6 Practical Ways Fathers Can Man Up

An epidemic of epic proportions is occurring right before our eyes. An epidemic we have the power to do something about.

What’s happening?

Fathers are not only abandoning their families – 17.4 million children grow up in fatherless homes – they are also abandoning their God-given responsibility as the spiritual leader in their homes. As a result, millions of boys are growing up unprepared to lead their families.

What we need, then, is for fathers to man up and lead their families. But how? How can we lead our families.

6 Practical Ways Fathers Can Man Up

(1) When at home, be at home

After a long days work, it is easy to retire to the work bench, study, den, or lose yourself in social media or the TV, but we have to resist that temptation. We have to engage our children in some meaningful way when we are home. We have to actually be at home, when we are home.

(2) Eat dinner together

When I say eat dinner together, I don’t mean for us to sit in the living room watching TV together with dinner plates in hand. When we do that, we might be eating dinner at the same time and in the same room, but we aren’t eating together.

No, what I am talking about is actually turning off the TV, setting our phones aside, and sitting around the dinner table together talking with one another.

For those of you with teenagers, this might be the only time you have their undivided attention. It might be the only time you have to build into them. Don’t waste that opportunity because your favorite TV show is on.

Watching TV together does not have the same impact as talking together.

(3) Read the Bible together

I know what you are thinking, we don’t have the time for that. How am I ever going to get everyone in my family together at the same time? If that is you, you might need to cut some activities out of your schedule, so you will have the time. What’s more important: That your child participate in yet another extra-curricular activity, or you read God’s Word together?

In all reality, you may not even need to cut your schedule because I am not talking about an extensive hour long devotional every night. I am instead talking about devoting 5-10 minutes to reading the Word and praying together.

5-10 minutes is not a lot of time, and it is something we can all do. Just take the time you spend scrolling through your Facebook feed and watching cat videos, and devote it to your family.

While 5-10 minutes is not a lot of time, it does take discipline. It does take a little planning and motivation. It does take putting down the remote, turning off the game, and setting your phone or tablet aside for a few minutes.

If you want to know the secret to accomplishing a family devotional each day, make it apart of your routine. It has worked for our family. Reading God’s Word as a family happens every night after we brush our son’s teeth and before we put him to bed. Since it is apart of our routine, we do it. If we don’t do it, it feels like something is missing.

Surely, there is some place you can add a 5 minute devotional to your daily routine.

(4) Play together

Carving out fun time is important because it’s one way to build a relationship with your kids. Relationships are key if we are going to lead our children.

Don’t think play time is all fun and games. Even during play time, questions and opportunities to talk about God come up. It may only be for a minute or two while resting, but those couple of minutes over the years add up. Who knows, maybe that conversation will be replayed over and over in your child’s mind for the next couple of days.

(5) Memorize Scripture together

Not too long ago my Sunday School teacher challenged the class to memorize Scripture together as a family. What a novel idea!

Memorizing Scripture together not only motivates the parents to hide God’s Word in their heart, but it also motivates the child to do the same. As well as it’s another way to stimulate conversation around God’s Word.

(6) Don’t quit ministering

That’s true even after your kids have left home. Things are going to look different, but keep at it. Share with them what you are learning in God’s Word. Send them a blog post or sermon you liked. Give them a book. Tell them you are praying for them. Encourage them to train their kids. Whatever it may be, keep at it. Don’t stop ministering!

Challenge

I can’t stress how important it is for our society and churches that fathers lead their families in a biblical way. If we want to turn our country around, fathers have to train their children. If we want to raise up another generation of leaders in the church, fathers have to train their children. If we want to kill the current epidemic happening in our country, fathers have to train their children.

Fathers, it’s time we man up! It’s time we take God’s Word seriously. It’s time we be involved in our kids lives, training them, instructing them, and teaching them to be future spiritual leaders.

Question for Reflection

  1. Fathers, are you manning up?

Resources

Post developed from the sermon: Fathers, Man Up!

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God’s Original Design for Marriage

Marriage Ceremony

Marriage is under attack in this country. The attack isn’t just coming from the LGBT community, but from all fronts. The mainstream media often pictures marriage as something to dread, as a last resort, or something modern couples don’t need.

Marriage, however, isn’t something to dread. It isn’t a last resort, or something to shrug off. Marriage is a wonderful union instituted by God. One God designed to be a blessing.

What is God’s Original Design for Marriage?

In Matthew 19, Jesus tells us God’s original Design for Marriage. Jesus says,

Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (vs 4-6)

Jesus’ response is grounded in creation and it teaches us at least four things about God’s design for marriage.

(1) Marriage is between a man and a woman 

Genesis 1 and 2 tells us God created Adam and Eve in the beginning. Eve was created as a helper for Adam, to complement and assist him in his God given job.

God’s choice and design of Adam’s helper is significant. God didn’t created another man to help Adam. He created a woman. A woman with different gifts to complement and help Adam. A woman who was able to bear children so they could fulfill God’s command to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). So from the beginning God’s design for marriage has always been between a man and woman.

This idea is not popular today. The LGBT community would have you believe marriage is for anyone in a committed and loving relationship. That, however, is not how God designed it. Again, from the beginning, God’s design for marriage has always been between a man and a woman.

(2) Marriage is between one man and one woman

God didn’t create several wives for Adam. He created him one helper, one wife.

I know what you are thinking: What about Abraham, Jacob, Elkanah, or Solomon? They all had several wives. They all were blessed by God. So why can’t we?

I think that brings up a good point. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s the best practice, it doesn’t mean it is permissible. Before you brand me as a heretic, let me explain.

The Bible is designed to teach us. Sometimes God teaches us through commands, while other times He teaches us through life examples. When we look at the lives of those who had multiple wives, the Bible teaches us it’s not for the best. On the surface, it might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. It just creates an atmosphere of jealousy, deceit, lies, and competition. All things that aren’t good.

If you want a modern day example of polygamy and its negative affects, the show Sister Wives is a good one. The show chronicles the lives of the Brown family. They are a part of a fundamentalist Mormon group that believes in polygamy. Kody, the husband, has four wives and 17 kids.

After watching a couple of episodes, its evident polygamous marriages aren’t the best marriage environment. We understand why, when we realize God created the institution of marriage to be between one man and one woman.

(3) Marriage creates a one flesh union 

When two people are married, they are literally joined together by God. They become one flesh.

The word picture evokes that of a welder. When a welder takes two pieces of metal and welds them together, those two pieces become one piece. That’s the point Jesus is making here. When two people are married, they are welded together so that they become one.

(4) Marriage is for life

Go back to our welding illustration. When two pieces of metal are welded together, they aren’t easily separated, if that can even happen. That is the same thing that is supposed to happen in a marriage relationship. Once a one flesh union is created, it’s not supposed to be separated. It is to remain as one unit for life, just like those two pieces of metal that are welded together.

Of course, this is not a popular idea today. Over 50% of marriages now end in divorce. From the beginning, however, that was not God’s intent. Instead He designed marriage as a one flesh union between one man and one woman for life.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you agree with Jesus’ teaching? Why or why not?

Resource

For more teaching, listen to my latest sermon Jesus’ Teaching on Marriage, Divorce, and Singleness.

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Training Our Children in the Lord | Part 4

Dominic

Today we had the joy of dedicating several babies and families at Sycamore Baptist Church, my family included. Here is what I shared with them regarding the “How To” of training your child in the Lord (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

(5) Be there for them

Moses’ commandments in Deuteronomy 7 assumes parents are there for their children. You can’t teach, train, counsel, or guide your children if you are gone all the time. We have to carve out time in our schedules for our kids. If we don’t, we will not accomplish God’s desire for our family. That’s because training our children involves time.

The money that you make, the fun you have, or the freedom you experience while away from your children is not more important than training your children in the Lord.

So we have to be there for our children in order to teach them. God’s desire that for your life and their life. God desire is not for you to be rich, for you to be successful, for you to get the corner office. God’s desire is for you to teach your children His word, which takes time.

(6) We have to pray and trust Jesus

I have only been at this for 5 months, but two of the most important things I have learned so far is that (1) I need to pray and (2) I need to trust Jesus.

As Camden gets older and your kids get older, I would only think that will become more and more important. So if we want to accomplish the task before us, we have to pray and trust Jesus to help us.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you set aside time during the week for your kids?
  2. Do you pray and trust Jesus to help you in the training process?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Training Our Children in the Lord 

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Training Our Children in the Lord | Part 3

Dominic

Today we had the joy of dedicating several babies and families at Sycamore Baptist Church, my family included. Here is what I shared with them regarding the “How To” of training your child in the Lord (Part 1, Part 2).

(3) Keep God’s Word before our family

In Deuteronomy 6:8-9 Moses writes,

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

Moses doesn’t mean we are to literally bind God’s Word to our hands or head, or write them on our doors. Instead, he desires we continually keep God’s Word before ourselves and our family.

God’s Word can’t be some dusty old book in the corner we never pick up.

We can practically keep God’s Word before our families by reading it together, talking about it throughout the day, and making decisions based on God’s Word.

It is necessary we make the effort. In order to combat the cultural noise and win the battle for our kids hearts, we must constantly keep God’s Word before them.

(4) Teach them all our provisions come from God

Again Moses writes,

And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 

Moses tells them not to forget God when they go into the land, to remember everything they have is from the hand of God.

We need to remember and teach our kids that God is our Provider as well. They shouldn’t grow up with the idea that everything they have is by their hands because it’s not. Everything we have is given by the hand of God. We must use every opportunity to teach our children this truth.

Think about how often we would talk about God with our kids if we thanked Him for the things we have. Conversations could be sparked at dinner, when it rains, when we pay our bills, go to work, go fishing, lie down in our beds. It’s important we take those opportunities, so that we don’t forget why we have what we have.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you keep God’s Word before your family?
  2. How do you remind yourself and your family everything you have is from God?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Training Our Children in the Lord 

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Training Our Children in the Lord | Part 2

Dominic

Today we had the joy of dedicating several babies and families at Sycamore Baptist Church, my family included. Here is what I shared with them regarding the “How To” of training your child in the Lord (Part 1).

(1) We have to be diligent and deliberate

In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Moses writes,

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.

The image behind the word teach is that of an engraver carving an image in stone, which is a great image when it comes to parenting.

Masterpieces aren’t produced willy nilly. They start with a plan. An understanding of the final product. The positioning of the image on the stone. The tools and resources needed to complete the work. These things need to be in place first before the engraving process can begin.

Once started, the engraver must deliberately follow their plan and be diligent about their work. Engraving an image in stone doesn’t happen over night, it takes weeks, months, or even years.

Parents must do the same. They must have a plan. Know the endgame. Gather the necessary resources, and be deliberate and diligent in teaching their children.

Parents must take great care in working their plan out over the years.

(2) We have to see everything we do as an opportunity to teach our children

Parents must see everything they do as a teaching opportunity. Sitting down with our children a couple days a week to read through God’s Word is important and necessary, but that can’t be all we do.

Think about the engraver. What if he took a whack or two at the stone every couple of days? Do you think he would finish his project? It’s unlikely he would finish. What does he have to do to finish? He has to be at it all day.

Parents must do the same.

If they want to engrave God’s word on their children’s hearts, they must look for and take every opportunity to teach their children God’s Word.

In order to be at it all day, teaching times can’t always be planned. They must take place on the fly. As they are sitting around the house, walking by the way, lying down and rising up, parents must be ready to teach their children.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you have a plan to train your children?
  2. What resources are you using?
  3. Have you stuck to your plan over the years?
  4. What fruit have you seen from being deliberate and diligent?
  5. How do you take advantage of day to day activities to teach your children?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Training Our Children in the Lord 

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Training Our Children in the Lord | Part 1

Dominic

Today we had the joy of dedicating several babies and families at Sycamore Baptist Church, my family included. Here is what I shared with them regarding the “How To” of training your child in the Lord.

It Starts With You

Training our children to know and obey God is an extension of our relationship with, obedience to, and knowledge of God. If we aren’t following God or obeying God, we have no hope of teaching our children to follow and obey God, which means it starts with us.

There are a few things we must do:

(1) We have to have a relationship with the One True God

In Deuteronomy 6:4 Moses writes,

The Lord our God, the Lord is One.

Essentially, Moses tells us the God of Israel is the One True God. There are no other gods. Everything else out there is a counterfeit god.

Before we can train our children, we have to know the One true God ourselves. We have to have a relationship with the God of the Bible. That’s because training our children is an extension of our relationship with God.

(2) We have to serve God with our whole being 

Moses tells us that in Deuteronomy 6:5. He writes,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Moses means our entire lives, our whole being should be subject to God. We don’t hold anything back. God gets all of us. He directs everything we do. He directs the way we work. He directs our leisure activities. He determines our desires and what we want out of life. He determines everything we do, which means we must give Him more than just an hour on Sunday. We have to give Him our whole lives.

If we want to train our children, we have to be serving God with our whole being first. That’s because training our children is an extension of our obedience to God.

(3) We have to know God’s Word

If our whole life is to be directed by God’s Word, we have to know it. Moses makes that clear when he says,

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

To say God’s Word must be on our heart, is just another way of saying it should be on our minds constantly, or at the forefront of our mind. That is only possible if we are reading, meditating on, memorizing, and prioritizing God’s Word in our lives.

If we want God’s word to inform everything we do, if we want to have a biblical worldview, then we have to know it. But more than that, it has to be the grid we run everything through.

So we learn that in order to live by and teach our children God’s commandments, we have to know them. That’s because training our children is an extension of our knowledge of God and His Word.

Conclusion

These things have to be in our lives first, because training our children is an extension of our own relationship with, obedience to, and knowledge of God. It starts with us. If we are not doing these things, we can’t raise our children in the Lord.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How are you doing?
  2. Do you have a relationship with God?
  3. Do you live according to God’s commandments?
  4. Are you actively working toward learning more about God’s Word?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Training Our Children in the Lord 

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