Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Help Our Kids Dreams

Dads, I recommend you look at this short article, "Dream Releaser Not Dream Giver."  We want so much for our kids.  But there's a key insight as dads that God wants us to hear:

“Your job is to be a dream releaser for your sons, not a dream giver. I am the giver of dreams. I want you to release them.”

Read it.

In a related way, an excellent movie for moms and dads to watch is Searching for Bobby Fischer.  It's available on Netflix.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Kindle Book -- Can You Help?

I would really like your help! 

I just published my first Kindle book, “What Fathers ShouldTeach Their Sons” on Amazon.  Woo-hoo!

It’s selling for only $0.99 and all the profits ($0.38 per copy) will go to support a missionary project in SE Asia.  It’s a closed country situation, so I can’t be more specific. 

This is a very short book, focusing on the mindsets, relationships with others, and specific skills and experiences that I believe fathers best instill in sons.  Many fathers have told me how valuable this information has been for them.  

Here is the description:
Boys can learn from almost anyone, but there are some things which fathers teach best to sons. There is a generational call of fathers to help boys become men. Our boys are staying boys too long. We aren't giving them the kinds of training that produces both toughness and tenderness. We've abdicated far too much training to school teachers and youth pastors and sports coaches. One unexpected consequence: sons think less of their fathers because their fathers aren't the ones guiding them. This book outlines the important mindsets, relationships with others, and specific skills and experiences that boys need to become men. Some things might take only a few minutes for a boy to master. For others, mastery requires practice over several years. Some may be "caught" from our modeling rather than specifically "taught." All are important.

There are three ways you can help:
 Buy a copy!  (If not for you, gift a copy to a father you know.)  
Write a review and post it on Amazon.  Be candid, please.
Pass this information along to others who might be interested.



Helps For Travel Temptations

Many of us have to travel on business, and face additional temptations. Here are some strategies that can help: 
  • Put a picture of your wife and kids in the hotel room. 
  • Call home every day. 
  • Double the amount of time you usually spend in the Word. Work on memorizing a verse or passage. 
  • Play Christian music in your hotel room -- get a Christ-praising song in your heart and head! 
  • Limit TV watching. Put a towel over the TV to add a step to turning it on. Don't watch anything you wouldn't watch with your wife. 
  • Have an accountability partner who can check on you. Work out code-words to use in normal conversation or around others. 
Remember that God is always with you and watching you - nothing is hidden from Him. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses -- and my dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather are among them. May God, our families, and our brothers find us faithful. Amen!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not "Getting Over" God's Promises

I excitedly read the Bible as a new Christian, seeing with new eyes the wonderful promises of Jesus. I read John 15:7 one morning in 1985 and looked at the cross-reference in Matthew 21:22:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“If you remain [abide] in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Astounded by the incredible magnitude of these promises, I woke up my roommate, the man who had led me to Christ. (It was about 3 a.m.) “Have you seen this?” I said, reading the verses to him. He had been a Christian since he was a young boy. “You’ll get over it,” he said, and rolled over.  [In fairness, I don't think I caught him at his best :-) ]

Brothers, we should not be “getting over” the promises of Jesus. How’s your prayer life? Do you have some holy discontent for the status quo?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I should read that book on prayer,” DON’T. Just begin praying now. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Time -- Listen to the Gospel of Mark

Dads, here is a terrific idea: gather your family around the computer and watch this fabulous presentation of Max McClean dramatically reciting the Gospel of Mark.

I think even fairly young children will be engaged, and that you'll be blessed as well.  Who knows, perhaps your kids would like you to read another book of the Bible to them?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steps to Destroying the Foundations

Joe Carter outlines the progressive steps to destroying a culture: unthinkable, radical, acceptable, sensible, popular, policy.

Let us not be surprised as the onslaught of evil; it's been going on since the beginning.  These culture wars are not new.  There was nothing "golden" about the 1950's. All that is truly required for the foundations to crumble is for good men to do nothing, usually out of inane fear of being labeled a bigot or an ignoramus.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Get Some Accurate History on the Crusades

"But what about the Crusades?" This question comes up regularly when I'm sharing my faith.  Bringing up the Crusades is a rhetorical device which should refute any shred of thought that Christianity has either moral validity or benefit to the world.  I agree with Carl Medearis that would should be speaking of Jesus, and that defending the long, complicated history of Christianity usually does not lead people into a life-transforming relationship with the Son of God.  But let us not be so ignorant of the truth about the Crusades -- in the context of the whole history of the Muslim and Christian interactions -- that we allow ourselves to painted into corner by incorrect historical "sound bites" from indoctrinated fools.

Paul Crawford has done us an invaluable service in his brief article "Four Myths About the Crusades."  I encourage you to print this off and study it.  He covers these four myths, well-written, backed up with references:

1. The Crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
2. Western Christians went on Crusades because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
3. Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
4. The Crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Understanding history more accurately will prepare you for conversations with people willing to actually dialogue about significant matters.  If they won't, then it's their loss.  Do what you can to educate them.  Always speak of Jesus.

And for the Kingdom's sake, please educate your kids about the Crusades! It's very likely that the other people educating them (you are their primary teacher, right?) don't know any more than ignorant sound bites and half-truths promulgated since the 1800's.  (By the way, movies like "The Kingdom of Heaven," however fun to watch, reinforce these myths.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Constitution Day!

The US Constitution was signed on this day in 1987!

Here are two quotes to ponder about the US Constitution:

 "Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. ... To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. ... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. ... The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. ... On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. ... [C]onfidence is every where the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy and not in confidence; it is jealousy & not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power ... in questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution." (Thomas Jefferson)

 "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ... The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People. ... [T]hey may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. ... A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."  (John Adams)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Mathematics of Spiritual Change

Change is a function of disatisfaction with the status quo, vision for a better future state, and the amount of inertia to be overcome. We could write the mathematical function like this: 

Change = f(D, V; I) 

I have a great vision for being fit and trim, but my disatisfaction with the current state is often too low to overcome the inertia. Sometimes I have a lot of disatisfaction, but limited vision about the desired future state. Either way, change doesn't happen quickly. 

Spiritual change should be expressed this way: 

Spiritual change = f(holy dissatisfaction, godly vision; fleshly inertia, Satanic resistance) 


Spiritual change = f(HD, GV; FI, SR) 

Not all disatisfaction is holy, nor all visions of the future godly. Most of our inertia if from our flesh, this body of death. And we face resistance from the forces of evil, led by the prince of this world. 

If you aren't changing, think about what factor(s) are strongest in your situation now. Let that be a help to your prayers. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being a Godly Husband and Father Is...

Being a godly husband and father is:


Do the right thing anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Decline is a Choice...and Your Choices Affect Your Family

"Daddy, I don't know why you read the newspaper, it just makes you mad."  This was my sweet daughter's observation at age 8, and it's became a running joke for years.

On this, the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I want to encourage you as husbands and fathers, to be men of conviction, to be strong, to believe in bright futures.

I am concerned about the trajectory of the US as a nation.  There are many worrying trends.  We can point a lot of fingers at government leaders, failures of institutions, poor decisions by others, sin and foolishness abounding.  I could write for a long time about the need for we men to step up and lead well in these days.  But today I want to focus on another important truth.

It's been said that worry is temporary athiesm.

For the sake of your families, and for the future of all our countries, as Christian citizens, I implore you: be wide-eyed about reality, but not despairing. Work for justice and righteousness in governments and institutions, but do not forget that it is the Lord our God who provides for us.  Help others in need, reflecting the generosity of our Heavenly Father.  Make choices -- whatever your sphere of influence -- that build others up, taking personal responsibility and reaping self-respect.

Do not allow your family to see you express concerns, fears, anxiousness -- but not follow-through with confidence in Christ and the sovereign grace of God which frees us from all fear.  Notice how many Psalms begin with fears and even anger, but finish with praise.  This is the model, men.  Make sure your family learns confidence in the face of the real world.

Friday, September 09, 2011

"You Know What That Means..."

I mentioned to a friend recently that we're past a new milestone, with the kids out of the house and on their own adventures.  "You know what that means," he replied. "It's time for you to help more dads who still have kids at home."

I love it when God uses older men to speak into your chest!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When Someone Comes to Mind...Act This Way

Ever had the experience of someone coming to mind, when you least expect it?  Perhaps you're in the middle of a chore, and your buddy Brad comes to mind.  You haven't thought about him in a while.  What do you do?

Act on this!

First, take this as an opportunity to pray for Brad, specifically.

Second, reach out and let Brad know you are praying for him.  Find out if there is some way you can help.  Encourage him!

This is how we respond to promptings of the Holy Spirit.  This is how we follow-through on the adventure of the life following Jesus!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Kindle Tip -- Share Your Highlights

I use my Kindle reader, a lot.  I really like the Kindle app on the iPad -- very nice, unless you need to read a lot in direct sun.

One of my big problems early on with the Kindle was that I couldn't pass along the books for others to read.  Perhaps some day this will be resolved by new digital rights management tools, but in the meantime I've discovered an excellent strategy -- share my highlights from the book.

It's easy to do.  Everything you highlight, and all your inserted notes, are available on your personal Kindle page. (Maybe you didn't know you had a personal Kindle page!)  To retrieve those, simply point your web browser at and log in with your account information.  Click on the "Highlights" link and everything is listed there -- simply copy/paste into something else to share with others.

This works really well for capturing key ideas and facts from books that you can share with your family, friends, or work team.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Boys and Weapons and Sticks

Note: I originally published in this in Oct 2009. -- Glenn

I've been called sexist and primitive and backwards, but I do believe there are fundamental differences in the ways boys and girls are wired.

Matt Chandler said in a sermon that boys are "made to build things and break things. And girls can make any two objects friends."

Boys can make anything into a weapon. I've seen boys pop the heads off Barbie Dolls and declare them "hand grenades." If you hear the sound of simulated Star Wars laser blasters ("Pew! Pew! Pew!") in church, it's going to be coming from a boy squinting down his finger. I'm old enough that we said "bang." Knives. Bows and arrows. Ropes. Whips. Hammers. Screwdriver? "Watch me stick this screwdriver in that tree!"

And of course boys love sticks. Walking sticks. Sticks to beat things with. Sticks that become weapons in imagination. As we grow up our sticks get bigger and more sophisticated. In one sense, our ICBMs are a big stick.

(I acknowledge there are girls who love sticks and rocks, too. The kid with the most accurate arm in the West Virginia holler where I grew up was a girl name Glenna. She killed more than one squirrel with a rock. But the fact is that very few girls are like this, and nearly all boys are.)

Boys love to challenge one another. Sometimes over the stupidest stuff. It doesn't suprise me at all that the last words of many a man were "That's nothing, hold my beer and watch this!" Can you even imagine a girl or grown women saying that?

I know many mom's who are just horrified about their son's tendency towards weapons and fighting. And their husbands often feel pressure to "tame" their son.

My counsel: don't fight it, channel it.

Channel this energy into being prepared to stand against evil and defend innocents and the weak. You need to model this yourself, but also instruct them.

A good strategy is to watch movies with your boys (Sergeant York, The Green Berets, The Patriot, Brave Heart, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, and others -- yes, your son may not be old enough yet) and talk with them about how men behave in these difficult situations. This means you watch a scene together, stop the movie, and talk about it. Let the movie be a conversation starter.

The idea is to fill their imagination with fighting against evil, and persevering in the right cause, to serve and protect others. That's ultimately what all this drive in boys is about.

Read more in my earlier post, What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons.

P.S. If there are movies that you recommend, add them in the comments below.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Warrior Ethos

I recently finished Steven Pressfield's short but excellent book, The Warrior Ethos.  Well worth your time, if you want some clear thinking and observations about warriors.  This has immediate applications for you as a man, and for training your children.

Here are some passages from the book, to whet your appetite.


Every warrior virtue proceeds from this—courage, selflessness, love of and loyalty to one’s comrades, patience, self-command, the will to endure adversity. It all comes from the hunting band’s need to survive. At a deeper level, the Warrior Ethos recognizes that each of us, as well, has enemies inside himself. Vices and weaknesses like envy and greed, laziness, selfishness, the capacity to lie and cheat and do harm to our brothers. The tenets of the Warrior Ethos, directed inward, inspire us to contend against and defeat those enemies within our own hearts.

No one is born with the Warrior Ethos, though many of its tenets appear naturally in young men and women of all cultures. The Warrior Ethos is taught. On the football field in Topeka, in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, on the lion-infested plains of Kenya and Tanzania. Courage is modeled for the youth by fathers and older brothers, by mentors and elders. It is inculcated, in almost all cultures, by a regimen of training and discipline.

There’s a well-known gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps who explains to his young Marines, when they complain about pay, that they get two kinds of salary—a financial salary and a psychological salary. The financial salary is indeed meager. But the psychological salary? Pride, honor, integrity, the chance to be part of a corps with a history of service, valor, glory; to have friends who would sacrifice their lives for you, as you would for them—and to know that you remain a part of this brotherhood as long as you live. How much is that worth?

Ordeals of initiation are undergone not as individuals but as teams, as units. Courage is inseparable from love and leads to what may arguably be the noblest of all warrior virtues: selflessness.

Plutarch asked, “Why do the Spartans punish with a fine the warrior who loses his helmet or spear but punish with death the warrior who loses his shield?” Because helmet and spear are carried for the protection of the individual alone, but the shield protects every man in the line. The group comes before the individual. This tenet is central to the Warrior Ethos.

Selflessness produces courage because it binds men together and proves to each individual that he is not alone.

This is another key element of the Warrior Ethos: the willing and eager embracing of adversity. In 1912, the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton was seeking volunteers for an expedition to the South Pole. He placed the following ad in the London Times: Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful; honor and recognition in case of success. The next morning, 5000 men lined up to volunteer. The payoff for a life of adversity is freedom.

Cyrus of Persia believed that the spoils of his victories were meant for one purpose—so that he could surpass his enemies in generosity. I contend against my foes in this arena only: the capacity to be of greater service to them than they are to me. Alexander operated by the same principle. Let us conduct ourselves so that all men wish to be our friends and all fear to be our enemies. The capacity for empathy and self-restraint will serve us powerfully, not only in our external wars but in the conflicts within our own hearts.

We want to be part of something greater than ourselves, something we can be proud of. And we want to come out of the process as different (and better) people than we were when we went in. We want to be men, not boys. We want to be women, not girls. We want a rite of passage. We want to grow up.

The hardest thing in the world is to be ourselves.

Let us be, then, warriors of the heart, and enlist in our inner cause the virtues we have acquired through blood and sweat in the sphere of conflict—courage, patience, selflessness, loyalty, fidelity, self-command, respect for elders, love of our comrades (and of the enemy), perseverance, cheerfulness in adversity and a sense of humor, however terse or dark.