Parenting

Lessons for my son from the Musical: Hamilton

About two months ago, my wife and I and her best friend took my son to Chicago and I met them for the Musical Hamilton.   Contrary to the controversial politics and inappropriate treatment of the Vice President (VP Mike Pence) who also came to visit this production, I enjoyed the story of Alexander Hamilton and the talented cast that performed it.  Speaking of which, to all actors and entertainers, when I pay for a venue of which is a tendered contract between your boss and me, the consumer, I am paying you for the right to be entertained.  I am not asking for nor am I paying for your political view nor am I asking for your opinion on political matters. If that were the case, then you would be running for elected office and if I believed in you, as a candidate, then I would use my God-given right to vote for you in hopes that you would be elected to represent WE THE PEOPLE.

Sorry, as I digress.

Anyway, back to the musical Hamilton.  I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and story line along the way.  It was fun to discuss with my son during intermission and afterwards about how accurate and what was missing from the story of Alexander Hamilton.  There was a part of his life that gave an excellent teaching moment between my son and I and the choices that we make so early in life could actually cost us everything that we want later.  It was great to be able to talk about values that we share on Legacydads.  

There is so much more that I could share in regards to that conversation between my son and I, but I suppose that I will wait for another post or perhaps a podcast with Lance.

Near to the end of the performance and loss of their son, Phillip Hamilton, they sing a song called, It's Quite Uptown:

It's Quiet Uptown [ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down

[ANGELICA/ENSEMBLE] The Hamiltons move uptown And learn to live with the unimaginable

[HAMILTON] I spend hours in the garden I walk alone to the store And it’s quiet uptown I never liked the quiet before I take the children to church on SundayA sign of the cross at the doorAnd I prayThat never used to happen before

[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] If you see him in the street, walking by Himself, talking to himself, have pity

[HAMILTON] Philip, you would like it uptown It’s quiet uptown

[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] He is working through the unimaginable

[ALL MEN (EXCEPT HAMILTON)] His hair has gone grey. He passes every day They say he walks the length of the city

[HAMILTON] You knock me out, I fall apart

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Can you imagine?

[HAMILTON] Look at where we are Look at where we started I know I don’t deserve you, Eliza But hear me out. That would be enough

If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He’d be standing here right now And you would smile, and that would be enough I don’t pretend to know The challenges we’re facing I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost And you need time But I’m not afraid I know who I married Just let me stay here by your side That would be enough

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity

[HAMILTON] Eliza, do you like it uptown? It’s quiet uptown

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] He is trying to do the unimaginable See them walking in the park, long after dark Taking in the sights of the city

[HAMILTON] Look around, look around, Eliza

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] They are trying to do the unimaginable

[ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reachThere is a grace too powerful to name We push away what we can never understand We push away the unimaginable They are standing in the garden Alexander by Eliza’s side She takes his hand

[ELIZA] It’s quiet uptown

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Forgiveness. Can you imagine?Forgiveness. Can you imagine? If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity They are going through the unimaginable

Certainly there are both sides of the argument toward this man and his journey, but no one can deny his past and where he started and the key role he had in the framework of this great Country.  Looking at this song there are three parts that I want to focus on about "knowing their fruit" (from Galatians 5):

  • "I take the children to church on Sunday, A sign of the cross at the door, And I pray, That never used to happen before" - I love this song and cannot get it out of my head as you can ask my wife and kids how much I play this song over the past two months.  Alexander Hamilton certainly did a lot of things wrong, of which one thing likely cost him the presidency.  He would have been a contender if not a victor if he didn't have a stain.  I think if we are honest and look back at our lives, we would not always be proud or we would definitely have told our younger self to avoid or go different directions.
  • "There are moments that the words don’t reach, There is a grace too powerful to name" - if you are a critical thinker, like myself, then put on your biblical lenses in this statement and think about where this Amazing Grace comes from.  Think about a transforming power that can take something dead and make it alive again.  Think about a God who gave His only Son to save you and I - that is a God that I want to know and serve and love.
  • "Forgiveness. Can you imagine? Forgiveness. Can you imagine?" - After an inappropriate affair that cost his political career and almost cost his marriage, the loss of a son and his wife almost leaving him (or it would seem) Eliza, Hamilton's wife, forgives him.  This part of the song is so powerful and it clasps at your heart because when you hear it, it is amazing in that he and his wife buried their son who was killed in a dual and besides that alone, all the infractions of his past cost him so much more.  But along the way (of this song) you could see how even a "dead marriage" can come alive in through the power of the Holy Spirit by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All things are possible with God.

So the question that I have for you in this matter, is where are you right now?  Does your past define you?  Is the past so overwhelming that you cannot look toward your future?  Who is Jesus Christ in your life?  Do you know him as Savior? If not, why not?  Read Romans 10.  Read the Gospel of Mark and come to know this Lord like we do.  If you do know him, but are unable to let go of the past, then I have to ask you - is God enough?  Is the death and resurrection of Jesus enough?  Do you need more than his crucifixion and resurrection?

Let go, let God.  Repent!  Turn toward God and draw near to him and he will draw near to you!!!

Blessings,

Dante

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:

[youtube id="3QCkBL2DfVg"]

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

 

 

Dear Younger Me

Dear Legacy Dads, If you are anything like me, at some point or another, you have thought about your past and what you may have done differently or what you would have kept the same.  I often think about the good (mostly like to remember the good) but often I find myself thinking about some of the sin stuff too.  That is, thinking how I wish I could have told the "younger me" the pitfalls of these decisions and how they would impact me years or even decades beyond those ill-gotten decisions.

If you have time, go to Youtube and search for Mercy Me, Younger Me 

There is a part of the song by Mercy Me that shows this:

  • Dear younger me
  • It's not your fault
  • You were never meant
  • to carry this beyond the cross...

I think for you and me, looking back (for an instance) is not a bad thing.  That is, to say, that it helps to remind us of where we came from and the decisions that we made.  It helps me to thank God for being faithful even when I was not.  It helps me to avoid those pitfalls that left devastation and disappointment in past decisions (sins).  I thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, who paid it all and who nailed all of those sins (past, present and future) to the tree.

Romans 8 is a good reminder for me:

Life in the Spirit - 8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Heirs with Christ - 12 So then, brothers,[e] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory - 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

God's Everlasting Love - 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have to be honest for a moment here and tell you that I hate historians who try to re-write the past or takeaway artifacts that were set to remind us of past mistakes and or victories.  Those who do not tell history the way that it should be remembered - through the eyes of truth - no matter the story teller, should be removed as citizens and be enslaved in their own lust of agendas. If you ever meet someone who is like this, pray for them and lead them to God's word.  Because Jesus is the truth and the truth shall set you free.

So back to my younger self, I often think of some things that I would have done differently if I knew that it wouldn't change my outcome to where I am at today - with a wife and three kids who  love me and adore me and make me want to be a better husband and dad not because of what they do or how they do it, but because I want to do those things to please God and to make them feel loved.

What I would say to myself back then:

Dear younger me,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

 

Setting the Spiritual Bar High

Dear Legacy Dads, We read in Thessalonians that, we as spiritual fathers, are to comfort, encourage and urge you to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ our Lord.  That being said, I have noticed some things as I watch in season and out of season our men leading their families.  I see men of all creeds leading their kids recklessly in sports (Football, Baseball, Soccer and you name it) in coaching, training, lessons and all sorts of travel leagues.  I see dads who work so hard for the American Dream that they never forget to file all of their expenses entertaining and traveling to nurture their clients and grow their businesses, but the one expense that should be their greatest focus gets lost in the filing:  Their wife and kids.  I see some dads who are so active in the community and social clubs and everything outside of the home, but their number one priority (that is, their actual top investment:  Their family) is completely ignored.  I see some dads so completely engulfed in everything that matters to them and ignoring their wife and children, why?  Because they simply do not prioritize God's decree on a legacy dad's number one mission:  Their family!!!

Do not take this first paragraph as an indictment or insult, rather, take it as a major generational gap of proper training from one generation to the next generation.  To put it in layman's terms:  Our fathers have forgotten to pass down the very fabric of letting their faith and trust in God not only be taught, but more importantly caught from generation to generation.  Call it laziness, or call it ineptness, but somewhere along the line the church decided to retreat and believe in the "american dream" can be achieved by Government and the church (Ekklesia) has been usurped in its God-given role.

That being said, in all that Lance and I ever say, please test these things against Scripture to see if what we say is consistent through God's word:

  • Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) 6 "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV) 6 "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
  • 2 Timothy 3:15-16 (ESV) 15 "and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,"
  • Philippians 4:6 (ESV) 6 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
  • Ephesians 6:4  (ESV) 4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

In these Scriptures, there is no absolute that your child(ren) won't be lured into worldliness or to turn from the ways of the Lord, BUT we, as godly parents, can decided this day who you and I will serve.  Either we choose to live for ourselves (the world and its desires) or the Lord.  We can give our children and their children a "leg up" in future generations by making our faith real to them.

What does this look like:

  1. Be in the word daily (how can you be a relevant disciple if you are disconnected to God's word daily?)
  2. Pray continually (as needed)
  3. Be real with your kids (when you sin, own it, confess it and repent).  This doesn't mean to be remorseful of sin in that you acknowledge it and feel bad about it AND then keep on repeating the insanity of just remorse and not true repentance.  True Repentance is confessing this sin to God, acknowledging it to God and going the opposite way of removing this sin from your life.  Having accountability in your life to help you through it and to be real with your wife and kids about the struggle.  It means that if you wronged someone else in this process that you make it right in where you will not harm others or those around them in seeking forgiveness.
  4. Let the Word of God have the ultimate authority in your life - that is in your stewardship (time, talent and treasure).  In the decisions you make in and outside of church, that the word of God is present at all times and the final authority of all of your decisions.
  5. Have real conversations with your wife and kids (don't just tell them how to live and what to do as a Christian, as a disciple) live it, breathe it and die by it.

Finally, in all that you do:

Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV) 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.

Blessings, Dante

 

 

 

Happy Fathers Day!!!

Lance and I would like to wish all of you legacy dads a very happy fathers day!  Thank you for being willing to step up and to get out of the boat making a difference in others' lives.  Whether you are a dad, grandfather, spiritual father (coach, mentor) we want to thank you for taking the legacy dad approach.

This past weekend, some legacy dads and myself took all of our kids (minus a college student) on a weekend camping trip.  Imagine just for a moment:  4 Dads, 11 kids (ranging from 4 years old thru 13 years old) and no moms.  We came, we saw, we ate, slept and conquered.  These men are in my small group and we have grown into a very solid community who are walking together and doing life together.

All of these dads have a lot to offer.  They are all gifted and natural born leaders who are on a journey of faith and living in the American way of life.  Trying to live a life worthy of God and also trying to leave a legacy for their wives and kids.  These guys are true grit and we would do anything for each other, including giving their shirts off their back if the other was in need.  One of the four dads is ending a nine year stint as a Deacon in our church (one who has a heart of an Elder and I cannot wait to see him move into that role down the road)  The other two amaze me, because although they are "new" in their walk and prayer lives, they are gifted with leadership talent beyond belief.

I am thankful for these brothers because they mean so much to me.  I am thankful for their wives because they mean so much to us.  I am thankful for their children because they are fun to watch and to see them grow and to see the way that they look at their dads.  I pray for these brothers daily that they would continue to stand up against the ways of this world, to get out of the boat of complacency and to walk out onto the water of faith and see what God has in store for their lives.

To all of our readers, thank you for being faithfully committed to making a difference in your life, your families lives, your church lives and in your community.

Blessings, Dante

 

 

Launching Our Children Well

Launching.jpg

I started this journey and website over 12 years ago, back when my children were 6 and 5 years old.  Quite simply, I wanted to raise children who had Godly character, engaged the world, and used their lives to have an impact for God's kingdom.  I haven't been actively posting on Legacy Dad the past year because, quite frankly, I've been in the trenches, engaged in raising teenagers, and preparing to launch them into adulthood.  In my opinion, this is a critical time in my children's lives and the decisions they make will have more long terms implications. However, the road has not always been easy and things have not always gone as planned...

To start, we currently live in the Northeast part of the country and things are culturally a lot different then we are used to.  For starters, where we live, the average couple does not start having children until their mid to late 30's.  This means that in our home town and in our church family, we have almost no peer support as most couples our age are just starting their families. Largely, we have had to rely on older couples who have kids our children's age or "empty nesters" who have already launched their children. Granted, we have been truly blessed by the couples who have walked with us but peer support has been largely missing for the past 5 years.

Next, we purposely chose not to shelter our children from the world but to raise our kids "in but not of the world." We've had to raise our children in a culture and in schools that preach "work hard at academics and sports, get a good college education, make a lot of money, and buy big houses and boats to make you happy."  It's a very self-centered, what's in it for me culture.  Traits like serving ones country or community, giving back by volunteering time, talents, or money, and pursuing a vocation or career that impacts people for God rather than making a buck are largely absent or in some circumstances even deterred.

Thankfully, God had a plan in all of this and our church family and our children's experiences allowed them to see through this shallow and empty culture to persevere.  Yes, our children were exposed to things like peers using drugs and alcohol, depression, and even suicide.  They've seen friends consumed in the world and end up in trouble with the law or worse.  But, they also got to see behind the curtain of the upper-middle class lie - kids who had the big houses, the latest phones, vacations to Europe, and everything handed to them were many times more unhappy, depressed, and treat people with a sense of pompous entitlement.  Instead of assimilating and being influenced by this culture, our children rejected it and wanted nothing to do with The Success Illusion.  They witnessed and experienced first hand all that the Bible (and mom and dad) have taught them over the years.

Parenting teenagers is an entirely different style of parenting.  Teens often look and think that they are adults, therefore they want to make their own decisions.  Directly trying to tell your teens which college they should go to or what vocation they might be happiest in often has the opposite effect.  Ultimately, teens want to have a say and make their own decisions.  Therefore, if you wait until they become teens to start letting them make decisions, you could end up with some setbacks.  This is why I have preached for the past 12 years to start allowing children to make decisions and have responsibility early.  In the teen years, you move from Director to Coach or Mentor. You have to be clever and find ways to plant ideas and seeds in your teens but ultimately allow them to make the decision and go the direction they want to.  Sometimes, this means letting them fail or deal with natural consequences.  Too many parents these days are micromanaging their kids lives up until the day they drop them off a college. Sometimes even longer?

Our oldest just graduated and heads off to college this fall yet he is still not sure what he wants to major in or pursue for a vocation.  My encouragement to him is to pray, explore some areas and take some classes to see where his passion lays.  Over and over again, I have told my kids to follow their hearts and God's plan for their lives and they will never be wrong.  Don't choose a career or path just because it has a big salary or fancy title.  Pursue what you love based on your calling and gifts and find a way to advance God's kingdom and have an impact on the world.  This being said, both of my children are looking at careers and vocations that will have them working and helping other people and possibly working overseas.  They both feel that helping people, fighting injustice, and building community are more important than salaries and titles.

Bottom line, nether one of my kids will be attending Harvard or becoming neurosurgeon's.  They probably won't develop the next startup app that goes IPO and makes a billion dollars. However, they are both actively engaged (in their own separate ways) in deepening relationships, helping other people, and pointing others to Jesus Christ and his undeserving, amazing grace.  While they sometimes slip and have setbacks, more often they rely on the foundation of Christ and Christian values to guide and lead their lives and everyday actions.  While they are both spreading their wings and venturing away from our nest, my wife and I are confident and secure that they both are listening to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to move and guide them in their endeavors.  By this measure, we have succeeded as parents.

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

-Emerson

Are you making other disciples?

Luke 6English Standard Version (ESV)

The Beatitudes

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Jesus Pronounces Woes

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Build Your House on the Rock

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[c] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”


Currently I am walking with 4 other brothers daily via text and friendship and conversations over coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We are sharing daily life struggles and encouraging and comforting and urging one another to live worthy of God.  I love these brothers.  I am also walking with 3 men and their wives in our small group that meets every other week (we are taking the summer off as we usually do.

That being said, I texted my brothers this this morning, "A disciple of Jesus will go and make other disciples fully training others to reflect Jesus and to show His love in all that we do keeping God's word as an authority in his life!"  "I love you brothers!  Let go of that which ensnares you today and ask God to take your burdens!  Let the Word dwell in you richly!

This has hit me tonight that I feel the same way about my brother Lance and you, our Legacydad readers!!!

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

What's my Hill?

As I was perusing Facebook this morning and catching up with some work emails, I noticed this commencement speech from Matthew McConaughey and liked what he was saying to the graduating class at the University of Houston and say that "life should not be a popularity contest.  Be brave, take the Hill, but first ask 'What's my Hill?  So me, how do I define success?  For me it is a measurement of 5 things: 1) Fatherhood, 2) Being a good husband, 3) Health (mind, body and spirit), 4) Career and 5) Friendships.  These are what is important in my life right now." Everything in culture talks about self and what is best for me and how I express myself and my identity in such a narcissistic society that the world is spinning further and further away from biblical truth:

  • 1 John 2:15-17 ESV Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
  • Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
  • Ephesians 5:11 ESV / Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
  • James 4:4 ESV / You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
  • Titus 2:11-12 ESV / For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

So let's test what Matthew said to Scripture:

Being a good father:

  • Psalm 127:5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
  • Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  • Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  • Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
  • Psalm 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
  • Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Being a good husband:

  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
  • 1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
  • Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.
  • Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
  • Ephesians 5:21-32 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. read more.

Having good Health (body, mind and spirit)

  • Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)
  • And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
  • Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. This is true and everyone should accept it.” 1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NLT)
  • A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
  • Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. Proverbs 3: 7-8 (NLT)
  • Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT)
  • You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. Psalms 63:5 (NLT)
  • He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers yeah strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will fall give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 (NLT)
  • Don’t be impressed with your all wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you’ll gain renewed health and vitality. Proverbs 3:7-8 (NLT)
  • Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink-even if you have no money! Take your choice of wine or milk-it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul! Isaiah 55: 1-2 (NLT)
  • The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well watered garden like an ever-flowing spring.Isaiah 58:11 (NLT)
  • You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. Exodus 23:25 (NLT)
  • A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick. Proverbs 17:22 (TLB)
  • As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Psalms 119:143 (NLT)
  • Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 (NAS)
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NAS)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NAS)
  • So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Having a good career:

  • Colossians 3:23 ESV / Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
  • Proverbs 13:4 ESV / The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 ESV / For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
  • Philippians 4:13 ESV / I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
  • Proverbs 14:23 ESV / In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
  • Philippians 2:14-15 ESV / Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
  • Proverbs 16:3 ESV / Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Having good friends:

  • John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
  • James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  • Proverbs 12:26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
  • Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
  • Proverbs 14:6-7 A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
  • Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
  • Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.
  • Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
  • Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
  • Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Being a legacy dad and the process therein is never about being and living a perfect life because we could not and that would be really worldly instead of godly.  Being a legacy dad means that you are not walking this walk alone by just talking about it to others, it means that you are choosing the pathway that God calls you to take.  A legacy dad yields and subjects himself to the authority of scripture at all times (even when we blow it).  A legacy doesn't just remorse his sin and moves in, that is, feels bad about his sin and/or mistakes and keeps on doing it.  Rather, a legacy dad finds true repentance, that is, he feels the conviction of the Holy Spirit (your words, actions and/or deeds are contrary to scripture - acknowledge them before God) and make amends with those who you have wronged.  True repentance is acknowledging and confessing your sin to God and going the opposite way of that sin.  By having others who walk with us in community we put that sin in the light and the darkness can not exist in the light.  Being a legacy dad is setting a course for your family to follow and to show them Christ everyday in your actions, words and deeds.  When you screw up (sin) and when you do not show legacy dad traits, this doesn't disqualify you from being that legacy dad, rather, by acknowledging your wrongdoing or wrong path, it provides a true biblical guide in showing your kids true repentance, the act of reconciliation and restoration.  These are good things to model for your wife and kids and grandkids and to others within your everyday influences.

Let us take inventory of our lives.  If we could go back to our boyhood self and speak to that boy what words would you give him?  What pitfalls would you tell him to avoid?  What friendships would you tell him to run from?  What would you tell him about faith, church, wisdom, biblical application for him to follow?  What does that look like?  Maybe we need to write that to our boy hood self.  In doing so, take inventory as to where you are as a man.  Confess what needs confessing.  Change what needs changing.  Give to God what belongs to God.  In all that you do, acknowledge God and He will make your paths straight.

You and I can do this!  We can do this because we are not alone.  God gave each of us that profess and bear the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior His Spirit.  Even when we don't know what to say or do, Pray!  Pray for God and His Son and His Spirit to guide us and instruct us in the way that would should go!  This means that if you are not reading the bible daily how can you find the true path of biblical leadership in your home, church, work and community?  You cannot!

Blessings, D

 

 

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

 

 

 

When a boy turns thirteen....

This past February, my oldest son turned 13.  I only really have 5 more critical years to pass the torch of boyhood to manhood.  When Lance and I and Gary first met face to face many years ago we had in depth conversations about this very thing.  Going back there, in my mind, recently reminded me at that time how ill-equipped that I was for this journey with my son and my wife and I with our daughters.Don't get me wrong, my wife and I are equally yoked and we are doing a lot of things that are good and godly and teaching accountability and responsibility, but I think that I was out of my league when I listened to Gary and Lance talk about this plan and path that they had for their grandsons and son, respectively.  Needless to say, I did a lot of soul searching and planning for this with my son during that trip and the time since.

Anyway, my son and I had the first, of what I pray is many, a conversation about this journey from boyhood to manhood and what are some things that are to come.  From reading some books, to watching some movies, to taking some trips and facing some fears along the way, I cannot wait to see how he responds and for what God has planned for him.

I am so thankful that I do not have to do this alone.  I am thankful for Lance and Gary and for men of faith that I can walk with and talk to and lean on God and not my own understanding in all this.  If you scour this website you can see stages and even find Lance's plan with his son along the way.

Dennis Rainey, of Famly Life, posted this picture on Facebook and just hit such a positive emotion in me.  It is scary, as a parent, to realize that age 13 that you only have 5 years left before they are off on their own for college, manhood and the rest of their life.  Don't get me wrong, my wife and I will always be a part of our kids life.

Proverbs 22:6English Standard Version (ESV)

6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This Scripture does not mean that your child will not face trial and tribulation, because if they are a follower of Jesus, then they will face trial and they will face tribulation.

I am excited to take this journey with my boy.  I am excited for the journey that my wife will have with our daughters.

God is good, all the time, God is good.

Blessings,

Dante

 

What I know I should do, I do not

Romans 8:12-17English Standard Version (ESV) Heirs with Christ 12 So then, brothers,[a] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[b] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Colossians 3:5-8English Standard Version (ESV)

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[a] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[b] 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.

Why is it so hard to understand some of the things of God?  Why do people try to dilute the Gospel to please the ways of men?  I guess when it is all said and done, I struggle with my sin that God has saved me from.  I know I am a sinner.  I know that my sins have separated me from the love of God.  That is, to say, until I came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.  I was once lost, but now I am found through Christ Jesus who died brutally on a cross for my sin and for your if you confess His name and believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on a cross and rose again from the dead you will be saved.  Confession is good for the soul.  The hardest thing to wrap my head around is that I still struggle with my fleshly desires.  The difference is that I no longer desire to please my selfish flesh, but to try to please God.  Yet I still succumb to pride and to sin.  I confess this sin to God and to my brothers (Men of Faith) and know that God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has given me the perfect sacrifice for my soul and my sins of the past, present and future are covered by Him.

This being said, I still wonder and test and seek the truth that is found in Scripture.  For instance, why does it tell us, who are saved and covered forever by the Blood of Jesus Christ, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?  Why does it say in the New Testament that those of us who give in to the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Why does it tell me to put to death the earthly desires of the flesh?  Does the Gospel offend?  Are we to call out sin or just always show grace?  Where is the balance in this?

Why does Scripture tell us to renew our mind?  Why does it tell us to pursue holiness?  Why does Scripture tell us to repent?  Why does the cross have to be so violent?  Why did God have to send His only Son to die for our sins and to be beaten and tortured and crucified for our sins?  Does God hate sin that much?

These are things that I wrestle with.  These are some of the things that I am diligently searching God's word for and looking for his direction of which way to go in the leadership of my family and His ministry.

Repent!  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Examine yourselves to see if you are still in the faith?

Pursue holiness and flee any form of sexual immorality.

Pray for me,

 

D

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

What you permit, you promote

Matthew 12:33-37New International Version (NIV) 33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

This past Saturday, I led our men's group (Men of Faith) and focused on the question of what matters to God.  I read some scripture in the Book of Psalms and the Book of Job.  Over the past week and a half, I attended two funeral services.  One was for an Uncle and the other was for the father of my Senior Pastor.  I was impressed by the legacy that these men lead both in their families and in their community.  The eulogies among friend and family in both services were very touching and from the heart.  These men said words that they believed and were true about these men who are in Heaven today.

The other two things that I talked about was when my wife was really sick 8 years ago and we almost lost her as her body was approaching renal failure.  I had very young kids at the time and couldn't believe what was happening to me and asked God if this was His plan for me?  I prayed, I cried and I wrestled in confession and prayer to our Heavenly Father.  After several days (5 days) in all, the night before my wife would come back home to me and my kids, I finally prayed in a pool of tears that I trust God and that if His will was for Him to take my wife home to Him, then I trust Him and His will.  I let go of my wife and gave her to Him.  She's your's Lord - your will be done.  The very next morning, the prayer team called and my mother-in-law and I both had this unbelievable peace - the Peace of Christ.

The other eternity thinking event that happened in my life was when I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma twelve years ago.  I have been cancer free since that day, but my doctor is quick to point out that I am in the 5% chance camp of this type of cancer rearing its ugly head through my eyes and or my brain - meaning that it has 5% chance to come back this way to me.  Both this cancer and my wife and her health issues many years ago has kept an eternal grasp about how quick our lives will be.

I then asked the Men of Faith:  "For those of us in this room that will die we will have two questions to ask:

Question #1 - Do we know God's Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, as our Savior (is our name written in the Book of Life).  Have we truly surrendered to God's will and turned away from our sins?  Have we put the old self to death (this is a daily battle) and put on our new self.  Scripture tells us to examine ourselves closely to make sure that we are still in the Faith.  The beginning of Wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

Question #2 - What have we, those of us who are saved, done with what God has given us?   Have we been good stewards of His time, His talent that He gave us and His treasure that He has given us stewardship over.

  • Scripture on Time:  Psalm 90:12 ESV "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."
  • Scripture on Talent: 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
  • Scripture on Treasure:  Malachi 3:6-10New International Version (NIV) Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes 6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.  “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.    Mark 12:41-44New International Version (NIV) The Widow’s Offering 41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

After we die, we will have a judgement of our souls.  Those of us that know the Lord as Savior will have his sacrifice and his blood poured over our life.  His perfect life, his righteousness will be imputed onto us.   Scripture tells us that God will remember our sins no more because they have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.  What GRACE (God's Riches at Christ's Expense) and what Mercy God has given each of us.  If you do not know God's Son as Lord and Savior then every word, every deed and every action has been recorded and will be used to condemn those who do not know Jesus as Lord.  This makes my heart sad.  This will be a grave day for the lost, the Athiest and hater of good.

The second question will be good for some, okay for others and a day of regret for those of us who are saved, but know we can do more.  Job in his prime of life did these things for the Lord:

Job 29New International Version (NIV)

Job’s Final Defense 29 Job continued his discourse:

2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil. 7 “When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, 8 the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; 9 the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; 10 the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, 12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. 13 The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. 14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. 17 I broke the fangs of the wicked  and snatched the victims from their teeth. 18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand. 19 My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. 20 My glory will not fade; the bow will be ever new in my hand.’ 21 “People listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. 22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. 24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.[a] 25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I dwelt as a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners."

2 questions for you:

Question #1 - Do we know God's Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, as our Savior (is our name written in the Book of Life).  Have we truly surrendered to God's will and turned away from our sins?  Have we put the old self to death (this is a daily battle) and put on our new self.  Scripture tells us to examine ourselves closely to make sure that we are still in the Faith.  The beginning of Wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

Is your life bearing the fruit of the Spirit?

Question #2 - What have we, those of us who are saved, done with what God has given us?   Have we been good stewards of His time, His talent that He gave us and His treasure that He has given us stewardship over.

Blessings, Dante

 

Our Story is meant for God's Glory

James 1English Standard Version (ESV) Greeting 1 James, a servant[a] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:14-20English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 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] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

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.


The past 40 days I have been reading a book with 5 other men.  A book that would bring us together to discuss, text and especially to be in community with each other.  The ages of these 5 men ranged from 25 to 60 and I am in the 2nd oldest range of all 5 of us.  My Elder Brother and I were the oldest and two Elders that are equally yoked in Ministry and God's story.  It has been both humbling and challenging to listen to, watch and see these brothers walk out their salvation with fear and trembling.

I am amazed at how each of us has our own story to tell and if we are really open about the power of God in our lives, just how amazing it is to watch His Spirit move through our lives and see Jesus through the love of others.  The thing about these 4 brothers - they challenge me in being honest, being truthful and confessing when things don't always add up.  It is not about a checklist or doing the things that make us look good and then deep down inside missing the whole point of God's Glory - The Word of God Changes Lives.

When we sit honestly and meditate on His Word then we realize that we are free - free indeed to be the me that God intended for each of our lives.  I can never do good enough to earn the Salvation that Jesus gave us by His death and resurrection.  God, our Father, gave His only Son to die for our sins - WOW!  Let that marinate in your brain for a while!  Think on that, pray on that and rest in his loving Grace.

The Word of God changes lives.  What is your fruit.  When others see you, hear you, listen to you and do community of you - when they are left to reflect on you - do they see Jesus in your life?

Our story is meant for God's Glory.

I was once lost, but now am found.

I was once dead (to sin) and now am a new creation in Jesus (i have been given a new life)

I am now adopted into his glorious family.

That is love.

That is something that I can wrap my head around and praise Him, serve Him and thank Him for all that is in my life - both the good and the bad.  The trials and the tribulations.  The pain and the suffering.  Whether I know the reason this side of earth is not up to me to judge.  There is only one great Judge!

Blessings,

Dante

PS - I was so moved by this 40 day process that I bought 3 more books and gave them to the men in my small group (come Holy Spirit come)