Can You Pray Your Kids Get Caught?

For years, Ben and Sarah routinely said a prayer they hoped would not come true for any of their four children.  They knew how kids could be.  They knew how the culture pulls good kids from good homes to make not-so-good decisions.  My friend Ben is especially aware because he was more than a bit rebellious in his younger days.  Looking at him, you wouldn’t know it today, but Ben was deep into narcotics in his early twenties.

So, Ben and Sarah prayed specifically that if and when their children did something illegal or immoral or simply made a really bad choice, that they would get caught.

That’s the exact words they used.  And not long ago their prayer was answered.  It was a holiday weekend with lots of activity in the house, and Sarah needed something that was last seen in their teenage daughter’s closet.  Looking there, she found a bottle of rum and some fruit-mixer concoction.

The Christmas celebration took a sharp, unpleasant, yet necessary turn.  With sincere apologies, some of the guests were asked to leave.  The festivities were postponed.  The family huddled and their daughter was confronted.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what was said.  But the core message was very personal and very compelling.  Up until that day, Ben’s four children only had an inkling of their father’s drug addiction from two decades earlier.  How far he’d fallen.  And how God had rescued him.  It wasn’t a pleasant story.  And it’s not a story you should tell to small children.  After all, when kids are young and impressionable, they need to see dad as a hero.  Invincible.  A solid rock they can count on.

Ben had been that dependable dad for their entire lives.  Which is a great thing.  And which made his testimony to his children even more powerful.   Over the years, Ben had shared his story with men’s groups and other individuals who were struggling with addiction.  He talked about Satan’s power, hitting bottom, and finding hope only after turning his life over to Christ.  But his kids only knew small bits and pieces of the story.

That evening they heard something they didn’t want to hear, but needed to hear.  However, they were old enough to listen, understand, and learn from their father’s mistakes.  The teenager who was hiding the liquor really didn’t receive a severe punishment.  Listening to her dad open up about his personal battle — the stumbling, helplessness, surrender, and recovery — had more than enough impact.  In a sense, the family was broken that night.  But they soon healed stronger than ever.

Thinking about Ben and Sarah, the word that comes to mind is courage.  Courage to overcome.  Courage to trust.  Courage to pray the way they did for  their kids.  And courage to see the big picture.  They weren’t just dealing with a bottle of rum found in a teenager’s closet.  They were standing up against Satan who had chosen that Christmas season to seize a new foothold in their family.  But the father of lies and deceit didn’t have a chance.  Instead of sweeping it under the rug or delaying any repercussions until after the family event, that mom and dad addressed the situation firmly, efficiently, and without hesitation.  How did they know what to do and what to say?  Only because that’s what they had been praying for.

Your past may be different than Ben’s.  But your children are facing the same cultural challenges.  Do you have the courage to pray for your children to get caught?  Will you have the courage to confront your children’s unhealthy choices at the top of the slippery slope?

 

PRAYER FOR WISE CHOICES

Heavenly Father.  We pray that our kids make choices that honor you.  But we also know that our kids have sinned and will sin.  In their humanness, they will fall short of your glory.  In humility and brokenness, Lord, we ask that you open our eyes to those times when we need to intervene.  We pray they get caught.  In those difficult moments, we pray that we have the courage and wisdom to respond with love and truth.  And, thank you Lord for preparing our heart and minds to be the parents our children need in every situation.  In times of joy.  And in times when the world seems to be crumbling around us.  Thank you for being our rock.  We love and trust you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

                                             2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV

 

 

Jay Payleitner is a national speaker on parenting and marriage and best-selling author of 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?  His latest book is 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple.  For more, go to www.jaypayleitner.com.

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.

Facing the Blitz: Pass on a Blessing

Pass on a Blessing

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.” –Jim Valvano

Game Plan: 

“To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God…as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline…He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus …our Savior…” –2 Tim 1:2-9 NIV

Time Out:

Think about the blessing you wished you’d gotten from your father or mother. Remember how God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Who is God asking you to bless? A child or grandchild? Spouse? Someone without a parent in his or her life?

Pray about the persons you want to affirm and bless by asking for God’s very best in their heart and life.

“Think about the blessing you wished you’d gotten from your father or mother. Pray about a person you want to affirm and bless by asking for God’s very best in their heart and life.” –Jeff Kemp

Go Deep:

Talk to God about this. Do the following for the person you want to bless:

  • Write down one sentence about how you love and are pleased with him or her.
  • One sentence about their identity.
  • One sentence about their mission.
  • One sentence about God’s control and benevolence in their life.
  • Pray that blessing for them privately for a period.

Let God tell you when you should create a special time to bless them by putting your hand on them and praying the blessing out loud. Or, write it in a letter and send it to them.

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Dreaming Together: How to Develop Joint Marital Dreams

Before we can intelligently talk about developing joint marital dreams, we must first understand what we’re talking about. We all have dreams about matters important to us – our lives, our jobs, our accomplishments, our dream vacation spots, and of course, our marriages.

The fascinating part of this concept is that few of us ever vocalize most of our specific dreams. In fact, many of us have never consciously determined what many of these dreams are beyond a vague idea of success, competence, fame, fortune, happiness, fulfillment, and/or influence. Just because we haven’t consciously determined what most of these dreams look like, however, doesn’t mean that we don’t exert considerable influence on our mates to reach the ultimate achievement of our dreams.

For example, suppose a man’s fondest boyhood memories of time spent with his father involved time bonding together while working on and riding his dad’s motorcycle. As a result, one of his unspoken and unfocused dreams for his marriage might be to take biking trips with his wife across several states, camping out on the way, just enjoying nature and the love of his life. The woman he fell in love with and married thinks “roughing it” involves a week’s stay in a 5-star hotel in the Caribbean, and never on a motorcycle. On a level he may not even be aware of, he views his marriage as a disappointment and failure because they can never bond in a way that speaks volumes to him of happiness, intimacy, and mutual interest.

Because our marital dreams color our view of happiness and success – at least, in marriage – understanding what our marital dreams are and what they mean to us is essential to our feelings of a successful and fulfilling marriage. Understanding our own dreams for our marriages, however, is only the first of three vital steps.

The second step is to understand what the spouse’s dreams for the marriage are, and what those dreams mean to him or her. Finally, once you both understand each other’s dreams and the significance behind each one, each spouse must find a way to fulfill as many of the other’s marital dreams as possible. Obviously, the likelihood of some dreams being mutually exclusive with some dreams of the other is a real possibility. Consequently, not all dreams can be fulfilled.

When both spouses allow a give-and-take attitude to prevail so that some of both mate’s marital dreams are fulfilled, and what is not achievable stems from fulfilling an opposing marital dream of the other or some other reasonable factor (like insufficient time or resources), love, respect, and appreciation permeate a marriage.

When two mature people who love one another deeply follow this plan, they see many marital dreams for both fulfilled. Isn’t this what every married couple dreams of achieving?

– Family Dynamics Institute

 

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More, Contact Us At:

800-650-9995

Email Us:    info@FamilyDynamics.net

Websites:     www.FamilyDynamics.net

www.SaveMyMarriage.com

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

Are You Asking the Wrong Question?

 

For years I repeatedly asked God what He wanted me to do. I heard only silence. So I attempted with all my heart to obey Scripture and do what I thought He would want me to do. I wasn’t always sure, but I did my best. Yet I still felt inadequate, like a son who could never please his father.

 

Finally at one of my lowest times I heard my heavenly Father say, “You have been asking the wrong question, son. The right question is, ‘What do you want me to become?’ Once you experience that, live out of who you are becoming.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”

 

Maturity is not accomplished by striving to reach some level of performance that would deem me spiritual or by obeying a set of laws to count me as righteous. Performing and obeying will never earn my Father’s favor. Jesus is everything we are called to be and become. The Jesus in us will always delight the heart of the Father.

 

The first words that came out of the Father’s mouth at Christ’s baptism were, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). What had Christ done to deserve such a pronouncement of favor? At this time he hadn’t preached any sermons, healed the sick, raised the dead or turned the water into wine. He had simply been a faithful, loving son both to His Father in Heaven and His family on earth.

 

Understand this: What God said about Jesus, God says about all his sons and daughters. Because of the work of Christ on our behalf, God is well pleased with us.

 

“Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things. We accomplish the whole purpose of God in our lives when we have our whole being summed up in Him by simply abiding in Him.” – Rick Joyner

 

 

Reflect

 

What does God want you to do? He wants you to abide in Christ.

 

 

Written by and in memory of Dr. Dan Erickson

 

Does the Bible Say Anything About Climate Change?

 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 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. -Malachi 4:6

 

MY STORY

When I was 14 years old, I checked out of home. Although I had wonderful parents, I couldn’t figure out how to navigate my relationship with my father. I didn’t know how to deal with the fact that my father wasn’t everything I wanted and felt I needed.

I was able to cover over and hide my unresolved internal struggle with my dad for almost 30 years. Ironically, it all came to a head in a moment as I was confronted with the reality of the difference of how I WANTED to raise my 4 kids, and how I was ACTUALLY raising them. In some strange and indescribable way, it was almost like a part of me had stopped developing when I walked away from my father at age 14. I now realized how much growing up I was missing.
 


LEARNING HOW TO ADDRESS THE DISAPPOINTMENTS

Our research group has conducted several Father’s Day surveys, and collected responses from over 2,000 men and women from age 18 to 91. Among those who responded, most said Dad was good at providing these as they were growing up: protection, provision, and presiding (creating a leadership structure that was predictable). But 90% of these same adults said Dad missed in some way to provide them everything they wanted or needed. In many cases, Dad may have been physically present, but there was still an emotional barrier.

Our research has also turned about another finding: many fathers themselves feel disappointment over how they have treated their role as fathers. In my research, I have found there are 3 things that men need to address unresolved disappointment:

  1. Great Self-Care. This includes all that goes into taking care of myself so I can do the hard work of addressing unresolved emotions.

 

  1. A Network of Supportive Friends. We all do better when we are surrounded by encouragers who have our backs.

 

  1. Healthy Outlets to Get Beyond the Pain. Many of us routinely utilize the tools of Professional Counseling, Journaling, and Prayer, among others. In my case, I use all three!


THE SUPERNATURAL PART

Is all our great work enough? I mean, if we just TRY HARDER, will that create enough momentum to reach the results we are looking for? Looking back at that passage from Malachi, it’s striking that God compares the needed heart change to Elijah’s work. If you remember, Elijah was a great prophet of God’s people, who routinely demonstrated supernatural activity. He did things like call down fire from Heaven that literally consumed an animal sacrifice AND gallons of water.

Now clearly no amount of pure motive and perfect execution in the natural alone would be able to pull off the signs and wonders that Elijah saw.  Likewise, this heart change God describes does require our faithful obedience– but it requires more than that: this won’t happen without a supernatural touch from God.


PLENTY OF ROOM FOR SCIENTIFIC DEBATE

Climate Change is all over the news today. There are really 3 questions to answer with Climate Change:

  1. Is our world experiencing Climate Change?
  2. If yes, then how much is human activity impacting this change?
  3. What can we do as humans to protect the world from Climate Change?


WHAT ABOUT THE BIBLE?

As it turns out, the Bible has a LOT to say on the topic. For starters, let’s talk about Solomon. When he was dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem, God appeared to him and made it clear that He could shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among His people. And the antidote? Surprisingly, God prescribes a spiritual solution to this disaster:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14

 

ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

Of all the people in the world, Christians should be most aware of the possibility of climate change. In fact, we don’t need to look to science to prove or disprove its existence as a natural phenomenon. The Bible presents a clear connection between man’s actions and environmental impacts.  As always, Bible believing Christians have the opportunity to line up news headlines with God’s Word.
God makes it clear that the spiritual state of His people’s hearts has a direct impact on the physical climate. It is not uncommon for Christians to publicly lament the breakdown of spiritual intensity on our nation. Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize this as an issue for believers to address, but instead attempt to peg this on the actions of unbelievers.

God’s people should be unsurprised to see climate change. Not only does the Bible identify its reality, it also speaks to the spiritual issues that drive us there. The Bible also speaks directly to its antidote: for us to enter into deep repentance in general, and to specifically seek the supernatural restoration of relationship between fathers and children.

 

Tim Truesdale

“Leadership begins at home.”

tim.truesdale@gmail.com

Living From a Father’s Blessing

Several years ago, I had the privilege to witness a powerful event: a blessing. A father, who had MS and was unable to stand, blessed his son and bride at their wedding. I was amazed and inspired to hear the scriptural truths pour forth from this elderly saint’s heart and mind as he blessed these two newlyweds. Without a script, that godly man spoke truth over, and into, the lives of this devoted young couple for at least five minutes.

I felt as if I was on holy ground as I witnessed this event that was videotaped fifteen years earlier. I also had trouble processing what I had just witnessed. The words and evident love and affection between father and son impacted me at a deep level. It has now been several weeks since I watched this sacred utterance, and I am still trying to assimilate what I observed.

A little background: This grainy family wedding video was being shown to a group of ministry leaders at a conference where we were seeking to find out ways that we could teach and encourage fathers. As one man succinctly stated, “All the current social ills of our society stem from fatherlessness.” Yet here we were, observing a sacred example of a godly father affirming and blessing his son and his new daughter-in-law.

The father, who was the vehicle for this heavenly benediction, had not been raised in a godly Christian home. He desperately wanted his children to have every spiritual advantage that he had not received. To that end, he read books on raising godly children including The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

When the video concluded, the son, who was the recipient of those inspired words, stood and addressed us with words of comfort and hope. Many of us were wishing we had received a similar blessing from our earthly father and he comforted us by pointing us to the word of God. In Ephesians 1:3 the Spirit informs us that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. While we may not have received a blessing from our earthly dads, in Christ we have been given, every spiritual blessing.

Then this man, who I will identify later, imparted a vision and hope for the next generation, as he told us what it was like being the recipient of such an anointed blessing. He said that many children live FOR the blessing of their father, while he lives FROM the blessing of his father.

I think about what motivates me and other men. Many of my friends and I are looking for approval and acceptance from our dad. I could tell you many examples but one sticks out to me. I was watching the US Open on Father’s Day, with my brother and my dad. Ken Venturi, who had won major championships, bared his soul and told how he longed to have his father say, “Well done son”. For him, golf had been the vehicle to earn this praise. But regardless of how well he did, his father never affirmed him, until one day, when he despaired of life, his dad told him he “had always been number one in his book.” Those simple words changed his life.

I am one of many who would dearly love to have a written or verbal blessing from my earthly dad. He did the best he could, with the resources that he had, and I rise and honor his memory. Still, deep down I crave the affirmation that only a dad can bequeath. In the past few years, the Spirit of God has satisfied this longing by making me know in my heart that I am an adopted son of my heavenly Father.

Now that I am a father, it is my earnest hope and desire that my sons will experience life not looking FOR my blessing, but living FROM my blessing. For you and I are living in troubled times, but also wonderful times. For the Spirit of God is turning the hearts of fathers to their children, children’s hearts to their father, and all our hearts to our heavenly Dad.

Thankful for my earthly dad and eternally grateful for my heavenly Dad,

Steve

P.S.

The man who received the blessing was Stephen Kendrick. He related that his frail father had also pronounced similar blessings at his brother’s weddings. Part of the blessing was that his sons would be fruitful in reaching thousands with the gospel. If the name is not familiar, these Kendrick brothers have produced several inspiring movies pointing thousands of people to Christ, including Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room. 

 

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

http://www.buildingfaithfamilies.org

Those That Wait on the Lord

Our focus today will be on the word WAIT.

 

Hosea 12:6—Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually.

Psalm 27:14Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalm 37:7—Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Psalm 25:5—Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

James 5:7-8—Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Psalm 33:20—Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

Isaiah 8:17—And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.

Lamentations 3:24-26—“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.

Psalm 130:5—I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope

Micah 7:7—But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

Isaiah 40:31—But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

These verses remind me of an old gospel song, written by Stuart Hamblen: Teach Me Lord to Wait. He used words that resonant in my own heart as I prayerfully wait on the Lord for answers, for direction, for comfort and strength, and for renewal.

Let these words express the prayer of your heart. Sing praises to Him. Ask Him for patience to wait. Rest in the assurance of His love.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WK7ZLWNX

 

Teach me, Lord, to wait – down on my knees.

Till in Your own good time You answer my pleas.

Teach me not to rely on what others may do.

But to wait in prayer for an answer from You.

 

And teach me, Lord, to wait – while hearts are aflame.

Let me humble my pride and call on Your name.

Keep my faith renewed; my eyes on Thee.

And let me be on this earth what You want me to be.

 

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up with wings as eagles.

They shall run and not grow weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

 

 

Brenda Harris is a student of God’s Word…and a wife, mother, and grandmother! She loves uncovering truths and promises in Scripture. Brenda serves as prayer coordinator for Kendrick Brothers Productions.

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.