Even though January is over in a couple of days, MANuary is every month.
In case you’ve missed it, The MANuary Challenge is a call to invest in the lives of others by starting a men’s group centered on the Stepping Up Small Group Video Series. If you’ve been waiting in vain for someone in your church or your circle of friends to bring together fellow men for camaraderie and building into each others’ lives, that might just mean that you are the man God’s looking to.
Our challenge to you is to invest in other men because godly, courageous men mean stronger homes and a stronger nation. Start by recruiting at least 10 guys and take them to higher ground with the Stepping Up Small Group Video Series. This groundbreaking study combines engaging video content with biblical truth and insightful, expert teaching. And over 98 percent of hosts would recommend Stepping Up!* Check out the compelling content in this teaser.
The Stepping Up Video Series is designed to be completed in a group setting. The 10 sessions feature over 20 top experts on manhood including Dennis Rainey, Matt Chandler, Bill Bennett, Tony Dungy, Robert Lewis, Voddie Baucham, Stu Weber, James MacDonald, Joshua Harris, Eric Metaxas, and Crawford Loritts. But the real fruit of this study is the personal application and the time spent with other men.
Session titles are:
A Call to Courage/What Robs a Man of Courage
The Five Steps (Part One: Boyhood/Adolescence)
The Five Steps (Part Two: Manhood/Mentor/Patriarch)
The Power to Step Up
Am I Stepping Up? Part One: Stand Firm
Am I Stepping Up? Part Two: Men Take Initiative
Am I Stepping Up? Part Three: Men Engage with Wisdom and Grace
Am I Stepping Up? Part Four: Men Plan ahead and Provide
Having a Vision for Your Marriage and Family
Having a Vision for Your World
Each session is designed to take about one hour to complete. Video sessions average 25 to 30 minutes and small-group discussion times average 30 minutes. Hosts will need a leader kit, and each guest will need a video series workbook.
Now is the time. Time for men to be intentional. Time for men to rely on God. Time for men to challenge other men. The new year is a new opportunity to help men step up. Men want leadership, and they’re looking for someone like you to call them up to godly manhood. Are you ready to raise the standard?
Here are some free resources to get started with the challenge, including a MANuary Challenge commitment form to remind you of your decision and a free Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood ebook download.
If you’re considering leading a Stepping Up Video Series or hosting a Stepping Up one-day event, our starter packs offer the best value. Leader kits are bundled with workbooks for greater discounts, like the Video Series Starter Pack for 10 guys (plus leader)
You may not feel like you can get 10 guys to start the series with you. Or you may believe that 10 is thinking too small. We have starter packs for five guys as well as 25 or more. You can purchase other Stepping Up series and event resources via our online store. Our advisors are standing by to answer any questions you may have. Email us at SteppingUp@FamilyLife.com or call us at 1-800-358-6329.
If you’d like to take the next step, you can preview session one of the Stepping Up Video Series here.
Every man has a task for which he is uniquely suited. You may have already discovered this—or maybe not. Our charge to you is this: Press into the battle, fill your lungs with smoke from the front lines, and finish strong. Be prepared to shine when presented with your finest hour.
How do you, as an adult, express honor to your parents? Even if it has been a difficult relationship — even if you’ve been estranged — what’s your responsibility to obey and to keep the fifth commandment?
“Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God has given you.”
FamilyLife has released a revised 20th anniversary edition of a book created to help you honor your parents by writing a living tribute to them. The Forgotten Commandment (previously titled The Tribute and the Promise, and The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents) will be in the warehouse this week.
Last week, FamilyLife Today® devoted two radio broadcasts to tributes guests have made to their parents. You can hear the broadcasts in their entirety by clicking on the links below, but we have included some excerpts.
Medley of Tributes, Part 1 – Featuring Bill McCartney, Crawford Loritts, Alex Kendrick, Andrew (son of Luis) Palau, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jani (daughter of Ray and Anne) Ortlund, and Vicky Case.
“I don’t ever and have never wanted to be anybody else’s son. I’m proud of my dad, Larry Kendrick. You are a gift to me — for teaching me to love God— for demonstrating that yourself … I learned that from you. So, every book that we have written and every movie that we have made would not have been made had you not taught us to walk with the Lord. Thank you, Dad. I’m proud of you, and I love you.”
Former prodigal Andrew Palau, to his world evangelist father, Luis and his mother, Pat:
“Dad and Mom, I love you. I am so grateful that you never gave up on me. I just thank you for persevering through the difficult days — for having the boldness and the love for me to take me for the walk, and to plant that seed, and help me to know the truth that God did love me, and that He had a plan for me, and that He had made a sacrifice on my behalf. I thank you for writing the letters that you wrote to keep that at my attention.”
Evangelist R.V. Brown to his father, Daddy Fish:
“I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you were. With no education, Dad, you taught me. You educated me on how to love — Dad, thank you for teaching me to farm, to take care of the people, and share whatever I have with all the people. Dad, I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are, Dad. Thank you for loving Mama. Thank you for the leadership and authority in which you raised us. Thank you for the discipline. Most of all, Father, I want to thank you for that hug, and that kiss, and that rub on my little round head, and saying, ‘You’re going to be okay, son.’ Dad, I love you.”
Men’s Fraternity creator Robert Lewis, to his parents, Thomas and Billie:
“Thanks, Daddy, for saying, “I’m sorry,” when you wrongfully hit me in anger one day. You don’t remember the incident, I know; but I do. It’s deep inside me now, and it comes back to me every time I need to say those words to my children and my wife. Seeing that day in my mind makes that humbling process easier.
I owe you both a thousand ‘Thank Yous.’
I guess, if I were offered one wish, it would be for one crisp fall evening, with the smell of burning leaves, and the Bearcat game in the air. I would be outside enjoying the bliss of youthful innocence. Mom, you would be frying those oysters; and Daddy, you would be calling out for my pet dog, Toddy. So here’s to my imperfect family — one that fell short in many respects, but one whose love makes the shortcomings easy to forget. Here’s to the family that never had it all together — but one just perfect enough for me.”
If you haven’t written a tribute to your parents, we’d encourage you to do it while you still can.
If you’ve given your parents a tribute that you’d like to share with the readers of Stepping Up, we’d love to hear about it. Whether it’s something you’ve written or recorded on audio or video, just Contact Us here.
Experts include Bill Bennett, Tony Dungy, Crawford Loritts, Dennis Rainey and many others
If there was ever a time when men need vision for what it means to be a godly man, this is it. Imagine if we could call men from all walks of life to become courageous, godly leaders in their own lives, marriages, churches, and communities. Well, we can. And it all starts with you.
On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, we’re calling on thousands of churches across America to host a Stepping Up Super Saturday: one life-changing day that could turn the tide for men in your ministry, and across America.
Stepping Up Super Saturday proudly presents the Stepping Up Video Event, a DVD-based kit designed for an all-day event. High quality DVDs deliver dramatic stories, humorous vignettes, man-on-the-street interviews, and expert teaching from the more than two dozen ministry leaders. Watch this video from FamilyLife Vice-President and former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp to learn more about how you and the other men in your realm can step up on Super Saturday.
Today’s men are shrinking back when they should be stepping up. Help them tackle the challenges of modern life head on by hosting Stepping Up Super Saturday at your church February 1, 2014. Sign up today, order your Video Event Kit and….GAME ON!
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the East Coast of the United States, lashing North Carolina and Virginia, then moving north all the way to Canada, leaving 16 dead and cutting power to six million homes. The edges of the hurricane passed through Washington, DC, prompting the President and members of Congress to find safer ground.
That’s what a soldier does. He acknowledges the storm, but he doesn’t give in to it. He stands firm.
As a friend told me, “If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living — my wife and children?”
Watch a clip of interviews with these guards:
Like these soldiers, we are called to stand and do our duty while staring down the very storms that seek to rob us men of courage, taunting and tempting us to neglect our duty and abandon our posts. These storms are packing some power. Are you ready for them?
Storm #1: Damnable Training by Fathers
I once met a man who grew up in a remote section of our country. He admitted that the only advice he received as a boy from his father about women was
Get ’em young.
Treat ’em rough.
Tell ’em nothing.
I wonder how that advice worked for him in his marriage.
You could say this is a legacy of the “strong, silent, tough man” image often passed down from father to son. This is the type of misguided training in manhood that has corrupted so many men as the leaders in their homes — selfish men who control their wives and children so that their own needs are met.
And that’s just one part of the problem. Many boys grow up with fathers who are distant and passive. Fathers who rarely engage their families, and when they do, their half-hearted attempts to train their sons may promote irresponsible, or even immoral, behavior. Like the father whose idea of sex education for his twelve-year-old son was to take him to a strip joint. There they sat for three hours as the women did their thing onstage. No words were spoken. When they arrived home later that night, the dad told his wife, “There, I did it! Now I’m going to bed.”
Another son told me about the knock at his door as he packed to go to college. His father handed him a small paper bag with this sage advice, “Don’t be foolish son — use ’em.”
You could likely tell your own story of how you were trained or abandoned by your father. Too many men today were raised by fathers who didn’t step up to their responsibilities. Is it any wonder we have a generation of men who feel lost and aimless, not knowing how to face their fears or think rightly about themselves, women, and their own passions?
Storm #2: Fatherless Families
The relentless, howling winds of a culture of divorce have uprooted the family tree with it at least two generations of men. With our high divorce rates and the increasing number of births to single women (nearly four out of ten children are born to an unwed mother), the number of children in the United States who live in a single-parent household has more than doubled since 1978.
Children are the innocent victims of this raging storm. The bottom line: dad is AWOL in far too many homes today. This phenomenon has prompted David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values, to pronounce that the fatherless family “is a social invention of the most daring and untested design. It represents a radical departure from virtually all of human history and experience.”
The social implications of fatherless families are endless. For example, the greatest predictor of a child dropping out of high school, committing a crime, and going to prison is a home without a dad. Many young people grow up today in areas where the only adult male role models they know are live-in boyfriends or gang leaders. The fallout has only just begun: a crop of weak young men and frustrated women who are looking for real men.
One of the greatest challenges any boy could endure is trying to become a man without a father to show him how. How can a boy know what it looks like to behave as a man, love like a man, and be a man in the battle if the main man in his life has abandoned him? My friend, Crawford Loritts, works with young men to build their skills as leaders. He writes that the issue of courage keeps coming up in their conversations:
Many of [these young men] grapple with fear. … I think that the dismantling of our families over the past fifty years or so has almost institutionalized fear and uncertainty. Divorce, the rise of single-parent households, and the tragic assortment of abuses and dysfunctions in our families have produced a generation with many young people who are afraid of risk, and afraid to make mistakes.
So many of our young men grew up in homes in which they had limited or no contact with their fathers, or they had dads who were detached and didn’t provide any meaningful leadership. We are left with a legacy of men who, in varying degrees, have been feminized. They are uncertain about who and what a man is, and how a man acts and behaves. They are fearful of assuming responsibility and taking the initiative in charting direction.
Storm #3: A Culture of Confusion
My son came home one weekend from his university — a large southern school not exactly known for being the center for liberal thought — and shared with me that he had been taught in class that there weren’t two sexes but five: male, female, homosexual male, homosexual female, and transgender. No wonder young men are confused and young women are left wondering where the real men are! We’re living in a multiple-choice culture: are you an A, B, C, D, or E? Male sexuality and identity have become a bewildering array of options.
Think of what it must be like for young boys growing up today. Media outlets and educational elites attack the traditional roles of men and claim that a man who seeks to be a leader in his family is actually oppressing his wife and children. Our culture is permeated with sexuality, where children are exposed to explicit messages and distorted images at a far younger age than their parents were. The educational system doesn’t seem to know how to teach boys, and as a result, girls are leaping ahead in test scores, college enrollment, and graduation rates. Boys are increasingly medicated because their parents don’t know how to channel their masculinity, adventure, and drive.
Is it any wonder that boys grow up so confused?
“I don’t know how to do family.”
In the wake of these storms lies a generation of men who don’t know how to be men. They don’t know how to have real relationships — with women, with their children, or with other men. And many grow up with what I call a courage deficit — they have little idea what men of courage look like, or what types of courageous choices they need to make as they move through their lives. One of these men came to my front door one Saturday morning. I’ll never forget him standing sheepishly in the doorway. “Mr. Rainey, in the past couple of years, I’ve gotten married and had two children,” he said, “and I’ve determined that I don’t know how to do marriage. And I don’t know how to do family. Could you help me?” This young man articulated what millions of young men are feeling today — inadequate, fearful, angry, and in desperate need of manhood training and vision.
So, have you been robbed of courage?
What are the storms you’ve encountered? Did you see courage modeled well in your home? Do you have a foundational plan to help you walk through the obstacles in your life? These are real issues in our lives. Until we get at the root of our storms, we will be in turbulent waters. Only when we are investing our lives into other men and allowing them to invest in us, all under the guidance of God and His Holy Spirit, we can’t find peace in this place for the storms we face as men. Is your home safe in the storms of life?
Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing, 2012.