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As You Walk Along The Way – God’s Call to Generational Discipleship (Audio)

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The greatest battle that the church family currently faces is the knock-down drag-out fight with Satan over the hearts of the next generation. Raising a generation that knows Christ and makes him known will be the greatest gift & legacy we leave for the world.

Key Verse:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:5-7

Considering our passage in its immediate context,

  1. Verse 5 – Preceded by the “greatest command”
  2. Verse 6 – It is a matter of the heart

Notice in Verse 7,

  1. Not a request – The imperative form is used. This is a command.
  2. “Impress them on your children” – Teach them diligently.
  3. Life on life discipleship

7 Principles for Walking Along the Way

Principle #1 – Don’t Freak Out – “Concern is healthy; panic kills.”

  • Take the long view because God is writing a story in the life of your child. It’s a movie not a snapshot.

Principle #2 – Be Real

  • Walking along the way means not being a pretender. You may fool a very young child for a little while, but they will find you out it will shake their faith to its core.

Principle #3 – More lens, less shield

  • Spend more time giving our children the proper lens through which to see this world, and less time sheltering them from it. If we don’t someone else will.

Principle #4 – Enter their world – Jesus entered ours (Phil. 2:5-7)

  • Make it a point to know the young person you are walking with.

Principle #5 – The target is the Savior, not behavior – Adjust your aim

  • Lead them to the gospel (Romans 3:23, 6:23)

Principle #6 – Be joyful

  • “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

Principle #7 – No excuses

  • Excuses may be valid, but they will be overcome when generational discipleship becomes a priority.

I hope that you found something here to challenge you and to encourage you to take seriously God’s call to generational discipleship and ask yourself the question, “What legacy are we leaving?” “Will we be mentioned in anyone’s story of faith?”

Questions for further discussion:

  1. If I could be remembered by my children or grandchildren for only one thing it would be…
  1. If you looked back at your life using Mike’s metaphor of the “snapshot” what period of your life might have given the adults around you reason to despair? How has God used that time period in the broader narrative of your life?
  2. Have you ever thought about your relationship with the children in your life as one of teacher-disciple? Why/why not? How might this perspective change the way you parent or engage with young people close to you?
  3. Did you ever view your relationship with your parents as one of disciple to teacher?  Why or why not?
  4. In what ways does the teacher-disciple relationship change as children grow up and in what ways does it stay the same?
  5. How are you, or could you be, living out God’s command to “walk along the way” with the next generation?

Bull Elephants and Shark Wrestlers

continued from  https://lastmanstandingchurch.com/2013/12/14/being-imitators-of-god-continued/

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

In the following chapters we will explore what this might look like in your life.  We will hear testimonies of men and their families who are engaged in the fight in very real and practical ways and hopefully encourage you to step into the fray.

Chapter 5 – Of Bull Elephants and Shark Wrestlers

To begin unpacking Psalm 68:5-6 we need to first explore what it means to be a “Father to fatherless,” the critical role the church can and must play as the last man standing.  We will see how that is reflected in the life of a godly man and, should he be blessed to have one, his family. We will also examine the role for the godly woman and the local Christian congregation in what at first may seem like mostly a “guy thing.”

Elephants behaving badly

Those who know me well know that I love a good story, especially a true one and extra-especially one with dangerous animals involved.  My mother would tell you that not much has changed in that regard over the 42 years of my life.  I am hoping that you like them to because I have a couple I’d like to share with you. This first one made headlines back in 1999 when it appeared in a report by CBS news.  The tale goes something like this,

In South Africa’s Pilanesberg Park, white rhinos began turning up dead in astonishing numbers, nearly forty to be exact.  This was alarming and confusing: alarming because it represented 10% of the whole population of white rhinos, and confusing because the deaths hadn’t been the result of poaching.  The latter was made clear by the fact that the highly valuable ivory horns had not been removed.  A little bit of investigation led the park rangers to the culprits, juvenile male elephants. But why?  This was not normal behavior for juvenile elephants at all. What could possibly have led them, as was subsequently observed, to form into violent groups and rampage through the park, molesting, tormenting and eventually killing white rhinos?  The answer to the question can be found by looking at the history of the park as well as elephant social structure.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am not an expert on elephants, but this story intrigued me so I did some reading.  In elephant “culture” the young are raised by the females of the herd until a certain age.  We’ll call that age adolescence.  At that point the male elephants are pushed out of the group and will seek out the older bull elephants of their family (grandfathers, father and uncles presumably) in the wild where they will essentially, “learn what it means to be a bull elephant,” which, by the way, does not include murdering rhinos.

Street Thugs of the Savannah

So what went wrong at Pilanesberg?  For that answer we need to travel back some twenty years from the time of the rhino killings.  In those days another large reserve in South Africa, Kruger National Park, was having an elephant over-population problem.  A government veterinarian (it just had to be the government right?) developed the ingenious plan to sacrifice the adults, because they were too difficult to move, and instead relocate only the babies. Where to?  To Pilanesberg of course.

When these now “fatherless” baby boy elephants reached adolescence; they went out into the wild to look for their male “kinfolk.” When there were no bull elephants to be found these youngsters stuck together and formed gangs.  Yes, gangs.  Interestingly enough, one of the things older bull elephants do for their juvenile counterparts is to discourage them from mating too young.  This keeps their testosterone in check and, as a result, diminishes some of their more aggressive impulses.  Without older bull elephants to lead the way, the young bulls began mating and seeking to mate at a very young age, stimulating their testosterone levels through the roof and, just like that, dead rhinos and other such mayhem.  Sadly, several of these delinquent elephants were put down before someone finally had a stroke of real genius.

 

Elephant Big Brother Program

Using modified trucks, larger, older bull elephants were trucked in from Kruger Park by rangers.  What happened then must have seemed like a miracle.  A new hierarchy almost immediately emerged as the older bulls quickly established themselves as dominant over the younger, smaller bulls.  Through sparring with the younger elephants, the older bulls successfully discouraged them from being sexually active. This, predictably, lowered testosterone levels and the rhinos, once again, were safe to roam the savannah.  In fact, since the big bulls arrived on the scene, not a single rhino has been molested.

Taking a page out of the playbook

Is this so different from what is happening with fatherless children in communities all around the world?  It is precisely what we described when we talked about “street activity” and the missing “strong man” in our communities. So what is the lesson here?  Fathers are important?  Yes. Youth, and boys in particular, are trouble if left alone without supervision?  Clearly.  We’ve already established that the “strong man” has been tied up and what the ramifications of that are for our children and society.  But this is more than a wild kingdom mirror image of what is happening in our communities and around the world, it is a road map for how the last man standing, the church of Jesus Christ, could and should respond.

Our neighborhoods are overflowing with fatherless children, both boys and girls, who are in desperate need of interested adults: in need of a provider, protector, teacher and friend.  Remember what we said previously, it cannot be just any old mentor but a godly father figure, one who is committed to modeling a Christ centered life, is equipped for the battle and one who is engaged in actively teaching the truth within the context of a loving and safe relationship.

These children are waiting for the old bull elephants to come and put things straight.  Whether they realize it or not, these “youth gone wild” are desperate for an old bull to come along and say, “Whoa there boys, not the rhino’s. That’s not how we roll. You follow me and I’ll show you the way it’s done.”

Fatherless girls need to hear an old bull say, “Sweetheart, you are precious in GOD’s eyes. You are loved. Don’t let those young bulls fool you into giving away your heart.  Don’t throw yourself at them. Give them time to mature.  Stick with me and I’ll protect you and value you for who you are, not what you can do for me.” 

Several studies published over the last twenty years have focused on children identified as “students at risk” for behaviors ranging from out-of-wedlock pregnancy, drug use, and alcohol abuse.  The students who did not get involved in those behaviors identified one common reason; someone took a personal interest in them in such a way that they felt loved and connected.  Children at-risk are in need of some old bulls to ride in and say to Satan and his workers, as Jesus did in Matthew 18:6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Can it make a difference?  Can you make a difference? Let’s see.

Christmas edition – Remembering God Part 6

You can see the original post on the Reston Bible Church blog,

http://blog.restonbible.org/2013/12/remembering-god-part-6-in-traditions-memorials/

At the start of this series, I began by laying out four things we risk when we do not remember who God is and all that He has done.  These were:

  • Falling into idolatry/trusting ourselves or our possessions (Deut. 8:13-14)
  • Never growing in trust of/faith in God (Isa. 40:20-21)
  • Stumbling into sin and suffering the Father’s discipline (Deut. 8:19)
  • Forfeiting a generation to the enemy (Judges 2:10-11)

So how do we, as parents, make sure that our family is all about remembering God?  So far we’ve looked at remembering Himin the Word, in song, and in prayer and in fellowship. This post, I’d like us to look at how the people of God remember him in our traditions and memorials.

In the modern Bible church movement there has, in my estimation, been an almost complete purge of tradition, ceremony, and memorial from church life.  In our defense, I think that this has largely been a reaction to “traditionalism.”  This I will define as the elevation of a tradition, or memorial, to the point where the original meaning and intent are lost.  It is often replaced by the wholesale worship of the tradition itself.  A rejection of such idolatry is just and right.  I am afraid, however, that we have thrown the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

Wouldn’t a more conservative approach be to recapture the true meaning and purpose of tradition and memorial in our lives?  To answer this question we must first understand the answer to two other questions.  First, where did we get our traditions, memorials, or ceremonies?  The second is why did we get them?  Let’s look to scripture as our guide.

“Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
(Joshua 4:4-7)

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

These are only two of many, many examples you can find in both the Old and New Testaments, but I think they answer our two questions. Tradition and memorial are gifts to us, ordained, and in many cases commanded, by God. God intended their use as a tool for helping us to remember who He is and all that He has done for us throughout history.

Tradition and memorial are gifts to us, ordained – and in many cases, commanded – by God.

Does this mean that the only traditions or memorials that are okay are the ones explicit in Scripture?  I would say no.  You can also find places in scripture where a memorial or altar is erected, without direct instructions from God, in order to worship Him and remember something specific He had done.

Two RBC families come to mind when I think of creating tradition and memorial.  The first family told me a story of their “Memorial Shelf.”  This is a prominent shelf where they display items that remind them of something specific God did on their behalf in answer to prayer.  To most people it might look like a shelf full of junk.  But they always ask, “what is the story with all that stuff?” and then this faithful family can tell them the stories of God’s grace and mercy in their lives.

The second family created their own tradition at Christmas.  It involves the dad doing a dramatic reading of the Luke account of the birth of Jesus.  As they get to each new character in the account the children must go out and find that figure for the nativity.  When they find it is always sitting with a pile of gifts, one for each person in the family, and they open those gifts before moving on in the story.  They’ve told me this can take all day but the emphasis on the true gift of God in Jesus is rich in this family tradition and is never lost.

What am I getting at?  God gave us tradition as a tool to help us and our children and their children, to remember.  We must not forget and we must not allow the next generation to forget either.  Don’t let traditionalism rob you of this God ordained tool.  Embrace the historic traditions, make up your own, set up memorials, but don’t ever lose the reason behind the tool.

It is my prayer that, as you’ve read through this series of devotions on remembering God, you have discovered new ways for you and your family to make remembrance a vital part of your spiritual lives.  In song, in prayer, in the Word, in fellowship, and in tradition – being careful, “so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

May your Christmas be one of blessed memories,

Mike Meyers, Director of Children’s Ministry

Being Imitators of God

Be imitators of GOD, therefore, as dearly loved children”

Ephesians 5:1 (emphasis added)

 The Sincerest Form of Flattery

I am a simple man, not a great theologian, and I tend to read and understand scripture in a straightforward way. The Bible makes plain that, when we are reborn in Christ, we are called to be “imitators of GOD,” that is, imitators of his communicable character attributes, those attributes GOD “shares” with his adopted children. We can know the character of our GOD because it is clearly revealed in scripture. God is loving, patient, kind, good, joyful, faithful, forgiving, generous, courageous, and holy just to name a few. These are traits we should strive to imitate.

As “dearly loved children” we are also to imitate the things the Father does. Jesus says in John 5:19, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  Does this carry over to the adopted sons (believers) as well? Jesus implies that it does when he goes on to say in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

A GOD size assignment

Be “imitators” of GOD.  Now, if you are like me, that is an amazing and yet frightening command.  To be honest, at first glance it sounds like yet another impossibly high bar to jump and frankly a little burdensome. For me it ranks right up there with, “Be holy as I am holy,” in terms of potentially discouraging expectations. But at closer examination, it really is the promise of living in the presence and power of our Father, enjoying his company and learning while working at his side.

Notice what Jesus did not say.  He did not say, “anyone who has faith in me will be required to do what I have been doing. Or be required to do even greater things than these.” Instead, Jesus uses an affirmative statement, saying that anyone who has faith in me “will” do what I have been doing and “will” do even greater things.  The idea here is that, as adopted children of GOD, walking in the Spirit, we will want to be imitators of our Father, not forced, and that we are empowered by Christ himself, to do these things.  That should be exciting and encouraging news. What dearly loved child doesn’t want to imitate dad?

Dad is at your side

Let’s look even more closely at part of that statement.  Jesus said, “Whatever the Father does the Son also does.” If you were blessed with a good relationship with your father perhaps you recall “working” alongside him in the shop or singing with him in the choir or pushing the lawn mower with him.  You might remember that no matter what you did, Dad always seemed to make the work you did together turn out well. You might recall the sense of being stronger and more capable with Dad by your side.

If you’re a dad then you’ve seen the other side of the coin. One spring Saturday several years ago, I stood preparing to stain the deck and backyard fence of our townhouse.  I had borrowed our neighbors paint gun to make things move along a little faster.  All was going according to plan until my oldest son Michael, then just four years old, showed up and, with his most earnest and eager face on, asked if he could help me paint.  I was all too familiar with this kind of “help” and I knew it was going to make my job a lot more difficult, but I couldn’t say no.  I didn’t want to say no.  I wanted to give my son a chance to work with his Dad just as I had with mine.  So, after several hours, we succeeded in painting the fence, the deck, the grass, part of our aluminum siding and one of my neighbors’ trees. Was it the easiest way? No. Could I have done it better alone? No doubt. But it was a day that neither of us has forgotten.

Be of good cheer, GOD isn’t loading another expectation on you; He is inviting you to participate with Him at his work.  It’s a heavenly “take your child to work day” invitation.

So what?

So how does all of this discussion impact the knock-down drag-out fight for the souls of the worlds children?

After reading Psalm 68:5-6, the answer should come into focus.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

is GOD in his holy dwelling.

GOD sets the lonely in families”

Psalm 68:5-6a

More posts @ Reston Bible Church Blog

http://blog.restonbible.org/2013/11/remembering-god-part-1-introduction/

http://blog.restonbible.org/2013/11/remembering-god-part-2-his-word/

http://blog.restonbible.org/2013/12/remembering-god-part-3-in-song/

 

 

 

God is in your corner: Come out swinging!

From Chapter Four of, “Last man standing”

“You are coming to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I’m coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of the armies of Israel. He’s the one you have dared to fight against.

1 Samuel 17:45

Let’s come up and take a breath for a moment. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Take heart, I have been where you are.  It’s a lot to take in.  We have learned of the special place children hold in the heart of GOD and how He has commanded his people to take seriously the task of teaching them.  We have explored the very unique way we as GOD’s creation are “wired” and why that “wiring” makes it critical as parents and the church to reach all children early with quality, relational discipleship.  We have exposed Satan’s strategy for leaving the children in your family, church, neighborhood and around the world vulnerable to his plans by tying up the “strong man.”

So now is the big moment when we should be asking ourselves, “What do I do with this information?” Will I reorder my priorities so that I am fully engaged in discipling my children? Will I engage my church leadership to encourage them to make our biblical instruction and treatment of children more robust and effective? Will I get more involved in encouraging other men in the church to follow me in this?  I pray that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “Yes!”  But there is more.  There is a place beyond our church walls where the fight is even more intense, a bare knuckle place where the potential for heartbreak and frustration are only off-set by the enormous blessings to be enjoyed.  It is a place of a most Christ-like sacrifice where the object of your gift is powerless to give anything in return.

to be continued…

 

Strong man down, continued (part 3)

We are losing ground in…

The Church

Where should we find a bulwark against the plan of Satan to take down the “Strong man” defense system? Who is the “last man standing,” that GOD put in place if not the Church of Jesus Christ?  The Church and its men should be an impenetrable fortress, protecting their children from the enemy of their souls.  Beyond that it should be a source of reinforcements for the families and communities who are losing their fathers.  Certainly in the Church we should find men, followers of Christ, committed to fulfilling their role of provider, protector, teacher and friend.

So where are they?  Again, some recent sociological research provides less than encouraging news for those children suffering on the front lines of fatherlessness.  It is not my purpose here to theorize on the causes (that is one bull’s-eye I do not wish to paint on my back), but the reality is stark as it regards men in the Church.

“Are males really less religious than females? Most of the studies made on the question seem to indicate that they are, and this appears to be true for all the Christian churches, denominations, and sects in western civilization.” [1]– James H. Fitcher,

“women are twice as likely to attend a church service during any given week. Women are also 50 percent more likely than men to say they are ‘religious’ and to state that they are ‘absolutely committed’ to the Christian faith.” – George Barna,

“Church attendance in the United States is about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. The more liberal the denomination, the higher the percentage of females.”[2]      – Leon J. Podles,

“Women, more often than not, take the lead role in the spiritual life of the family,” “Women typically emerge as the primary — or only — spiritual mentor and role model for family members. And that puts a tremendous burden on wives and mothers.” – George Barna[3]

 

The news out of Western Europe is much the same, and in Brazil the numbers are almost identical, with the ratio of Christian women to men at roughly 57/43% according to the IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatístic in their 2000 census report.

While good people can disagree as to the cause of the masculinity deficit in the church, whether it is the feminization of sermons, worship and teaching in the church, liberal theology, a lack of vision driven churches or a generally feminized view of Christ and Christianity dating back to before the Reformation, there can be no disagreement over the plain fact that many Christian churches in the world today are not producing “strong men,” and those that are, by and large, are not sending them out into the world to stand in the gap for children who have been left defenseless by Satan’s schemes.


[1] James H. Fichter, “Why Aren’t Males So Holy?”Integrity (May 1955): p. 3.

[2] Leon J. Podles, “Missing Fathers of the Church”

[3] George Barna,Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators(Dallas: Word Publishing, 1996),p.87.

 

Strong man down, continued

If you are a dad, I ask you, have you let personal tragedy, work demands, selfishness, or any number of other distractions cause you to drop your guard?  Have you left your wife and children unprotected?  Men, we cannot let our guard down even for an instant.  Our enemy the devil is just waiting to land a sucker punch….

Continued

We are losing ground in…

The family

Carol is the oldest of three siblings.  She has two younger brothers; half-brothers to be more precise.  They all share one birth mother but different biological fathers.  Carol’s father is married and has another family across town.  She doesn’t ever see him but she is perhaps the lucky one.  The father of her next youngest brother went to prison for drug trafficking and was drowned there in the toilet.  Her brother now receives a small pension but he’d rather have his dad.  The father of the youngest boy never made it to prison as he was executed at home for an outstanding drug debt.  Carol carries a large portion of the responsibility for the care of the boys and has, ever since she was about 9 years old.  Her mother holds jobs on and off and they live with their maternal grandmother and an Aunt.  In this one case we see three common causes for the absent male in poor families; promiscuity and general unwillingness to take responsibility for offspring, incarceration, and violence.  In all three cases the results are the same.  Children are raised in female led homes, older siblings are pressed into child rearing responsibilities, and the entire family sinks into a mode of survival where healthy connections to community institutions, like the church and schools, are weakened as the family’s focus turns to meeting basic physical needs.

As recently as the 1960’s, the vast majority of children still lived in dual parent homes.  Contrast that with the current situation where 50% of all children will experience a single parent home for at least a portion of their childhood.  This number is significantly higher in poor communities where incarceration and violence are added on top of the divorce and out-of-wedlock birth epidemics as causes of fatherlessness.  Our organization, Open Arms Worldwide, works in communities in Brazil where 80-90% of the families are without an adult male in the home.  These families are most often led by what I will call, “functional widows,” women who are not technically widowed, but by virtue of abandonment are in fact functioning as such. Sadly, even when the family is blessed to have a present and employed father it is not always much better. The modern urban socio-economic structure, in which we live, different from the days of old, requires that the father work long hours some distance from home, leaving him less present in the daily life of his family and the community.  He is fulfilling his role as provider but not the other three pillars of protector, teacher and friend.  The bottom line is that across the world and across so called class lines, but more acutely in poor families, fathers are falling fast under a barrage of body blows from our enemy.

Strong man TKO continued…

Continued from previous post…

Grandpa Meyers

Early one morning in my sixth grade year my mother answered the phone just as we were heading out the door for school. It was my grandmother who lived nearby, calling for help because she was having trouble waking Grandpa.  My paternal grandfather, Frank H. Meyers, had died peacefully in his sleep.  We were all hit hard by his unexpected passing. I cannot ever recall feeling such terrible loss or sadness before that time or since. But despite the initial shock of losing the patriarch of our family, what would unfold as the months and years passed, would dwarf it in terms of shear destructive force.  My grandfather took very seriously the commands to “love justice, seek mercy and walk humbly with your GOD” as well as to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  He was one of 237 souls who had given his life to Jesus Christ one evening at a Billy Graham crusade held in September of 1952 at the old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and, for as long as I knew him, was a wonderful man of GOD, a rock in his church, always available to lend a hand to a neighbor in need.  I never heard him utter a negative word about a soul. He was the glue that held our family together.  What I absorbed from him was his belief that life was simple if we would just let GOD’s Word be a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” He exercised his moral authority in our family in a gentle but powerful way and we loved him for it.

It is never easy for a family to lose such a central figure so unexpectedly and my father never really recovered. The close relationship I had had with my dad in my early years, the moral teaching and good example he was for me were fond memories that seemed to begin to slowly erode away in my teen years as his own foundation was shaken.  I love my dad very much and cherish my childhood memories. Just remembering these events and imagining his sadness and pain at the loss of his father brings tears to my eyes.  It seemed like he began to lose his moral compass and bearings as a father and a husband. His crisis, which eventually led to the breakup of his marriage, could not have come at a worse time for his adolescent son. Even though I had asked Jesus to be my savior five years earlier, I was now at a critical time in my development when I needed more than ever a strong godly male role model to keep me from going off track. I was entering adolescence. The hormones were flowing. I was trying to define myself as a young man and at the same time questioning my own faith.  This was a crossroads moment where I needed a father to talk openly to me about what it means to be a man of GOD, how to take ownership of my faith, how to think about and treat women, how to develop self-control and so many other lessons.  My dad, in his sadness over the loss of his own father and what I perceived to be a moral and spiritual crisis, was effectively taken out of the game, leaving his own children vulnerable to our enemy’s schemes.

I was left to find my role models in older “popular” kids, old NFL films and movies.  I sought out other young men I could identify with. The model I found there was the “man” who had a girl on each arm, was in the middle of every fight, could drink into the wee hours and still win the big game the next morning.  Within a year of my grandfather’s death I was experimenting with alcohol, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night, getting in to fights and “dating” one young lady after another.  In my mind I was becoming a “man.” I was twelve years old. I take full responsibility for my poor decisions during those years, but the fact remains that, by my father not taking the standard from grandpa Frank and carrying it for his wife and children, the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy had succeeded in tying up the “strong man” in our family. It would be nine long years of wrestling with GOD and my own conscience before I would return to my heavenly Father and many more years after that before I would fully reconcile my relationship with my dad.

If you are a dad, I ask you, have you let personal tragedy, work demands, selfishness, or any number of other distractions cause you to drop your guard?  Have you left your wife and children unprotected?  Men, we cannot let our guard down even for an instant.  Our enemy the devil is just waiting to land a sucker punch.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Where will the wind blow next? A video from Open Arms Worldwide