Nov 18 2017

Quest for Authentic Manhood – Starting Monday 12/02/18

Quest for Authentic Manhood

Quest for Authentic Manhood: A 24-session DVD/workbook study that focuses on a man’s core identity and gives an overview of basic manhood issues. It will help men deal with various identity issues by looking back at past wounds and other things that may have distorted their idea of biblical masculinity. Throughout the course of the study, men will learn how to clearly define manhood and will finally be able to give a succinct and passionate answer to the questions, “What is a man?” and “What am I living to be?”

A few highlights:

-Five Manhood Promises
-The Four Faces of Manhood
-A Biblical Definition of Manhood 
-Fathers and Sons 
-Fathers and Daughters
-A Man and His Wife 
-Genesis and Manhood 
-Implications of the Heart Wound 
-25 Practical Ways to be a Servant Leader 
-A Man and His Life Journey 
… plus many others

This highly recommended men’s course runs every fortnight on Monday night at Church Unlimited – West Campus from 7.30 – 9.30 pm. Previous participants of Men’s Fraternity Courses have said “good solid all round teaching, that is very practical”, “excellent teaching and presentation” and “a wealth of wisdom with sound advice, biblically delivered”.
Enrol today, by filling in the form below:

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Jun 18 2016

4 Things Daughters Need From Their Dads

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News flash: parenting is demanding work. Always has been, always will be.

Part of the reason it’s difficult is that the moment that tiny person appears, we suddenly no longer come first in our self-centered little world. This precious bundle of burping, crying, sleepless joy now comes first.

4 things daughters need As dads, it can be a challenge to know how to nurture these adorable beings overflowing with feisty, fragile femininity. Many of us are still dealing with our own wounds from childhood while fighting every day just to protect our manliness in a world that seems hell-bent on attacking every corner of our hearts.

And it’s hard enough to deal with testosterone, a fairly familiar and predictable substance; now we’re expected to deal skillfully with this utterly foreign material called estrogen? Just the thought of it can be emotionally exhausting, especially for someone like me who usually just wants to be left alone to retreat into a dark, silent man cave at the end of the day.

Yet that is our calling, and these precious warrior princesses deserve nothing less than everything God has purposed for them to receive from their daddies. And no, I’m not talking about pink bikes, ballet lessons, and Frozen-themed parties. I’m talking about four things that our daughters need from their earthly fathers to know, deep down in their souls, that they are truly cherished and beloved.

The best part? These four things don’t require complicated strategies or hours-long time blocks. They can be done in small doses in everyday moments.

4 Things Daughters Need From Their Dads

1. Time

Sounds simple. But in our digitally distracted, turbocharged lives, time is the scarcest of resources. How much of it we do (or do not) give to our daughters speaks volumes to them about their value in our eyes.

And here’s something I’ve been learning about time: we can’t fracture it, splice it, dice it, or multitask it if we want it to be quality. We’re either all in or all out from our children’s perspective.

One of the saddest images to me is one I see at the playground: the checked-out parent, eyes down on the smartphone, trailing their toddler around the park, texting between swing pushes. That’s not presence. That’s not attention. That’s not being all in. And it’s easy to fall into; trust me, I get it. It’s one of the reasons my wife and I created three “no phone zones” as parents: the dinner table, the playroom floor, and the playground.

And if your daughter’s love language is quality time, this becomes even more important. The other weekend, my four-year-old wanted to play dolls, so we sat on the floor and played with the dollhouse for thirty minutes. The next morning, before she even came downstairs, she yelled to me, “Daddy, can we play dolls again?” It’s not so much that she wanted to play dolls — it’s that she wanted to feel more of daddy’s love. I’m just glad I had ears to hear in that moment what she was really asking me for.

They say kids spell love “T-I-M-E.” Dads, let’s give it to our daughters. Let’s be present, so they can truly believe that there is a Heavenly Father Who is their strength and “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

2. Talk

Words matter. In fact, words are power. God created the cosmos through words. Similarly, as fathers we are continuously shaping our daughters through our words. Positive, affirming words are, in a very real way, infusing our girls with power and strength.

Conversely, harsh, negative words and criticism are sucking strength right out of them and bruising them in profound ways. And an absence of communication altogether can be just as harmful. A cruel, cynical, sexually violent world is waiting to step into that void.

Let’s secure the perimeter of our daughters’ hearts by talking about their uniqueness, our love for them, and God’s delight in them continually (as in, “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

And, by the way, tell stories. Talk about your childhood. Talk about Grandpa in the war. Talk about the day your daughter was born. Research has shown that kids who hear stories from their parents are more resilient and confident as they go out in the world. Tell them your stories, so that they can understand their own vital role in the beautiful narrative God is crafting around them.

3. Touch

As far as I can tell, the answer to the question, “What is my oldest daughter’s love language?” is … all of them.

Without a doubt, though, physical touch ranks highly. When I hold her gently and tickle her arms and back, I can describe it only as her melting in my lap. All of the anxious energy seems to dissipate as she goes limp in peaceful repose.

That’s what appropriate and loving physical touch can do. Oxytocin is the hormone released when humans engage in loving, gentle touch, like hugging, kissing, holding hands. It’s sometimes called “the bonding hormone.” It truly binds us together, and a lack of it, like a lack of affirming words, can create a void that inhibits trusting, intimate relationships throughout life.

Research has even shown that the more healthy touch that kids experience from their parents, the more uncomfortable any unwanted touch from others feels to them. In a world that is daily trying to molest our kids, mentally and physically, holding our daughters’ hands and hugging them in our arms is, in a very real way, protecting them from harm.

What better way to model for them their Heavenly Father, who gathers his children “in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11)?

4. Tenderness

All three of these needs — time, talk, and touch — require the common element of tenderness. In some ways, this is the hardest thing for me as a father. It seems every day there are moments where I simply am not tender — I was too harsh, too terse, too indifferent. Sometimes it’s my speech. Sometimes it’s just because I’m tired. But that’s what love ultimately is: dying to my own needs and desires and putting those of my daughters first.

Often, I’m not as tender as I should be because I forget how delicate their hearts are. You’d think after fifteen years of marriage I’d be cognizant every moment that no matter how tough, independent, and formidable my wife and daughters may be externally, internally their feminine soul will respond only to tenderness from me (see Hosea 2:14).

But, I forget. I make mistakes. I blow it. Maybe you do too. And even though we’re imperfect, we serve a redeeming Father Who is perfect, and He gives us grace to give our daughters more time, more talk, more touch, and more tenderness tomorrow.

Ultimately, that’s the most important thing, because just like us, they’ll blow it too. As I learned at the roller-skating rink the other week, they will fall down, often, and our job is to help them up tenderly, tell them they can do it, and hold their hands as we take baby steps forward together. And if an afternoon roller-skating is in any way an accurate metaphor for life, I can promise you that the bruises and scrapes will be far outweighed by the joy and delight we’ll experience … hand-in-hand with our daughters.

©pureHOPE ©Noel Bouche ©FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Content used with permission, for more resources please visit mensteppingupblog.com or visit www.purehope.net . Images, logos and brands may also be subject to copyright. ironmen.org.nz deeply values and appreciates having permission to share this content with men globally, please respect copyright.


Mar 9 2016

Quest for Authentic Manhood – Starting Monday 12/02/18

The Quest for Authentic Manhood
Quest for Authentic Manhood: A 24-session DVD/workbook study that focuses on a man’s core identity and gives an overview of basic manhood issues. It will help men deal with various identity issues by looking back at past wounds and other things that may have distorted their idea of biblical masculinity. Throughout the course of the study, men will learn how to clearly define manhood and will finally be able to give a succinct and passionate answer to the questions, “What is a man?” and “What am I living to be?”

A few highlights:

-Five Manhood Promises
-The Four Faces of Manhood
-A Biblical Definition of Manhood
-Fathers and Sons
-Fathers and Daughters
-A Man and His Wife
-Genesis and Manhood
-Implications of the Heart Wound
-25 Practical Ways to be a Servant Leader
-A Man and His Life Journey
… plus many others

This highly recommended men’s course runs every fortnight on Monday night at Church Unlimited – West Campus from 7.30 – 9.30 pm. Previous participants of Men’s Fraternity Courses have said “good solid all round teaching, that is very practical”, “excellent teaching and presentation” and “a wealth of wisdom with sound advice, biblically delivered”.  Enrol today, by filling in the form below:


Sep 28 2015

Dads, speak words of life into your children

I’ve always been a little jealous of King Solomon. When he took over as King of Israel from his father David, God appeared to him in a dream and invited Solomon to “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Hoping one day this happens to me, I’ve begun compiling a list of things I’d like and am currently ranking them in order of what I want most. Because of my love of the outdoors, right now owning the country of Switzerland is at the top.

Back to the story – you probably know how Solomon answers. He asks God for wisdom to lead the nation. God was pleased with this response and gave Solomon the understanding and discretion he asked for. Plus the answer was so good he also got everything else he didn’t ask for: wealth, long life, the death of his enemies, etc.

There is no exact age given for when Solomon took over for his dad, but most scholars agree he was in his middle to late teens. How many teenagers do you know are given a blank check for anything they want and they cash it in for wisdom? But that’s exactly what he did.

I’ve often wondered how Solomon knew to ask for wisdom and recently I found my answer! In 1 Chronicles 22:12, David is close to death and calls his son Solomon to his bedside and speaks this over him, “May the Lord give you discretion and understanding [a.k.a. wisdom] when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.” David did not pray for his son to have wealth, long life or reprieve from his enemies. He prayed that he would have wisdom. And when Solomon was given a chance to ask for whatever he wanted, he knew what what was most important because of the words his dad had spoken over him and so he asked for wisdom. I wonder what Solomon would have asked for had David not put this in his heart by praying it over him?

This does serve as a great reminder to us dads to speak words of life and meaning into each of our kids. Solomon even said so himself when he wrote Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” And then again in Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

Speak words of life you want to see in your children

I don’t believe we as fathers fully grasp the amount of life-changing power – for either good or devastation – that we possess when it comes to speaking into the lives of our kids. But we are the most powerful force and with that comes great responsibility and accountability. We must be intentional to speak words of encouragement and empowerment into our kids and we have to be intentional in controlling our tongues so we do not speak destructive words of death that haunt them for their entire life.

One thing I’m in the process of doing, and would encourage you to do as well, is to come up with five to seven words that are character traits you see in your child or are trusting God to give your child. For example, with one of my sons, the words I’ve come up with so far are: Strong, Courageous, Industrious and Loyal. I’m letting these words simmer for a few weeks as I pray over each of my four kids, asking God to give me the right words for each one. I’ll then take those words and create some type of poster and hang the words in their bedrooms. By doing this, every day they will be reminded of what I see in them and who God created them to be.

I may never own Switzerland, but if my kids grow up with their identity in Christ set and secure, I’ll take that over the Swiss Alps any day!

©Todd Nagel ©FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.  Content used with permission, for more resources please visit mensteppingupblog.com .  Images, logos and brands may also be subject to copyright.  ironmen.org.nz deeply values and appreciates having permission to share this content with men globally, please respect copyright. 


May 2 2015

6 sentences your child needs to hear from you

6Sentences In raising our five children, Susan and I have tried to consistently convey to each of them these 6 short sentences. We’ve done it with our words and our actions. And, as I write this post, I’m realizing I need to say these things even more because they can’t be said enough. Saying these 6 short sentences will give your child a strong sense of security, identity, belonging, and value.

1. “I’m here for you.”

Being available for your children is incredibly important. They may not need you when you tell them this, but they’ll remember you promised to be available to them when they need you the most. This sentence is more than just giving them permission to find you when the going gets rough … it’s an invitation to them. It tells them, “I will do whatever I can to help you whenever you need me.”

2. “I’m proud of you.”

Some middle-aged men I’ve talked to have never heard, or have waited years to hear, their dads say “I’m proud of you.” And many of them thought if they just performed better, if they just made it big in sports, or if they just had a thriving money-making career, their dads just might notice. Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t make your kids wait. Tell them today.

3. “I believe in you.”

Remember back to your teen and early adult years? How confident were you in yourself? And how confident are you today in yourself? Self-doubt and second-guessing come with the territory of being human. And you can be a great source of support to your child through these struggles. Your children need to know that somebody somewhere in this world believes in them and their immeasurable value.

4. “I want the best for you.”

This sentence has a couple of benefits. First, it tells your children that you have a purpose behind your parenting. They may not understand how you see “what’s best” … and they may not even agree with you, but they will hopefully start to appreciate it over time as they see you working hard to do what’s in their best interests. I have often said to each of my kids, “I’m doing this or saying this because I always have your best interests at heart.” And they know they can always trust me. Second, it puts you in their corner. Again, they may not always see how your ideas, your standards, or your consequences are really for their benefit, but giving them this regular reminder at least assures them, in the depths of their hearts, that you are for them, not against them.

5. “I will stand with you.”

I saw a video recently of a dad dancing with his daughter at a talent show. The girl had a severe and rare disorder that keeps her from having almost any muscle tone, control, or physical abilities of her own. But as her dad picked her up out of her chair and danced around the stage, her nearly inexpressive face suddenly blossomed with a huge smile. This girl knows that her dad is willing to risk embarrassment, harassment, or scorn from any person in order to be counted with her. This sentence tells your children that you are willing to be identified with them even when they’ve made a mistake or have to do hard things.

6. “I love you.”

This is, quite simply, a sentence that cannot be said too many times. Big family moment? “I love you.” Quiet and quick goodnight? “I love you.” Dropping them off at school or a job? “I love you.” Just for no particular reason at all in the middle of the day? “I love you.”

©Mark Merrill.  All rights reserved.  ©FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.  Content used with permission, for more resources please visit mensteppingupblog.com.  Images, logos and brands may also be subject to copyright.  ironmen.org.nz deeply values and appreciates having permission to share this content with men globally, please respect copyright.