Sunday, July 31, 2011

Training Up Your Boys to Men

Vern S. Poythress wrote an excellent article in 1999 titled "How I Have Helped My Boys Boys Become Christian Men" which I recommend you print off and study.

He and his wife decided on a course of training (which lasted several years) leading up to a special ceremony, which they called Bar Jeshua.  The training covers critical areas for spiritual maturity:
  1. Knowledge of the contents of the Bible.
  2. Memorization of selected verses and passages of the Bible.
  3. Knowledge of the major teachings of the Bible (doctrine).
  4. Personal piety.
  5. Projects of service and mercy.
  6. Wisdom in dealing with various spheres of life.
The most interesting part for me was how they consciously treated their son differently once they declared him a man, though he continued to live with him:

What happens after our boy becomes a man? He has the privileges of a man. The privileges must be real and meaningful. This part is scary for Diane and me. But we told ourselves, "It is better to give our young man lots of freedom now, while he is still at home. At 14 he is still young enough to come and ask us for advice. He is young enough to know that he doesn't know everything. For him to explore under these conditions, when he is still in our home, is far better than waiting until he goes away to college and we don't see him or talk with him about all the challenges."
When our boy becomes a man, lots of changes take place in many areas, some big, some small. As a man, he no longer needs a baby-sitter. He can baby-sit younger children himself. He sets his own bedtime and rising time. He decides when he does his homework and how long he works on it. He decides what TV programs he watches and how long he watches. He can (at first with supervision) teach a children's Sunday school class. He participates in the "family council" when my wife and I discuss, plan, and make important decisions. He can buy and care for his own pet. He excuses himself from the table rather than being asked to be excused. He buys his own clothing, school supplies, and gifts. He pays rent once a month, based on an estimate of his share in the utilities, food, and other costs. And he has an allowance to match these new responsibilities! In addition, if I pay him to do an extra job, I pay him at a going rate-at least the minimum wage, and more than that for jobs that are demanding.
But even when our son is a man, he is still part of the family and still lives with us. We love him just as much. We kiss and hug him just as much. We play together. We have certain rules that we would have for anyone living with us, even people outside the family. We expect him to be at meals on time. We expect him to be considerate of other members of the family. If he goes somewhere, we expect to know where he is. On Saturday night we meet as a family and assess the week. We continue to talk with him about where he is spiritually. If we see sin in his life, we will exhort him as we would exhort an adult who was on intimate terms with us. We continue to encourage one another and teach one another as fellow believers in Christ (Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:14).
Christianity, after all, does not isolate adults from one another, but puts them in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). In that body we are answerable to one another. So Ransom's freedom is not freedom for immorality. If I were to see my brother in Christ filling his mind with raw TV programs, or neglecting his homework, or even just staying up too late every night and then dragging in the morning, we would sit down and talk. We would ask, "Is this really wise for a Christian man?"

Read the whole article to get the details.  This is worth discussing with your wife, men!  And I would love to hear is there are corresponding examples for training up daughters to be Christian women.

You might also want to check out my article "What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Money Matters

I continue to find young families with significant money problems -- these put tremendous strain on the marriage and family life, and limit ministry opportunities.

Men, money matters.  I urge you to proactive effort to get free of debt, to put away an emergency fund, to save for future investments.  Live so you can be generous with others!  If you aren't where you should be financially, then get help.  Smart people get help!  Pick up a Dave Ramsey book or go through a Crown Ministries course.  Engage your wife in this process, so you strengthen your marriage in the process.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Impact of the Welfare State on Men

I've committed to limiting my political statements on this blog.  Pursue other blogs if you want red (or blue) meat.  But decisions by government officials over time do affect families and men, and of these I will speak!

I highly recommend this Dennis Prager column, "Ten Ways Progressive Policies Hurt Society's Moral Character." Men, we must swim upstream and care for our families, work hard to support them and others in our communities, and be responsible adults.  We must teach our boys to become men who do these things, and our daughters to become worthy women.

Print this off, read it, discuss it with you wife.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Social Media Fast -- You?

Observation: an increasing number of men are spending a lot of time staring at phones and computer screens, keeping up on various social media.

I encourage you to ask this question: do I need to fast from this for a time, in order to put more focus on God's work in the world, my neighbors, my family?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Take the Initiative

I've spoken recently with a number of husbands and dads recently who have aching hearts about relationships and situations in their immediate and extended families.

The common theme was that the man was "stuck" in inaction, frustration, and anger.

If you're in a situation like this, here is my counsel: take the initiative.  Lead.  Start.  Forgive.  Speak. Write the note, make the call.  Find ways to serve.  Set aside your foolish pride and thoughts of "how it should be." Pray together.  Hold hands. Hug.

It matters little who is "at fault" or who is "right."  It matters little how long something has been going on.  Satan likes you think about those things, and don't let God's crummy enemy to be thrilled.

You don't have an aching heart at the moment?  Take initiative for some proactive love and service to your wife and children and relatives!  Consider others before yourself. You bring honor to the Lord Christ, and minimize the risks of  aching hearts in the future.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Uncertainty...and Confidence

When you're a toddler there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're in second grade there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're an awkward preteen there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're seventeen and struggling to be independent there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're seriously thinking of asking this amazing women to marry you there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're a new dad there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're kids are teenagers there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're 49 and the world just seems different now there are lots of uncertainties.
When you're old enough to count the significant 1/2 years again there are lots of uncertainties.

Maturity is a long process of putting our hope in what is confident, and doing what is right.

There are many reasons to be confident:

The grass withers and the flowers fall, 
   but the word of our God endures forever. (Is 40:8)

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deut 31:8)

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matt 28:18)

  “What no eye has seen,
   what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
   the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Simple Reminder Today: Only Two Kinds of Marriages

I've got a simple reminder for you today: There are only two kinds of marriages -- those being worked on, and those that aren't.  

What can you do today to work on your marriage?  Hint: it probably requires some inconvenience or sacrifice on your part. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leadership Craft

I'm pushing ahead on a new project to release free materials on leadership development from a Christian perspective -- I call the model "Leadership Craft."  A couple of requests:

1. Please pray for me!

2. If you would be interested in an early look, email me at "leadershipcraft" AT gmail DOT com


Saturday, July 09, 2011


Reminder: Being the husband and father that you're called to be is worth it, even though it's hard work. This is God's plan to grow and stretch and deepen you, get you beyond the selfishness that over time only makes you smaller and weaker as a man.  Take a deep breath, and get back into the battle, men.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Raising a Godly Daughter

Perry Noble shares some excellent practices worth emulating, dads!

If you have other ideas and suggestions for dads of daughters, please share in the comments!

P.S. Here is my suggestion on what fathers should teach their sons.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Family Worship

Even the guys I know who do pretty well with family devotions and Scripture/sermon discussions at meal times shudder when they're challenged to lead Family Worship times.

Family Worship times, oh my! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

I highly recommend this article by Jerry Owen, Second Thoughts on Family Worship.

He helpfully points out that

  • family worship is not expressly commanded/required in the Bible (though Deut 6:6-9 is!) 
  • if done, family worship is not the most important spiritual thing you do 
  • family worship should be delightful for everyone

Owen writes with some humor and skill.  My favorite sentence: "There is a reason kids loved to be around Jesus, and it wasn’t because he was lecturing at length about the Torah or the Five Points of Calvinism."

Read the article, it's worth discussing with your wife. Second Thoughts on Family Worship.