And he hath turned back the heart of fathers to sons, And the heart of sons to their fathers, Before I come and have utterly smitten the land! ~ Malachi 4:6 (YNG)
We offer here a Father’s Day tribute to our spiritual daddies at Gateway, Apostle David Coker and Pastor Kenneth Hendrix. These two men inspire and guide the Gateway family through good times and bad, ever leading with an example of integrity and excellence.
These offerings of love are few, but they can become many with your help. PLEASE take a moment to give a father’s day gift by adding your own note in the comments box. If you are not a Gateway member, then write a tribute to your own spiritual leader. This is a special day to celebrate the fathers our Heavenly Father has so graciously provided us with. ~The C
I thank God for the fathering anointing present at Gateway. When I first began coming to this church, I would come in slightly late and sit towards the back. I knew in my spirit that this is where God wanted me to be. It was hard, however, because I had recently moved into the area a few months ago and did not know anyone. I remember coming one evening and Apostle David had an altar call at the end of the service. He knew in his spirit that there was someone who ready to give up and needed prayer. I knew it was me, but I hesitated. Well, actually I was debating with God. But unlike other preachers who might have moved on when a few people came forward, Apostle David continued to listen to his spirit and kept insisting that there was one more. I finally bit the bullet and went forward. That night, he read my mail and encouraged me with an authority not to give up! I was marked in my spirit and ever since that night, I knew that I had found a spiritual father who genuinely loved me. I knew this because, while he didn’t know me from Adam, his heart and passion for my spiritual success were authoritatively displayed. So happy Father’s day Apostle David! I am so glad God set you in my life as my spiritual father!
Each and every Sunday morning the sun shines through stained glass in the east and eventually rolls over the Redwoods that cast shadows over California altars. Parking lots fill to capacity and film crews take up their positions poised to broadcast to those faithful tithers too self absorbed to leave the comfort of their La-Z-Boys. Bulletins, filled with God’s plan for non-action swim familiarly like trout in a stream from the ushers to the seats, and finally to the floor and trash bins. Rolly-poly sheep have preened their wooly souls and line up to see the shepherd once again. “This dude has my bah-bah blessing,” they say. “And I’m gonna get me some!”
If you have ever listened to a sermon or two here at Gateway, you know David Coker is a true apostle. If you hang around the church long enough, you will see the father’s heart that beats at the core of his call to apostleship. Find some polished and veiled, gleaming thousand dollar smiles if you want. I will stick it out for the “real”. I know Apostle is real with me. He has made plenty of statements that didn’t tickle my ears. He has been confrontational with me at the risk of losing my attendance and my money, and he has gone the extra mile to hug me and say what he heard God say in the dark and perfect hour. He is emotionally connected on every level. When God stirs necessary anger in him, he is able to convince me that it absolutely does matter. He is the most transparent and malleable father I know. He is a gift, within and without this local body, and my very own Father’s Day blessing.
I don’t think anyone who was there can ever forget the great “Praise Team Meeting of 2008”. We were warming up and getting ready to lead the congregation in worship and Apostle David came out in his normal way and took his place on the front row. We played through one song when he stepped up and told Linda to come and preach the rest of the morning. Once everything was in place, he told the praise team and the sound team to come to the back room with him. Later, we found out that Apostle David had gotten wind of some issues that were going on within the team. He called out specific actions and attitudes and was very clear on what the standards of Gateway were. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t uncomfortable in that little room with 20 of my closest friends…it was INTENSE. But I remember at the same time feeling an overwhelming sense of love.
I know it was uncomfortable. Apostle David left the pulpit that morning to bring correction to his kids. He risked losing every one of us in order to bring the correction that we needed. That morning, I was more than a musician, leader, or a worker. I was a son. I’m so thankful for the Fathering anointing here at Gateway.
One of the definitions of “father” is: a precursor, prototype, or early form. This exemplifies what the fathering anointing at Gateway means to me.
Since I came to Gateway 14 years ago, I’ve learned what it means to BE a Christian (instead of just someone who goes to church), and that teaching has been most effective in the form of the Godly example that Apostle David and Pastor Kenneth have lived before me. I’ve seen them be angry and sin not. I’ve seen them be wrong and repent. I’ve seen them love God with all their hearts and not compromise their beliefs for anyone or any reason. I’ve seen them be the same men outside the pulpit as what they preach. I’ve seen them put the call of God on their lives above even the love they have for their families.
This prototype of holiness, commitment and sincerity has become the standard I judge everything I do by. And like any child, I want to grow up to be just like my daddy(ies)!