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A Father’s Job June 18, 2017

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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My wife and I raised 3 children together, while we have not always been successful at being parents (we all have our weak points and occasionally fall short of our goals – after all we’re only human) we have for the most part succeeded in raising 3 healthy, happy, productive and loving children.  So what I will share with you here is not coming from a parental “educator”, it is the hard won knowledge of a father with 70+ year experience raising children.

As father’s it is our job, our God-given duty, role, responsibility and ultimately, our loving pleasure and privilege to embody and demonstrate the following traits for our children:

Person of Refuge

Dad’s we are the person in our children’s lives that they think of when they need protection. We are the person they will run to for refuge. That means we have to always be available to our children, the safe haven they can quickly, freely and naturally come to for protection and rest. As a place of refuge, we need to reflect to our children that we are a secure place for them and not a place of scolding or threats.

Protector

This role encompasses our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual protection. As children we particularly need protection, and we need to have our values, purities, and our honor protected into adulthood. A father not only protects his children from harm, but protects their hearts and minds as well. (2 Thess. 3:3)

Provider

This is perhaps one of our more instinctual roles of a father. A father initially provides necessities. He also creates an environment for growth through love and encouragement. We look to our fathers to provide for us what we may not be able to provide for ourselves while teaching us how to eventually become independent. (Genesis 22:14)

Friend and Supporter

Being a friend to our kids doesn’t mean that you are a party buddy! It is said that a child learns how to interact with others on the lap of a father. We seek a sort of friendship with our father that teaches us what friendship is. A healthy friendship with a father gives us boundaries and helps us understand what is safe and what is not. (John 15:15) You need to always be available for your kids, listen to their delights and their problems. You must consistently be there when they need you, to be filled with unfailing love, mercy, compassion and slow to anger. Children today face so many more difficulties in life than 30-40 years ago. What tears children down is being overwhelmed with problems, hardships and life’s trials with no one there to support them. Fathers need to be someone who can provide strength and support, that person they can rest and rely on, as they grow in every area of life.

Counselor – A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)

Companion and Counselor

There are too many kids in the world today that rarely if ever hear a word of encouragement or affirmation. Fathers, it is so important that we communicate with our children. You need to continually encourage them, let your kids know that they measure up, that you are proud of them and their accomplishments. Let them know that you have a special place in your heart for them. Tell them again and again how great they are.  A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)

Forgiving

Dad’s don’t hold grudges and are quick to forgive their kids. Growing up for kids today is challenging and if we are honest with ourselves, when we were growing up we had our moments. We made mistakes, we had our bad days where we were downright mischievous, we rebelled against our parents.

Fathers need to be patient when our kids do something wrong. We don’t hold grudges or hold past mistakes over their heads. Now this doesn’t mean we are indifferent or passive, but great fathers will instill wisdom in our children through love, not anger or rudeness and not criticism or harshness.

Trustworthy

One of the earliest thing children learn growing up is whether they can trust those who care for them. Fathers need to commit themselves to being consistently trustworthy in the lives of our children. This is the foundation in providing our children with a stable environment. Our children should always be able to rely on Dad to be dependable, truthful and consistent.

Life Teacher

Not withstanding the roles clarified above, as Father’s we are “Life Teachers”. We have a responsibility to educate our children in the things that make daily life bearable for those around us (those who live, play, and work with us) things like:

Using magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you.

Being honest, being on time, being diligent, showing friends their sympathy, as well as showing utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Manners and cleanliness:  being clean, not talking with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage, being organized, taking good care of their belongings, and that it’s not okay to touch others without permission.

Being honest, you do not have a right to something just because you want it. If it is not yours, don’t touch it.

Fatherhood is not to be taken lightly. It is the most challenging, difficult, exhausting, but, by far, the most rewarding role a man can take on.

Fatherhood takes work, it takes training and education, it takes many hours of labor just to get the basics done right. This job, Fatherhood, is a contract position and the term of the contract is in fact: forever.

The job you do, as a Father, will have effects on the health and welfare on your immediate family and all those they encounter on a daily basis. It will have an effect on your children’s children and all those they encounter on a daily basis, and will have an effect on society for generations to come.

 

 

 

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Then and now… May 12, 2013

Posted by JP in Absolute Favorites, Parenting, Uncategorized.
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My kids then (2004)

and now (2013)

Kids 2004

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Prayer for Sandy Hook December 17, 2012

Posted by JP in Faith, Parenting, Scripture.
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Isaiah 26:3,4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever,  for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 18:10 “See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angelscontinually view the face of My Father in heaven.”

 

Heavenly Father,

I pray that You lay Your hand upon the community of Newport, that You comfort them in their time of sorrow and that Your grace gives them some measure of forgiveness to allow Your peace to fill their hearts and minds.

We come to You God, because we know that You sorrow, and are acquainted with grief. You too have endured the loss of a child. You empathize.

We can’t help but ask, “Why?” Forgive our insistence, our confusion, even our anger. We believe that You are just, and we ache to understand how these tragic deaths are an expression of that justice, how it expresses Your love. We also know – in our minds at least – that You seldom answer the “why?” question. 

What we ask instead is “how?” How can we move forward? How can this bring us together and not tear us apart? How can we now live under the shadow of these untimely deaths? Answer this prayer with Your comfort and guidance.

There is no way to remove the pain. The grief is real. The only sanity is to know, to believe, in a life beyond with You, when all the scales are righted and the sufferings are made good. We trust You and Your promise that while these young lives on earth ares done, their lives beyond has just begun. With that release we lose them and let them go into Your arms, then by faith receive in return the boundless comfort of your presence.

In Jesus’ name we pray

Amen
May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.  Num 6:24-26

The new puppies October 24, 2012

Posted by JP in Absolute Favorites, Parenting.
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Exhausted from napping all morning

Grace March 23, 2006

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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The boy stood with back arched, head cocked back and hands clenched defiantly. “Go ahead, give it to me.”

The principal looked down at the young rebel. “How many times have you been here?”

The child sneered rebelliously, “Apparently not enough.”

The principal gave the boy a strange look. “And you have been punished each time have you not?”

“Yeah, I been punished, if that’s what you want to call it.” He threw out his small chest, “Go ahead I can take whatever you dish out. I always have.”

“And no thought of your punishment enters your head the next time you decide to break the rules does it?”

“Nope, I do whatever I want to do. Ain’t nothin you people gonna do to stop me either.”

The principal looked over at the teacher who stood nearby. “What did he do this time?”

“Fighting. He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox.”

The principal turned to look at the boy, “Why? What did little Tommy do to you?”

“Nothin, I didn’t like the way he was lookin at me, just like I don’t like the way your lookin at me! And if I thought I could do it, I’d shove your face into something.”

The teacher stiffened and started to rise but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He contemplated the child for a moment and then quietly said, “Today my young student, is the day you learn about grace.”

“Grace? Isn’t that what you old people do before you sit down to eat? I don’t need none of your stinkin grace.”

“Oh but you do.” The principal studied the young mans face and whispered. “Oh yes, you truly do . . .” The boy continued to glare as the principal continued, “Grace, in its short definition is unmerited favor. You can not earn it, it is a gift and is always freely given. It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve.”

The boy looked puzzled. “Your not gonna whup me? You just gonna let me walk?”

The principal looked down at the unyielding child. “Yes, I am going to let you walk.”

The boy studied the face of the principal, “No punishment at all? Even though I socked Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox?”

“Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment. Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong.”

“I knew it,” Sneered the boy as he held out his hands. “Lets get on with it.”

The principal nodded toward the teacher. “Bring me the belt.” The teacher presented the belt to the principal. He carefully folded it in two and then handed it back to the teacher. He looked at the child and said. “I want you to count the blows.”

He slid out from behind his desk and walked over to stand directly in front of the young man. He gently reached out and folded the child’s outstretched, expectant hands together and then turned to face the teacher with his own hands outstretched.

One quiet word came forth from his mouth. “Begin.” The belt whipped down on the outstretched hands of the principal.

Crack! The young man jumped in the air. Shock registered across his face, “One” he whispered. Crack! “Two.” His voice raised an octave. Crack! “Three . . .” He couldn’t believe this. Crack! “Four.” Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel. “OK stop! That’s enough. Stop!” Crack! Came the belt down on the callused hands of the principal.

Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream down his face. Crack! Crack! “No please”, the former rebel begged, “Stop, I did it, I’m the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop . . .” Still the blows came, Crack! Crack! One after another.

Finally it was over.

The principal stood with sweat glistening across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he knelt down. He studied the young man for a second and then his swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping child.

“Grace . . .”

Darrell Scott Testimony March 8, 2006

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this, hmm? On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littlet! on, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful. They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore ! I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy-it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. “I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

 

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleg! es began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. “Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes-He did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to mov! e into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA – I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

Rock of Roseville Internship March 5, 2006

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I was first introduced to the Rock of Roseville about two years ago.  I was working as the Human Resources Manager for a major retailer and recruiting for our holiday hiring season.  I had sent recruitment letters to schools and churches explaining our hiring desires and requirements and included information about an Alternative Staffing Program our company had, to encourage hiring for fundraising.

The idea of the program was to hire qualified individuals who then donated part or all of their wages to a charity or program of their choice (great idea for churches and other organizations who need or desire to raise money to fund their operations).

I was contacted by the Internship director for the Rock of Roseville.  He explained that his program had about a dozen or so youth who would love to work for the holiday season and their salaries would go to defer the costs of the program which they were part of.

The situation was win-win.  I was able to staff my store with hard-working, respectful, consciencious, and interesting Christian youth.  I was blessed to be associated with them, our store was blessed by their witness and energy, and I believe they were benefited as well to make money to fund their service the the Lord.

To give you an idea of what this program can do, please read this testimony from Ryan, a Rock Intern whom I had known prior to his coming to the Lord, and the wonderful witness and blessing I found when he came back to work with me as a Rock Intern.

I would encourage any church to look at the Intern program at the Rock of Roseville and see if indeed your assembly could do something similar.  It is a wonderful way to encourage discipleship, draw youth to the Lord and bless your congregation.  Check them out….  You will be impressed and blessed.

 

Homosexuality March 4, 2006

Posted by JP in Parenting, Stupidity, Uncategorized.
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Is homosexuality natural?

Does it have genetic causes?  If it is a natural condition of some, why would God say it is a sin – is that fair?

Can homosexuals be Christian?

If homosexuality is the same as all other sins, why does the bible mention in specifically so often?

Many questions and very few adequate answers, or so it had seemed to me.While roaming around the net. I went to favorites and quite arbitrarily clicked on one of the links to a Christian website (Desiring God Ministries), and began to peruse the articles. I ran across a link to a sermon on homosexuality and decided to read it. What I found was a revelation. I have no doubt in my Christian mind that the Holy Spirit had led me to this place, to read this sermon, in order to reveal His truth to me on an issue to which I have thus far been confused. I believe that there are few mysteries in this life, which cannot be understood with the help of Scripture, and it has bothered me that these issues have left me thinking, “Well, I guess I’ll learn the truth when I am with my Lord”.

 That idea in itself bothered me, but I had nowhere to go to find the truth – various discussions have always ended without acceptable conclusion.

I found this sermon at a time when my mind and heart were not set on anything in particular, I did not have an agenda in mind and my mind and heart were open to the truth from the Spirit unlike it has ever been before. Therefore, I ask that all of you who have participated in discussions regarding homosexuality, and those who have just thought about it and wondered – please go to the links I have posted and read the sermons, then let us talk about them.

The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality
The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 2

Let me highlight a few of the more salient points for I fear you may miss the relevance of his message, particularly regarding ‘natural’ tendancies and how it relates to our condition of human in light of our state of seperation from God.

 …Human beings exchange God for what God has made; we prefer the creature to the Creator.Step 2 – God hands us over to what we prefer.Step 3 – We act out externally and bodily in our sexual relations a dramatization of the internal, spiritual condition of the fallen human soul, namely, the horrendous exchange of God for man and the images of our power …First time through the three-fold sequence – verses 23-34.
Step 1 “They exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man . . .” (verse 23).
 Step 2 “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (verse 24).
Step 3 “. . . so that their bodies would be dishonored among them” (end of verse 24). In response to the rejection of God’s glory as their treasure, God wills that there be a disordering of their bodily life in dishonorable deeds. He hands them over to impurity “so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgment of God for our exchanging him for the creature – all of us.
…1. The deepest problem of our lives, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is the terrible exchange of the glory of God for images (verse 23). The exchange of the truth of God for a lie (verse 25). The disapproval of having God in our knowledge (verse 28). Failed worship is our worst disorder. This is beneath all the maladies of the world. Repairing this, not first our disordered sexuality, is our main business in life.
2. The sexual disordering of our lives, most vividly seen in homosexuality (though not only there), is the judgment of God upon the human race because we have exchanged the glory of God for other things. Sometimes people ask, “Is AIDS the judgment of God on homosexuality?” The answer from this text is: homosexuality itself is a judgment on the human race, because we have exchanged the glory of God for the creature – and so is AIDS and cancer and arthritis and Alzheimer’s and every other disease and every other futility and misery in the world, including death. That’s the point of Romans 5:15-18 and Romans 8:20-23, which we looked at when talking about Romans 1:18. And what we saw there was that those who believe in Jesus Christ and are justified by faith and become the children of God are not taken out of this world of woe, but are given the grace to experience the very judgments of God on the human race as the merciful pathway to holiness and heaven rather than sin and hell.

3. The reason Paul focuses on homosexuality in these verses is because it is the most vivid dramatization in life of the profoundest connection between the disordering of heart-worship and the disordering of our sexual lives. I’ll try to say it simply, though it is weighty beyond words.We learn from Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 that, from the beginning, manhood and womanhood existed to represent or dramatize God’s relation to his people and then Christ’s relation to his bride, the church. In this drama, the man represents God or Christ and is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The woman represents God’s people or the church. And sexual union in the covenant of marriage represents pure, undefiled, intense heart-worship. That is, God means for the beauty of worship to be dramatized in the right ordering of our sexual lives.

But instead, we have exchanged the glory of God for images, especially of ourselves. The beauty of heart-worship has been destroyed. Therefore, in judgment, God decrees that this disordering of our relation to him be dramatized in the disordering of our sexual relations with each other. And since the right ordering of our relationship to God in heart-worship was dramatized by heterosexual union in the covenant of marriage, the disordering of our relationship to God is dramatized by the breakdown of that heterosexual union.

Homosexuality is the most vivid form of that breakdown. God and man in covenant worship are represented by male and female in covenant sexual union. Therefore, when man turns from God to images of himself, God hands us over to what we have chosen and dramatizes it by male and female turning to images of themselves for sexual union, namely their own sex. Homosexuality is the judgment of God dramatizing the exchange of the glory of God for images of ourselves. (See the parallel uses of “exchange” in verses 25 and 26.)

4. Which leads us to one last word: The healing of the homosexual soul, as with every other soul, will be the return of the glory God to its rightful place in our affections.
 

Finally let me share this with you (this was produced by Pastor John Piper regarding the Bethlehem congregation’s position. I agree with it.)         

 

Beliefs about Homosexual Behavior and Ministering to Homosexual Persons

Our affirmation that the Bible is the infallible Word of God with “supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct,” and our affirmation that “a Christian should live for the glory of God” include the following six beliefs about heterosexuality and homosexuality:

1. We believe that heterosexuality is God’s revealed will for humankind and that, since God is loving, a chaste and faithful expression of this orientation (whether in singleness or in marriage) is the ideal to which God calls all people.

2. We believe that a homosexual orientation is a result of the fall of humanity into a sinful condition that pervades every person. Whatever biological or familial roots of homosexuality may be discovered, we do not believe that these would sanction or excuse homosexual behavior, though they would deepen our compassion and patience for those who are struggling to be free from sexual temptations.

3. We believe there is hope for the person with a homosexual orientation and that Jesus Christ offers a healing alternative in which the power of sin is broken and the person is freed to know and experience his or her true identity in Christ and in the fellowship of his Church.

4. We believe that this freedom is attained through a process which includes recognizing homosexual behavior as sin, renouncing the practice of homosexual behavior, rediscovering healthy, non-erotic friendships with people of the same sex, embracing a moral sexual lifestyle, and in the age to come, rising from the dead with a new body free from every sinful impulse. This process parallels the similar process of sanctification needed in dealing with heterosexual temptations as well. We believe that this freedom comes through faith in Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spirit.

5. We believe that all persons have been created in the image of God and should be accorded human dignity. We believe therefore that hateful, fearful, unconcerned harassment of persons with a homosexual orientation should be repudiated. We believe that respect for persons with a homosexual orientation involves honest, reasoned, nonviolent sharing of facts concerning the immorality and liability of homosexual behavior. On the other hand, endorsing behavior which the Bible disapproves endangers persons and dishonors God.

6. We believe that Christian churches should reach out in love and truth to minister to people touched by homosexuality, and that those who contend Biblically against their own sexual temptation should be patiently assisted in their battle, not ostracized or disdained. However, the more prominent a leadership role or modeling role a person holds in a church or institution of the Conference, the higher will be the expectations for God’s ideal of sexual obedience and wholeness. We affirm that both heterosexual and homosexual persons should find help in the church to engage in the Biblical battle against all improper sexual thoughts and behaviors.Pastor John By John Piper. ©Desiring God.    

 

 

 

Profanity and Christianity January 22, 2006

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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Recently I have been involved with numerous discussions regarding the use of profanity, particularly by Christians – is it okay?  Is it a sin?  What is really wrong with it? etc, etc, etc.

The more the topic was discussed the more questions came about – is their firm scripture regulating the use of profanity?  Is it a matter of personal choice?  Is it conditionally acceptable depending on when and where it is used? 

 As I participated in these discussions I realized that my understanding of the theology of profanity was sorely limited.  I know what I felt about it, and I had good passages of scripture which appeared to back me up, however, the arguments in favor of ‘cussing’ seemed equally strong.  So what to do?

I have been studying the subject and am working on a ‘dissertation’ on the whole concept of Christians using profanity.  I hope to begin posting the installments in the next few days.  Stay tuned…

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