It’s actually not until this coming Sunday, but tonight we totally surprised my dad with a 70th birthday party involving friends and family. The party was hosted on the north side of Orlando on the campus of First Baptist Sweetwater, a local church expression with which Dad served as interim pastor for about 1 and 1/2 years before my mom died.
Those special folks, including John Holloway and Billy Joe Thompson, conspired with me to pull it off. My brother and his wife and kids, my wife and our kids, and many family and friends were able to be there to surprise him.
And he was totally surprised!!! It left him speechless, but only momentarily. And even then he declared to the crowd of loved ones, “This is my 70th birthday. I can tell you that in 70 years this is my first surprise party.” My brother looked on with tear-filled eyes. Cameras flashed. Memories made. It was a reaping of beauty from a man who has cultivated into so many lives for 70 years now.
If I had to select three main ways that Dad has cultivated into his family, they would be summed up with these:
1. Lead with grace always.
2. Say yes more than you say no.
3. Love deeply and generously with no regrets.
Lord, please help me to cultivate daily in these ways into my family. I know it is very hard to continue to give grace when it is taken for granted, but help me to do it. You know how very well.
Thanks Dad for how you have cultivated into us. Happy Birthday!!!