Parents, 

Well as you can see Pastor Donny, Dad, and I have taken a break and escaped to the calm mountains of Colorado. We are thankful for friends and family who have allowed us such an opportunity!

This week at the Well, Mark Apel will be leading the students in their study. Mark told me the other day that he would be teaching on the Prodigal Son. I am excited for what the Lord has in store for them tonight. 

As I read over the story, the following verse stuck out to me: 

"I'll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I'm no longer worthy to be called your son..." Luke 15:18, 19

Having this week to spend with my own Dad, this verse resonates with me. The reality is at some point most every child feels the weight of failure. The battle to feel worthy of being loved. They come to a place where they feel like they have disappointed to such an extent that they should be separated from the family. Some may even be rejected literally. Its crazy to think that they could feel as though they have disappointed you so much and yet at the same time you never really know the weight of that burden they carry. This same feeling spreads to their own relationship with God the Father. 

Oh what an impact the love, approval, embrace of a Father can have on a son. So much that I believe we truly are unable to love others without first knowing and experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father. We would be silly to not see the impact earthly fathers have on their children and even their children's view of God's love. 

Chances are there will be many moments of rebellion, both major and minor. We pray not but we are sinful and broken so the chances surly increase. I pray that you each today pause to reflect on the way The Father first loved you. That you would remember the love, approval and embrace found in our Heavenly Father and in turn would be given great strength to do the same as your parenting journey continues. 

I am not sure Marks direction tonight but I pray desperately that the students would leave overwhelmed by the loving embrace of their Savior. That they would be reminded of their place as Sons and Daughters of the Most High. That their identity would be built on the faithful and merciful love of Christ as they journey through thick and thin. 

I am thankful for my time away today with my Dad. Cherish every moment you have with you student(s). Love because you were first loved. I pray that you and your family have a wonderful, joy filled week and I look forward to being back with you all Sunday. 

As we journey,

-R