Bible Bullet: Tragedy in Texas

Recently, our nation has witnessed tragic, unjust and horrific events. The massacre in Las Vegas, the terror in New York, and the slaughter of the innocents in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Evil seems everywhere—flowing directly from the one who opposes God the most.

The Bible teaches in Genesis 3 that Satan led Adam and Eve into sin by deception. He questioned the goodness of God and undermined the authority of God’s word to Adam and Eve. When they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our world drastically changed. Disbelief and disobedience led to a breech in their relationship with the Creator, their marriage experienced shame, and the creation around them was no longer harmonious. Their sons experienced conflict, and jealousy and envy led to the first murder (Genesis 4).

The violence that has occurred in Nevada, New York, and Texas reminds us that we live in a sinful, fallen world.  Unfortunately, the same evil experienced by the Christians at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs has plagued Christians for years around the world.

Is this evil a subtle power, a generic force, or some type of impersonal energy? Not according to the Bible. Both Jesus and Paul referred to Satan as an evil force (cf. Matthew 13:19, John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2, 2Corinthians 4:4); and Paul teaches that “creation was subjected to futility”, but the “creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).

No one can give a simple answer to evil in this world.  If anyone had a reason to ask the question why? it was Job.  Having lost his children, his flocks and herds, material goods, and even his health, Job asked God the reason for his suffering. When God finally spoke out of the whirlwind, no answer was given to satisfy intellectual understanding. God’s word to Job was to worship in the midst of his suffering, and so Job did: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

We don’t need intellectual understanding—we need God. Rather than seeking an answer to the question why, we are to seek Him. His presence is our answer. Join me in praying for bereaved families—that they will experience His presence and the “the peace that passes human understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

I share these biblical truths to remind us of what we already know. Often comfort comes as we encourage ourselves in remembering who God is, what He has done, and His amazing creativity in bringing good from evil. Remember that Almighty God turned the worst event in human history—the murder of the sinless Son of God—to the greatest achievement in history: the provision for the forgiveness of sin, our justification before a Holy God, and the gift of abundant and eternal life in Christ. God always has the last word, and His last word at the cross was the resurrection.  Even so, He will have the last word in these tragic events.

There is much we don’t know, but through God’s word there is infinite knowledge of Him “who has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2Peter 1:3). Be encouraged as you ponder on these truths from the Bible:

 

  • Death for God’s people is not final (cf. Isaiah 25:9, Revelation 21:3-4).

 

  • Jesus has prepared a place in heaven for us (John 14:1-3).

 

  • Life in Christ is abundant (John 10:10).

 

  • Life in Christ is eternal (Matthew 28:20).

 

  • Jesus’ victory over death becomes ours (John 11:25-6).

 

  • The same power (the Holy Spirit) that resurrected Jesus resurrects us (Romans 8:11).

 

  • Just as Jesus suffered and was glorified, so those in Christ will be glorified (Romans 8:18).

 

  • Nothing—not even physical death, can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

 

  • Our relationship with Christ is sufficient for life and death (Romans 14:7-9).

 

  • Even physical death is used for God’s purpose (Romans 8:28).

 

A glimpse into glory: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. —Revelation 21:1-4

 

–David Maddox  

 

Standing in the Gap: The Value of Mentoring

 

In his book Good to Great in God’s Eyes, author and pastor Chip Ingram states, “A master’s ceiling can become his disciple’s floor if the disciple knows how to absorb the lessons of the master’s life.” In my own experience, I have witnessed countless times the significance and eternal impact that mentoring creates. There are literally MILLIONS of children (many right in our own neighborhoods) who do not receive any of the parental affirmation and protection they so desperately need to make it in today’s world.

As Christian parents, I believe it is our responsibility to seek out and build up today’s youth who may not have strong parental figures of their own (men mentoring boys, women with girls). Obviously mentoring begins at home with our own kids, but there is probably a child in need of a little (or a lot!) of guidance within your sphere of influence too. Please understand I am not challenging everyone reading this to jump into a full-time mentoring role, but even small amounts of encouragement and generosity can go a long way in a child’s life. If in fact you do find yourself being led to mentor a youth, here are a few quick points to help get you going:

Be Consistent

Almost without a doubt, a troubled youth has had more than one parent, family member, or friend bail on them in life. If you do decide to become a mentor, establishing a set day, time, and duration will bring a welcome change of consistency into his or her life.

Be Authentic

Don’t judge based on what their outside life may look like to us. There probably are many underlying issues such as being lied to, abused (in any form), or manipulated. We are all damaged individuals—the difference being as Christian adults we are now capable of trusting and turning it over to Christ. This may or may not be an option for your mentee, so keep that in mind.

Be Faithful

There is so much to be said for Christians who live their faith out on a daily basis. Stay true to that while mentoring too. Show the love of Jesus through your words and actions, and allow the Holy Spirit to direct the relationship. When we do, lives are impacted and generations are changed for God’s glory.

 

Moms and dads, who is the Lord leading you today to begin investing in as a mentor?

 

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’. –Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. More information at www.afatherswalk.org.

What Kids Learn From Their Dad

How well are you representing your heavenly Father? To your son? To your daughter? That is your priceless purpose.

Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV), it is revealing an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.

They learn their identity from you. When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. But kids naturally go to their dads for answers to their biggest questions: Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life? And if dads don’t teach their kids the truth about these things, then the world will teach them lies.

They learn their values from you. Kids watch their dads to find what’s important. It’s a dad’s job to keep his children from having to learn the lessons of life the hard way. A father’s wise words and actions constantly reinforce the higher priorities and deeper truths of life. So if he is not there–or if he’s there but not intentional in his training and leadership–his kids will be walking through their most important decisions without the one person who should be loving and leading them the most.

They learn their worth from you. When a child has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you and always be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever. Sons who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to criminal behavior. Similarly, when a daughter looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure–and are much less likely to have eating disorders and identity issues or to become sexually active in their teen years. But in too many families, this is not what’s happening.

We need to rediscover God’s original intention of what our homes are supposed to be like. Families should be havens of love and enjoyment. Homes should be places of peace and purpose. But great homes don’t just happen. They are gardens that need to be intentionally cultivated and guarded. A man must let truth, love, and wise discipline become constant ingredients to his fathering. He should carefully nurture his wife, his children, and his own attitude so that his home is a place where his marriage and the next generation can grow and thrive.

That’s why we need a game-changing Resolution.

 

Excerpt from The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Bold and Courageous: What the Resolution Means to Me

For the past couple years, I have dreamt of holding a Resolution Ceremony in my city, like the one in the movie Courageous. This year it became a reality. Traditionally, my Father’s Day events have been specific to single fathers and their children, but I decided to broaden our scope this time around. Even more so, to partner with other churches to maximize our outreach. The event was a success: 18 men (myself included) from several churches took the Resolution before God and our families. It could not have been a more special evening.

Even though this was only a few days ago, I feel different. Not like I’ve become some super man or anything—but grateful that this means something to me. Perhaps even instilling a fear of the Lord. I keep thinking of the line in the movie where the ceremony facilitator reminds the men that they are now “doubly accountable.” The Bible tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Prov. 15:33) and that “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin.” (Heb. 10:26). God has pulled on my heart for a couple years to do the Resolution, I feel now He is giving me the strength to live it out.

Along with the personal convictions and expectations I have from this past weekend, here are some other areas that really stick out to me and what I hope all men who rise to this challenge realize too:

The Resolution is about living biblical principles out in our daily lives. This may sound cliché, but when push comes to shove in life, anyone that is less than sold-out for Christ tends to gravitate to the easier road. Taking these vows with an undivided heart really helps raise the bar.

It is a daily reminder of putting ourselves third. God is first, our families and others are second, we are third. The glow of the night may fade over time, but having the Resolution hanging in your living room is a constant reminder of why we do what we do.

Locking arms with other brothers to take the vows with. Some of those men I met for the first time that evening, others I have known for over a decade. Men are strong when in community, standing shoulder to shoulder with each other. An event like this has the potential to both create new friendships and strengthen old ones—building a foundation that is so desperately needed among guys.

Silos can be broken. It was amazing to partner with three churches on the planning committee—to have leaders from other church homes work together for a greater purpose. Oh, imagine the possibilities if this became the norm in our country!

This is only the beginning. Anyone who has been in men’s ministry for any length of time knows how challenging it can be to get men engaged—especially in the deep subjects. Our plan is to have an end-of-summer cookout at the lake, and begin the book study The Resolution for Men in the fall. Each church can work at their own pace and schedule. What if over the years the number of men and churches who participate in the Resolution ceremony continues to grow—followed by small groups and other forms of ministry? A revival of manhood could be born!

 

The Challenge

Are you willing to lead the charge in helping men rise to their God-given calling as husbands, fathers, and leaders? Can you partner with other churches and organizations to bring change to your community? Will you act on this prompt sooner than later?

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. –Josh. 1:9

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the cofounder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit. He is an ordinary guy who chases after an extraordinary God. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

The 2016 Fatherhood CoMission Leaders Summit

fcm-2015

Next week, on November 30 through December 2, the Fatherhood CoMission will be hosting their fifth 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 over 100 leaders and their spouses; representing over dozens of 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. Previous featured speakers at the Summit have included NY Yankee legend Bobby Richardson, Iron Sharpens Iron Founder and President Brian Doyle, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, TGIF devotional author Os Hillman, and 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. Please pray for the Leader’s Summit as incredible collaboration comes from it each year. Also, please know that this Summit is offered by invitation only to leaders and their spouses each year at no cost to them. We want to bless leaders and their spouses who may not have the funding to attend leaders events like this. Would you consider making a donation to help us continue to bless our nations’ fatherhood and family leaders?

To make a donation: http://www.fatherhoodcomission.com/

 

 

25 Things to Never, Ever, Under Any Circumstance Say to Your Daughter

Dad scolding daughter

I’ve had the privilege over the last five and a half years of fine-tuning my understanding of men through The Abba Project (If you’re new to the conversation, this is the dads group I lead in Portland, OR).

As a result, I believe I’ve grown to understand and appreciate where you as dads are coming from. The truth is that I really enjoy hearing honestly from fathers about what it’s like to be in your shoes, especially as fathers to daughters.

Through my conversations, what I hear repeatedly from men is one of two responses:

  1. Tell it to me straight with as few words as possible (a.k.a. get to the point!)
  2. Tell me what to do to fix it.

In an attempt to prove that I, as a woman, can speak in a way that is straightforward with minimal verbiage, here is my bullet point list of some exact, specific things that you as a dad should never, ever, under any circumstance stay to your daughter. EVER.

 

Why?  Because what you say will echo in her head and heart for all eternity and she will never forget what you say about her, what you believe about her, what you see when you look at her, and what you tell her is true about her. (And sadly, I’ve heard many of these examples in real life).

So with as few words as possible, here’s a list of what NOT to say to your daughter:

  • You are one high maintenance girl
  • You have always been the most needy of all our kids
  • Why do you always make mountains out of molehills?
  • You look like you’ve gained weight (never give her a nickname that emphasizes her size)
  • You got yourself into this mess so don’t come running to me…you have no one to blame but yourself
  • Stop crying…You’re being a big baby
  • Do you know how utterly ridiculous and nonsensical you sound right now?
  • Pull yourself together and when you can talk rationally and clearly, then come talk to me
  • Go talk to your mother…She’ll understand you.
  • I gave up trying with you a long time ago
  • How on earth do you ever expect a man to want to be with you when you act like this?
  • You are wearing me out…I don’t know how much more of you I can take
  • You drive me crazy
  • When are you ever going to start acting your age?
  • You are a spoiled brat
  • I have no idea how you have any friends with the way you act…the real you comes out at home
  • You are a selfish b#%*…can’t you ever think of anyone but yourself?
  • In my house you will act the way I tell you to act
  • Shape up or ship out
  • Do you want a taste of your own medicine?

 

  • What did I ever do wrong to have to deal with a daughter like you?
  • You are a big disappointment to me
  • You are a disgrace to this family
  • God must regret having made you
  • Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?

 

I know we’re all human and say things we don’t mean. If you’ve ever said any of these things, go today and make amends with your daughter. It’s never too late to make things right.

You may think that she’s forgotten what you said because it was a long time ago. I assure you she hasn’t. Humble yourself, go now, and ask forgiveness. It will release both of you.

Let today be the day where the words you speak to her from this day forward are only life-breathing and not akin to anything in the above list.

And for the record, this is the first time you’ve heard me say that failing to say or do something means that you’re at the top of the class!

(Stay tuned for the counter position titled: “25 Things to ALWAYS Say To Your Daughter”)

 

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 http://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.

Facing Your Blitz: Drop Desire for Dignity

DignityYou probably have some lingering pain or bitterness over being snubbed or disrespected. This story and message is about how to break free from the pain and chains of having to please, impress or get the credit in life. Check out this great inspirational video from Jeff Kemp:

Jeff Kemp is the Vice President of Family Life, the author of the weekly devotional Facing the Blitz, and a member of the Fatherhood CoMission. For more on Jeff and his blog, please visit www.facingtheblitz.com.

Dad Talk: Leading

336-FatherSonChurchPray_220w_tnIn the country song, Billy Currington sings, “Walk a little straighter Daddy, you’re leading me.” Dad is always leading. The choices he makes determine whether he leads in the Way or leads in another way. Either way, kids will follow.

In an article looking at the Importance of Fathers to Churchgoing, a Swiss survey is sited that documents the unique and powerful impact a father has on the faith of his children. If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers. If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.

In summary, Mr. Robbie Low writes, “No father—no family—no faith. Winning and keeping men is essential to the community of faith and vital to the work of all mothers and the future salvation of our children.”

Lead spiritually by example. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”– Romans 12:2. As with the frog in the pot, the temperature of conformance to the pattern of this world has increased and dads are getting cooked. Now is the time for dads to lead by example, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the word of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God’s will is for dads to be engaged in raising a godly generation.

Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the many gifts and blessings in my life, may I never take them for granted. Thank You for the opportunity to reflect Your triune nature as a faithful father – to be present physically, engaged emotionally and lead spiritually. Strengthen me to accept responsibility for the opportunity You offer as I pledge to be a faithful father – to be the father You expect me to be, the father my family needs. Amen.

A faithful father leads spiritually by example at home, work and church.

 

“A dad that prioritizes physical presence, is engaged emotionally, and leads spiritually by example.”

BHG, Rick Wertz

281.491.DADS(3237)

faithfulfathering.org

Prioritize physical presence

   Be engaged emotionally, and

      Lead spiritually by example.

The Vison for The Fatherhood CoMission — The REAL Impact of the Movie, COURAGEOUS

This past November, The Fatherhood CoMission hosted over 50 key fathering leaders from across the U.S. to pray, learn, laugh and build collaborative relationships in order to champion the cause of fatherhood TOGETHER with one heart and one voice.

On Thursday night (Nov. 29,2012) Stephen Kendrick, FCM board member, presented an update on God’s faithfulness regarding the film, Courageous, over the past year.

courageousbannerStephen began his session recounting how he came to be part of the Fatherhood CoMission leadership and vision. He and a few others had caught the vision of what FCM could accomplish- to create a collaboration platform where Christian organizations and leaders passionate about fatherhood could come together in the spirit of unity and champion the cause of fatherhood together.

How Will We Fund This New Venture?

After Stephen came on our board, one of the big issues facing us was how do we fund this cause and organization that doesn’t exist? Stephen mentioned an idea that Courageous was being submitted to the San Antonio film festival, and if it won, the $101,000 prize might could be used to launch the Fatherhood Comission. But there were about 7 different hurdles that had to be overcome including the fact there were over 300 other submissions and that if Courageous won, all the parties and organizations benefitting had to agree to give up their portion of the winnings. The possibility didn’t seem likely in human terms.  But, Stephen and I prayed, “God if you are in this, make it happen.”  Guess what? Every hurdle was broken down. The movie qualified, won the festival, everyone cooperated, and God provided the money to start the Fatherhood CoMission. This past year the organization was formed, web and social media presence built out, national leaders’ summit planned and executed and that’s just the beginning. God is giving us the ideas and strategy to make a bigger impact together in 2013.

The REAL Impact of COURAGEOUS on Men and Families Around the World

During the Leaders’ Summit presentation this past November, Stephen went on to detail testimony after testimony of how God blessed the movie Courageous and has been using it to help bring the hearts of fathers back to their children not only in America but around the world.

“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Mal 4:6, ESV)

Here are a few highlights of what God has done and continues to do through Courageous.

  • Courageous was the number 4 movie in the nation when it released theatrically.
  • Over 4 million people went to theaters to see Courageous.
  • Courageous remained in theaters over 17 weeks.
  • It was released in theaters in over 20 countries.
  • It was the number one DVD in the US the week is was released to the market.
  • The Courageous DVD was released in over 75 countries.
  • Some of the proceeds Sherwood’s movies are being used to establish missionaries where there are none like among the Dutch speaking people in Germany and buying motor scooters so pastors in Sudan can share the Gospel throughout the barren region. Over 100 new churches have been established this past year as a result.
  • Courageous was translated into one of the dialects of the Philippine language. Over 1,000 police officers came to Christ in the Philippines as a result.
  • In Ecuador, key government leaders and thousands of Police Officers saw the movie and many believe this could have an impact on turning corruption around in that country.
  • In Malawi Africa, Courageous was shown by a local missionary in various villages. 100’s of men came to know Christ, gave up drinking their daily wages away, rededicated themselves to their families and have been holding resolution ceremonies in their cities.

Tumbuka Tribesman with their signed Resolutions

  • In Afghanistan, soldiers saw the movie and rededicated themselves to their spouses and children. Many marriages have been saved and fathers returned to their homes.

The REAL Power Behind the Success of COURAGEOUS

Throughout the presentation Stephen reiterated that Courageous was God’s thing, and no one could take credit for it. They prayed for over a year about what the next Sherwood film would be about. God gave them the story behind Courageous. Even during filming and production, they began each day with prayer asking God to guide and bless each scene. They prayed for the right actors, God gave them strong believers who could produce professional performances. They prayed for a scene that would make the audience laugh after a deeply emotional scene. God gave them the “Snake King” idea (by far one of the most popular scenes in the movie). Every aspect of this film was given over and dedicated to God and the Lord ordered their steps and blessed their efforts. (Proverbs 16:3)

It’s still bringing people to Christ and leading men back to their families. Resolution ceremonies are still being conducted all over the world. Men are stepping up to the plate and being the courageous leaders of their homes that God has called them to be. Sherwood Baptist and the Kendrick’s freely give all the glory to God for what is happening.

Keeping the Light From COURAGEOUS Shining – The Fatherhood CoMission

And now through the Fatherhood CoMission, fathering leaders are coming together from over 30 organizations asking God to take the foundation that Courageous has laid and allow them to build upon it and keep the winds blowing in the sails of this incredible movement. Egos and logos are being laid to the side and God’s leaders are coming together asking Him once again, “how can we, together, continue to champion strong fatherhood in the world?”

Join Our Team to Champion Fatherhood!

Will you join us in rejoicing with what the Father has and continues to do through Courageous and now through the Fatherhood CoMission? Will you pray with us as we begin our 2013 plans to help churches and communities encourage and equip men to be strong fathers? Will you consider helping us financially in 2013 to champion fatherhood in our nation?

As we continue to serve together, we believe that that dads will respond to the call and step up to the plate. Dads will recommit to their wives and children, they will start spending time with their children, they will lead their families spiritually. The result? Stronger churches, communities, states, countries. Less crime, less addiction, less incarcerations. Better schools, safer neighborhoods. More families coming to Christ and more families Courageously raising future generations for the glory of God.

*Click here for more information about the Fatherhood CoMission or to support our cause.

Together we can make 2013 the Year of the Father!

 

 

10 Warning signs that you might be losing the heart of your children (from The Resolution for Men)

This is the 3rd of 4 posts by Stephen Kendrick, taken as an excerpt of Chapter 7 of The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

FATHERS LOSING THE HEART OF THEIR CHILDREN

losing the heart of your childA quote from a young woman’s blog,

“I wish my inner child would find my inner dad and tell him everything I never had the courage to. And then, I wish she would turn around and walk away for ever, and never look back.”

Fathers are notorious for doing things that anger their children and lose their hearts. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Before telling us to train and instruct our children, we are warned not to frustrate or embitter them. Why?

If we are losing the heart of our children, we are losing everything. They simply won’t listen to us. This is so important that if it is not heeded, fathering will fail.

Intimacy is tied to feeling emotionally safe around someone. If your kids get angry with you and you don’t resolve it, then their hearts will close off to you and become bitter. Then the devil will begin to fill their minds with accusations against you. He will develop a “List of Crimes” in their minds of wrongs you have committed and then use this list to help them justify rebellion against you.

So when your children get angry with you, then you need to stop what you are doing, get engaged, and help them to deal with that anger until it is gone. You cannot live in denial and keep putting up barriers that choke out your ability to influence them for good.

Here is a list of 10 things that fathers do to anger and lose the hearts of their children. Seriously consider them and see if any of these are present in your relationship with your child as you examine if you are losing the heart of your children. Work hard to eliminate the following “heart hindrances” that will push them away:

  1. Your Absence.  Whether a man abandons his kids all at once or is never home because he’s always working, he still leaves them as sheep without a shepherd. This sends the signal to your kids, “You’re not important enough for me to prioritize you, spend time with you, or really care about what’s going on in your life.”
  2. Your Anger.  Psalm 27:4 says that wrath is cruel. When you react in anger, you can thoughtlessly say or do things in the heat of the moment that deeply wound your children’s spirits long-term, which can cause them to withdraw from you. Love is slow to anger. But if you blow your top, then humble yourself and quickly apologize. Too much is at stake!
  3. Unjust discipline.   Children can sour if they feel discipline is unjustified or administered unfairly. Parents must explain rules and consequences clearly using God’s Word and authority rather than their opinion. (Ephesians 6:1-3) As you discipline, as yourself, “How can I train them without losing their heart?”
  4. Harsh criticism.   Dads can sometimes be unnecessarily hard on their kids. What seems like a small chisel of criticism to you can feel like a crushing hammer to them. Never call your children names or embarrass them in public. Don’t be sarcastic or belittling. Kids who have no freedom to fail will tend to rebel when given any freedom at all.
  5. Lack of Compassion.   Mercy warms hearts. Carelessness distances them. Children can get worked up about temporary, pressing matters—school, friends, feelings, competitions. We must provide a listening ear, wise counsel, prayerful support, and a willing hand. Rescuing your kids during times of panic makes you their hero!  Help them think of you as an oasis they can run to, not a dry desert that offers no relief.
  6. Favoritism.  Less favored children become resentful. Favoritism and jealousy led Rachel and Leah to fight and Joseph’s brothers to hate him. You may not feel like you play favorites—but perception is reality to your children if they think you do. Every one of your children should feel like you have no favorites, but if you did, it would probably be them because of your great love for them. (see this post about a guy who openly shared one of his children was his favorite)
  7. Hypocrisy.  No one is perfect, but preaching one thing while doing another, breaking promises, and refusing to apologize will kill trust between you and your children. When they identify hypocrisy in you, be quick to repent, turning from your sin and seeking God’s forgiveness along with your family’s.
  8. Hurting their Mother.  Whether through divorce, adultery, or mistreatment, children feel confused and betrayed when their father hurts their mother. They will tend to take up offense for the woman who loves them. Since they are commanded by God to honor their mother, you need to defend her not attack her. If you teach them to dishonor her, they will eventually dishonor you.
  9. Misunderstanding.  Rebellion is often tied to kids feeling misunderstood and not listened to by their parents. When children open up, parents need to listen carefully and then communicate back what they have heard to the child before sharing their own opinions or disagreeing with them. If a matter is important to them, it should be to you. Tune in.
  10. Unrealistic expectations.  Children will become quickly discouraged if they believe their parents have set them up to fail. Avoid comparing their weaknesses with another child’s strengths or expecting them to act as mature as you. If your child believes he can’t please you, he’ll eventually quit trying.

Let these ten warnings signs help you to avoid future pitfalls and also motivate changes that will draw your children back into your arms. As a father, you must keep your radar up to sense if you have your children’s hearts. Periodically ask them things like…

Have I ever wounded you and not made it right?

Have I said one thing and done another?

Have I made promises and not kept them?

Is there anything that you are angry with me about?

Is there anything you are not telling me because you are afraid of how I might respond?

Your kids may be able to present you a “list of crimes” that have wronged or angered them. Be ready to write, work through them, and apologize so you can let the healing begin.

One man was sitting with his family at a father-daughter banquet held by their church. Someone at the table asked one of the girls what her father had done that made the biggest impression on her. She said, “I remember one time when Dad was harsh with me. Then a few minutes later he came back into my room, and he cried and asked my forgiveness. I’ve never forgotten that.”

God can graciously redeem our many failures for good, provided we recognize those failures and confess them. Too many men foolishly refuse to apologize because they’re trying to save face and don’t want to look bad. But their pride is only making matters worse. Dads who admit their shortcomings don’t lose their children’s trust. They gain it.

To be continued…

 

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of the book The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough Published by B&H Publishing Group, Copyright 2011 Now Available Where Books are Sold