top five lessons I learned from my dad that were most significant for me—the ones that made the biggest difference in my life.  I know you can benefit from them, too.

FIRST, THIS IS MY DAD

He has a way of making you fall in love with the wonderful idea that you are somebody, that you can be a winner, and that you will never find a better life than the one with Jesus.  When catastrophes happen or things go wrong, you have a choice to make.  You can crawl underneath your desk and hide or you can learn from it and turn everything around.

He’s lived his life constantly growing in faith and helping others along the way through his selfless act of preaching—come rain or shine—the gospel God called him to preach.  And above all else, he is the most loyal friend and person to fight for you and have on your side that I’ve come across, and I’m so grateful to call him my dad.  He inspires me on a consistent basis, and his pure joy for teaching the Bible and waking up every day choosing to be happy that he serves God is one that I admire.  Not to mention his unwavering love for my mom.  It’s something to watch, and all these things are something to strive for—because there is nothing more important in his life than all his family and the work he was called to do.

“You have to have God first.  You have to think like a winner.  You have to bring these to life, together.  And then you have to make changes.  Continue to be a new creature in Christ.  And then bring those to life.  Keep going.”    –my Dad.

He’s never taken the easy road.  He’s always done what’s best for others.  It’s the life spoken of in Galatians 5 of the highest integrity and one that brings goodness and blessings to people.  It’s a life marked by compassion, love, mercy, forbearance, and above all else, honoring God’s call.

MY DAD’S STRENGTH + TOLERANCE

He has battled all the stuff that comes from being human plus plenty that has been unfair.  Whichever, he stayed on the path day in and day out without so much as a peep of questioning God.  Of course he’s a superhero in my eyes—always has been, always will be.

LESSON #1:  YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR THE WORD “NO”

Whatever you set out to do, you’re going to hear the word no.  Keep going.  Keep knocking on doors.  That’s how you’ll finally get to the door that God opens for you.  When you get there, it’s worth all the sweat.  The actual act of reaching your goals while having doors slammed in your face—isn’t so glamorous.  Just because one door closes, don’t be afraid to reach out again.  When you are able to take the no’s to get to a door that opens, really beautiful things happen.  God will bless you, but not with pixie dust.

I watched my dad succeed because he “did the work”.

Keep trying, and remember, do the work.

LESSON #2:  IT’S A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Despite when you try to spin everything in a good direction where you want it to go and make the best of situations, sometimes life still…well, kicks you.

My dad said something to me the other night about a “bump in the road” when he could have (seriously) called that bump, Mt. Everest.  It reminded me that he doesn’t look at adversity through physical eyes.  His mindset to overcome doesn’t depend on probabilities handed to him here.

He has something more.  Something much bigger.

It’s assurance that comes from talking to God and reading the Word, and we need these like we need water.

We need them because, life.

No one has to learn how to be happy when everyone is treating you grand and things are going spectacular.  But circumstances can change, and…

We hit walls sometimes.  We end up in places we’d rather not be and find ourselves begging and pleading for some peace and relief.  God always finds the perfect way to point out what we should be thankful for—and they are usually the things right in front of us.

I opened my eyes recently and saw my physical and spiritual family around me.  I reached for my dad to give him a hug and kiss and he returned it.

I can tell him stories, get his wise advice, hear his jokes.  Life always has some crazy life-altering tests to try our patience, faith, and spirit, and sometimes our lives will never be the same again, but we have time right now to live for God and to spend with each other.  That’s not a small thing.  It’s everything.

We can talk, pray, laugh, hold hands, hug, and even laugh at a few silly moments in this journey wherever we can find them.  These make the scary moments bearable.

Not easy.  Never, never easy.  But bearable.

That wasn’t said to drag down.  Not in the slightest.

It’s a huge celebration of my father–and maybe your fathers–who gave us what we need to survive.  Making sure your children are going to be okay?  What greater gift to give a child.

Hundreds of quotes tell us how we don’t grow in success, but rather in failure.  Dad taught me how to learn from falling, brush my knees off, and get back in the race.  In the really big picture, going through a trial is “a bump in the road”.

Later, it becomes a story.

(Maybe even a testimony.)

LESSON #3:  GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY

This may be the single greatest thing dad taught me, and truthfully, it’s closest to my heart.

I don’t ever remember being without Jesus.  My earliest memories include dad tucking me into bed telling me Jesus was there and He would protect me.  He studied the Bible.  People from his congregation would come over to our house for Bible studies, sitting around the table or in the living room as he taught scriptures.  They were genuinely excited to hear about things in the Word.  From a young age I knew it must be a very special book.

But he didn’t stop there, and (as I swallow a lump in my throat) I’ll tell him what his being a father to me means.  I hope he knows of ALL the things he’s sacrificed and done for me, there is one that stands out.

He taught me God’s love and mercy.

I went through something years ago in life that–I won’t lie to you–left me feeling crushed inside.  I would crawl into a shell and cry with no one knowing, no one seeing.  I later pushed people away.  Thankfully for me, my dad, mom, family, and friends in God were rock solid and stood by me praying when I needed it most.

My father is brilliant.  He always had endless amounts of wisdom.  He effortlessly finds the positive and puts it into perspective for all of us.  I wouldn’t be here without my dad.  I owe him everything.

I’ve come to realize a couple things I didn’t see until I made it to the winning side:  One, this life pulls us down, even when we beg it to stop (it’s not of God).  Two, through all the pain, we will feel joy again.

Back to the greatest lesson…

He taught me God’s mercy.  He taught me how to forgive and let go of anger.  He taught me how to be forgiven.

 “The past is dead and leads nowhere good.  Don’t live in the past, let it go, or it will drag you under”, he has said hundreds of times. 

That’s the secret.

You have to pour your heart out to God and ask His forgiveness.  Then forgive yourself.

Even forgive life for all the times it was cruel or sucker-punched you, and choose to be happy in spite of it.

It’s as simple as that.  Just choose.

LESSON #4:  STOP LOOKING AT THE JONESES

This is a big one.  Success could be sitting right on our front porch and we wouldn’t see it because we’re too busy looking at what everyone else has and complaining about what we don’t have.

He has lived his life, raised his family, run a school, and built a church based on this effective principle:

  “Work with what you have.  Focus on doing what God allows you to do and with what He gives you.  Don’t waste valuable time and energy worrying about what you can’t do or what you don’t have.”

His mission has never been about quantity or been driven by gathering people for the sake of boasting numbers.  The last 50 years, his calling and mission reflect quality—doing the absolute best job that God gave him to do—nothing more and nothing less.  He has NEVER coveted what other men, ministers, or churches have.

I have never seen anyone more full of honor and so grateful for every blessing.  He has been content and built with whatever God chose to give him.

Anyone who would say different, I’d call your bluff.

LESSON #5:  LOVE GOD’S PEOPLE MORE THAN YOURSELF.

Let me just show you one snapshot out of stacks of albums so you can see this for yourself.

He was in the hospital recently.  While he is never one to tell people how bad he feels—ever—I will say from my own perspective, if that had been me, I don’t know that I could think of anything or anyone else other than what he was dealing with.

Not him, though.  Not even close.

Even in this setting, his mind was on the welfare of his congregation, his family, uplifting conversations, and inspiring any visitors who needed a word of encouragement.

He said something one afternoon as a few of us were sitting around the room.  I was struck by the way he said it, the fact that it was on his mind at this particular time, and the love that came through his voice.  For him, this was the most normal thing—being concerned for other people despite his condition.

Like every year, he makes a way for our young people at school to go on an end-of-year trip.  Under the circumstances, he could have left it for others to worry about, but it mattered to him.  Taking care of our young people was a priority.

I jotted down what he said.

 “I want to make sure the kids have enough money to go on this trip, and that they have enough to have some extra if they need or want something.  They deserve it.  They are good kids.  I’m proud of every one of them.”  -our Elder

If you’ve ever wondered what a true Shepherd’s heart looks like, there you go 😉

WHY HE’S SUCCESSFUL

Two important reasons God blessed my dad:

  1. He always led by example.
  2. He always shared his blessings with others.

Maybe the most significant honor a man can receive is to be trusted with establishing truth in a place that’s safe and caring for all God’s children.  He founded a church and a school many years ago, and both have been beacons that guided people on their journey to heaven.  Both continue to thrive and are places for the people of God to grow in love and unity.  That sounds like everything.

Except is isn’t.

He has also lived the words he preached.  He has given until it hurt.  His faith has remained unshaken.

God has honored all of that.

THIS JOY HE HAS.

The world didn’t give it to him, and the world certainly can’t take it away.

Dad takes time to smell the roses.  He has happiness that spreads to all around him.  It’s hard to capture with words his love of living life and serving God, but if you ever meet him, or for those who know him, one thing’s for sure.  You won’t doubt it, and you’ll walk away with something good, something positive for your own life.

We got so many good things this weekend in church, and we couldn’t bear the thought of keeping it all to ourselves, so here’s a brief weekend update to get you started on your week.  

We’re going straight, down the narrow path, and we’re a family.  Elder took us through Ephesians 3, where family is a key word.  We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, we go through everything with each other.

It’s called love.

According to this chapter, there’s nothing like love—it keeps you rooted and grounded.  When you truly, really LOVE the Lord, your conscience will be your guide in all things.  To know the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge.

Elder said if the Bible had a capitol, it would be Ephesians 4.  It’s where we find unity, a ministry, the Body of Christ, the people of God, and who protects them.  It’s where we learn to be kind, tenderhearted, and pliable.  We are members of one another.

We’ve had to hold on tight to each other a time or two with this love from Ephesians.

And Lord help us all, let something happen and you’ll see how fast we can throw on the whole armor of God, strap on the helmet of salvation, and wield the sword of the spirit—all in love, faith, and unity, of course.

With God on our side, Elder has led us out of battles and through triumphs without grand noise and huge processions of display.  Another favorite of mine that my dad says, “He’ll do it again, and again, and again.”

Ephesians 3 and 4 are definitely our chapters 🙂

From Ephesians 3:21 and all of us, “To God be the glory!”

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “AN HONORABLE FATHER’S DAY

  1. It would be impossible to describe what Elder LaFleur means to me with just a few words, but this was a great summary of an even greater man of God.
    Not only has he taught me how to live a proper Christian life with his wisdom of the Scriptures, but also shown me how to live it through his remarkable example. His labor in the Lord has blessed so many people, myself included!
    The only way that I know to even begin to show appreciation for all his labor is to try even harder to live this life after the example that he’s shown.
    Happy Fathers Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No man has taught me more about life and living for God than Elder LaFleur. Sure, I have heard countless of his messages, but as S. Lisa demonstrates so clearly, the most important lessons are driven home by watching Elder LaFleur and knowing his manner of life.

    Paul said, “If I be not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye I the Lord.”

    If you have been around this “Family”, you know Elder LaFleur is a unique man of God and I am thankful to know him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well I don’t go there any longer but this man made an impression on me. I can’t explain in words how I feel about him. I think often about him. I love him. He is my family. Happy Father’s day Elder.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Growing up in today’s world many people grew up with dads, very few grew up with a father. I came to the area at 21, with little bringing up. The LORD AND THE USMC filled in some of those gaps… ,but there was still something missing…. I began attending OGA at that age, and my life changed immediately… but also through time. The Lord showed me what the Body of Christ was…and I found a family in Christ who had those characteristics that S. Lisa said it did. I found a True father in the Lord in Elder LaFleur and a sweet mother in the Lord in Sister Jean. They are the greatest examples I have ever known. Elder taught our pastors, ministry and us, to live by those same principles that S. Lisa spoke about. My family and I have always felt safe and taught through the life examples given to us by God! I’ve seen Elder suffer through many things, but I’ve never seen him unhappy. depressed, in despair, or discouraged! As S. Lisa said, his hope is always in God, His Word, and in The Body of Christ! He has always fought of the old nature of man in order to encourage the new man in himself and in others….every opportunity he can! Happy Father’s Day Elder!!….and Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers!

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  5. There are no mere words to express the impact God has made on my life through Elder Lafleur’s ministry, in particular, and the Body of Christ, in general. He truly “walks the walk” and I know that the guidance and encouragement he gives others spring from a faith in God forged in the fire of suffering that would have broken a lesser man. I was blessed with a loving natural Dad who raised me to know Jesus and I will always be thankful for my happy childhood. As a newlywed, the Lord graciously called me to this ministry which has totally defined the trajectory of my adulthood, my marriage, friendships and motherhood. As my “father in the Lord”, the Elder has my love, respect and loyalty. I am humbly grateful.

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