Dealing with Depression

depressed manDo you realize that many Christian leaders struggle with depression, even during the holidays? Depression is a silent distractor and disabler of many Christian leaders throughout the year. Its causes can be many including biological, genetic, stress, chemical imbalances etc.

Charles Spurgeon considered “the prince of preachers” in the 1800’s struggled with depression.  Tommy Nelson one of today’s most popular pastors, author and family leader shared his struggle with depression openly through lectures, interviews and books.

I know of numerous fathering and family leaders who sometimes silently struggle with the “demon of depression” including myself.  Depression can strike anyone, including leaders who are out front leading the battle on today’s biggest faith and family challenges.

Depression typically doesn’t just go away. It takes courage, intentionality and often seeking outside help including a medical doctor or therapist.  If you are married to a spouse dealing with depression, you can also help by familiarizing yourself with what they are struggling with and how to help them versus making it worse.

This holiday season; say a special prayer for our leaders, fathers and pastors. We need them on the front lines.

The Low Down on The Fatherhood Summit 2012

Fatherhood Leadership Summit team

Over sixty leaders and spouses came together last week at Winshape Retreat in Rome, Georgia to support the 2012 FCM Summit Vision: to train, equip, and unify local and national ministry leaders so they can strategically work together to champion the cause of Biblical fatherhood across the nation.  Practically our desire was to rejoice and laugh, grieve and pray, listen and learn, educate and encourage each other, network and fellowship, and then dream and collaborate so that we can be united in advancing God’s design and heart for strong fatherhood.  We feel these goals were met by God’s good grace. Be encouraged by reading testimonies submitted by Fathering Leaders who attended (below).

There are two prominent questions being asked stemming from the 2012 Summit:

1.      What’s next?      This is a question that we are all asking and seeking the favor of God about.  Currently here’s what  we have been shown:

  • Ongoing encouragement for Fatherhood leaders to work together in unity, laying aside ego’s and logo’s for the common good of the big K (kingdom) cause.
  • To embark on a significant Father’s Day undertaking together.  The FCM Board is convening in Dallas in January to solidify ideas and strategy.
  • To offer the Fatherhood Leaders Summit again in 2013 at Winshape.
  • Keep relationships moving forward through conference calls, web-n-r’s, social media

2.      What can I do?    Though we are still very much in the formation stage, below are specific tasks which will help FCM continue its work into 2013 and beyond:

  • Pray regularly that God will bless this movement with unprecedented guidance, protection and favor.
  • Help us spread the word about FCM by posting on our Facebook page , “like” us and post links to FCM on your social media channels.
  • Sign up for our blog and forward link to your email contacts
  • Follow FCM on twitter and re-tweet FCM tweets
  • Share “best of” resources on our FB page– help put tools in fathering champion’s “tool boxes”
  • Share what is happening through FCM with your pastor, church leaders and community leaders
  • FCM board members have committed to make a personal donation to FCM by end of month. If you believe in the direction we are heading, prayerfully consider a personal donation or ask friends, colleagues, influencers to make a year end gift to our 2013 efforts.  Details about online donations coming soon. Send donation questions or intents to: mitchtempleonline@gmail.com

Follow this link for a Summit slideshow. Enjoy!

Thank you again and May God bless us as we stand together and champion the noble calling of fatherhood. I am truly honored to help lead this effort into the year 2013.

Courageous in Malawi – Part 2

This blog series is from a young missionary woman who shared this experience of how the movie, Courageous, helped to change the culture of a tribe she has been ministering to for a number of years.  The Tumbuka tribe in northern Malawi is the tribe that she has been sharing her life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s such a great story that she decided to send it to Sherwood Pictures to let them know the impact that the movie, Courageous, was having half a globe away.  It’s a powerful story of how a person who was courageous in Malawi, helped changed many lives and how the power of film impacts culture and, in this case, for GOOD!  We will share her story  just as she wrote it and split it into three blog posts.  Her name is Anna Ebert and she has given us the permission to share her story.  We know you’ll be encouraged.  Read Part 1 here…

Courageous in Malawi – Part 2

Tumbuka Tribe getting Courageous in Malawi

After first teaching the team about the film and the message in it, I said, “Let’s show it in the afternoon and only allow men and older boys can come and watch the film”. I thought this way the men would not be intimidated. Auter, a native member of the team was put in charge of showing it. I thought he would be the perfect one of the team to do this. He does not back away from confrontations. He has gone through a lot in his own life and would be able to teach and understand the men.

Auter began by explaining to the men what the film was about  None of the men left. Well, I thought, that’s a start. Then he turned on the film. Every one sas motionless. Now I must add that they had never seen a white person before, and definitely had never seen a movie before.

When the movie ended, Auter explained it more to them. Then, I received the biggest surprise of my life. The men almost unanimously said , “We want that (pointing to the film). Our culture is bad. We have to change. We want to live with our wive’s and our daughters like they do in the film.”

Now you must keep in mind, that they did not understand a word. No, I shouldn’t say that. They did understand it . They understood it through seeing the actions. They saw the men in the film caring for their families, their wives, their children. They saw a father even risk his life for his baby…and they understood. They saw men giving their lives to the Lord and how it brought such peace to them.

These men were introduced to a whole new way of life. They never knew there was another way to live. “Why has no one ever told us this before?” “We only know our culture and our culture is bad!” “I never knew that there is another way!” … They never knew that there was another way to live! Can you imagine that? How thrilling it is to be able to give them new hope.

Well, by now, I was just jumping for joy inside. Is what I was hearing and seeing actually happening? Are they really that open to change? Are they really that sick and tired of their bad culture? Are they that tired of having no purpose in life? Is their life that void of meaning? Yes, yes, yes and yes. I realized that if we do not do what we are created for, there is a void, there is no meaning to life. These men have proven that. Their culture has robbed them of life – physical life, spiritual life.

Then, a problem arose. As we showed the film in village after village, the same question was raised again and again. They noticed that the men in the film had only one wife. “But I have two wives so what do I do?” “I have children with both my wives, now what do I do?”  (And no doubt that was a huge problem).

Auter explained to them, “I cannot tell you to divorce your second wife but I can tell you to receive Jesus Christ as your Savoir so He can direct you and show you the way to what you can do. What you can do is to come together and talk to your second wife with all your children and teach them the Word of God because they don’t know what has happened to you. You should treat your children in the [same] way the Bible teaches.”

One of the men responded with, “I will try to do that, please pray for me so Jesus can lead in my life. On my own I cannot make a good decision. Sometimes I treat my wife very badly and now I want to do what is right.”

Wow!!  Tomorrow we’ll see what the men did to put a “stake in the ground” as a statement about carrying out what they just saw and believed!

Family Activities That Build Your Home | Stephen Kendrick – Part 2

This is the 2nd of 2 posts by guest blogger, Stephen Kendrick.  Stephen and his brother Alex have created 4 theatrically released movies including Fireproof and Courageous and have co-authored a New York Times Best Seller, The Love Dare (as seen in Fireproof).

Yesterday, Stephen shared the “Why” of the importance of fathers making time for our children.  Today, he shares the “How”.

A New Day and a New Opportunity

I want to challenge you today to throw on the brakes and start spending more “heart to heart” time with your kids. My wife and I are personally going on a journey to win, keep and mentor the hearts of our children Grant, Cohen, Karis, and John. We want to obey our Lord and desperately long for our children to hear and embrace God’s truth. But they won’t, unless we plant it in the soil of hearts that are bound to ours in a loving relationship. Will you join the adventure? You might be saying, “That sounds great. Maybe I’ll start that tomorrow.” Well as Grant, who is ten now can say, “It already is tomorrow”.  Here are some ideas for family activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, indoor and outdoor activities with your children.

How to Capture Time with your Kids:

ROUTINE FAMILY ACTIVITIES:

Establish Daily Interactive Habits.

Read Deuteronomy 6:7 and observe the four family activities that are in everyone’s routine. Capture those four conversation opportunities each day with your kids.

  • Morning hugs & Breakfast laughs.
  • Car catch me ups.
  • TV-less dinners.
  • Bedtime Tales. Tuck me in prayers.

They all really add up to years full of unregrettable moments.

Invite Tonto to Tag Along.

 Try to include your kids in what you are already doing.

  • My 8 year old Cohen helps me take out the trash every week.
  • Grant joins me for home improvement projects. My Home Depot runs include helpers that get M&M’s at the register.
  • Don’t leave them behind. Develop in them an appetite that longs to tag along with you.

Make Tickling Mandatory.

If laughter is the best medicine, then tickling is the wise doctor’s prescription. Take time to enjoy laughing with your children. My wife and I take turns holding down our kids while the other gets them with tummy tickles. This is an added free perk of parenting that comes with the membership card.

Declare War on the TV.

Would you like lots of extra free time every day? Duck tape down the Off button on your remote. It’s revolutionary. The average American watches 5 hours of television or internet media a day. That’s the equivalent to non-stop viewing 24 hours a day for two months straight – every year. That time is usually non-interactive for families too. So that’s where that wasted time was hiding! I dare you to turn it off and enjoy your family.  FamilyLife has challenged families to observe TV fasts for a number of years, often mentioning it on their FamilyLife Today radio program.  Maybe, you can declare the next 30 days as a TV/Media fast?

SPECIAL FAMILY ACTIVITIES:

Kidnap your Kids.

Each kid needs private one on ones with each parent. Spontaneously showing up where your son or daughter is and stealing them away for lunch is a great bonding activity. Kids never forget such surprises! Talk to their teacher about schedule breaks and kidnap them from school twice a year. A day fishing with dad or shopping with mom while everyone is still in school is unbelievably cool to kids. Don’t you wish your parents had done that for you?

Go Camping.

Research shows that families that camp together closely bond together. It is one of those unpredictable family activities that breeds good healthy catastrophe and misadventures into life. Camping ironically forces families to work together and ultimately develop their own hilarious stories that they share later on. Buy a tent and find a state park. Learning how to camp is half the fun.

Give Grace Gifts.

It’s healthy to teach your kids to be good and work hard in order to earn some type of reward. But they should also learn that grace gives things that are unearned and undeserved. Buying your kids surprises occasionally for NO REASON can be a fun way to teach them about grace. “Just because I love you!” is a powerful declaration that hits them right in the heart.

So, Dad, which one of these can you do TODAY?  As James says, our life is but a mist and we don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow.  If these last two posts have made you lament the time you haven’t spent with your kids today is the day to put the stake in the ground.  Make the next right step and do something, anything that will move you closer to your children.  And, for you that have already watched your kids come and go, modify this to make a covenant today to get back in touch, stay in contact more regularly or continuing to invest your time as a dad into their lives.  You’ll never outgrow being a dad.

Savoring Your Kids While You Can – Stephen Kendrick

Following is a guest post by Stephen Kendrick.  Stephen and his brother Alex are the creators of the movies out of Sherwood Pictures (a ministry of Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia), most recently Fireproof and last years great film about the impact of fatherhood on families and our culture, Courageous.  Stephen is also co-author of the New York Times Best Selling book, The Love Dare.  This is part 1 of 2.

Today, Stephen shares some personal stories about engaging with his children and shares a biblical foundation for dads making time for their children.  Tomorrow, we’ll share some of Stephen’s recommendations about HOW to better engage with your children and will stir your thoughts

Guest Author: Stephen Kendrick

When my son Grant was born, an older friend came by and visited us in the delivery room.  While holding our newborn, he looked at me and said, “Enjoy him while you can. If I could somehow explain to you how fast he will grow up, you would just cry.” I’m discovering he was right. A few days later, Grant turned three.

Early one morning he scampered into my room and began his daily ritual of trying to convince me to play with him instead of going to work. As usual, I was rushing while he was negotiating. “Daddy, I’ve turned over my cowendar and you can stay home from wuck today,” he declared trying to sound like an adult.

“Grant, I have to go to work today, but I can stay home tomorrow.”

“But Daddy…” he countered, “it is tomorrow!” I had to smile at his desperate attempts.

“No, Grant, today is Friday. I can’t stay home until Saturday.”

Didn’t he know I had more important things to do than play blocks on the floor with a toddler? As he dropped his head and slowly waddled out, he muttered, “Well… maybe then you can come visit us.”

Ouch. I could hear the cry of a son’s heart needing his daddy, and I was the daddy he was needing. A few days later, Grant turned five.

I regret to say that too many moments at home have found me busy working on the latest, greatest project or running errands while my four kids have waited hopefully in the shadows. Too often the good things somehow work their way into our schedules and steal us away from the best things – like those priceless non-recoverable moments with our kids when they are still at home. Can you relate? Isn’t it time to redeem the time?

I’m learning more every day that spending time with my children is one of the most important responsibilities I have. A few things have really helped me lately to better grasp this.

A Father’ Dying Plea

This year, I performed the funeral for a man in our church who lost a battle to cancer. A few days before his passing, I had visited his home to pray with him. With a trembling voice between gasping breaths, he looked up at me and said, “Please tell my son not to turn on the TV when he is eating dinner with his kids. I now regret doing that. I wish we had spent that time together.” His words now echo in my ears as I look at my children. Oh, how I don’t want to share the same regret one day.

A Parent’s Biblical Mandate

Some of the most pivotal points in scripture challenge parents to prioritize making time for our children.

Look at the greatest commandment. Premiered in Deuteronomy 6, “loving God with everything you are” is the pinnacle imperative of God’s law. But the next verses explain how parents must daily hang out with their children so they can diligently teach them how to do that. Did you know you are commanded by God to continually teach your child how to love God wholeheartedly? The passage further explains that this happens through your daily interaction with them in the morning, while sitting in your house, when you’re traveling, and at bedtime each night.  Making time for our children is critical for teaching them.

A Child’s Desperate Need  

Our kids deeply depend upon time with us. Children find their security, develop their worldview, and discover who they are from their parents. Even as the animals after creation were named by Adam in the garden, children form their understanding of their identities directly from their mom and dad in the home.

Even if it’s never verbalized, little children look to their parents to find the answers to their hearts’ greatest questions. The words, “Daddy, who am I?”, “Am I accepted?”, “Do you love me unconditionally?” and “Do I have what it takes?” should be printed on a T-shirt and worn by our kids while they are around us. That’s what they’re asking all the time. And parents too often give wrong answers to those questions without realizing it. When we aren’t making time for our children, we are sending them a message,  “Nobody has time for you, little one. We’re busy with things that are important. You are not. Go bother somebody else.”

How many times do our lives unintentionally shout these messages to them?

This response not only negatively impacts their understanding of their value, but tragically their view of God. “If Daddy doesn’t think I’m important,” they conclude, “my Heavenly Father must not either.” Whether we like it or not, we are daily representing an image of God to our kids. They need us to carve out extra time for them so we can represent Him well.

A Nation’s Loss of a Legacy

Research is showing that Christians are theologically losing the next generation. Over 90% of born again kids today are rejecting the absolute truth that their parents embrace. Apologist Josh McDowell explains why. In a chapel service at the Focus on the Family headquarters, he stated, “You can be the greatest explainer of truth. But, if the very heart of your son or daughter does not believe -‘my daddy loves me,’ they will walk away from your truth.”

Using Psalm 85, McDowell shares how King David followed God’s truth because he knew of God’s unfailing love for him. Likewise, children will embrace the truth taught by their parents only if it is given to them from within a loving heart-to-heart relationship.

The opposite is also true. The parents who lose the hearts of their children have children who forsake their parent’s theology. To summarize: Whoever has your child’s heart, has their ears. It’s no wonder that Solomon cried out, “My son, give me your heart!” as he sought to instruct him. (Proverbs 23:26) This principle sheds light on why God ended the Old Testament with the need for the hearts of fathers to be turned back to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. The future of Christianity depends upon it.

Do you have your children’s hearts? Do they have yours?

What are ways that you’ve made some extra time for your kids when it didn’t look like you had any extra time to give?

Come back tomorrow to see what Stephen suggests to help you make time for your kids.