Posts that talk about leading your family (the frustrations and the joys) and the resources that may help you along the journey.

Nurturing-Genuine-Beauty

Nurturing Genuine Beauty in Your Wife

Men, how do you talk about your wife? Do you praise her? If so, in what ways? Do you criticize or belittle her? When the opportunity arises to say something (publicly) about your wife, what comes out of your mouth: words that oppress or applaud her? What adjectives roll off your tongue concerning the one with whom you are in covenant?

This should go without saying, but I won’t take anything for granted. Never, ever belittle your wife with your words, either to her face, to your friends, or in public! If you have an honest, loving critique that needs to be addressed in private, that is different. But never use your words to cut down God’s daughter whom He has entrusted to your care–to nurture and love as Christ loves His Bride–His Church.

Physical attraction matters in marriage, but there is something that matters infinitely more. Don’t just praise your wife’s outer beauty: “My smoking hot wife” “My super-sexy wife” etc. That’s great, to an extent, although most women would rather be “beautiful” than “hot”. What in your wife are you wanting to encourage and nurture? Outer beauty that will fade (just as yours will or already has)? Or a soul that is growing in Christ-likeness? Yes, she needs to hear from you that you think she is beautiful, but do your compliments only focus on the physical?

Praise her godly character (and her beauty) to her face, to your friends when she is not around, and in public when she is with you. So long as you both have a proper understanding of God’s grace in her life that empowers these qualities, your praise will edify her and not make her prideful. It helps her know you love her and care about more than just her body. In the Bible women are praised for their godly character. Their appearance may be recognized, but their integrity is what is praised.

My wife and I have an agreement. We never really sat down and made the deal, it has just happened and we share it with each other. She never criticizes me in a group setting when she is with other women, no matter how much of a jerk I might have been that day or how angry she may be with me. Same goes for me in my groups. We each have a very small, trusted group of people with whom we share our frustrations from time to time. We know they will not gossip and trust that they will pray for both of us. In our culture this for sure takes Spirit-empowered self control…and a good deal of practice!

Sir, your words matter! No more so than to the person who loves you most on this earth. Use them well. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

fd-rock

A Father’s Day Encouragement

This is NOT a dad-bashing Father’s Day post! There are times for correction & admonition when men aren’t doing their jobs, but not right now. There are a lot of dads out there that take their God-ordained roles and responsibilities seriously and strive hard to be good stewards of our families. It’s good to be reminded of the weight and importance of our role, but we also need to be encouraged in it! It is a long, tough, challenging responsibility to be a dad, but the benefits are more than worth it to remain faithful. So, dads, keep praying, keep seeking God, keep loving and leading your family well, and keep “fighting the good fight of the faith!” (1 Tim 6:12-16). The original post below was posted last Father’s Day 2010.

What a great day to remember and honor our dads. My crew does such a great job every year of letting me know how much they love me, but then again, they do that all year around anyway. I wanted to offer a word of encouragement to all dads today. You are important! Your role is huge! Never underestimate that, or you may wind up spiraling down into depression wondering if all your work and effort really make a difference. It does. More than we know.

Think about it… God allows you the honor of sharing one of His special names–Father. This means that you will impact the way your kids see God as their heavenly Father. That is a big deal! What a great role! What a great title, position, and privilege… Dad–Family Shepherd!

Your relationship with God matters more than you think it does because your life impacts more than just you. The best thing you could do for yourself and your family is seek God and worship Him without rivals. When you fail, repent, remember, and rely on the grace of God given to us in the work of His Son. Then you will be able to teach your children about the beauty of Christ; with your words and your life.

I really can’t get enough of this video!

dad_the_theologian

Dad The Theologian

Dads, you are the family theologian. It doesn’t matter if you wanted that role or not; it’s yours. It’s mine. We are constantly teaching our children; they are always learning from us. Parents play a huge role in shaping a child’s view of God. As the leaders of our homes it is our job to make sure we are informing and training them as accurately as possible.

Are we seeking to know God more deeply? Are we seeking to live a holy life? Are we seeking to understand Him and His creation, His grace, His gospel better? Fellow dads, are you learning so that you can better equip your children? Are you praying for them, that God would capture their hearts and set them on fire with a passion for Him and His Truth?

Do you have regular times during the week where you sit and formally teach your children about the God we serve and love? If not, for their sake and yours, I plead with you to start. It doesn’t have to be every night, but start teaching them, and by God’s grace be consistent.

One of the many things this will do is get your children in the habit of coming to you with spiritual or biblical questions, which is way better than having them run to their friends with life’s most important questions. Don’t be afraid of the questions. And don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” If they have a question you can’t answer, call your pastor and set up a meeting with him. Then, take the your little inquisitor with you to the meeting as the pastor answers your question. This will also help them get in the habit of going to other godly spiritual authorities for answers and advice.

If you are having times of teaching and family worship I want to encourage you to stay at it. Wow, do I know it’s difficult at times–a lot of the time. Our young people today, who claim to be Christians, have such a thin, shaky foundation that any wind of false doctrine or cultural attack causes their faith to crumble. We can help our children by laying for them a good, thick, solid foundation of God’s Word, doctrine, prayer, and fellowship with the family of God.

Most importantly, as you work hard at teaching, training, and leading your family…rest in the gospel of Christ! It is easy to get overwhelmed, disappointed in yourself, and depressed because you see what a huge task this is, the weight of its importance, and your failure to do enough (or what you think is enough). As you do what God, in His Word, has commanded you to do, rest in His grace toward you in Jesus; rest in His sovereignty over your children (and all things); rest in His provision of power for you in the Holy Spirit!

A Few Helpful Resources

White Horse Inn podcast “Youth Ministry in Crisis”

“Family Driven Faith” – Voddie Baucham

“Big Truths for Young Hearts – Teaching & Learning the Greatness of God” – Bruce Ware – Doctrine for kids.

Grounded in the Gospel – J. I. Packer

“Old Story New: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God” (New Testament) – Marty Machowski

“The Jesus Storybook Bible” – Sally Lloyd-Jones

GospelCenteredAdventGuide

Gospel Centered Advent Guide & Website

I love the holiday season! Every year I look forward to spending time with family and friends, and eating lots of delicious food that normally only shows up once a year. This is also a season in which our culture will try to lure our attention to focus only on material things and whatever the “Christmas spirit” is. My wife and I have thought about, prayed about, and wrestled through (for years), how to keep our and our children’s focus on Christ through this season. Celebrating Advent has been one very helpful way for us to do that.

We did it the traditional way for a few years, but it always felt a little weird to me that the guides we used would spend an entire month focusing only on Christ’s birth, never really delving into the reasons for His birth, nor the implications of His work. So, every year, I would search and research different Advent guides trying to find the one that best fit our family’s beliefs and needs.

A couple of years ago I found a guide that focused on the entire gospel story, which is exactly what I wanted. Since then I have modified it and added to it each year to fit my family’s needs and help our children understand that all of life is about Jesus-all of His life and work, not just His birth. What I ended up with is our Gospel Centered Advent Guide that my family uses every year. From year to year we may do some different activities, but our devotional format remains the same.

I wanted to find a helpful, creative way to share this resource with other people who are looking for a gospel centered approach to leading their family through the holiday season. Since building websites is a hobby of mine, I thought building a website/mobile app would be a fun way to share it. You can use the website from your home computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. I also have a link on the website for a PDF download if you want. As I say in the guide, it is only a guide (collection of suggestions). Please feel free to use it, change it, download it, or share it however you feel best fits your family. I enjoyed creating it, I pray you enjoy using it and that it is beneficial to your family’s spiritual growth as you focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, His birth, and works for us this season. God bless!

Gospel Centered Advent Website & Mobile App

MaximizingYourCommute

Maximize Your Commute Home

I recently read a short article about creating “buffers” in our day in order to help maximize our effectiveness. It was helpful. Nothing deep or new to me, but the last one really grabbed my attention because it is something that I started doing a while back that really helped me lead my family better. The “buffer” was to use the time during your commute home from work to be silent, think, and unwind a bit in order to effectively engage your family when you arrive home. This is a great habit to get in to, especially if your job tends to be high stress.

I’m usually a bit more proactive than this, but the concept is the same. I use this time to try to calm my nerves from the work day and pray that God would prepare me to love and lead my family well when I get home. Most times I give my wife a call when I leave the office to see if there are any major issues I need to know about or that I need to deal with when I arrive. This gives me time to think and pray specifically about those issues and try to decide how best to deal with them in light of the Gospel.

As men, God has called us to love and lead our families in ways that go far beyond mere financial provision. Our day is not over when we leave the office, store, factory, ect. We don’t have the luxury of bringing home so much work or work related stress that we neglect our wives and children.

So men, let me encourage you to create this “buffer” in your life. Turn off the radio. Put down the cell phone. Switch off the task-related, problem-solving, vocational part of your mind. Pray that God would grant you the grace you need to love, lead, and enjoy your family. Use this time to think about how you can best accomplish your most important roles. The roles for which you are irreplaceable-husband and dad.

What other tips do you have for the rest of us that have helped you grow as a husband and father? Leave a comment and let us know.

Practical Parenting Tips

Though my wife and I haven’t had the most (or as much as some) experience in parenting, we have been blessed to have other godly people speek into our lives. We have been helped through wonderful relationships and by reading many solid parenting books (and blog posts) from a Christian worldview.

Any time I run across resources I believe will be helpful to men raising godly families, I want to pass them on. In his post, Advice for Parenting Young Kids, Steve McCoy has provided a great list of practical advice. We have used many of these techniques and ideas for a long time and I can recommend this list to you without reservation. I have another series concerning practical advice for leading your children spiritually. But McCoy’s post is just solid, helpful, all around parenting advice.

Pam and I currently have three awesome kiddos, our oldest girl (9), middle boy (7), and youngest girl (3) are “my crew.” God has truly blessed us by placing them in our home to shepherd, steward, and lead. By His grace we pray that we will parent them (and any others He decides to sovereignly place in our family) well! May God bless you and give you grace and wisdom as you shepherd your “quiver of arrows!”

biblical_masculinity_in_fatherhood

Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.2

This is the fourth post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?Post Two: Biblical Masculinity in Marriage, Post Three: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.1.

In part one of Masculine Fatherhood we discussed what God expects of us as Christian dads. We also covered a few key areas of development that you should be working into your child’s life. In this post we will talk about some practical ideas that may help you as you decide what it looks like in your home to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Keep in mind that these are suggestions, not an exhaustive list. Don’t feel that if you aren’t doing everything on this list that you’re not a good dad. These come and go in seasons at our house – except for worship, catechism, Bible, etc. If God does convict you in an area, don’t beat yourself up. Run to Him, repent, and start doing right.

So here are a few ideas, in no certain order. Read more

biblical_masculinity_in_fatherhood

Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt.1

This is the third post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?, Post Two: Biblical Masculinity in MarriagePost Four: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 2

There is so much more to cover on this topic than I will be able to deal with in this post. At the end of the next article (Biblical Masculinity in Parenting Pt. 2) I have provided a list of books and resources that have helped me and will shed more light on the spiritual aspects of fatherhood. I just wanted to do a brief fly-over of some of the spiritual issues related to fatherhood and then focus in on some practical ideas that may help you lead your family and fulfill your God-given role as a dad.

The big idea I want you to take away from this post is discipleship. God has blessed you with a house full of little disciples. This is one way you are able to fulfill God’s call on your life to be a disciple maker. – Mt. 28:18-20

Teaching & Training

  • Fathers are required to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – Eph. 6:4. If we raise our children in any other way, we walk in disobedience to the Lord and harm our kids in the process.
  • This charge is given to fathers, not mothers. It’s not that mothers don’t play a huge role in this instruction (they most certainly do), this means that fathers as the family head are held responsible for seeing to it that this happens.
  • We need to lead by example. We should be able to say to our children “follow me as I follow Christ.” Read more
Masculinity in Marriage

Biblical Masculinity In Marriage

This is the second post in the Biblical Masculinity series. Post One: What is Biblical Masculinity?, Post Three: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 1Post Four: Biblical Masculinity in Fatherhood Pt. 2

This will only be a brief overview of our roles as men in marriage. It won’t be super-spiritual or deeply theological, although I believe marriage is deeply spiritual and theological at its foundation because it is a picture of God’s love for us. There are many wonderful books that cover this topic in greater detail that would be worth your time in reading. I have recommended a few HERE and you can see the full list HERE.

I will try to be a bit more practical in this study since most of us know or have an idea of what God expects from us in marriage. A lot of times, I believe, we just don’t know what we are doing or how we should go about it.

Marriage – We Are to Cultivate Our Wives

  • God said it was not good for man to be alone.
  • He created woman to help him in his cultivation and they were to work together as one.
  • God created marriage, man did not. Therefore He defines its boundaries and purposes.
  • God made man the head of the family, man did not. He gives us a picture of male headship all throughout the Bible.
  • Some who argue for Egalitarianism say that male headship or patriarchy came as a result of the Fall. Others argue that when Paul made his claims of male headship in the home and church those roles and positions were only binding on that specific culture and time period.
  • Paul actually destroys both arguments by taking the basis for his claims all the way back to the Creation story and order before the Fall. He therefore says that the way God set things up are binding on all peoples of all cultures and all time periods. – 1Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13; Gen. 2
  • Woman was made for the man.
  • Woman was made after and from the man.
  • She was not made from the dirt like the rest of the animals, but from Adam’s side showing her equality with Adam in value and worth.
  • Equality is not the same as egality (See my previous post for the difference between egalitarianism & complementarianism).
  • Woman was brought to the man – as a father would give his daughter away in marriage.
  • Woman was named by the man.
  • Probably the most overlooked sign God gave us that points to male headship in the home is that after the Fall God goes looking for Adam and holds him responsible for his and Eve’s sin. Accountability and responsibility show headship. Read more
  • Family Leadership - Biblical Manhood

    Practical Tips for Leading Your Family

    Family leadership at times can be a bit ambiguous. As Christian men, we know we should be leading our families in the pursuit and worship of Christ. But, if we were honest with each other it feels at times as if we were given a mission and then dropped behind enemy lines with little to no supplies and zero direction.

    I believe the best thing we can do for our families is personally seek Christ with all our hearts (studying, praying, worshipping, etc.) and allow Him to change us. We cannot teach our wives and children things we do not know ourselves, nor show them the beauties of Christ and His gospel that we haven’t seen. Read more

    Grow Up

    Raising Children: Parents' Role vs Church's Role

    One of the biggest complaints I hear from ladies in our churches today is that their husbands won’t “step up and lead” the family when it comes to spiritual issues. What I hear from the men is that they know they should be leading their homes spiritually, they just don’t know exactly what that means or what it looks like.

    So, we find ourselves in this crazy cycle that started somewhere in the mid 20th century when men slowly began to abdicate their responsibilities of leading, teaching, and instructing their children in the ways of God to the church. The church, in turn, instead of rebuking the men and teaching them how to lead their homes began to enable them and accomodate them. Because of decades of this, we now have complete generations of men and women who grew up in the church and were never taught what it looks like for the dad to lead and instruct the home.

    Read more

    Discipline_Of_Family_Worship1

    Family Worship Is A Discipline

    Anyone who thinks family worship is not a discipline has either not tried to be consistent with it for any length of time or they have never tried it and are merely romanticizing it. It is a discipline. It is hard at times. It can frustrate you to no end. There may be times you half-way consider bringing physical harm to one of your little disciples. 😉

    Having said all of that, none of these are good excuses to not have consistent times of family worship. By the way, not every time will be difficult. Though “family worship times” are not commanded in Scripture, this is a discipline that has proven beneficial for children and parents for thousands of years. I can tell you from experience and from listening to older dads who raised children having family worship that there is no better way to raise your children in the fear and instruction of the Lord (which is commanded).

    Read more

    Family-Leadership

    What Family Leadership Looks Like In My Home

    In speaking to many men over the past few years I keep hearing a recurring theme. Guy after guy says something to the effect of, “I know I should be leading my home, I just don’t know what to do or where to start.” I give them a few ideas, share parts of my story and then wrap it up with “Just start doing something.”

    So I decided I would pull back the curtain and let people know what it looks like in my home for me to lead out spiritually. This is in no way meant to be braggadocious on me or my wife. All credit and glory belongs to God alone. I wish I had time to tell of the immeasurable healing and restoration that He has brought into my family! Nor is this me trying to tell other men exactly how they should lead in their homes. Every home is unique and as such will operate a bit differently.

    I’m merely trying to call attention to the fact that as men, we are the pastors of our families! This is our calling in life. It is our job to pass on our faith, teaching them who God is. We ARE leading our families whether we know it or not. The question is: Where and to whom are we leading them?

    In this post I will focus on what family leadership looks like in regard to my children. I’ll deal with leading our wives in another post.

    Read more

    Advent Season Devotional Guide

    The Advent season is a time for reflecting and focusing on the realities that are ours in Christ as a result of His first coming into human history as a man. It is easy in our culture to get wrapped up in all the hustle, noise, pageantry, and commercialism of it all. I know, I did it for years. That’s why I search every year for great resources that will help me, as a dad, keep my family focused on Christ and still enjoy the traditions and togetherness and gifts of the season.

    The guide that I have provided is something that I ran across at the Village Church’s website. Most of the personal and family devotions come from their guide. My family and I haven’t gone through this particular guide together, but I read through it and trust the leadership at that church. I think we and everyone else will benefit greatly from it. I also added a few things to it that I will be doing with my family. So, I wanted to put it all together and offer it to other families for this holiday season.

    It’s a little different than your traditional Advent devotional that would normally focus the whole 4 weeks on Christ’s Messianic prophecies and His birth. This guide goes through the prophecies, His birth, His death and resurrection, and our hope in a Heavenly Kingdom to come. It helps us understand not only how Christ came (as a baby boy) but also why He came and what we have to look forward to because of His coming.

    It also includes references to stories from “The Jesus Story Book Bible”. If you have small children, I highly recommend this Bible as a tool to help you point every story in the Bible to Christ!

    [button link=”http://biblicalmen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2011/11/Advent2011.pdf” size=”large” style=”download” color=”red” border=”black” text=”light” window=”yes”]Advent Guide PDF[/button]