Jump Start for Dad
For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
Today’s jumpstart has been hacked. Don’t be alarmed. This is Roger’s son Jordan. Dad’s 60th birthday is on Sunday (August 20 th ). Dad, you’re always writing such kind words for others, and so I thought for your upcoming birthday, I’d write a few words for you.
Let’s just start with some numbers. You’re turning 60 years old. You and mom have been married for 37 years. You have four children, each of whom is married, 7 grandchildren (with one on the way). You have been preaching for over 37 years. That means you’ve preached over 3,700 sermons, written nearly 2,000 bulletin articles, taught countless Bible classes and personal studies, and as of today you have written 1914 jumpstarts. Looking at all those numbers – that’s impressive! I know it must bring a smile to God’s face.
A common question I get about you is, “Is he the jumpstart guy?” After saying yes, they always follow up by saying, “How does he do it?” Usually I say, “I have no idea.” But I see it. God has given you a gift. You have such an incredible eye for the Scripture – to take something that would seem so simple to all of us, and yet you pull out such depth from each verse. That comes from all that hard work, all those years of studying the Bible. You have such a way with words. You’re a gifted writer, an incredible preacher, and a wonderful example of what it means to be a servant of God.
Without fail, whenever I’m traveling and introduce myself to someone new, they’ll ask, “Are you Roger Shouse’s son?” I’m always so proud to say yes. Your reputation is far reaching. Your preaching, writings, and example have touched the lives of so many people. Because of you, people have come to know Jesus. Because of your teaching, churches are stronger. You’ve stood for the truth, and proclaimed the gospel. You’ve helped thousands of people start their day with Christ. What a difference you’ve made in this world! You’ve always been my favorite preacher.
I can speak with confidence about the lives of 4 you’ve forever changed: Nathan, Sarah, Jordan, and Joel; your children. None of us would be where we are, or who we are were it not for you, Dad. Because of you we all have a love for music, especially the Beatles. The love of reading, the competitive drive in sports, the love of chocolate and popcorn, even down to a love for color (and crazy socks), it came from you!
I think of the passage in 1 Thessalonians 2 about Paul’s preaching, and I think of you. You preach with such passion and love – like a father towards his children. That’s something we have seen firsthand, not just your preaching from the pulpit, but the sermon’s you’ve preached through your love and instruction as a father.
Nothing we could give you could compare to the gift you’ve given your children. You taught us Christ. You modeled grace. You instilled in us a love for God and His Word. You taught us to live for Jesus every day and everywhere. You showed us what it meant to be a husband, a loving spouse. You formed in us a servant’s heart through encouraging us to have open eyes toward the needs of others. You taught us to love the church, and to be active in whatever local congregation we are a part of. You taught me how to preach (for which I’ll forever be thankful). You pointed us to God. You charged us to walk in a manner worthy of His glory.
And here we are – grown up, married to godly spouses, active in the Lord’s church, raising our own children to love and serve the Lord. That’s because of you and mom. We are your sermon! We are your “epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;” (2Cor 3:2). Thank you for showing us the way. Thank you for lovingly and patiently lead us to Christ.
We see you now and smile. We see you as a grandfather to 7 grandkids who adore you. Because of you and mom, there’s a whole new generation that will come to know and love the Lord. I speak on behalf of your family in saying that we love you so much, and that we are so proud of who you are and what you’ve done in the Lord’s kingdom, and in our lives.
I know you’ll receive lots of gifts for your birthday, and for certain that you’ll have a chocolate cake, but the best gift I have to offer you is to let you know how much I love you, and how honored and blessed I am to be your son. You’re my source of wisdom and inspiration. You’re my mentor, my hero; I’m so proud to call you my dad. I am who I am today because of you. When I grow up, I want to be like you.
I love you Dad. Happy birthday.