Many populations in our communities are overlooked. Stop now and call to mind the names of a few single parent households. Now, read this article and pray for wisdom about how to reach out and minister to them this season.

Men, the challenges of smartphone engagement for our kids needs to be something that we are aware of and engage dialog about…

With our wives.

With our kids.

With other dads.

Are we setting a good example of healthy digital engagement? There’s much to consider here. Read this article as a kick start then consider reading The Tech Wise Family.

“…teens today have a constant pacifier in their phone, a device that enables them to be relentlessly entertained, distracted, and lulled, but leaves them with a low tolerance for distress and discomfort, which leads to anxiety and depression.”

“Winston encourages parents to walk alongside their kids in learning how to manage technology.”

“‘It’s a communication device,’ said Winston. ‘That’s what the phone is for.'”

I’m always interested to find secular research and sources that affirm Biblical truth and values. Remember God’s design for men to invest strategically in their children…

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4

A sure way to provoke your child to anger is to simply not be there…physically or emotionally.

How and what do you pray for your kids? Ponder that for a bit.

Are you praying for your children? While on a mission trip with my oldest son, I asked the men with us to pray with me, over Tim. A career missionary in the circle was moved and commented about how powerful it was for men, especially fathers to pray over their sons and other young men. Then he made this statement that I’ll never forget. Remember, this is a man who, in following Christ’s call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, led his family to a hard place… He commented that “I have never heard my father pray out loud for me. And, to my knowledge, he has never prayed for me at all.” Shocking and sobering.

Men, pray for your children. Pray with your children. Pray out loud. Pray silently. Let them know that you are working in partnership with their Creator to see them become what He wants them to be. Pray for them to know Jesus, trust Him for salvation and follow his commands.

But there is something else that you must pray. The enemy is at work. He’ll lull you into lazy complacency. You must be guarded and diligent. Read this powerful post from Eric Wallace (founder of Uniting Church and Home) to understand The Second-Most Important Thing a Father can Pray.

Building men. That must be part of the job description of every father of sons. You can’t simply leave them to their own devices. You must be intentional and strategic in their lives. That’s just what Mike Owings did with his 3 boys. The Bible is his core text book – supplemented by encouragement from Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis.

“It was a rite of passage: A raw, real, intense initiation into manhood…”

“…the goal was to build character, instill an appreciation for the outdoors, make memories and build a deeper faith in the Lord.”

“In modern-day America, there really is no rite of passage for boys. We just kind of hand them a driver’s license and send them off to college, hoping they’re ready to become men.”

“Three different rivers with three different sons – and one weather-worn canoe, marked with memories of the making of men.”

Reading to your kids is one of the best gifts you could give them. I have great memories of reading stories to the kids. We still quote lines from books often. Obviously, reading the Bible out loud with your kids will have huge impact but other well-chosen books will also have impact. 

Men, can you identify with these statements:
1) “…that’s when things went south for me.”
2) “All of those things combined led me to lose my temper and layout a verbal assault on my son.”
3) “I crushed my son.”
I certainly can. This post from UNCOMMEN is a great reminder about the power of our words and the power of forgiveness. It’s helpful to be reminded that we should understand and extend forgiveness because we have been forgiven.

“I know too few men who feel the approval of their fathers… Are they man enough? Are they good enough? Are they a disappointment?” Men, we can’t be reminded of this enough. Every son wants to hear his father say “I’m proud of you.” I’ve also learned that men are encouraged to hear this from other men they respect as well. Who in your life could your bless with affirmation today?

Stacy and I have worked to establish and manage “screen time” boundaries for ourselves and our kids over the years with varying degrees of success. We try to understand the values of “connectedness” as well as the dangers. This article helps with a balanced perspective. It’s worth the time to read.

Dads, we must BE what we want them to become. 

Do you have a strategic prayer plan for your kids as they begin a new school year? This list sets a great example. What other prayers would you add?

In John 17, Jesus prays for his disciples (including us!) and sets forth a model for parents as we pray for our children. Men, read this post then turn to John 17 and let Jesus’ prayer for His followers guide your prayer for your children.

I have much to learn about raising a teenage daughter. This post is helpful – and I just ordered the book. Let’s face it, guys. There’s just a lot about being a teenage girl that we need some help with…

Stacy and I work with young couples at our church. This is a question we discuss every year. Men, take time to read this post and process with your wife/family. Make sure you keep Christ in front of Christmas. 

I hear from many men who express concern about their children walking away from the faith during teen or college years. Read this post for some encouragement to pray and resource your son or daughter in their quest for Truth.

Dads, what prophetic vision are you casting for your sons? Do you talk more about their future as an athlete, hunter or businessman than you do about their future as a husband and father? Take time to put your hands on your son’s shoulders and pray for his future. Pray for his marriage. Pray for his wife. Pray for his role in the kingdom. Cast vision for your son as a godly man who walks faithfully with Jesus and leads others to him.

Guys, there’s a big lesson here that many of us likely missed… “But the thing that seemed to leave the biggest impression on George W was that he loved their mother fiercely.” Read the article and do at least one thing today to demonstrate your love to your wife and anyone else who may notice…like your kids. You could be raising a future POTUS!

Cavin Harper is founder of Christian Grandparenting Network. He posted this article earlier this week about how Grandfathers can be strategic and intentional with their influence.

He offers 5 things he wants his grandsons to know about being a man of God. And 3 critical strategies.

Remember, whether you’re a father, grandfather or neither, someone is always watching. Let’s seek to live like Paul who said to the Philippian church, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice.” Philippians 4:9

Wouldn’t we all want this to be said at our memorial… “Much of the reason we wanted to know Jesus and follow Him is because our grandfather treasured Jesus and smelled so much like Jesus we wanted to know Him too.”

This caught my attention. Now is a great time to start preparing and planning to host The Manger Build Experience at your church this Christmas.

Building mangers…

Builds men.

Builds families.

Builds the church.

Learn more at TheMangerBuild.org

Humble service in the nursery is a great way to grow leadership capacity. God is looking for a few good men to get on the floor and hang out with kids!

Hacksaw Ridge is a powerful film with a challenging message for men. Here’s a great way to leverage a men’s movie night to launch a 6-8 week discipleship group. Check out this great resource developed by Fred Butterfield.

BTW Fred will be with us as a workshop presenter at TNM Tidewater on 10.26.19!

If we believe that men should take responsibility for spiritual development of their families, it can’t happen if our church has no disciple-making strategy.

Men’s Discipleship is synonymous with Leadership Development. This blog post from Eric Geiger is directed at church leaders but every point applies to men and their influence in their homes. Read this and think about what you’re modeling for your family. What was your biggest ouch?

Pastors, as you prepare your Father’s Day message. Here’s some wisdom from Dr. Lawless….

My appreciation and respect for those who are called to the pastorate continues to grow. Read this account of the ups and downs of a pastor’s week and be reminded to pray for your Shepherd.

Dr. Lawless writes primarily for pastors and church leaders but it strikes me that every Christian man should be growing in capacity to lead and this series as a great checklist for each of us. Men, would you review this list and perhaps even answer as many of these questions as you can with your family at dinner tonight? (BTW… I don’t have good answers to several of them. I’ve got some growing to do!)

“Character…the distinctive nature and quality of a person’s heart.” Men, you are designed and designated for leadership. Dr. Stetzer encourages us to understand our own character and three areas where we need to be proactive if we hope to succeed in leading ourselves and others well over the long haul. Long Term Sexual Character. Healing of Identity Issues. Leadership Accountability. I’m thankful for this encouragement.

I’m not a fan of video games and encourage folks to avoid getting caught in this web. But, the author raises some interesting points. May be a great conversation for you and some wise men in your life… Agree? Disagree? How have you handled video gaming personally? Or in your family?

Men, pay attention to your community calendar and look for an opportunity to serve in some way as a group of men – or as a family. Your small group or family could make a huge impact and develop some new relationships by serving at a community event. Here are some great thoughts about how to make kingdom impact through a community event.

It’s not unusual for competitive games among boys to produce tension and fights. We can help boys transition to manhood as we give them examples, tools and opportunities to deescalate and learn how to be competitive without becoming combative. Here are some useful insights from Christian Service Brigade.

Pastors, Item 7 caught my attention… “Invest my time in raising up male leaders.”
Have you considered how strategic investment in discipling men to walk with Jesus and lead well could impact your church? 

This post is directed at pastors and church leaders but it made me think about our home as a representation of the Body of Christ in our community. How are we known in the community? Do we represent Christ well by serving and loving other families in our neighborhood? Do we welcome neighbors into our home? Or… do we have a reputation in the community that represents Christ poorly? Toss out these questions at a meal or family gathering and discuss how you represent Christ as a family in your community.

Managing a group of boys at church is not for the faint of heart. God blessed boys with energy, exuberance and enthusiasm. Our friends at CSB (Christian Service Brigade) have some great strategies to help you and then survive and thrive…

Young people, including my own sons, wrestle with the question of whether or not to drink alcohol. We’ve had numerous candid and transparent conversations about whether or not they should drink. 
1) Clearly drunkenness is a sin, but what about social drinking? 
2) How will/would drinking affect my witness? 
3) What example do I want to set for my family, friends and others? 
This article from Tony Dungy hits some important points. It’s worth your time and it may be great to read with kids and discuss at a meal together. 

Many of you who follow NW hold leadership positions in your church. Read this list with your pastor in mind and pray for him. Pay close attention to 5 & 6. They most often carry burdens silently. Everything can’t be known – but they still carry the weight. 

Men, regardless of whether you feel it or accept it, you are the spiritual leader in your home. Your wife, children and others are watching your life and responding to your leadership. You are either leading them toward God or away from Him. We’ve probably all used the excuses Pastor Chuck lists here. (I hear # 7 frequently!) 

Powerful insights here about how our perspective on money can affect our lives and leadership. This is an area where I need to do some work. Are you leading well financially, men?

Here’s another gem from The Globdrop Letters! The “homofunctional marriage” (similar to practical atheism) is one of the unfortunate results when we don’t understand, teach and model biblical manhood and womanhood.

“He has finally realized (as many of our patients eventually do) that when he lets his wife steer, he never gets blamed for ending up in a ditch.”

“He lives to defer. It takes less energy.”

“Delightfully, they see a manly woman standing upon a doormat.”

Great insights here for me, and likely many of you, from Pastor Chuck… 

Can I just say Wow! and Amen! Dr. I org has nailed it here. We must raise young men who are responsible for themselves and others. Not every mom and dad know how to do that. Churches should be a primary source of equipping and encouragement for families to produce responsible, sturdy, godly men. Too often boys are coddled even in the church. We need pray and think deeply about how we are or are not raising boys to godly manhood. Does your church need to make some adjustments here?

We all love those “You had one job!” photo memes. But here’s a serious thought from Paul Tripp. We all have one job. It comes from Psalm 145.

“As a child of the Redeemer, you hold a lifelong ministry responsibility.”

The church I attended while in college had an affiliate member program for students. I have wonderful memories of Sunday lunches and socials at the pastor’s house. It was a blessing to be cared for as a member of a church even while in college. So I love the message of this article. Let’s encourage our college students to engage a local church body while they’re away from home.

“At our church (and others in our town), the college students who join will be known, prayed for regularly, and equipped in a way that we simply can’t do with everyone. Not to mention the free meals and career advice!”

“The habits we develop in college are often true for the rest of our lives.”

We all love those “You had one job!” photo memes. But here’s a serious thought from Paul Tripp. We all have one job. It comes from Psalm 145.

“As a child of the Redeemer, you hold a lifelong ministry responsibility.”

“You must have one objective for each interaction: To commend the awesome glory of the works of the Lord to the other person.”

“We walk with others who are hardwired to celebrate the glory of God, but they have forgotten his works and need help remembering.”

How are you doing with this assignment?

Here’s another great reminder about walking faithfully with Christ in college. My favorite part is the commentary at the end. All of us, including college students need community to help us walk faithfully. Connect with a local church quickly.

  • “…the Ten Commandments are really important. You should hang them on your wall and live your life by them, but in a very different way than when you were under them, because they have been kept for you.”
  • “Jesus said that if we hate someone we have already committed murder in our hearts.”
  • “Jesus said if we lust after someone we have already committed adultery in our hearts.”
  • “Find a church your first semester. Throw yourself fully into that church. Attend, serve, and love that church.”

We need each other. In family. In community. In church. The younger man is blessed by the older man’s wisdom. The older man is blessed by the younger man’s strength. Are you pursuing intergenerational relationships?

  • “Chief among the many things we can identify about the first-century church recorded in the New Testament is the fact that they were a multi-generational church…. Yet in most churches today, especially in most church plants there are very few older people. In most dying churches, there are very few younger people. If the church really is a family, it should contain many generations.”
  • “Older people must find their joy in passing off leadership to the next generation… They must let go of the idol of the past, their need to control and, most importantly, their need to be made much of for all the work they have put in over the years.”
  • “And younger people need to identify the real and meaningful struggle older people endure. The constant sense of loss. The loss of a career, the loss of loved ones, the loss of mobility, the loss of understanding how things work (like smartphones). The loss of control of their lives, knowing that they face an ever declining future of less independence and more reliance on others.”

Here’s another clear call for churches to invest strategically in men – especially young men. Fathers of daughters (like me!), take note. What are you and your church doing to push against this trend?

  • “A number of social maladies in America could be alleviated if there were more families with devout Christian men serving as spiritual leaders within their home and communities. If men who will become such leaders cannot be found in our churches, where will they be found?”
  • “We must also find ways to ensure that young men are brought into the church and discipled in such a sway that they have a biblical view of sexual ethics.”

We dropped Ben (our 3rd son) off at NC State last weekend. He started classes yesterday. As Eric Geiger notes here, he has more freedom and more responsibility. We’re praying that he manages both well. I’ll be forwarding this post to him.

We all know someone who works with students. Here’s a great reminder to pray for them. I am a former teacher, coach and administrator. I can tell you that your prayers for these folks matter. Also, dads – ask your children about their teachers. Are there any clues that they follow Jesus? Pray with your children for their teachers by name. This is a cool way to model intercessory prayer for your kids.

Men’s ministry leaders across the state often ask for help in developing mentoring strategies to connect younger men with older men. Dr. Lawless’ resources on this issue continue to inspire. Here’s an idea. Invite another man out for a cup of coffee and review this post. What should you do next… to find a mentor or be a mentor?

Remember, the young man needs the wisdom of the older man. The older man needs the strength of the younger man.

Hospitality is one of the characteristics of leaders that Paul told Timothy & Titus to look for in potential elders and deacons. The author of this article takes Christian hospitality seriously. I can’t see us doing daily fellowship meals at the Young house, but there are some great insights to glean & perhaps a challenge to host quarterly, monthly or weekly fellowship meals. Could it be that showing greater hospitality towards our friends and neighbors would help them see Christ in us? 

What’s the most effective men’s discipleship strategy for the local church? EVERY man connected with other men who know him and are known by him. NO man alone in the battle for integrity, purity, marriage and a healthy next generation. Yet so many of us walk alone. Read this article several times and if you don’t have some battle buddies… – Pray for wisdom – Make a list – Reach out – Connect. Hang out with some wise men! 

Men, if you have a graduate in your family or know a graduate, make an appointment to take them out for coffee or a meal and use this blog post as an outline for a conversation. Ask questions, listen, share a few personal thoughts – encourage and pray for a graduate you know who’s facing significant life transitions. I promise it will be a blessing to him/her and you.

Powerful post from Brad Larson. Great message about dealing with the garbage in our lives. But one paragraph spoke loudly to one. Brad talks about the value of being part of a small circle of guys who process life – essentially each man helping the others deal with the garbage of life. He says, “I need a group like this.” “With my guys, I can just say it.” It is my firm belief that every man needs a few wise men in his life who know him well. These are the guys who will indeed jump in and help with life’s garbage. But they’re also the men who will cheer and high five with you to celebrate life’s treasured moments. Simply put, we need wise men in our lives to help us with our trash and our treasure. Sometimes we even need help to know the difference.

Here’s another gem from The Globdrop Letters! The “homofunctional marriage” (similar to practical atheism) is one of the unfortunate results when we don’t understand, teach and model biblical manhood and womanhood.

“He has finally realized (as many of our patients eventually do) that when he lets his wife steer, he never gets blamed for ending up in a ditch.”

“He lives to defer. It takes less energy.”

“Delightfully, they see a manly woman standing upon a doormat.”

If you appreciate The Screwtape Letters, you’ll enjoy (or be pinched) by this letter from Wormwood to a next-gen tempter, Globdrop. Wormwood learned the trade well from Uncle Screwtape.

“Let them highly esteem abstinence, practice indulgence, and think themselves the better for highly esteeming abstinence.”

“…teach them that wanting to follow, seek, and obey someday is all but indistinguishable from actually doing so. Comfort him in his good intentions to follow the Savior tomorrow, next week, or ‘when life settles down.'”

We always encourage men to pray for their pastors. Here’s a great podcast on the topic from Thom Rainer. And… bonus… you can listen instead of reading!

My appreciation and respect for those who are called to the pastorate continues to grow. Read this account of the ups and downs of a pastor’s week and be reminded to pray for your Shepherd. Read 1 Peter 5:2. “All sheep have a way of making the ministry both awesome and awful.” Men how could you bless your pastor this week? Pray for him. Cheer for him. Defend him. Encourage him.

Great reminder for us to be faithful in prayer for our pastors.

Men, here’s a great list of practical ways you can help, support and pray for your pastor. Shepherding a flock is tough because the church is made up of sinners like me and you. Invest some time in praying for and serving your pastor in these ways…

This post from Thom S. Rainer is not about suicide prevention…it’s a frank conversation with congregational members around the world…offering one way you can help.

Chuck Lawless provides seven reasons why you need to be interceding for your church’s leaders, based on the Word of God.

Check out these 4 reasons why porn is affecting this generation more than any other. What is your church doing in response?

Also check out:

Proven Men

Covenant Eyes

The Pure Man

I’m currently reading a book titled “Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures”. It speaks primarily to ministry in other countries where the entire social fabric is based on an honor-shame dynamic. Shame Is a powerful tool of Satan. He uses it well in all cultures to hold men (and women) in bondage. This article caught my attention because pornography or sex addiction is an area where Satan has his foot on the backs of many men. The shame they feel keeps them from reaching out to the church for help. We can change this and help more men and couples walk in freedom from this bondage. Jesus saves us from our sins, but He also removes our shame and replaces it with His honor.

Pornography is a powerful weapon in Satan’s battle to take down men. Consider deploying one or more of these counter measures from Chuck Lawless.

We all know someone living through the trauma of divorce. Take a few minutes to better understand their experience. I hope we can all say with the author, “…even through I detest divorce, I love divorced people.” 

I have a tendency to see life through the lens of a married man. I was reminded this week that not everyone sees through this lens. Many men are single and/or divorced…Here’s another article that helps us look through those lenses.

A friend once told me that a great strategy to help young men to faithfully resist sexual temptation was to teach them to fast. With this in mind, I’ve read more often about fasting. I didn’t learn about fasting early in my life and didn’t teach my sons. It’s never too late for me (or you) to learn about this powerful spiritual discipline. This helpful article is worth your time.

“You need to be certain you have a specific purpose for your fasting.”

Men appreciate and respond to transparency and honesty. Everyone wants it. No one wants to go first. Check out this testimony from Max Lucado. What do YOU need to confess? How do you lean into that? God does amazing things when we allow light to shine in dark places.

“Confession is a radical reliance on grace.”

“The power of confession lies not with the person who makes it but the God who hears it.”

“What you did was wrong. But what you are doing tonight is right. God’s love is great enough to cover your sin. Trust His grace.”

“The church was strengthened, not weakened by our honesty.”

“People are attracted to honesty.”

Many of you are engaged in various forms of Gospel ministry. Satan contests every effort to advance the Kingdom. Consider these signs of his attack.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

– “…the tempter delights in setting traps for us.”

– “…you begin to hear messages like, ‘God is not going to use you.'”

– “A divided team doesn’t pose much threat to the enemy.”

– “Prayerlessness equals powerlessness…”

I need these reminders from time to time. How about you?

Psalm 1 is one of my favorites. (I had our guys memorize it together when they were young.) This post from Michael Kelly nails the progressive nature of sin that the Psalmist warns against. Read the post and commit to memorize Psalm 1 with your family this summer!

When I read this post from Pastor Gary Moritz, I was reminded of our camping adventures as well as a season when I worked with 4th and 5th grade boys at our church. We actually created uncomfortable experiences for them so we could talk about how they may be called to go to hard places and do hard things so others may hear the good news of salvation that comes through Jesus. (Read more of my related blog post here.)

“The books that get read are the ones you keep around.” Even if you are a reluctant reader, the books in your home and life matter. Read this post for some insights and encouragement to have well-selected, valuable books on your shelf. Keeping resources for spiritual growth and development handy will be a blessing to you and your family. 

This post caught my attention because I remember my mother giving me a copy of this poem when I was a teenage. Even then, pride was an issue for me. I was busy with sports, scouts, school and church… I was important. So I thought. I’ve never forgotten the message of this poem. I just haven’t always acted like it. It will do me well to keep a copy nearby. Should you keep a copy as well?

Every man I know, including me, struggles with materialism and greed from time to time. Michael Kelley has some helpful insights for us. 

Men, Christmas is a season of joy BUT Satan will use Christmas activity as camouflage to steal, kill and destroy in your life. Celebrate the joy of Jesus’ birth with your family but be aware that Satan will not be taking a break. He’ll actually ramp up his efforts. Looking for a great gift idea? In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis helps us imagine how Satan’s demons may target and taunt us.

MOPS and other ministries to moms were a blessing to Stacy. She needed and was greatly encouraged by hanging with other moms who never got to go to the bathroom alone. These ministries blessed our marriage and family. Men, encourage your wife to be part of a mother’s ministry. Sacrifice a bit so she can be blessed.