Courageous Dads 2013 – Summary & Testimonies and It’s NOT DONE YET.

Courageous Dads | Fatherhood CoMission | LifewayThank you again for promoting, viewing and being a supporter of this incredible unified effort to champion dads- Courageous Dads. We could not have done this without you.  Considering the short time frame to produce and promote (since February), busy time of year, being a new platform, our first large collaborative project with over 12 national level partners, we feel grateful about the outcomes we have seen so far. Here are a few highlights:

  • Simulcast hosted at over 150 locations
  • Courageous Dads.com: From May 9- June 14 we saw a 700% increase in web traffic to access simulcast info., marketing tools, free dad resources, videos, ebooks, blog info., mom resources, etc.
  • Courageous Dads FB saw significant increase during same period in likes, views, shares, etc.
  • Millions of impressions created through combined partner/ supporter promotions
  • Courageous Dads App and Game-over 300 downloads. Hundreds of downloads
  • “It’s not too late to experience”- On Demand to remain available a minimum of 30 days. Select on demand during checkout process.
  • Please continue to promote through social media channels and email lists. Messaging: Lifeway is now making the Courageous Dads Simulcast available via on-demand- anytime, anywhere. Churches can still host their own Courageous Dads viewing events, retreats, men’s breakfasts. Small groups and individuals can watch on their laptops or in their living room. Go to www.courageousdads.com to register and access free fathering resources. Select on demand option during registration process.
  • We are currently discussing how we might “repurpose” the simulcast through other media channels so Courageous Dads can champion dad’s year around. Look for updates through Courageousdads.com and Courageous Dads face book page.
  • We hope to offer something similar next father’s day weekend.

Here are a couple of Testimonies from men impacted by the event:

COURAGEOUS DADS was a great event…we had little over 100 men who came to experience the evening with us. It was covered by our local NBC stations 10pm news. Several conversations with dads afterwards indicated that they were well pleased with the evening. Gave away a copy of Stepping Up to a dad who came by our resource table and he left with tears in his eyes. Biggest win for me personally was it setting up the opportunity to invite my daughter in laws dad to join me last night and tomorrow he has committed to joining me for worship. PRAISE GOD and thank you guys for helping to blaze a trail… Love and respect each of you! To God be the glory!

Tony- Montgomery, Al.

We had a great group of Men and Pastor’s over to watch last Friday night’s Father’s Day Simulcast. The Men all gave the show Rave reviews, Many hand claps  Etc….It was very well done. The session with Jeff and his Family was awesome. Dennis session was also very powerful Stephen Kendrick’s  session on Prayer  Really ,really good. It was all so very practical and so needed. My Father was there he is 80 yrs old and was very encouraged and empowered by Dennis last Step the Patriarch. But just having the opportunity for Men to gather prior to Father’s Day and to be encouraged was such a Blessing.

Mike, Little Rock, AR

God bless you and thank you again for your incredible support of Courageous Dads. Spread the word that it’s still available through Lifeway online (On-demand)- only $10.00 for individuals.

Mitch Temple

Executive Director

Fatherhood CoMission

Courageous Dads Father’s Day Simulcast Event – June 14, 2013

Courageous Dads | Fatherhood CoMission | LifewayImagine what our world could be like when Fathers are ENGAGED, EMPOWERED, and EQUIPPED to be all God intended.  What if we could all be a part of ENCOURAGING and ESTEEMING fathers toward this goal?

Well, we can…

PASTORS: Check out our FREE downloadable sermons and video clips for your Father’s Day service. Find all these resources and more at CourageousDads.com. Sign your church up to host the simulcast.

CHURCHES: Take advantage of the FREE downloadable resources to get the word out about the importance of fathers. You’ll find banners, icons for Facebook, postcards, bulletin inserts, and posters at CourageousDads.com.

SMALL GROUP LEADERS: After Father’s Day, engage dads in small group studies and events that will equip and inspire. Be sure to check out the Courageous Movie Study, Stepping Up and other men’s equipping events.

EVERYONE: We invite you to host, attend and be a part of the Courageous Dads Simulcast, Father’s Day weekend – June 14th!  Register Here.  Come back often to CourageousDads.com for ongoing help in being a courageous dad and husband through blogs, apps, games, events, and more.

Individuals, small groups and churches who register for the simulcast will hear some of our nation’s most courageous men tell their story of what it means to be a Courageous Dad! On Friday June 14th (for times click here) you will hear from:

Thank you in advance for your support of the Courageous Dad’s Initiative!

Mitch Temple

Executive Director

The Fatherhood CoMission

Courageous Dads | Fatherhood CoMission | LifeWay | June 14, 2013

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!

 

 

Three “Rivers” of Capturing Your Children’s Heart

This is the final of 4 posts that have been taken from Chapter 7 of The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

How fathers capture childrens heartsHow Fathers Capture Their Children’s Hearts

Regardless of the age of our kids, we need to throw on the brakes and start spending more “heart to heart” time with them. Even if they’re not receptive initially. Even if trust needs to be rebuilt. Even if your children are grown and gone, your pursuit of their hearts must still go on.

It’s time to turn the corner. To remember that teaching your children to love God cannot happen when you’re not loving them well yourself. It’s time to clear out all the noise and discontent that’s created so much uncomfortable space between you and your children. Here are three powerful rivers that need to be unleashed and allowed to flow freely from your heart to theirs.

Attention

Too many moments at home have found us busy while our children have waited in the shadows. They won’t wait forever. Too often we’ve allowed good things to steal us away from the best things—those priceless, unrecoverable moments with our kids while they’re growing up. We have a culture of men who ignore and don’t talk to their children. And this needs to change starting now.

We should daily engage them, laugh with them, comfort them, and walk with them throughout life. “Tell me how you are doing.” “What have you been up to lately?” “What are you most excited about right now?” These are questions dads should ask often. We should make it clear to them that they can always come to us and talk about anything.

Some fathers take each of their children out for breakfast for a little one-on-one time with Dad. Daughters love date nights, and sons relish a “Men’s Night Out.” Whether it’s riding bikes together, reading books, playing sports, or sitting at a coffee shop, time out with Dad can open up conversations you wouldn’t usually have at home with your kids.

Brooks Adams, son of Charles Adams, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain under the Lincoln Administration, was only eight years old when he wrote in his diary one afternoon, “Went fishing with my father; the most glorious day of my life.” Unaware of this, his dad also kept a diary, and he too had marked a comment about that same day and event. “Went fishing with my son; a day wasted.”  He missed the significance of that day.

How many more days might they have spent together if the father knew how much it meant to his little boy? How many times have we considered it a “waste” to push our kids on the swing at the playground or to bring them a snack and a kiss on the head while they’re busy doing homework? Yet we find time to watch television, or surf the Web, or whatever else we deem valuable and necessary to us. We need to look back at Scripture, understand the job God has given us, and redefine the difference between “wasted” time and priceless investments.

Affirmation

Both children and adults want the approval and praise from their dads. They want their father’s “blessing” in their lives. To bless means, “to speak well of”. When you bless your children, you are lovingly using your God-given authority to verbally affirm them toward future success.

God told Moses that the high priest should bless the sons of Israel by saying, “The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26). Then God said, “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”(vs. 27)

When Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Mark 1:11). God the Father was publicly affirming His Son by speaking love and acceptance over Him. He also invested in Jesus at that moment by sending His Holy Spirit down to Him. This not only encouraged Jesus but set Him up for complete success to do the will of His heavenly Father throughout His earthly ministry.

As you learn to do this, it will be a powerful experience for your children. It is important that you communicate to them, “You are my son (daughter) and I dearly love you. I am very pleased with you.” You should then follow up by investing in their future. You should pray for them, encourage them, introduce them to the right people, and give them what they need to help them to be successful.  Even adult men and women long for their father’s blessing if they never received it growing up.

If you didn’t receive your father’s blessing, then you must discover that men who are surrendered to Jesus Christ share in the blessing Jesus received from His Father. Scripture says “in Him” we are blessed with every spiritual blessing and are “accepted and beloved.” (Ephesians 1:1-14) You must receive this blessing from your Heavenly Father by faith, and then model it to your children. Anytime you greet them or talk to them, your countenance, the look in your eyes and tone of voice either says, “You are a delight to me” or “You are an irritation to me.” You should praise them privately, one-on-one, and publicly in front of others. “That is awesome! You are really good at that,” needs to come from your lips as their biggest cheerleader. Regardless of our past failures, we should step up to do this now!

Affection

Our Heavenly Father pours out His unconditional love on us (Romans 5:5), and so should we to our sons and daughters. What a tragedy to hear grown men confess that their fathers never said they loved them. Whether you received love from your father or not, you need to pour it out affectionately on your kids. Break this chain. Make sure they know deeply in their hearts that you care for them. Hug them, kiss them, hold them close. Interact with them in ways that make them fully see, hear, and feel your love.

A child needs not only the discipline of a father but also his warm affection and tender love. When they are little, tickle them, wrestle with them, carry them proudly on your shoulders. As they grow up, don’t stop embracing them and putting your arm around them.

Boys who feel loved by their dads are bolder, stronger, kinder to others, and more secure in their manhood. Girls who feel valued by their dads are more radiant, less desperate for a boyfriend, and more careful whom they marry. So, invest in them, take them places, flood them with tender affection so there is no question in their minds as to your love for them.

God has given us a powerful and amazing calling to bless our children and grandchildren and to teach them to love Him with all their hearts and lives. But they will not be drawn to believe what we say if we don’t speak it from within the context of a loving relationship with them. Our love touches them deeply and opens their hearts to hear truth and follow their Heavenly Father faithfully. They will likely pass on our blessing to their kids!

So let’s step up to the plate with a new vision for success and knock it out of the park!

 

 

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

 

At the Corner of Fatherhood and Leadership – the 2012 Fatherhood Summit

Fatherhood CoMission Leadership summitLater today more than 50 influencers in the church and men’s ministries will convene for one reason…to come together in unity around making Godly fatherhood a reality in every home across the nation.  The statistics tell the story of how fatherlessness has ravaged our families over the past 50 years.  This isn’t to place all the blame on men and fathers.  There are a number of reasons that this is a present day reality.  But, men do have to take responsibility for abdicating many of their responsibilities as dads and husbands and the resulting impact it has had in our culture.  The past is the past.  It’s what we do now that matters.

In 2010, Sherwood Pictures (an outreach of Sherwood Church in Albany, GA) released the fourth film in their remarkable string of increasingly popular faith based films.  What began as a small local project (Flywheel) became an eye-popping unsuspected success (Facing the Giants), then grew to a movie that caught the attention of Hollywood because of it’s theatrical numbers and its key theme of having a Godly marriage (Fireproof), and recently created national attention again as it turned out millions to the theaters while dealing with one of our nations more difficult issues to address—fatherlessness (Courageous).   Sherwood is ultimately much more interested in God being glorified through their work than the worldly success of their movies.  But, the more success a movie has in numbers, the more people who are exposed to the power of the movie’s message.  As much as Sherwood Pictures wants to influence culture for good beyond the movie’s theatrical and DVD releases, at the end of the day, Sherwood Pictures makes movies.  Once the movies message is out, who is there to champion it?

That’s where the Fatherhood CoMission comes in.  This team was formed to help champion Godly fatherhood as was exemplified in the movie, Courageous.  Influential ministries came together to determine how they could help churches and ministries continue to keep fatherhood at the forefront of the cultural discussion while providing guidance, information and encouragement inside and outside of the Church.  The idea for the CoMission was started before Courageous was in theaters but finally formed earlier this year.  And, starting tonight, the Fatherhood CoMission team and 50 other influential leaders in the Church and men’s ministries are convening for a two day summit to pray, collaborate, ideate and strategize on how to best champion Godly fatherhood in our nation.

Here are just a few of the questions they will discuss with the goal of generating some discussion and ultimately practical takeaway plans to pursue at the end of the Summit:

  • What could we (the leadership summit) do in the next 5 yrs to make the biggest impact on fatherhood in our nation?
  • How can we set up the next generation of fathers for success?
  • How can we influence media to show what strong fatherhood looks like and the impact it really has when it’s lived out in the home?
  • What are the biggest threats and enemies to fatherhood that must be confronted?
  • What resources need to be developed that don’t exist?

There will be many others but that gives you an indication about what will happen beginning tonight and going through breakfast on Friday.  Please pray for this summit, these leaders and their organizations and the subsequent plan that can be developed and carried out to help dads around the nation and globe be better dads.  Here are a few prayer requests that we ask you to spend a few minutes praying, if you would:

  • Pray for unity among the different organizations and the prayer of Jesus to God for unity in believers would be a reality.
  • That all agendas would be put aside except those God wants to move forward.
  • Movement in the hearts of men and churches across the nation to move this issue further up on their radar and the impact it would then have on changing homes in communities all over the U. S.
  • Next step clarity
  • Safe travel to and from this event.
  • The right people would be at the event and the ideas that need to be generated are allowed to germinate and grow.
  • A time of refreshment for these leaders who are engaged in so many activities that make leaving their work difficult.  No anxiety for what is left behind and focus on what is at hand for the two plus days.
  • Families of those involved.  Spiritual warfare is real and if there’s a barrier to positively impacting Godly families it’s when good families fall apart and the enemy raises that up as why efforts like these are futile.  God will not be mocked and what God raises up, let not man tear apart.

Thank you for your prayers and support of this event and of the Fatherhood CoMission as it moves forward over the next few years and champions Godly fathering in our nation.  One day it’s charter will be completed and it will disband, hoping and praying that “feet on the street” ministries and churches keep the momentum going.  Pray for this organization that God is raising up for such a time as this!

 

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

SETTING UP YOUR KIDS FOR TRUE SUCCESS

setting up kids to win

From the Resolution for Men…

Every little boy in a baseball uniform who steps up to the plate to face a pitcher will lift his bat with hope. But the intensity of that hope depends on the level of his self-confidence.

Many go to bat just hoping they don’t strike out or get hit in the head. Some hope the pitcher will walk them to first. Others are only hoping they somehow hit the ball—somewhere, anywhere.

But imagine a boy whose father currently plays in the major leagues. He’s watched his dad round the bases in massive stadiums before thousands of cheering fans. He knows the players on his father’s team by name. He was swinging plastic bats in the backyard when he was in diapers. Baseball is in his blood.

As he steps up to the plate and looks over to see his dad cheering him on from the stands, he lifts his bat with a greater vision of success in his eyes. He knows he’s knocking this next pitch over the centerfielder’s head.

He truly believes he can do it.

He not only sees himself rounding the bases, but winning the game for the team, playing in high school, college, and even the big leagues. His dad has told him he can. He’s heard his father’s vivid stories of sacrifice, hard work, and adventure on the way to playing professionally. His dad has put up posters of the all-time greats on his son’s bedroom wall and spent hours with him in the batting cage. He’s committed to walking his namesake through every step of the journey, and do whatever he can to make success happen for his son. This is what it looks like to have a higher definition of success than most people in the world. And this is what it looks like to have the blessing of your father.

Too many parents have very low standards when it comes to defining success for their children. Some just want them not to mess up their lives. Others hope they will graduate from college and find a decent job. Although this sounds noble, it is not impressive in God’s eyes. That’s like hoping your son just gets to first base.

But what should success look like for your children? Do they know? Have you told them and talked about it? Have they seen you modeling it yourself?

This fourth point of Resolution for men is about getting God’s vision inside their heads . . . by resolving to get inside their hearts.

Real-Life Success

When Moses stood before the nation of Israel to give his final speech before he died, he boldly redefined success for them. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Jesus later referred to this as the greatest commandment of all time. Through this, God is calling us to do the greatest thing (to love) toward the greatest One (God Himself) in the greatest way (with all that we are). If anyone finds worldly fame and prosperity but misses out on this, he actually misses everything. It is God’s will that we love Him, obey Him, and live for Him. He should always be our greatest priority and our first love.

But not only is this how we define success for ourselves; this is how we are called as fathers to define success for our children and grandchildren. To see them living for Christ and making Him known through their lives is infinitely more important than their success on the ball field or in the classroom, more important than any award they may receive, more important than landing an impressive job or making a lot of money.

To love God and do His will is to succeed in life.  Period.

But this message is more than just information for our kids to download or a sentence to say one or two times and hope they get it. Moses told us precisely how to instill this truth into our children’s lives.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

Two takeaways from this. First, God’s Word must “be on your heart.” Children who forsake the faith are usually those who did not see God actively working in their parents’ lives. But they develop an appetite for God when they see their dad and mom truly loving Him and walking with Him, when they see the blessings and rewards of your obedience firsthand. Whether it’s delighting in His creation, enthusiastically telling them stories from His Word, or celebrating His goodness in ordinary conversation, you should delight in the Lord around your kids. You can’t inspire them with truths you’re not living yourself.

So when God answers your prayers, tell your kids about it. When He changes your heart or helps you overcome temptation, celebrate it with them. When you face a season of suffering or persecution, let them see the strength of your faith. Just point out how He works. In your own life. In your own words.

One clearly answered prayer can powerfully instill faith toward God in the heart of your child. One humbly confessed mistake can help them see the everyday reality of God’s redemption. Every day gives you fresh, new material for making your life with Christ a front-row experience for the whole family. Let them see that loving Him is what gets you out of bed in the morning.

Training your children to love God must occur within the context of close relationships. It must be part of your daily interactions with them—when greeting your kids at the breakfast table, sitting around the house, having spiritually rich conversations in the car or at dinner, praying together before going to sleep each night.

Help them fall in love with God!

You don’t have to be eloquent or seminary trained to do this. It’s those “Did you know . . .” or “Hey, by the way . . .” moments that mean the most to your kids—things you talk about while you’re out in the yard, heading to the store, or working on a project together.

Making disciples of all nations begins with your own children. By talking with your kids about Him through the day, and then (most important) modeling a love for Him in your own life, you set up your sons and daughters for long-term, multigenerational success.

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

Courageous in Malawi–Part 1 of 3

The follow 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.

Courageous in Malawi–Part 1

courageous in malawiWhen I returned from my fourth mission to Malawi in 2011, I was determined to help the many abused women there. The culture of the Tumbuka tribe in northern Malawi says that their purpose in life is to get together with other men and shoot the breeze while drinking beer (made of corn husks) and other alcohol. This is what about 80% of the men do from around noon until midnight every day of their lives. They drink all the resources the family has for food and necessities. All gone! How sad. Such a waste of their lives.  They believe their wives (or women in general) were created to serve them ……..after all, they are the head of the family.

When the women complain or cannot do all that is expected of them, the men either beat them, divorce them, or marry a second wife to “help” his first wife. Women are not allowed to fight back, they are only allowed to cry. Because so many women were abused or left with nothing after a divorce or now have a second or third wife to live with, I really had a huge burden to help the women. I didn’t know how exactly but I had some ideas. The only problem I had was that the problem was bigger than I knew what to do with. How can anyone help hundreds of thousands of abused women? I had heard about the story of the 1,000’s of star fish that had washed ashore and a man throwing one back into the water and thus saving its life and was asked does it do any good? Well, yes, to the one starfish it did. I thought I will save that one woman.

It was only a couple of weeks before I was to leave for northern Malawi that I felt a strong urge to bring the “Courageous” film along.  For some who may not have seen this movie, it’s a film that teaches the Biblical role of a man and of a father. I knew this film to be totally opposite the Tumbuka culture. What I didn’t know was how it would be received. How will they react? Would the men rip up the screen? Would they destroy the projector? (as my native Tumbuka team was afraid of) Would they just shake their heads and walk away? Or, perhaps, maybe, would they take it in and apply  it to their lives? I didn’t know what to expect. But I took it anyways. I always love a challenge.

And so, I brought the film with me along with many posters and a copy of the resolution that went with it.  However,  there was another issue. The film is in English!  Why even bring it, What was I thinking?

But there are a few,  maybe only 5%, who could understand it to some degree, so I decided I’ll work with them.  (to be continued…)

Tomorrow’s post…we’ll find out what happened when Anna showed the film to the tribe and they became Courageous in Malawi!

Dad, Are You Tempted Today to Think You Don’t Matter?

Guest post by Leon Wirth, Sitting member of the Fatherhood CoMission Board and Executive Director with Focus on the Family

It’s natural for us to struggle with this question.

Sometimes we really do wonder…we wonder as dads if what we do really makes a difference in our family’s life.  Do dads matter?  What if I wasn’t there?  Would they miss me?  Do they really need me?  Don’t they get most of what they need from their mom, the church, their teachers and coaches and friends?

The temptation comes because we feel discouraged, questioning whether or not we matter at work, at home and elsewhere.  It comes when we wonder what it would like to be “free” from our family, without the daily grind that comes with family responsibilities.  It comes when we’re tempted by the enemy to fantasize about starting a new life, a “mulligan” of sorts.

However and whenever you are tempted to think you don’t matter, whatever the reason, I challenge you to “perish the thought.”  Think about the importance of your dad, present or not, in making you who you are.  Look at the many examples in Scripture of reasons that dads are important and dads matter (and the Heavenly Father most of all).

Dads matter…an example

But if you need a practical example to encourage and inspire you, if it helps (and it sure does me), I urge you watch the following video, or find your favorite similar such video, and bookmark it to watch it from time to time.

Because few videos capture the importance of a dad in a family’s life, without any words needed, then a video that shows the homecoming of a military dad.

Wow.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not ashamed to admit these scenes bring tears to my eyes every time.

Look at the joy.  The relief.  The desire to be in each other’s arms.  Notice how the kids drop whatever they’re doing?  Do you think there is anything more important than being in their dad’s arms at that moment?  Do you think they’re thinking about sports, relationship problems, money, video games, homework, or what anyone else around them is thinking?

Dads can stir courage into their kids

The courage of the kids, in a way, is remarkable.  They seemingly could care less about anyone else.  Everything else seems to melt away as they rush to their fathers.  Do you think they care what their peers think about them?  Not a chance.

Dads can stir the courage and hearts of their kids in powerful ways.

In fact, study after study actually shows that the impact of a dad is powerful.  Dad’s positively impact a child’s social, academic, relational, emotional and spiritual health.  Some studies even show the impact of a dad is greater than the impact of a mom in certain aspects of a child’s life.  That’s not to say dads are better, but it is to say that dads certainly matter.
Yes.  It’s true.  Dads really do matter.

Maybe that’s what these kids in the videos know better than we do as dads sometimes.

Those families are not perfect any more than yours or mine are perfect.  They have problems.  The dads eventually will get crossed up with the kids over something, just like you and I do with our kids.  But at the moment of that reunion the message is simple:  Dad, I’m so glad you’re here, you’re home.

The first question this raises for me is about my relationship with God.  Do I enjoy my time with God like these kids do who are reunited with their dads?  Do I run into His arms to tell Him I love Him?  Do I accept His love in return as these kids so eagerly do?

The second question is for me as a dad in my family:  Do I do everything I can in my time with my family that they’ll look forward like that to my coming home?

Sometimes I travel for work.  And I love coming home and hearing “Daddy’s home!”  But how I leave, and how I come home…where my head and heart and attitude are…can either help or hurt that “re-entry.”

But even on regular days, wouldn’t it be great if my kids and wife were like those families in the video, wanting my presence and longing for my hugs and words of love? Again, how I leave home and how I come home either helps or hurts my return.

The bottom line is this:  I want to live in such a way that I’m missed, that my return home is exciting, that my presence is meaningful.

Yeah, when I watch those videos, I want to be THAT DAD, like one of our great military servicemen, who gets that kind of reception.

__________________________________________________

Leon C. Wirth is a Christian speaker, husband and father. He serves as Executive Director of Parenting and Youth at Focus on the Family and host of the Dad Matters podcast with Dr. Greg Smalley. He is the co-author of the book The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Leon lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters.

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.