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Heroic Dads Give Their Children the Lenses of Truth

by Kurt Bruner, co-author of It Starts At Home
 

As dads we must never forget that we are raising our kids in enemy occupied territory. There is a great deceiver who has mastered the process of blinding our eyes to the truth and confusing our perception of reality. Jesus pulled no punches when he described the unpleasant but undeniable reality of Satan’s primary weapon.

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44

If we are abused, we know it. When we are tempted or oppressed, we know it. But if we are deceived, we don’t know it! That is why lies are such powerful weapons in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children. Satan understands the power and influence of deception. Do we?

Fortunately, we have an even more powerful weapon in this battle – truth. We can dispel the darkness of lies with the light of truth. As Jesus put it earlier in the same passage:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

By understanding that children enter this world with blurred vision – with an inability to recognize reality as it truly is – we can become intentional about helping them sort through the deception and recognize truth. We need something we call the lenses principle:

The Lenses Principle

Our children need the corrective lenses of truth in order to navigate the deceptive roads of life.

We live in a culture that has in large part rejected this principle, with tragic consequences. Beliefs and behaviors once considered deprave are now considered normal because parents are reluctant to teach children a standard of absolute moral truth.

Heroic Dad Challenge #4: Don’t assume your children can discern truth from lies. Become intentional about faith conversations. Review the FAMILY TIME SAMPLER to find the best strategy for creating impression points with your children.

Going Further: Watch the FAMILY TIME video HERE and then schedule your first faith talk activity.



Heroic Dads Understand the Likelihood Principle

by Kurt Bruner, co-author of It Starts At Home
 

Show me a person who selects stable investments that tend to grow, and I’ll show you a person who accumulates long-term wealth. Find a person, on the other hand, who chases every multi-level marketing scheme, and I’ll show you a person who suffers the consequences of short-term loss after short-term loss.

If we want to remain healthy, our chances improve when we eat properly and exercise regularly. Of course, we can still become ill. But those who treat their bodies right tend to feel better and live longer. So say the odds.

What is true of so many areas in life is also true of parenting. We can choose to play with or against the odds. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Those are some of the most frequently quoted words in all of scripture when it comes to parenting. Many have understood Proverbs 22:6 to be a promise – a guarantee – a deal with the Almighty. The rules are simple. If Mom and Dad hold up their end of the bargain — taking the kids to church and living a decent life at home, God will uphold his end of the bargain — making sure the kids ultimately turn out well. Sounds good – but it is not that simple. Proverbs 22:6 is indeed a verse of hope, but it isn’t a promise. It is a divinely inspired statement describing the patterns and principles which govern the universe. It is what we have labeled the likelihood principle…

The Likelihood Principle

In the context of healthy relationships, children tend to embrace the beliefs and values of their parents.

In other words, when I spend time wrestling with our boys in the basement, I have done more to make our values stick than when I read them a Bible passage. Both are important, but the former makes the latter more meaningful. When I play a round of “Go Fish” with my daughter she learns to enjoy me as a person, not merely obey me as a parent. Again, both are important, but the former makes the latter easier to swallow.

Everyone has the right to speak. We must earn the right to be listened to. As dads we must realize that when we play with our kids today we are earning the right to shape their values tomorrow. They are more likely to embrace the values of someone they love and enjoy than someone they don’t. So let’s adopt the secret formula that seems to have worked so well for so many parents. Let’s have fun with our kids!

Heroic Dad Challenge #3: Get out your schedule right now and protect at least one hour of fun with each child in the coming week. Then select an age-appropriate activity that they will enjoy such as a board game, batting cage outing or whatever will get them excited about spending time with Dad.

Going Further: Download a father/child movie night chat idea from the INTENTIONAL FATHERS page.



Heroic Dads Leverage the Legacy Principle

Someone has said that if you want good health throughout life choose your parents very carefully. The genetic traits we inherit at conception play a major role in our physical well-being, and they are with us for life. So avoid getting stuck with a pool of crummy genes by making sure mom and dad come from healthy stock.

The truth is we can’t pick our parents. What you are and what you will be physically is in large measure determined by the combined strengths and weaknesses of a long line of ancestors, for better or worse. Exodus 20:5-6 says:

“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”
 
On one hand, this statement bothers us. It seems harsh, even unfair. After all, we question, why should the innocent children and grandchildren suffer just because great-grandfather had a sin problem?

On the other hand, we can’t deny the reality it reflects. Those who were raised in the home of an alcoholic, for example, know all too well that their lives have been impacted by the sin of another. A high percentage of abused children end up abusing their own kids. Why? It doesn’t seem to make sense. But, as the Lord said on Mount Sinai, there are multi-generational impacts of sin. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are also multi-generational impacts of righteousness. Remember what the Lord said…“but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments”. Those who live responsible, good lives tend to instill the same in their children. Just as bad tends to breed more bad, good tends to breed more good. It may not seem fair, but it is a reality we cannot deny. A reality we call the legacy principle.

The Legacy Principle

What we do today will directly influence the multi-generational cycle of family traits, beliefs and actions – for good or bad.

We are all heavily influenced by multi-generational patterns, but none of us are victims to them. It is possible to break away from the bad and launch a new era of good for ourselves and future generations.

Heroic Dad Challenge #2:  God calls every father to make heroic choices that will leverage the legacy principle for good rather than bad. Stop what you are doing right now to spend 30 seconds praying this simple prayer:

Dear God:

Thank you for giving me such an influential role in the life of (NAME EACH OF YOUR CHILDREN). I recognize that what I do today will have lasting impacts in the lives of my children and grandchildren.  Please give me the wisdom to make good decisions, the grace to avoid sinful patterns and the courage to overcome selfishness as a father.

Amen

Going Further:  Discover more ideas for leveraging the Legacy Principle at the INTENTIONAL FATHERS page.



Heroic Dads Lead the Process of Faith Formation at Home

by Kurt Bruner, co-author of It Starts At Home
 
Thank you for accepting the heroic dad challenge. We begin with a question. 
 

How do you define success as a father?

Putting food on the table? Paying the bills? A good start. But the scriptures offer a vastly more significant purpose. In short, heroic dads inspire and nurture Christian faith and Godly character in their children. God designed the home as the primary context of faith formation: a little-by- little, long-term process rather than a one-time event. A process dads are called to lead.

Anyone who has ever tried to teach a young child to ride a bike understands. It would be crazy to place your three-year-old child on an adult bike and give them a shove down the driveway. No matter how much you cheer “You can do it!” they will crash and cry within a matter of seconds. Instead, you buy your child a small bicycle with training wheels so they can get the feel for riding in safety. Once they’ve gained confidence you will likely remove the training wheels. But you still run alongside or behind them, letting go of the seat a few seconds at a time and allowing them to take a few harmless falls onto the grass. Not until you feel they have had enough experience within the relative safety of your guidance do you relinquish control to their wobbly instincts.

Take the same approach with your child’s spiritual formation. Your goal is much bigger than getting a son or daughter to be baptized.  As important as it is to guide children through that process when they are ready, the job is by no means complete. They have only begun the wobbly ride of lifelong faith. God intends dads to consistently guide children toward their God-intended purpose of becoming like Christ. A large part of that process is to nurture a bias toward right belief and to help them acquire a taste for right character. And that requires patient, diligent, intentional effort over the long-haul.

Over the next four weeks we will explain four simple principles and offer practical ideas that will help you become a more heroic dad. Thank you, in advance, for taking first steps toward achieving excellence in nurturing lifelong faith in your children!

Heroic Dad Challenge #1: Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 followed by Psalm 78:1-8 to understand the priority and power of a father’s role in shaping the faith of his children. Then ask God to show you one practical way you can make that happen this week.

Going Further:

Discover ideas for becoming a more intentional dad by visiting the INTENTIONAL FATHERS page.



Accepting the Heroic Manhood Challenge – BwayDad

Thank you for accepting the challenge to move beyond passivity in your spiritual journey in order to become a more Christ-like man. You are one of those who will help us create a church-wide culture where heroic leadership becomes normal and expected. How? By increasing your own level of manly intentionality over the coming four weeks. If you haven’t already done so, please join the Bway Father text group for our weekly Hero Challenge for Fathers! When you do, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a Heroic Gift Package, including a gift card to Home Depot as well as some other handy “tools” for your journey. The winner will be announced at our annual Men’s retreat September 28-29th (must be present to win!). Joining is as simple as texting the message “@BwayDad” to 81010. You’ll receive a confirmation message back and you’ll be ready to go!

Let’s get started!  Heroic Challenge #1: Stop whatever you are doing right now to spend a few moments in prayer using the following prompts…

ASK FOR GRACE: Ask God for the grace needed to adopt the attitude of Jesus Christ who, according to the Bible, “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

ASK FOR CLARITY: Ask God to show you the present reality. How well have you modeled self-sacrifice for those you love and lead?  Confess any struggles when it comes to loving and serving your family.  If you lead at school, work, church, or in any other arena, confess areas of weakness and invite God to give you strength to better reflect the example of Jesus Christ.

ASK FOR SUCCESS: Ask God to give you courage and creativity as you try to serve and lead those within your sphere of influence. Pray that they would be receptive to your efforts, even if you have failed in the past. 

Over the next 4 weeks we will send a new challenge each week to help engage you on your spiritual journey and encourage your growth as a Christ-like father.  We hope they will help you turn the prayer you just prayed into a real-world reality with those you have been called to love, serve, and lead.

Going Further:
• Visit the TOOLS FOR MEN page to hear the free HEROIC@HOME audio podcast.