Thursday, June 30, 2005


New chance for father-son

Our church is going to go through 38 days of study this fall starting on Sep 11 to focus on sharing the Gospel with those around us. Maybe this will be a chance to get a father-son group going....

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


JC the VC

Last night I was reading "Raising a Modern-Day Knight" page 90-91 on how one man (Bill) approached a stranger (Jim) with Jesus as the King:

Jim: "What do you do?"
Bill: [...] "I do a number of things but the most exciting thing I do is work for a King." [...]
Jim: "From the Middle East?"
Bill: "As a matter of fact, He is. He's very wealthy and very powerful." [...] "this King is quite mysterious." [...]
Jim: "What do you do for this king?"
Bill: "I guess you could say I'm freelance agent; I go wherever He sends me. This King also has a book that's a worldwide bestseller."

This morning it hit me: in today's terms, Jesus is the most powerful and wealthy venture capitalist (VC) in the world. He does own it all (Ps 24) but He also invested all that He had in His disciples: time, reputation, His death. And He commanded His disciples to invest and multiply (Mat 28:18-20). He also gave the promise of infinite ROI (return on investment) -- see Mat 6:19-21. No VC's can guarantee that!

He's also the most prolific author: Not only the Bible, but He's got many "ghost" writers working for Him. And the ghost writers aren't necessarily Christians. Some authors, like that donkey in Num 22:30, write for Him in spite of themselves.

He's also very mysterious: some may only know and use His name as a curse word, some are confused about Him because of their upbringing and/or their teaching. Many of those who profess to be Christians (I'm one of them) aren't always clear on who Jesus is because they were never properly discipled (converted and moved on).

UPDATE: here's some background on this posting. I'm in the process of looking for a new job as my current project winds down. Earlier this week, I've had a phone interview with a CEO of this small startup and he is a venture capitalist (VC) who decided to roll up his sleave and invest not only his money but his time as well. I've worked at other small companies with VC funding but not where the personal stakes (reputation and time, on top of the money already invested) are involved.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


NOT reaching out and converting

Today's sermon (mp3) was a very good: on generation-to-generation influence -- the point being to get older people involved at a new church being planted at our local university.

And (unfortunately) it sounded all too typical: we need to reach out to the unsaved and convert them. We tend to measure church results by number of conversions and baptisms (or taking a series of courses, as if God cared about the number of courses we took or even what order we took them to become (better) Christians).

Yet, Matt 28:19 makes it clear that we are commanded to make disciples, not merely conversions. A conversion is only a single point in the long process of discipleship:

1) understanding one's sinfulness
2) understanding what the Gospel is
3) verbal confession and acceptance

Many churches end here and say "go and do likewise." In fact, "anyone" can do it, be it an grammar student (my 10 year old son claims to have 5 under his belt) or an elderly convert. We even have classes on getting this down to a science (with books like "Becoming a Contagious Christian"). We also have summer "specials" where teens go through boot camps to get 4th grade or younger children to get converted in 4 days or less.

But if you read the N.T. (and even examples like Elijah discipling Elisha), true leaders take months and years to mentor the younger disciples. And doesn't end after they are sent out.

Jesus Christ spent 3+ years with His 12 and then promised Holy Spirit to continue to disciple them. So it didn't end with His death. And He knew that Holy Spiriti will be working with them. However, He made it very explicit in that they are to make disciples, not "convert and then teach them to 'let go and let God.'" (For those who don't get it, it was a phrase I recall being popular in my youth, with the emphasis on trusting God to run our lives rather than trying to do everything our own way -- but I like how Patrick Morley uses Neh 4:9 to point out how we need to pray to trust God completely but we need to do our task with all that we got or, to put it differently, "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.")

Granted, we all can still get direct guidence from Holy Spirit today, but God's plan is for people to mentor and raise up followers of God, not convert and move on.

The battle imagery of today is to train a little (few weeks of boot camp) and then send them off. But the more appropriate imagery is raising a knight, of going through several years of the various stages: page, squire, knight. And then off to battle. (And then come back to mentor the next generation?)

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Adam's failures

James McDonald gave a talk this morning about how husbands are to take care of our wives. Great stuff based on GARDEN acronym. However his comments about Adam was very eye opening. I've heard Adam was passive for the past 8 years or so, but here's even more problems that Adam had that McDonald pointed out:

  1. He adds new rules (Gen 3:3) "must not touch it" (compared to Gen 2:17)
  2. He was passive when serpant talked to Eve (Gen 3:6) -- he should have wacked at the serpant and shielded her from it.
  3. God called Adam accountable (Gen 3:9) but he based the buck to Eve and even to God (Gen 3:12)
  4. Adam wasn't there to teach his sons to properly worship God let alone how to deal with anger, how to love each other (the brothers).
  5. Adam wasn't there to praise God when Seth was born (Gen 4:25), so he wasn't the priest of the household.
No wonder Adam is so dogged in Rom 5:12-21!

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Fathers Role with Daughters

Here's a great Fathers' Day article (pointed out by Northward Journey) on Father's role in raising daughters. Not a trivial subject for yours truly since my sons will eventually be marrying someone else's daughters....

Monday, June 20, 2005


Fathers and Church effects

The stats from Switzerland on regular attenders of fathers vs mothers and the effects on their children are very interesting. The surprising numbers are:
What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goes up from 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father's commitment grows in proportion to mother's laxity, indifference, or hostility.
So the message is, for those families with a mother and a father, if you dad's attend church regularly, you need to make your wife stop attending church! For the children's sake, of course. (GRIN) Seriously, the difference between 33% and 44% is 1/3 (33% better chance your children will remain regular attenders if the mother was a non-attender).

As Queen of Carrots sugggests, I also think that lower percentage is accounted for passive or unwilling regular attending fathers.


Why Men Hate Going to Church

Kind of relevant to my post from Passed Thru Fire, The Duchy of Burgundy Carrots pointed to an entry "Why Dad is Important."

Good to see that more and more people are concerned about getting men involved.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Fathering the Next Generation

Today's Father's Day message (9MB of MP3) was spot on! I particularly liked how the pastor ended with the verse:
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God -- 2 Tim 1:8
We can say that our sons have come of age when we can say to them, "join with me in suffering for the gospel" -- I'll be the first to admit I'm not there yet.

Casting visions for our children (esp. sons) are what's really needed and reminded me of:
Where there is no vision, the people perish -- Prov 29:18 (KJV)
And I liked how the message focused on, in essence, discipleship and then sending out.


Problem with Men: relationships are tough

Billy D's entry "The Shopping Nightmare" is a funny story (to me) of men vs women appoarch on shopping. Men are hunter+gatherer so we are very task oriented: we aim, execute and exit the scene. Women are more relational: they could spend hours roaming around a mall or even a grocery store and not buy anything and still call it shopping (OK, maybe buy a cup of coffee).

And this morning, it hit me: The Bible has to overtly tell us men to go for the long term relationships, be it dad-to-teach-his-children (Det 6) or Jesus telling His followers to make disciples (Mat 28:19) or even the 7th commandment (Exo 20:14). Heb 10:24-25 gets to the point:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
When it comes to spiritual life, men like to categorize and enumerate: number baptized, number "saved," number of members (or even regular "attenders"). We like to make classes (with fixed end dates) for every little subject but we (men) aren't into long term relationships: even with small groups, we do it mainly because our wives are into it (on the other hand, if the wives do not get along, then we will stop attending or try a different church, group, etc.).

Education is very similar: we, men, seek high school graduation or even college graduation for our children but then we're done. We move onto the next thing, rather than thinking and planning on how to maintain that relationship during the children's work life and marriage, raising children (esp. man-to-son advice on leaving a legacy). Or even passing on that experience to other men who are raising children.

For me, I didn't think about children and their education until I started reading books like Mary Pride's "The Way Home." So that got me to think what educational goals I should have before I had children (let alone getting married). It would have helped if I had training on how to envision marriage and children's overall growth (not just academically). Or on how to raise sons vs daughters.

Anyway, happy Father's Day, y'all!

Saturday, June 18, 2005


World of men

We, home educating dads, this morning had a good discussion on raising boys into men. Here's my ideal: our goals for ourselves and our sons are to become an elder of church (church as in the body of Christ, not a building), and we need other men (older men to guide younger fathers who will guide their own sons), for all of life. Spiritual life is the most important part of being Christ-like but being a complete man in all aspects of life is important, too (material and financial management, relationship with others (esp. leading others), living in this world (e.g., survival in nature)).

I like the synagogue model but it seems too focused on just the religious aspect of life. We are to live like Christ in full (behind the wheel, in the check out lane, son's baseball game, eating snack), not just Christ-like church-life or religious-life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Man Hungry

Passed Thru Fire's 5th chapter is about the fact that all boys hunger for manhood affirming older men. Only men can draw out manhood from a boy, which was normal part of all societies but lost as industrialization separated the men from their families.

But gangs of today show that the need for this affirmation has not been "evolved" out of the boys but instead the boys have tried to take it into their own hands apart from guidance of the older and wiser men and they have ended up with older boys trying to "train" the younger boys with all too much emphasis on violence.

What hit me the most, though, is the quote:
Ironically, while our Christian communities have seemed to notice the plight of the homeless and, in our hospital mode, have created recovery programs for every kind of abuse imaginable, we've done virtually nothing about the empty and hungry young boys we step around each Sunday at church. We have forgotten our biblical mandate to care for the fatherless.
Ouch. Reminds me of my time helping out the children's ministry and there were always one or two out of control boys either fatherless or possibly disengaged fathers -- and I was busy trying to supress them rather than figuring out how to redirect their energies. But it's these boys who need father figures to guide them beyond just one hour per week.

Another thought is what happens if I die? Where will my sons learn manhood if I die from accident, etc.? Without a structure in place for raising all kinds of boys into men, for helping the fatherless, for a fellowship of men beyond just dad and his sons, my sons would be rudderless.

If you have a written will and (various) life insurance, do you have a manhood plan for your sons? At least a manhood vision for them to be guided by their future guardians, if you die?

Monday, June 13, 2005


Why Men Avoid Church

I like the reasons that Bundschuh lists in Passed Thru Fire:
  1. Suspect leadership: church seems to favor academic and gentle end of male spectrum
  2. Too many women: "It's impossible to be one of the guys when surrounded by girls."
  3. Irrelevant to men: "if [church] does not challenge, invigorate or empower a man, why attend?"
  4. Indoor experiences: men tend to do things outdoors, rather than inside churches
  5. Dad doesn't go: they don't attend but tell their sons "you need to go!"
  6. Tendencies toward inefficiency: "Men often see the church as a social or emotional place but not a doing place."
  7. Avoids celebrating male sexuality: "[Sex] sells because men think about sex ... a lot. [...] Without godly and frank male-based guidance, a man can easily begin to see women only as objects[...] In many churches, boys are told not to think about sex -- if they're told anything at all -- rather than taught how to think about sex. The church needs to celebrate godly sexuality rather than be embarrased by it. It should be a comfortable subject [even a proud, God-given blessing] in our community not a tawdry one. The church should redeem and rescue sexuality from the domain of hedonism."
  8. Church is soft: "When challenged by our culture, the church rarely takes on a male voice or defends male sensibilities." (like banning dodgeball, let alone sponsoring/fielding a paintball team.)
Wow, a lot to chew on!

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Taming the Stallions

I've started reading Passed Thru Fire by Rick Bundschuh. What hit me so far is in the chapter "Geldings and Stallions" and how the churches are filled with geldings (eunuchs), where male are feminized or at least intellectually focused males.

Stallions are wild, dangerous male horses that cannot be tamed easily (unlike geldings). And boys have a lot of wildness in them. Our "modern" society tries to supress this wildness through mass education (peer pressure?) and even with drugs like retalin. Challenge for all dads is how to channel the wildness in a positive way rather than forcing them to turn to rebellion and even violence (aka gangs) as a way to express their wildness.

Unfortunately, the churches today are so sanitized that wild boys and wild men have no real place for them. In fact, not many "rough" men are visible at Sunday mornings. Nor do the church facilities allow such wild males to have worship let alone kinesthetic Bible studies (what that would be like, I cannot imagine since I'm not a kinesthetic learner).

I like the author's quote:
Franky, the church doesn't have stallion because it doesn't want stallions. They damage our goods, threaten our leaders, intimidate our pliable gentle students, dismantle the current pecking order, scare parents (particularly of girls) and raise our insurance premiums. [...] As long as the typical church wants to play it safe, put church facilities and things above peple and protect the status quo from the savages swirling outside its gates, there will be no place for these wild and wonderful leaders of tomorrow.
Ironically, Jesus Christ Himself was a carpenter and many of His followers were rough men, especially the well known fishermen. WWJD with these wild males?

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Discipleship: WWJD?

I had a great talk with a friend who mentioned about a book "Master Plan of Evangelism" by Robert Coleman. It's about discipleship and I'll have to pick it up somewhere.

I'm convinced that discipleship is missing in our churches and if the perfect Son of God needed to spend 24x7 for 3+ years (that works out to be 2190 hours per disciple = 24 * 365 * 3 /12) for His discipleship "program," then how much more time do we need for us to "make disciples of all nations?" I don't know of any church which offers 2190 hour (or 91 days) of discipleship 24x7 training. Most churches have 3 months or 12 months training of 1 to 2 hours each week -- which works out to be about 104 hours at most or 5% of what Jesus would do (WWJD?).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Goal of Men's Studies

All too often, motivations are prompted by either intrinsic or extrinsic source.

Extrinsic motivation is when we act (study, take on projects, etc.) to get rewards or avoid punishments from others. It could even be words of encouragement from others.

Instrinsic motivation is when our actions are driven from our heart. We seek to learn for the sake of learning (which if you think about it, it sounds rather lame and almost petty).

The desire to grow as men and raising sons to become men has to spring from the heart (prompted by the Holy Spirit) rather than seeking some approval from someone (wife, parents, church friends, etc.).


Men's Resources

I've listened to Morely's Ten Secrets and started to read Young Man in the Mirror book and also found their web site: maninthemirror!

Their weekly briefings has some great articles on how to get men's ministries going!

(Obviously I've just started reading....)

Sunday, June 05, 2005


J2M: finished

Well, this weekend, my eldest son finished his journey to manhood (j2m) and 2 other dads and I recognized our sons as young men: We drove out to Corpus Christi area Friday night and Saturday day, we went deep sea fishing for 8 hours. We caught 2 sharks and one king fish. (Funny how the dads were more sick than the sons, even though we each took some anti-sea sickness drugs.)

We had a communion meal in the evening and recognized our sons as young men and gave our gifts to them.

On our way home Sunday morning, we listened to the tape "Ten Secrets of the man in the mirror" by Patrick Morley as our Sunday message. If you haven't read the book or listened to the tape, I highly recommend it: it certainly was convicting for me. I loved it when he pointed out how churches aren't discipling men and the other problem is that the churches think that they are!

As I mentioned to one of the dads, Jesus spent 3+ years living, eating and ministering with His disciples. Churches today take a classroom approach (3 month or 6 month classes) rather than a life long living and disciplining: calling, equipping and sending them out.

So now, what to do with the newly minted young man in our house? Since we home educate, it's even harder to get my son separated from the world of women (my wife) and children (my other, younger son).

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