Be a Man (at home)

Be a Man (at home) ~www.boydads.com

One of the toughest places to be a man is at home.

I meet (and know) lots of guys who work hard, love to play hard, shoot guns, hunt, change their own oil, and watch Braveheart every Friday night. None of these are bad.  The danger is when we as men, fail to be men, at home.

I grew up on the media of the late 80′s and 90′s.  That era gave rise to shows like the Simpsons, Roseanne, and Married with Children…  all of these depicting men as socially inept and goofy at best!  The wife is seen as intelligent, in charge, and leading the home.  The man, showing spotty signs of wisdom, is mostly walked on and disrespected by the wife and kids.

Today, a lot of men are left wondering, “What is a man supposed to be and do?” Ephesians 5:21-31 provides a fundamental passage for understanding how a man (father and husband) is to lovingly lead his family.  In verse 23, Paul says, “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.

The word for “head” is a word that has been hotly debated for quite some time (and will continue to be). Numerous people from various camps have spilled much ink over attempting a correct interpretation. Sadly, many men believe this verse gives them the freedom to be authoritarian dictators of their home. They believe headship is about “ruling over.”

While both men and women are of equal worth and dignity in God’s eyes, I believe that each has a unique role.  Gender is not by accident, but by design.  Just as Adam was given spiritual responsibility in the garden, so Jesus comes to redeem man’s role to lovingly lead his home.  Leading is not about ruling over, but rather, it is about being spiritually responsible for your wife and family.

Men are given the charge to be responsible for their family by leading spiritually, loving sacrificially, suffering graciously, and pursuing Jesus faithfully (Ephesians 5:25-29; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

As Gary Ricucci very simply states, “The role of a husband (father) doesn’t begin at the altar – it begins with the atonement.”

Below are just a few simple questions to help evaluate if you are a father and husband who is spiritually leading at home:

Who initiates spiritual growth in your family?

Who in your family is eager to serve at church, get involved in a Bible study, seek out biblical wisdom, or discuss spiritual things? Are we just along for the ride or leading the charge?

Who initiates spiritual guidance in your family?

Who takes responsibility for teaching your children?  Who is the one to suggest or make sure time in God’s Word is happening as a family?  Are you helping your children stay focused on God’s Wisdom?

Who initiates discipline with your children when necessary?

By discipline I do not mean punishment.  Who is the first to lovingly guide and correct your child’s heart and behavior?  Do you try to stay out of conflict, or are you fully engaged in helping to guide your children’s step so they grow to walk in wisdom?

God has called you to lovingly lead your family!  By His grace and the power of His Spirit, He’s also given you everything you need.  Keep pressing on as you seek to be spiritually responsible for your family.

Blessings,

Pat, www.thedigforkids.com

The Warrior Weekend {Helping Dads Raise Boys to Be Godly Men}

Sadly, many boys are not being taught what it means to be a man in God’s eyes. I’m not talking about a guy who can fight off Grizzly bears with his bare hands, throw the football the farthest, lift the most weight, have the biggest house, or drive the fastest car. I am talking about boys growing up and understanding that God has created them to love Him and love the world like Jesus.

In an attempt to lead my own sons toward biblical manhood, I created a weekend resource for fathers and sons called The Warrior Weekend. This book was created as a guide for you and your son’s weekend retreat. The Warrior Weekend is designed to help you as a father teach your son what it means to be a Godly man.

The Warrior Weekend for Dads and Their Sons ~www.boydads.com

I wrote The Warrior Weekend because I want my sons to grow up clearly understanding that God has wired them different than girls – a lot different! This is not by accident, but by design. God has created boys to grow up and be Godly men for His purposes and plans for the world.

During The Warrior Weekend, there will be three lessons you will explore and complete together.

Each lesson consists of the following components:

Warrior Account: Each lesson will have a real life account of a warrior’s story in history. These are different men who have done extraordinary things. These accounts are meant to illustrate a biblical principle or truth outlined in that particular lesson.

Warrior Activity: Each lesson will have an activity that you and your son will complete together. These activities are meant to be adventurous and fun. They are also meant to illustrate the main theme of each lesson.

Warrior Application: After reading the warrior account and completing the warrior activity, you and your son will sit down together and discuss the application. This will be a chance to discuss what God’s Word says about how boys are created for God’s purposes.

My prayer is that this resource and weekend will be instrumental in helping your son(s) continue learning what it means to grow up and be Godly men! The Warrior Weekend is a great resource for you and your son(s), or it can be used in a group. Feel free to invite more dads and their sons!

To purchase your copy now:

Click to purchase The Warrior Weekend in paperback for only $7.99!

Click to purchase The Warrior Weekend on Kindle for $4.99!

Click to purchase The Warrior Weekend on Nook for $4.99! 

Click to purchase the PDF of The Warrior Weekend for $4.99!

 

We are giving away 3 paperback copies of The Warrior Weekend!! Enter to win below!

Click here to enter—–>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blessings,

Pat, www.thedigforkids.com

For the Father Who Fails

For the Father Who Fails ~www.boydads.com

I am a failure.  Everyone around me knows it, but it’s still a little embarrassing to admit it.  Though none of us should be content at failing, we shouldn’t be condemned by failure either.

For most guys, failure is about as well received as a dentist appointment.  We hate it.  The tendency and temptation when faced with the fear of failure, is to become angry, grow distant, work hard at faking it, or just flat out deny it.  But at some point, we need to let the grace of God free us from trying so hard to be a faultless father.

I sin.
I don’t always do devotions every night.
I am not always kind.
Patience and joy are sometimes elusive at the end of a day.
I don’t always listen intently.
I have to fight to be fully present at times.
I am a failure.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not a deadbeat dad who doesn’t love or lead his family.  I certainly do plenty that’s right – more than my wrong (I think).  But the good news is that we have a Savior who parents with perfection.

He always does what is good, right, and wise.
His character never changes.
He is slow to anger, compassionate, and abounding in love.
He turns His ear to us when we call to Him.
He came to be with us and for us
By grace, and through faith, His record becomes ours.

“It is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.” -Charles Spurgeon

I will never be a perfect father to my sons.  But the good news is that I can point them to a Father who is.  He is a Father who loved me in the middle of my sin by giving me His son (Romans 5:8).  In Christ, I boast about Jesus’ record, not my own.  I boast about a Father who did not withhold His own Son so that I could become one of His very own.

May God’s faithful and faultless love for you lead you to walk more closely, depend more deeply, and trust more completely.  As you remain and rest in His affection for you, may His heart and character become your own.  And may you be a dad who continually leads your sons to the “throne of God’s grace,” so that they too, may find mercy and grace in their time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Blessings,

Pat, The Dig for Kids

Teaching Your Children the Bible {The Dig for Kids Giveaway}

About 2 years ago my daughter said to me, “Dad, I am glad you are a pastor.” When I asked her why, she said, “Because you teach us the Bible.”

The truth is, every parent should be (and can be) a pastor to his or her children.

The Apostle Paul makes an interesting comment regarding Timothy’s training as a child. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Paul suggests in those verses that Timothy was being taught the Bible from a very young age.

In an effort to simply and systematically teach our children books of the Bible, I created The Dig for Kids. Out of the experience I create, biblical principles are learned and lived. The goal, of course, is that our children will fall in love with Jesus as their Savior and grow up to follow Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.

Help Your Children Learn the Bible! ~www.thebettermom.com

We were thrilled to have such an amazing response to The Dig for Kids: Luke Volume 1! The Dig for Kids has consistently been on Amazon’s “Best-Seller” List and #1 in Children’s Bible & Prayer!  It is incredible to think of literally thousands of families joining together and learning God’s Word with this resource.  The Dig, provides a fun and easy way for YOU to get into the Bible with your kids!

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Dig, a typical Dig lesson consists of the following four components:

1. The Map: The Map tells you and your child where you’ll be going in each lesson. It is a short summary of the study ahead.

2. The Dig: The Dig is the main passage you will be studying. Following each passage will be several questions designed to help conversation and understanding. They are meant to be a guide. You can use them or tweak them to help you talk with your children.

3. The Treasure: The Treasure is the big idea of each lesson. In a short statement, it is what you want your child to remember from the passage you studied.

4. The Display: When an archaeologist finds a treasure, they will clean it up and put it on display for everyone to see. This is the basic idea of the Display. It is the application of the Treasure you have found!

 

The Dig is available in PDF, Kindle, and Nook Versions as well as Paperback.

The Dig Luke Vol. 2 (Chapters 13-24):

Click HERE to purchase for $2.99 (reg. $4.99) the PDF

Click HERE to purchase for $2.99 (reg. $4.99) the Kindle version 

Click HERE to purchase for $2.99 (reg. $4.99) the Nook version 

Click HERE to purchase for $9.99 (reg. $12.99) the Paperback version

You can also purchase The Dig Luke Volume 1 here.

To celebrate the launch of The Dig for Kids: Luke Vol. 2 we are giving away 3 copies!! Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Parenting Your Children For Eternity

Parenting Your Children For Eternity ~www.boydads.com

I have no idea whether my sons will grow up to be pastors, doctors, teachers, athletes, musicians, politicians or laborers.  But the one thing I do know with certainty as a Christian parent is that my children will stand before God some day.  With appropriate reverence, I understand that they will either stand before their Father in Heaven having believed in Jesus or not.  Eternity awaits every single one of our children – that I know.

In 1888, J.C. Ryle, the English writer, pastor, and father of five, wrote a sermon called “The Duties of Parents.”  It was a 17 point sermon on Proverbs 22:6.  These were his closing words to his church that day:

“Train well for this life, and train well for the life to come; train well for earth, and train well for heaven; train them for God, train them for Christ, and train them for eternity.  Amen.”

Though this sermon (and now book) has many great biblical insights, encouragements, and reminders, there is one phrase that has both stuck out to, and stuck with me.  It is the phrase, “train them for eternity.” To put it simply, Ryle is reminding Christians to parent their children for what really matters.  In a culture where the opportunities (some of which are good) are endless, it is easy, if not tempting, to lose sight of eternity.

As parents, our most prized priority must be to diligently and graciously train our children to grow up to love God and love the world.   One of the greatest joys we have as parents is to teach, guide, warn, model, and encourage our children from the Bible. The Apostle Paul makes an interesting comment regarding Timothy’s training as a child.  Notice what he says in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Paul suggests that Timothy, from a very young age, was being taught the Bible.  The fertile soil of Timothy’s heart was being plowed and prepared by a parent who was pursuing eternity.

The following are simple and practical ways to help show your son(s) that you are living with eternity in mind:

  1. Spend meaningful time with your son(s) talking about spiritual things
  2. Share with your family what God is teaching you
  3. Pray for and with your son(s)
  4. Lead family devotions
  5. Let your son(s) see you reading God’s Word, praying, or sharing your faith
  6. Let your son(s) see you serve by using your gifts in your local church
  7. Give generously and sacrificially to God’s kingdom – For example, give to missions, your church, a family or individual in need, etc.

Today I want to remind you that you also can be that kind of father: a father who is living with one eye on this life, and the other eye on the life that is to come.  It is by God’s grace that any of our children come to faith in Jesus, but we must not forget that God has also uniquely chosen parents to help pass along faith to the next generation.

In Jesus,

Patrick Schwenk, The Dig for Kids

Speaking Over Our Children

This past week, a team from our church had the privilege of serving with Compassion International in Ecuador.  Our mornings were spent doing light construction on a sponsor church, while our afternoons were spent working with the children of Las Brisas.  Through soccer games, bubbles, jumping rope, crafts, and stories, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these children had never had words spoken over them.  Certainly they have had plenty of words spoken to them, but what about words over them?

Barely knowing the language, I asked our translator to tell me how to tell a child that they are God’s treasure.  He scribbled these words in my journal that I would later have the opportunity to speak over several children, trusting that God would impress them on their hearts.

“Eres un Tesoro de Dios – You are God’s treasure.”  Simple words spoken, not just to them, but over them.

Speaking Over Our Children ~www.boydads.com

Sadly, I too often speak to, and not over, those I treasure most. My words can easily be used sharply, critically, self-righteously, and carelessly.  Like wet cement, my words have left a fair share of marks that, if not smoothed out, quickly harden.  How true it is that “the tongue can bring death or life” (Proverbs 18:21)

I have also sinned by withholding words. Sometimes it’s not what we say, but rather what we don’t say: feelings of appreciation, approval, and encouragement left unspoken.  Both the spoken and unspoken have the potential of doing damage far beyond measuring.  So often, I can speak to and not over those I love most.

For most men, words don’t come easily.  We’ve all heard or read the statistics; women use more words than men.  Men would often times rather sit shoulder to shoulder, grunt, cheer, and occasionally offer a fist-bump.  Not exactly meaningful or sophisticated, but we still call it communication.

But words don’t have to be weapons that wound.  And they certainly don’t have to be pointless, either.  As fathers who image our Father, we can use our words redemptively.  Like instruments, they can be used for good, life, joy, wisdom, and encouragement.  After all, words belong to God.  They are not ours to use as we please or purpose.  We speak because God speaks.

One of the things we learn at the very beginning of the Bible is that God speaks.  He not only uses words, but He is the author of words.  Unlike us, in our fallen and sinful state, when God speaks, He does so in a truly instructive and redemptive way.   In Genesis chapter 1, the very first chapter and book of the Bible, we see the phrase “And God said” nine times.

God speaks into and over His creation.  With purpose and power His words create out of nothing.  His words are instruments of life, truth, grace, and beauty.

Light bursts forth from darkness.

Beauty springs up out of the chaos.

Order emerges from disorder.

God speaks words of life.

But in Genesis 3 we learn that God is not the only one who speaks.  We see that there is a “war of words” going on in the Garden.  Satan uses words too.  But unlike God, his words bring death, pain, deception, separation, and ultimately the loss of Paradise.

As image-bearers of God, one of the ways we glorify Him is in our speech.  We reflect his image by the use of our words. God speaks over us as our Father.  He calls to us, and speaks over us as His children – adopted, treasured, lavished by His love, saints, citizens of heaven, and the list goes on. He speaks to us what He intends, but not without speaking over us our identity in Him.

One of the great gifts we can give our sons is the gift of our words.  I encourage you to be a father who doesn’t just speak to your sons, but speaks over them.  We never know the full impact, for good or bad, that our words will have.  May the words that our Father speaks over us be words we speak to and over our sons – words of life, joy, approval, hope, wisdom, and encouragement. 

Blessings,

Patrick Schwenk, The Dig for Kids

The Servant Dad {A Role, But First A Response}

Being a Servant Dad ~www.boydads.com

{The celebration continues! In honor of our launch, Patrick Schwenk is giving away three copies of The Dig for Kids, his devotional book for families! See details on how to enter below.}

My father’s wedding ring looks so much smaller in the palm of my hand than it had looked around his finger.  As a child, I would curiously spin this ring of gold around his finger.  I would slip it off, then back on again.  I would sometimes wear it loosely around my skinny fingers, wondering what it would be like to wear one of my own someday.

For 49 years my dad had worn this ring around his finger.  A simple, but sacred, symbol of the vow he had made to my mom at the altar on their wedding day.  Both of them made costly commitments of love to one another that day.

I take you to be my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death do us part.

This ring must have been so much heavier to wear than it is for me to hold now.  Its symbolic significance is one of service to a family and for a family.  To be a servant-Dad and husband is not just a role- first, it is a response.  It is a response to the grace poured out on us in Jesus as servant to us.  This grace, received, and then responded to, informs our role as men to our families. As Tim Keller writes, “Jesus redefined all authority as servant-authority.” 

Paul wrote to a group of Christians in the city of Ephesus (Ch. 5), encouraging them to model what Jesus had done for them.  The gospel has to be in us before it comes out of us.  And so Paul uses the picture of Jesus’ sacrificial love and service as a model to motivate husbands and fathers to embody the same for their families.

“25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.”

This passage is a reminder that wearing a ring is also taking up a cross. Though much could be said here, I am reminded as we start a new year that God calls us to serve our families in the following three ways:

Serve with grace – God does not love us based on our performance or behavior. To serve our families with grace is to unconditionally love them and lead them even when it is difficult.  His grace transforms our hearts and doesn’t just train our behavior.    He is tender, patient, compassionate, and slow to anger.

Serve with sacrifice – God’s love was costly.  It was not merely an emotion or sentiment.  Jesus loved with actions.  As the suffering servant, Jesus looked to the interest of others before his own.  This grace, poured out for us and in us, motivates us (and empowers us) to do the same for our families.

Serve with truth – Serving like Jesus is not merely a duty; it has a destination.  Jesus sacrificially served so that we might walk in the truth and be found growing in the direction of holiness.  We are called to serve our families by spiritually leading them, teaching them, and modeling Jesus to them.  This servant-leadership is for the purpose of leading them toward a living and growing relationship with their Savior.

In this New Year, may God’s grace, which has been poured out on you, empower you to serve your family as Jesus serves his church.  May your role as a dad not just be a responsibility, but may it be a joyful response to the good news of Jesus at work in you.  And may your ring be a constant reminder of your commitment and calling to serve with grace, sacrificial love, and truth.

Blessings in Christ,

Patrick Schwenk, The Dig for Kids

Of the three types of service we looked at today, which is the hardest for you to demonstrate?

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We’re giving away three copies of Patrick’s popular devotional for families, The Dig for Kids! All launch giveaways end 1/31/13. You’re welcome to enter as many times as you like.

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