Top 10 ways to build up your child

in a healthy and biblical way

top-10-mistakesWhether in church or in your neighborhood or at any social gathering, all of us like to watch how other people live.  We are people who are built for community, just like our Creator is in community as the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  That being said, no matter the socioeconomic status that a parent may be in, one thing is constant in parenting – there are good and intentional parents, there are mediocre parents, and than there are parents who are self-absorbed, and if we are honest, are not really good parents.

Before you dismiss me on this, think about the Christian walk – there are Christians who abide in God’s word and walk in step with His Spirit and yield to biblical truths;  there are Christians who try to serve two masters:  1) the world and 2) God, and then realize that they are divided and conflicted in which way to go; there are Christians that have a lot of head knowledge of God, but have never connected  the heart (the question then becomes did they ever surrender to self and truly repent to God as Savior?  That is not for us to decide but that is between them and God.) Scripture gives us a way to know them by their fruit (Galatians 5.)  All of this is to make the point that there is no clear-cut way to parent.  Many of us, if we are honest, can look at any set of parents and realize that even with different parenting methods, there are those 3 types of parents.  Today, however, I would like us to focus on the good parenting and give us 10 ways that are good and healthy ways to build up our child.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (ESV) 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 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.

 

Here are 10 healthy ways to build up your child

  1. Give them your time – it is not just about quality, your child also needs your quantity of time.  Dad’s (and Mom’s) when you give your child time, please put your phones down, turn off the television, hide the Ipads and give them your 110% devotion of time.  Let them know and feel like there is nothing else that matters when you are in that moment with them.  Love on them, hug them, reassure them and do life with them.  Get involved in their likes (not your likes for them).
  2. Show them your faith – Revolutionary Parenting is a book by George Barna that gives a good study on what it is like to raise be a Revolutionary Parent and I highly recommend this read.  Your child (children) are watching you and looking to see if there is a higher authority that you submit to.  Meaning:  Is God real in your life?  Is your faith real?  Do you practice what you preach?  When you sin, do you repent?  When you are wrong, do you apologize and ask for forgiveness and make it right?  Is your faith something that is caught or just taught?  If it is just taught and not giving them the desire to own your faith for themselves, then they will likely reject your faith.
  3. Encourage, Comfort and Urge – 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12a (NIV) 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God.  Giving your child real confidence and truth in love is a sure-fire way for this child to be confident in who they are and when Jesus calls them to be His, they can find their identity in Christ, which is even healthier for them and their life.
  4. Discipline them – Proverbs 19:8 (ESV) 8 Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;  he who keeps understanding will discover good.   Proverbs 13:24 (ESV) 24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.  Your child needs boundaries and they are constantly testing those boundaries to see how far they can go.  Be consistent with the crime, do not waver and do everything in love (not anger).  For if God shows us mercy, we should be quicker to show those who we have been given stewardship over more mercy.  Give them a safe home and comfortable boundaries to thrive and to be secure.
  5. Disciple them – Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  6. Point them in healthy directions – Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.   The older I get, the more this verse makes complete sense to me.  A lot of people, I believe, take this verse as if the child will never sin or depart from God’s will…this is not a true conclusion (in my opinion) because we are all sinners and we are all broken, therefore, why wouldn’t our children sin and depart from God’s will?  The key to this verse, for us parents, is to make our faith real to them and show them that we will always yield to Scripture in our lives and that our faith is real.  When we guide them in the direction and facilitate life with them (we cannot always protect them from making mistakes or failing or falling) because that what life is.  We can guide them like a Sensei does in martial arts, for Sensei means:  “One who has gone before”.
  7. Tell the truth – Let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no (be consistent) and do not teach them to lie by lying to them.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t protect their innocence as adolescents because we have to shelter them and their innocence while we can.  But as we discern their maturity in handling such matters in life, then be consistent in their lives by showing them character and integrity.
  8. Look for the teachable moments – whether you are at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table (or wherever opportunity thrives) share life with them in your experience and in giving them ethical dilemmas.  Give them a place to express themselves and to open up to you in order to see how faith in Scripture gives us the answers in every situation.
  9. Love your spouse – if you truly want to be a good parent to your child, then love your spouse.  Read 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5.
  10. Love them – tell them, hold them, kiss them and share God’s word with them.  Do not withhold love from them.

What are some of your ways to build up your children?

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Borderland, by John Mark McMillan

(I cannot get this song out of my head)

borderlandIn case you didn’t know, I am a music man.  I love most kinds of music barring a few notable genres.  All that being said, I have become a songwriter over time.  I love raw and honest songwriters who really put it out there.  That being said, there is this one song that I cannot get enough of.  It is called, Borderland, by John Mark McMillan.  There is one part of the song that the lyrics go like this:

Help me holy Jesus won’t you show me how to live
I’ve got monsters at my table I’ve got Bibles bent like shivs
Help me holy Lord I see the light of Heaven’s porch
but so many of us are born here outside your chain link fence

These lyrics are raw and to the point.  If you listen to the entire song you can reflect on The law of Moses compared to the finishing work of Jesus Christ on the cross for you and me.  It is a deep song and it puts things in perspective.  Whether we want to believe it or not we have two things working against us as Disciples:  1) Our old self nature and 2) Spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm).

I think the things that we have to realize (to discern) is when temptation comes our way that we have to ask ourselves is if this is warfare or old self coming at us.  We have to equip ourselves with other brothers to carry us through these times and troubles.  We have to be raw and open and honest with these brothers in order for them to help us carry these burdens in life.  Above all, we have to yield to the Holy Spirit who convicts us at times, encourages us and leads us in the way that we should go.

In these times of trials and tribulations, we should pray, “help me holy Jesus and won’t you show me how to live” because we do have monsters at our tables and we need to have our bibles bent like shivs (to know the word and to live it gives us a might weapon to defend ourselves).

The song also states this:

Living in a borderland
I don’t feel like a boy I don’t feel like a man
And the things I don’t understand
Things like love. Like the law, the law of the jungle

None of us are perfect nor can we earn our way into Heaven.  The law was given to condemn the sinner.  Jesus Christ came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it!  Before Jesus came we were called to obey the law and if we were guilty of one of the laws then we were guilty of all of them.  Jesus overcame that for us and become our new covenant.  His life was perfect and he fulfilled every prophecy about the Messiah – because He is the Messiah!

Because he died, we can live.  Because he lives we can die to our old selves and be a new creation in Christ.

Trust and obey, for there is no other way!

 

Blessings,

Dante

PS – John also wrote, How He loves me (also performed by David Crowder Band)

 

 

 

Simplicity at its best

putting things into perspective

LTRfront1Leadership Training Residency is a class that our church offers for Overseers, Worship Leaders and Youth Ministry Leaders.  I am taking this with some other brothers that I walk with and am in ministry with.  There was some concern on my scheduling (my involvement), but after talking with some accountability partners (my wife and brothers that I am being held accountable with), we decided that this would be a good discipline in my life to get my spiritual life back into focus.

One of the books that were assigned to us is by Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, where he talks about outward disciplines and in his words, “After all, the writers of Scripture constantly took that risk. And so I follow their lead and suggest ten controlling disciplines for outward expression of simplicity:

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Rules of the Sabbath

Find God's Sabbath rest in your daily walks

colossians223Recently in our men’s group we talked about the Sabbath and what does God require from us in terms of Sabbath rest.  Two of the men facilitating the large group discussion shared when they were growing up and when they met their wives (both in high school) that they had to succumb to the rules on the Sabbath with their then-t0-be wives.  Interesting enough, one shared that one day he and his wife (girlfriend) at that time wanted to grow swimming on the Sabbath.  So they did, and the rules were that you could get into the pool and float BUT you could not swim, which some men brought up the question around the table:  What happened if one started to drown?

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Praise the Lord, I saw the Light

Dear Lord God, thank you for Terrence Pierce

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

James 5:19-20English Standard Version (ESV) 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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Do not be anxious

can worrying add one more day without worry?

Microsoft Word - Document1Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV)

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)

Do Not Be Anxious

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Some things that we can do to alleviate stress and anxiety:

  • Start your day with prayer
  • Pray throughout the day
  • Read Scripture daily
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Walk with others (in true accountability)
  • When in doubt pray

In all that you do, acknowledge God and He will make your paths straight!

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

 

The Portrait of a Real Man

Meaningful manhood by Dr. Tony Evans

real mean liveGenesis 18:19 (NIV) 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

According to Dr. Tony Evans, there are four things that contribute to the portrait of a real man:

  1. A real man has a sense of Divine Destiny
  2. A real man has a responsibility to disciple the future of his wheelhouse (his children, his wife and his family)
  3. A real man has dignity
  4. A real man has a sense of dominion (in charge-ness)

Appropriate Scripture to manhood:

James 1:27 (NIV) 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Job 29:7-17 (ESV)

7 When I went out to the gate of the city,

when I prepared my seat in the square,

8 the young men saw me and withdrew,

and the aged rose and stood;

9 the princes refrained from talking

and laid their hand on their mouth;

10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,

and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,

and when the eye saw, it approved,

12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,

and the fatherless who had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,

and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.

15 I was eyes to the blind

and feet to the lame.

16 I was a father to the needy,

and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous

and made him drop his prey from his teeth.

—–

Divine Destiny is knowing that God is in control of it all and he has plans for you and I, plans to prosper you and I (this is not the prosperity gospel, rather the biblical definition of the abundant life) and that on this earth we have a purpose to worship the Lord and to give all praise, honor and glory to Him.

We have to disciple others – our children, men and boys around us and those that God has given to us.

A real man has dignity – has character, has integrity and is bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

A real man knows his place on this earth and knows that God is over everything (even his problems).  If you put a bible in this man of God, you will see dominion.

Dr. Tony Evans references this fight in where Rocky remembers all of his fights and cannot get back up until he sees (and remembers) his deceased coach and hears Mickey say “get up you bum, because Mickey loves you”  Because Rocky remembered someone who died and whorose again (in his memory) and overcame all the doubt and all the pain and all the defeat and told him he could do it.  Referring this to Jesus – Dr. Evans says that Rocky found power that he did not have because he remembered someone who died who came back to life to tell us he loves us.

When in doubt – be the man who God wants you to be.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge him in all of your ways and he will make your paths straight.

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

Walking Away From The Game

Radical Servant Leadership

The meeting began with an expert who was brought in to teach “new leadership strategies” to all of our department heads.  Most leaders in this meeting had 50-500 subordinates under their direction and care.  The expert spent the next 15 minutes talking about empathy and how leaders need to put themselves in the shoes of their subordinates.  While I sat scratching my head wondering how much this “expert” was getting paid to tell us something I already knew, I was amazed that many in the room had looks of intrigue on their faces.  Then these leaders started discussing empathy as if it was some breakthrough that was discovered last week.  As the discussion went on, it dawned on me that these leaders really didn’t understand empathy until this point. This was even scarier.

End Game

I’ve recently come to a crossroads in life.  I spent the past 6 months helping to plant a new church and it’s forced me examine what is really important.  I’m a Type-A guy and believe that if you are going to commit to something, you go all the way.  As a result, I’ve climbed to the top of my career ladder and I’m now in the 1% category. The problem with this is that I feel no significance in what I am doing. While I haven’t pursued success, I have been pursuing significance and what I’ve discovered is that according to God’s standards, I’ve been falling short.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing important work but I’m certainly not fulfilling the Great Commission, helping God’s people or advancing God’s kingdom at the level I could or should be (at least not in my day job.)  The more I obtain success by the worlds standards, the more I want to walk away from it all.

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