Archive for November, 2011

Is this true? Is it this simple–Just Say No and the devil will flee?? I’ve heard this Scripture in James 4:7 quoted many times.  I’ve quoted it many times as a solution to the temptations and arrows that Satan throws at us!  Is this as simple as it seems?

So, I am tempted to do something and I am supposed to resist the devil and he’s going to run?  Is that it?  Is it that simple?  Many times we do try to resist the devil and we think it’s as easy as doing the “I Dream of Genie” blink of an eye and poof the devil is gone or if we just pray harder then the devil will be gone.
Is that all there is to it?
No.
We forget that in verse 7 there is a prerequisite and then a follow up in order for the devil to flee.  In James 4:7, 8, the Scripture says,
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.  Wash your hands you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.”
So, in order to resist the devil, there is a three step process and if you include verse 9,10, you will see that there is actually a 6 step process in making the devil run.
Step #1
So humble yourselves before God…….
What does it mean to humble yourselves?  In the dictionary, it is defined as: 
hum·ble[huhm-buhl, uhm] adjective
1.  not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2.  having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
3.  low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
In explaining it to my family, it’s kneeling down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in knowing that we are nothing without Him.
Step #2
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you……
re·sist [ri-zist]verb (used with object)
1.to withstand, strive against, or oppose: to resist infection; to resist temptation.
2.to withstand the action or effect of: to resist spoilage.
3.to refrain or abstain from, especially with difficulty or reluctance!
To resist is to strive against the devil. It’s humbling yourself before God and it’s removing yourself from the situation your are being tempted in.  It’s quoting Scripture into the face of the enemy as he messes with your mind.  It’s removing yourself from those who do the tempting in your life(friends, etc.).
Sometimes, we really don’t want to resist the devil because it just feels too good.  But note, when we stand against the devil, it doesn’t say he might flee from you, but it says he will flee from you.
Step #3
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. 
Immediately after standing against God, seek God….get in the Word, Worship, and Prayer.   This is an act of thanksgiving for God helping you to flee from the devil.  Many times, we stop at “resist the devil and he will flee from you” without anymore thought of the God who just helped.  So, are you immediately drawing close to God through the Word, Worship, and Prayer?  This is the importance of a personal time with God because I am just betting that most of the time when you are tempted you are not going to have access to the church building where we equate where the presence of God is.  Reality is, your home is just as holy as the auditorium at church.  Christ resides in you which means you are always on Holy Ground and He is always accessible 24/7.

Step #4
Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites…..
Temptation is not a sin, but following through by acting on the sin is sin, but when it comes to temptation, what caused you/I to get in that situation of temptation in the first place.  It’s not always an outward act of rebellion, but it may be inward in the fact that it is in our minds and hearts that lead us to the temptation, so is there anything that, through this process, you/I need to seek forgiveness?
The only way to draw close to God is to make sure our hearts are pure.  Remember, God cannot be in the presence of sin.

Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done.  Let there be sorrow and deep grief.  Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. James 4:9,10

Step #5
Weep and Repent.
Today in our society, saying sin is sin is taboo.  We’ve allowed sin to be okay because we have the grace of God, but in all reality it hurts God.  Weeping and repenting is a sincere desire to make things right to God and to turn from our wicked ways.

Step #6
Bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence……
We are nothing without Christ.  Read Philippians about Paul’s allegiance and dependence on Christ.  If you are independently living from Christ, you are not a believer because the Scriptures say that “apart from Christ we can do nothing” (John 15:5)
Literally, BOW DOWN and admit your dependence.  In a culture where we are #1, this is one of the most difficult things for us to do, but in order for the devil to really flee, this is a condition.

So, is it true that if I just resist the devil, he will flee from me?  Yes and No.  Yes, but there are other conditions that need to be met in order for this to happen and it’s essentially a dependence on Him.  No, in the fact that you just can’t resist him or that temptation will always haunt you.  When we say “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” is a false assurance that he’s not going to attack again or everything is okay.

In our American Christianity, we have become lazy.  We aren’t prepared our willing to take the steps necessary for God to move.  If it doesn’t happen in the confines of a Sunday morning service aka “magic pill”, then we think it’s not worth it, but being a believer takes effort….it takes work, so don’t fool yourselves that one statement will take care of your problems.  There are strings attached.


I pray this helps as you will encounter temptation every day………Let’s see revival happen by taking these steps of true repentance and really see Satan flee.
 

Another Butt-Kicking from God……

Ezekiel 24:15-18
Then this message came to me from the LORD: “Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure.  Suddenly she will die.  yet you must not show any sorrow.  Do not weep let there be no tears.  You may sigh but only quietly.  Let there be no wailing at her grave.  Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals.  D not perform the rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died……”


WHAT?  Did I read correctly?  His wife died?  How/Why/Crap!!!!!  I did not see this coming.  I was reading Ezekiel 24 and I am reading and reading and reading and I see, “I am going to take away your dearest treasure” and then I keep reading not thinking about what I just read and then BAM!: “And in the evening my wife died!”

Honestly, I am thinking, “God, Ezekiel has done everything you have told him to do and he is bearing a large brunt of the judgement being passed down–I don’t think he was voted mayor or most popular by his peers–and then his wife dies!  What the crap?

Why is this significant?  If Ezekiel’s wife was anything like my wife she would be characterized as my rock, my helpmate, my cheerleader, my hot wife, the person I talk to about everything, my consoler, my greatest advocate, my stabilizer in times of stress, my best friend–I would die without her–I couldn’t do life without her.  We laugh together, we cry together….we are ONE.  She is a source of security and pride.  She is my TREASURE!

If Ezekiel’s wife was anything like my wife–she meant everything to him.

As I wrote the above paragraph about the characteristics of my wife in my journal, God said, “This needs to be me.”  What do you mean this needs to be you?  That still small voice said, “You’ve replaced your wife above me.  Read what you wrote!” (So I read it over)  God said, “That’s what I want to be to you!  Your pride, joy and glory needs to be me!

My response, “ohhhhh!”

Ezekiel experienced pain unlike no other–times of unexpected pain will come in my life so God can teach me and mold me.  To form iron, there must be fire.  A great sword is tempered through pounds of the hammer and fire–the result–a magnificent sword!

Even through the good times and bad times, God I need to rely on God and allow him to be my rock, my helpmate, my cheerleader, the person I talk to about everything, my consoler, my greatest advocate, my stabilizer in times of stress, my best friend, my source of security and pride….my TREASURE!

Now, it doesn’t mean that my wife can’t continue to be these things to me, but my joy needs to be found in Christ and in no other.  I need to come to him and run to him in good times and bad times.  I can’t pretend that He is these things to me just on Sunday and Wednesday.  These need to be evident of my trust in Him on a daily basis.

This Scripture brings the thought of what my TREASURE is to a whole new level.  Who knows what is ahead that will bring me to my knees in pain….but my prayer is that He remains my treasure through all of the junk.

If you are going through difficult times, may Jesus be your peace that surpasses all understanding!

Disclaimer: I was hesitant to even put this on my blog or even to speak on this due this: Many times, God tells me to do something. When he does something, I say it and speak it and in my mind I think I am doing it, but in reality, I am not walking it. My “obedience” stops at me speaking it.  I don’t share this to get a pat on the back or anything else. My greatest fear is that PRIDE will creep back into my life and that is what I don’t need, so I ask you please pray for me through all of this)


Wednesday morning…….Last day of our Daniel Fast and I celebrate early with a…….donut!  Yes, I said that correctly–a donut.  I thought I deserved it after spending two weeks earnestly seeking God…..why not, so I ate a donut.
I then sat down with my coffee 🙂  Note: I really was doing the Daniel fast…seriously…ask my family!  I opened up my One Year Bible and as I opened up my Bible, I received a text.  It was from a friend who needed some help with gas and a prescription.  To be honest, I didn’t want to reply.  I didn’t have the money.  I had already helped a lot.  I just was not in the mood(probably because of the donut and coffee).
I ignored it.


I opened up my Bible and the Scripture for the day was Ezekiel 33 and here’s what it said:


“When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose a watchman.  When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he blows the alarm to warn the people.  Then if those who hear the alarm  refuse to take action–well, it is their own fault if they die.  They heard the warning but wouldn’t listen, so the responsibility is theirs.  If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives.  But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their deaths. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman accountable.  Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel.  Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.  If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to warn them about changing their ways, then they will die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths.  But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will not be held responsible.”


(There is more meat to this passage as it continues but today will focus on this particular passage–there’s a word for me as an individual, pastor, and our church in the following passages I will share later)


I cannot describe the emotion that overcame me.  There was a reason I got that text and read this message pretty much at the same time.  My family and I have helped this individual a lot, but here’s the thing….I never shared the Gospel with this person.  Sure, I threw nuggets of truth out there, but I had never shared the Gospel.  Saying Jesus loves you is not sharing the Gospel.  Sharing how a person is lost in sin and can get out of that through Christ is sharing the Gospel.


God was saying–Mike, you are the watchman.  I put this guy in your life so you can tell him about me!  You aren’t really there to give him money or to help him here or there.  I placed you in this guys life to share the life-changing truth of the Gospel!.  If he dies and you don’t share, you are responsible.


Now, I have taught this Scripture and it is one of my favorite Scriptures and I have always taught it pointing my finger at others, but this time God was pointing his finger at me.  He was saying…Mike, you have no excuse!


A couple of months ago, I laid down my life and told God that I was willing to “deny myself daily, take up my cross and really follow Jesus.”  He heard me loud and clear and if I can be honest, God has messed up my life!  I was in the shower and having this mumbling conversation with God outloud–literally in my mind cussing!  Sarah was very concerned and probably thought I was crazy.


 Emotion swept over me.  I’m like, “God what are you doing….I’ve already done enough already!”  I listed off all of the things that I’ve given up in denying myself.  I’ve given up time with family….we’ve helped the less fortunate…I’ve given up sleep. “What *$!&*; else do you want?”


God: “I want you!  I want you to follow through with what you said!  You really haven’t denied yourself yet. Sure you can play the part and do it every once in a while, but denying yourself isn’t just on Sunday/Wednesday or when you feel like it.  Denying yourself isn’t going to be on your timetable nor is it going to be comfortable!  It’s going to be difficult much like an addict trying kick a drug habit, you have to kick the you habit and I am going to continue to put you in situations that you have to deny yourself, so GET USED TO IT!”


Me: “Okay, I understand!” I will go.  I was comfortable with just helping with physical things, but the Scripture that kept coming to my mind was “I don’t have any silver or gold for you.  But I’ll give you what  I have.  In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6)  The message God wanted me to give was, “I don’t have any money, but one thing I do have will satisfy you forever.  You’re still going to run into financial  hard times, but the one Person that will help you get through the tough times is Jesus!


So…..I set out in uncomfortable obedience and met my friend at Quik Trip.  (God said, by the way pay for some gas and the prescription–did I have hundreds of dollars just lying around?  No, but I did have some money that I wasn’t willing to give up and it came up to about $50).  I shared the Gospel with my friend.  Did he invite Christ into his life?  No.


Are you kidding me?  I was hoping this was going to be one of those movie type endings with the music playing in the background, emotionally hyped up, and a salvation experience like nothing else!


NOPE!


Lesson: My obedience doesn’t guarantee the results I want.  My obedience guarantees what God wants.  I believe this whole lesson wasn’t so much about my friend as it was for me.  I had delayed my obedience for so long (which is sin) and I believe God was testing me and checking to see if I was all talk and no walk.


Lesson: Salvation most of the time takes place after journeying with a person for while.  I have to get out of the mindset that leading someone to Christ is a “quickie”.  Most of the time “quickie’s” are designed to bring us glory and satisfy our sinful nature…it’s what makes us feel good.  I’ve cheapened the Gospel if I have condensed the whole Gospel and what Jesus did on the cross to a 10 minute conversation.  (Note: it doesn’t meant not to have those 10 minute conversations with people about Jesus.)  Jesus journeyed with me and continues to do so through the ups and downs.  My first initial run-in with the Gospel was four years before I truly surrendered my life.


Lesson: A ruined life is an everyday life and sometimes it sucks(to be honest) because there are times I want to do what I want to do and for much of the semester I’ve done what I have wanted to do (even under the cover of pastor).
BUT
A ruined life is joyful, painful at times, but joyful!  There is a feeling I can’t quite describe that I get from being ruined.


Lesson: 1.  Nothing really belongs to me…my money, my family, my job, my possessions.  They are all meant to further His kingdom. Yes, I have heard this all of my saved life, but it really made sense yesterday.  I can say I don’t have money, but you know what?  I do have money.  I may not have hundreds of dollars, but I have a dollar or two or ten to help people–not so much to “help” them, but to provide an opportunity to share what God has done in my life.  2.  I need to invite my family to join me as missionaries if I am the spiritual leader of my home.  They don’t need to be by-standers of what God is doing.  They don’t need to be looking outside of the tank watching a show–they need to be involved in the action.  I need to lay my family on the altar and give them to Jesus and be intentional in as the spiritual leader of my home, provide God opportunities!


Lesson: God cannot move in my church if I am not willing to move.  God cannot move in our church if you are not willing to move.  I can point to how a program is not meeting my need or I am not getting fed(you name all of the excuses people give).  Awakening, revival, and a movement of God begins with God in me!  It doesn’t begin with a program(ie Lifegroups/Sunday School/Revolution).  It starts with me–the power of the Gospel is not found in a program.  It’s found in me through Jesus living in me!  Church, it’s not about you.  The point is not that Jesus came to make you comfortable, but He came to make you uncomfortable and be a part of an ARMY!


Lesson: Obedience doesn’t stop at the end of a fast.  I can’t control God.  There will be the temptation that we can turn off the God switch.  (Maybe you have already done that since yesterday).  I/We will be tempted to go back to normal, but can I say that this is normal.  Seeking God the way I have and the way we have as a church is what God intended.  We aren’t meant to go back to the ways of the world.  We are meant to deprive ourselves so God can speak….we are meant to spend more than 5 minutes in God’s Word…..we are meant to truly love others–rejoice and weep with them…we are meant to weep for our church….we are meant to not be gluttons.  Hopefully through the Daniel Fast, we have developed and learned what it means to slow down so that God has all of us!


My prayer for you is maybe God is telling you that you need to do something NOW!  As my friend Walker Moore always says, delayed obedience is still disobedience!  May what God is doing change us, challenge us, and MOVE us!



What is God saying to you?

Have you ever seen a relay or ever been a part of one?  Is the race over when the first person completes his leg of the race?  How about the second or third?  No.  The race isn’t complete until the last leg of the race is complete and final person crosses the finish line.

In a relay, does the person who completes the first leg of the race celebrate after he ran his part?  Usually, the first, second and third leg of the race gathers at the finish line watching in anticipation, cheering the person in the fourth leg on to the finish line.  It’s crazy loud and rejoicing is happening!

Hebrews 11:39-12:2 talks about a race and in the previous verses of Hebrews 11, the Scriptures speak of our Heroes of the Faith who went before us like Abraham, Sarah, and Noah.

It’s interesting though in verse 40 that it says,

 “For God had better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.”
THEREFORE!
Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off everything that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes  on Jesus on whom our faith depends from start to finish.
WOW!
I’ve read these verses hundreds of times and it’s the first time I caught verse 40, “they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race!”  I am not for sure all of what this means, but it reveals that I am a part of the relay team that had some studs on it: Noah, Sarah, Abraham!  
I could play a pivotal role and am a part of the Heroes of Faith team and they are watching in anticipation as I run either the 3rd or 4th leg!  Could we be living in the days, that we are the fourth leg and we are running towards the finish line?
What if I trip?  What if I fall?  Have I lost?  NO!  Notice that there is no1st/2nd/3rd place–it says until we finish the race.  It’s not about being #1–it’s about FINISHING and finishing well.
This is why in Hebrews 12:1-2 it says strip off every weight–the more sin we have, the slower we go.  Those who have gone before us it seems see each struggle, every hiccup, every joy and every pain and through the midst of it all are cheering us on!
SO…………….
Don’t give up!  You may not be the best athlete, but now is your opportunity to RUN with Endurance!  Run to Finish Strong!  Isn’t it awesome that we don’t just get to read about our Heroes of the Faith, but we are actually a part of the story!  The story, in the end, we know who wins, but we get a chance to run this life of faith with endurance and we will never know until Jesus returns what simple part we may play.
Who knows, when everything is said and done, just as we are in awe of the Heroes of Faith who went before us, they may be very well in awe of how you are making Jesus famous!  So DON’T GIVE UP!  Keep your eyes on Jesus!!

Has God given me my hearts desire?

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

“And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much.” Ezekiel 23:9

Ezekiel has kicked me in the butt throughout this past week and a half!  In this particular Scripture, Ezekiel is pronouncing judgement on Samaria and Israel.  Samaria and Israel have ALLOWED themselves to be prostituted to the culture of Assyria and Babylonians.  God has given them over to the desires of their world.

It’s depressing, but in the nuggets of truth, God has spoken to me in volumes about my walk(or lack of).  Let me explain from the words of my journal this morning…..

Has God given us our hearts desire?   Are we living out Romans 1:21-24?  It says “God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desire.  As a result, they __________________.”  Read 1:21-32.


Has God thrown up his hands to me as a believer in disgust?  Have I traded worshipping the glorious, ever-living God to worshipping my own man-made idols?  Have I myself become my idol?  Have my kids become my idol?  Do I worship me/them thinking that I am really worshipping Him?  If I don’t use my activity and events for myself and my kids as a platform to make Jesus famous, it is just an activity.  Sure they may excel, but for what point–to bring glory to HIS name or MY name?


If I am going to be honest, much of what I do is to make me famous–sure deep down I want to make Jesus famous, but my flesh wars with my relationship with Jesus.


The rest of Romans 1 talks about the subjects of homosexuality and goes on to say, “their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud and boastful.  They invent new ways of sinning and they disobey their parents.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless and have no mercy.  They know God’s justice requires that them who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway.  Worse yet, they encourage others to do them too.


We look at homosexuality and we are quick to condemn, but what about these other Scriptures?  I have not committed homosexuality, but I have sure done everything else on the list, even murder!  In my heart I have hated and the Bible calls that murder even though I may not have physically done the act.

WICKEDNESS
SIN
GREED
HATE
ENVY
MURDER
QUARRELING
DECEPTION
MALICIOUS BEHAVIOR
GOSSIP
BACKSTABBERS
HATERS OF GOD
INSOLENT
PROUD and BOASTFUL
INVENT NEW WAYS OF SINNING
DISOBEY THEIR PARENTS
REFUSE TO UNDERSTAND
BREAK THEIR PROMISES
HEARTLESS
HAVE NO MERCY
SIN ANYWAYS REGARDLESS OF GODS GRACE
ENCOURAGE OTHERS AND INVITE THEM TO SIN

So, has God given me my hearts desire which is to be king of my life?  Has God given you your hearts desire by making you King of your life?  Is the disconnect that I am experiencing just a bi-product of me getting what I want?  Has God thrown up his hands in disgust and abandoned me?

I can’t help but think that as I examine my heart in light of Scripture that this may be what is happening

Now I know God’s Word says that he will never leave me nor forsake me…..It is true.  I cannot lose my salvation but God cannot be involved in my sinful activity.

Throughout this fast, there is an internal struggle and exam that God is doing in my life.  He’s going through each room of my heart and cleaning house(heart)–he’s removing the dirt, grime, and cobwebs.

This is not an issue I can blame on anyone else–it’s me–I’ve sinned.

So, as I examine my life–Has God just given me what I wanted after for so long trying to teach me, love, me and equip me?

Have I prostituted myself to other nations(things) by defiling myself with other idols?  Is it no wonder that God has disciplined me by turning away?  Am I bearing the consequences of my “lewdness and prostitution” (Ezekiel 23:30).  Have I trampled on the Son of God and treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy? (Hebrews 10:29)

This is how God has been kicking my butt.  Self-examination through the Word can be very painful, but in the end it brings freedom and I don’t have to go through the motions….I’m not saying I’m perfect, but this will be a journey.  As God reveals more, I am hoping to trust and obey.


In regards to our church, I am praying!  Praying for a breakthrough.  We are creatures made for relationship, but the disconnect isn’t so much a horizontal relationship issue, it’s more of a vertical relationship issue with God.  I can Bible study more, talk more, be at church more, but if I am not changed by the glorious, ever living God and breathe for Him, the things mentioned before won’t matter in the scheme of things and there will continue to be a disconnect. 


I am in the process of removing myself off of the throne which rightfully belongs to God….I am in the process of dying to myself.  It’s painful, but I believe in the end will be worth it!


As you examine yourself and pray for you, your family, and our church, would love to hear what God is doing and Pastor Scott will be leading us on Sunday to testify what God is saying through all of this!

Megan Dobrinski—-Thank You!

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Our beloved, Megan, who has attended Ridgeway since she was in 7th Grade is moving on to pursue God’s next steps for her which includes finishing her 20 hours of college in hopes to go to the mission field and minister to orphans!  (How cool is that!)

I personally am grateful for Megan!  Talk about someone who has a heart for people and a passion for Jesus–it’s Megan!  My family and I have been blessed by her and her family.  Megan has served as a leader, an encourager, and a cheerleader throughout all of these years and I am so excited about the next steps.  We’ve talked about these next steps for a while and she is stepping out in full faith!

This Sunday, will be Megan’s last Sunday as our Children’s Ministry Director.  We are saddened by this, but truly excited for her!

Please join us this Sunday in the RidgeKids theater as we celebrate her!  We will also recognize her in each service.  Join us at 8:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. in the RidgeKids Theater to say thank you!  We will have some refreshments. Also, write a thank you note or possibly get her a gift card to say thanks!

She has been a blessing to many kiddos and to us as parents!  Join us this Sunday as we bless her and encourage her as she takes these next steps in her journey with Jesus!


Thanks Megan for saying yes to God and having full faith in Him!

I Will, I Will, I Will

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

<!–[if pub]> 281 7772400 10058400 259 261 257 276 262 279 1 0“““““““““““ 5 1 0 285 282 1 False 0 0 0 0 -1 304800 243 True 128 77 255 3175 3175 70 True True True True True 278 134217728 1 1 -9999996.000000 -9999996.000000 8 Empty 255 52479 16711680 13421772 128 6710886 16777215 57 Wildflower <![endif]–><!–[if pub]> 22860000 22860000 (`@““““` 266 263 5 110185200 110185200 <![endif]–>

These are the closing words of an incredible movie, Courageous!  These words were spoken as a commitment to be a godly dad—to be the primary discipler of his kids.  It’s a great family movie,  but more importantly, it is a “must see” for dads.  The movie challenged me in an incredible way.  As I have evaluated my life in the weeks following this movie, I have a few take-aways:
1.  I can’t just HOPE my kids get it – There have been many times where I have thought that as long as I keep them in church, they will turn out fine.  I have hoped that they would catch what is taught.  I believed this lie for many years, thinking that God owed me for being a pastor and bringing my kids to church.  God did not give me my kids to hand them off to an organization.  He wants me to be an integral part of their lives.  I have to teach the Word of God to my kids and I have to live a godly example in front of them.
2.  Together is better – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  We need to sharpen one another when it comes to our high calling of being a dad.  I cannot do life alone when it comes to this journey.  I need other men to ask me the hard questions about my faith, my passion for Christ and my duty to raise godly children.  I cannot hide from the opportunity to mentor other dads and I cannot hide from wanting other men’s accountability in my life.  Dads, if you would be interested in a LifeGroup for the specific purpose of encouragement and accountability, please call me!
3.  Being a dad is my highest calling – The highest calling from God on me is to be a father to my children.  In our society, dads are seen as goofy and immature, but God has called us to be the primary disciplers of our families.  He has chosen me to be the spiritual leader for my family.  There is no greater honor than knowing God believes in me to raise my kids to be disciples for Him!
4.  Being a good dad starts with loving my wife, Sarah – I can spend all of the quality and quantity time with my kids, but if my relationship with Sarah suffers, I am giving an ungodly example of our relationship.  Each day, I am doing pre-marital counseling with my kids.  No, I am not sitting them down and going over a study, but through my example I am showing them (or not showing them) what it means to love my wife as Christ loves the church.
5.  It takes Courage – Doing whatever it takes to be a godly dad goes against every fiber of our being.  Due to our sin nature, it will always be a struggle.  The enemy doesn’t want you to be a godly dad.  It will take time.  It will take focus.  It will take unselfishness.  It will take COURAGE!  In our culture, it’s not cool to be a godly dad, but it can be done.  The scripture says that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in me, so I have UNLIMITED resources through Christ!
Will you?  Will you stand up and be a COURAGEOUS dad?  I am praying for all of the dads in our church!  If there is anything you need prayer for, please don’t hesitate to call me.  I will even take you out for coffee so we can help you strategically plan how to impact your kids spiritually.  My phone number is 918-557-1558.  Lastly, I would encourage you to go see the movie—it will be a game changer in the way you view your role as a dad.