It seemed to me that about 90 percent of the counseling issues that I ran into came about because a man did not undertake the spiritual leadership role that God had called him to in his family.the largest goal wasn’t just to get the men – it was to equip them to be spiritual leaders of their familiesI’m a lot more worried about the extinction of the men who know how to lead a family.Today is different because the patrol leader has appoint you to be “point man.” In essence, you’re the leader. Everyone else will fall in behind you. And as you move out to encounter the enemy, you realize that the survival of those seven men stepping cautiously behind you will depend upon just one thing: your ability to lead. Your judgement may determine whether they live or die. The responsibility hangs over your head like the suffocating humidity that hangs heavy in the air.What would you be feeling under such conditions? The survival of each member of your family – and its survival as a whole – would completely depend upon your ability to lead through the maze of possible ambushes, unseen booby traps, invisible snipers, and all the extraordinary hazards of combat. Would you be motivated? Would your senses and adrenalin be working overtime? Of course they would! You would know in your guy that the survival of your family was up to you. It’s all on your shoulders…because you are the leader.I’ve asked you how you intend to keep your marriage off the casualty list. Let me ask you something else. What are you doing to keep your kids off the casualty list? Not what is your wife doing, not what is the church youth directory doing, not what is the pastor doing, but what are you doing? Because some of those kids on the casualty list are from Christian homes.We need some men who have a passion to be better dads than they are attorneys, salesman, foreman, pastors, or doctors.But in this war, it’s different. In this war, Jesus Christ is looking for men who will live for their families. That’s what He would have you to do.I’m afraid there are too many husbands and fathers today who are in the same situation. When it comes to their families, they’re simply standing there. Motionless. Like the sixth men in the Royal Artillery, they’re making about as much difference in their homes as parsley on a plate of guacamole.The sixth man had no idea he was supposed to be holding the horse. And too many men today have no idea that their job is to save the boys.“If I could offer a single prescription for the survival of America, and particularly black America,” wrote William Raspberry, a black columnist with the Washington Post, ‘it would be to restore the family And if you asked me how to do it, my answer – doubtlessly oversimplified – would be: save the boys.”Tragically, the black family in modern America has largely lost its boys. The enemy has effectively removed black males from their God-appointed positions of leadership and responsibility – and he has the same goal in mind for the rest of America. He may use different methods to achieve his goal, but his strategy is the same: Destroy the boys by neutralizing the males.Through decades of social policy…the federal government has gutted and plundered the black community of its husbands and fathers. The result is that boys learn that drugs and larceny are the fastest ways of making lots of cash. They simply don’t have fathers who can teach and demonstrate the virtues of a healthy work ethic, the importance of sexual discipline and responsibility, the benefits of education and the beauty of transcendent values.During that time the father would form his son as a man. He would raise his son in his own presence and teach him all that he knew. In fact, much of the son’s training would consist of his father’s example. The son would see what the father was doing, and would thus learn what the father knew…his father was expected to equip him to function as an adult male.As early as 1642, “Massachusetts united its various town schools into a system, and made it unlawful for parents to keep their children out of school.”So it was over two hundred years ago that the seeds were planted which removed men from their God-appointed role of raising boys. In our generation, those seeds are bearing fruit. And the fruit is killing us.I had five goals for saving my boys/Knowing and obeying Jesus ChrisKnowing and displaying godly characterKnowing and loving my wifeKnowing and loving my childrenKnowing my gifts and abilities so I can work hard and effectively in an area of strength, rather than weakness, contribute effectively to the lives of others – and have a little fun at the same time.What is true in bowling is true in fathering. Error increases with distance. In other words, if I am going to be the family that God has called me to be, then I must be there. On-site. Consistently.An affair… That word has a sore of nice, light, airy ring to it. Like quiche. It certainly isn’t a judgemental term like adultery. The word affair is fluffy and non-threatening. Affair is to adultery what quiche is to pot roast.America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (Alexis De Tocqueville)“a relationship can be sexual long before it becomes erotic. Just because I’m not touching a woman, or just because I’m not envisioning specific erotic encounters, does not mean I’m becoming sexually involved with her. The erotic is usually not the beginning but the culmination of sexual attraction.Have you ever notice how many men in the Bible failed in the second half of life? Our enemy is so cunning that he will wait forty or even fifty years to set a trap.When you leave your wife to commit adultery with another woman, you take yourself with you. And you are your biggest problem. I am my biggest problem, and you are yours. You are walking into this new relationship with the same personality, strengths, and weaknesses you have in your current marriage. And if you can’t work out things with your current wife, what makes you think it will be any different with another woman.There is nothing wrong with desiring happiness, but horrendous problems develop when we become disobedient to obtain it.The lure of adultery is that another woman will truly meet your needs. The lie of adultery is that no other woman on the face of the earth, no matter how alluring, interesting, or beautiful, has the capacity to fully meet the needs of another human being.It is no mistake that in the Old Testament God chose to put the mark of His covenant with Israel on the male penis. He didn’t put it on the arm, or on the elbow, or on the thigh. God demanded every Jewish man be circumcised on his sexual organ to remind him of the fact that he belonged to God.Forgiveness is available to all. But forgiveness does not automatically restore the privilege of leadership. Let me offer a critical principle: In the New Testament, forgiveness is free, but leadership is earned. It is earned by the power of a man’s life. Sin, although forgiven, always sets off practical consequences. A mature, spiritual leader who sins and repents is forgiven, but he is not exempt from the series of aftershocks that will come his way from his disobedience.That’s why there is a difference between the sin of an immature believer and the sin of a mature one who is in leadership. And when a mature spiritual leader in the second half of his life commits sexual immorality, there are severe consequences. Please understand that I am not excusing a sin at any age. I am saying, however, that those mature men who are in spiritual leadership are held to a higher standard. That’s the crux of James 3:1: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgementIf you can’t come to terms with evil or break habits that continue to bring reproach to the name of Christ, please, do the Lord (and us in ministry) a favor and resign.My belief is that we should be very slow to help back to the pulpit men, who having once been tried, have proved themselves to have too little grace to stand the crucial test of ministerial life.The offices of husband and father are also character professions.If we ever hope to raise moral standards outside the church, then we better begin by raising them within the church.“Don’t I have a right to be happy?” In that one statement he captured the spirit of our age.If we are going to save our boys, then we must make a personal commitment to finish the race. It’s a commitment we renew every morning. If they don’t see us finish the race, why should they?A boy who has a father who is committed to his mother will have a tremendous advantage when he becomes a husband. He will have an intuitive understanding that his commitment in marriage is not a right to be happy, but to demonstrate a willingness be responsible. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when it crowds out his personal happiness.C.S. Lewis once said, “If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart.”A one-woman kind of man must have a predetermined plan fixed in his mind so he can withstand the sneak attacks of the enemy. We never know when we are going to be tempted with our eyes. That’s why the plan must be predetermined. We must anticipate a tempting situation in advance and decide beforehand how we will deal with it. That’s the principle behind civil defense. It’s also the principle of sexual defense.Bill Hull writes that a man “mst know the Bible well enough, through study, to fight temptation and protect himself against the ideas and philosophies of the world. [He] is confronted daily with thousands of messages and ideas. A biblical defense system must sort out the ideas, take what is obedient to Christ, and reject what is not.These wrong thoughts are the grenades of the enemy. He hurls them into our minds at the most unexpected and surprising moments. You cannot stop them and turning them into opportunities to obey Christ.Adultery does not begin with the sexual organ, it begins with the mind. And the man who renews his commitment to his wife each day is a man of holiness and a lethal weapon in the hands of God.We owe to scripture the same reverence which we owed to God. (John Calvin)Strategy #3 – To effectively sever and alienate a man from the spiritual disciplines that will keep him fit and effective for battle.The enemy does not mind if you are spiritually active. He just doesn’t want you to be spiritually effective.I consider my time in the Word to be a morning briefing. Before I go out to face the day, I need to be briefed by the Lord. The Briefing serves different functions.
First, it reminds me that there is a God who is ruling the affairs of my life.Society lives as though there is no God, and I need to be reminded before I face the day that there is a God who is in control of my life and circumstances.
Second, I need to be reminded of what is true.Third, the morning briefing reinforces my convictions.I cannot afford to be spiritually anorexic when I’ve been given the responsibility to lead my family. A malnourished man is worthless in hand-to-hand combat. Because he has no strength, he is easy prey for the enemy.The danger in the Christian life is when I listed to a sermon or go to a Christian seminar or listen to a series of teaching tapes without applying the truth I hear to my life. That is spiritual bulimia. (Live what you learn).in the Christian life the opposite of ignorance is not knowledge, but obedience.The righteous man is not anorexic. He delights in getting clear direction from the Word of God, and this divine direction gives him satisfaction.The Christian view of meditation is exactly the reverse of its Eastern rival. In the Eastern version, you empty your mind by chanting some meaningless syllable; in the Christian practice, you fill it with the truth of God’s Word to ponder the biblical ramifications of your life.I grew up in a home with an oak tree right in the middle of the house. It wasn’t a red oak, a black oak, or even a white oak. It’s the kind of oak described in Isaiah 61:3, and it’s called an oak of righteousness. I’m referring to my dad.If the husband is a godly man who has a biblical vision for the family and leads out in the things of the Spirit, a godly wife will rejoice in this leadership and support him in it.If we Christians who are capable of having children don’t have them, then you tell me where the masculine men and feminine women for the next generation are going to come from. And if there are no more masculine men and feminine women for the next generation or the ones to follow, then you might as well go ahead and shut this country down.It’s abhorrent that the most dangerous place for a child in America is in the womb.This is not the kind of world that I want to bring a child into. – My response is simply, why not? How do you know that God won’t use your child to make a significant contribution toward changing the world? If the mother of Jonas Salk had felt that there would still be hundreds of thousands of kids crippled by polio. If Billy Graham’s parents were of that persuasion, there would be several million people whose lives would not have been touched by the gospel. If Abraham Lincoln’s parents had made that choice, this country might never have survived the internal hemorrhaging of civil war.I like what Mary C. Crowley said: “Every night I give my worries over the Lord. He’s going to be up all night anyway.”When people say that can’t afford kids, too many times I think what they are really saying is, “If we have kids, we will have to lower our standard of living.” If that is your real reason, you are making a decision not based on scriptural wisdom, but on contemporary propaganda. You may indeed have to lower your standard of living – in fact, you probably will – but I guarantee that your quality of life will go up dramatically.It’s been my experience that those who are willing to give up the immediate gratification that comes from choose a childless marriage quickly see a change taking place in their lives once a baby shows up. The change is this: God begins dealing with your own selfishness by giving you someone to care for who is infinitely more selfish than you. Babies are not only the cutest creatures on the face of the earth, they are by far the most self.The way God deals with my own selfishness is to give me someone to serve who has zero interest in serving me. You can’t tell me that God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Not too many people in the world could out-selfish me one-on-one. But every time we’ve had a baby, I’ve met my match. Each of my kids resembled me. I don’t mean they looked like me, I mean they were as selfish as me. That meant that somebody in the family was going to have to grow up. Guess who was nominated?If God blesses you with children, you’ll be taking part in one of the most significant accomplishments a man can enjoy.Some guys head their own corporations by age thirty-five. Big deal.Some guys win five gold medals at the Olympics. Big deal.Some guys climb Mount Everest. Big deal.Some guys swim the length of the Pacific under water without taking a break. Big deal.In my book, none of those exploits come close to the man who has learned to change a dirty diaper without throwing up. That’s what I call a big deal. Especially when you can do it without an oxygen mask. It’s also what Jesus called being a servant.Why is this sexual identity thing such a big deal? It’ll let John Piper step up to the microphone to answer that: “The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of maleness and femaleness. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young man and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood is epidemic… The consequence… is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that comes with the loss of God-given identity.I pastored for ten years in the San Francisco Bay area and counseled with more than a few homosexuals. Without exception, every one of them came from a home where the basic principles of Ephesians 5:22-6:4 were not implemented.Research findings overwhelmingly indicate that homosexuals are not born but bred…there is increasing agreement that homosexuals rarely (if ever) occur without some import (or controlling) contribution from parents.These children may have had the Scripture drilled into them at home and church, but somewhere along the line, their fathers did not give them the accurate bearings they so desperately needed. They were reading a compass that confused them about who they were and how they were to view themselves.In gender role development, the evidence points to fathers as having the more important influence, not only in fostering a male self-concept in boys, but femininity in girls. Mothers do contribute to their daughters’ adoption of the feminine role, but have little influence on the masculinity of their sons.Moral Landmark #1: Fathers should raise their children in FairnessTestosterone makes little boys aggressive. It’s part of being a male.In fact, there is a great consensus among psychologists about this conclusion that any other social, emotional, or intellectual difference between men and women.Moral Landmark #2: Fathers should raise their children with tenderness1. Listen to them and respect their feelings.“The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse.” Don’t say, “I’m sorry if I was wrong,” say “I was wrong. It was my fault.” Spell it out with a repentant heart, and they will not only respect you, they will grow in their love for you.3. Listen to the input your wife gives you about each child.4. Be “high touch” and dispense liberal doses of encouragement to both sons and daughters (and don’t forget your wife while you’re at it)Moral Landmark #3: Fathers should raise their children with firmnessEphesians 6:4 says children are to be raised in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. The word discipline “may be described as training by mean of rules and regulations, rewards, and when necessary, punishments. It refers primarily to what is done to the child”
By contrast, the word admonition is primarily “training by means of the spoken word, whether that word be teaching, warning, or encouragement. It refers primarily to what is said to the child.Moral Landmark #4: Fathers should raise their children in ChristWhen a father disciplines and instructs his children in the admonition of the Lord, he is under the quality control of the Holy Spirit. His primary purpose is to train the child, not abuse the child. The fact that he is under the influence of this quality control – rather than out of control – is in and of itself an example to his children of the way they are to handle their children when they become parents.Parents of highly self-confident children met three criteria:1) They were very warm and accepting of their children.2) They provided clear guidance for their children.3) They were respectful of their children’s initiative and endeavors.God is looking for men between twenty-five and forty-five who will commit to be “rocks” for their families. These kind of rocks are characterized by an unwavering commitment to their wives, a willingness to get involved in the lives of their children, and a gut-level desire to follow hard after Jesus Christ. These rocks are willing to apply their Christian principles to their careers, even if it costs them a promotion. These rocks know that true success is not measured by a man’s net worth but by his willingness to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
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