Dear Chandler, As your dad, I am very proud of you. High school graduation is a rite of passage in our culture--the transition from childhood to adulthood. Your graduation ceremony in late May from Lake Mary High School included lots of references to that fact.
But what does it mean to be a man in an ever-changing world? More important, what does it mean to be a Christian man who will have an impact?
Your graduation makes me reflect on my own graduation in the late 1960s. That was the era of the Vietnam War and the hippie movement. It was just before Roe v. Wade and about the time the gay-pride movement started. My, how things have changed!
But it was also the beginning of the Jesus movement, which transformed a generation. The charismatic movement, too,was just getting off the ground. And though values in our country seem to be eroding right before our eyes, at least evangelicals have a place in the public forum today that they didn't have when I was your age.
Back then I wasn't interested in these spiritual trends. As I looked ahead, I had a lot of self-doubt. I remember wondering: Am I enough? Do I have what it takes to make it?
And I remember struggling with my faith--something that wasn't settled until the middle of my university career, a year or so before I met your mother. Little did I know then that I'd spend my life spreading the gospel through the written word by founding a media company.
When you were born, I had been publishing Charisma for 12 years. Your older brother, Cameron, was 11.
It has been fun to watch you grow up. Through the years, because of our work, we've dragged you along to countless meetings, services, and dinners with leaders, and you've taken it all in stride.
You accepted Christ at an early age. You've been active in your youth group. You've also had the opportunity to travel, sometimes with the family, sometimes with just me. You've seen poverty in Africa and South America and had many interesting experiences that most people in your generation have never had.
You've developed your own set of interests, first by taking up drumming. A friend in the Church of God in Christ believed you had an anointing and helped you learn rhythm. Now you play at large conferences, in some recording sessions and at church. And you earn pretty good money for a teen by giving drum lessons.
You are creative and able to inspire. When you took up skateboarding, you got your buddies to join you. And you know how to make people laugh. Maybe that's why you are listed in your high school yearbook as "Most Likely to Become a Comedian."
Your brother is already influencing his generation through his Relevant Media Group. What will you do?
We've had prophecies over your life since you were an infant. We believe there is a tremendous prophetic anointing on your life. Even your interest in knights in shining armor and swords is something your mother always believed was a foreshadowing of your becoming a warrior for the Lord.
But how will that look? What will you do to impact your world for God?
Up to this point, your mother and I have made most of your decisions for you. Now that you're no longer a child, you must make your own decisions. Where will you live? Who will you marry? What will you do in life?
I'm thankful you and I have a good relationship. But I regret that I've been so busy we haven't spent more time together. And I regret that even though my heart is to follow God, I fall short in many ways. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and be a better dad than I've been.
I look forward to a new, improved relationship based on our shared interests as adults. I pledge to do what I can to motivate you and enable you to discover what God is calling you to do.
I'm certain you will be a successful man who changes the world. And if I'm still alive to see your accomplishments, I'll be very proud of you. But I won't love you more or be more proud of you than I am today. I love you, Son.
Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.