“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)
When it comes to your faith and your pursuit of God, how are you doing? Are you giving it your all? Or are you approaching your faith like a limp fish – soft, squishy and not fully committed?
Jesus reminds us of the greatest command originally found in Deuteronomy. He tells us to give our ALL – all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. We can’t do it half-way. We have to go all in!
Early in the career of baseball legend, Pete Rose, he hit a pitch that led to an easy out. Rose knew this as soon as the ball left his bat. Instead of running it out at full speed to get to first base, he essentially walked from home plate towards first until the out was official before he retreated off the field to the dugout. After the game, Rose’s father found Pete and scolded him for failing to give it his all. Following this conversation, Rose hustled every play, and he soon became known as Charlie Hustle. In other words, he gave it his all – he went all in when it came to playing the game of baseball. Pete Rose went on to set the record for the most hits by any player in Major League Baseball history.
As fathers, we carry a significant responsibility. We point our children in the direction they will one day travel, and we set an example for them to follow as they become adults and possibly parents. In order to carry out this responsibility – in order to do our jobs well, we must go all in when it comes to following Jesus. Our whole lives depend on it!
Are you ready to go all in?
Father, I want to follow you with everything I have. Show me your ways. Teach me your truths. Redirect me when I let other things come in the way of going all in with you.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
As fathers, we can have a lot of things on our mind. Our list of responsibilities, priorities, and goals includes our career, our hobbies, our kids, and our marriage. Perhaps, we are also enamored by our favorite sports teams or sports stars.
Often our intention is to move forward, to get ahead, and to have some fun along the way. Honestly, these don’t sound like awful pursuits to me. Unfortunately, our focus on the above things sometimes causes us to lose focus on what really matters.
Jesus reminds us where are focus should be above everything else. He tells us to pursue His Kingdom first. He doesn’t give us an exact formula for what this looks like, but I think it’s safe to say we will get closer to understanding this the closer we get to Jesus. Reading God’s Word (the Bible) and studying the life of Jesus will lead us to prayer, to sharing our faith, and to serving others. And all these things will draw us closer to His Kingdom.
Jesus’ statement is also a promise that when we pursue His Kingdom first the rest will fall into place. When our focus is on Jesus and His Kingdom, the desires of our hearts more closely align with His desires, and these are the things that will be given to us as well.
Father, forgive me when I don’t make You and Your Kingdom my priority. I want to seek You, Lord, better today than yesterday.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”John 1:12 (NIV)
What was your father’s occupation? What was his father’s occupation?
My Dad was a pastor. His father was a mortician. My Mom’s father was a postman. My wife’s father was an instrumental music teacher and a church organist and music director.
It’s not uncommon to draw our identity from our fathers. For example, I’m a PK – a pastor’s kid. As a young teen, I’m not sure I was too proud of my Dad’s occupation. Now, I’m quite thankful to be a PK.
Drawing our identity from our fathers isn’t always a bad thing, but I think we need to be careful. Our fathers are flawed. Even my father, the pastor, was not the perfect father, and he will tell you that himself.
Some of us grew up with father’s who didn’t amount to much. Perhaps, they struggled with their own demons, or they may have been absent.
This is why it’s important to remember our true identity. As mentioned in John, we are children of God if we simply believe in His Name. We are sons of the King.
Heavenly Father, thank you for our earthly fathers imperfections and all. Thank you for calling us your children. May we represent you well as we go into the world today.
The next semester of the Stretched Men Group is getting ready to start, and men are getting ready to STRETCH their marriages, their parenting, their careers, their faith, and their lives.
You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Stretched Men Group!
The Stretched Men Group provides a safe, transforming environment to help men like you take steps forward. Here are some of the ways the group has helped other men:
One man started praying for his ex-wife.
One man started taking his family back to church.
One man changed jobs.
One man had a tough conversation with his wife that transformed his relationship.
One man had a difficult conversation with his co-worker that led to a job change.
One man tackled a pornography addiction.
One man started reading his Bible on a daily basis.
One man reached out to his estranged sons.
One man took his marriage and sex-life to a whole new level.
If you’re looking to STRETCH and experience this kind of change in your life, you should join the next semester of the Stretched Men Group. For more information, go to www.stretchedmengroup.com. Once you are there, you can request a FREE, no pressure informational call with me to see if the Stretched Men Group is right for you.
Don’t wait too long, the spots will fill up fast.
Later today, I’ll be dropping my daughter off for the start of her junior year of college, and my wife and I will be entering the empty nest. (Last week, we dropped our son off for his freshman year of college.) While I’m sad to say goodbye to my kids knowing their return home will never quite be the same, I’m extremely excited by this next step in our journey together.
Many people talk about the empty nest with negativity. People imply that life is almost over when the kids leave the house. Or people wonder out loud about how spouses will handle each other without the barrier and distraction of children.
The empty nest doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, there are things you can do today to better prepare yourself for the empty nest.
When you take these steps, you too can enter the empty nest with enthusiasm, hope, and excitement. Don’t wait for the kids to say goodbye, take action today to get ready for the empty nest!
A few years ago, I joined a mastermind group for entrepreneurs. This group gives me a place to share my ideas and to get the feedback I need to keep moving forward. It’s also a place where I can help other entrepreneurs as they process their next steps. I haven’t been disappointed with the experience so far.
Last year, I launched my own mastermind group. After wise advice and consistent encouragement, I started the Stretched Men Group. This mastermind group is all about encouraging guys to become better men, better husbands, and better fathers. The group runs for three-month semesters. After each semester, mastermind members have the opportunity to continue on with the group (or not), and new members have the opportunity to jump into the group.
The next semester is getting ready to kick off in the middle of this month, and there are still a few open spots. I’d love to fill the spots with guys who want to take the next steps in their journey. If you’d like to find out more information about the group, I’d encourage you to go over to the groups website (click here) and sign up for a FREE informational (no pressure) phone call from me.
In the meantime, I’d encourage you to check out this video from my friend, Ray Edwards. In the video, Ray offers some fantastic tips about what to look for in a GREAT mastermind group.
If you’re looking to experience these five essentials and your path to becoming the man you were meant to be, I’d encourage you to check out the Stretched Men Group.
Several years ago, I had the brilliant idea that our family should become chicken farmers. We ordered baby chicks from a good friend, and I set out to build a chicken coop – actually a deluxe chicken palace. Our chicken coup had two floors, a four-seater nesting box, and spectacular picture window.
When our baby chicks arrived via the U.S. Postal Service, our adventure began. For the first several weeks, we kept the chickens in the shed under a heat lamp. Over time, the small baby chicks grew feathers and became big enough to move to the chicken palace I had constructed earlier.
Our chicken raising experience brought us many amazing stories and delicious farm-fresh eggs.
When we were getting ready for the baby chicks to arrive,I had a couple of challenging conversations with my son, Isaac. Here’s how it went:
Have you been putting off an important conversation with your child? Take time today to initiate that conversation. If you are struggling with how to start, take time for yourself to plug into reliable resources and mentors to help you prepare for the conversations you should have with your kids.
Our world needs fathers who are present, attentive, and intentional. Our world is plagued with poor examples of fatherhood. We see fathers abandoning their families physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
I’ve been a father for over 18 years.
Fatherhood has brought me some of the greatest challenges in life and some of the greatest experiences of life.
My kids are wonderful, but I’ve wrestled through sleepless nights, paralyzing fears, car accidents, and a calendar that won’t give me a break.
On the other hand, my kids have given me the chance to experience victories on the track and cross-country course, emotional highs while listening to their music, and times to just be together.
18 years of fatherhood has gone by so quickly. When I first started on this parenting journey, I didn’t feel like some of the early struggles would ever end. Then I blinked. Now, I’m ready to send my oldest to college.
When you become a father, you have two choices. You can just let it happen. Or you can be intentional with how you parent your kids.
I’ve tried to be intentional when it coming to fathering my children, but if I’m honest, there have been many times when I’ve just let it happen.
It’s easy to let the distractions of life, of career, and of personal pursuit get in the way of being the fathers we really need to be for our children, our spouses, and our future grandchildren. We have a responsibility to provide for our families, but we also have a responsibility to be present for them.
If you’re a dad and you feel like you could do a better job, you’re not alone. You need to know this. You need to know that you can start TODAY to be more intentional when it comes to fatherhood.
Part of being a more intentional father involves hanging out with other fathers who want to make the most of their time of fatherhood. You need this kind of community for ideas, encouragement, and accountability. Trying to be a more intentional father without the help of others may work for a short period of time, but your efforts will be much more effective when you team up with other dads.
If you’re missing out on this kind of community with other fathers, let me know. I’m in the early stages of planning a Stretched Dad Mastermind group. I don’t have all the details yet, but I’m hoping to launch in September. If you sign up below, I’ll get back to you with more information.
Today, I’m honored to be guest blogging over at Some Wise Guy. Some Wise Guy is a blog written by K.C. Procter where he explores the everyday thoughts of being a dad. Here’s an excerpt from my post, titled Don’t Blink. Please head over to K.C.’s blog to read the rest of the post and to see what else is going on at Some Wise Guy. Drop K.C. a comment and tell him that I sent you.
Time flies when you’re a dad. Don’t blink!
I’ve been a dad for over fourteen years now, and I often feel like it’s been just fourteen days since my daughter joined our family. This past week, I watched her graduate from middle school. It literally seems like yesterday when we put her on the bus for her first day of kindergarten. I remember her excitement and her little brother’s sadness as she climbed on the bus with her very own backpack and her big smile.
What’s going on in your life right now that is moving too fast? How about something that’s moving too slow?
(For those of you looking for this week’s Ice Breaker, stay tuned to The Stretched Blog over the weekend. We’ll see what we can do!)