Posts tagged super saturday event

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 one thing a man of courage does



manafraid

Over the years I’ve challenged men to take the initiative and improve their marriages in a way that requires bedrock courage.

No, it’s not initiating sex. By comparison, that’s risky indeed, but nowhere near as challenging as … praying daily with your wife.

Now, some men are already praying daily with their wives. But I’ve seen that look of hesitation and even fear in the eyes of many men when I’ve given them this challenge. It’s way out of their comfort zone.

I’m not certain that Barbara and I would still be married had it not been for this spiritual discipline of experiencing God together in our marriage. It has kept us from building walls in our marriage, it has forced us to forgive each other, and it has kept us focused in the same direction.

A businessman  who works for a well-known corporation took my challenge a number of years ago. He and his wife had been married for years and had two children. At the time, he was experiencing some difficulties in his marriage — he was angry over the lack of time they spent together, both relationally and sexually, he had begun drinking (again), and they had been sleeping in separate bedrooms for two years. They were not considering divorce and remained committed to the marriage, but in his words, “We were both on different pages, spiritually and mentally. She wanted to have Bible studies together and pray, but I wasn’t willing, due to my inner anger at her.”

A few years later, our paths crossed again, and he wrote to tell me that when he took the initiative to pray daily with his wife, their relationship was transformed:

Over a period of time and consistently praying together, we have seen amazing changes in our lives. Quickly the level of anger subsided. Each night our prayers became easier and meant more.

We seemed to move onto the same page, our attitude toward each other changed, and we began liking each other again. We also saw changes in our parenting; we started talking more and having in-depth conversations. Over the last few years, our conversations have turned to deep, meaningful reviews of our lives and the mistakes we’ve made. We share hurts, frustrations, and worries. We both seem to want to help each other and support the other in times of need.

As we learned to love and respect each other, our sex life has grown into a beautiful expression of our love and is more satisfying than ever. Our walk with God has grown deeper, individually and as a couple. Our lives seem to be connected on a spiritual level as never before. As with any marriage, problems still arise, but now we feel equipped to deal with the issues in a positive way.

Jesus Christ has done a mighty work in our marriage, and we attribute much of that success to the fact that every night we approach the Throne of Grace together. It truly is His grace that has sustained us. Only He could salvage our train wreck of a marriage and not only make it survive but thrive.

Can you imagine what would happen in your marriage, in your family, if you demonstrated that type of initiative and courage? My encouragement is to try it. If you miss a day, then pick up again tomorrow and pray together. I’ve found that the men who initiate prayer with their wives have a dramatically different relationship with them in less than two years.

Do you have a similar fear of prayer?  Not sure you’d say it right or that you might not say it well?  God isn’t interested in your posture, words, or vocabulary.  He’s interested in you, your heart and your family.  When you take the initiative to lead in this way, God will do some supernatural work you have not even thought about.  And, I bet your wife will actually find it romantic when you lead her in prayer with sincerity and intent.

Give it a try.

If you have a story about praying with your wife, challenges you faced and overcame, or hesitancies today, share them below because I can guarantee you that you’re not the only one who struggles to lead your wife/marriage in this way.  Be strong and courageous, men.

Adapted from the book, Stepping Up™ by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing, 2011.

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