Tag Archives: Parenting

Want to be a better father?

10 things great dads do

My review of 10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

5 years and 2 months ago, my wife and I become the parents to a beautiful baby girl. In March of this year we became the parents to the cutest baby boy ever born…I might be a little bias. Outside of marriage, there is probably nothing that teaches people more about themselves than parenting and in 5 short years, I have had some great moments and some not so great moments. There are moments I look back at and wonder how I could have possibly responded and acted the way I did. Then there are times where I have the perfect parent mindset and I wonder why it does not remain forever. As anyone will tell you, parenting is hard work. It is a tough task for anyone. The only people who might say parenting is easy would be those parents who have abdicated their responsibility to actually raise their kids and pay others to do it.

As soon as you say you want to be the best parent there is, your child will unknowingly find a way to put you to the test. You might be on the way home from work and say I am going to be the perfect father when I get home. Then, you walk in the door to your house and it looks like a tornado has somehow picked out the inside of your home and completely turned everything around. The home you left when you went to work in the morning is a distant memory. Your wife is laying on the couch (if she doesn’t meet you at the door and tell you “good luck, I will be back in a month”) completely worn out from the day. Every room looks like my daughter turned into the incredible hulk and just went smashing through the house. On top of that, she has decided the walls would be her painting and coloring canvas instead of paper, the toilets are clogged because she used too much toilet paper after using the bathroom, water is all over the bathroom floor from her cannonball into the bathtub, the floors are a slip-n-slide due to drool from my teething son, and my daughter is running around the house singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs. Ok, so the truth is this has never happened to me, it may have to some of you but I just wanted to include this for dramatic effect. It seems when we decide to become better at something, the universe comes at you with all guns blazing. It is crazy how this happens. But every feeling you have had to this moment goes out the window as you just want to walk back out and try again in a couple hours.

I have to admit I have never personally experienced anything this bad, but it does seem that every time I truly decide I am going to be more patient with my kids, something happens to test it. Up until reading this book, I had been praying and asking God to help me become a better father and husband. 10 Things Great Dads Do was the best book for me to read at my current stage in life. I am far from being a perfect dad. I have my good moments and my bad moments but unfortunately, it seems like the bad moments far outweigh the good moments. I do not want to be the dad who looks back and regrets how he parented his kids. I want to be the dad who looks back and cherishes every moment he had with his children and would not change a thing. I know this would only happen in a perfect world but I also know if I truly want to be the best father and husband I can be, it will take hard work, discipline and dedication. Some people might say it will take blood, sweat and tears, which can also be true but I think you get the picture. To be a good father, it will take work because our kids really know how to bring out the worst in us…and they never had to be trained for it. After reading 10 Things, I can honestly say I have been refreshed, encouraged and challenged to be the best father I can be as well as equipped with some helpful tips and advice on how to move forward in my quest to better fathering.

Rick Johnson shares from personal experiences as well as stories from other fathers in order to help dads make decisions to be great dads, and that is what it takes, a decision to do it and then the discipline to follow through. Anyone can be a great dad but in order to do so, you cannot forfeit your responsibilities, you have to embrace them. Along with this, there is enormous pressure on fathers. It has been proven that children without a father face a much more difficult life than children with fathers. Daughters and sons both need the presence of a father or the tide turns against them in life and life becomes an even more intense uphill battle. Thus, fathers really need to step up to the plate for the sake of their children, and the next generation. This book will encourage and equip you with ideas on how to become the father you long to be.

As a father, are you beat up? Are you discouraged because there seems to be more yelling than laughter in your home? Are you tempted to just become more withdrawn from your family and just hope above that everything will turn out ok and then you can come back in to your children’s lives? Or are you going through a great stretch in your life right now where everything is just peachy? No matter where you are at in your journey of fatherhood, this book is worth your time. I can honestly say I have been challenged to be a better father through this book and it has given me renewed energy to actually strive to be the best father I can be. If you know of a man in your life who is just getting beat up as a father and is discouraged, get him a copy of this book. It will help.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Revell Books in return for a review of the book.

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Weekly Scoop 3/28

Friday means time for the Weekly Scoop. Here are a few links for some great reading over the weekend.

It has been almost 13 years since the twin towers fell. Here is the story of One World Trade Center: http://time.com/world-trade-center/

Here is a great video on being raised without all the “stuff” that this generation has: Were you born in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s?

As the father to a little girl, so many of these hit home: Things little girls wish their daddies knew.

Want to start journaling? Here are a few reasons you should as well as how to start: Journaling 101.

I do not always read Matt Walsh’s blog, but when I do, I am typically not disappointed. Here is a response to a feminist.

Did science just make a discovery that points to God? It appears that way. But even if science discovered something that claimed there was no God, would it affect your faith? Does this big bang breakthrough give evidence for God?

One of the most important questions in the world is “Who is Jesus” because how you answer the question determines everything about your life. Here, Bono gives his answer to the question.

For pastors, church leaders, volunteers and even regular church attenders, here is a great link on how to make visitors feel welcome. 7 ways to connect with visitors.

Lastly, this video by David Platt is challenging because it comes around the question of what if we truly were as enthusiastic about Jesus as we were about some of the other things in our lives? This parable hits home.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the Weekly Scoop. Feel free to share this through Twitter, Facebook or email with others you believe would benefit from any of the above articles.


Weekly Scoop

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After a couple weeks hiatus, the Weekly Scoop is back, so without further ado, here are the links you should take the time to check out.

The movie Frozen has been a huge hit. Here is a great review of the movie: The Cold that Bothers Us.

A couple weeks ago, Donald Miller stirred up the waters in a post about why he does not regularly attend church. Ed Stetzer responded in a great way: Should I stay or should I go.

As a father to a daughter, I can definitely relate with this father’s open letter to his dauther: From the make up aisle.

Trent Hunter blogs his response to a question his son asks him: I hope my son’s life is in danger.

If you are young and see yourself as a leader, check out this post from Catalyst Conferences: 5 Ways to excel as a young leader.

A great post by Tim Challies regarding how Christians should respond to the new “Son of God” movie coming out: Writing checks to Mel Gibson.

Kevin DeYoung brings a great post about who in the church should be able to baptize: Who can baptize?

Well, thanks for checking in and I hope you take the time to check out these links. If you feel there is an article I should post to, please comment below and I will look into it for next week.


Weekly Scoop

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It’s Friday which means it’s time for the Weekly Scoop. Here are a few links I came across throughout the week that I believe would be worth your time. You will find links that challenge you to think, encourage you, open your eyes to something new and even cause you to laugh. Here they are:

First, Donald Miller, on his Storyline Blog this past week posted a couple articles explaining why he does not regularly attend church. I share a link to them here because we as Christians need to be prepared to have conversations like these: I connect with God elsewhere and Why I don’t go to church often.

As you can imagine, the previous two posts caused quite a stir, but one of the best responses was written by Mike Cosper: Donald Miller and the Culture of Contemporary Worship.

Here is a post for married couples: Mark Driscoll posted a great blog over at Resurgence on 1 Thing We would have changed in our marriage.

Here is an interesting post on the topic of men and child support related to women and abortion: Child Support.

This past week, Bill Nye and Ken Ham held a debate in Kentucky that was live streamed on CNN. I did not watch it but I followed along with it somewhat on Twitter. I read this blog the next day: The Ham-Nye creation debate: a huge missed opportunity.

Michael Hyatt posts a podcast on how to become a better conversationalist. I love the stuff Michael puts out and if you do not follow him, I highly recommend you do: Becoming a better conversationalist.

One for pastors, here is another great post by Justin Lathrop: 5 ways to avoid stress as a pastor.

Lastly, if you have never seen a Hoops and Yoyo card, you are missing out. Here is one for this Friday: It’s I Don’t Care Friday.

 

Thanks for checking out the weekly scoop. If you like what you see feel free to subscribe by clicking the bottom right link that says +Follow. You can also follow me on Twitter using the link on your right. Lastly, share this with your Twitter followers as well. If there is a post or article you think I should include on my next weekly scoop, mention it in the comments below.


Weekly Scoop

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Not only is today the day I post my Weekly Scoop, but today I am actually heading to the hospital for gallbladder surgery. Yes, today will be the day I part with something that has been with me for over 32 years. However, even though it has been with me for so long, I do not believe I am going to miss it, or the pain it has given me in recent days. With that said, I am going to get this post posted so I can get ready to head to the hospital.

This is a great article on the impact missionaries have had in numerous locations around the world: The Impact world missionaries have made.

A big event coming up is the big game on Sunday, but along with that comes another issue, that of human trafficking. Ed Stetzer addresses a misconception that comes with it: The Super Bowl and Sex Trafficking.

Here is a great post on the issues facing a husband and wife after baby. This is a great read for both men and women: Before you were mommy.

A song that is pretty popular these days is “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Jackie Hill responds to the message the song preaches: Former lesbian responds to Same Love.

This video presents the gospel in a different but effective way: Video Preaches the gospel in breathtaking way.

Did you watch the Grammys? Wonder how Christians should respond or what we can take away from it? Here are a couple perspectives: Worldview responses to the Grammys.

Has your church moved away from an evening service? Here is a great perspective on why not to: Why I love the evening service.

As a youth pastor, I am constantly finding articles on how to reach the next generation. Here is another great article for parents, youth workers, and ministers alike: How to rescue the next generation.

Churches should be known for being gospel cultures. But how can churches make sure they stay this way? Ray Ortlund addresses this question: Safeguarding your church as a gospel culture.

Justin Lathrop has a great article regarding how churches can stay on mission as well. Not only is it good for churches, it is also good for individuals: How to stay on mission.

Lastly, this is an interesting article on the question of whether or not authenticity has trumped holiness in churches: Has authenticity trumped holiness?

That is all for today. If you enjoy reading these links, feel free to share this through any of your social media outlets. Lastly, if there is anything you believe I should share next week in my weekly scoop, share it with me on twitter or leave it in the comments below.


Weekly Scoop

It started with my daughter, moved on to my wife and then finally caught up with me. It is not often I get sick but unfortunately, this time, I caught the bug. I am slowly starting to regain my energy and will hopefully be fully recovered this weekend. With all of that said, I am glad I can still share my Weekly Scoop with you and with that said, here are some links I believe would be worth your time:

Here are a few pictures of baby animals in the womb. It’s amazing we still call them babies, but human babies in the womb are only fetus’? Something that can be easily disposed of? 12 Unborn Animals in the Womb.

Are you working with youth in any capacity? This video is for you: How to Ruin Young People.

Celebrity pastors and the issues they can create: Pastor rolls up in a tour bus.

Fathers can and will fail at something in their parenting…but even our failures can be and are redeemed by the blood of Jesus: Daddy Fails redeemed by Jesus.

Here is a challenging but encouraging read for the mothers out there: Steps to overcome anger in the moment.

Are you making any of these mistakes that hinder your child’s leadership development: 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors.

Do you often post to social media in the heat of the moment? 5 Question to ask before posting.

Are you considering quitting social media? If so, here are two posts that will help you make the right decision: How can I know if I should quit and Why I kissed social media goodbye.

Thanks again for checking out my Weekly Scoop. Feel free to share this with others if you find it beneficial to yourself. Also, if you read anything you believe I should be aware of, share it with me in the comments.


Weekly Scoop

It is Friday, which means I only had one more day to post my weekly scoop. I want to begin with a quote I saw on Twitter earlier this week.

In a hurting world, we need Christians prepared to commit to Christ wholeheartedly, think deeply, give dangerously, and live authentically. – RZIM Canada

This quote speaks for itself as to the content but I dare you to actually think about it and then take a look at your life and ask yourself if this is how your life as a follower of Christ could be defined.

Now, without further ado, here are the links you should take a minute and check out.

Are you busy? Wondering how to slow down or try to retain a sense of your sanity? Ann Voskamp’s blog will encourage you in a couple ways: 1, you are not alone; and 2, you can remain sane during life’s most insane moments: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/09/the-key-to-staying-sane-in-spinning-world/

I read this story the other day of a pastor’s first day on the job. Check it out: http://ireporterstv.co/church-members-mistreat-homeless-man-in-church-unaware-it-is-their-pastor-in-disguise/

For this one, I do not have a link to share but something I was made aware of through the internet this past week is something that will sicken you: sex-selective abortions. They are already being done in some areas of the world. Could this be the next thing to rock our country? Do a Google search to read up on this as there will come a time where you might need to be ready to share your opinion on this topic.

If you have an iPhone, make it work for you, not the other way around: http://adammclane.com/2013/09/23/7-ios-7-hacks-for-parents/

Finally, a link that I believe is a must read for any parent, youth worker, pastor, teacher, etc. When I read this, it was eye-opening and we need to have our eyes opened. So check it out: www.annemariemiller.com/2013/08/19/three-things-you-dont-know-about-your-children-and-sex/

That is all for this week. I pray that these links will serve to open your eyes to the world around you, help you manage your life in a better way or encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Are there any stories you would recommend I check out? Let me know in the comments section.

 


First-Time Dad by John Fuller

Whenever I read a book, I like to read something written by someone who understands and knows the topic they are writing about; and not just book knowledge, but an experiential knowledge. If I read a book on how to live by faith, I want to read a book written by someone who has gone through a hard time where their faith is what brought them through. If I read a book on marriage, I want to read something written by someone who has actually been married, not just studied it. I do not believe I am alone in this feeling either. I do not believe anyone would want to read a book on any topic written by someone who does not truly know and understand the field of which they are writing. In First-Time Dad, John Fuller knows what he is talking about and not just through reading books about parenting or doing research and watching families interact. He is writing from the perspective of having children of his own, 6 of them to be exact. For me, when I see a parenting book written by someone who has 6 kids, I know this author will have some good advice and tips to follow.

When I received this book, I was really looking forward to digging into it to see what kind of advice John Fuller would present. I have a 2 ½ year old daughter and she brings so much joy to our lives. I could not imagine life without her now. But, along with that, being a parent was quite the shock and change in lifestyle. John does a great job helping prepare fathers for this change. Much research has been done and shown that the position of father is one of the most important when it comes to how children grow up and mature. Children who grow up without the constant presence of a father have been shown to have a harder time in life than those who grow up with a father who is active and present in their lives. This affects both boys and girls. This fact was another reason I was eager to read this book because as a father myself, I want to learn from those who have been there and done that. I want to learn from their mistakes and glean from their successes in ways that will help guide me in my fathering. John Fuller in First-Time Dad does not disappoint.

John presents many different sides of being a father from the joy that comes from discovering your wife is pregnant to the responsibilities that come from now having to take care of and provide for one more person in the home. This little person is someone who will look up to you for a long time and who will be a part of your life forever. Your son or daughter needs a father who will invest in them and help guide them through their lives. They will need someone to be strong for them at times and other times someone who will cry with them. Every child longs for that relationship with their father and when it is absent from their lives, it will show itself in various ways. As you survey the culture, you see this on display almost anywhere you look. The power a father has in the life of his son or daughter should be constantly on a father’s mind. It is hard to do but to be the father that you can be, it is a necessity. I have struggled at times in only 2 ½ years but I am striving to make adjustments and improvements wherever I can.

First Time Dad is written in a way that is easy to follow and keeps you interested from page to page. John shares stories from his own experiences as well as stories from other parents he has had the opportunity to interact with throughout his time at Focus on the Family. He is not shy about helping fathers understand the changes that are to come in that he helps a new dad understand more about how a baby will affect their family. He writes on how to love your wife and guard
your marriage because that is the most important relationship your child will be exposed to. Time and again we see that when marriages involving children fall apart, the children involved in that relationship often fall apart as well. It is disheartening to see. Many marriages with children that fall apart do so because the marriage was not guarded and the mother and father drifted apart instead of drawing on each other even more. Two other important parts of this book is a chapter on the differences between boys and girls and one on the important part father’s play in the spiritual formation of a child’s heart. Fuller brings this book to a close with a chapter on just how fast life goes once you have a child. I can definitely relate with this part in that it seems like just yesterday, we were bringing our daughter home from the hospital and now she is full of life and singing and dancing and running around endlessly on a seemingly non-stop sugar rush.

I would highly recommend First-Time Dad for any first time dad who might want to go into fatherhood with their eyes opened. I would also recommend this book for any father who already has a child or two but notices some areas that could use some improvement. This book is one that I will go back to many times as a father. So for all you dads out there, let’s remember the importance of the position we hold in our homes and families and be the dads we need to be. One step that might help you could be picking up this book.

Thanks for taking the time to read this review. If any of you dads who read this have any stories of successes or failures you would want to share, please feel free to do so.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Press in exchange for this review.


Vomit and a New Perspective on Grace, Love and Sanctification

Parents will appreciate this post. The other night, as I am coming home from work, my wife calls me with some anxiousness in her voice. It turned out that our daughter, only 10 months old, had thrown up in her crib. And this was not just the milk spit up after eating. This was for real spit up, you could even call it projectile vomit. Well, my wife waited until I got home for me to help her clean it up because it was quite a bit. She had gone in after hearing Ellie make a strange sound and that is when she discovered that it was throw up. It was going to take both of us to clean it up because it was everywhere. When I got home I walked into the room to start taking the clothes off my little girl so we could clean her up. She was laying on her stomach asleep, clutching her little bear that she sleeps with and completely soaked on the front with spit up. It was amazing she was able to sleep. So I rolled her over and started to take her clothes off so Marcie could give her a bath and I could clean up the crib. At first, Ellie had no idea what was going on. She didn’t even wake up until I had everything off except her shirt and diaper. Finally, we got her clothes off and Marcie took her to shower. I turned on the light in her room and surveyed the scene. There were pieces of food outside of her crib, on the side of her crib and all over her crib sheet. I once again wondered how she was able to sleep.

After everything was cleaned up and Marcie had given her a bath and got her ready for bed again, Marcie put her back in her crib to sleep and I went about my normal routine when I come home from work, which consists of unwinding for a few minutes and then a shower. While I was showering, God revealed a new picture of His grace towards me. He gave me a new perspective on what had just happened. My daughter could not clean herself up. She needed my help. There was no possible way that she was ever going to get clean without my wife and I stepping in to help. The same goes for my walk with the Lord. There is no way I could ever clean myself up enough to deserve God’s grace.

God, in His mercy, while we were still sinners, dead in our sins, sent His Son to die for me so that I could live. He came and got me while I was still in my mess, washed me in His blood and then clothed me with His righteousness. In the situation with my daughter, she was only asleep; she would have eventually woken up. In our case as humans, we would never wake up if not for God’s love. So God gives us life and washes us clean and then clothes us with His righteousness, not in the filthy rags we once wore. After Marcie bathed Ellie, we gave her new clothes to put on so she could go back to sleep. God gives us new clothes so that we can live for Him and shine for Him. He does not just take old people and make them new. He takes dead people and gives them life. So while what happened with my daughter is a small picture of God’s grace, it pales in comparison with what God has done for us.

Lastly, this whole situation reminded me of the process of sanctification. We can never wash ourselves clean on our own accord. We can NOT sanctify ourselves. Once again, it is completely and fully God’s work in us, through us and for us. (For more on this, I recommend you read My Utmost for His Highest for today, July 23rd. You can find it Here.) Just as my daughter would have continued to sleep and remain in her mess, so we would do the same if not for God stepping in and beginning the whole process.

I will forever remember the events of this night because of what God was able to teach me through the whole situation. I know there will be many more instances like this because that is what parents do, which is why I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be a parent. I don’t deserve the chance but I am so looking forward to what God reveals to me about Himself through everything.

A couple passages that touch on the same topic as this blog are Romans 5 and Ephesians 2. Check them out.

I pray God is able to use this blog to bless you or encourage you in some way or another. If it did, you can feel free to subscribe from the main page and have new blogs sent right to your email.

God bless.


Surviving or Changing?

I am reading this book right now as part of a “Blogging for Books” program that Multnomah Publishing that encourages people who enjoy blogging and reading to read books they publish and then offer a review of the book. The book I am reading is calledSun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. The guy is an extremely dynamic speaker and if he ever had to leave the ministry, he could be an extremely successful salesman. The book is concerning audacious faith and is kind of going along the same lines as Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Radical by David Platt in trying to call people out to a more radical life for Christ. I am only in chapter 3 but I am already a little weary of the word audacious right now. But anyways, this is not the book review so I will save that for later.

However, what this post is about is something I read within the book. Steven has just finished sharing a story of what he prays over his boys each night after they have gone to sleep. Then he shares a quote of something he once heard a preacher say. It is worth sharing here:
“I’m not raising my kids to survive the world. I’m raising them to change it.” (Sun Stand Still, pg. 31-32)
The fact that I have a 7 month old daughter is what caused this quote to stand out. There is so much garbage going on in the world today that many parents are worried about what their kids will have to look forward to. This mindset is more born out of a spirit of fear than of a spirit that should be alive and well within Christians. If we are worried about how our kids will handle the world when they are older, are we really imparting to them the fact that “we are more than conquerors?” (Romans 8:37) Are we showing them with our lives that we believe what Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” This quote stood out to me as a challenge to raise my daughter Ellie in the fear of the Lord and not the fear of man. Matthew 10:28 tells us not to “fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”
What about me? Am I living that way? Am I living to survive the world or am I living to change the world? I have read in many books already that our kids will act like we act more than they will just do what we say. If that is so, am I living with a spirit of fear? Am I living to survive the world or to change it? “For God gave us a spirit NOT of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I know what I want to do, and what I want my daughter to do. But what is she going to see in me as I live each day before her eyes?
What do others see in you?