October 8, 2019

Real talk: work has been crushingly demanding lately.  I knew it entering this stretch of a few months and planned out my work schedule, but it has still been a lot to carry.

As providers for our families, there will be stretches where this is the case...so we need to be able to process what is going on to know how best to persevere (see below)...

Here are a few insights along with missteps that I've been processing...

(1) When in a "season" recognize it for what it is and remember it's just that: "a season."

It won't last forever.

Yes, it's easier said than done in the "heat of the battle" but necessary to keep perspective. 

(2) How I respond when things are hard is a window into my soul.

Am I quick to want to jump ship?  Or am I looking for opportunities to learn and grow?

Do I want to be "found faithful" with what's been entrusted to me?

All are opportunities to show my true colors...I'd like to say I'm looking for learning and growing opportunities, but that's probably been the last on...

September 17, 2019

I love this picture. The Lord has been speaking some things to me lately about it and the phrase “the fog of war" (see below)...

In military conflict, “the fog of war” is a reference to uncertainty...uncertainty of one’s own capabilities, the adversary’s capabilities, and the intent during engagement.

On the battlefield, individual soldiers can also experience this “fog” - in confusion of direction, location and perspective. Officers and soldiers get separated, orders get confused, poor communication happens.

How about us as fathers?

Getting lost or distracted in the day-to-day grind.  Being lured away from our families by entertainment or hobbies. Pursuing the wrong “success” (money, position, security). Forgetting who we are in Christ. Prioritizing other things ahead of prayer and bathing in God’s Word.

Any of this sound familiar?

Yeah, me too.

It’s pretty easy to lose the way...so let’s refocus today.

I love what John Eldredge has to say on this: “there are three (3) eternal Truths:

(1) Thin...

August 12, 2019

Let’s be honest, we all experience anger.

It’s okay to admit it. Don’t Christianize it - we’re not just “frustrated,” but “angry” at times.

God gets angry. References to God’s anger show up roughly 375 times in the Old Testament alone.

Even Jesus was “zealous” for “His Father’s House” when he drove extortionists out of the temple.

As a Dad In The Trenches, that makes God feel way more relatable to me in some strange way.

But here’s the deal: God is holyI am not.

His anger is a “righteous” anger and comes out of a response to sin in the world.

My anger is “distorted” and comes as a response to a host of situations (mostly that involve my pride).

Examples might be:

-feeling hurt

-feeling offended

-expectations not being met

-not feeling in “control”

-feeling threatened

-feeling fearful

-etc...

In these situations when I experience anger (probably 99.9% of the time) my anger is not justified as His is...but distorted. How about you?

As a Dad In The Trenches, you and I deal with people all day - and the...

July 15, 2019

Along the journey of fatherhood, I've found the following three themes emerge over and over as reminders for me.

When we're "in the heat of the battle" of fatherhood, keeping these mindsets at the forefront can sure be helpful...I hope they are for you too (see below)!

(1) It's never too late.

I've heard guys say and also had some message me asking "is it too late for me as a dad and to make an impact on my kids?"

DON'T believe this lie.  Don't be discouraged.  You can ALWAYS have an impact.

You CAN course correct.  You CAN be intentional.  It is possible. Make the most of what time you have. 

And the key is YOU, dad.

The more that lasting change for the good happens in you, the more your family will see and be impacted.

It takes truckloads of humility to admit where you've been wrong and then to forge a new path, but it is possible.

(2) Keep the main things the main things.

I'm pretty good at getting distracted by "less than important" tasks and letting priorities get out of ali...

June 10, 2019

Ever heard this old adage: “time heals all wounds”?

Unfortunately this is far from the truth when considering the nature of sin.

Too often we trivialize and have a cavalier attitude towards sin - treating it as if it is of no consequence.

“A little lie here and there makes no difference...sure I look at porn from time to time but I can stop whenever I want...my boss doesn’t see the value I bring to work so I’m just gonna clock a few extra hours...sure I let my kids watch that even though it’s inappropriate but I’d rather them see it with me than somewhere else...etc, etc etc...).

What we don’t realize with entertaining sin and giving away ground in small ways is that: Sin + Time = a well worn path (to destruction).

Why?

Giving continual audience to sin only trains our flesh to sin more and justify our unrighteousness behaviors.

The ruts on the path become more familiar, we’ll worn, and deep.

Consider the words of Paul in Ephesians 5:8-11:

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in th...

May 13, 2019

We have this saying in our house - “don’t ‘numb out’.”

You probably know this intuitively.  It’s simply that moment, that tendency - when it’s getting tough - to say inwardly “heck with it”, to give up, to disengage, pull away, and to close your heart.

But here’s the deal, it’s the opposite of what Paul is taking about in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13:

.......

“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange - I speak as to my children - open wide your hearts also.”

.......

When difficulties come - when something is hard, when there’s a disagreement, or a relationship is combative - you and I have a choice: to open wide our hearts or to “numb out.”

We men are particularly good at “numbing out”...it plays right into our apathetic flesh tendencies.

“Numbing out” can lead to escapism from the home, addictions, and a calloused and bitter heart that creates emotional distan...

April 11, 2019

Last year, we moved to "the country", just outside of town.  Embracing country life, we did what any aspiring Gen X country-folk would do - and tried to plant a garden...only in the early fall.  So our garden saw mild success at best.

This year, it's game on: we've tilled, we have compost ready, seeds are good to go, drip irrigation, the works.  I can already tell our thumbs are getting green at the mere thought of the bounty that will ensue this year (ha ha!).

As I was out putting together the drip irrigation system the other week, my 6-year-old daughter came skipping up and asked if she could help with anything.  "Sure.  Can you go in the house and bring Daddy some scissors from the drawer?"

Now, I know what you're thinking..."you asked your 6-year-old to do what!?!?"

Yes, that's right.  To get the super duper, extra sharp scissors and bring them to me.  But I had no worries.

Why?

Because my wife and I have trained her how to hold them and behave when holding them.  Even if...

March 21, 2019

As I'm sure you're aware, "masculinity" has been a hot topic recently.  There are many in society who are doing everything they can to redefine masculinity, bring it down, dismiss, and remove any shred of credibility related to being a man or operating in true healthy masculinity.  Worse, those same people are saying traditional masculinity is the very source of pain and frustration in men and all that is wrong with the world. Unfortunately, so much of this is missing the point - as the topic is only being addressed from a "secular" worldview.  When talking about any form of detrimental masculinity, we as Christians actually can shed light on the real problem...

February 13, 2019

In the fall of 2016 I went fly fishing for the first time while on a trip in Colorado. It was an amazing experience on many levels. For one, I'd never really liked "traditional" fishing - sitting in a boat, throwing out a line and just sitting for hours. Fly fishing was WAYYYYY different...lots of action, strategy, finesse. It was fun to learn. I was "hooked" (pun intended!).  Surprisingly, the Lord also spoke to me about my kids through it all.

At the time, I was coming off the tail end of several years of personal "hell" that was affecting marriage and family. I felt like I was coming into "green pastures" and gaining new vision and clarity for life.  During the time away on the trip, one of the things I was asking the Lord was, "how can I be a better Dad?"

I felt Him quietly speak to my heart later that day following fishing: "Just like you need to know what fish you're after, who they are, what they like/don't like, the conditions around them (bugs, river flow, spots in the river, et...

January 23, 2019

Ever shot a bow and arrow?  How about a rifle?  Or (bigger stretch) flown an airplane?

For any of those examples, you might be familiar with "the vector principle".  You'd probably be familiar with it, not because of some previous physics lesson (kudos to you if so!...but definitely not me!), but because of the observed results.

Simply put, the vector principle works like this: the direction of the object and the force behind it determines the vector.

But just aiming and shooting doesn't end there.  Continuing with the bow & arrow example, what happens to the arrow after shooting it a relatively short distance?  Gravity takes hold and your arrow begins to sink.  Or, if you shot the arrow on a windy day, the arrow may drift left or right.  Thus, the intended vector changes.  

So, how do you stay on target with your original intended vector?  You need a lot of skill and focus to aim correctly and you need force behind the object being sent forward.

Dad,...

December 31, 2018

New Years is a great time to look back as well as ahead – and craft some goals and action items for the coming year. 

Here’s a dose of reality, though:

  • Research shows that only 3% of people write down their goals.

  • Perhaps correspondingly, research also shows that 80% of people’s New Year’s resolutions are shot by February with an overall 92% never achieving their goals by the end of the year.

Oh dang!  I’m not the smartest guy, but I think we may have found a link here…writing stuff down may be a key to starting off well with goal setting and follow-through. 

Goals are actually somewhat of an artform in learning to strike a healthy balance of “big picture” with “action items”.  To be honest, I’ve struggled with goal setting over the years.  On the one hand, I’d have big ambitious things I’d want to do, but found that, in the face of such big goals, I was overwhelmed and I wouldn’t do anything.  On the other hand, I’d try the opposite and get very specific with all I wanted...

December 26, 2018

Research done by the Barna Group reveals that 79% of young self-professing "Christian" adults will walk away from the Christian faith between the ages of 18-25.

That is a startling statistic.  If you're like me, it makes me pause and ask the question: "why?"

There are a host of answers and reasons we could discuss, but one of the main reasons I've honed in on is this:  As the father goes, so goes his family.  Meaning, Dad is the leader and sets the tone, the expectation, the values, and is the model for what a Christian should look like, believe, how to act, and how to interact with the world.

Unfortunately, we as Christian Dads (myself included for a long time) have passively shrunk back from the responsibility of leading our families, have outsourced the discipleship of our children to Church staff, have been lulled to sleep and entertained to the point of atrophy by culture, and have "forsaken our first love" in Jesus - chasing after other idols and "shiny objects."

This has to stop.  W...

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