Posts tagged leading your family

Five God-given roles as men



“It’s your turn to take out the trash this week.”

“I washed the dishes yesterday, remember?”

“You should pay the bills. I have too much on my plate.”

Household arguments like these are common to marriage. They might seem like no big deal, but they are rooted in something profound: a man’s role in the home, the church, and society.

When a man lives up to his role, life-giving things start to happen. Children are not abused, and they grow up feeling secure and safe. Teen pregnancy rates go down. Drug sales and drug use plummet. Young people avoid jail. Divorces are avoided, and the tragedy of teen suicide loosens its grip on our young people. I firmly believe that every family and societal problem can get better when a man knows how to fulfill his role and takes action.

During the NFL season, teams spend Fridays completing their on-field preparation. They know that the adrenaline-filled, high­ stakes physical battle is just two days away. That’s why a good Friday practice is vital. However, for NFL players, the most important preparation comes on Saturday morning and evening. And this preparation is more mental than physical. Players and their position coaches gather to review video footage of their opponents and hold the last practice, known as a “walk-thru.”

The walk-thru and video reviews have a sole purpose: to ensure players are absolutely clear about their game-day roles on offense, defense, and special teams. A player who doesn’t understand his role is a liability to his teammates. He might even cost his team the game and lose his job on the roster.

In the NFL, a mistake is sometimes called “a blown assignment.”  A running back fails to block a blitzing linebacker. A safety lets a receiver get behind him.

In life, we men cannot afford to blow our assignments. It’s not merely a team that is counting on us; it’s all of society.

What are our assignments, our roles as men? I can sum them up in five words:  praise, protection, provision, proclamation, and presentation.

Let’s look at each one in detail.

Praise

Praise is more than words. Praise is a man’s heartfelt response to the God who created him. It’s his first and most fundamental role in life—to offer God unabashed applause for who He is and what He’s done.

Even long-time Christians underestimate the importance of praise. But the man who strives to let praise flow from his life to God’s throne is poised to fulfill God’s destiny for his life. He will achieve this destiny because his life is based on an authentic relationship with his Boss and King.

I understand that vocal and visible expressions of praise are tough for men. Why? Maybe it’s a male-pride issue. Or a fear of truly releasing our emotions.

On the other hand, have you ever seen a bunch of guys cheering for their favorite sports team? We jump to our feet. We lift our hands. We shout until we’re hoarse—all for mortal men who have done nothing substantial for us. They did not get us our jobs. They didn’t heal our sick or injured bodies. And, most likely, they haven’t given us wisdom to live by. The truth is, men do understand praise, but our praise is often misdirected.

Our homes and our churches need men who will lead the way when it comes to cheering the mighty works of God.

In too many churches now, the women praise ecstatically, while the men sit uncomfortably, waiting for the worship service to end. And the children take note: “Daddy doesn’t like church.”

What has happened? In short, the devil has deceived men and convinced us to shut down emotionally in God’s presence. But David, a great king and a man’s man, danced before the Lord and committed to proclaim His goodness among the people.

Men, if David can do it, we can too. The world is waiting for us to applaud God in the public square, in our homes, and in the house of God. When men offer praise to God, everyone takes note. We are the tone setters in our culture. Like it or not, what we do, everybody does. So, “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV).

Protection

When God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, his job was to keep watch and to protect everything entrusted to him from the devil’s deception. Adam’s role back then is a man’s role now. We need to protect our “garden” from the deceptions, dark acts, and destructive works of the devil. Your personal garden is wherever God has assigned you to live, work, and play. The people who inhabit your garden, especially the women and children entrusted to your leadership, are your responsibility to protect.

Don’t be like many men in our culture who, like Adam, have shunned the call to protect. Instead, they have become vultures, preying on those who need their strength. Some men have even demanded that the women and children protect them! Something is desperately wrong with this picture.

Bullying in our culture and around the globe is a problem growing with exponential fervor. Typically, kids who bully were unprotected by their own fathers. They act out with resentment toward their peers or toward those who appear weak to them. A society in which men drop the ball of protection is a society of aggression, crime, and hate. But when we men use our God-given power to protect, we can turn the tide and bring the sense of safety everybody needs—the bullies and the bullied.

Provision

I’ve seen too many men in our culture, especially during the recent economic downturn, curl up in the fetal position and suck on their vocational thumbs. I’m tired of hearing men from church complain, “There aren’t any good jobs out there. No one’s hiring.”

If no one’s hiring, create your own job! READ MORE »

Holiday traditions: time to step up



Spiritual leadership has never been easier than it is right now during this holiday season. Don’t know how to lead your family spiritually? Then this is the time to practice! Get ready to roll your sleeves up, dig in, and give your leadership skills a workout!

holiday traditionsDuring the holidays, our families are looking for something more meaningful from us.  Their hearts are more open, more teachable, and more vulnerable. The holidays are overflowing with traditions, and they should be. Family traditions matter. The repetition of the same activities creates strong memories and emotions. Traditions are what families look forward to and remember back on.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is to load the family up in our mini-van and take a drive. We fill a thermos with rich, hot cocoa, stuff a bag with some fresh homemade cookies, and change into our pajamas for the drive. We have a great park nearby that has an amazing Christmas drive-through light display. There are literally hundreds of unique displays in this park and every year they add a few new ones. We love driving through with the windows down, singing Christmas hymns, and munching down on Christmas goodness.

After the drive through the park we make our way to our State Capital which is always beautifully decked out. The kids think that walking through the Capital in their PJ’s is very cool. Then we go out to the Capital lawn to look at  an amazing manger display that features full-sized, hand-carved wooden figures. When our oldest son was little, every time we passed the capital he would point out “that’s where Jesus was born.” We still get a laugh out of it. On our way home we go past our previous homes and talk about our Christmas memories from each.

A spirit of contentment. Another thing I do intentionally throughout the holidays is help my kids keep an attitude of contentment and a grateful heart. We are living in a culture of little consumers. It’s tough to teach our own children to be content with what they have.

The first step is to help them develop a heart of gratitude. We need to show them by example what it means to be thankful for everything we have, beginning with our relationship with our Savior and then with our families and each other. If you practice gratitude in front of your kids, they will learn it from your example. Especially during the holidays, our kids will be bombarded with commercialism and the “Buy! Buy! Get your parents to buy this for you!” messages. We have to combat those messages with the truth we know.

Another thing we do to develop a heart of giving is to always stop and let the kids toss some money into the Salvation Army kettle every where we go. They love to give our money away and we think it’s a great investment to both the giver and receiver.

The Incarnate Christ. With Christmas, of course, the most important job we have is to communicate to our family that Jesus came to Earth, born of a virgin, He was born to die for our sins, and to be resurrected. That, guys, is the message of Christmas. At my house, we also do Advent candles at dinner. The kids love lighting the candles. Some nights we get through the study and some nights we don’t, because conversations drift, questions come up, or attention spans wane. Did you know you can even do the Advent in 5 days or less? One year we actually did it in one night.

Finishing doesn’t count nearly as much as getting started. In the end it’s not about the one thing we do, it’s about all the things we do, big and small, that continually remind us and our kids about the Reason for the season.

  • How do you keep Christ in Christmas at your house?
  • What are your favorite holiday traditions?
  • If your family were famous for a Christmas recipe what would it be?  Ours is chocolate peppermint pinwheels.  Willing to share your recipe?  Send it to ishare@familylife.com.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done?



most courageous thing

Are You a Courageous Man?

I love asking men this question:

“What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”

When a man pulls back the veneer and asks a penetrating question like this, an awkward silence can suddenly descend, sucking the words right out of the room. Men’s brains sort of catch and hang up. You can almost see them spinning and searching, trying to process. And yet I’ve discovered that even though the responses are often slow in coming, it’s a question men truly love to answer.

I’ve heard stirring stories of men doing their duty at key points in their lives. Being faithful to their wives when nobody was looking. Giving up pornography and confessing to their wives. Tackling difficult issues with their children. Doing what is right in the workplace, even when it’s not convenient or profitable. Many men have told about conquering their fears to step up and square their relationships with their fathers: looking a father in the eyes and forgiving him, honoring a father who didn’t always deserve it, disagreeing with a father on a major decision, and standing their ground.

And yes, I’ve heard some phenomenal stories of war — heroic soldiers who grabbed grenades in midair and threw them back at the enemy! I’ve determined that the man who claims he’s never done anything courageous doesn’t understand what courage really is — or how often he faces decisions that require courage. It takes courage to step up.

So, what’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Adapted with permission from Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing, 2012.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done?” on the Stepping Up blog for men. 

STEPThink - 10-point checklistSo, what IS the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? Leave a comment to tell us more about it.

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistThe heart of courage is being willing to die daily. Read “Real men die” on Stepping Up to learn daily courage.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistPass the word on social media or in your small group: Ask, “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”

12 things I teach the men I mentor



Here are some of the topics (not comprehensive) and related resources that I teach those I mentor:

1. The truth about who God is … to fear Him and know His character.  Read the book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer

2. The danger of pride, arrogance, a self-focused heart, and the importance of maintaining a teachable heart.  Read:  Humility: The Beauty of Holiness, by Andrew Murray.

3. The necessity of basing one’s life, convictions, and decisions on the Scriptures.  Read:  The Book of Proverbs (one a day for a month).

4. How to handle adversity and suffering.  Read:  Job and I Peter

5. The importance of embracing personal purpose and mission.  Read: The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren, and Matthew 28:19-20.

6. How to love your wife , lead her spiritually and help her develop as a woman.  Read: The Christian Husband, by Bob Lepine.

7. How to spiritually lead your family. Read: Growing a Spiritually Strong Family.

8. The importance of relationships in life.  God, wife, family and male friendships.    Read:  The Great Commandment in Matthew 22:36-40.

9. The importance of the fifth commandment in the 10 Commandments — honoring your father and mother.  Read: Exodus 20:12 and The Forgotten Commandment.

10. How to guard their hearts.  Read: Proverbs 4:23.

11. Life skills — dealing with debt, schedule and priorities, ethics at work, and other issues. Read: Building Your Mate’s Self Esteem.

12.  The importance of a legacy that honors and glorifies God.  Read: I Peter 4:11.

For more information on mentoring (either being mentored or being a mentor) check out FamilyLife’s eMentoring pages.

 

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