Championing Fathers – There’s More To This Than Meets The Eye

Often when we look at an organization or big initiatives from “the outside” we typically have little “insight” as to what it takes to keep the “wheels in motion.”  I learned this first hand when I went to work for Focus on the Family back in 2004. At that time Focus had over 1400 fulltime employees and operated out of three massive buildings at their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Coming from a local church I was really clueless about the incredible processes that have to occur on a daily basis in order to offer hundreds of resources to millions of people all over the world. As I began to bury myself in planning meetings day after day, I soon began to realize how much work really goes on “behind the scenes.”

I have experienced the same thing by being involved in the launch of the Fatherhood CoMission. It takes hours upon hours of planning, phone calls, emails, building and managing social media, web site production, event planning and days of travel to pull together an organization which is designed to be a collaboration platform for numerous organizations to come together for one cause- the cause of championing fathers and fatherhood.

Fatherhood CoMission

Then, there is the Fatherhood CoMission board. This is a group of men who have willingly, selfishly volunteered hours upon hours to provide leadership to FCM in order that we might work in unity to champion fathers to the church and culture. This is in addition to the fact that each of these men are senior level executives at some of our nation’s top Christian family and fathering organizations (Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, Iron Sharpens Iron, National Center for Fathering, Sherwood Pictures). Add to this the fact each of them are devoted husbands and fathers to their children. One of our board members has eight girls all under the age of 16!  Bottom line- these men are true servants. They sacrifice above and beyond their day to day responsibilities for others and for the cause of building up fathers across this country.

Fatherhood CoMission team

The verse that comes to mind regarding this group of servant leaders is: Matthew 23:11: The greatest among you shall be your servant. (ESV). They are incredible examples of great men who live out their daily lives by serving others.  May each of us be inspired to do the same in our homes, with our kids, spouses, neighbors and on the job.

P.S.: Please pray for our leadership as we move forward with executing the mission of the Fatherhood CoMission.  God is really blessing this initiative and we will be making a very exciting announcement soon about an initiative for the Father’s Day 2013 weekend, which you, you’re organization and church can participate in. Stay tuned!

Don’t Stop Pursuing Her Heart

If you have ever sat in a pew at church, or roamed it’s hallways, or sat in a Bible Study you have probably have heard these words spoken, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Typically it comes up when we are talking about our finances or our possessions.  I recently heard, “let me look at a person’s finances and I will know what they are treasuring.”  I wonder how true this passage is when it comes to our marriages or loved ones.

Fahterhood CoMission Valentines DayDo we treasure our spouses as much as when we pursued them to the altar?  I have been married 17 years to my wife Karen.  Our journey has been far from easy…through our many ups and downs, I have been learning how critical it is to continually pursue her heart.  I love the song by Andrew Peterson, “Dancing in the Mine Fields.”  He sings, “It was harder than what we dreamed but that is what the promise is for.”

In my role as a husband as messy as I make it and despite my many shortcomings there is one thing I can’t stop doing; pursuing her heart.  We are compelled in Scripture to love our wives as Christ loved the church.  “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean…” Ephesians 5:25-26

When I look at the life of Christ, He came to pursue our hearts.  But He doesn’t stop pursuing our hearts when we say, “yes” to Him.  The pursuit is for eternity. When you look at the evidence of His teachings; the results of His miracles; the grace in which He interacted with others; His death and resurrection; He was pursuing hearts.

This Valentine’s Day can be a stumbling block for many guys, especially dads.  Getting the right gift, buying the right card, going to the right restaurant will fall on deaf ears and hearts if we are just going through the motions.  Trust me when I say this; our wives will take notice when they feel like their hearts are being pursued again.

We see this pursuit in Proverbs 31 where we are given the picture of a “virtuous woman.”  Verses 28-29 states; Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”  Now, there is a guy who knows what his treasure is.

Use this Valentine’s Day to reconnect at a heart level with your wife…treasure and pursue her…because when we do, we are truly loving our wives as Christ loved the church.

 

By Roy Baldwin, Director of Parenting and Youth, Family Ministries at Focus on the Family.

Appreciating Life In Reverse While Moving Forward

“Mrs. Eyster, we think Westley is OK but…”

It’s one of those calls that every parent fears. Your heart sinks, everything that seemed important just moments earlier is long forgotten and trivial.

appreciating what you haveWe got just such a call; our 16 year old son was with some friends riding his dirt bike at a friends house. When Tracey answered the phone, it was the friends father who explained that Westley had had a crash and that he had an obviously broken collar bone, probably a broken wrist, his back was hurting, he was awake and responsive and on the way to the ER!

To make a long story short, Tracey and I got to the ER and foundd that while he did have a broken collar bone that required surgery, a broken wrist and a number of scrapes and bruises, he was going to be fine. Tracey and I knowingly looked at each other and praised God for his protection with a keen appreciation for how many parents are called to the ER with dramatically worse situations.

This situation, and my recent bout with West Nile Virus, has stirred in me a greater appreciation for the gift and brevity of life.

Psalm 39: 4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”

In fact, I can’t get away from it. The Lord continues to “show me the number of my days” in what I am reading, in bible study, in conversations, in relationships.

This heightened appreciation for God’s blessings of life is doing a work in me. I find myself wanting to be more about the things of life that matter and have meaning and be less presumptive on the future.  I am increasingly mindful of the instruction to “keep watch” and “be ready” (Matt 24: 42-45).

Here is one way that has helped me in appreciating life more that might help you:

Take some time and look at the last 30 days or last 6 months of your calendar and look for how God has blessed you and your family. Look for answered prayers, for unexpected joys and even look for trials and suffering that caused new learning, growth or dependence on the Lord. The old saying, “hindsight is 20/20” is really true. For me, appreciating life in reverse by examining what has been going on in my life gives me a keener awareness and understanding of how God is at work.

 

By Bill Eyster, COO and Executive Vice President at FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru