Footsteps of the Father

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | December 14, 2023

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 14:12

  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
John 20:20-21

There’s a high ropes course element at Camp Paradise called Footsteps of the Father. It’s 15 feet off the ground, has no handrails, but it’s still a father-child favorite at Dads Camp. When my sons and I were campers, Footsteps of the Father was daunting and thrilling at the same time. I recall being excited while walking through the woods to the base of the tower. Then we looked up.

It was time to face our fears. Even as our anxiety rose with each step up the staircase, we stayed committed to the challenge ahead. We soon discovered that putting on a climbing harness was easy. The hard part was getting out onto the platform and taking one step of faith after another.

Year after year, we made our way out onto Footsteps of the Father and back again. What sticks with me most is that we did it together—side-by-side, eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart—and that always made our mission a success.

Come down from the high ropes course and let’s talk about today’s passages. Can you feel the excitement and anxiety of the disciples? “We’ll do even greater things than you, Lord? Wait, you’re leaving? Now what will we do!” Jesus’ closest followers started preparing to be abandoned, and then Christ died on a cross. They had just spent three years following in His footsteps, joining Jesus in His message and ministry. Then He was gone. And then He came back. Talk about distractions and detours. They experienced a whirlwind of experiences and emotions all the time.

Yet in the end, Jesus doesn’t leave them (or us) without peace and purpose. Just as He was sent to serve in the footsteps of the Father, now it’s our turn. And even though we’re in the middle of a messy world, we’re not alone because the Holy Spirit is right there with us and in us—side-by-side, eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart. The disciples, guided by God and empowered by the Spirit, established Christ’s church and we get to play a role in its local, global, and eternal mission.

As we approach Christmas, we have a challenge ahead. Let’s follow in the footsteps of the Father together so people God places in our path can know Him personally.

Next Steps

Now is the perfect time to invite someone to a Christmas service at your Willow Creek campus. You can also sign up with your family, friends, or small group to serve this holiday season here.