Posts tagged men stepping up blog

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 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 after 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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5 romantic needs of a woman



Well, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. If you haven’t made your plans yet, it’s likely not going to be a good night for you, Mr. Casanova. So, just to help you a little, here are 5 things that every woman needs when it comes to being romanced by her husband. But, before you read the rest of this post, take out a sheet of paper and take a pre-read quiz. No cheating. What do YOU think the 5 romantic needs of a woman are? … Got ’em? OK, now check your answers with what I’ve come up with below.

Men and Women are different. Duh

I’m sure it comes as no shock, but men and women think of romance differently.

When asked to describe the purpose of romance, a woman will use words such as friendship, relationship, endearment, and tenderness. Given the same question, a man will answer with one of the shortest words in the English language — sex. For him, physical oneness and affirmation of his manhood equal romance.

Can two people with such different perspectives have their expectations met? Absolutely! But creating adventurous romance requires planning and enthusiastic effort. The relationship has to be a top priority. One reason so many marriage beds are frozen over or boring is that couples just don’t have time for romance and sex. Too many husbands and wives try to work sex inbetween the evening news and the Top 10 list on the Late Show With David Letterman.  To them, love in marriage is spelled S  E  X.

Let’s face it. Many of our activities and other important things get the best of our resources and energy. Jobs get our best. Children get our best. Church work gets our best. But are we saving any of our best for romance in marriage?

When we had children at home, Barbara and I worked hard to save some of our best for each other. Our children learned over the years that Mom and Dad often like to have quiet evenings alone. When the children were younger, we occasionally turned the kitchen into a famous big-time restaurant called the Rainey Rainbow Room and let each child order a special meal from a special menu. Barbara and I served as chef and waiter, and the kids had a great time learning a little bit about how to eat out.

Later in the evening, they knew they were to go to their rooms and stay there, not coming out for anything except bathroom runs. At 8 p.m., Barbara and I turned our bedroom into our own romantic cafe, complete with a small table, candles, and flowers (when I remembered to pick them up). There we would eat, talk, and relax. As we communicated, we were reminded of what attracted us to each other, and romance had an opportunity to ignite. We didn’t have to worry about a babysitter and didn’t have to leave the house to get away alone.

To make anything like this work, you must schedule it and then take the time to follow through. If I have learned anything in marriage, it is that romance, our relationship, and sex take time. And they deserve our best.

I have spent the better part of my marriage learning and adjusting the following summary of a woman’s romantic needs. The list was developed through much observation and conversation with Barbara and other women. I also have learned a great amount from the best book ever written on romance, passion, and sex — the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. Obviously, a woman has more than five romantic needs, but I consider these to be the top five:

Romantic Need #1: To be spiritually ministered to by her man

Are you surprised that something to do with candy and flowers isn’t number one? A woman wants a man eager to be her protector, someone who cares not just about her security and physical needs but also (and even more importantly) about her spirituality, the well-being of her very soul.

A husband can be a spiritual protector and advocate for his wife by praying with and for her daily, putting his arms around her, and saying, “I want to ask God to bless you. I want to take any needs you have in your life right now to the Lord. And I’m going to pray for you throughout this day.” A wise husband takes the lead in sharing Scripture and eagerly initiating conversation on spiritual issues.

A husband can contribute to his wife’s spiritual well-being by giving her some time to pursue her spiritual growth. For example, he might watch their child while she attends an evening Bible study.  Marriage romance begins in the soul.

I suggest that every young husband who wants to better understand his wife and his job description should read The Christian Husband, a book by my friend and colleague Bob Lepine.

Romantic Need #2: To feel safe and secure with her husband

A woman needs to feel her husband’s covenantal commitment to stay married and to love her and accept her. Then she feels safe to give him the gift of who she is in the marriage relationship. The Shulammite woman, who was the object of Solomon’s passion, said, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). She obviously had a strong sense of contentment and security.

A wife needs to know that romantic intimacy is just between her and her husband, that he will not share any personal details with his friends. She should not feel pressured or fearful, experiencing the love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Romantic Need #3: To share intimate conversation

According to something I read recently, the typical couple spends only four minutes a day in meaningful conversation with each other. A lot of us husbands don’t realize that for our wives to consider us romantic, we first of all have to be a great friend and a conversationalist.  Conversation is a large part of love in marriage.

Grunts and one-word answers to questions just don’t cut it! Too many women don’t feel that their husbands really need them, and bare-bones conversation confirms their sense of low personal value. Many men who were accomplished at romantic, deep conversation during courtship seem to lose this talent later. You can rediscover the groove! Make a commitment to learn to make intimate conversation a priority with your wife. You need to talk and fill her in on the details of your life — not just facts, but feelings.

When a husband sincerely shows his desire for conversation and a deepening relationship — emotional intimacy — he will find that his wife is much more interested in sexual intimacy. Her dreams, hopes, desires, and disappointments then are not divorced from the marriage bed but are a part of it.

Romantic Need #4: To receive a tender touch and hear gentle words

Before marriage, two people in love can hardly keep their hands off each other because they find the touch of their beloved thrilling. What happens after the wedding? Some couples married for a while would find a firm handshake a wildly intimate encounter. This should not be the case in a marriage. There is great power in tender touch, even if it’s just a long, full-body hug or a lingering kiss. Or the touch may be a gentle caress of her face that has no motive to make sexual demands but communicates, “I love you, Sweetheart, and I care for you tenderly.”

Gentle words have similar power. I have made a partial list of some things that I think any husband could use in complimenting and praising his wife: charm; femininity; faithfulness to God, you, your children; hard work; beauty; personality; her love, including her receptivity and responsiveness to you as a man; her advice and counsel; character; desirability; friendship — and that’s just a start. What wife won’t respond to a husband who praises her regularly with gentle words for all these qualities?

Romantic Need #5: To be pursued and set apart by her man

A wife wants a husband who will sweep her off her feet, carry her away to the castle, and say, “Let’s spend time together.” Focused attention is like precious gold in a relationship.

One time Barbara and I had a little unresolved argument over a weekend. A couple of days later we went on our customary weekly date. We finally had the time and environment to fully discuss and resolve our differences. What it took was several hours away from phones, papers and bills, and the needs of our children. Your wife craves this focused attention from you.

A great lover

One of my favorite stories is of an interview with one of Hollywood’s biggest male stars, a man known for his prowess with the opposite sex. At one point he was asked, “What makes a great lover?”

“Two things,” he replied. “First of all, it is a man who can satisfy one woman over a lifetime. And it is a man who can be satisfied with one woman for a lifetime.”

That was a great answer! To build a strong marriage where you and your wife are experiencing oneness, you must be committed to satisfying her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I hope you both enjoy a lifetime of satisfaction!  Here’s to keeping your marriage romance alive, and a lifetime of love in your marriage.



Taken from Starting Your Marriage Right © 2000 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

Becoming the man of her dreams



Getting you ready for Valentines day with some posts about love, romance, and a better understanding of what makes your wife tick.

Your wife needs you to pursue a relationship with her — not just when you want romance, but as a way of life.

What do Sean Connery and Harrison Ford have in common? Whether playing James Bond or Indiana Jones, these actors have been Hollywood’s idea of a manly man for decades. They’re rough and tough, and can fight, shoot, punch, or drop-kick their way through a crowded alley of bad guys … while barely cracking a sweat. They’re unstoppable. Unflappable.

And they usually get at least one girl in the end.

After all, jumping in the sack with any available warm body just goes with the action-hero territory. They reach for the thrill of sex without paying the price of intimacy. Take James Bond. Give him an adventure, and he’ll be in and out of more beds than a mattress salesman.

In the absence of role models who know how to love, cherish, and relate to one woman over a lifetime, is it any wonder that for the last few decades, boys have grown up to be men who are equally clueless about how to give themselves to a lifelong love? Taking their cues from Hollywood, they enter into marriage with guns blazing, thinking that their tough guy routine will save the day. But the show barely gets started when they find out how woefully ill-equipped they are to give a woman what she craves most.  A relationship.

I’m convinced we have a generation of married men who are confused and lonely; they’re stuck in a lifeless marriage because they never learned how to cultivate a relationship with a woman that speaks to her romantic need for intimacy. Sandy, who attended one of our conferences, described her relationship with her husband this way:

Dennis, I’m afraid that I am losing respect for him as a man. He is not really contributing to our marriage or even to his own life, so it’s like having a dependent rather than a husband, a partner.

If Sandy’s husband is ever going to become the man of her dreams, the best place to start is by meeting her relational needs. Unfortunately the media reinforces the notion of experiencing sex, devoid of a relationship. Men have been led to believe that great sex, like fresh fruit, is hanging off every tree, ripe, and waiting to be picked. All they have to do is reach out and grab some. They’ve been duped into thinking the same should be true in a marriage.

However, great romance is the by-product of a relationship.

Simple gardening tips

Becoming the man of her dreams - stepping up

The secret is learning how and what to sow in the garden of a woman’s heart. When you sow the seeds of respect, kind words, acts of tenderness, and thoughtfulness, you reap a reward from your wife in abundance. As God said through Hosea, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love” (Hosea 10:12).

On the other hand, if you fail to cultivate this relationship, or if you sow seeds of criticism, neglect, or rage, sex becomes little more than a cold, physical act in which your wife feels used and unloved. That’s because God hard-wired a woman to desire relationship. Just as your wife has the power to affirm you sexually, you have tremendous power to provide her with the relationship she longs for, namely, a connectedness to your heart and soul.

When you withhold a meaningful relationship (I’m speaking about her need for conversation with you, her desire to see you plugged in to family life, her thirst to hear words of affirmation), she finds it difficult to give herself totally to you. Think with me for a moment: Do you sometimes feel your wife is not excited about your sexual advances? Step back and consider how much of an investment you’ve been making into her relational bank account. Her heart can be like a bank account where you make deposits and withdrawals. Far too often as men we can make withdrawals and disregard making deposits or investments. Every wife needs you to invest security, acceptance, and an emotional connection in her life.

Let me give you an example of what happens when a man squanders his power to validate and romance his bride with a relationship. Pam, a listener to our radio program writes:

My husband, Keith, has called me almost every low-life name that he could think of. He’s called me “fat” and said that I’m “bad in bed.” Although it has been almost eight years ago that Keith said these things, I can’t forget them. We’ve been married seventeen years and the TV is still more important to him than me. Recently, while staying in a hotel, I purchased a new nightie. When I changed clothes in front of him, his look was one of disgust. Keith didn’t have to say a word. The look on his face told me exactly how he felt about me.

I feel so rejected physically I can count on one hand in the last two years the times Keith has told me that I look nice. He’s never at home in the evenings to help me with the children. On weekends, Keith usually finds something other than his family to keep him busy. When I’ve tried to talk about this, I get yelled at or spoken down to. I hate living like this. I don’t know where to turn for help.

Now, I don’t know Keith’s side of the story but from what Pam has said, Keith has all but abandoned his role as the provider of a safe relationship — at great cost to his marriage. By calling Pam names, Keith failed to accept her. By ignoring her in favor of the television, he failed to make an emotional connection. And by refusing to involve himself with his family, he undermined her sense of security. His marriage is a divorce waiting to happen unless he recognizes that “love is patient, love is kind … It is not rude, it is not self-seeking … It always protects” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7).

A woman’s need for relationship carries into the bedroom too. While a man is usually able to engage in sex almost instantaneously (almost anytime, anywhere), a woman needs the context of a relationship if she is to freely and playfully respond to physical intimacy. Sometimes a man will meet the relational needs of his wife during the day, but doesn’t nurture their relationship in the bedroom. And men wonder why women resent their sex drive.

When a man pressures his wife to perform sexually without regard to the relational aspects of such intimacy, sex becomes shallow. Physical intimacy becomes a battle of the wills or a manipulative game that ultimately dies a slow death.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Just as your wife might wonder why sex is so important to you, you might be wondering why relationship is so crucial to her. You might even be scratching your head about why God wired men and women so differently. Look at it this way. As you know, God created Adam first. But did you know that Adam never asked for a wife?

It was God who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18, emphasis added). God, in His wisdom, created Eve to be the companion that Adam didn’t even recognize he needed. She was created to remove Adam’s aloneness. No wonder God placed in Eve an intense drive toward relationship.

God knew that man’s tendency was to be alone. He gave us a gravitational pull in marriage—our sex drive—so that we would pursue our wives who, in turn, would call us to know and be known in the context of a relationship.

For a man, achieving relational intimacy is both a mystery and a challenge. I believe God wants to knock the edges off me, as a man, so that I learn to love my wife in a way that communicates love to her. During more than thirty years of marriage, I have repeatedly learned (emphasis on repeatedly) that Barbara needs me to pursue a relationship with her — not just when I want romance, but as a way of life. When a man pursues a relationship and gives his wife compliments only when he’s interested in sex, his wife will feel used.

For example, Barbara and I have a family of eight. As you can imagine, there are quite a few responsibilities that I’ve got to tackle on a typical weekend. As a man, I tend to count up the “points” that I’ve racked up over the weekend. You know what I’m talking about: I think if I just knock off about a half dozen items on her “honey do” list — cooking breakfast, weeding the garden, and so on — then Barbara will feel romantic when we go to bed at night.

But points are irrelevant to Barbara if she feels disconnected from me. In my way of thinking, a little sexual intimacy will connect us. But that may not even be on her radar screen as a woman. Romance for her begins heart to heart and is consummated body to body. In her way of thinking, she wants me to be her friend first, then her lover. Giving her a relationship first is how I become the man of her dreams. In other words, to her there’s a big difference between doing things for her and being involved with her. Sure, she appreciates what I do for her and for the family. But connecting on a friendship level with her is what she dreams of.

 

Adapted by permission of Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN., from the book entitled Rekindling the Romance, copyright 2004 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved. Copying or using this material without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited and in direct violation of the copyright law.

Stepping up as a dad: the life and legacy of “Hook” Rainey



A few years ago, my son Ben and I had the opportunity to go to a World Series game in St. Louis. It was awesome to see my beloved Cardinals square off against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cards won 5–0 (and went on to win the Series in five games), but the highlight from that evening’s experience was when my friend Chip turned and asked my son, “How would you describe your dad in one word?” Watching Ben think for a moment, I quietly speculated about what he might say. I was hoping it would be some noble character quality like “loving” or “kind” or “forgiving.”

Instead, my grown son’s one-word conclusion of me was “intentional.”

I sat there stunned.

Intentional?

If you’d given me a dictionary and a couple of days, I’d never have chosen that word! I looked at my son and thought, You were number two in your class in high school, student body president, intelligent … Is that the best you can do?

Ben explained to Chip, “Dad was always purposeful about being a father — always teaching and training us. He tried not to leave anything to just happen.”

Now that I’ve had some time to chew on it — and now that others in the family have weighed in and confirmed it — I’ve concluded that “intentional” is not a bad description. I think I realized early on that raising my children was going to be my greatest contribution to a time that I would not see. As a result, I needed to step up as a father and become very intentional in what Barbara and I taught them and in what I modeled to them.

Fortunately, I had a great “intentional” model of my own — Hook Rainey.

men stepping up teaching kids about life

A big dad in a small town

Boyhood was pretty simple for me growing up in Ozark, Missouri. I think one reason it was so secure was that, even though I lived in a small town, I had a big dad. Not in personality or size, but in character. Some boys never have that. I’m glad I did.

My dad was a quiet man with granite-like integrity. He lived his entire life a few miles from the log cabin where he was born. He was barely a teenager, and one of nine children, when his father deserted the family, leaving them dirt poor. All this took place in an era when abandonment was unmanly and divorce was unacceptable.

Looking back on it all, I wonder how Dad figured out how to be a man. He could easily have been a victim and become bitter and angry. Forced to grow up early, Dad took care of his mom and his brothers and sisters for a number of years. Somehow he managed to graduate from high school and scrape together enough money to start a service station.  How did he learn what stepping up as a dad looked like?

Dad loved baseball. I learned later that he was a legendary country pitcher in those parts. A lefty, he was tagged with the nickname “Hook” because he evidently had a wicked curveball — the only thing about his life that was crooked. He was so good that he played in the St. Louis Cardinals farm-club system and pitched a game against Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean.

My dad not only had a sneaky curveball; he also knew how to keep a secret. One day during the Depression, when his family wasn’t looking, he and my mother eloped one weekend and went to the Kentucky Derby for a two-day honeymoon. And although I recall one argument they had when I was a boy, I really never questioned my dad’s love and loyalty for my mom. They were married 44 years until his death.

Dad taught me how to throw a curve, a slider, and a knuckleball. His knuckler was mystical. As the ball would glide to me, he’d laugh and say, “Count the stitches, Son … count the stitches!” I’d chuckle with him as the ball floated and darted toward me. It was all I could do to catch that fluttering ball.

A bundle of memories of time with Dad now bring a smile to my face. Hunting deer and quail and fishing for white bass. His sixth-grade boys’ Sunday school class. Old Spice aftershave and Lava hand soap. And falling asleep together with his arm around me on a Saturday afternoon as we watched the “Game of the Week” on television. I can still feel the hair from his arm against my boyish cheek, and I can almost smell the propane on his hands from that morning’s delivery.

As a boy I don’t recall a single sermon that he ever preached to me, and yet Dad taught me life. He was a living message. Authentic. Humble. He didn’t like “braggarts” or “blowhards,” as he called them. He was faithful, honest, loyal, and kind. A man who took his responsibilities seriously. And I can count the curse words that ever came from his lips on one hand.

Dad coached our little League baseball team, the Ozark Tigers, for three seasons. I was only 10 when we played our first game against a well-seasoned group of veterans called the Early Birds. I didn’t realize it then, but it was a classic David and Goliath showdown. I was starting pitcher, and I think we were behind 12–0 in the first inning when Dad moved me to right field. The league didn’t have a mercy rule, but they did have a time limit, and the game only lasted three innings. We didn’t get a hit, and the final score was 22–0.

But Dad never gave up on us. He taught us the basics, and slowly he turned me into a pitcher and a bunch of country boys into a competitive team. I have a team photo that hangs in my office to record what we accomplished. Two years later we made it to the semifinals in the play-offs … and sure enough, our opponent was the Early Birds.

I’m sure they were licking their chops to play us again, but it wasn’t quite the game they expected. It was competitive until the last play in the bottom of the last inning. We had a chance to win, but the Early Birds prevailed again, 3–2.

I was crushed that we lost. But now, over half a century later, I have a different view of that game. As I sit and stare at the team photo, it doesn’t matter that we lost. What matters is that my dad was in the picture … not just for three seasons, but for my life.

He gave me a lot of gifts, but the best gift Hook Rainey ever gave me was that he never stopped believing in me. And when he died in 1976 at the age of 66, nearly half of our town of 1,325 people came to honor him. One man, speaking of my dad’s integrity, said, “I never heard a negative word about Hook Rainey.”

Even now, his presence is imprinted on my life. Back in the fall of 2007, my friend Randy invited me to go bow-hunting for elk on his Montana ranch. As I started my hunt, slipping around junipers in search of a trophy, I heard the words Dad said to me many times as a boy: “Slow down, Son. Slow down.”

Much of what I am today is because I had a father who stepped up as a man and stepped into my life. He was more than somebody’s dad. He was my dad.

**2-2-13 is approaching quickly.  That’s when churches and locations all over the nation will simultaneously be conducting the largest tailgating party for the Super Bowl™. Tens of thousands of men at hundreds of locations will be manning up and stepping up into courageous manhood.  Is there an event occurring near you?  Find out at MenSteppingUp.com.  Or go to our Facebook page and ask our friends who will tell you where there are events around the country!  Don’t be caught experiencing THIS EVENT at home in front of the big screen.  This one is meant to be experienced IN PERSON.

 

 

Adapted by permission from Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, © Dennis Rainey, 2011, FamilyLife Publishing.

How women can help awake ‘the sleeping giant’



Following is the transcript from a recent FamilyLife Today radio program with guest, Kenny Luck, Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church.  This is the 2nd of 2 programs that aired with Kenny Luck as the guest.  Bob=Bob Lepine, CoHost; Kenny=Kenny Luck; Dennis=Dennis Rainey, Host  (Note this is a transcript and has not been edited so it might read a little strangely in some areas)

Air date: January 8, 2013

Kenny Luck

Bob: Have you heard women around you bashing their man? What do you do when that happens? Here’s advice from Kenny Luck.

Kenny: Those of you who have a good, strong, godly man instead of when you’re at tennis club, or the coffee shop, or connecting with the toddlers—jumping on the band wagon of man-bashing, as the failed brand, you can step in and say, “You know what? I don’t know what you’re talking about. My guy — he prays with my kids. He loves and cherishes me. He honors me.” You know what your friends will say? “You know, I have a sister. Does he have a brother?”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, January 8th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about men being men and about how women can help them be the men God wants them to be. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I’m thinking ahead. It’s about three weeks — three-and-a-half weeks — before the Super Bowl. You know, on Super Bowl Sunday, on the day of the game, you can pretty much count on the fact that most guys are going to want to kind of have that time blocked out and they’re going to want to watch the game. They are not going to be available to do a whole lot of “Honey, do” stuff around the house that afternoon; right?

Dennis: That’s correct. That’s correct.

Bob: So, I’m thinking of a wife who is planning for that weekend. She’s got the option of either her husband, on Saturday, doing all the projects around the house so that he can watch the game on Sunday; or she can send him to the Stepping Up® Super Saturday event, down at the church, that’s happening in their community. We’ve got hundreds of churches that are participating in this; but she’s not going to get any “Honey, do” lists done that day. What would your counsel to her be, Dennis?

Dennis: Give up the “Honey, do” list for a day.

Bob: How did I know that was what you would suggest?

Dennis: Give it up! I’m not trying to be a guy who is abdicating responsibility. I’m actually—I’m actually encouraging you, as a wife, to look beyond the “Honey, do” list and beyond to making an investment in your husband’s life—to encourage him, not discourage him— but encourage him to become the man God made him to be. If you send him down to the Stepping Up Super Saturday event—I can’t guarantee this because he’s got a choice—he’s got a real choice, and some guys don’t make it; but a lot will. I’d encourage you to send him down here and find out more information. They can go to FamilyLifeToday.com.

Bob: And by the way, as I said, there are hundreds of churches participating in the Super Saturday event; but there is still an opportunity for a guy to say, “Our church isn’t doing this, but I’d like for our church to do it.” You can still sign up.

Dennis: Exactly, Bob. Don’t wait for your pastor to sign your church up. Maybe, as a man, you grab the baton and take it to your pastor and say, “Let’s do this thing! Let’s make this happen in our community.”

I’m looking across the table, and there’s a guy asking for the microphone and the soapbox. Kenny Luck joins us. He’s the Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church. He’s written a book called Sleeping Giant. He’s all over the issue of men stepping up. You believe women are important if men are going to step up; don’t you?

Kenny: Oh, my goodness, Dennis! When you guys were talking about —

Dennis: You were having a hard time being quiet.

Kenny: I was just saying — the hall pass — “Ladies, here’s the deal. When you do give permission for a desired activity — but more importantly, when you encourage your man to take ownership of his life — spiritually, relationally, maritally — in the context of other men, that’s when you get a solid result versus hinting, hoping, nagging. It’s just something where he feels that he needs to make that decision on his own — in consideration of you — but in the presence of other men, as an individual man. It’s that ownership-thing, where it is: “This is my decision, and I want to own it — apart from being in your presence — even though I love you — and apart from being connected to you as a husband and father, who has many shortcomings — I want to make this decision myself.”

So, when you were talking about “Hey, let him go. Ladies, let him go! It will be so encouraging to him,” — that’s the first point.

Second point was, I think, when we talk about waking the sleeping giant — when we talk about getting guys in and healthy, and what that means for the women and children — not just in our country, but worldwide — I think that women are going to be the accelerator of that. My feedback — thousands of emails from men — tells me that, many times, when they make a strong step toward health and God — that is met with cynicism, skepticism, or just ambivalence — maybe because of the past — maybe because of failed promises —

Dennis: Right.

Kenny: — in the past. I think, once men feel and hear from their bride — their sisters-in-Christ — encouragement — and also, women-to-women — where instead of — as you’re at tennis, or the coffee shop, or connecting with the toddlers — jumping on the band wagon of man-bashing, as the failed brand. Those of you who have a good, strong, godly man, you can step in and say, “You know what? I don’t know what you’re talking about. My guy — he prays with my kids. He loves and cherishes me. He honors me.” You know what your friends will say? “Does he — I have a sister. Does he have a brother?” You know? That’s what women are looking for. So, ladies, I just want to encourage you to, as we talk about this movement of men — healthy men — we need your voice because when we talk about it, it kind of falls flat.

Bob: You talk about the fact that the men’s culture in America is a broken culture. Do you think it’s always been that way? Do you think it’s true in other cultures? I’m just wondering — I mean we live in a broken world. So, at some level, everything is broken. But has there ever been a time when you’ve looked back and say, “They understood masculinity, back there, or over here, … you know?

To listen to the entire broadcast, click How women can help awake ‘the sleeping giant’

TO CONTINUE READING THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT, CLICK HERE

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The most courageous decision (part 1)



(This is an excerpt from the book, Stepping Up™ by Dennis Rainey — this excerpt begins after a discussion about what it means to “make a decision for Christ.”  If you haven’t done that, or if you have questions about what that means, you can email us at info@mensteppingup.com. You can also purchase the book, Stepping Up™ and read the section describing this or check out this website, Cru.org)

Once you’ve made the most courageous decision to yield your life to Christ, the rest of your life lies ahead. There are some additional decisions that will mark your passage as a man.

most courageous decision a man can make?

The first is: Will you let God define your identity as a man? When a man defines himself and attempts to determine his identity apart from God, he is left to compare himself with others — a low and dangerous standard. A real man finds his essence and identity in his Creator.

No man will understand who he is and what his ultimate assignment on planet Earth is apart from knowing God. This is why A. W. Tozer wrote in his book, Knowledge of the Holy,

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

In fact, I believe that one of the reasons we’re short of real men today is that we’ve lost the fear of God. The majority of proverbs in the Old Testament were written by a father to his son to introduce him to God and equip him for life. Proverbs 1:7 tells us clearly, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The word wisdom is an important word for men. It means that we are to have skill in everyday living. We are to live life skillfully, the way our Creator designed it to be lived. Fearing God is the starting point for being a real man.

To fear God means that I hold Him in reverential awe. It means I see Him for who He is — the sovereign King. When I revere God for who He is, I can rightly determine who I am as a man.

As I study Scripture and understand who God is, I realize that I am not the center of the universe. God is. I realize that I don’t call the shots in life. God does.

This means I humble myself in submission to Him. I make choices realizing that God is everywhere present, sees all, and knows all. I live my life not to please myself but to please Him. I understand that I will someday give an account of my life to God and that His presence in my life motivates me to turn away from temptation, evil, and sin.  That is why this is the most courageous decision we make in this life.

What have you experienced when it comes to making this decision in your life or maybe haven’t made?

Tomorrow’s Post — What other courageous decision must you make in life?

Retirement: the most courageous step you can take



Stepping up and becoming a patriarch may be the most courageous step a man ever makes. It’s not only politically incorrect, which makes an even stronger case for it, but it’s countercultural, demanding grit and character to go against the grain of a youth-oriented society.

A man who doesn’t step up at this point in his life will most assuredly step down. True patriarchs are such an endangered species that most men don’t know this step exists. Others wrongly assume that they could never stand on this step; they don’t see themselves ever becoming a patriarch. As a result, we have a generation of men entering this last season of their lives feeling aimless, useless, and bewildered, instead of being on the cutting edge of what could be their most productive and fruitful years.

Grand theft of the elderly?

About a dozen gray-haired men sat at the table in a prestigious country club, all former executives who had been highly successful. Leaders. Champions. Bright, intelligent minds. These were risk takers who’d led big lives, checkered with successes and failures. Married between 45 and 60 years, these men clearly had plenty to impart to younger generations. As I prepared to speak to them, I couldn’t help but think that their gray heads only added to their dignity.

They had asked me to speak for 10 minutes about what FamilyLife was doing to strengthen marriages and families. As I unpacked what we were doing, I mentioned that I would be speaking to a gathering of executives a couple of days later about “Three Qualities of a Patriarch.”

What happened next was fascinating. It was as though I’d touched an open nerve. For 45 minutes, they peppered me with questions, peeling back their hearts and sharing disappointments, frustrations, doubts, and desires.

They talked about how their adult children were critical of them, pushing them to the fringes of their lives. They were treated as unnecessary — except as babysitters — and they felt their families really didn’t want their influence or their involvement. They said the only opportunities their churches offered were ushering, serving on the stewardship committee, and giving to building programs. They lamented that the culture had become so youth oriented, they felt emasculated — treated as though they were done and had nothing to give back.

These men — who had once been kings in their families, their businesses, and their communities were for the first time in their lives uncertain what their roles should be. Like broken antiques gathering dust in the attic, they were without purpose.

But as they interacted, I could see in their eyes that they longed to be challenged again. War hardened and savvy, these sage soldiers wanted to fill their nostrils with the smoke of the battlefield and engage in the fight again. They really didn’t want to trade their swords and armor for a 5 iron and a golf shirt. They realized they were made for something far nobler than watching cable news in a La-Z-Boy recliner.

I sat there astonished at what amounted to “grand theft” — men robbed of their glory — no longer dreaming because of a complicity of forces that had cruelly swindled them out of their courage to step up.

These men had been left behind. Disoriented. Lost. And if they didn’t act soon, this last season of their lives would be wasted.

Pursuing the most courageous step?

I left that meeting with two conclusions: First, most men don’t know how to think about aging. They don’t know what the Bible has to say about aging. Instead of facing upward on the fifth step and pursuing God and his purposes for their lives, they step down and squander a lifetime of experience, wisdom, and abilities. They erroneously conclude that their impact is over and take their cues from the culture about retirement. As they shrivel in self-absorption, all wrapped up in themselves, their lives become the smallest of packages. The result? A perennial shortage of sages.

Think with me for a moment: How many men do you know in their sixties, seventies, and eighties who are vigorous, still growing, and still using their influence for good? Men so visionary, so alive, so positive and expectant about how God is going to use them that you’d want to be like them when you grow old.

A second conclusion was evident: It’s time to resurrect the mantle of patriarch. It’s time for a new order of noble, life-seasoned men to courageously arise, strip away encumbrances, and do battle on behalf of their children, grandchildren, communities, and nation. God created men not to rust out but to wear out as they stretch out toward the finish line.

For those of you who are over 55 years old — and especially if you are retired — I have a tough question: If you’re finished making a difference, then why are you here?

Do you think your best days are behind you? Do you think you don’t have anything else to give? Are you going to believe the culture that thinks you should clip coupons, collect seashells, and spend your kids’ inheritance?

Or on the other hand, wouldn’t you love to be able to articulate your mission for the years you have left? Wouldn’t you like to know and feel noble about what you’re living for? Could you imagine others considering you to be … a patriarch?

A word that drips with dignity

The word “patriarch” comes from the Latin word patri, which means “father.”  Webster defines a patriarch as it relates to a family as, “a man who is a father or founder, the oldest representative of a group, a venerable [esteemed] old man. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, many people consider “patriarch” a dirty word.  For some it conjures images of male chauvinism, of self-serving men who rule their homes through fear, force, and manipulation.

But I believe it’s a word that drips with dignity. In the Old Testament, patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac, and David served as heads of their families and were described as men after God’s heart. In today’s culture, patriarchs are men who spend their final years investing in the generations to come. They are men who realize their potential to have a lasting influence in their families and in their communities.

I began to become interested in the thought of being a patriarch as my children grew into adulthood and began to marry. My role as a father was changing; I knew that as they established their own families I no longer had the same type of authority in their lives. But I also began to recognize that my work as a father was not finished — it was just changing. Even though my children were adults, they still needed my encouragement and prayers.  I’m no longer the head coach calling the players, but I’ve become a fan on the sidelines, cheering them on.  Young men raising a family in this culture need enthusiastic applause.

As patriarchs we have the time to cheer for our grandchildren and pass on stories of how God has worked in our lives.  One of my grandchildren once asked me how I helped start FamilyLife.  I gave him the Reader’s Digest version of the story, and was reminded of Psalm 71:17-18, a passage you might call the memoirs of a patriarch: “O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds.  And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”

A new title

What an opportunity we have as we enter into the final years of life to use the wisdom and influence we’ve accumulated to reach out to the next generation. This is the vision many men today need for their final years. I think of Bill Barber, a lifelong Texan with a wonderful, earthy sense of humor. I met Bill after his son, Clay, came to work at FamilyLife, and I remember when I called him a patriarch. He later wrote me to say he was surprised at my remark. “Heck, I didn’t realize that I was one.”

Bill said he’s been called repulsive, obnoxious, anachronistic, a con man, funny, crazy, opinionated, a rascal, and “an enigma with savoir faire.”  But he kind of liked this new title of “patriarch.”

“Fact is, I’m really loving this patriarching,” he wrote. It is “a lot simpler than most of my peers think. You gotta quit fighting it. Admit your age. Oh, yes, it doesn’t hurt to be 1) an encourager; 2) a servant; 3) a discipler; 4) a man who is silent sometimes; and 5) forgiving to others and self.

“Being a patriarch is just not too bad.”

Taken by permission from Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishers.  Copyright © 2011 by Dennis Rainey.  All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading “Retirement: the most courageous step you can take” by FamilyLife founder Dennis Rainey.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistDr. Howard Hendricks invested his life into countless men, including Dennis Rainey. Read about that impact.

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistListen to “Finishing Well” broadcasts on FamilyLife Today to learn what retirement should and shouldn’t be.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistInvest in other men by doing a Stepping Up small group video series together. Find out how.

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