My Fathers Day Talk
We have just celebrated Fathers Day in Australia, and my Pastor asked me to share my journey with the congregation.
The above image depicts a loving relationship with our earthly father and is a perfect image of our spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father. However, for many like me, our earthly father was not like this image, and my heart goes out to all of you today who are navigating a deep father wound.
Here are my best recollections of my father's wound and other tragedies that my Heavenly Father is in the process of healing:
I thank Steve for the opportunity to briefly give my testimony in the hope that many of you may be encouraged to go deeper into Jesus. There is no end to His gracious living water.
My name is Geoff Stroud, and I am 69 years of age and married to Linda. I am the youngest of six, with one brother and four sisters, with my mother being a full-time housewife and my dad an accountant at a Botany-based chemical factory. My teen years were scarred by a drunken but not violent father who would drink himself into oblivion most nights at the local club. He was also a heavy poker machine addict, losing most of his superannuation to this vice.
I did not communicate much with him except when I had committed some major offense, then I felt his wrath. He taught me next to nothing about life and fatherhood, and nothing about spirituality. He died of a heart attack in our backyard at 63 and left Mum alone for nearly 20 years until her death.
No one on either side of my family tree knew Jesus, and I am the only one of my siblings to find Jesus. I am the ugly duckling of my family, tolerated but please no conversations about God.
I was a rudderless ship in my twenties, filled with lustful eyes and adulterous thoughts. I fathered 3 children to my ex-wife, two of whom are locals and here today, and one who lives in Townsville.
And then tragedy struck.
On driving into Ballina at dusk to attend my eldest son’s sixth birthday dinner, I struck and killed a seven-year-old girl on the main road entering Ballina. My life went haywire after that for a couple of months, I lost my job as a sales rep for a local building company, and I could not get my bearings.
Then Jesus stepped in.
I had no idea who or what He was at that point. A man in a wheelchair, named Anders Halvorsen, came down his driveway to watch his kids alight the bus to school, the same school bus my two eldest boys were about to alight. He invited me into his home for coffee, and I was immediately stunned by the awards and photos on his walls. He informed me that his children were miracles, as a paraplegic this was not supposed to happen.
He had my attention.
He mentioned that he rarely goes down the driveway, but God had prompted him to go down the driveway this morning.
This was a God-ordained divine encounter, but I had no idea at the time.
He gave me several videos to watch and prayed for me, and I left that encounter with a nudge from God.
My then-wife and I decided together it would be best if I went back to Sydney for work and they would follow when I was settled. This I did and landed a great job in Sydney as an Accountant for a Parramatta Credit Union. I made visits back to Ballina every couple of weeks, a long 9-hour drive on Friday night after work. When it was time for the family to join me, I was told that they were not coming. Little did I know that my wife was in an affair with one of the married lecturers at the Uni where she worked. That was the end of my marriage and any decent shot at fatherhood myself.
About 6 months down the track, I had a visitor come to see me at my work. He was a missionary on his way to the Philippines and a friend of Anders Halvorsen, the paraplegic I met in Ballina. He gave me a gift of an NIV Study Bible from Anders.
When God wants you, He is relentless!!!
Eventually, a year later I found my way to Northside Community Church, a Church of Christ in Crows Nest where I was baptized and gave my life to Jesus. In my first Bible Study group I met my beautiful wife Linda, and together we have had three boys all here today. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in July.
I became an enthusiastic fan of Jesus at Northside, and I thought I was the real deal. I prayed the sinner’s prayer and was baptized.
What is an enthusiastic fan I hear you ask?
An enthusiastic fan is one who waves the flags when the team is going well but goes quiet when the opposition gets the upper hand.
Today, we have a divided and very quiet ecclesia as evil strengthens everywhere. Satan is no longer covert; he is right in our faces every day.
I stayed an enthusiastic fan for nearly 30 years, not even knowing there deep within the spiritual bowels of scripture was a deeper calling. About 5 years ago, that all changed.
One Sunday afternoon after church in one of my down periods of faith, Jesus rocketed me to attention through Andrea Bocelli singing the Lord’s Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Look it up on YouTube, simply stunning. I truly ingested the spirit of God that day and Jesus became my Master.
I have been in spiritual acceleration ever since. I see clearly the nature of the spiritual battle from which we are all largely disengaged and the spiritual truths contained in scripture jump off the page.
I think a lot about the legacy my father left me. He was a broken man at his death, but still, he did not know how to love. What a tragic life he was. I unfortunately have inherited his worst personality trait. Only recently this ugly trait has surfaced again as I have taken three steps backward after all that Jesus has done for me. My wife has suffered my unloved father wound all our married life in some shape or other.
I am now focused on the legacy I will leave my children and grandchildren, and I write a blog on the Substack writers’ platform where I express my spiritual mind unfettered by outside influences. There will be much more to come as I focus on love and truth and what it means to be a born-again believer.
My message to everyone here today is to search deep in your heart for the things of the Spirit. Your Heavenly Father is waiting for you. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, but there is no door handle on the outside. You must open the door from the inside and let Him in.
For the fathers here today, there is only one teacher of true fatherhood: Jesus in You.
Seek Him first, and all worldly issues become unambiguous.
My heart is sold out to Jesus.
Jesus plus ZERO is all that we should earnestly aspire to.
1 Corinthians 2 tells us we have the spiritual mind of Christ, let us all submit to His mind.
Then and only then will God’s voice become a beautiful symphony.
I love Yahweh with all my heart, and I wish the same for everyone here. The greatest exchange you will ever make awaits those who open the door.
Your life for His.
Faith is kinetic in nature and an action word. If you know the answer before you start, it is NOT faith. Go forward, even though you have no idea of what is coming.
Without movement towards God, faith dies. Let us every day move our spirit closer to God in love and truth.
Love and truth are like peas and carrots. Inseparable and delicious in harmony with each other.
Thank you all for indulging me.
My hope is that within this testimony you find Jesus, the Great Healer. I am a living testimony of His grace.
Galatians 2:20 KJV I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Your indwelt spiritual slave to Jesus