Marriage

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

 

 

GRIT: MEN'S CONFERENCE

Dear Men, If you are looking for a place where men came come together and share life together and grow together and to see what God wants for your life as a disciple, then this Men's Conference is for you.  If you have been looking for a men's group where you can come as you are and look forward to meeting other men who are right where you are or meet other men who are where you want to be, then this conference is for you.

Featured Speaker: Lance Putnam from Legacydads.org.

Worship Night - Friday, October 13, 7 - 9 PM

There will be sandwiches and chips and beverages provided at the beginning of the event.

Breakfast - Saturday, October 14, 8 - 11:30 AM

There will be a full breakfast served to all men.

--

Dear Ladies,

Imagine if your husband invested some time into figuring out how to be the best husband, best father, and best man he could be? So why not buy your husband a ticket for this event that will be talking about running the race and finishing well.  For men to be the men that God calls them to be, the husbands that God want them to be and the father that leaves a legacy for his wife and children to follow – would that be something that you are interested in?  Then don’t wait – sign up online at www.wearefaith.org/GRIT and register your husband and his friends today.


Sign up here

Note:  If you have a party of 9 or more please call the church for a group discount (219) 864-0300 and ask for Dan and/or Becky to sign up your group.

We hope to see you all there.

Blessings, Dante

 

 

Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:25-32New International Version (NIV) 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


It is easy to offend and even easier to be offended if you allow it to.  It is easy to let anger seep through your every fiber and turn cold especially to those who we love (or should love).  It is hard to press on and overlook an offense.  It is even harder to forgive the offender.  

In our marriages, legacy dads, how easy is it for you to explode (on your wife?  kids?  animals?) how can we require love and respect and then take it away in a single outburst of anger?  How hard is it to turn off this outrage?  This bitterness?  This frustration?  Do you use your love as a tool to barter for what you want?  Meaning, do you withhold it waiting and hoping to receive that which you desire?  Or do you withhold it because you are hurt, bitter and angry that love and respect is being held away from you?  How do we end this vicious and ungodly practice?

Men, take a stand!  Be the spiritual leader of you house.  Humble yourselves before God and confess that to which you have offended our Holy God.  Do not proclaim to the world (or your house) that you deserve to be the leader and to command respect that you haven't given for a year, years and even decades), instead, turn away wrath with kindness.  Turn away anger and bitterness with love and gentleness.  Do not look for affirmation from those to whom we offended, rather, look to God for His kindness and mercy.

Take inventory on this awesome chapter:

  • Do you lie?
  • Do you sin in your anger?
  • Do you speak inappropriately?
  • Do you grieve the Holy Spirit in your walk (or lack of a godly walk)?
  • Do you hold onto bitterness, rage and anger?
  • Are you kind and compassionate?
  • Have you forgiven others like God has forgiven you of oh so much?

If you read any of this and it pierces your heart and the Holy Spirit is convicting you - REPENT!

Ask God to draw nearer to you and humble yourself before Him.

To God Be the Glory!

Blessings,

D

 

Finish Well

Dear Legacy Dads, When you see that term in Scripture what does that mean to you?  Does that mean to finish well going to Church on Sundays?  Praying before meals? Giving a tithe every Sunday?  Does it mean to separate your dreams and goals from God's will for you life?  Does it mean that you are in control Monday thru Saturday and that you will give God Sunday from 6am to 11:59 before Sunday NFL kickoff?

When we die, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, what do you think that will look like?

A high-five by an Angel at the Gates of Heaven with an eternal membership to Glory?

A pat on the back saying way to live the life the way that you wanted to live it?

Nice job, you gave it your best ditch effort?

What if it was more?  What if there was an account that needed to be given with what we did with God's time, with the talent that He gave us and with the treasure that He blessed us with?  What if, just what if we had to account for  that?

Would this be something that would make you take stock of your life?  What you are doing with your finances?  How you are spending?  What you are spending on?

Would this change the way that you spend your time?  Where are you focusing on God's Kingdom instead of your own.  What you are doing with this time?  Is it wasted or is it fruitful.  If all of my time was to burned away during this account - meaning all that was measure based on God's litmus test versus all the time that I wasted on me or others that did not build and edify His Kingdom?

What about my talent?  Would you use what talent God gave you to glorify His name?  Or are you using your talents to build your name?

What about your treasure?  Is your checking account God's?  Is your credit card purchases honoring God?  Or is everything that you have honoring you?

Before you say to me, "come on Dante, why are you being so serious?"  Ask yourself this, "What if I, as a Christian, truly have to give an account of my time, my talent and my treasure.

Food for thought,

Blessings,

D

 

Family Devotion Time

Dads/Moms/Mentors/Coaches, The legacy we leave for generations to come is imperative for their longevity and God's plan for Kingdom building.  That being said, how many eyes, ears and mouths are in your direct influence?

  • Your wife
  • Your kids
  • Your grand kids
  • Your neighbors
  • Your neighbor's kids
  • Your church
  • Your youth group
  • Your community
  • Your mission

Whether we like it or not, others are watching us:

Hebrews 12:  International Version (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."

Our jobs (as Dads/Moms/Mentors/Coaches) is to comfort, encourage and urge our children (youth) to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ.  We are called to protect, nurture and guide them in their journey toward adulthood.  They deserve every God-given right to enjoy a normal and healthy life.  Oh what sin has done to this wretched world:

  • Divorce
  • Broken Homes
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Slaver-
  • Broken-ness

These are all things that try to tear God's plan apart.  We read in Ephesians 6 "12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  We need to believe in that we are God's workmanship - His Masterpiece.  God does not make mistakes.  Regardless of what those in this world say about us, it should not matter, God has made each of us for His purpose.

Watch this video:

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Does God make mistakes?  Does God have our best in His Plan?  Of course He does.  Philippians 2:

Do Everything Without Grumbling 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.


This past week, my family and I watched this video and discussed who we are in God's kingdom.  Tell me, if you do not believe that, then how in God's green earth do you expect future generations to believe that?  What's holding you back from fully trusting God?

Blessings, Dante

 

 

Love & Respect

I have been looking at multiple articles around the internet and talking to my wife who majored in psychology and have been asking different couples what they think are some of the most important qualities that men and women desire for each other in marriage... This, of course, is open for debate and discussion with your spouse and friends.  Please have a real conversation and get to know what is really important to your spouse.  Are you two speaking each others list?

If not, pray on it (together).  Work on it! And, if needed, get pastoral counsel and or professional counsel and work through things.  A marriage is better together than apart!!!

 

 

 

 

What are the top 10 things a woman needs in marriage:

  • #10   A sense of value (she feels like she matters)
  • #9     Healthy Relationship (good communication, a sense of value
  • #8     Someone who is fun to be around (positive and healthy attitude of themselves and their spouse)
  • #7      Able to communicate (have a healthy conversation
  • #6      A Desire to be home and to be a family man (the husband desires to be home first before anywhere else)
  • #5      Shows emotional stability and maturity in relationships
  • #4      A man who has good character
  • #3      A man who is dependable
  • #2      A man who is loyal #1      Security  (she feels safe in the relationship, safe in her home, safe in life)

What are the top 10 things a man needs in marriage

#10   Affection (both touch and interaction) #9     The sense of Value (his capability to provide) #8     To be understood (you know them and understand who they are and why they do what they do) #7     To be appreciated and affirmed #6     A wife he can trust #5     To have a wife with ambition (she wants and desires to be there with him) #4     To be a great wife and mother #3     To have a pleasing disposition (fun to be around) #2     Emotionally Stable and Mature #1      A wife who respects him

What are some of your top 10's?

 

Blessings, Dante

 

 

 

Happy Mother's Day!!!

To all the wonderful mother's out there, Legacy Dads want to wish you a wonderful Mother's Day!

Proverbs 31:

The Woman Who Fears the Lord 10 [d] An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself[e] with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f] 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Happy Mothers Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there (you know who you are): Caretaker, Nurse, Coach, Taxi Driver, Calm in the Storm, Super Mom, Voice of Reason, Voice of Wisdom, Entertainer, Chef, Short-Order Cook, Cuddler, Chicken Hawk, Listener, Comforter, Maid, Sleep Deprived, Prayer Warrior and Kindhearted Mother!!!

 

 

Top 10 Ways to build a healthy marriage

We live in a world that is defiled with consumerism.  We live in a culture that says you deserve and you need to be served and you, you, you are the focus.  When we put this toward God's word and test society by the truth in the power of the word - we see truth and honor and integrity and the ways in which we should go.  Maybe you find yourself reading this to say what am I missing, or just maybe you are in a small minority of men and you are thinking what is this guy missing? Let's be real!

 

 

 

 

Top 12 ways to build a healthy marriage

  1. Get right with God - don't just have remorse for sin in your life - be repentant of it - that is turn and go the opposite way.  If you are in unappropraite relationships whether physical or mental (pornography) - flee from this sin - put it to death daily.
  2. Study His word daily - His Word never return empty
  3. Pray continuously - Pray for your spouse, your marriage, your future wife (if you are single hoping to get married)
  4. Serve your spouse tirelessly - don't make your marriage about what you can get out of it or what your spouse can do for you - make it about serving your wife and family
  5. Give 100% instead of 50% - don't keep score - give all of yourself to that marriage
  6. Don't keep record of right and wrong - Read 1 Corinthians 13
  7. When you forgive the wrong, don't keep bringing it up to them - this is not biblical to keep bringing up past sins if they have been repented of
  8. Invest your time, talent and treasure in them - God tells us to
  9. Die to self - The Word of God tells us to
  10. Be honest - need I say more?
  11. Be true - do I really need to say more?
  12. Be faithful - this goes without saying

Give these steps some time to let the Holy Spirit move each other.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Magnify

mag·ni·fy  verb  "extol; glorify." "praise the Lord and magnify Him" Psalm 34: English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

If you were to examine your life (your walk) this past week, ask yourself to take inventory in all that you do.  That is, to say, when you wake, work, eat, play, sleep and interact with others where does the Lord stand in your life?  Is God the Father, The Son and The Spirit the authority in your life, in all that you do?  Are you using your time, your talent and your treasure that you have been given by God in ways to honor Him?  Are you focusing more on what you want and how you want to promote your Kingdom instead of God's Kingdom.

For me, this is a daily struggle.  If I am brutally honest, there are days when I wake that I want to just roll over and sleep all day.  Or there are days that I just want to do life for me and my indulgences.  There are days that I just want to be selfish and not look out for others that God has given me to steward over.  

I was talking to our Care Pastor after Men of Faith yesterday, we both went out for breakfast yesterday and instead of the whole group of guys, it was just him and I.  It was really a great conversation and I truly enjoy this man of God who has been serving God's Kingdom since 1983.  When you meet him and his wife you truly see two servants that understand what it means to turn it back toward God.  They serve not to "check boxes" rather they do it to magnify God's glory.  So I was telling him that sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by what God has done for us, sending his Son to die on a cross to cover all of my sins.  I told him that I feel a deep sorrow and compassion for those who do not know him on their day of judgement and that their names that will not be written in God's Book of Life.

I also talked about the other question that we, who are truly Christ-Followers, will have to give an account:  What did we do with all the things that God has given us (His Time, His treasure and His talent).  Did our lives magnify His Glory.  Please don't take this as a condemnation or as a blog where Lance and I are trying to condemn you, the reader.  Quite the contrary.  This is an indictment toward us more than you.  I am an Elder of our Church, the leader of our Men's Group and Family Man that is given the charge to rear my children in the ways of the Lord.  I do not take this question toward you, rather, toward my daily walk.

There are days, months and even seasons where I can honestly tell you that I do get it and that I do magnify God.  But if I am really honest with you, then I feel like I have to share that I feel that there are more days were I am losing the battle against my old sin nature and the ways of the Evil One, who is a liar, and who is seeking to destroy everything good in my life.  He would love nothing more than for me to exist and to gratify my earthly desires - he wins over my life when I do this.  Or to fall in temptation and give in to it - he wins over my life.  Or to self-indulge in my old sin nature - he wins over my life.  A lot of times I hear this silent voice in my life that would say words like, "you hypocrite"  "you fake"  "you're a liar" and "nice CHRISTian example - way to lead your life and your family".  Over the younger years of my life, I would cave and retreat and fall back into that wretched part of my life.  These days, God has given me a stronger understanding of His Word and His love for me that is unmatched by anyone in this Universe.  I say to this silent voice, "Guilty!  Guilty of all that you are accusing me of, BUT I am covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

That means that all of my sins of my past, my present and my future are covered by His Blood.  That means oh silent voice and accuser of my sins in my life that God has won, death no longer has victory over my life.  Sin no longer can hold me because Jesus has paid for it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What I wrestle with today is whether my life is magnifying the Lord in all that I do.  Am I being a good steward with all that I do?  I find consolation in that most of the time, I am broken and that I am a sinner and am broken and need daily repentance in my life to continue to make God the authority in my life that I know He is.  I have to ask for wisdom and guidance in all that I do.  Yes, I can be selfish and sinful, but I can ask brothers that I am walking with and my best friend (my wife) to hold me accountable:  Are my actions meeting my daily walk required by God.

Where do I find this in Scripture you ask:

Examine yourself:  2 Corinthians 13:5(ESV) 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Renew yourself:  Romans 12:1-2 (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]

Pursue God's Holy Living (only capable thru complete trust and obedience in Him and His Word):  Colossians 3 (ESV) Put On the New Self 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 34: English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Let us come together and reason with one another.  This life is but a vapor?  What do you want to echo in eternity:  Did I live for my self or for a higher purpose (God's will)?

Blessings,

D

 

 

 

 

Sensei

Everyone once in a while, you may find yourself in the presence of great men.  Whether they are merchants, cowboys or warriors - you will know that they are great men because of the way they carry themselves.  Usually you will note authority, humility, integrity, character and you will find yourself walking away from them being a better person for the moments that you spent with them.  This is a person that I want to be.  I want to be a great husband, a really good father (a legacy dad) and someone who when others talk to me that they walk away from our conversation feeling comforted, encouraged and urged to live a life worthy of God. For the past three years, I have been taking Kempo Jui Jitsui with my son.  I love martial arts for so many reasons.  This form of martial arts is literally warrior combat.  They do not use this style or allow it in UFC fighting because the opponent would not fare well.  I love this art because, for me, it truly relates to me in the sense of discipleship.  There is so much correlation to it that it makes me giddy just thinking about it and our men's ministry called Men of Faith.

First of all, the term (title) Sensei, literally means, "one who has gone before."  Each of us are on our own journey.  Each of us have purpose and a reason to be than rather to seem (Lance will love this sentence).  For those of  us that are in Christ, each of us have been given gifts and are called to be stewards of what God has given us.  If you are fortunate to have spent time (or are currently spending time) with these great men, then you will reflect on what they have shown you.  Where they are guiding you and what their hope for you is in your walk.

The comparison to martial arts to being a disciple of God, for me, have so many similarities that it is amazing to me in my walk as a disciple and my path to be a black belt in martial arts.  That is, a lot of intentional training are required to achieve these aspirations.  Training (practicing martial arts, learning the flow and motion of the body and the range of motion in movement).  For a disciple (reading God's word, being in the word, committed to the word and to prayer and to walking with other men).  The key to both of these aspirations of mine is that I am not doing this alone.  God never intended that for us to be alone.  When His Son, Jesus Christ, sent the 70 disciples out to share the Gospel, He sent them two by two.

When you practice a sport, and art, a walk with God, there is always a cost = TIME.   There is always a continue flow of motion and body movement - you have to be committed to the practice and training and commitment of time, talent and treasure to be who God wants you to be.  We are called to be stewards of what He has given you and me.

We can try to make martial arts about "me" or "you".  We can try to make discipleship about "me" or "you" or you can watch these sensei' in our lives (Great men) who have gone before us and who are there not to detract us from learning and growing, but to guide us in the path that we should take.

When we commit our ways to these paths, then you can be certain that things will change.  A life that is worth living will be clear and evident in your path.  There will be purpose because you will learn that God calls men to do His will.  You can choose to be a part of it or you can choose to be left alone.

Don't be fooled into thinking that life and training gives you a shortcut (a way to cheat).  After running three marathons, several half marathons and a Super Spartan Race along with training to be an effective martial artist and a legacy dad (a man of God), I can tell you that there is no easy way.  There is a cost - a time commitment and a willingness to go deeper in training and in relationship and in friendship.

We have to let go of old ways, stubborn ways.  We have to destroy pride and lust for what we want and learn from these men who have gone before and are willing to show us the way, the truth and the life found in Jesus Christ.

Each and every one of us will have a time and a place that our lives will come to an end.  Whether through natural causes, or through war, or through other events that take us to meet our Creator, there will be two questions that we have to answer at this Judgement Seat of Christ:

  1. Do we know God's Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior
  2. What did we do with the things that God gave us to steward

If you do not know the answer without certainty for question one (please email Lance or myself now - or ask a pastor at a bible believing/preaching church) and if you are not sure what a steward is or what God has planned and calls for each one of us to do with our time, talent and treasure, then seek the answers through this blog and the Word of God.  I am not going to give them to you right now, remember there is a cost.

Esse Quam Videri - to be rather than to seem!

Blessings,

D

 

 

The marks of a disicple

dareOften you have read and heard from Lance and I not to just be a follower of Jesus, but to dare to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Some may say, "Are you saying that if I am saved then I am not automatically a disciple of Jesus Christ?"  or some say, "If I am saved then I am already a disciple of Christ", while others say, "to be a disciple, your life has to bear the marks of a disciple."  So you find yourself asking where does Legacy Dad stand on this.  My answer is:  Look to the New Testament!  If you read and reread and study and meditate on the Word of God, then you cannot help but understand what a disciple of Christ must do,  must look like and what fruit he/she should be bearing. Jesus, in Matthew 7, tells us what disciples look like:

True and False Disciples 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Jesus in Matthew 28 doesn't just tell us to go out and reach the lost and save them.  He takes it one step further:

The Great Commission 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus also goes on to say that if you hold onto (never let go of) his teaching, then you are a disciple.  If you follow him (that is, to say, not just believing in Him), If you teach the truths to other trustworthy people so that they can multiply God's plan for His believers.  In Luke 6:40, "A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher."  Luke 9:23 says, "whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."  Jesus and His New Testament have so much to say on what a disciple must be, must do and must follow in order to be called His disciple.

Marks of A Disciple

A disciple must(s):

  • Know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior:  Romans 10:9-11 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[a]
  • Renew his mind:  Romans 12: A Living Sacrifice 12:  1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
  • Knows and Studies God's Word:  1 John 2:3-11 - "Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers, 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them."
  • Let the Word have authority over their lives:  Colossians 3:15-17 "15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
  • Be Humble:  James 4:10, "10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."
  • Be not just hearers of the word BUT doers:  James 1:22, "22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
  • Bear God's Fruit (you simply cannot help but bear His fruit if you are his disciple):  Galatians 5:22-26, "22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
  • Die to self:  Romans 6:8, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."  This simply means let go and let God in all that you do.
  • Be a good steward:  A good steward is someone who understands that God is all, above all and over all.  That is, to say, that God has dominion over my finances, my choices, my daily life and my gifts.  All that I do should point others to Christ.

There is so much more to say on being and daring to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (more to follow on this topic).  That being said, understand that none of us are perfect nor could ever be.  We are called to live content and humble lives.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and understand God's call to worship together in community, in family.  To lift each other up and to supply the needs of the body.  In doing so, you will lay up treasure in Heaven where it is so much more important than the matters of a life down here on earth.  For we are but a mist and before we know it, our lives will be ending and our eternity approaching.

What are you going to choose to do?  Serve yourself?  Or serve God?

Blessings,

D

 

 

The only way to find your life is to lay your own life life down

discipledockAndrew Peterson is one of my favorite songwriters who was actually introduced to me by my brother, Lance, who posted a video with the song "Family Man".  I also learned and went to see Andrew and met him with the Director of Worship from our church who is a big fan of Andrew's.  This morning I woke up and was listening to a collection of songs from Andrew and he has this one song, Dancing in the Minefields (lyrics here) and the line, "'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down, and I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found."  That is a profound statement and we know that resembles the Truth because we read something like this in Scripture, "13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13, NIV). Jesus turned the religious world upside down when He came to this earth to serve instead of being served.  He exemplifies this when He washes his disciples' feet.  We read so much truth in Scripture about marriage and how we are to serve one another:

  • Ephesians 5:  " 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
  • 1 Peter 3:  "7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:  "4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Marriage done God's way is not a 50/50 relationship.  That is, to say, that you don't just give 50% and wait for your spouse to give 50% and believe that equals 100%, because this is not God's math this is the world's view - What's in it for me?  When we put Jesus at the center, where He belongs, then the true equation equals 100%.  Regardless of good or bad, sickness and in health, seasons of trials and tribulations - I am going to give 100%!  When I don't I am going to express my true feelings and no matter what, I will not hold back love.

Love is patient - it waits and it does not hold back.

Love is kind - don't be rude

It does not envy - trust implicitly

It does not boast - it is given without holding back and it is humble

It is not easily angered - think about this one (take the "I" out of "we" because there is no "I" in "We"

It keeps no record of wrongs - stop keeping score - forgive as you have been forgiven.

Love always protects!  Always trusts! Always hopes and no matter what - it does not quit - it always perseveres!!!

What's holding you back from trusting God and getting the "I" out of your relationship:  1 John 2: "On Not Loving the World -'15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 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. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."

Look back at your life and your relationships and refer to Galatians 5 and ask yourself which fruit is more evident in my life:  The Fruit of the Spirit or the Fruit of the Sinful Nature?  If there is more Sinful Nature stuff, then repent and serve 100% in those that God called you to love.  Don't hold back!  Pray continually and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in those broken and/or fractured relationships.  Some of us may need professional biblical counseling.  All of us need accountability partners and groups (Community) to walk with us and love on us and to comfort, encourage and urge us to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ did not come to be served, but to serve.  Jesus tells us to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Can you truly call yourself a CHRISTian if you hold back love and forgiveness.  Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

What's holding you back from God's love and plan for your marriage, your relationships, your friendships that need love?

You can do this!  You can do this because when you let go and let God, then you can be sure that He has got this!

Blessings, Dante

 

 

 

 

Tell Your Story

whats-your-story-4I gave my life to Jesus Christ on November 7, 1976 in a fundamental, independent Baptist Church.  The pastor was a humble and intelligent man named Reverend Donald G. Humbert.  He was a godly man who believed in the Bible word for word.  I grew up Catholic, meaning I grew up in a tradition and religion rather than a genuine faith and friendship with our Creator.  That is, to say, that I was not connected to God's word, His truth, nor did I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sister started attending this church and eventually got my mom and I to start attending this church.  After several months, I remember one Sunday evening (11/7/1976) that I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I stood up during the "alter call" and gave my life to the Lord. I cannot tell you that I always followed the road to biblical discipleship (read more:  Here), but the Lord never gave up on me even at my most darkest of times.  During my late adaloscent years and even into my early teens I was on fire for the Lord.  I was President of my youth group and CEO of our high school ministry.  I loved the Lord with every part of my being.  And then I met high school football and the like and turned away from God and toward earthly idols.  My youth Pastor, and my friend, noticed a dramatic change and wrote me a letter about this (I still have this today) and called me out (or tried to) in being raw and honest with his walk.  I really always love and respect that man for his truth in love.  As a result, I walked away from my relationship with God for over a decade (again see the post above).  It was not until I went to a friend's wedding and met his wife's best friend did my life begin to change.

This woman, who would later be called my wife, introduced me to another Bible Church in her hometown.  She even had me waking up at 6am in the morning to drive out to her church in the western suburbs of Chicago to help her lead a 2 and 3 year old class.   At the time that we officially started dating, we were on a double date downtown for her birthday and I found out from my dad that that early morning my mother had a massive heart attack.  She was given 6 months to live and my dad had just lost his brother.  Needless to say, I got a second opinion and my mom lived 10 years past the original 6 month diagnosis.  After my mom had her open heart surgery, she woke up and asked me to make her a promise (i said of course) and she asked me to go to church again and to start reading my bible again.

That begin a long road to recovery (sin nature stuff takes some time to work through the carnage and scars), but my wife said to me during this process of early marriage, "do something about it" (she was referring to my walk and what I needed).  This began to formulate my walk with other brothers and to truly grasp what Galatians 6:1-2 says (click here).  So I started walking with other brothers and started to repent of all the justifications (that were sin) in my life and confess to a Holy God that which I did and was repenting of.

What do I believe (in) today:

  • I am a work in progress.
  • I am going to finish well.
  • I believe and confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and my friend.
  • I believe that God is the authority over my entire life.
  • I believe that God calls us in to community and to walk with each other.
  • I believe that He has given me a story, my story, to tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What I am asking you to do today:

  • Take a hard look at your life and ask yourself if there is any sin nature stuff in your life that needs to be repented of
  • Pray continually
  • Ask God to lead you
  • Examine yourself daily (in and through the word of God)
  • Let God be the authority of your entire life
  • Walk with other brothers (if you are a man) and other sisters (if you are a woman) - confess your sins to one another!
  • Finally, I ask you to tell your Gospel story of your life to others in your circles of life.

To God be the Glory, D

 

 

 

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

considering-divorce1-578x295I read a story a while back (not sure of source) but it goes something like this:  A couple, who was hell-bent on getting a divorce came in to their Pastor's office.  They had both agreed that they wanted to continue to come to that particular church and they both wanted their pastor to approve their divorce.  They were a bitter couple who both made years of mistakes and were tired of each other and the pain that they caused each other.  They were angry, bitter and maligned and neither one could be in a room for longer than 20 minutes before a massive shouting match would ensue. So in walks the Pastor into his office and before he could begin the meeting they turned that bitterness toward willful demand and both insisted that the Pastor grant them a divorce and to keep their membership in good standing.  Each spouse, for the first time in 10 years, were perfectly aligned in their case in granting their divorce.  The Pastor tried every angle in counseling that he could and had used before even in the most difficult of situations and even this well-seasoned Pastor could not budge this couple.  So finally, he interrupted and spoke boldly and with authority to this rancid couple.  "Okay," he said, "I will grant both of your requests on one and only one condition..." the pastor said.  The couple was astonished and both shocked and looking back at each other said they would.  The condition was that for three months they had to live together amicably.  They had to turn insult into compliment, selfishness into serving and anger into gentleness.  They had to live gently and lovingly with each other.  They had to give it their most honest try to the pastor knew enough about this couple and their friends that he knew that they could not hide from doing that.  "Three months?," they both said.  Both of them expecting the pastor would have asked for a year and both were happy to honestly oblige. The first month was rocky and very short and curt between this couple.  One would have a bad day and they other would serve and do the necessary things to diffuse their tensions between them.  During the second month, the wife came home from work with a very bad day in the office and a colleague being fired after recent layoffs caused her to be steamed and looking for a fight.  A fight with someone who she especially didn't care for - her husband.  As she entered the house, she couldn't have even remotely expected the surprise that followed.  The entire house was cleaned, picked up and vacuumed.  The dishes were washed and put away and the laundry was done and folded.  There was a delicious smell coming from the kitchen with a note that said dinner is in the oven and warming and your salad and dessert are in the fridge.  Still angry and still looking to fight, she entered the room in which her husband was working and deliberately did all the things that would have caused an argument and she even messed up their clean bedroom.  Failing to ignite his temper and anger she then decided to let rage leave her mouth.  The husband, committed to his promise to their pastor got up and said, "Let me get your dinner."  After serving her dinner and cleaning up her mess he went to bed.

The third month was finally there and they had just four weeks to survive their agreement and both were excited to get their pastor's blessing.  Later that month, just days before they had to go back to the pastor's office, they both got home late from work and both were looking for an argument without even knowing it.  The ironic thing about it was that each of them were serving the other and unselfishness doing what needed to be done in that house and for their marriage.  When they finally turned their attention toward each other stupid and angry phrases started to babble from their mouth.  To their surprise, both of their comments were so off the mark and ridiculous that neither one could stop laughing and the anger and bitterness evaporated.  That night they slept in their same bedroom together.

The very next day, the husband woke up not only to serve his wife, but he made the coffee and served his wife breakfast in bed.  To his surprise the wife was already up and laid out his clothes for work and they both had decided to play hookey from work and spend the day together....

The day finally came to meet the pastor and neither the man or his wife wanted to keep that appointment because neither one wanted to quit their marriage like that both had tried hard to do for he past 10 years.  There was silence for just a few moments in the pastor's office.  Both the husband and wife looked different.  Both the husband and wife were acting different and both of their body language was engaged toward each other.

What the couple didn't know is what God's word had spoken to the pastor 1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you[a] of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."  The pastor knew that both of them loved Jesus and both wanted the church of God to be their home.  So the pastor knew that this couple loved God, therefore the pastor knew that they had God's Spirit to guide them in this three-month journey.  Without missing a beat, the pastor took out the certificate of divorce and signed it as he had promised.  Prompting his executive assistant and executive pastor, he had them come into his office to witness this.  The couple squirmed sheepishly and interrupted this display by saying neither wanted a divorce.   Not only did God's word guide them to the truth, both started serving and caring for the other, both started to let go of the past and focus on the present and both let go and let God move in their life.


Guys - if your marriage is in trouble, holding on by a thread, or worse - it's been dead for quite some time - don't fret!  I have good news.  There is hope.  We do not serve a God who died on a tree, rather, we serve a God who was raised from the dead and can take dead things and make them knew.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What fruit are your bearing?Life by the Spirit 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

  • Who is the authority in your life? 2 Timothy 3:15-16New International Version (NIV)15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
  • What does God want from my marriage?Ephesians 5:21-33New International Version (NIV)Instructions for Christian Households 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    1 Corinthians 13New International Version (NIV)

    13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

10 steps to turn things around:

  1. Pray
  2. Read God's word daily
  3. Serve unconditionally and do not expect anything in return
  4. Love unconditionally
  5. Love more unconditionally
  6. Forgive as you and your sins have been forgiven
  7. Pray
  8. Turn insult into blessing
  9. Walk with other brothers who will keep you accountable, walk with you and read God's word with you
  10. Pray some more and ask God to give you the direction in which you should go.Proverbs 3:5-7 New International Version (NIV)5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a] 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

Who better to trust then in the One whose words never return empty.

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family

top-10-mistakes  

 

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family:

 

10.  Play board games with them

9.  Go on long walks

8.  Ride your bikes to the local ice cream store

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

6.  Read the Bible with them

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

4.  Pray with your wife and kids

3.  Serve with them

2.  Love them

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

 

What are some of your top 10's?

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Unforgiveness

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

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

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

1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

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

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

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)

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

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

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

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

So if God can forgive us...

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

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

How about this, Legacy dads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Impacts of homes without a Father

[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

 

 

 

Values

Chicago-SkylineThis morning, my wife and I got a sitter and joined some friends downtown for brunch.  It was a very delicious and rich lunch, and I think my digestive system is still recovering from all the rich and delicious food that we ate over the span of 3.5 hours (Now that's some eating).  All this to state that one conversation that struck a chord with me was one in the car ride downtown with my best friend, my wife. As we were driving, we were talking about present day politics (or lack thereof) and craziness in this world.  If you and I were to watch the news religiously, let's be honest, it would leave us in a sad state of affairs:  This world is spinning out of control and in need of a Savior fast!  There have been impressionable moments in the memories of or children:  The Holocaust, World Wars (1 & 2), 9-11, The Black Plague, Military action that does not have the support (air, land and sea) for its soldiers, and so much more that can be lasting and in some instances devastating toll our the psyche and rearing of our children.  James 1:27 states, "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."

sensatinalism-wdse1201-pan-a-b systematic-desensitization-1-638We were talking about everything from gun control, conspiracy theories to the core of the problem and my wife, being astute, stated that much of the bad comes from this world.  The world (media and entertainment) promotes Sensationalism and Desensitization.  That is, the two issues that really need to be addressed by society are these two things previously mentioned.  1 John 2:16 states it like this, "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."  When we understand that the world is broken and is sinful and prideful.  James 4  puts it this way, "1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

When we, as sinners, sensationalize violent and sinful acts, how can we expect others not to follow?  Not to have the desire to be noticed?  Not to have the outcasts of society and the evil promotes agenda?  When we, as sinners, promote violent and irrational entertainment (movies, violent video games, pornography (sex trafficking) and the like) how can we expect sinners not to be desensitized and to not look at our brother and sisters as children of God?  When we focus on 1 John and James 4 and so much more Scripture on this topic, we begin to understand that we have a responsibility to our generations to come.  We have a legacy that we need to leave for those that God gave us to steward over.

Every parent has and will continue to raise their children the way that God has equipped you.  As Lance has stated in previous posts, there is no clear-cut way to raise our children.  For each of us it is different because each of us has different backgrounds and children to raise.  But the bible does give us some guidelines when raising our children.  The Bible gives us clear ways to go with our spouses and family.

Some legacy values to instill in our lives and children's lives:

  • Stay on the path of purity:  By living according to God's word (Ps 119:9)
  • Hide God's word in our hearts (Ps 119:11)
  • Teach them to be good citizens and to know where their citizenship rests (Ps 119:19)
  • Give them healthy boundaries (Ps 119:33-40)
  • Teach them gratitude (True gratitude of what God has done for us and what he asks us to do to our neighbor)
  • Teach them generosity
  • Teach them to forgive and to be compassionate
  • Teach them perseverance
  • Teach them humility
  • Teach them responsibility
  • Teach them courtesy and respect
  • Train them in the way that they should go (by making your faith real and accountable to them)
  • Give them discipline (how can you expect them to be disciples of Christ and they don't understand true discipline?)
  • Love them unconditionally (I tell my children that I will always love them no matter what, but some times I may not like their choices)
  • If they wander from the truth (bring them back)

Proverbs 3: New International Version (NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Blessings,

 

Dante

 

 

 

Completed Devoted

our-daily-breadWhat if we trained for a marathon race at 25 percent?  What if we committed to our partner 30 percent?  What if we paid taxes on only 30 percent of our income?  What if we spent very little time investing in our family and our marriage?  In all of these questions what do you think the likely end result would be?  Would it be a happy ending?  Would it be edifying?  Would it be worth it to change these questions to what if I gave it my all? I don't think very many of us would even remotely try to argue that results would certainly be much different.  All this being said to ask our question of where does our devotion truly stand with the Creator of this Universe?

Some key verses for you to ponder:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  • 1 Samuel 12:24  "Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
  • Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;
  • Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
  • 1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

 

If we were to honestly look at the daily journals of our lives (Our time:  How are we spending it?  Our Treasure: If we were to show everyone in our lives and our churches how God really matters, would our checkbooks show it?  Our Talent:  When we are saved, Scripture tells us that the Spirit gives us fruit, so how are we sharing that?)

Some of us need to take serious inventory of our lives:

  • Ask your spouse to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Where does God line up with that?)
  • Ask your children to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Is God even mentioned)
  • Take a look at your time (Where is God on that list)
  • Take a look at your treasure (What does our checkbook and spending tell us?)
  • Take a look at your talent (Are you using it for God's kingdom?)

My next post will be on prioritizing...

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