Posts tagged mensteppingup

When real conversation requires more than a text

When I was a freshman in college — back when I was skinny and long-haired and pretty inexperienced when it came to relationships — I met a girl named Nancy. We sat together five days a week in a French class, and at some point we began dating. I wouldn’t say it was serious, but between those dates and our class, we certainly saw each other often.

A few months later, the French class was over; we didn’t see each other as often, and the attraction began to fade for me. It was time to be honest with her and tell her that I enjoyed our friendship, but I didn’t see our dating relationship going anywhere. Meet with her and have a mature, yet positive conversation.

Did I mention that, at age 18, I was also stupid and cowardly? We never had that conversation. Instead, I just stopped calling her. Cut her off completely.

My guess is that after a few weeks she figured a couple of things out:

  • I wasn’t going to ask her out on dates any more.
  • I was a jerk who wasn’t worth dating, anyway.

Fast forward a few years, and I see that people today have not gained much in wisdom. When it comes to breaking off a relationship, or working through a conflict, today we have all kinds of new technology that helps us take the easy way out.

If I was the same wimpy kid today and in the same situation, I’d probably break up through e-mail or text messaging. It’s very easy nowadays to use email and text messaging to avoid the difficult real conversations, disagreements, or conflicts.

This applies to all of us, not just singles. We face a disagreement or conflict with a co-worker, a friend, a family member, a wife, and we look for the easy way out by avoiding a face-to-face conversation.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if men are guilty of this more than women.

I’ve found that when I try to resolve something through email, it’s easy to misunderstand each other. Words are misinterpreted or attached to emotions that were not intended. You miss the facial expressions, the body language, and the tone of voice that communicate just as strongly as the actual words.  And, NO, using emoticons doesn’t make it any better :-).

It’s interesting to read some of the scriptural passages about resolving conflict in light of today’s technology. For example, 1 Peter 3:8-9 tells us, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead…” (NASB).

What impresses me here is that it’s very difficult to communicate a spirit of harmony, sympathy, kindheartedness, and humility through email or text messaging. These qualities — so essential to resolving a disagreement or conflict — are best conveyed in person.

If you are the type of person who instinctively avoids any type of confrontation, perhaps you’ve settled into this bad habit of using electronic communication to avoid real conversation. Perhaps you’re doing it with your spouse.

Let me encourage you as a man, colleague, father, and husband to step up and into your relationships rather than away from them. Be courageous.

Relationships are multi-faceted and often require heart-to-heart, face contorting, voice inflected communication. And that won’t happen in a text message or email.

Let me ask you: Have often have you tried to resolve a disagreement or conflict with someone by email or text message? How has that worked for you?

Be the man, God’s man: Letters to my sons and to a son-in-law

Sometimes it’s helpful to see what other men have done in raising their children. How have they celebrated milestones?  What did they say when it came to THE talk?  Did they spank or not?  In this post, Dennis Rainey shares letters that he wrote to his sons and a son in-law celebrating special events in each of their lives.  This was originally posted as an article at  It’s a little long but the letters have great content and will be a great reference for you.

Dennis wrote a special poem called “Be the Man, God’s Man” to his sons Benjamin and Samuel, and his son-in-law Michael Escue.  He read the poems to Benjamin and Samuel during the rehearsal dinners before their weddings, and he presented the poem to Michael when he graduated from medical school. In response to requests from our readers, here is what Dennis wrote:

Be the man, Benjamin, God’s man
On the eve of your wedding day, July 13, 2001

God made you to be the man, Benjamin Rainey. His man.

Our journey as father and son is filled with memories from as far away as the Great Wall of China and smuggling Bibles to as near as our backyard and winter picnics, roasting s’mores, and shooting hoops. We’ve sought the trophy white tail in the pine thickets of South Arkansas and tracked an elk in the alpine meadows of Eastern Oregon. From your birth I’ve prayed that you would become the man God created you to be. It’s in that spirit that I now challenge and bless you.

When accomplishments and praise come your way, resist pride. Remember the gift Giver.

Be a humble man. God’s man.

When the world lures with lust, tempts with treasure, and entices with influence and power, turn away. Turn from the temporal to the eternal. Be a Kingdom man. Be God’s man.

When culture decays, step into the battle and be a spiritual warrior for your generation. Be a courageous man.  God’s man.

When the Father of lies attempts to deceive, instead embrace the truth. Live the truth. Let God’s Word be the surgeon of your heart. Then you’ll be a truthful man. God’s man.

When hobbies, toys, and games beckon you back to boyhood, turn away from childish things. Step up to manhood. Step into your responsibility and pain.

Remember the Savior. He was The Man. The God-man.

When you fail, be teachable.

When you fail again, don’t quit.

When you fail others, repent.

When others fail you, forgive them 7 x 70 and give grace.

Then you’ll be a mature man. God’s man.

When doubt comes and life makes no sense, remember Tom Skinner’s words: “I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts, when suddenly I realized I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer, to the reality of answers that I cannot escape. And it’s a great relief.” Benjamin, keep coming to grips with what you believe.

Then you’ll be a faith-filled man. God’s man.

When your job as husband is more difficult than you imagined, love Marsha Kay more than you love yourself. You’ve given her a diamond and your heart. Now go for the gold.

Be a one-woman man. Be God’s man.

When the evils of the world assault your family, stand tall and guard. When the burdens of the world weigh on your family, kneel and pray. When the confusion of the world distracts your family, look to the finish line and speak the vision. Be a wise man. God’s man.

And if God blesses your life with many children (I pray He does) and more of your “self” must die each day, know that you are never more a man than when you kill “self.”

Be a selfless man. God’s man.

When life ebbs and age takes its toll, don’t step down into “retirement.” Instead step up and invest in the next generation as a mentor and a patriarch.

Finish strong, my son, and be the man. God’s man.

Never apologize for being God’s man. Dream like His man. Think like His man.

Act like His man. Love like His man.

And so, as a man still becoming God’s man, I bless you, Benjamin, as God’s man. I will stand shoulder to shoulder beside you as long as God gives me breath.

Make Godly wisdom your daily companion. Make His presence your portion and delight.

“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:1-2).

I love you and I’m proud to be your Dad.


Be the man, Samuel, God’s man


God made you to be the man. His man.

As a father and a son we have walked a long path together. Together we have made the delightful, memory-filled and sometimes-bumpy journey from boyhood through adolescence into manhood. I honestly feel like you have helped me grow up and become a man, God’s man. It’s been my prayer that you would become the man that God created you to be. With that spirit, I come to you today with a series of challenges and a blessing.

When others disappoint you and hurt you deeply (and they will) and you want to quit, do one of the most courageous things a real man ever does — love. Be the man, God’s man.

When life competes hard for your affections and attention, be focused on the goal.

Be the man, God’s man.

When career beckons with its addictive power and you fail repeatedly by over-scheduling, learn from your mistakes. Be the man, God’s man.

When you disappoint those closest to you, resist the urge to make an excuse or cast blame. Instead, take responsibility for your actions and ask for forgiveness.

If you do, you will be the man, God’s man.

When “self” pleads to be nurtured and fed, feed others instead. You’ll never be more of a man than when you are denying yourself for others. Be the man, God’s man.

When it seems as though failure has taken up residence in your house or life, don’t quit. Ask God for strength to press on. Be the man, God’s man.

When circumstances are overwhelming and it feels like there’s no one to help you, take His yoke upon you. His yoke is easy and light.

He’s always there to help you be the man, God’s man.

When your heart grows cold for relationships (with God, wife, children, and others) and the temptation to retreat seems reasonable, don’t retreat, don’t withdraw, don’t pull back. Pray for wisdom, step in to the pain of relationships and knit your heart to kindred spirit warriors. Ask God to keep your heart soft and help you be the man, God’s man.

When temptation and the lure of infidelity to God and spouse troll by you in the form of narcissism, materialism, or a woman, turn away from evil and do good.

Be a “brave heart” man, God’s man.

When others betray you and don’t stand with you, forgive them 7 x 70.

Even when it hurts, be the man, God’s man.

When life ebbs and old age takes its toll, resist the urge to step down into “retirement.” Instead step up and invest your life in the next generation by becoming a mentor and a patriarch. Finish strong my son, and be the man, God’s man.

Never apologize for being God’s man. Dream like His man.

Think like His man.

Act like His man. Love like His man.

And so, as a man who is very much in the process of still becoming God’s man, I bless you, Samuel, as God’s man. I commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as long as God gives me breath. Make Godly wisdom your daily companion.

Make His presence your portion and delight.

“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord. Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:1-2).

I love you and I’m proud to be your Dad.


Be the man, Michael, God’s man

God made you to be the man. His man.

Michael, I appreciate you. You are an answer to our prayers for a godly husband for Ashley. Four years ago you asked me for my princess’ hand in marriage. You know the rest of the story: You got the princess’ hand and her family. All of her family. A lesser man might have fainted under the load of all those relationships. A statistician once told me there were over a thousand different combinations of relationships before you came … now, you know there are even more!

You and I have charted some new territory together. I’ve have never grafted a new son into our family, but you have made the whole process painless. I’ve been amazed at your servant spirit and your teachability. You’ve eagerly helped me install a garbage disposal. And you’ve been gracious to listen when I’ve called our family to stick together. It takes a man to listen to another man. God’s man.

We’ve already shared some great memories: Pizzas and béarnaise. Duck blinds and the deer woods. Ice storms and power outages. Family caravans to the farm and to Nashville. The genesis of your new family. I am looking forward to sharing many more.

And so it is on this special occasion of your graduation from medical school that I want to honor you with a charge and a blessing.

When success comes your way, as it most assuredly will do, do not let its trappings cling to you. I’ll pass on some godly advice that Bill Bright gave me when I was about your age: “Wear the cloak of materialism loosely. There is no amount of money that God won’t give to the man that doesn’t allow it to stick to his fingers.” Be a funnel, Michael, not a bucket. If you do you’ll be the man. God’s man.

When your family lets you down and your friends don’t hold you up, resist cynicism. Never forget that cynicism is a subtle form of unbelief. Remember that God is always able. Be the man. God’s man.

When it seems that chaos at home presses in, and satisfaction and accomplishment at work pull you out, stand firm against the lure of lesser loyalties. Keep on loving Ashley and be a covenant-keeping, family man. God’s man.

When it’s painful to be the man and you want to pull back, don’t. Don’t play it safe. Don’t hide. Instead, step up. Step forward. And step into the pain. If you do, you’ll be the man. God’s man.

When temptations come your way, and they will, guard your heart with diligence. A man is never more a man than when his heart is yielded to God and protected by His word. Be the man. God’s man.

When pride tempts, put self to death. Be the man. God’s man.

When children test your patience, when children test your love, when children test your resolve, pass these tests by being the man. God’s man.

When the Rainey family is late. Again. Be patient with us, again. Be the man. God’s man.

When life ebbs and old age takes its toll, resist the urge to step down into “retirement.” Instead step up and invest your life in the next generation by becoming a mentor and a patriarch. Finish strong my son, and be the man, God’s man.

As I close, there are eight things that God requires:

To love your God supremely,

To guard your heart securely,

To serve your fellow man patiently,

To speak the truth steadfastly,

To protect your family securely,

To live uprightly and resolutely,

To seek His kingdom and His righteousness unreservedly,

And do battle for your generation’s soul courageously.

No, Michael, you won’t ever be my son-in-law. You have become a valued and respected son. And so as one who has watched you love, lead, and serve Ashley and our family over the past four years, I bless you as a man. I bless you as a man who is indeed God’s man.

Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2

I love you and I’m proud to be your Dad.

Tony Dungy on preparing your family for success

Tony Dungy on being a “Man with a Plan”

Tony Dungy says that you wouldn’t think about going into an NFL game on Sunday without properly preparing throughout the week. “We do things with our lives we wouldn’t dream of doing on the football field,” says Dungy, referring to men having a lack of a plan for life.  Unfortunately, too many men go into daily life as a man, dad, and husband with no plan as to how to get the job done. And with no vision for where men want to go with their lives in those roles, it’s almost impossible to do it well. Watch this clip from the Stepping Up video study and hear what the Super Bowl champion coach has to say about being a “man with a plan.”

So what is your plan?  Will you take the next step and start to plan for succeeding in the important role of leading your family?  It may be by reading the game plan (God’s Word), casting a vision for your family’s future in the areas of finances, marriage, and spiritual discipline. We also need to help devise household guidelines in areas like the use of video and media, dating and purity, and all the other areas that a man needs to have a plan for his family to succeed.  It may feel overwhelming at times.  However, remember Tony Dungy didn’t do it all by himself.  He surrounded himself with the best coaches he could find.  That’s where we make so many of our mistakes.  We don’t plan and then we don’t ask for help when we try to put a plan together.  Surround yourself with other like-minded men and encourage each other in this arena.  Men, we are better together!  We can do this … together.  So, step up and be a MAN WITH A PLAN!

Share your thoughts below about how you’ve had some success in setting up and following a plan for your family in any of the areas mentioned (or ones that aren’t).


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