A Father's Narrative
A great challenge to fathers, taken from "Bond of Brothers" by Wes Yoder:
... a father's narrative includes for his sons, and in perhaps even more powerful ways for his daughters, a living portrait of his character, his work ethic, his love, his ability to create, his desire to serve and his capacity to play. As a father, you are the nearest point of reference your children will ever have to what the words Dad, man, husband, and father actually mean... True narratives of fathers are not perfect pictures [but a child does] need a father's narrative, or his life will become much more difficult than it was ever meant to be.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 exhorts us fathers to disciple our children “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Isn’t this hard when the kids are absolutely on your nerves? It makes me crazy, and I justify my strong and curt reactions and demands as worthy discipline. However, have you ever noticed that the word “discipline” comes from the same root as the word “disciple”? Isn’t that was being a father really is – being a disciple to our children in the ways of the Lord?
The purpose of discipline is always to instruct and to bring growth in a godly direction. Even when we do exercise appropriate correction, it shouldn’t be for the sake of punishment, but to bring about repentance, a change of heart, and a turning back to God and his righteousness.
Let’s challenge ourselves as fathers to put the disciple back into discipline.
Author: Ryan Rimington
Insulate Your Kids
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
This verse was highlighted at church this week as we discussed the importance of raising our children. The basic message; instead of just incorporating (making them believe what we believe) or just isolating (trying to keep them away from anything that could have a bad influence on them), we need to insulate them - instilling godly values in them so that they will make the right choices for themselves.
As parents, this can be difficult. As my kids get older (oldest is 13), I find it much easier to just "lay down the law" and assume that they'll turn out OK. Sure, this tactic is necessary when the kids are younger, but as they mature they will need to learn how to make their own decisions. I won't be there every time they flip through the TV channels, or browse the internet, or hang out with friends. They will need the courage and maturity to make the right decisions for themselves, and I need to model that for them, teach them what God says, and listen to them as they struggle to make the right choices.
This verse from Proverbs is very reassuring as my wife and I attempt to raise our kids in a godly manner. We need to teach them to trust and acknowledge God, and then God will direct their path. And as parents we need to trust and acknowledge Him as we raise our kids - and the end result will be up to Him.
Author: Mark Dwyer
God's Plans Trump Mine
“A man may have many plans in his heart. But the Lord’s purpose wins out in the end.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Our family has been a enjoying studying selected virtues for the past year. In dedicated time at dinner, bedtimes, and in the car, we have been covered virtues such as discipline, patience, self-control, orderliness, conviction, among several others. While my wife and I strive to provide wisdom to our kids in our studies and discussions, we have to admit that the refreshing, pure, burden-free perspectives and “wisdom” that our kids unabashedly communicate is often some of the most valuable. A dinner discussion last week was one of those times:
We are currently studying hope for the month of April, which we define as “believing something good will come out of something bad”. In a dinner discussion, my “ice breaker” to the family was “tell us something you would like or want to do in the future?” After everyone shared, I was trying to pass along that we should always have hope in our lives, even if we are not troubled, hurt, sick, or sad. My 8-yr old son, Jack, then piped up and said “But Dad, there’s a difference between hope and simply wanting something. When we want something that doesn’t match what God is doing, doesn’t that makes us sad?” I was stopped in my tracks. Maybe Jack should lead our dinner sessions! I responded, “Absolutely right, Jack” and then I remembered and shared the aforementioned Proverb with the family.
The Challenge: In what ways are your plans as a husband, father, and/or worker interfering or contradicting what God may be doing in your life? Is a lack of hope, joy, courage, or determination tied to this contradiction? What new habits can you activate to steer back in line with God?
Author: Ryan Rimington
Being a Man
From "Bond of Brothers" by Wes Yoder (thanks for the book, Bob!);
"At some point in life, being a man includes learning to say what you think about the things you do not want to talk about. It means being an initiator among friends and family about the things that really matter. It means being a provider, a defender, and a spiritual leader for your family and for the poor in your community who cannot do these things for themselves. It means you have the lifelong privilege of practicing kindness, of being a servant, of giving away your life in order to gain it, and of providing identity, strength, and character for your family. A man has the honor of being a keeper of wisdom and a sensible lifestyle, of nurturing a true understanding about God as a shelter from the lies of the culture."
"As iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 17:27)
On the radio the other week I heard about a VFW program who's mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. Their purpose is trifold: 1) To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members; 2) To help injured service members aid and assist each other; 3) To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
I started this golf program 3 years ago because I saw another group of "Wounded Warriors" in my church, in my neighborhood, and in my family - men. We all have scars from unrealized goals, broken or unhealthy relationships, unfulfilling or monopolizing careers, addictions, physical ailments, and more. Some of these scars have debilitated us; other scars have only made us stronger. But we need to "aid and assist each other" to be the men God wants us to be. Why? Because we are in a battle, and we are the warriors. Our strength is vital to not only each other, but to our families and friends. Let's band together, as wounded warriors, and keep fighting the good fight!
Author: Mark Dwyer
Train your kids well
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, NASB)
On a recent trip to Ohio, I had the opportunity to visit an Amish community. I was impressed by the simplicity and devotion of these fine people and I learned of many interesting customs. Perhaps the most remarkable was the way they usher their young people into adulthood. At a certain age (around 18), a young Amish man or woman is allowed to explore the "real world". During this time the young person is allowed to wear modern clothing and even drive a car. But after a couple years, he or she must decide which lifestyle to live.
As Christian fathers, we aren't much different. We have a short time in which we can influence our kids to live a life of devotion to God, but the time will come when they must decide for themselves. It is imperative that we use our time well and train them by our actions, our relationships, our words and the truth of the Bible. God (who loves them even more than we do) will use those seeds that we plant to produce a harvest in their lives!
Author: Mark Dwyer
A Father's Love
"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son..." (John 3:16)
Tucking my kids in for bed tonight, I was overwhelmed with the love that I felt for each of them. I remember the day each was born, and the unique personalities of each; I fear for their futures, wondering how they (and I) will handle all of the pain that they face. I cannot imagine life without them!
And then I think of God's love for them. He knows them even better than I do, and LOVES them even more. God's love is truly unconditional for them.
Then I think of God's love for me. I'm still a "child" to him. He knows my faults, my unique personality, and he feels my pain. He did everything he could to show me his love and to protect me from this broken world - literally taking my punishment for me so that I could know real life with Him forever. I hope that I continue to grow in the knowledge of his love for me - the more I know of his love, the more empowered I feel to show it to others.
Author: Mark Dwyer
Feed What You Want to Grow
"So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me." (Romans 7:21)
You know what is right, but don't always do it (see Romans 7:10-25). It's right to let the car merge in front of you, but it's easier to act like you don't see them (or flip them the bird). It's right to handle your finances with integrity, but it's easier to run up your credit card bill. It's right to spend time with your kids, but it's easier to turn on the TV. It's right to love your wife, but it's easier to hold a grudge. Here's a practical piece of advice for all of us men - develop the habit of doing the right things, and they'll become a lot easier to do. If you want to be a kind person, look for opportunities to be kind (ie, let the car in). If you want to have a better handle on finances, set a budget and keep it. If you want to be a better father and husband, carve out time in your schedule to spend with your wife and kids. It might not be easy at first, but it will become more natural as you make it a habit. What you feed will grow (Tiger Woods gave us a negative example of this); we need to feed what we want to grow.
Author: Mark Dwyer
Brett Lilly - Campus Pastor at Compass Church (95th campus), husband, father