One of the greatest plays in baseball

(Where is your citizenship)

 

Philippians 3:20New International Version (NIV)

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

Some questions for us to ponder:

  • How important is God’s word to us?
  • How important is God’s truth to us?
  • How important is our sanctification to God?
  • What’s holding you back from taking your citizenship seriously?

Blessings,
Dante

What is God’s will in your life

Proverbs-Main-Title-Slide-400x300Proverbs 1:1-7New International Version (NIV)

Purpose and Theme

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

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Guys, is your marriage in trouble, stagnant or on its way toward divorce

10 ways to turn things around

considering-divorce1-578x295I read a story a while back (not sure of source) but it goes something like this:  A couple, who was hell-bent on getting a divorce came in to their Pastor’s office.  They had both agreed that they wanted to continue to come to that particular church and they both wanted their pastor to approve their divorce.  They were a bitter couple who both made years of mistakes and were tired of each other and the pain that they caused each other.  They were angry, bitter and maligned and neither one could be in a room for longer than 20 minutes before a massive shouting match would ensue. So in walks the Pastor into his office and before he could begin the meeting they turned that bitterness toward willful demand and both insisted that the Pastor grant them a divorce and to keep their membership in good standing.  Each spouse, for the first time in 10 years, were perfectly aligned in their case in granting their divorce.  The Pastor tried every angle in counseling that he could and had used before even in the most difficult of situations and even this well-seasoned Pastor could not budge this couple.  So finally, he interrupted and spoke boldly and with authority to this rancid couple.  “Okay,” he said, “I will grant both of your requests on one and only one condition…” the pastor said.  The couple was astonished and both shocked and looking back at each other said they would.  The condition was that for three months they had to live together amicably.  They had to turn insult into compliment, selfishness into serving and anger into gentleness.  They had to live gently and lovingly with each other.  They had to give it their most honest try to the pastor knew enough about this couple and their friends that he knew that they could not hide from doing that.  “Three months?,” they both said.  Both of them expecting the pastor would have asked for a year and both were happy to honestly oblige.

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What really matters?

A story of two men.  One man who lacked nothing and another man who had to work for everything.  The Rich Man for all intents and purposes was all that the world would define as successful.  His retirement account was fully funded  at the age of 30 had 8 zeroes attached to it and his kids and grand kids (future children) and wife were fully funded as well.  He drove an Audi, a Porsche and a Range Rover along with an Indian Motor-cycle.  He had a condo in Vail, Colorado, a summer home in the Hampton’s and a Penthouse in Chicago.  Everything that he touched whether good or bad seemed to always work out in his favor.  There was even one year where he had a bad year in investing in the stock market and bought property instead only to find out that he bought the bottom of the real estate market and doubled his investment in less than one year.  His parents were divorced as their parents were divorced as well.  He was a trust fund kid and never really appreciated anything that he earned or was given.  This man was very agnostic.  He knew that there was some superior being, because to say that there wasn’t would be foolish.  But he lacked any positive legacy in faith and or mentoring in the way that God would call us to do so.

The other man had a decent job by worldly standards.  He wasn’t rich, by US standards, but he wasn’t poor either.  If you were to mark him down based on income tax he would fall in the upper middle-class.  He had a wife and three kids and a family that he looked forward to getting home to every day.  He was by far not the smartest nor was he the dumbest.  He was average to above average in all that he did.  The difference is that he had to work hard for everything.  His dad instilled in him a work ethic that could be rivaled by few.  His mom gave him the importance of relationships and to treat the least of these with the utmost respect whether they deserved it or not.  His mom had a faith that was unending and yet realistic to know that she was a sinner that was in constant need of God’s grace and forgiveness.  This man’s relationship with God was the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Savior, but to say that he was truly a friend of Jesus would be a stretch. That is, until a men’s conference that challenged the very core of his being.  One speaker in particular asked him what legacy would his life leave?  That question haunted him and the other 40 men that went to this conference.  Ten of the men (including this man) pledged to take this further, to be real with each other and to confess their sins together.  They were not going to do fluff or pat each other on the back, but they were going to get real and get accountability and to start a regular men’s group at their church.  So that very night six months before his big work trip came about these ten men confessed to each other.

All of these 10 men did not hold back nor hide anything.  One shared some infidelity, six shared pornography, one shared anger and two shared addictions.  All shared that they loved Jesus and they no longer wanted to just follow him, they all wanted to befriend Him and be His disciples.  So the journey began.

Six months later these two men, unbeknownst to them, met on their way to South America.  As God would have it, their paths crossed on first class.  The Rich man always flew first-class, but the other man was traveling for work and both of these men were going to somewhere in South America.  Both flew 11 hours to their destinations and both coincidentally sat next to each other on the flight down.  Out came the nuts, and the drinks and the dinner and dessert.  They both sat next to each other and both started a conversation about life and what really matters.  The man (who was in his 40’s) respected the Rich young man because he was both astute and very well-educated.  Even though he exuded money and privilege, he didn’t flaunt it in public, which was contradictory to what was written earlier about him.

The Rich young man envied this other man because something was different from any other man that he met or chatted with on long flights.  This man had contentment in a way that surprised this Rich young man.  He loved his family and he could tell there was something different so he asked.  And Faith was the topic of the remaining few hours and couple of glasses of red wine.  They talked about faith, about religion, and about this man’s faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  At one point, the Rich Young Man asked if the other man was trying to convert him.  Of which, nothing was said either way, just what this men’s group and God’s word was doing in his life.  The conversation was riveting and neither man slept through this flight as both were intrigued by the other’s lifestyle.

As they landed, both were shocked to find that they were staying at the same South American hotel.  The Rich Young Man offered the other man a ride in his arranged car to the hotel, of which the other man willingly said yes.  As they grabbed their luggage and found their driver they both were given water from the driver.  Only something was desperately wrong.  There was a woman in the front seat (the driver said it was his niece and he was going to give her a ride to the city after these men were dropped off.)  The Rich Young man said that would not be a problem and to bill his card for both of the men.  As there was long conversation on the flight and more than two glasses of wine, both men willingly drank the water and both did not realize that the water was drugged.  Hours later they both woke up somewhere in the rain forest and both were in shock as they were locked in separate rooms next to each other.  Drugged and tied and being held for ransom.  These men were the victim of kidnapping and the other man was at the wrong place at the wrong time given the Rich Young Man’s status.

They were held for ransom and the ransom was huge.  The older man’s company was working with the Rich Young Man’s corporation on trying to negotiate for these men’s lives.  Months had passed and the camps that held them were moved every 3 weeks.  A trust and friendship began between these men and the only thing they were allowed to have with them were the Bible that the older man had.  As his men’s group was working on Scripture memory he gave the Rich Young Man his copy of the Bible.

And so they read – through the entire Bible.  Focusing on Romans, on James and on John.  Not really sure of the date, as either men weren’t sure of how much time that had passed, these men both discovered God in a whole new way – one had a new Savior (Jesus Christ) and the other had two new best friends (Jesus and the Rich Young Man).  Through this conversation and conversion there was a guard in the camp that took a liking to these two men and took more of a liking to what was being shared between them – the Word of God.  This guard also came to know the Lord and just one week before these men were going to be either negotiated for ransom or killed for lack of payment, the guard freed them late at night and drove them across the border to the US Embassy.  These men were able to call their work and families before a ransom was paid out and the Rich Young Man chartered a plane to take them both back to Chicago.

They made the local newspapers and then the national news papers and then the talk shows and then more and more kept coming.  They both had their “10 minutes of fame” but neither used this for their own kingdom – instead they used it for God’s kingdom.

Both were asked what really mattered when they were being held prisoner and both said the same – their faith in God, in His Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  They both left the US wanting and both came back completely content.  Their lives were forever changed and from that moment of conversion for the Rich Young Man and the other man was life-changing.  Their wishes and desires were no longer what they wanted, but instead was replaced by what God wanted from their lives.

“When it is all said and done”, they said in their last television interview, “and we are kneeling at the judgement seat of Christ, we only want to hear two things:  1) Our names read in the Book of Life and 2) Well done my good and faithful servants”.


what really mattersWhat really matters to you?

The world’s view:

  • Riches
  • Wealth
  • Retirement
  • Popularity
  • Fame

God’s view:

  • His Word
  • A relationship with His Son Jesus Christ
  • To be his disciples
  • To love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves
  • To finish well

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family

(in the summer)

top-10-mistakes

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family:

 

10.  Play board games with them

9.  Go on long walks

8.  Ride your bikes to the local ice cream store

7.  Date your wife and kids (individually) – one each date

6.  Read the Bible with them

5.  Talk about Scripture and how it applies to our lives today

4.  Pray with your wife and kids

3.  Serve with them

2.  Love them

1.  Take vacations with them (slow down – relax – enjoy – be thankful)

 

What are some of your top 10’s?

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Unforgiveness

Dare to lead...

warningPart of being a legacy dad means not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk.  As both Lance and I have shared in the past and will continue to share into the future, both of our wives read this blog and our children are watching us.  That being said, more than just our wives would call us out!  Does that mean that we are perfect?  Absolutely not!  Our wives and close friends know that we are sinners who are saved by grace.  What it does mean by being a legacy dad is realizing and committing to the fact that there is a greater authority in our lives other than ourselves.  That the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  The beginning of being a legacy dad is putting God in our lives where He should always be:  On the throne room of our lives.  God should be overall.  God is in control of my life, my family, my work, my personal life and I am subject to His will!  This doesn’t always mean that I get this in the correct order.  This also means, if I am being honest, that I sometimes try to put my old self back on top and on my throne room of my heart.  God has given me emotions and the ability to think and to have free will.  He is Sovereign and He is in control of all things.  He knows what I will do.

One of the hardest things for men to overcome is forgiveness.  On our own, we are incapable of it.  To be honest, even when we are walking the walk, forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to do.  When someone wrongs us (or we feel wronged) or someone wrongs ones that we love, it is next to near impossible to forgive even when God calls us to forgive.

1 John 1:5-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

imagesWalking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

When we subject ourselves to God’s truth (The Bible) then we have a really hard time trying to justify the wrongs in our lives:

  • A bad marriage
  • A difficult work situation
  • An event
  • Difficult living situation
  • Addictions
  • Being wronged

No matter how we try to defend our positions, it is impossible to justify the wrongs that we have done against God.  We are sinners in need of  a Savior.  Left on our own devices we have no hope, no salvation and no chance of salvation.  But with God’s plan, there is a hope.  There is His Son.  There is salvation and redemption and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So if God can forgive us…

  • We can forgive our spouse – some of us, if we are honest, have let our marriages die.  We have stopped pursuing our spouse because we feel hurt, we feel betrayed, we feel broken and disappointed by some things in our past.  The marriage that we thought we would have – we don’t.  The spouse that we thought would meet every expectation – doesn’t.  The relationship that we thought we would have until we get old – isn’t.  Because of these shortcomings or acts or events some of us have grown weary, hopeless, and embittered.  There is unforgiveness and anger and in some relationships even dangerous anger.
  • We can forgive our children – some of us have wayward children or children that did not meet our expectations or what we thought we would see them grow up to be.  We have been callous with them and even neglected our parenting and call to disciple them because they continue to disappoint.  They have wandered or committed some unforgiveable sins that we can never get over.  How could they embarrass us like that?  How could they shame their mother and father the way that they have?  How can they sin and continue to have unrepentant sin in their lives?
  • We can forgive those who persecute us – whether some of us have been a victim or have a situation where we have been wronged or have been persecuted or have even ben maligned in ways that were not justified we feel that we have righteous anger, that is, we think we are justified in being unforgiving toward those persons or situations in our lives that persecute us.
  • We can forgive those who have wronged us – some of us have been a victim of drugs and alcohol or of loved ones who have hurt us not only physically, but emotionally and have destroyed our spirit and will to live.  As a result, we find our lives in a sense of rebellion and for some even with destructive habits that are reckless and in some cases malign others around us because we feel that if we have been victims then why should the rest of the world get away with this (this lifestyle leaves a wake of destruction and bitterness in its path).
  • We can get over ourselves (and for some of us our horrible pasts and let God move in our lives) – some of us try to say that our pasts (and present) is so horrible that we can not forgive ourselves, that we were really bad and that there is nothing or no one that can forgive the sins and atrocities that I have committed.

To all of what was just said above, I have one thing to say to all of us:  Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.  Do not withhold love when it is in our power to act.  Love and forgive as God loves and has forgiven us through His Son Jesus Christ.

How about this, Legacy dads:

  • Instead of blaming our circumstances on our wives (our children) our work, our outcomes, we let go and let God have control over it all.
  • Instead of withholding love, we love unashamed
  • Instead of judging with a measuring stick that puts us in pure hypocrisy, we judge ourselves by the measure we judge others.  Quickly realizing that this cannot be, then we let the only One judge others.  Instead we can love and live the lives that Jesus calls us to live (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).
  • Instead of living in the past (past mistakes, past transgressions, past wrongs instead of rights) we turn that over to God.  We surrender the pain, the unforgiveness, the un-love in our lives and let God through His Holy Spirit fill that up with His love allowing us to show others God’s love and what God is doing through our lives by forgiving others (by letting His will be done).
  • Instead of saying that we cannot forgive ourselves of the sin and atrocities that we have committed, we finally come to understand that biblically speaking we cannot forgive our sins because only God can forgive us through His Son.

What is holding you back from receiving God’s best design for our lives?

What is holding you back from letting go of all it and giving it to God?

What is holding you back from letting God move in your life and filling the void that you thought others should fill?

What if, just what if, we did all of this and realize that when we completely surrender that under God’s will and plans and timing – we will have the abundant life that He promises?

Do you believe this?  Can it be true?  Do we serve a God who raises once what was dead into life?

Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Impacts of homes without a Father

What is the big deal....?

Photo by Leo Weijs

Photo by Leo Weijs

More Data on the Extent of Fatherlessness

  • An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, “Living Arrangements of Children under 18 Years/1 and Marital Status of Parents by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin/2 and Selected Characteristics  of the Child for all Children 2010.” Table C3. Internet Release Date November, 2010.
  • Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
    Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. Table 1. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Education, National Center of Education Statistics, 2001.
  • 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
    Source: Family Structure and Children’s Living Arrangements 2012. Current Population Report. U.S.  Census Bureau July 1, 2012.
  • According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.
    Source: National Center for Fathering, Fathering in America Poll, January, 1999.

maxresdefaultThings to know:

  • God created man and woman
  • God has a plan for the family
  • God tells us to be fruitful and to multiply
  • God wants us to be His disciples and to go and make more disciples sharing the Good News!
  • God has a plan for Fathers
  • God has a plan for Legacy dads

Let me ask you this:  Are you too busy building your kingdom and your desires and your habits and recreational lifestyle or are you choosing to be a part of God’s plan and build His Kingdom?

Fathers lives matter!

Many churches today have thriving women’s ministries, power worship experiences and world-class children’s curriculum yet struggle to implement effective biblical road-maps and turn-key strategies for empowering and discipling men, parents, and marriages.

  • 93% of families will follow when the father takes an active role in his faith and walk with Christ.  When fathers are not active in their faith, 60% of children stop attending church or leave the faith altogether even if their mother still attends regularly.
  • Church ministries will average only 40 hours per year to influence the lives of children, youth and teens while parents will average over 3000 hours.
  • 1/3 of Church attending Christian marriages will end in divorce.  We can lower these numbers by effective marriage outreach and premarital counsel.

Legacy Dad empowers men to become the spiritual leaders of their families and take an active role in their faith. 

Looking forward to you spending time with God this week through reading His Word and praying to Him!!!

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

 

The Father Wound…

As an Elder and men’s ministry leader I can tell you up close and personal that the Father wound is a very serious problem in our culture.  For some in can result in addictions, for others it could be a plethora of symptoms from isolation to violence and complete psychological issues even including abandonment.

For some, the mere mention of the word father can trigger a multitude of mixed emotions.  Raw emotions and even pain and regret.  For some of the men that pass my path, they are still waiting to hear the words from their fathers that they were proud of them and glad that they have become the men that they are today.

There is a deep crevice and wound that can never be filled on this earth without God’s intervention.  I remember talking to one gentleman who was in a lot of pain and anguish because his dad opted for violence instead of love.  For abuse instead of healthy emotion.

Without the positive influence of a godly man who fears the Lord and is under the authority of Scripture, it is hard for children and wives to thrive.  This is not God’s plan.  His plan is for us to love and accept his Son, Jesus Christ.  To share His Gospel.  To love our neighbor as ourselves and to seek holiness and put our old sin nature to death daily.

Men strive for healthy relationships and to be affirmed by those that they love and care for.  These men are looking and yearning for the words “I approve”, “I am proud of you” and “I love you, son”.  For some of these men they may never hear this from their earthly dads.


Then you sometimes meet men who have unbelievable legacies of generational faith and I am humbled and thankful that these men had the chance to grow up in this legacy.

This is not to say that these dads, granddad and great granddad always get it right, because they don’t.  They are sinners like you and me.  The difference is that they know whose authority that they are under – God!  They are humble to the word of God and they are accountable.

These men are fortunate and thankful for the childhood that they have and for the relationships that God has brought them and continues to bring them.


Then there may be some of you like me.  Our grew up with a really good dad with good intentions, sometimes a bit too authoritarian and over aggressive on the discipline, BUT a man who gave me the work ethic that I have today and a man who worked a lot, but didn’t necessarily know how to tell his kids that he loved them.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of things that my dad did right (He provided, cared for, educated and coached us through life.  He taught me the importance of not being in debt (not that I always listened) and how to be a man.

The one thing was that he did not know the Lord growing up and he was prone to anger.  He was socially inept in the fatherhood parameters as he lost his mom when he was 11 years old and his dad spoke broken English and didn’t always understand what it meant to be dad.  My dad lost his mom and his dad lost his wife – they did what they could.  So he worked a lot more than most to provide because that was important to him.

Also, my dad grew up in the Great Depression.  He doesn’t understand these generations that applaud debt and immorality.


Some Scripture for leaving a legacy:

 

Psalm English Standard Version (ESV)

Unless the Lord Builds the House
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

127 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children[a] of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b]

Deuteronomy 6:6-9English Standard Version (ESV)

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” –John 14:1-2

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. — Romans 8:15-16

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” — Matthew 7:9-11

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! –1 John 3:1

===

Image-1If you have a father wound or someone you know has this wound, don’t try to fix them, instead lead them to a group of godly men and walk with them.  Share with them and pray with them.   Read the word with them and worship with them.

Let them see that there God is the only one who can truly fill this Father Wound!

To God Be the Glory,

 

Dante