Posts by MenSteppingUp

Broadcasts for men (and their wives)



Recently the FamilyLife Today radio program featured a solid week of broadcasts about stepping up to manhood.  On the first three days were Dennis Rainey spoke to men, and on the final two days Barbara Rainey told women five right and five wrong ways to help their husbands step up.

These powerful broadcasts for men (and their wives) are worth listening to.  Here are the titles, descriptions, and links:

Broadcasts for men - Dennis Rainey - FamilyLife TodayThe Power of a Father’s InfluenceThere is confusion today about the meaning of manhood. Dennis calls men to step up and be real men – strong, purposeful and spiritual. Hear Dennis tell how a father’s influence can be the compass that points a boy to true masculinity.

Defining the Search for ManhoodThere’s something in a man that inspires him to be a warrior. Hear Dennis encourage men to give their sons a vision of manhood.

Taking the Journey Up the Steps to ManhoodDennis talks about the four steps that need to be applied to help a boy develop into a man.

Broadcasts for men - Barbara Rainey - FamilyLife TodayBarbara Shares “The Wrong Way” Women Can Help - Barbara Rainey, talks frankly to women about the five things that hinder manly development.

Barbara Shares “The Right Way” Women Can Help - Barbara gives wives five suggestions for encouraging their husbands toward manhood.

Being daddy’s little girl: a daughters tribute



In our 10-day venture to honor father’s, we think you’ll enjoy this tribute from a daughter to her dad.  Look for the various ways she honors her father for the ways that he has invested in his daughter, probably much of it without being overtly aware of how his actions would leave a lasting impression of him on his daughter.  Imagine the joy of this father reading this tribute from his daughter.  Powerful.

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woman writing | FamilyLife | Stepping Up - daddy's little girl

Tribute to Bill from his daughter, Jill:

My dear daddy, I want to let you know how very very much I love and respect you. I know that you know I love you but I wanted to tell you today how very special my life has been having you as my daddy. Thank you that I have and will always be “daddy’s little girl” Thank you daddy that I have always known that you love me and that you would never leave me. Thank you that you gave me a strong love for my family. That you instilled in me a strong commitment to my family.

I have so many wonderful memories of our relationship. I appreciate so much your sense of humor. It has always been fun to laugh with you. My friends have always loved being with you. Thank you that you have welcomed my friends—even today when I bring friends home!!

Daddy you have unselfishly given to me all my life. Thank you for building furniture so that we could go to Lamar. You never once complained about all the work it took. In fact I never knew you built furniture for the money I honestly thought you did it because you enjoyed it. Although I know you did enjoy making furniture and I thank you for every piece I have in my home. It makes me proud to tell everyone that “my daddy built it all !!”

Thank you also, daddy, for teaching me how to give. I have watched you and mother give to your family, your neighbors, your church, your friends all my life. Your unselfishness inspires me.

Thank you for standing by me through Lamar, Dustys, Phi Mu, MJC, MSU, and ETSU and even piano lessons!! Thank you also for the beautiful wedding you gave me. I’ll never forget you walking me down the aisle crying—I felt so loved and cherished by you. Thank you that you got upset about me moving so far away and knowing that it still hurts you that we live apart.

Daddy thank you for always putting us first—you attended every school and church activity I was involved in. I loved it when I was growing up and I thought all daddys do this for their little girls. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that not all daddys do that and how very much my daddy loved me.

Thank you for what a wonderful Papa you are to Riley, Kirby, and Emma. I love that you tell them constantly that they are “Papa’s girl” and Papa’s boy”. Thanks to you and mother for being there for me after all my babies were born. They love y’all so very much. We’ve all loved every piece of candy and every star you’ve drawn on their precious little hands. It is fun to watch you spoil them cause I know how much you enjoy it.

Daddy thank you for taking care of Mother. I know it is hard for you to see her in pain. Thank you for seeing that she gets the best care. God knew what he was doing when he put y’all together.

Daddy thank you for being so encouraging of me being on staff with Campus Crusade. I do not know if I could do it without your blessing.

Thank you daddy for the fun we have had with food over the years. It thrills me to see how much you and mother love to feed us! How fun it was to have steak every Sat. night when I was growing up. Thank you for pork tenderloins, ribs, and shrimp we now enjoy together. What fun it was as a child and still today for you to buy us a watermelon and while cutting it open telling us it was green!! Thank you for roasted and boiled peanuts and all the fun that goes along with making them!!

Daddy, you are a very fun daddy. It seems that I grow to love you more and more each day.

Daddy there are so many more things I could thank you for. I am very proud that you are my daddy. It is a joy to be your daughter. I am very blessed.

Thank you, God, for my daddy.

 

In his book, The Best Gift You Can Give Your Parents, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Following are examples of a tribute.  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

Courageous Dads event coming soon: Q&A with Mitch Temple



With the upcoming Courageous Dads simulcast coming up on the Friday of Father’s Day weekend (June 14, 2013) we decided to chat with Mitch Temple, the Director of the Fatherhood CoMission and the one tasked with spearheading this major fatherhood event.  Here’s our interview with Mitch Temple:

Courageous Dads Fathers Day Event | Fatherhood CoMIssion | Men Stepping Up

Stepping Up:  Mitch, tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with this event?

Mitch TempleMitch Temple:  I am married to the world’s greatest wife (and she’s so blessed! :)  - 30 years of wonderful marriage. three grown children. One granddaughter. And yes, she gets away with murder. I think God shows extra grace for granddads who let things slide. We deserve the favor. ;-) Been in ministry for 30 years; over 20 years in full time church work helping families and marriages. Spent 14 years at the same church. Served as co-founder and director of Focus on the Family‘s marriage department.  Served as a family and strategic partnership consultant on films like: Fireproof, Grace Card, Not Today, October Baby, and Courageous. Co-founder and executive director of the Fatherhood CoMission. 

SU:  As the Director of the Fatherhood CoMission, tell us how the idea of a big blowout Father’s Day event came about.

MT:  The Fatherhood CoMission was birthed out of the Movie Courageous. Several large christian nonprofits who helped make the movie successful began praying and discussing how they might continue to work together to champion fathers to the church and our culture. The decision was made to birth this organization which is nothing more than a collaboration platform where God’s church and leaders can shout together that dads are important.  

Last November over sixty key fathering leaders, influencers and pastors came together at The Fatherhood CoMission Summit at Winshape Retreat in Rome, Ga. This was a time for God’s leaders to pray, build relationships, learn and dream together.  For many it was one of the highlights of the year. God worked in an extraordinarily way to unify and encourage leaders who are in the ditches everyday championing fathers.  

One of the dreams that came out of this prayer and discussion was the idea of embarking on a significant Father’s Day undertaking –together, as the unified body of Christ.  This idea supported the overall purpose of The Fatherhood CoMission and its members.  After several months of ongoing assessment, meetings and fervent prayer we felt God leading us to offer churches and individuals a national father’s day weekend simulcast June 14-16, 2013. Though many ideas were discussed about how we could champion fathers together, this idea seemed to be the most promising.   The vision God gave us was to offer a low cost, high quality event which would:

1.     Engage, Encourage, and Edify Dads in their vital roles as Fathers.

2.     Equip churches to champion the cause of Fatherhood locally.

3.     Instill a new vision for what Father’s Day could be in our homes and churches- a time to honor dads.

4.     To create a yearly platform which the fatherhood commission and its partners could champion fatherhood together.

Like the Fatherhood Summit, our desire is for this event to be a collaborative effort where we all work to champion fathers together. And, God is extremely please when His people work together on issues as close to His heart as Fatherhood.  

SU: When you asked the men who will be a part of this great event to participate what was their response?  Why were they so willing to be a part of something like this?   

MT: Fathers need encouragement, inspiration and empowerment. They need someone to champion who they are, telling them they are important, that they are not simply a ‘second person” in the house and the guy who brings home money. They need to hear that their role as a dad is God ordained, honorable, respectful, beautiful and that it can’t be replaced or substituted for. No one can do for a child what a dad can do. Kids need dads in their lives from day one. When Dads are involved, engaged and present, the risks of being involved in things like crime, drugs, pre marital sex- you name it are greatly reduced. Dads are important. But our culture often sends the opposite message-  ”you are a not important, don’t deserve respect, you are not needed, you can be replaced and your role is not dignified.” Events like Courageous Dads seeks to turn that perception around by God’s people shouting together that you are important and we are not only cheering you on but here to equip you and SHOW you what a good dad looks like and how to do this thing called fatherhood.  Courageous Dad is not designed to beat men up, but to empower, inspire and encourage them in their role as a father. We’ve brought together some of the greatest leaders of the fatherhood movement: Dennis Rainey- Founder and President of Family Life, Stephen and Alex Kendrick (Pastors and Producers of COURAGEOUS the movie, Sammy Rodriquez, one of the nations most influential Hispanic Christian leaders. Throw in: Comedian Michael Jr., Grammy Award winner Josh Turner, Bobby and Tommy Bowden, Legendary boxer George Foreman, and more. And you have a line up which will inspire men in a way that they have possibly never experienced.  This low cost event can be a tool that Churches and Pastors can use to really build up and honor the men in the church and their community.  Plus we’ve built practical tools designed to build on the simulcast and provide churches with year around “father building tools”. Pastors and Dads can go right now to Courageous Dads and start downloading incredible resources like phone apps, games to play with your kids, small group materials, fathers day sermons and more.  

SU:  How will the event be broadcast?  Where can I see it?

MT:   The event will be broadcast via internet. Go to Courageousdads.com to register and to get more information about how individuals and groups of men, churches can download the event Friday night June 14 (Friday before Fathers day). There are also additional viewing options available which can be found on Lifeway’s registration page and portal. If a church is not hosting the event in your area, no worries- ask your church to simply offer a room or auditorium, gather a group of men, throw in a little popcorn or trail mix and you have an incredible event! Some guys will tune in while traveling home on the plane from business trips, others will gather a few friends and watch it at a coffee shop. The opportunities are endless. Dont miss this great event.

Also, there is something for moms. Courageous Dads has resources for moms to help encourage and inspire their husbands to be involved in the event and their daily role as a father. Moms can view videos on how to encourage and lift up their men and even download free prayer guides which leads them step by step on how to pray for their husbands as fathers. 

SU:  Is this an event for older men?  Younger men?  Father’s and sons?  Who should consider going?

MT:  The event is really for anyone. This is an event you can bring your older children to or watch together in your living room. Young men all the way up to grand dads will be blessed by this event. What a great opportunity for older men to “gift” younger men with this experience and encouragement. What a great Fathers day gift for churches to provide for their men and families to “surprise” dad with. 

SU:  What do you hope men come away from the evening doing, feeling and experiencing?

MT:  We want men to walk knowing and feeling that “I can do this!” I am tired of listening to the lies of failure and the enemy. My role is honorable and I intend to live that out every day. Not without mistakes and failures but with the full assurance that God, my family, the church and my fellow brothers are cheering me on.  

SU:  Where can I find out if my church or others in my area are going to be viewing this?  How easy is it to get this into my church?  

MT:  You can contact Lifeway support through the internet or by phone. Contact information is available through courageousdads.com and when you click on the registration page. 

Its easy to get this in your church. All you have to do is get your pastor or church to give the ok to host at the building, register online, have an internet connection, a TV or Projector. For a smaller group, a lap top on an apple crate works great!  That’s it.  Any church can do this. Its priced low and easy to access by one dad or a large group of dads. 

SU:  Where do I find all the information I need to register, promote and share this information online with my friends and other men?

MT:  Go to Courageousdads.com to get general information about the event and even download free promotional tools like facebook and twitter posts, web banners, marketing posters, postcards, you name it, its there for the taking. 

SU:  Thank you for taking the time to get us up to speed on this great event.  We are proud to join you in partnering with Courageous Dads and know it will be a memorable event for everyone who chooses to take part in it.  So, don’t delay.  Find out if your church is hosting it on June 14.  If not, why not STEP UP and take care of the details so your pastor doesn’t have to and get everyone in your church to participate.  Imagine what might happen if every man in your church and community was watching this together.  Wow.

The day that changed men’s lives forever



Stepping Up Event as a Men’s Ministry

by Jeremiah Kelly

Editor’s note: One of the biggest needs in our nation is to challenge men to step up to courageous manhood and meet their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. That’s the purpose of FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event, which has drawn more than 50,000 men so far this year.  Jeremiah Kelly, a civilian attorney for the U.S. Army Medical Material Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, helped organize one of these events, and in this article talks about the impact in his church.

We were exhausted by cotton-candy Christianity. That’s why our Band of Brothers Men’s Ministry at Frederick Church of the Brethren decided to host the Stepping Up Video Event.  Joe Fitzgibbon and I are lay leaders of the Band of Brothers, and we didn’t want our men to take the gospel for granted. We didn’t want to assume that they understood their duties as articulated in Holy Scripture.

So Joe and I organized the event, which was held on February 2, 2013. About 130 guys worshipped God together and watched the Stepping Up DVDs that featured ministry leaders like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Voddie Baucham, and others. The day was challenging, and many of the men are still talking about it. Most say something like, “That day completely changed my life and outlook on my roles as a man.”

Open forum

Stepping Up FamilyLife Stepping Up One Day Event

Before the video sessions began, we handed out a “toolkit” for every man that included a book, workbook, and a sermon series. We also started each session with some teaching about manhood. Over lunch seven of the older men of the church answered random questions from the attendees. Everything was covered from questions about sex to salvation, from theology to culture. It was an open forum and our guys really seemed to appreciate it.

One of the discussion groups was made up of high school boys. Their dialogue about sexual purity was intense, even uncomfortable at times. I led that group and several of the boys opened up about the mixed messages they are receiving from our culture, about the lure of pornography, and about the sexual one-upmanship among their friends. I was so proud of these young men who accepted the challenge of purity and committed themselves to standing firm for Christ against the tide.

There were also several men at the event from a local rescue mission. They weren’t all Christians and most of them were alienated from their families. I had a chance to talk with a man in his mid-twenties who had a crack addiction. He also had a daughter whom he had not seen in a while.

I was blown away when this young father said that our Stepping Up event manhood conference had reminded him of the awesome responsibility and privilege he has as a man to love his children.  He said it motivated him to get off drugs and clean up his life, by the grace of God.  And because we took so much time to speak directly and explicitly about the gospel, he left knowing that he needs Christ to do it.

After the Stepping Up event

Stepping Up One Day Video event - FamilyLife

We have spent countless hours following up with the men who attended our Stepping Up event. It’s been very encouraging. Several of them have given their lives to Jesus Christ.

Hosting the Stepping Up event was a great way to draw a line in the sand for the men in our church. Instead of cotton-candy Christianity, our Band of Brothers is committed to standing for Jesus. Despite our failures, we are disciples following hard after Him as husbands, as fathers, and as leaders in Christ’s church.

Click here for more information about hosting a Stepping Up event.

This article was first published by FamilyLife’s Marriage Memo FamilyLife©

What makes a distinctively Christian marriage?



(as first submitted via an article found at FamilyLife.com)

Years ago, when I was a single college student and a young follower of Christ, I traveled with some buddies to Southern California.  One of my friends knew a family in Pasadena who offered us a place to stay.

I will never forget walking into this home in Pasadena.  Almost immediately I noticed that there was just something different in the atmosphere.

I had never met these people before, but within 20 minutes I felt like I‘d known them all my life. They displayed genuine hospitality, care, love, and graciousness that I had never seen in a home before.

Steppin Up FamilyLife - Bob Lepine Christian Marriages

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 we read, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  That’s what I could smell in that house—the fragrance of Christ in the lives of these people who had been transformed by Him.  I’ve never forgotten what it was like to walk into that kind of environment.

Now the question for us is: What does it smell like in our homes?  If folks walked into our houses, would the fragrance of Christ be present?  Do people look at our marriages and see and smell the aroma of Christ?

I believe there are two factors that give a marriage the fragrance of Christ—that make it distinctively Christian.  And both are impossible without the transforming grace of God.

1.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of purpose.

When asked why they get married, most people will say something like, “Well, we’re just in love.”  But behind that statement are a number of other reasons for marriage:

  • They’ve dated long enough, and marriage is the next step.
  • There are economic benefits from combining incomes into one household.
  • They want sex without guilt.
  • They are adults, and marriage is what’s expected.  (They want to get their parents off their backs.)
  • They want someone to take care of them.
  • They are lonely, and need the companionship.
  • They want to escape a bad situation—abusive parents, pregnancy, etc.
  • Their biological clock is ticking, and they figure it’s time to start a family.

At the heart of most of these reasons for marriage is the big me.  People are getting married for self-centered reasons, not God-centered purposes.  That describes me as well.

In fact, that‘s the universal human condition. We are self-centered; and so our self-centered tendency, carried into marriage, creates two self-centered people trying to negotiate enough good out of this deal so that they can co-exist.

But there’s another, higher purpose for marriage that is stated well in Psalm 34:3:  “Oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!”  A friend of mine actually used that verse when he proposed.  I think he saw beyond his own natural selfishness to a greater goal for his life.

When you focus your marriage on exalting and glorifying God together, your relationship will become a vehicle through which people can smell the aroma of Christ.  It will be a demonstration of the gospel to the world—you will show God’s grace, His compassion, His forgiveness.

Now, is there companionship that comes along with it? Yes. Is there love and intimacy that comes into the deal? Yes, and I‘m glad for these things.  But when you magnify the Lord together you will both say, “This isn‘t about us. This is about putting the gospel on display to a watching world.”

When you truly understand that purpose, it changes everything. I like how Paul Tripp puts it: 

“We were made to live upward and outward, but most of us live inward. When we can quit living inward and start living upward and outward, life changes.” When our marriage can be about upward and outward, things change.

2.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of love.

What does this distinctively different kind of love look like? Well, again, it starts with being God-centered instead of self-centered. It’s upward and outward instead of being inward.

To be more specific, Christian love is self-sacrificing, not self-serving love.  In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul writes:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

That kind of love is different than what the world knows.  It is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not insisting on its own way, not irritable or resentful, not rejoicing in wrongdoing, but instead rejoicing in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Another way that our love should be distinct is that it should be a forgiving love, not a hard-hearted love. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “ Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

How many of you would say, “What I really want for my life is to be in a concerted partnership with the devil”? But that’s what you’re doing when you hang on to anger, resentment, and bitterness.

And then read verse 32 in Ephesians 4: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

A third way our love should be different is that it should be controlled by the Spirit and not by the flesh.  You can’t do this in your own power.  Regard your spouse as more important than yourself?  Forgive your spouse just as God has forgiven you?  Love your spouse by showing patience, kindness, and not insisting on your own way?  Try doing this consistently in the flesh for more than a day or so.

The only way we can have a different kind of love—and purpose—in marriage is to experience a true transformation in our lives. Here are the words that always come back to me as I think about the gospel and what God has done for us in Christ: He took those of us who were weighed down by sin and took the weight off.  He forgave us and freed us.  As we walk in that forgiveness and freedom day by day, He is transforming us more and more into the image of His Son. And in the process He gives us a hope that we never knew before we were saved by Christ.

These two unique aspects of a Christian marriage—a different purpose and a different love—are something we cannot manufacture by ourselves.  They are impossible apart from the transforming grace of God in our lives.  And when we experience this transformation, the world will notice something very different in our relationships.

Click here to listen to Bob Lepine speak on this topic on a recent FamilyLife Today® broadcast.

 

Copyright ©2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

 

 

Jackie Robinson’s story: becoming a mentor (conclusion)



This is the third and final part in the Jackie Robinson Story as carried in the book, Stepping UpBe sure to read parts one and two if you missed them

20/20 generational vision

photo from www.britannica.com

photo from www.britannica.com

Jackie Robinson wasn’t forced to become the man to integrate Major League Baseball. Branch Rickey could have found another player, and it certainly would have been more comfortable for Robinson to follow someone else’s lead. He had the ability, however, to look beyond himself. Someone needed to make the sacrifice. Someone needed to blaze the trail so that others in the future would have equal opportunities.

I think that many of us men face a similar choice as we reach our thirties, forties, and fifties. We may never face the intense opposition that confronted Robinson, but I believe we are called to look beyond ourselves to the impact we can have on the next generation.

Becoming a mentor

Becoming a mentor is the fourth of the five steps of manhood. Some guys can see clearly where they are in life, but they haven’t developed the ability, like Robinson did, to look past themselves. A mentor, on the other hand, exhibits “20/20 generational vision.” He sees the need to pass on his faith and his experience to “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

A mentor makes decisions and orders his life to intentionally invest in the next generation. A mentor must pass on his values; lessons learned from his mistakes, successes, and defeats; the essence of his life. He intentionally passes on wisdom to the next generation and casts a vision for how they can do the same.

It’s possible to step up and become a mentor when you are a young man, especially if you are put in a position of authority or influence over others. But in this section, I’m going to speak primarily to those of you who are entering what I call the “prime time” years.

Most younger men pour their physical and emotional energy into building their careers, raising their families, and being involved in church or community. Once their children leave home, I’ve often seen men head in one of three directions:

  1. They pour their energy into a renewed effort to capitalize on their position and experience and seek further success and influence in the working world.
  2. Perhaps fearing the onset of older age, they regress and try to recapture their youth by seeking adventure and sensual pleasure.
  3. Realizing that they won’t achieve the wealth and success they had dreamed about in their careers, they gradually become depressed and passive and end up squandering the assets God has given them.

But there is a better path—a path of wisdom. Many men in the primetime years recognize that they now have the time and energy to broaden their influence and impact for Christ by mentoring younger men.

If you are at this stage in life, my challenge to you is to step up and become a mentor. You’ll find the “view” from this step to be quite exhilarating.

Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.

Major League trailblazer — Jackie Robinson story (pt 2)



Yesterday, we started the courageous story of Jackie Robinson as shared in Stepping Up.  Today, we continue the story in Part 2…

Stepping Up FamilyLife Jackie Robinson sliding-2

photo from http://www.myhero.com/

Handling the pressure

Rickey turned out to be an accurate prophet. After a successful year in the minor leagues, Robinson made his major-league debut as the Dodgers’ first baseman in April of 1947. The first resentment he faced was from his own teammates. They didn’t like the idea of a black player taking a white man’s spot on the roster. Many were from the south and weren’t accustomed to equal treatment for blacks.

Dixie Walker, one of the top Brooklyn players, worried about the reaction back home in Hueytown, Alabama, if he played with blacks. He feared how it would affect business at his hardware and sporting-goods store. “I grew up in the South, and in those days you grew up in a different manner,” Walker said years later. “We thought that blacks didn’t have ice water in their veins and so [they] couldn’t take the pressure of playing big league baseball.”

On opening day, most of the players ignored Robinson. He arrived in the locker room to discover that he hadn’t been assigned a locker; his uniform was hanging on a hook on the wall.

Robinson’s first real test occurred in a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. A flood of insults poured out of the Philadelphia dugout during the game. The Phillies insulted his appearance and yelled about the diseases he would pass on to the Dodger players and their wives.

Robinson took insults like these personally. “For one wild and rage-crazed minute,” he wrote later, “I thought, ‘To hell with Mr. Rickey’s noble experiment.’ I thought what a glorious, cleansing thing it would be to let go. To hell with the image of the patient black freak I was supposed to create. I would throw down my bat, stride over to the Phillies dugout, grab one of those white sons of bitches and smash his teeth in with my despised black fist. Then I could walk away from it all.”

But Robinson withstood the temptation that day . . . and for the entire season. Instead, he let his playing speak for him. It was more than his hitting and fielding, which improved throughout the season. He also disrupted the opposing team with his daring base running. He would take impossibly big leads off base, throwing pitchers out of their rhythm and shaking their confidence. This led to more walks and better pitches for his teammates to hit. He could take over a game even if he never got a hit.

Still, he paid a price for holding back his emotions. At home he became withdrawn from his wife, Rachel, and found it difficult to sleep. At one point he called his sister and said, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m quitting.”

He received almost no support from his teammates, who excluded him from social outings and hardly spoke to him on road trips. The players’ wives met regularly for shopping, knitting, and impromptu sleepovers, but Rachel was never invited.

Rooting for Jackie Robinson

But as the season progressed, things began to change. His teammates began yelling in his defense at opposing teams, threatening retaliation if the insults continued. He was greeted by well-wishers and autograph seekers wherever he went. White kids began selling, “I’m rooting for Jackie Robinson” buttons at Ebbets Field.

Most of the letters the Dodgers received were encouraging. One fan wrote, “You’ve got a lot more friends in this country of ours than enemies. The main thing to remember is that it’s the unthinking few who generally make the biggest noise.” Another said, “If your batting average never gets any higher than .100 and if you make an error every inning, [and] if I can raise my boy to be half the man that you are, I’ll be a happy father.”

Robinson also began to see the impact he was having on the culture. An owner of an electronics factory in New Jersey, for example, was inspired by Robinson’s example and decided to integrate his factory.

Late in the season, Brooklyn fans were angered when Enos Slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals appeared to deliberately step on Robinson’s foot at first base. One fan, Doug Wilder, was at the game that day, and he felt this may have been Robinson’s greatest moment “in showing how he would rise over and over to be the person he was. . . . It was a tremendous lesson.”  Later in life, Wilder went into politics in Virginia and became the first African American in the United States to become a governor.

Robinson was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1947, and he helped lead the Dodgers to the World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees. After the final game of the series, each of his teammates came by his locker to congratulate him for the season.

He had succeeded in integrating the major leagues; in fact, by the end of the 1947 season, there were other black players in baseball. But his greatest impact may have been in the broader American culture. As Arnold Rampersad wrote in his biography of Robinson,

Over a period of six months, from the first stumbling steps to the victories that closed the season, he had revolutionized the image of black Americans in the eyes of many whites. Starting out as a token, he had utterly complicated their sense of the nature of black people, how they thought and felt, their dignity and their courage in the face of adversity. No black American man had ever shone so brightly for so long as the epitome not only of stoic endurance but also of intelligence, bravery, physical power, and grit. Because baseball was lodged so deeply in the average white man’s psyche, Robinson’s protracted victory had left an intimate mark there.

Final post tomorrow…

Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.

A Major League trailblazer — Jackie Robinson’s story (part one)



This week, Major League Baseball’s first pitch was tossed for the 2013 season.  There’s an upcoming movie, “42″, about the man—Jackie Robinson.  And in the book, Stepping Up, we shared the story of Jackie Robinson.  The next few blog posts will be selections from that chapter and share the impact that he had on Major League Baseball, his personal courage and integrity to team with Branch Rickey to become the player that would break the racial barriers that existed in Major League Baseball and across the nation.

Jackie Robinson didn’t see much of a future for himself in professional baseball.

Stepping Up FamilyLife Jackie-Robinson

photo from Think Positive magazine, http://74.53.231.70/~thinktpm/

The year was 1945, and he was twenty-six. A UCLA graduate and World War II veteran, he was trying to make a living by playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League. He hadn’t played much baseball; he was better known as a football star at UCLA. But when the Monarchs offered him a job, he decided to give it a try.

Jackie was infuriated by the indignities that black ballplayers faced. In some stadiums, they weren’t allowed to use the locker rooms because white owners didn’t like the idea of black men using the showers. He hated the segregated hotels and drinking fountains. In one instance, when the team bus stopped for gas and the station owner said the players couldn’t use his restroom, Robinson threatened to fill up the team’s bus at another station. The owner changed his mind.

And, of course, the worst indignity of all was the fact that Major League Baseball was segregated. For decades, some of the best baseball players in the nation—legends like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson—were kept out of the big leagues. Robinson saw no hope for the situation changing, or for the opportunity to move up and play baseball in the whites-only major leagues. “I began to wonder why I should dedicate my life to a career where the boundaries for progress were set by racial discrimination,” he later wrote.

A legendary meeting

Robinson was contacted by Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Word was that Rickey was forming a new Negro league and wanted to talk with Robinson about joining it.

Robinson’s meeting with Rickey on August 28, 1945, became a turning point in America’s history. Robinson learned that Rickey had no intention of starting another Negro league. Instead, he wanted to break the color barrier in professional baseball . . . and he wanted Jackie Robinson to lead the way by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Rickey could have chosen better players, but he was looking for someone with the right character. He had no illusions about the pressure that the first black ballplayer would face—the hatred he would encounter from white players and the impossible expectations he would feel from the black community. He wanted someone who was angry about segregation but could keep that anger in check. Choose the wrong player, he felt, and he would push the cause back by years

“If you’re a good enough man, we can make this a start in the right direction,” Rickey told Robinson. “But let me tell you, it’s going to take an awful lot of courage.”

In the meeting, Rickey confronted Robinson with examples of the situations he would face. He acted the part of ballplayers using racial slurs and trying to start fights. “They’ll taunt and goad you,” he said. “They’ll try to provoke a race riot in the ballpark. This is the way to prove to the public that a Negro should not be allowed in the major league.”

“Mr. Rickey,” Robinson said, “are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” “No,” Rickey replied, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” Robinson wondered if he was the right person for this. Did he have that kind of strength and courage? “Yet I knew that I must,” Robinson later wrote. “I had to do it for so many reasons. For black youth, for my mother, for Rae [his wife], for myself.”

Continued next post…

Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.

Men Stepping Up – A Super Saturday recap



Four weeks ago we were in great anticipation of the Super Saturday Stepping Up™ event that was about ready to explode across the nation with more than 23,000 men attending more than 1,000 events from Alaska to Florida and New Hampshire to Hawaii.  Though the fervor has died down, the stories that came out of that great event are uncovered almost daily.  This past week, FamilyLife sent out their newsletter, The Family Room with an article about what happened on Super Saturday.  We thought it would be good to share some of the stories that we’ve captured at the one month mark of the event and hope you are continuing to be encouraged by what God did in so many men’s lives that day.

We know there are more events happening.  If you have an event and want to draw attention to it, don’t hesitate to share your Stepping Up™ event on our Facebook Page – MenSteppingUp and we’ll post it so that as many men as we can reach know about it.  Additionally, if you are starting a follow up study (like our Stepping Up 10 week video study), share that as well.  Events are great.  They are catalytic and can energize a community, church or neighborhood.  But, eventually the energy from the event fades and the only way any movement can be sustained is by leaders stepping up and making it happen.  Tell us those stories as well on our Facebook Page or in the comments below.  Celebration is best done together!  Enjoy the stories of what happened on February 2, 2013 and what God did and continues to do in homes, churches and communities around the country.

Men Stepping Up - Super Saturday event

Men Stepping Up™ on Super Saturday

History was made on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2013, when a record 164.1 million fans tuned into CBS and watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31. But the Ravens weren’t the only champions that weekend. The day before, on Super Saturday, an estimated 23,000 men gathered together for FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event.  These men were not yearning for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Instead, they want to be champions at home.

They met in churches, houses, offices, and on college campuses. They were at retreat centers, restaurants, prisons, and military bases. They met in all 50 states and around the world: in Budapest, Hungary … Mexico City … the Cayman Islands.

Regardless of where the men gathered on February 2, or the size of their group, they all were taught how to step up courageously to be God’s man. They watched DVDs featuring ministry leaders like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, and others.

Dennis Rainey, the president of FamilyLife, decided to show up unannounced at the Super Saturday gathering at FamilyLife in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He went because it was organized by a 16-year-old young man named Westley and two of his buddies. More than 50 men were in attendance there. “I wouldn’t have missed how three young men made an impact on their peers and men of all ages,” Rainey says.

Now stories are pouring into FamilyLife about how God worked through the Stepping Up event. Here are three:

Men Stepping Up - Super Saturday Event

Lake Ridge Baptist Church and Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM)

Pastor Frank Johnson of Lake Ridge Baptist Church (Lake Ridge, Virginia) teamed up with WACMM’s conference director, Tony Dronkers, to host a Super Saturday Stepping Up event. WACMM is focused on helping not only pastors, but also the leaders of their men’s ministry. Dronkers says that Super Saturday was a great fit. Pastor Johnson wanted to jump start his ministry to his men, and WACMM was able to bring some other churches together to share the opportunity.

So on February 2, more than 60 men watched the Stepping Up videos at Lake Ridge Baptist Church. Twenty-three were from the host church; the rest were from the community and other small churches in the area. One man drove about 100 miles with his son to attend.  “I loved the conference and the impact it had in reminding us who we are called to be as men of God,” he said.

For Lake Ridge Baptist Church, Super Saturday was a starting point for a men’s ministry. Pastor Johnson is now leading the Stepping Up follow-up series for the men in his church. Twelve men attended the first session. One of them, Scott, brought his three sons, and said, “I am using this as part of the answer to God’s call to raise my sons to be courageous young men.”

Crete Berean Church (Crete, Nebraska)

Pastor Kyle Bond had been praying that God would direct him to a simple curriculum that could be used as a catalyst to get men motivated to being the men that God has called them to be. He believes that Stepping Up was an answer to his prayer.

Eighteen men, ranging from 27 to 82 years of age, came to the Super Saturday event at Crete Berean Church. Pastor Bond said, “To a man, they have all said it was great and challenging.” One of the men had recently…

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Men Stepping Up all over the country: what’s the next step?



Stepping Up Super Saturday

Our best estimates tell us that there were probably more than 1,000 Stepping Up™ Super Saturday events hosting more than 23,000 men on Saturday, February 2, 2013.  It’s a day that many men will cite as the day life changed forever for them, for the better.  In groups as small as four and as large as 400-500 men met to eat, learn, watch, share and face the realities of where they stood in the journey of courageous manhood.

FROM THE STEPPING UP SUPER SATURDAY EVENT

We saw many stories being shared on Facebook and Twitter.  Stories like these:

I attended a Stepping Up video event yesterday in Albany Oregon. I have to say this was a wake up call and a great reminder that I need to step up to become a better leader in my household. Also a great reminder that I need to step up and gain courage to defeat the giants that have been hindering my walk with God. Going through this I definitely gained my “bearings” on what it takes to step up and become a man of God!

Just wrapped up attending the Super Saturday Stepping Up event at Highland Park Community Church in Casper, WY. Sold out event of nearly 200 men! What an awesome day!!!

While most churches are wrapping up their event Glen Elder Friends KS is just beginning in 3 minutes! Please pray for all men who are gathered who have come from as far as 100 miles away to accept the challenge to courageous manhood!

And, there were some photos shared, too:

Men Stepping Up at the Super Saturday event

Men Stepping Up in Modesto, CA

Men Stepping Up in Alabama at the Stepping Up Super Saturday event

Men Stepping Up in Alabama

Men Stepping Up in Alaska at the Stepping Up Super Saturday event

Men Stepping Up in Alaska

God showed up in big ways across the nation.  But, as incredible as that is, the work is yet to be done.  

WHAT’S YOUR NEXT STEP?

Pablo Picasso said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”  So what is it from Saturday’s event that you are NOT willing to die with it being left undone?  Here are five things to help you take the NEXT RIGHT STEP:

  1. Review your Stepping Up Creed (if you went through the manual, you would have created a Stepping Up creed to help you with your next steps).  Of those statements, which ONE is the most urgent and important?  Write down an action step that you can take with a deadline to help you be accountable.  Then, share it with at least one other friend or your small group.  Send an email saying something like, “Bob, I’m committed to taking the next step in being God’s man.  By [date] I am going to [action step].  Would you help me by asking me how I’m doing on this?”  Or, share it via email to your small group and discuss it at your next gathering.
  2. Consider either hosting or attending the Stepping Up 10 session video study.  It has some of the material from the Super Saturday one day event but it goes into each of the issues in much more depth.  You can find out more about that study on our MenSteppingUp website.
  3. Consider spending the next seven days praying about the items God brought to your mind during the event.  Commit to spending time asking God for direction, courage and initiative to take the next right step.  Some of you will need to reconcile a relationship that’s been strained or even torn.  Maybe there’s an addiction or lifestyle change that MUST take place for you to move on toward courageous manhood as God designed.  Whatever it is, don’t give the Enemy a foothold.  Ask God for strength and let at least one other man know you are praying and have him pray with you.  Then, after the week is over (you don’t have to stop praying :) ), do what men do…ACT on it.  As Nike says, “Just do it.”
  4. Dennis challenged us right from the beginning of the session to pray with our wives.  Make this a priority in your lives.  If you are uncomfortable, begin by praying for your wife alone.  It’s very hard to stay upset with someone you are praying for.  Pray for her needs, issues she’s facing, ask God to help you “love her as Christ loves you” and anything else that God brings to your heart.  Then, move to praying with her.  Somedays it may only be a quick half minute prayer and other days it may be longer.  But start.  You’ll be amazed at how it will draw you closer together.  
  5. If you’re really serious about investing your time in starting or growing a men’s ministry at your church, you need to check out one of our ministry partners, Every Man Ministries.  They have a program that will guide you through each phase of building a vibrant men’s ministry in your church.  It’s a great program and Kenny Luck is one of the key leaders in the men’s ministry movement that is taking shape in our nation.  Find out more here: Every Man Ministries
  6. BONUS: Read a book or find additional studies and resources that fit the situation you are facing or the one that is most significantly imprinted on your mind.  Ask a friend to read it with you to discuss.  Here are a few places to look for books (ebooks and physical books) and other resources that might help you take the next step (remember leaders are readers):
    1. Stepping Up Website (www.mensteppingup.com)
    2. FamilyLife – http://www.familylife.com
    3. Focus on the Family – www.focusonthefamily.com
    4. Raising a Modern Day Knight – www.rmdk.com
    5. All Pro Dad – www.allprodad.com
    6. Any books by Stu Weber, Steve Farrar  or Tim Keller (more than just men’s topics but great insight on men and their spiritual journey).
    7. If you know of others that belong here on this list, share them below for other men who come by.

Men, nothing will happen until you take the next step.  Wishing and hoping won’t work.  In fact, it’s probably what got you into this place.  You want to be a godly man but you just didn’t have the tools.  Now you do.  So, what is your NEXT RIGHT STEP?  Don’t wait another day.  Just do it.