General

The Kingdom of Self vs The Kingdom of God

1 John 2:16New International Version (NIV) 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Symptoms of the Kingdom of Self:

  • Self-reliant - is when you find yourself saying things like:  "Why should I ask anyone else to help, if you want this done right, then I will do it myself."  "I do not need anybody else"  "I am happier by myself" "Who needs love".  You depend solely upon yourself and no one other nor other thing.
  • Self-governing - you have no authority in your life.  You may "cherry" pick a few bible versus that create your self rule and authority but that is where the line stops.  To admit that the Triune God is your sole authority would be admitting that you are no longer in control and there are simply too many things in your life that you do not want under anyone else's authority besides yourself.
  • Self-promoting - look up the word "narcissist" and determine if you are prescribed in any or all part of this definition.  You would rather promote yourself in any and every situation over others if that seems to be the best course of action.  In environments where you are just a mere citizen and not being promoted you tend to move away from these social settings and find something more appealing to your self-promoting desires.
  • Self-rightheous - this is where you are more concerned in looking for the flaws (and sins) of others rather than looking inwardly and examining your own life and own moral and social failures (sin) and acknowledge that God should be the authority over you.
  • Self-focus - everything that the person does, wants to do or strives to do is wrapped around themselves.   They are more inward focused on the power of self rather than God's Kingdom and His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Self-pleasure - this is where said individual values themselves and their own pleasure over everything else and everyone else around them.  They give little feeling or regard to others before they self gratify each other.

Scripture on avoiding the Kingdom of Self

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.

Scripture on The Kingdom of God

  • Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
  • Matthew 24:14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
  • Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
  • Luke 13:18-19 So He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? "It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES."
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
  • Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
  • Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • Matthew 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  • Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
  • Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
  • Matthew 13, seven parables of the Kingdom of God
  • Matthew 18:23-35 the parable of the unmerciful servant
  • Matthew 19:13-14 Little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
  • Matthew 19:16-26 the conversation between a rich young man and Jesus
  • Matthew 21:28-32 the parable of the two sons
  • Mark 4:30-32 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
  • Mark 9:35-37 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
  • Luke 17:20-21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
  • John 3:3-7 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
  • John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

When we look at the Kingdom of Self, we have to be honest and look at the ways of the World and their gospel of selfism, that is, putting everything else before God.  In other words, this would be called Idolatry.  Do you know what the Bible says about Idols?  If we are serious about denying self and putting the Kingdom of God in our scope, putting the Kingdom of God first in everything and anything that we do.

We need to strive to Kingdom Living in which that no longer promotes self, but gives glory and honor and all praise to the King of Kings and to the Lord of Lords.  We need to take an honest self examination and see what your life is showing?   We need to take an honest time to seek God first, to pray, to fast, to ask for him to reveal in you His desire and to reveal your selfism and ask Him to expose that to you so you can repent.

Be honest, be true and be accountable to the Word of God.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Surrender

This past Saturday in our men's group, called Men of Faith, we had a facilitator lead on the topic of Surrender.  Our men's group meets the first four Saturdays' of every month and we start at 6:30am and are usually finished by 8:30am.  There are donuts and coffee (men need their coffee) and then a time for worship, bible reading and large group discussion.  After the large group is where the rubber meets the road in a time for us to come together, as men, and discuss the large group topic or perhaps questions that were raised for us to discuss.  Each facilitator either shares a story or a testimony and Scripture or perhaps a thought for the men.  It is a great time for us to come together in large group, ponder and then discuss in a smaller group setting.  There are very few rules that we have for this men's group except one key rule:  What is said in Men's group, STAYS in men's group!!!  This is a sacred place for all men to come, speak, listen and share life's struggles, battles and victories. As I said, this past week was the topic of Surrender.  This is a very tough word for most, because it requires us to give up what we strongly do not want to let go of:  Control.  If you are a Christian, saved by Jesus Christ, then ask yourself this question:  What is God's and what is mine?  Answer?  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time this is insane.  A lot of us can relate if we take honest stock of our lives and the way that we live.  How is trying to control our lives working?  How are the relationships around us?  Is everything good?  Is everything ideal?  Is everything the way that God wants it for our lives?  Left to our own device, there is no hope.  But God didn't let it end there.  You see, He knows us and He knows what we are capable of doing (or not doing).  That being said, God has given us a way to Him - through His Son Jesus Christ.  He gave us the perfect sacrifice.  Jesus is the only way.  For all of us who admit that we are sinners and in need of a Savior (a perfect way to Heaven) and for all of us who believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived on this earth for 33 years and died on a cross and rose again on the third day and we confess that He is Lord we will be saved.  This means that the sins of our past, our present and our future are forgiven.  God doesn't require that we try to live perfect lives (we simply cannot without God).  He calls us for purity, for holiness and for each and every one of us who profess his name to practice righteousness.  This does not mean hypocrisy.  This means that we need to practice less of the old sinful nature and more of God's way for life (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).

Steps toward Surrender:

Surrender:

Romans 12:1-2English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Submit & Obey:

2 John 6English Standard Version (ESV)

6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

Do What God's Word Say:

James 1:19-27English Standard Version (ESV)

Hearing and Doing the Word 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Confess and Get Accountability:

James 5:16English Standard Version (ESV)

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a]

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.

Practice Being Right:

1 John 3:7-9Common English Bible (CEB)

Practicing sin or righteousness 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous. 8 The person who practices sin belongs to the devil, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. God’s Son appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA[a] remains in them. They can’t sin because they are born from God.

Watch this video:

[youtube id="gmoMHtMNNbM"]

My question for you is this:  What is it going to take to have you stop living by the insanity of "your way" and to seek God's way in every part of your life?  Do you want to keep practicing insanity or do you want to practice God's way.  Remember, it is not about being perfectly hypocritical, it is about choosing to seek living God's Way:  Admit you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus Christ and what God did for us and Confess that we need Jesus as Savior.  Practice living right and trust that God will lead you in this way!

Blessings,

D

 

False Teachers

1 Timothy 6:5English Standard Version (ESV)

and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain

2 Timothy 4:3-4English Standard Version (ESV)

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

 

Acts 20:28-30English Standard Version (ESV)

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,[a]which he obtained with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that

after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

1 John 4:1-6English Standard Version (ESV)

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

"Today’s church cannot remain faithful if it tolerates false teachers and leaves their teachings uncorrected and unconfronted."  -Albert Mohler

 

 

VIDEO:  FALSE TEACHERS BY SHAI LINNE (TEST THE SCRIPTURE IN THIS) [youtube id="KJmcEAwazD0" height="353" width="574" marginbottom="15"]

Note:  Legacy Dad posts this video for you to test the Scriptures in order to see if you agree with Shai Linne about who and what is False Teaching).  In all that you do, test the Scriptures.  Test and pray and ask God to use His word to guide you to the truth.

Blessings, Legacydad

Good Friday is Good because Sunday is coming!!!

Isaiah 53English Standard Version (ESV) 53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a] And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected[b] by men, a man of sorrows[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e] and as one from whom men hide their faces[f] he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;[g] when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[j] and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[k] because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. 

[youtube id="https://youtu.be/FVygdWkcoMc?list=PLnQDfL40ELZyNnkYoCma_4XjQnVMtRvLV"]

Jesus, the King and Messiah left glory for our sake (those who He has called by name and trust in His saving and finishing work on the Cross) to be born of a virgin, to live on this earth for 33 short years and to fulfill EVERY prophecy ever written in Scripture about Him and then to be turned over to sinners in the darkest hour and be crucified for our sake.  He endured loneliness, beatings, sneering, excruciating crucifixion and conquered death for our sake.  He prophesied about his death and resurrection and conquered death for our sin - to be the perfect atonement for our wrongdoing.

Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, we celebrate not only the death but the resurrection of the Living Son, who reigns, Jesus Christ!!!

Matthew 20:17-19English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time 17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

John 12:23-25English Standard Version (ESV)

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Luke 24:6-7English Standard Version (ESV)

6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

Luke 24:1-12English Standard Version (ESV)

The Resurrection 24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

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

 

 

 

Impacts of homes without a Father

[youtube id="BeD90uQR9zA"] 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.

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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

 

 

 

Is your church building disciples...

1 Timothy 3:1-7English Standard Version (ESV)1timothyQualifications for Overseers 3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5-9English Standard Version (ESV)

Qualifications for Elders 5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife,[a] and his children are believers[b] and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer,[c] as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must titushold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound[d] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.


If your church does not have a discipleship plan to build Elders who are to care and shepherd the flock, then I am going to say that your church is not growing (disciples).  In case we haven't realized it yet, the Church is a Family.  That is, because we died to self and were born again in Christ, we are now sons and daughters of the living King.  We should no longer have an identity crisis in life - we are heirs to God's Kingdom.

Jesus commands the disciples before his death (and resurrection) in Matthew 28:

Matthew 28:16-20English Standard Version (ESV)

The Great Commission 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”

The Great Shepherd (Jesus) gave us the command to go and make disciples.  Note that he didn't just say go and make baby Christians who never grow in their faith.  The Creator himself tells us to be fruitful and multiply.  If it is alive, then it multiplies, that is the laws of nature.

If your church is alive in Christ, then it is building its disciples and they are growing in Christ and the church will bear the fruit of the Spirit and it will multiply.

So tell me, is your church building up Elders to oversee and shepherd its church (the Family of God)?

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Email Spam

Greetings Readers - This morning, I noticed a large amount of SPAM emails being sent from one of our Legacy Dad email accounts.  First, if you are a subscriber to Legacy Dad, I assure you that your email has not been compromised.  Second, if you get an email from Legacy Dad that reeks of SPAM or advertising, please know this is NOT from us. Delete the email and DO NOT click on any links.  This is apparently an "email spoof" which we cannot control, however most spam filters have caught these emails and deleted them.  We apologize for this issue. SPAM

Therefore confess your sins to one another

Lance and I were talking about raw, authentic and uplifting men's group and we shared how we see that in my men's group (Men of Faith) and his men's group (Fight Club) and the relationships Printthat are not only being formed, but are growing both spiritually and physically.  For Lance and I, our men's groups have never been about numbers.  Rather, they are about guys getting together in raw, honest and transparent ministry.  The thing about Lance that drove me to this website back in 2007, was his willingness to abase himself and be real with who he is and where he came from.  He is brutally honest (in a loving way) and tells me how it is.  We often say that we wish that each of us lived closer, but we do not! 1st John 3: 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 24 Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.  Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (His love).  9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  James 5: 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working..  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.

men-af_600x144Legacy Dads (and men)  if you are looking for a men's group in your church like this (and you don't have one) don't wait on someone else to affirm it.  Grab a few other guys (who you see are willing to be faithful in the word and prayer and an admitted sinner - saved by grace) and start worshiping together.  Start praying together.  Start reading the Bible together and talk about real life issues.

Remember the Cardinal Rule #1 - what is said in that group stays in that group.

Remember the Cardinal Rule #2- if a brother confesses and shares that you are now on holy ground.  Don't trample over that with your words and thoughts of how to fix that brother- BECAUSE YOUR SHOULDN'T.  If the Spirit is moving you to talk or walk with that brother - then grab him after the small group of sharing and ask if you can meet for coffee or lunch or a meal or to talk and tell him that you were truly moved by him.  If you build trust and a relationship that brother will likely give you the permission to speak into his life (then that is the time, not anytime before) to speak into him.

Remember the Cardinal Rule #3- Be relational.  Be transparent.  Share from your heart, share your sin, your failures and what God is doing in your life right now.

In all that you do, lean and trust on the Lord.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Get your worship on...

Anthem Lights: [youtube id="4iEgs0WKR-c"]

Chris Tomlin:

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Matt Redman:

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Matthew West

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How about the rest of your day now that you have things put into perspective?

Psalm 150:1New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;     praise him in his mighty heavens

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

The Portrait of a Real Man

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.

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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

 

Why the Church

Faith ChurchWhen you think about life, the Bible and God's plan for us, it is amazing to think and believe that God chose us.  God chooses to use us to build His kingdom.  God chooses us to share his love.  God chooses us to share His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world.  We are called by the Son to go and make disciples unto all the world.  Remember the important narrative here in that God chooses us! In His wonderful creation and word, God shows us the importance of community.  After all, in the beginning God created (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) everything.  The older I get the more I see man's hypothesis and science give way to the Truth, to the Way and to the life given to us by God the Father.  God shows us the importance of community by Himself, His Son and His Spirit who are three-in-one and one-in-three.  That is a concept that is way above my understanding, yet when you test it against the truth in Scripture that is the only way that it could be.  God gives us community by the living, breathing, and awe-inspiring love that He has for us.

Ephesians 3:9-10 (ESV)  9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[a] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Community is a very important part of God's mission.   God made us to be in community, we crave community.  He exemplifies true community in the Holy Trinity.  He wants to model this some community in the Church, the body of Christ.  We are to love each other and to continue to do good to each other in brotherly (and sisterly( love).  The more that we let the Spirit bless us with His fruit (for the Fruit of the Spirit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control).  This is fruit that should pour out of our lives, in community, when we bear the name Jesus as Savior.

What we believeWhen Jesus was on this earth he exemplified this model to us all through walking with His disciples and having them walk with others along the way.  Remember, in the Gospels, that there was a point where Jesus sends out the disciples two by two and Scripture reveals to us that there are 70 disciples plus the twelve with Jesus.  Where did these 70 come from?   The answer is simple:  Through community.

Do you remember where Jesus is talking to Peter about the church and references him in regards to on this rock, he will build His church.  This is not a reference to any specific religion, rather, this is referencing the Church - God's church.

When we are in community and doing God's will, then we can see His purpose and wonderful path that he has for each and everyone of us.  How can we do this:

Be in community

Serve together

Share God's love story together

Read the Bible daily

Pray often

Walk with other brothers (if you are a man) and with other sisters (if you are a woman)

In all you do, do in love and forgiving each other (in the church) as God has forgiven you

Love one another

In all you do, Coram Deo.

Blessings,

Dante

My religious rights and the Constitution...

Why would people risk life and limb to come to a new land?  Why would you, as believers who were being persecuted for your faith, try and find a new place to worship?  Why would you come to a new land if not for opportunity for work, for land and for worship freely (not be persecuted for their Patrick-Henry-Jesus-Christ-Nissi-7-300x289beliefs). Some quotes by some of our founding fathers are as follows:

  • John Adams and John Hancock: We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]John Adams: “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”• “[July 4th]ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

Patrick Henry: [shareable text="This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.”]The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.” [/shareable] “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

hancock

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting ...

If we take this into context that the signors of the Constitution of the United States of America had an inherent belief that we were to become a Sovereign nation under God.  They believed in a creator and that all men are subject to Him and His will.  The idea of freedom of and from religion is critical to understand - the intent of the law was not to have one world (one government) religion that would prevent others from their worship or their beliefs.

Unfortunately as society continues its moral decay these original intentions have been misconstrued for an ulterior purpose - a nation without God, that is to say, and nation not under God.

A lot of people of the past several decades have blamed various reasons for this decay and breakdown in society, when in all actuality we could go back as far as the early 1940's when this began to happen.  I am not talking about new sins nor am I talking about something new that should be a surprise to all of us.

Ephesians 6:12-14 (ESV)

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.

There are a lot of major conspiracies going around about government's and satanists and political and banking individuals that have this scripture in mind that they are spinning our world to this New World Order.  Don't infer that I am saying all political and banking individuals have this in mind because that is not the case at all - because their are godly men who stand in these positions and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I am talking to you to tell you that there is:

  • evil in the world
  • evil people in the world
  • Satan - who wants to devour Christians and lie to the rest of the world

I am also confident and sure that:

  • God is on the throne
  • Every knee will bow and tongue confess
  • Jesus sits at His right hand
  • We are not to worry

With all this being said, when you hear someone telling you that our founding fathers did not have the leading of God in mind when they created this great nation - tell them to stop smoking the crack pipe and to start going to the library to read unbiased truths about many of the founding fathers (not all, but many).  FYI - all blogs and internet writings are not always telling you the truth and the whole truth because they are their own gods (small g).

The Gospel is all over our Constitution!  Let us hold true to our freedoms and belief that God reigns!!!

Blessings,

D

 

The Five Stages: Changing Attitudes

Saturday morning we were blessed to have one of church worship leaders lead our men's group at 6:30am.  We were blessed also by the fact that he is the leader of our Reflectors Ministry also leading and beginning our mental health ministry.  This man is a very special man, not just because he is a song writer, not just because he has a heart for the broken and the marginalized, not just because he loves the Lord with all of his heart, But because he is a humble man with truly many gifts! FullSizeRenderHis name is Vinnie, and he  was asked by one of our leaders to come and lead worship and to bring a message of his heart:  REFLECTORS MINISTRY.

5 STAGES.CHANGING ATTITUDESEnter his message on the 5 Stages of Changing our Attitudes:

Stage 1:  Ignorance - Weaknesses and disabilities are a sign that God either does not care or is not able to fix the situation. In fact, they may be a result of sin or a lack of faith. God is not involved in the life of someone with a disability, because He can’t use people who are so broken. I do not know people with disabilities, nor do I know anything about disabilities. I have no interest in getting to know them or to know more about their life

Stage 2:  Pity - I feel sorry for people with disabilities. It’s too bad, really. I am blessed by God and I can help others. I am grateful that my children are not disabled. People with weaknesses and disabilities obviously need someone like me to help them and give them meaning, due to their troubles. I really don’t see any meaning or purpose to their lives.

Stage 3:  Care - Like me, people with disabilities were created in God’s image. By that virtue alone they have value. I hope that someone will take the time to show them God’s love, and I will happily support such an effort. In fact, I think we need to find ways to help those people. Maybe we should start a special church education class, or respite care for the sake of the parents.

Stage 4:  Friendship:  I have come to know and spend time with a friend who has a disability. This person has value in God’s sight, but also in mine, and I know that my life is better for having known this person, and as much as I have helped her, she has also blessed me. In fact, I now like to initiate relationships with people who have disabilities. God brings many different people into my church and community, including people with disabilities, and we all benefit as we grow in friendship with each other.

Stage 5:  Co-Laborers - If God has called each of us to serve and praise Him with every fiber of our beings, then He has done the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ with disabilities. I think ministry should not just be to people with disabilities, but with or alongside people who have disabilities. Together, we will encourage and equip each other, with and without disabilities, into every good work to respond to God’s call on our lives. We can all give and we can all receive.

There were two passages that were very relevant to his heart in sharing these 5 stages:

The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14)

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

When you read these stories, if you profess the name of the Lord Jesus as Savior, you should feel the Spirit move in you with a heart of compassion and the desire for the need is great and the workers are few to harvest the field.   The reason why these steps were so relevant to our men's ministry is because Vinnie asked us to take a hard look at where we are, not just with special needs, but with our outlook on people in general and in where we are at in our life and what stage in each of those situations we are at - this was a huge question and great topic for our small groups when we pray for each other and share from the heart.

There were other verses that Vinnie raised for our pathway to care and discipleship:

1 Corinthians 12:12New International Version (NIV)

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

Love in Action (Romans 12)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord.20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

----

When it is all said and done, we should be left with three things to do for Jesus:

  1. Go- Jesus tells us to go and make disciples.  Go and grab people (who are broken and in need of the Good News:  Jesus Saves) and go unto the highways and by ways and fill his house for the great banquet
  2. Compel - build relationships with these who are lost and in need of healing and love and community.  Compel them with the love of Jesus and what He has done for us.  Build relationships through friendships and co-laboring with others to serve and seek those who are lost and broken.
  3. Full House - Fill his house, by doing His work.  We are called to share the love of Jesus by loving others.  By truth in love.  Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life and that no man cometh to the Father but by Him.

What say you?

Go, Compel and Fill our Lords house!

Blessings,

Dante

 

The 5 W's

Many of  you have heard me quote the poem, The 5 Watches, from time to time over the past eight years of being involved with Lance and this blog.  Lance and I do believe that Character, Integrity, Honor, Courage, Honesty, Gentleness, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness and Self-Control are important to being a Legacy Dad.  It is important because that is the call of the disciple priorof Christ. Many of us, do to the the lack of time, over-commitments, laziness and/or fill in your blank: _________________, do not always measure up to these demands and some may even feel overwhelmed by the God's call for our lives.  I think if we are honest and really reflect back, I would believe that a majority of us would realize the answer:  It's not because God couldn't do this for us, rather, because we got in the way - we tried to do it on our own.  That is, to say, that we gave him a little of our day (our schedule, our sin, and our lives) but we didn't give it all to him.

The poem that I often quote is this:

Watch your thoughts,

for they become words.

Watch your words,

for they become actions.

Watch your actions,

for they become habits.

Watch your habits,

for they become your character.

Watch your character,

for it becomes your destiny.

How about the 5 W's of the Christian Walk:

  • Who do we worship?  (God or god(s) defined as idols that take our attention from who we should worship:  God
  • What do our lives tell others what our priorities our?
  • Where does our faith belong (where is it currently?  do you have faith in God?)
  • When do we believe God (does he really mean His will be done, His abundant life for us?)
  • Why should we serve God His way and not ours (not when we want, not how we want, but instead reading His word and serving Him the way that He requires in all of our lives)

by faithWhat can we do to change our perspective our religion?  When I say our religion, I am defining it as this:  Our religion is that which is what we only take away from reading the Bible (meaning if there is somethings that convicts us or causes us the desire to repent and we ignore that part).  Our religion being defined as we are allowing ourselves to serve both the world (and our own special interests) and God instead of serving him in all that we do.  Our religion being defined as when it is convenient for to serve Him and others instead of when He wants us to serve.

Pure religion in the eyes of the Father is that which looks after widows and orphans and turns away from the ways of this world.  God's religion is for us to Trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, to lean not on our own understanding, but to acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  And He will make our paths straight.

What about you?

Blessings,

Dante

 

Why do bad things happen....?

why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-blog-postSo I was sending this work email this morning, after men's group, and fell upon this video of a woman who has sadly lost her battle (on earth) to cancer.    This video struck me in so many different ways that I do not have enough time in the day to post on this topic.  That being said, I have shared before that I have had malignant melanoma and there was a time when I almost lost my wife (two years in a row).  I understand pain and loss and the fear of death.  Let's just say that I have spent a lot of time in the book of Job and in prayer during these trials and tribulations. I have been hurt and I have been angry and I have asked why do these things:

  • Why is there cancer?
  • Why is there evil in the world?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Why is there so much pain?
  • Why do we face trials and tribulations?
  • Why, Lord, Why?

I cannot pretend to sit here and tell you, the readers, why do bad things happen.  Nor will I ever try to explain your life situation to you without walking through it with you, without being in the trenches with you and/or sharing life with you.  Here is the video that struck me today:

[youtube id="g02BVmlam6k"]

Two of the most hardest things that I had to endure in my life were:

1)  When I received a phone call from the doctor that said I had malignant melanoma.  I just about dropped the phone on the floor of the vehicle and thought to myself, why God?  My wife and I had our son, who at the time was 10 months old and my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child while this was happening.  The concern from the doctor was my age and the fact that I had malignant cancer at my age.  By the grace of God, my cancer was detected early and I have been cancer free now for over 9 years

2) When our three kids were 1, 3 and 4 years of age, my wife almost went into renal failure and was losing muscle tissue daily.  The doctors knew the effect, but to this day we still do not know the cause.  We went to a top tier hospital the second year of the two years that this happened and even they could not diagnose the cause.  We did learn to be cautious around fevers and so on, but to this day she has been healthy since those days.  The first year that this happened, my wife was in the hospital for 6 days.  That was the most sobering and scariest time in my life.  I wrestled, I prayed and I argued with God (all through this process he was patient and kind and waited for me to trust, obey and surrender to his will).  The idea that I was going to be a widower with three kids 5 and under was almost too much for my soul to bear.  This too passed and God is faithful!

What have I learned through these two heart-wrenching trials (tribulation) was to trust God no matter what.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, BUT Blessed be His name.  He is faithful and just and he does have plans for each and everyone of our lives.

I hate evil.  I hate cancer.  I hate what is contrary to the will of God.

I love God, I love the Son and I love the Holy Spirit.  I love those who even persecute me!  Is it hard to forgive and forget (at times)?  Yes, of course, I am human and broken and sinful.  Is it possible to love who God calls us to love?  Through His Spirit and trusting His will - it is!

I believe that God gives each and everyone of us a story for us to go unto the world and tell the good news.  Does He promise us peace and tranquility throughout this journey?  Of course not!  Does he promise us an abundant life through Him?  Yes He does!

For the joy of the Lord is our strength!

Where is your joy?  In good season, in trial and through tribulation?

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen!

Blessings,

Dante

 

What is good about good habits?

Phrases like "creatures of habit", "practice makes perfect", and so on, should continue to highlight the theme in our daily walks and biblical discipleship.  All throughout the Bible we read about a God who takes the time to invest in ordinary men and does extraordinary things with them.  Does He need us to do his will?  Of course not!  Does He desire to use us for His good?  Of course!  Words like grace and mercy and justification and honor and integrity and courage should all be words that describe you as a legacy dad, as a man of God, as a disciple of Jesus Christ. There is a poem that I like from Frank Outlaw that goes like this:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

HabitLoopAdaptationIf accept this poem as true in human nature, then we have to be careful and watch our habits because that could shape our character.  That being said, I was surfing the internet and found this chart (inset to the right) that I really liked.  The reason why I like this is because you can apply it to just about every aspect of our life:

Physical:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Sleep Healthy
  • excercise
  • Laugh
  • Love
  • and be social (God desires us to be in community)

Mental:

  • Exercise the Brain by reading and writing
  • Healthy Sleep
  • Have accountability in your life (to keep you on the road of healthy thoughts)
  • Avoid sin
  • Laugh

Spiritual:

  • Read the word daily
  • Pray continuously
  • Have accountability in your life (true accountability - not just a social hour of patting each other on the back)
  • Listen to preaching and teaching of the Word
  • Sing Songs, Hymns and Spiritual songs (with reckless abandon and act is no one else is watching but our Lord)

As a men's ministry leader, elder, legacy dad and husband and father, I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I witness men getting out of healthy habits (routines) and how they are able to slip back into sin so quickly.  Or other men, who shoot up so strong in their faith and yet fade away when temptations or anger sets in.  Or men that have marriages that are barely holding on and instead of letting go and letting God they hold on tight to mediocrity?  Honestly, sometimes this can be frustrating, and if I am really honest about this, then the frustrating part becomes when I realize that the very thing that annoys me about them - really annoys me because I can identify with that - meaning I can shift and fade quickly as well.

Jesus put it like this in Scripture:

Matthew 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears,[a] let him hear.”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.[b] 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Some may come to the Judgement Seat of Christ and say, "Lord, Lord" and Jesus will reply depart from me, I never knew you.  Scripture is clear that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Don't misunderstand this reference because someone who is truly saved (born again) is always saved (Once saved, always saved - Read John for this one).   Immediately upon salvation, the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us and promises to us gifts of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self-Control....

We are called to examine ourselves to see if we are still in the faith?  Or if we ever were?  Are you?  Is your life-bearing the Fruit of the Spirit?

What if you are not?  What if you are in the same rut, sin, shame every day?    If you are not and all you see is the fruit of the Sinful nature, then pray and ask God to call you to be His (Read Romans 10).

If you are, but are slipping backward or finding yourself along the thorns of life, the rocks of life and or just away from the good soil, then try this on for size:

Cue:

  • Wake up an hour earlier
  • Wait on the Lord
  • Be patient and quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

Routine:

  • Read the Bible daily
  • Meditate on the word
  • Join a men's group
  • Have accountability in your life
  • Get involved with your family (put the phones, computers, video games and alcohol down)
  • Start serving at your church

Reward:

  • Try this for 6 months (same cue, same routine) and email me (dante@legacydad.com) to tell me your reward.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

blog-pursuit-of-happinessThe unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

These men were standing together against tyranny and against a form of government that no longer cared about the inalienable rights of individuals as highlighted in red above.  They stood together against a far superior force and military that for any other reason would be overwhelmed if it had not been for God allowing these men to form a nation:  The United States of America.

This post is not about the rich culture of American History and the men that made this such a great nation.  Not every founding father was a professing christian and had a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we read in Romans 8, that that doesn't matter because God will use who He chooses to use for His good and purpose.  I am so thankful to be a part of this country and to be able to be free to speak and to worship and to read the Bible in public venues without fear of persecution or condemnation.  Clearly, some of you may be thinking that this government is so far away from the original statements laid before in this wonderful Declaration, but we have seen this before.  Communists trying overthrow our government through media channels, Nazis infiltrating very aspects of our society and some other modern day Governments that so desperately crave to destroy the very essence of Freedom.

There is a lot that is wrong with this world and even in our country, but remember this, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3.  No matter how we hope that legislators and rulers and bosses and so on can get the very essence of God's word to promote justice and freedom and the belief for each and everyone of us to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we will always find those that want to stunt this thought and have plans of their own.  Plans that our contrary to the word of God and to the very statutes of our creator.

These founding fathers understood the most important lesson in life:  There is a Creator and every knee will bow and tongue will confess.  So what does that mean for you and I?  Simply put, why should each one of us act differently then the world?  Why should we be humble, teachable and respectful of others?  Why should we love the Lord God with all of our heart, mind, body and soul and secondly why should we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Because Jesus told us that these are the two most important commands to follow (because all the others hinge on this).

What rights do we have as legacy dads:

  • To love God
  • To read his word daily
  • To pray often
  • To be loved by Him
  • To love our wives unconditionally (Read 1 Peter 3:7)
  • To love our children unconditionally
  • To pursue our happiness (honoring God all the way)
  • To be humble in all circumstances
  • To trust and obey (for there is no other way)
  • To Submit to God's will for our lives (this brings us His plans and His freedoms for our lives)

What if these are not the case in my life?  What if my life is bearing more sinful nature stuff then the fruit of the Spirit? What should I do, Dante? Lance?  Where can I turn?  How can I right this wrong?  How can I turn this ship around?  How can I take this dead marriage back to life?  YOU CAN'T, BUT  GOD CAN MAKE NEW THINGS AND RAISE THE DEAD TO LIFE!!!

Right now, if this speaks to you:

  • Pray, ask God to reveal His will for your life (note:  If you are not reading the Bible, then you will not get this request)
  • Get involved with other men (in a bible study, in an accountability group - true accountability)
  • Love unconditionally
  • If there is more deeper issues (scars, hurts, wrongs) get profession biblical help

Wait on God & Trust Him.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s on the sin of lust

Hebrews 12:1-  (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The following is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Temptation:

calls a man"In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce.  With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh.  All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled.  The flesh burns and is in flames.  It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, our love of fame and power, or greed for money…"

"At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real.  The only reality is the devil.  Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…  The lust thus aroused  envelopes the mind and will of a man in deepest darkness.  The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.  The questions present themselves as, ” Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” And, ” Is it really not permitted me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?'"

silence"It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God….  Therefore the Bible teaches us in times of temptation in the flesh, there is one command:  Flee!  Flee fornication.  Flee idolatry.  Flee youthful lusts.  Flee the lusts of the world.  There is no resistance to Satan in lust other than flight.  Every struggle against lust in one’s own strength is doomed to failure."

“The essence of chastity is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one's life towards a goal. Without such a goal, chastity is bound to become ridiculous. Chastity is the sine qua non of lucidity and concentration.”

"No sacrifice is too great if it causes us to conquer a lust which cuts us off from Jesus. Both eye and hand are less than Christ, and when they are used as the instruments of lust and hinder the whole body from the purity of discipleship, they must be sacrificed for the sake of Him. The gains of lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings – you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand. When you have made your eye the instrument of impurity, you cannot see God with it."

----

As a men's ministry leader (and Elder) I find it very interesting to watch different guys and there walks (and some without their walks walking aimlessly and without direction looking to find God's will for their lives, without being in the Word or praying for God's will in our life).  What surprises me most are men that are at peace with mediocrity:

  • In a marriage that is just coasting instead of healthy and vibrant
  • In a marriage that is lacking friendship, intimacy and security and trust
  • In a job that is not God-honoring (meaning that the man (employee) is not serving God instead of serving his self
  • In a family that he is completely disconnected with
  • In a church or community that he is just going through the motions with

I do not have the statistics on me this evening, but talking with my wife a while back, there were studies on marriages that were either flailing (failing or downright dead) and the couples that stuck through it, got counseling and worked on their communication were 5 times happier than couples that ended in divorce and were left wanting (hurting and remorseful).

The thing about sin (lust, temptation and desire) is that at that "moment" or time when we are called to flee and instead finding ourselves sticking around the temptation the positive results are never positive and I don't care who you are that says otherwise.  I will stand on scripture and believe that God's ways and his plan for the abundant life far outweighs our knowledge (the world's knowledge) on what we should do for ourselves.  Scripture is clear:  FLEE (Run, Move quickly, do not be slow, GET AWAY NOW) from the temptation of sin.

I love the men and saints who have come before us who have been deeply rooted in scripture and the study thereof.  They may or may not be smarter than us in this current day, but they have put the miles in on their relationship with God and His word and prayer.  They have been battled (spiritual) tested (in Dietrich's case:  both spiritually and physically at war) and have left great thoughts and writings (paved the way for us to go).

We can choose two things in life:

  • Our attitude
  • Whom we will serve

As for me and my house, we choose to serve the Lord.

Blessings,

Dante