Taking the Wrong and Putting it Right

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the different ways that the hot water of the Spirit can transform our relationships. When you replace judgment with encouragement, your relationships will transform. And you will transform with them. You will learn to better reflect Christ in all that you do.

For example, I reflected last time on parenting in ways that keep your children feeling safe in their relationship with you. If you can discipline without judgment, your children will continue to come to you and talk to you. This is your opportunity to better reflect Jesus with them. Continue reading

Christian Dads (Part 3)

In the Old Testament, they loved God out of fear. That’s because frightening things kept happening. They were struck down by lightning or invaded by stronger armies. So their love was a fearful love.

But I think God said, “No, this needs to change. I’m going to change my relationship with my beloved children. I’m going to make a new covenant, and that will change our relationship. I will send my Son to pay the ultimate price, and then my children will be able to love me out of respect and gratitude.” Continue reading

Christian Dads (Part 2)

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”  (John 5:19)

It is the duty of every Christian man to replicate, to the very best of his abilities, everything that he sees Jesus do. John’s Gospel expresses it perfectly here. Just as Jesus does what He sees His Father do, so our children will do what they see us do. So what we do is really important. We are called to be just like Jesus.

Jesus did not judge us. He loved us. When He came, He stood up for a lot of different points of view. If He got angry with anybody, it was the Pharisees, because they were the religious leaders. They were like the presidents of our seminaries, or the pastors of our large churches. People looked to the Pharisees for moral wisdom and spiritual guidance. So Jesus said to them, “You’re embarrassing me! You’re embarrassing everything that we stand for! You are whitewashed tombs!”

Jeremiah 31_3But He never judged sinners. Ever. He didn’t judge them because He knew, 100%, that when He went up on that cross, He would be taking their shame. He knew it! He said to the prostitute who was about to be stoned, “Go on, I do not judge you. Stop doing what you’re doing, sure, but just go. You are forgiven.”

He was prophesying to her. He was saying, “Look, when I get nailed to that cross, and that blood starts dripping from my body, and I get whipped and beaten, I’m doing it for you. I love you, and this is why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because you feel shame over what you do. These people want to stone you? I’m going to die for you, because I love you.”

Think about the people that hated Jesus. They were the religious leaders. They looked at others and condemned them for their sins. They said, “This is not how it’s supposed to be done! You’ll have to pay!”

You see, love just didn’t make sense to them. To be like Jesus, they would have to become servants. They would have to change how they looked at everything. They would need to forgive sinners, be kind to them, serve them, and love them. But that isn’t how they looked at things. They could only imagine making sinners pay.

And Jesus said, “No, no, no, no, no! That’s not how it goes! I’m going to pay the price for it. I’m going to take all of this on. I’m going to die. My Father will turn his back on me because I am going to take all the sins of the world upon my shoulders. Why am I going to do this? Because I love the sinners. And when I resurrect from the dead, they will be redeemed. They won’t have to live in shame. They won’t have to live in guilt. They will live in freedom! And they’re going to want to change because of it.”

I think this is what Christian dads should try to give their families. More on that next time. See you Thursday.

Christian Dads (Part 1)

I believe my job is to be the best replication of Christ that I can possibly be.

I ask myself what it means when the scripture says that a husband is to be to his wife as Jesus is to the church. And for me, it comes down to one exact thing. I stand in the gap. How my family is viewed is on me. How my marriage is going is on me. How my children are raised and the decisions that they make while under my roof is on me.

Maybe someday my son will get in a fight at school and he’ll punch somebody. I’ll get called into the office and they will say, “This is what your son did.” On that day, I’ll look at my son and I’ll look at the school principal and I’ll say, “This isn’t what my son did, this is what I did. This is on me.” I’ll take full responsibility for it, and I’ll address it.

God_changesI’ll deal with my son directly. I’ll teach him to take responsibility for his actions and to apologize for his mistakes. But first, I will go to the child’s father and apologize. And I’ll make sure that the child, the one my son hit, will know that it was my fault. As the head of my family, I’ll apologize for it. I think my son will take responsibility and apologize, after he sees me do it.

I think that when my son hurts someone and then sees me, his father, literally turn to that person and say, “I’m so sorry, this is on me,” he’ll want to change. When my son sees me accept shame and embarrassment because of his decisions, he’ll want to make better decisions. So my son won’t see me yell at him or say, “This is your fault.” My son will see me say, “This is my fault.”

And I think anyone who sees that would say, “I need to make better decisions.” Think about it. What would it feel like if someone is always being embarrassed because of you but they never embarrass you back? They never blame you or call you out in front of people. Instead, they always take the embarrassment for you. How would that make you feel? You’re going to want to change!

This is what Jesus did on the cross. On the cross, He took our shame and embarrassment. We respect what He did. His sacrifice inspires us to be different. Because of Him, we want to be better. We’re not always going to make the right decisions, but we want to be better. And I think that’s how our kids will do it. They’ll want to be better because they will see their fathers say, “It’s on me. This is my fault. And I’m sorry.”

I really believe in this. I think if you do this, your kids and your wife will respect you for it and they’ll be better for it. Your family will be better for it.

I also think that when it comes down to it, men aren’t willing to accept this job. And if you’re not willing to accept it, then I say you’re not willing to be married.

More on this next time. See you Monday.

Intimacy and Judgment, Part 3

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the different ways that the hot water of the Spirit can transform our relationships. When you replace judgment with encouragement, your relationships will transform. And you will transform with them. You will learn to better reflect Christ in all that you do.

For example, I reflected last time on parenting in ways that keep your children feeling safe in their relationship with you. If you can discipline without judgment, your children will continue to come to you and talk to you. This is your opportunity to hit that hot water, and learn to better reflect Jesus in that relationship. Continue reading

How To Be A Dad, Part 3

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In the Old Testament, they loved God out of fear. That’s because frightening things kept happening. They were struck down by lightning, or invaded by stronger armies, that kind of thing. So their love was a fearful love.

But I think God said, “No, this is going to change. The New Covenant will change our relationship. I sent my Son to pay the ultimate price, and now my children will love me out of respect.”

My love for God is respectful and reverential. I love Him because of what He did for me. And I think that that’s where things have changed. That’s where you see the New Covenant. And because our love has changed, for the New Covenant Christian, the way we do things has also changed. Continue reading

How To Be A Dad, Part 2

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Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  (John 5:19)

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the duty of every Christian man to replicate, to the very best of his abilities, everything that he sees Jesus do. John 5:19 expresses it perfectly here. Just as Jesus does what He sees His Father do, so our children will do what they see us do. So what we do is really important. We are called to be just like Jesus.

Jesus did not judge us. He loved us. When He came, He stood up for a lot of different points of view. If He got angry with anybody, it was the Pharisees. They were the religious leaders. They were like the presidents of our seminaries, or the pastors of our large churches. People looked to the Pharisees for moral wisdom and spiritual guidance.

And all the time Jesus said to them, “You’re embarrassing me! You’re embarrassing everything that we stand for! You are whitewashed tombs!” Continue reading

How To Be A Dad

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Last time I wrote about how my job is to be the best replication of Christ that I can possibly be. Actually this whole series on being a husband and a dad has been about that.

I ask myself what it means when the scripture says that a husband is to be to his wife as Jesus is to the church. And for me, it comes down to one exact thing. I stand in the gap. How my family is viewed is on me. How my marriage is going is on me. How my children are being raised and the decisions that they make while under my roof is on me. Continue reading

How To Be A Husband, Part 1

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Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… (Eph. 5: 22-25)

Do I think that I’m the head of my family? Yes. That’s scripture. As Jesus is the head of the church, so is the man the head of his family, and the head of his home.

But I have someone to answer to. God says, “You answer to me.” When I stand before God, He will say, “I viewed you as the head of your family.”

This is a powerful message for a Christian man. How you treat your wife and how your treat your kids is very, very important. Continue reading