The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: fatherhood

Father’s Day Encouragement…

At Shades Valley Community Church, where I pastor, we believe that one of the amazing ways God speaks to our faith family is through one another. This past Sunday (Father’s Day), God used Grace Wolnski to speak a powerful word of encouragement to all the Father’s in our church. I was so blessed by the Holy Spirit working through her that I wanted to share it with all of you.

I also shared a brief word of encouragement for everyone who struggles with Father’s day. Perhaps you had a bad father, no father, or you are a single mom with children bereft of a father… and Father’s day is always a struggle for you. I want you to know that there is hope in our heavenly father.

You may listen to both words of encouragement below and share them with anyone you would like. I pray God uses these words to continue encouraging his church all over the world.

A Word for Father’s Day…

*To listen online, simply click the link above. To download the file, right click the link and select save/download. To get this file as a podcast in iTunes, click here.


Letter #11: Put Down the Books

Dear Jonathan,

I love hearing all your stories about the new friends you’ve made over the last year and a half. Some of them sound almost as crazy as the guys who became my brothers during seminary. I’m so thankful you have found our talks about friendship helpful.

However, I have found myself wondering about your other relationships as of late…specifically, your family. In your last letter, you described your study habits to me as if you were proud of how much time you have dedicated to school. Disciplined study is a great thing, but Jonathan…

book-pileThere comes a time when you need to put down the books.

You have two small children who desperately need their father right now (and always)! You have a wife who does not need to feel like a single parent or a widow! Don’t short-change them! If something has to be short-changed…make it seminary.

Taking a lower grade is worth taking time for your family.

During my seminary years, one of the most painful phrases I remember regularly coming off the lips of my daughter was, “Papa has to do school?” I have been so pleased to strike those words from her vocabulary!

Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying that school is not a priority. You could always spend more time with your family and that could lead to a total neglect of your studies. So what are you to do? I would advise you to sit down with your wife and have an honest conversation about priorities and time.

Talk through what each of you feel is an appropriate amount of time to devote to school and how much time must be set-aside for family. This could look different throughout a semester (especially during finals), but even having this conversation will show your bride how much you value her and your kiddos. Make sure your schedule leaves you both feeling like…

Seminary is a priority, but it is not THE priority.

I remember several times when I  put down my pen, shut the book, or closed my computer and went downstairs to wrestle with my kids on the living room floor or had one last conversation with my bride before she drifted off to sleep. If I could go back, I would not trade those moments for more studying…in fact…I’d probably study less in order to have more of those moments.

The health of my marriage and family has affected my pasturing more than seminary ever could. This is not just true for me, but for every pastor. Remember that Jonathan!

Give yourself to your studies. Work hard. Study to show yourself approved. Learn to rightly divide the Word of truth so that you have no reason to be ashamed. Yet…always, always, always remember…

There comes a time when you need to put down the books.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

Dads of Steel

*Disclaimer: I am by not a perfect father! Far from it! In the post below, I do not mean to portray myself as the perfect dad or even as an expert on fatherhood. These are thoughts from one broken father to others.

fathers-day-2011I’ve been thinking about fatherhood a lot lately. And that makes sense…I mean my third baby just entered the world! On top of that, father’s day is just around the corner (June 16).

Growing up within the church, father’s day was always somewhat confusing for me…especially when compared with mother’s day. Perhaps it was my own limited experience, but it always seemed like mother’s day was devoted to the praise/encouragement of mothers…while father’s day was equally devoted to pointing out the failures/scolding fathers.

Even as a kid I felt like this was little unfair. Something was amiss and needed to be rectified. I honestly do not believe the remedy to the situation is simply to turn father’s day into a time to praise/encourage fathers in the same way we do for mothers. When it comes to time the gathered church spends together, our focus should always be Christ!

I’ve seen way too many mother’s/father’s day services (and many other holidays for that matter) that were void of Jesus! I am not saying that we do not even acknowledge holidays, but we should do so in a way that points people to Jesus. We need to point mothers and fathers (and everyone else present) to the sufficiency of Christ in all things, including parenting! Jesus must remain the center of our worship!

I think this is the real problem with father’s day…we have put fathers in the place reserved for Jesus, and whenever we do that they will always fail and we will always feel the need to scold them!

We have come to expect dads to be the hero when there is only one hero…Jesus!

man-of-steel-logoI do not believe it is a coincidence that the highly  anticipated summer blockbuster “Man of Steel” is releasing on June 14th…two days before father’s day. A fun movie about the superhero of superheroes…superman. This is just the kind of movie a dad might take his kids to see (depending on their age of course), and there has always been an emphasis on father figures in the superman mythos via Jor-El and Jonathan Kent.

The real irony of this movie’s release coinciding with father’s day is that, I believe, it highlights the problematic “Christian” view of fatherhood. We expect dads to be supermen. They are to be their kids hero! Perfect men of incredible spiritual stature!

We expect dads of steel!

Most kids naturally look up to their dads as if they are superhuman and, all too often, the “Christian” version of fatherhood only feeds this notion. Yet, all fathers are far from perfect and so having “superman” expectations only sets them up for failure. So what can be done? What should dad’s do? And, what should we do? What should the church be encouraging and calling fathers toward?

The true calling of fatherhood is not to be a hero, but to point to the only hero…Jesus.

I try to consistently acknowledge my shortcomings to my children, be honest when I fail, ask for forgiveness, and then point them to the one who will never fail them! Father’s should turn the shortcomings into opportunities to point to the one who never falls short! This is truly fathering your children towards the perfect heavenly father.

We need to tell our fathers…you don’t have to be a dad of steel! Just be a dad who is real! Real about who you are and who Jesus is!

I think that if  men heard the message, the call (on father’s day and everyday) that you’re not to be the perfect hero for your kids, but you are to point the one who is, then we would see fathers move from feeling discouraged and defeated to energized and empowered! Fathers need to hear that they are not supposed to rely on their own strength to be dads of steel, but that God has provided his strength, through the Holy Spirit, for them to be dads who are real.

IMG_0786Through his power, they can be fathers who really love Jesus, fathers who really love their kids, fathers who really admit when they’re wrong and ask for forgiveness, fathers who really love their wives, fathers who really are committed, fathers who really show vulnerability, fathers who really pray, fathers who really know that true fatherhood is not perfection, but pointing to Jesus.

Be encouraged fathers! We don’t need dads of steel…we need dads who are real.

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