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Where Are You Men Of Courage?

Where Are You Men Of Courage?

“As a law enforcement officer I’ve seen firsthand the deep hurt and devastation that fatherlessness brings in a child’s life. Our prisons are full of men and women who have lived recklessly after being abandoned by their fathers, wounded by the men who should have loved them the most. Many of these children now follow the same pattern of irresponsibility that their father’s did. While so many mothers have sacrificed to help their children survive, they were never intended to carry the weight alone. We thank God for them, but research is proving that a child also desperately needs a daddy. There’s no way around this fact.

 

As you know earlier this year my family endured the tragic loss of our 9 year old daughter Emily. Her death forced me to realise that not only had I not taken ad-vantage of the priceless time I had with her, but that I did not truly understand how crucial my role was as a father to her and our son Dylan. Since her passing I’ve asked God to show me through his Word how to be the father that I need to be.

 

I now believe that God desires for every father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be in-volved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives, and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven. A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect. He should call on his children to become responsible men and women who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

 

Some men will hear this and mock it, or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father you are accountable to God for the position of influence he has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel only to wake up one day and realise that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.

 

Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead they will live for them-selves, waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

 

But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we have made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same. And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction.

 

We are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution. In my home the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will. Who will accept the re-sponsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father, I will. I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favour of God and his blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you. And to say, I will…. I will…. I WILL. ”

“Courageous. Dir. Alex Kendrick. Performers. ALEX KENDRICK, RENEE JEWELL, RUSTY MARTIN JR, KEN BEVEL, ROBERT AMAYA, ANGELITA NELSON, KEVIN DOWNES, BEN DAVIES. 2011. DVD. TRISTAR PICTURES and SHERWOOD PICTURES in association with PROVIDENT FILMS and AFFIRM FILMS.”

I am certain that this is our longest ever movie quote however it certainly echoes the heart of Men of Courage. I would like to challange you to post this link to your FB or Twitter profile if after reading and considering the resolution above you want to be that man. The kind of Man that loves his Wife,Kids and Church the same way Jesus loves his church. The next step would be finding like minded mature christian men who are willing and able to hold you to it.

 

What Every Daughter Needs From Her Dad

What Every Daughter Needs From Her Dad

Most good men struggle between their desire to be a good father, and the reality of being one. Our children aren’t born into the world holding on tightly to a manual to hand us to read and master, in order to provide us with everything that child is going to require of us. For the majority of us, it’s a case of on-the-job training… learning as we go. Fathering sons is hard enough, but at least we Dads were once boys ourselves. Fathering daughters on the other hand… most of us find that so much more difficult… the feminine heart being a mystery to many of us.
I’m a man who likes to keep things as simple as possible, because when something is simple, there’s a greater likelihood of actually following through and applying it into my life. So in the spirit of keeping things simple, please allow me to share three things that every daughter needs to receive from her Dad. If you’re not a Dad of a daughter, please continue to read on anyway. Why? Because it’s highly likely that you’re married to a daughter (remember your wife is a daughter), and that your son will one day marry a daughter. You’ll want to be armed with these simple, yet life-giving truths, so that you can be a man of understanding.

I refer to these three things as the three (3) A’s:

1. Attention,
2. Affection, &
3. Affirmation

And a word of warning men… if your daughter doesn’t receive the three (3) A’s from you, as she is meant to, then she will seek them out from another masculine source… from outside of the home… from someone whose motives are less noble and honourable… who’s more interested in receiving life for himself, rather than offering life to another.

One further word of warning men… don’t stop! In the same way that your favourite sporting team can forge a strong lead by half time… if they were to rest only on all of the good work they did during that first half, then that lead would evaporate very quickly, and become an actual deficit. So don’t stop offering the three (3) A’s to your daughter once puberty kicks in, and don’t even stop when your daughter marries her husband. Your role as father does not end until you draw your very last breath.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.I do and I understand.“. Fathering Adventures is more than a book, it’s more than a conference, it’s more than a demonstration, or video resource… as good as all of those things are. Fathers from all over Australia, and further abroad, are bringing their sons and daughters to our various adventures offered throughout North Queensland, South-East Queensland, and Victoria. They discover exactly what their sons and daughters need to receive from them, they get to experience a practical application of what they learn, and they get to experience first-hand, just how much they enjoy their child, and how much their child enjoys and needs them.

On the subject of Dads & Daughters, we have “tentatively” booked a couple of additional Dad & Daughter Adventure Weekends for the weekends of July 20-22 on Magnetic Island in North Queensland, and September 14-16 at Mt Tamborine in South-East Queensland. If you’re interested in joining us for either one of those weekends, please contact us immediately, otherwise we may be forced to surrender those dates, and wait until 2013.

Please help us to build a stronger future for our Nation, one family at a time. Forward this email on to all of your friends and colleagues. And be sure to look through all of our upcoming adventures… http://fatheringadventures.squarespace.com/upcoming-adventures/ … to register for one of our numerous Father-Son or Dad & Daughter Adventures on offer throughout 2012 & beyond.

ACCIDENTAL PHARISEES

6 WARNING SIGNS WE’RE BECOMING ACCIDENTAL PHARISEES

Larry Osborne » God Scripture Church Church Leadership Heart Sin

Pharisees are more than mere tidbits of ancient history.

The Pharisees’ sad transition from God’s most zealous defenders to Jesus’s archenemies is important for every Christian to understand. As long as our only image of a Pharisee is that of a spiritual loser and perennial enemy of Jesus, we’ll never recognize the clear and present danger in our own life.

I’ve found that becoming a modern-day, accidental Pharisee is a lot like eating at Denny’s. No one wants to go there. We just end up there.

The journey usually starts out innocently enough. It begins with a desire to be at the front of the “following Jesus” line. We step out in faith, make some big changes, clean up areas of sin and compromise, and begin to pursue new spiritual disciplines.

So far, so good. But as we press forward, it’s hard not to notice those who lag behind. And it’s at this point that we have an important decision to make: will we keep our eyes glued on Jesus or will we turn our focus onto those who lag behind?

DON’T LOOK DOWN!

I remember once meeting with a group of men who were passionate about their walk with God. Somehow our conversation turned toward those in the church who were not so passionate. Next thing I knew, they were ripping on the way everyone else raised their children, spent their money, read their Bible, and set their priorities.

Now these were quality men. They were doing far better than most raising their kids, spending their money, reading their Bible, and setting priorities. The problem wasn’t that they noticed the difference. The problem was what they did with the information. They used it to justify looking down on everyone else.

HE HATES HAUGHTY EYES

When I called them on it, they were mildly remorseful, sort of like they’d been busted for a speeding ticket. But it was clear to me that no one felt particularly convicted or determined not go there again. So I decided to take them on a little journey through Scripture to see God’s perspective on the conversation we’d just had.

We started with Satan’s prideful fall and moved on from there. But the shocker for most of them was a list of things God hates. It’s found in Proverbs 6:16–19. Right at the top of his I-hate-it-when-you-do-that list is “haughty eyes,” the disgusted and disdainful look of arrogance that parallels the harsh conversation we’d just had.

There are lots of things that can anger God. Few would guess that looking down on others would be at the top of the list. Yet it is.

Now that got their attention!

But it’s true. Their dismissive and judgmental take on others wasn’t minor chitchat—it was major sin. Top-of-the-list sin.

I wrote Accidental Pharisees because I’ve become increasingly concerned that many in our tribe are making the same mistake. We strive to be at the front of the following-Jesus line. Yet the closer we get to the front, the more we’re tempted to compare ourselves with those in the back.

So here’s a brief list of six of the most telling indicators that we may have inadvertently started down the road of an Accidental Pharisee, looking down on others and trusting in our own righteousness.

1. DISDAIN FOR THOSE AT THE BACK OF THE LINE

Instead of a Jesus-like compassion for those who can’t keep up, we view them with a deepening sense of frustration, cynicism, and a cocky arrogance.

2. A SPIRIT OF EXCLUSIVITY

When thinning the herd becomes more important than expanding the kingdom; or raising the bar becomes more important than helping people climb over it, something has gone terribly wrong.

3. EXTRA-BIBLICAL RULES AND EXPECTATIONS

Few of us would see ourselves as legalists. We think we’ve moved on from old-school legalism because we no longer judge people by what’s in their refrigerator. But the spirit of legalism still runs strong. We now judge people by what’s in their driveway and how big their house is.

4. A PATTERN OF IDOLIZING THE PAST

Whether it’s the New Testament church or the scholars of old, we tend to give them a free pass for their failures. But the present-day bride of Christ and the current crop of leaders whom Jesus has put in place are assailed for their blind spots, failures, and feet of clay. Like the Pharisees of old, we rip on the living prophets and then build monuments to them once they die.

5. A QUEST FOR CLONE-LIKE UNIFORMITY

Jesus had room for Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Yet sometimes, the more biblically grounded we become, the less room we have for anyone who hasn’t yet learned all that we’ve learned. The result is a circle of fellowship that’s tighter than Jesus’s circle of acceptance.

6. GIFT PROJECTION

“Gift projection” the toxic belief that my calling is everyone else’s calling. It disfigures the body of Christ by insisting that ears become eyes and hands become feet. It looks like passion for the mission, but in reality, it’s candy-coated arrogance.

TWO ROADS DIVERGE

The good news is that even if we’ve inadvertently started down the road of an accidental Pharisee, we don’t have to end up there. We can repent, turn around, and reset our gaze on Jesus. But for that to happen, we have to recognize that we’ve left the path of discipleship. And that’s why I wrote Accidental Pharisees, to highlight the warning signs that we’ve left the path and turned down a dangerous detour that turns well-intentioned zealots into accidental Pharisees.

 

Want more? Pick up your copy of Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangerous of Overzealous Faith today.

Real Men Drive Utes?

 

What’s A Real Man

Real Man

“What’s a man now?
What’s a man mean?
Is he rough or is he rugged? Is he cultural and clean?
Now it’s all changed

It’s got to change more
‘Cause we think it’s getting better but nobody’s really sure.
And so it goes, go round again
But now and then we wonder who the real men are…”

Joe Jackson sung those words in the song “Real Man” thirty years ago. It is interesting to see this song still gets airtime on the radio and the questions it throws up are probably even more relevant today than when it was first sung. With the rise of feminism, gender-equality, and homosexuality, everything seems so blurry between the sexes these days. Men don’t seem to know where they fit. We are losing their identity.What does it really mean to be a man? How is a man different from a woman? How is a man different from a boy?

Is it okay for us men to wear pink t-shirts? Do we do the barbeque? Do we hold the remote? Do we play sport? Are we the bread-winners? Are we the ones who change the light-bulbs and mow the lawns? Is it okay to ‘manscape’ and use ‘product’? Are we supposed to open the door for women, or will we be accused of being misogynist pigs? No wonder we are accused of being so quiet and ‘retreating into our caves’! We are confused and don’t know who we are and what we ‘do’!

Modern-day man seems to have both a characteristic behaviour and a native habitat; a place and manner of life that keeps himself out of the spotlight… Computer games. Violent movies. Working on ‘the guns’. Internet porn. Fast driving.Risk taking. ‘Boys toys’. Binge drinking. Climbing thecorporate ladder. Building a fortune. Sowing the wild oats. Staying uncommitted.

No- I am not just talking about men in their 20s here! Thispattern sadly characterises the modern man: enjoying himself with ‘boyish fun’, but avoiding the responsibility that comes with mature manhood. The problem with this kind of shape to the male life is that it is fundamentally selfish at its heart, andultimately, an unspeakable waste; a failure to live up to histrue potential and his God-ordained role.

 

Many of us have seen the movie ‘Cinderella Man’ with Russell Crowe. It tells the true story of James J. Braddock, a boxer during the Great Depression in New York. He was a true ‘man’s man’ but for reasons often missed by boxing fans.

He was tough as nails; known for his thumping right hand and granite chin. He stepped into the ring against some of the biggest brutes around. He worked his way to the top.

But at the height of his boxing career, he suffered an injury to his right hand which never fully healed and left him unable to fight like he used to. Suddenly he found himself unable to find work and the pressure of supporting his wife and three children became the greatest challenge of his life.

These days having to see through a commitment to a wife and family are seen as a liability and burden to more and more men and when the flowers fade and the pressure mounts, they leave their families because it just doesn’t fit with their idea of a good and meaningful life. But Braddock stays, and not only does he stay but he refuses to give up. He doesn’t allow his circumstances to change the man he is.

He swallowed his pride (and his boxing career gave him a lot of it) to save his family. He was forced to work on the docks and collect social assistance to feed his family.

Perhaps it was all the pain and uncertainty that was his life during these times prepared him for what was to come: out of the blue he was given a shot at the 1935 heavyweight title against Max Baer. Having been through what would break most men and send them to drink, seemed to make him stronger. A fight, even a fight against the current heavyweight champion, was nothing compared to what he endured daily: the pressure of having a family to take care of and no source of income to take care of them with. Not having the means to feed your children, who are looking to you for the next meal.

Braddock famously said: “Whether it goes 1 round or 3 rounds or 10 rounds, it will be a fight and a fight all the way. When you’ve been through what I’ve had to face in the last two years, a Max Baer or a Bengal tiger looks like a house pet. He might come at me with a cannon and a blackjack and he would still be a picnic compared to what I’ve had to face.”

Despite being the 10 to 1 underdog Braddock won in a unanimous points decision. The glory of being a boxing champion was one thing but his greatest motivation was being able to support his family though the difficulties of the Great Depression.

 

Here is a wonderful poem I heard some time ago that sums upwhat Braddock’s life illustrates so well…

“The Journey from Boy to Man to Husband” by Cameron Semmens.

Boy plays, man works, husband provides.

Boy strolls, man strides, husband walks alongside.

Boy- dependent, man- independent, husband is dependable.

When threatened; boy steps back,

Man steps forward, husband holds ground.

Boy is limbs, man is shoulders, husband is heart.

Boy is cuddle, man is hug, husband is embrace.

Boy doesn’t take care, man takes care of himself,

Husband takes care of all those around him.

The journey from boy to man to husband takes guidance, grace, guts and good choices.

Some boys never become men,

Some men never become husbands,

Some husbands never become

The spouse they could be,

The spouse they should be.

Boy is owned, man is his own,

Husband owns his role as guider, provider, walk alongsider.

 

Men- I encourage you to be brave enough to take responsibility and take on the job of leading. To not just live for pleasure but to live to protect and provide for those aroundyou.

Here are three quick ideas to get you moving in the right direction…

•Act in accordance with your principles.
•Do what you say you will do- no matter what.
•Commit to look after those who look to you- through good times and bad.

When speaking about the nature of tough servant-shaped love, the Apostle Paul said this: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

 

The final word goes to Joe Jackson…

Time to get scared
Time to change plan
Don’t know how to treat a lady, don’t know how to be a man.
Time to admit
What you call defeat
‘Cause there’s women running past you now and you just dragyour
feet.

And so it goes, go round again
But now and then we wonder who the real men are…

By Cam Griffiths

 

Cam is a minister at Kenthurst Anglican Church

www.facebook.com/KenthurstAnglicanChurch

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Louise, Dad to Cody and Leila

And a great friend of mine 🙂

 

TV Can Rot Your Brain

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TV can rot your brain

From Eternity Newspaper

 

CULTURE | Mark Hadley

 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Brain damage just isn’t what it used to be. Science is revealing that our ultimate organ is in fact far more capable of repair than we ever imagined. However, just as startling is the news that it’s far more easily injured than we’ve previously suspected, and unplugging our brains in front of a range of screens really can rot your morals.

First, the good news…

When my wife and I first heard our doctor tell us our son had “something wrong with his brain” our hearts fell. We thought of the brain as something like a horribly complicated Swiss watch: mess around with the innards and you’ll never get it ticking again. But in the years that followed we learned that a Lego masterpiece was a far better analogy. The brain can be taught to rearrange and substitute pieces for missing ones, laying down new neural pathways to achieve startling results. A damaged young mind could recover in ways that left scientists scratching their heads, and the key often lay in what the brain was trained to concentrate on.

Probably the most famous case in recent times is that of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, who describes herself as “…a woman born with severe learning disabilities that caused teachers to label [me] slow, stubborn or worse.” But her book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain outlines how she used cognitive exercises to change the structure of her mind. Literally, diligent concentration = sustained transformation. I know, it sounds a bit like snake oil but the process is far more than a new shine on “positive thinking”. Targeted, sustained exercises have achieved what scientists now sagely refer to as neuroplasticity: the nervous system’s ability to respond to stimuli by reorganising its structure, functions and connections.(1) And it isn’t a process that’s restricted to the developing mind. Researcher Dr Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, lists remarkable cases in which adult stroke and injury victims manage truly remarkable recoveries through the same approach. Yes, our brain is much more malleable than we ever imagined, right up into adulthood.

Interesting, I know, but this is a popular culture column, right? Well, now the bad news…What we train our brains to concentrate on matters more than we previously thought.

According to the journal Nature Neuroscience: “The brain is constantly being shaped, wittingly and unwittingly, by environmental forces … The circuitry that has been implicated in social and emotional behaviour appears to be importantly shaped by experience.” (2)

Put crudely, our experiences can amount to brain surgery. For example, William Struthers in his book, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks The Male Brain, picks up on the changes sustained exposure to sexual imagery can make to the way the brain operates. It’s early days yet, but it seems that by diligently concentrating on negative content we don’t just form bad habits—we run the risk of rewiring the way our brains perceive pleasure, so that righteousness becomes a physically harder choice.

I believe I’ve seen this sort of sustained transformation: a leaning towards violent TV leading to a perpetually angry character; a taste for horror films leaving the viewer craving more inventive suffering. And yes, I’m aware of the irony that these observations come from a professional reviewer. These days I pray that God will protect me every time the lights go down.

This month fans of Brad Pitt will consider buying a ticket to Killing Them Softly, a film about a criminal enforcer who talks about common decency even as he arranges brutal bashings. Meanwhile, TV viewers will anticipate the third season of The Walking Dead, an internationally successful series about a world overrun by zombies. And shoppers will be tempted to pick up Underbelly: Badness, the DVD series about ruthless gangland boss Anthony “Rooster” Perish. The first contains images you’ll want to forget; the second presents the hacking up of human bodies as entertainment; the third turns a thug into a captivating villain. All could contribute to the reshaping of a healthy brain.

This could be alarming news were it not for the Bible beating us to the punch once again. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi finishes with the apostle’s encouragement to diligently train their minds with the right material:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.” (Phil 4:8-9)

Putting these things into practice even before we feel like doing them is crucial for neurologists and Christians alike. Decades before anyone thought of neuroplasticity, C.S. Lewis realised that the brain had to be trained by habit before we could expect the results we desire: “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets… If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”(3)

The sustained transformation the Apostle Paul was looking for at Philippi was a personality characterised by the “peace of God” rather than the lust, anger or disinterest that conform to popular culture. If we’re truly going to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, we’ll do well to weed out the content that threatens to rot our brains.

References

1) Cramer, S, et.al., “Harnessing neuroplasticity for clinical applications”, Brain: A Journal of Neurology, 2011: 134; 1591–1609, 2) Davidson Richard J & Bruce S McEwen, “Social influences on neuroplasticity…”, Nature Neuroscience 15/5 [May 2012], 3) Lewis  C.S., 1997, Mere Christianity, Harper Collins, London, 108.

 

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