Thursday, January 29, 2015

Asleep at the wheel (revisited)

This original post appeared on my site in July 2012. The movie Magic Mike was releasing and 50 Shades of Grey was a book series on the best-seller list.

With the release of 50 Shades...just a couple of weeks away, and the movie pre-selling tickets at a rate not seen before, I thought I'd revisit this post. I've edited it a bit, but you can read the original post here.

Yes, this is a post about 50 Shades of Grey (the books & movie) and the movie Magic Mike.

No, this is not a post for or to women. So, if you are a woman and read this, you may be upset or turned off by the tone. That is OK, this post isn’t for you. (There are numerous great blog posts written from a woman’s perspective about these movies and I would encourage you to read them.)

This for your husband.
Please tell him to read it.

I have had some great conversations over the last several weeks with a friend about the book 50 Shades of Grey. It started when I made a Facebook post (leave it to Facebook) about the movie Magic Mike. As I read post after post about women excited to go see this movie about the plight of male strippers, I wondered how many wives were excited years ago when their husbands wanted to go see the movie Striptease (remember Demi Moore and her movie about the plight of female strippers).

That led to a great conversation about the book 50 Shades of Grey, culture, and the part a follower of Jesus has in culture. This post isn’t about that. Another time. Another place.

This is a post about you, the husband, being the Spiritual leader of your home. This is a post about being asleep on the bus you are driving (even if you don't think you are driving it, you are). This is a post about you knowing what is going on and what you are protecting (or not) your family from. PLEASE…do not think, in any way I believe that a husband should (or has the right or calling or expectation to) “rule”, “control”, or “dictate to” their wife, kids, or family. If you believe that, you need to go back and see how Christ loved us, because that is our model (read Ephesians 5:25, then the Gospels to see what that verse means in action). That being said, I do believe as head of the home, we will be held accountable for how we have led (or not) our family.

As Christ is the head (covenant head) of the Church, we husbands are the head of our marriage and family. This means we take responsibility for the covenant of our marriage and the relationship, just as Christ did. He died for us and took our sin on His shoulders; that’s what being the head means. Think of yourself as the pastor. Your family is your church. As pastor, you are responsible for the flock.

So, do you know what your wife is reading? Watching?

Do you care? If not, you should!

I strongly believe that we husbands will answer for what we've allowed to happen on our watch. We will answer for why we allowed our kids to be exposed to things they’ve been exposed to while we sat idly by. The same is true for our wives. You need to play a role in leading discussions about what, if any, media and/or entertainment should be going on in your home, and if you are comfortable with it. If not, then you need to say something. Talk it out...remember, it is still a discussion (that means you both talk, share thoughts, and opinions.) Odds are, you and your spouse will both grow if you come from a position of love, not control.

Simply put: LEAD.

You may never have tell your wife you would prefer her not to read or watch something.

But at least have the guts to have the conversation. At least be able to ask her, "Do you think going to see 50 Shades of Grey is a good idea?"

By the way, husbands...if and when you ask this, you better check yourself first! If you are in 8 fantasy leagues, go bowling two nights a week, but aren't reading your Bible, leading, praying, taking your family to church, then I have a suggestion: Model First!

Don't you dare ask your wife to do (or not do something) you aren't willing to do (or not do) first. Don't you dare call her out, when you are anything but the Spiritual leader in your home.

Don't you dare!

Men, we can do this. With Jesus as our guide and model, we can lead our families, love our wives, raise our kids.

We can.

We just have to have the guts to.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Community Matters

Over the last couple weeks at River Oaks, we have talked about taking a journey towards real community.

We looked at the only part of creation that God looked at said it was "not good." Genesis 2:18 tells us God does not think it is a good idea for man to be alone. Not only that, God will not fill that void in our life, but it can only be met by interacting in deep ways with other people.

Part of our discussion was introducing our new focus on Community Groups. Our goal is to have every regular attender of River Oaks in a Community Group that meets (at least) a couple times a month for some study, fellowship, and prayer.

If you would like to hear the message I did on this, you can check it out HERE (scroll down about half way).

One way we want to help encourage people into Community Groups, is by modeling it for you in a midweek class called What's Next. Beginning on Wednesday, September 10, I will be leading a Community Group here at River Oaks. If you have every wanted to "try out" a Community Group, this is your chance!

We will meet from 6:30 to 8:00pm, have some snacks, teaching, and prayer. We will also have babysitters for your kids. It will last 6 weeks and then we hope to spin off home-based groups, before we start another model group!

So, if you are not in any kind of Community Group, or maybe your group would like a chance to hit the "re-start" button, consider joining me!

Show up any Wednesday you'd like (just sign up, so we know to be looking for you)!
Invite friends (even if they don't attend ROCC)!

Creating a community takes effort and intentional focus. We want to help with What's Next. If you need more information shoot me an email. If you would like to join me on September 10, go HERE, and look for the What's Next logo.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Boy Dads Post -- Show Some Heart

I am a regular contributor for a great site called It is a site dedicated to dads raising boys (it has a sister site called for mothers of boys).

So, click over and check out my post this month on showing our boys our hearts!

Show Some Heart

While you are, would you please do 2 things:

1. Sign up for their monthly email
2. Share with any other boy dads you know


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Die to Live

Paradox (as defined by Webster):  A seeming absurd but possibly true statement

The Paradox Principle says if you want to live a better life, there are parts of your life that must die.  The idea of having to die to live is a great paradox.

From a worldly view it makes no sense.  The world tells us to get as much as we can.  Get it however we can.  It is a view that has no regard for others.  It has no regard for serving others.  It has no regard for loving others.

Once you become mature enough to realize that everything is not about you all the time (a real shocker, I know), you are one step closer to understanding die to live.

If we truly want better homes, kids, jobs, or anything else, we must be willing to first die within those areas.  Then they will get better.

  • If you want a better marriage, you need to give up some of your selfish behavior and focus on fulfilling your wife's needs and loving her more.  Saying your martial trouble would get better, "If she would only..." is selfish and will never lead to a better marriage.  If you want your wife to be more romantic, maybe you need to be more romantic.
  • If you want a better relationship with your kids, you cannot say, "If they would only....".  If you want your kids not to mouth back, maybe you should not yell at them.
  • If you want more fulfillment from your job, saying, "If my boss would only..." is not the answer.  If you want recognition for your work, maybe you need to do something worth noticing.

We have to be willing to give up (read: die) those things in our life that are the real root of our dissatisfaction.  I must be willing to love others more than myself.  When I do not get out of my life what I want, it usually is a result (if I will honestly evaluate it) of my effort, my attitude, or my perception...not on the action (or inaction) of someone else.

Die to live.  Die a little, live better.

What areas of your life do you need to die a little?  Make a list.  Once you begin to die, you will be begin see victories in areas of your life.  These victories will encourage you to have bigger deaths, which will lead to bigger victories.

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For...whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it"  Jesus Christ

Jesus understood the Paradox Principle.  He was the ultimate example of dying to live, both figuratively and literally.  He lead his disciples by serving them.  He allows us to live because he died.

Die a little, live better.

What a seemingly absurd statement that might be true.

Try it and let me know if it works for you!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Balance (revisited)

"Wow. With four boys, I bet you guys are always on the go!"

We get that a lot from people and I know as our boys get older, a good portion of my (and my wife's) life is going to be spent at ball courts, football fields, church activities, and in the car between all those events.

But, we are working hard to keep our family from being over-involved or worse, letting our kids run our home. Believe me, it is hard when it seems like the boys are bringing something home every week they want to do:

Basketball Camp
Football Camp
Church Camp
Golf Camp
Preschool field trips
School events
Cub Scouts
Swim Lessons

See? I'm tired just thinking about all those things.

Worse yet, with most of those things it is not just the boys doing them, but they want us to help, chaperon, or coach!

As we have looked at the years ahead, we have made a conscience effort that we will not over-commit ourselves or our boys. The reality is, with each son not being the only child in the family, they are not going to get to do everything that comes along, and they need to learn to be OK with that.

So, it all come down B.A.L.A.N.C.E:

Belive in your child's abilities and desires and help foster those things.
Each your kids are different and each have different things they like to do and are good at. Make sure you recognize those things in your kids and help them to develop those skills. Don't make your son play football if he would rather play soccer. Remember: Your dreams (athletically, academically, or vocationally ) may be very different from your son of daughters.

All things are permissible, but not beneficial.
Biblical wisdom that rings true for this topic. Just because it is offered to your daughter does not mean she needs to participate in it. Help her find the thing she really likes to do and encourage her to do that. Steer her to those things that are going to help build life-long skills you can build on as you raise her.

Love your kids enough to say "no". Remember, Parent First...Friend Second.
Yes, he may get upset, call you the worst parent ever, pout, complain that "everyone else gets too", and all those other things kids do to guilt their parents into giving in. That's fine. That's why your the parent: To make the tough decision for the family. You laugh when your child says, "But dad, everyone else is doing it", but in reality many parents are using that same reasoning for why they never tell their kids "no" as a parent, they feel they don't want to be showed up by other parents who "give" their kids more.

Always have a plan. You need to know how your going to handle all these events, camps, and nights out before they come up for discussion. Amber and I have always said we are going to do our best to not have a son involved in more than one thing at a time, because it is just too much. We place a priority on things like Awana's (which all sons are in) and then will allow one other "thing" for them to be involved in. Right now, #1 and #2 are in Youth Football,  and #3 and #4 are in Youth Soccer. Plus, swimming with #2 and #3 is right around the corner. That's plenty. The reality is, with just those things we have something going on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night and Saturday mornings.

Never say "no" and then follow it up with "just's too much!" You need to be able to explain why you have said "no". It is absolutely OK to tell your son, "We are too busy for you to do that, so you can't." Use those moments to talk to him about the importance of time management, the cost of things, and the value of having time for family and not always having being somewhere or doing something. Plus, you need to let them know that is OK that you have some quiet / alone / personal time as well.

Compromise where you can. Nobody ever said being a parent is the most convenient job in the world. Remember to allow your child to choose (where possible) and support their decision as their parent. Your support of them now will build trust between you two...and the closer you are now, the more likely they will trust you with other things that come their way in life as they grow.

Eyes on the prize. As parents, we have the responsibility to raise Godly children. If I give my boys everything they want, let them do everything they want to do, and am too busy to teach them about God and the salvation offered in Jesus, then I have absolutely failed as a parent and I believe I will be held accountable for that someday. I cannot simply lean on Sunday School teachers, Church Camp, and Awana's to bring my children to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That is my job and I need to make sure as a family we are not "so busy giving to our kids", that I fail my primary role as parent.

(SIDE NOTE: If that is my job dad, why would we expect our Heavenly Father to give us everything we want, let us do everything we want to do, and not teach us about Him and how to get closer to Him. That is for another post. I digress.)


Finding balance is hard. In a society where the parent(s) that give their child the most or best appears to "win", you need to make an intentional effort to worry about the health (mental, physical, AND spiritual) of your family as a whole. You need to not worry about what your child's classmates are doing. You need to remember that you are responsible for your entire family, and sometime the greater good is to put the reins on the give everything, do everything, allow everything mentality that is standard for parents today.