2015 Fatherhood Leader’s Summit

2014 FCM

Next week, on December 2 through 4, the Fatherhood CoMission will be hosting their fourth annual Fatherhood Leader’s Summit at the Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The Summit provides Fatherhood leaders and their spouses with free training, spiritual enrichment, and Christian fellowship; all while offering the potential of national networking with organizations across the United States and the ability to “dream as a team”. According to Mitch Temple, Executive Director of the FCM, this year’s Summit will host 150 leaders and their spouses; representing over 30 different states and countries. “We are pumped about the Summit”, Mitch said, “God is showing favor on the event. We give Him glory.”

The Summit offers every leader an opportunity to give a brief (1-2 minute) synopsis of their organization’s mission, as well as any other details, in front of the entire group. There is also plenty of extra time such as meals and less-formal fellowship/discussion time over the three days to help make such a big group “smaller”; thus creating stronger bonds and friendships between those in attendance. Leading the way this year as main presenters at the Summit are NY Yankee legend Bobby Richardson, Iron Sharpens Iron Founder and President Brian Doyle, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, and TGIF devotional author Os Hillman. The conference will be capped off on Friday morning by Family Life’s founder Dennis Rainey.

As a whole, the Fatherhood CoMission strives to champion Fatherhood by inspiring leaders and influencers to champion Fatherhood both inside and outside the Church through clear, compelling evidence of God’s design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world. The annual Leader’s Summit is the pinnacle of this mission. As Mike Young, Executive Director of Noble Warriors puts it, “The gathering of passionate champions for Fatherhood was encouraging and compelling for my wife and me. I’m moved by the Kingdom focus and the timing of the event. God is obviously working in and through many ministries individually and collectively to prioritize the issue of Biblical fathering. I’m optimistic and prayerful about the future of this movement. Lives will be transformed and families restored earthly fathers learn to love their children under the guidance and example of our Heavenly Father.”

To view a clip of the Summit, please watch (and share!) this video. To learn more about how your organization can get involved and partner with us, please click here. We hope to see you in 2016!

Dad Talk- Be Bold

Bold

What bold stance have you taken recently? I have been impressed by the growing number of dads that are dropping cable and satellite service, and in general cutting back significantly on time spent in front of the television, on the internet time and on cell phones in favor of more family time. These dads are taking a bold stand against social media and worldly influence in the home.

Recently, it was encouraging to see over 30 pastors across the Houston area, a senator and the Liberty Institute stand beside five local pastors whose sermons and other church communication had been subpoenaed by the mayor’s office. The faith community took a bold stand calling for the subpoenas to be withdrawn. They were withdrawn.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law My servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:7.

Entering the land promised to his forefathers, Joshua received instructions to stand against the influence of the polytheistic peoples in the land. He stepped onto that battlefield in obedience with strength and courage.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20.

There is nothing passive about being a disciple. The challenge for me, as with Joshua being careful to obey all the law, is to indeed be a disciple in practice. Only then can I boldly step onto the battlefield and be the Kingdom influence in this world the Lord expects me to be.

Tips to Be Bold:

  1. Know what you stand for – Absolute Truth, the Word of God;
  2. Know Who you stand with – The Word made flesh, Jesus the Christ;
  3. Boldly take a stand – When Truth is compromised.

 

Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the gifts and blessings You have granted me. I confess that I have been passive in the face of worldly influence personally, in my home, church and the community. Forgive me. Strengthen my relationship with You and my faith in You. Equip me as a disciple to step boldly forward to be a Kingdom influence where You have me.  Amen.

A faithful father is bold, standing firm in Truth for his family and beyond.

Rick Wertz is the director of Faithful Fathering, a ministry that encourages fathers to prioritize physical presence, be engaged emotionally, and lead spiritually by example. For more information, please visit www.faithfulfathering.org

A New Commandment for Husbands and Fathers

New Commandment

2012 was both the hardest and the best year of my life. It began with me asking God to help me love Him with everything in me. He answered that prayer by taking away from me all that I hold dear while simultaneously revealing how much He loved me. I won’t elaborate on the hard part except to say that these difficult circumstances threw me on God for I was a desperate hurting man. 

At my lowest point I reached out to a group of men and asked them for help. They began to pray and within days God began to answer. He made me know, through His still small voice, and scriptures that came to life, that He not only loved me, He liked me.

The passage that helped me the most was John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Jesus was speaking to His disciples when he uttered this remarkable truth. I have read John 15 many many times but I missed this profound revelation. Just as God the Father loved Jesus the Son, so has Jesus loved me. I reveled in this truth. 

I had heard the gospel 40 years earlier, but it all seemed new and fresh. Jesus loves me as much as His Father loves Him. I began to believe in a new and deep way that I was not only loved, but liked. I wondered at what God was doing because I had been asking Him to help me fulfill the great commandment and love Him. Then it dawned on me, 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” This is how God works. The more I comprehend how much God loves me, the more I love Him. 

I began to study this verse and focused first on how the Father loved the Son. I found over 100 passages that speak of this ideal Father/Son relationship. I saw that before Jesus embarked on His earthly ministry, He was first loved by His Dad. We have a glimpse into their relationship at the baptism. The Father said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Or perhaps a Dad today would say, “This is my boy, I love Him to pieces.”

After Jesus was perfectly loved by the only truly perfect Dad, then He loved us the same way. I began enumerating the many ways that Jesus loved the disciples. He died, He washed their feet, He served, He taught, He prayed, He healed, He fed, and many more. As the disciples had been loved perfectly and consistently, Jesus then directed them to love others the same way they had been loved. He called this the new commandment.

In John 13:34 Jesus says,  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you,” If we put these two passages together we have a beautiful truth. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; As I have loved you, love one another.

Jesus loved the disciples after He had been loved by His Dad. So too, I can’t love others, until I have been first loved. The more I am loved by God, the greater my capacity to love others the same way. 

The command to love my wife is simply a rephrasing of the new commandment. I am to love Sandi as Christ has loved me. My relationship with Sandi has improved dramatically as I have applied this principle. But first a confession.

There was a time when I thought it was my responsibility to help my wife be submissive. I hate to even write this, but it is true. But with this new mindset I consider how Jesus loved me. He could have made me submit, He is King of Kings, but He didn’t. Instead, He humbled Himself, laid His life down for me, served me, and in the process won my heart. I chose to submit to Him.

I now see that is not my job to fix my wife or my four sons. It is my job, my calling, my privilege, to lay down my life for them, to serve them, to pray for them, and love them as I have been loved. Regardless of how they respond, I am to continue to love them unconditionally, as Christ loves me. He died for me “while I was a sinner” (Romans 5:8).

My ability to love others as He loved me, hinges on my relationship with God. I can only give what I receive. The good news is that I believe God designed me to die. He created men to lay our lives down for our wife and children. For until a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it cannot bear fruit. (John 12:24)

In 2012 I thought I had lost my wife, my children, and my ministry. The real battle was fought in my own heart. I had to die. I reached out for help. I even engaged a therapist (which I had vowed never to do). And I had to learn to accept unconditional love and grace. But in dying, I found life. Matthew 16:25 states, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

God took me and my family through deep waters, but we have emerged and are now in the best place we have ever been with God and each other. Before God can turn our hearts to our family, He first will turn our hearts to Him. For when we are loved, then we can love.

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2Thess 3:5

 

Steve Demme is a husband and father. He is the founder of Building Faith Families.

http://www.buildingfaithfamilies.org

Six Words That Will Make You a Better Dad

Are you old enough to remember the craze in the 60’s and 70’s where really cool prizes (a.k.a. “cheap gimmicks”) were tucked inside cereal boxes?  I can still see my sister and I begging my mom to buy the cereal with the most alluring prizes, regardless of whether we even liked it (which I’m sure set a foundation that thrives to this day because I’m still a sucker for a deal!). 

One of my all-time favorite prizes was a decoder ring that I somehow believed would instantaneously transform me into Sherlock Holmes because I had the cryptic tool for solving the mysteries on the back of the box (it’s amazing how inexpensive toys brought such joy back then…but that’s another story for another day).

The thing that sticks out in my mind about decoder rings is that they instantly provide the link between the problem and the solution.  Without the magic ring the problem is left unsolved and unanswered. 

If you’re a dad to a daughter, the question I pose to you is this:  Do you ever wish you had a decoder ring to better translate, understand, and relate to her? 

If you’re anything like the dads of daughters I lead in The Abba Project (a group for dads with girls between the ages of 13 and 30) you are often left scratching your head as your daughter matures into her teen years and beyond, sometimes wondering where “daddy’s little girl” went.  As your potential confusion and overwhelm rise, it can easily lead you to make a reactive decision where you back away while turning to mom and saying, “here, you’re a girl—you go in.”  

Child psychologist Dr. James Dobson poses a powerful question: What does a girl need from her parents when everything has gone topsy-turvy?  The answer, he says, is more attachment, not less. 

To further underscore the point he adds, “Even when she is most unlovable, she needs love and connectedness not only from her mother but also from her father.

So what do you need to be a dialed-in dad who is sensitive to your ever-changing daughter even with all of her up’s and down’s? 

I believe the answer is tucked inside an obscure story in the middle of the book of Joshua (by the way, even if you’re not one to crack open the Bible I hope you’ll hang in here and keep reading. It’s a really cool narrative…I promise!)

This is a story about an incredible dad who got it right with his daughter.  He says six words that, if emulated, will make you a better dad starting today.

Quick backstory:  Caleb is an Israelite spy who, along with his friend Joshua, went on a journey to check out what was called “the Promised Land” to find out if it was inhabitable. After their exploration there was one BIG problem: there were giants living in it. But instead of being intimidated, these two guys saw with eyes of faith and believed that God would give them the land regardless of overwhelming odds.

Fast forward to a later time when Caleb is interacting with his married daughter Achsah.  Just like her visionary dad, she was a courageous woman who wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted. It’s obvious that her dad had modeled to her what it meant to be bold and forthright.

Let’s pick up the story in Joshua 15. “One day when Achsah came to her husband, she urged him to ask her father for a field.  When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her,

What can I do for you?”

I love that question from dad to daughter.  It’s so simple yet so profound.  These are six words that every dad should memorize and use regularly.  I believe they will positively impact the way your daughter interacts with you if you put them into practice.

Notice that this dad brought himself to his daughter’s problem. He was willing to invest his time and his resources to help her, all before he knew what it was she even wanted.

Here is Achsah’s response to her dad’s question: “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.”

She obviously had a foundation of relationship to ask her dad for “a special favor.” She knew he would listen. She had no fear of asking for something in addition to the first gift he’d already given her.  She trusted that he would respond.

The amazing thing is that he does it for her.  We read that “Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.” 

Do you notice how easily she responded to her dad’s question about what she wanted without holding back? 

Do you notice how he offers himself as the solution to her request?

Do you notice how he gives his daughter more than she asked for?

Dad, I encourage you to begin making these six words a regular part of your interactions with your daughter:“What can I do for you?” It’s not about throwing things at her; it’s about bringing YOU to the relationship. I guarantee that these few words will be a game-changer in the way your daughter responds to you. 

Who would have thought that a father from the 16th century BC could provide such a profound six-word code that dads in the 21st century can use to unlock their daughter’s heart? 

Thanks Caleb for being a fantastic role model of a dialed-in dad.

 

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drmichellewatson and Twitter @mwatsonphd.