This afternoon I passed a sad scene.

A motorcycle rider and passenger down on the freeway. She was hurt and screaming while responders tried to help her. He wasn’t moving and the responders were very still around him. My guess is that he passed from this world. It was the second death scene I’ve seen this week.

One minute they’re riding and having fun in the warm afternoon sun. The next he’s facing the consequences of all of his life’s choices.

One thing is absolutely certain; we will all, each one of us, be there one day. We may go quickly in a wreck. We may go slowly and painfully through a terrible disease. We may go peacefully in our sleep one night. But we will all die.

The Bible says that when we die we will stand before God and be judged, either rewarded or condemned, for our choices. Not in how we lived or what we did or did not do. Not whether we were nice or mean. We will not be graded on a curve.

The Bible says that based on ourselves, we are all infinitely guilty. It says that each of us deserves eternal condemnation, because every single one of us is a rebel against God.

But God loves us so much that even in our rebellion He made a way for us to be forgiven and brought back into a right relationship with Himself. That way is through Jesus.

We will be judged based solely on one thing: Did we accept His forgiveness through Jesus and begin living life as His child?

Don’t Be Anxious

Ok, so ice skating down a 6% grade with an eighty thousand pound truck doesn’t scare me, but the thought of going under anesthesia terrifies me. Go figure. Yesterday morning I went to the dentist to have a couple teeth pulled while I was under. The dentist ended up pulling 2 molars and 2 wisdom teeth.

Now I know that millions of people every year undergo anesthesia… but not me. It’s been near fifty years for me.

So why did I fear? Is it lack of confidence in the dentist? No. Is it the pain I was sure I would feel? No.

I just don’t like not having control.

But that’s exactly the point. We don’t have control. At best we have an illusion of control. The Bible tells us that God is in control.

Does  that mean we will always get what we want our that we will never have pain? No. It means that whatever happens, even the bad and painful stuff, God is allowing. Doesn’t it mean that God causes the pain? NO! God is good and will never cause pain. But He allows it.

Sometimes it’s a consequence of our bad choices (like my teeth being bad because I neglected dental help for so long).

Sometimes it’s a result of other’s bad choices (like a DUI accident that takes a life).

Sometimes it’s a result of the broken, fallen nature of the universe (like disease or so-called natural disaster).

So if I’m not in control and God allows bad things in my life, what should be my response?

Worry? Anxiety? Desperation? Resignation?

Nope. Both Jesus and Paul taught what to do when life throws us curveballs…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:25-34

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:3-9

The Best Christmas Ever

It’s Christmas time again. The time of love and joy and peace. Yet my heart is breaking.

We celebrate the baby in the manger, but ignore the sacrifice on the cross. We sing about wise men bringing Him gifts, but are not wise enough to give Him the gift of ourselves. We love the picture of the shepherds in the fields, but refuse to acknowledge Him as our shepherd.

My heart breaks when I see the multitude of people living lives of quiet desperation, not realizing (or accepting) that the ruts they’re in leads to an eternity in hell apart from God. My Facebook feed is filled with posts by people living their lives apart from the Christ that we celebrate this season. That baby in the manger grew up to say He was “the way, the truth, and the life”, and that “no one can see God without Him”.

I know we live in a multicultural and pluralistic world. The highest virtue is to ‘do your own thing and believe your own truth. God says “there is a way that seems right to a man, but that way leads to destruction’. The greatest sin in our culture is telling another person they are wrong. Jesus, according to most people, is the greatest sinner, for He demands that He is the only one that is right and expects obedience.

My heart breaks when I realize that God has said that one day every knee will bow to Him, some in love and reverence, most in fear and revulsion. The ones who love him and choose Him in this life will be welcomed into His presence to life eternal. The rest will be sent away from Him, in pain and suffering, the second death.

It’s been 2000 years since Jesus was born, lived, and taught, then was crucified to save us from sin, rose again from death, and returned to heaven. But He said He’d return to set all things right. He patiently waits through all the sins, and pain, and evil, hoping that some will answer His call.

But He will not wait forever. The day of reckoning is coming. Certainly YOUR day of reckoning is coming. For each one of us that reckoning comes at our passing from this life. And that could happen any day.

So make this a Christmas to remember. If you’ve never investigated the claims of Jesus or never believed Him to be true I beg you for your sake to do so. Send me a message, let’s talk.

Make this the Christmas you celebrate His birth and your rebirth.

If you’re a believer, but have let the cares of this world and the pleasures and pressure of this life pull you away; If you look at your life and can’t see any difference from an unbeliever, you know what to do.

Come back to Him, He’s waiting.

Make this the best Christmas ever

The Visit

He plopped down on the counselors sofa and said, “I don’t know what to do to fix this, Doc,”

‘What’s going on?’

“As you know I’m a trucker and I’m gone for weeks at a time. When I’m home things are great between us,  I really feel like her number one priority. But when I’m gone, actually the longer I’m gone, the less I feel like a priority in her life. I call or text and get increasingly short responses, or none. Communication from her side drops to a trickle.”

‘It sounds like talking is important to you?’

“It sure is. We did this Love Language assessment a while back and Words of Affirmation are far and away my preferred language.”

‘So what is hers?’

“Acts of Service, hands down. She would rather me do the dishes for her than sit on the couch and talk.”

‘What’s that tell you?’

The light was beginning to dawn on him. Being alone on the truck is hard, yes, but it’s bearable when he can talk to her and pour out silly things about the day, and just hear her voice.

But for her it is different. Her love tank dries up every time he goes out because he’s not doing all those little things that speak love to her. Add to that she has to put out all the little fires of daily life by herself. The maintenence of the house. The preparing for events.

She has to give without getting back what she needs. As her tank dries up, she has less to give to him. And less desire to also. And as communication dries up he has less to give and resentment sets in.

After mulling this over for a bit he said, “so what’s the answer, Doc?”

‘Well, it seems you’ve crossed the first hurdle: acknowledging there’s a problem. The next step is to come up with a plan to meet her needs while you’re out on the road and stop just relying on home time to fill up her tank enough to get her through.’

“Doc, this is going to take a lot of work!”

‘Love always does, son. Always will.’

God is Good

Well, it’s Thanksgiving morning and my truck is in the shop getting a (hopefully) minor problem fixed. Did I mention I’m 2800 miles from home? And not scheduled to be home for another month?

Pretty normal life for a trucker. So, what to do? I could feel sorry for myself that I always miss the events at home. I could salve the pain of loneliness in any of several unsavory ways. Or I can rejoice in the things I do have and more importantly, in the God who provides and comforts.

I have a wife that loves me and eagerly awaits my return. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time she despised and even hated me. Then God healed me, and her, and us.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever.

I have a career that is interesting and that I’m very good at. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time I hated my job… and my life. And then a time when I had no job… and seemingly no life. Then God led me (kicking and screaming) into trucking.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever.

I have 2 sons (and a daughter in law… and granddaughter) who still like to hang around with their old man. But it should have been different. They grew up with a dad who was volatile and erratic. Then God changed me and settled me.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever.

No matter what is going on in your life this Thanksgiving day, God is working. You may not see it, maybe because you’re not looking. But He’s there, working and waiting for you to come to Him and kneel before Him and love Him as He has always loved you.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever;

and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;

he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1‭, ‬23‭-‬26 ESV

God is Good

God is good. We usually think that means He is good because he keeps us from having problems. Or we think that He is good because He will make good things come out of our bad experiences. Or He is good because he gives me good things. Nope. God is good in the good times and the bad times. God is good when life is smooth and when life is hard. God is good all the time.

What then do I mean that God is good? God is good because He is God and that is His very nature. But that is self-referential logic and not very helpful to this discussion. God is good from our perspective because he wills and works for our betterment. By that I mean He wants and empowers us to be more like Him. He works in and on us so that we become better, more loving, patient, kind, etc. Let me tell you a story:

This weekend was a great home time for me. I spent quality time with my lady, I attended and passed a motorcycle rider training course, so that I can get my motorcycle license. I participated in our local Highland Games event enjoying time with friends. It has been a wonderful weekend Until today.

This morning started out wonderful. Coffee with my queen. Watching a great video teaching series. Getting ready to go to the lake for boating and a BBQ with some friends. Then we got to the lake. The lake level was a little low and when I backed down the dock, the trailer dropped off the ramp into the mud and got stuck. Frustrating but no problem, I could launch and then figure out how to fix it. As I guided the boat over to the dock Lil Bit, my granddaughter, said “Papa there’s water coming in the boat!” in a moment of new owner carelessness I had neglected to check the drain plug. Angry and frustrated and more than a little concerned for the boat, I hurried to pull it back to the trailer. So there I am, scratching my head about how to yank the trailer up over the concrete lip with a boat that now has several hundred gallons of lake water in it. Then I find that the axle was caught under the lip and will have to be manually lifted up over the obstruction. And then I noticed I had bent the truck’s trailer hitch trying to pull it out.

That’s when a stranger came over and offered to help. We got the drain plug in and backed the boat off the trailer. Then he lifted while I pulled the trailer up over the lip. after cranking the boat back on the trailer we could drain some water, then pull in on some more. repeat the sequence a couple times and we finally got it squared away. Just in time for the BBQ with our friends.

So where was God in all this? I’ll tell you. He was in me. And in a stranger who acted to me as Jesus with skin on. God, over the last few years, has been working in me and changing me. There was a time (not really very long ago) that today’s events would have sparked in me a fit of rage, borne of frustration and loss, that would have spilled over into an outburst that destroyed any good feelings. The afternoon would have been ruined, Lynn would have left hurt and damaged, our friends would have been traumatized by my actions.

But instead, God worked in me and through that stranger, to calm me and to focus on the solution to the problem and not the problem itself. We solved it and went on have a calm and peaceful afternoon.

God is good. And He is transforming me into the man He intends me to be.

How about you? Where is God growing you? Where have you seen change? HAVE you seen change? Why not? It’s tie to get past the idea that God is good for what He does for me and recognize that God is good, in part, because of what He does IN us.

Set Free

I’d like you to imagine with me a man in prison. This guy was just an ordinary guy, not bad, but not really good either. Kind of like… most of us. Married. Two kids. Regular job. Mortgage. But he fell in with the wrong crowd and started doing some stuff he never in his wildest dreams thought he’d ever do. It started simple enough. Partying on the weekend with friends. Pretty soon a couple beers just didn’t do it anymore.  Soon it was drugs, women. worse. Soon he was doing petty larceny to fund his habits. Then one night, a simple home burglary turned into a home invasion robbery. Then murder. Police. Arrest. Trial. Prison. Death row. Everything he’s ever held dear is gone. Wife. Kids. Friends. Reputation. Now all that’s left is loneliness. Separation. Pain. Grief. Fear. And soon… death.

The bible says we’re all like that man, condemned to die for what we’ve done.  Listen to the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans 3:23, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ And in 6:23 he says, ‘For the wages of sin is death’. This means that no matter how good we think we are, somewhere, sometime we messed up. Have you ever done something you knew to be wrong? Of course, we all have. We can’t even live up to our own standards, let alone God’s.

Listen to Paul again in Romans 7:21 through 8:4, ‘So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.’

Christ, with His sacrifice on the cross, has done (at least) two things: Paid for our sin and reconciled us to God. Paul again in Romans 5:8-9, ‘But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.’ And in 5:10-11, ‘For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.’

Listen to those words: No condemnation. Set free. Reconciled.

Let’s go back to 8:1-2, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.’

But what does it mean to be ‘in Christ’? While the bible has many pictures of what that means, let me present you with three.

First, we are in Christ Jesus through belief (or faith). Romans 10:9-10 says ‘Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.’

Second is our position in Christ Jesus. Here are three images of our position in Christ Jesus:

One, we are a branch connected to the vine. That is, we draw our life from Him. Jesus said in John 15:4-5 ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’

Two, we are His sheep in His sheepfold. That is, he cares for us and protects us. Jesus again in John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

And three, we are a traveler on His way and must enter by the only true Gate. Jesus again, this time in Matthew 7:13-14 ‘Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.’

The third picture of life in Christ Jesus is obedience. Throughout the gospels Jesus is calling people to obedience such as in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Believe in Him. Abide in Him. Obey Him. Simple enough, yet the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Let’s look at Roman 8:2 again. ‘For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.’ What does Christ set us free from? Hurts: Those things others have done to hurt us. In our freedom we can now choose to forgive wrongs done to us as we have been forgiven. Habits: Those patterns of behavior that are harming us. In our freedom we can now choose righteous living and not follow old patterns. And hang-ups: Those things we can’t let go. Stinking Thinking. In our freedom we can now choose to let God transform our mind and heart.

Back to the man on death row. If I were him, and I found out that the judge has personally looked over my case and decided my sentence has been not just commuted but overturned and I’m being set free and given back my life, how would I respond? I think I would tell everybody about the One who set me free. I think I would live with gratitude to the One who set me free. And I think I would endeavor to follow the One who set me free. How about you?

Jesus is the One who sets us free, so let’s shout it from the rooftops, and express our gratitude to Him daily, and live our life In His Steps.

That’s Not Fair!

That’s not fair!

Isn’t that the cry of every kid when he doesn’t get his way? And the rejoinder from most parents is usually ‘life isn’t fair, get used to it’. But are we any different? What’s our response when we get treated poorly?

  • When someone at work gets the promotion we thought we deserved?
  • When someone cheats us in a business deal?
  • When a so-called friend stabs us in the back. Isn’t our cry, that’s not fair?
  • What about after living healthy, we get cancer anyway? And the guy you know that smokes like a chimney lives to be a hundred.
  • What about when death comes too early to someone we love because of a drunk driver that walked away from the accident?
  • What about losing our house to a bank even though the neighbors that squander all their money keep their home?

It’s times like these that test our faith. Does God really love and care about us? Is He impotent in the face of pain and evil to stop it? Is He just sitting up there somewhere watching the show?

The Bible is clear that God cares and loves us. It’s also clear that He has the power to stop the pain and evil. So why doesn’t He? It’s not fair! Even a cursory reading through the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes shows that the human authors struggled with these questions too. And invariably, their answer was ‘I don’t know why this is happening, but I’m going to trust God that He is good and loving and has some good purpose for allowing this’.

You, my reader, may be expecting some grand answer to this age-old problem, but I’m going to disappoint you. I don’t know why God allows evil and pain and oppression and injustice. Maybe it’s so we will learn to lean on and trust Him. Maybe it’s so we learn to stand up and fight these things in His name and in His power.

I’m going to leave you with the words of an old gospel hymn that has served me well through the years. This song speaks to my heart when I want to scream out it’s not fair God.

Farther Along (W. B. Stevens)

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

*There are contradictory claims for the authorship of this song. The words and music are frequently attributed to W. B. Stevens, although others have attributed the words to W. A. Fletcher.

As You Go

Just before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus told his closest followers:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

What we THINK Jesus said; “Leave your homes and go to the farthest corner of the world, make converts of the heathen, and indoctrinate them in the ways of the church.”

What He meant; “As you go about your world, at work or home or market, tell everyone about Me. Teach them how to be My student. Help them learn to be immersed in My very character.”

That is the Great Commission!

The two ideas that stuck with me throughout my time in the college course, Evangelism: Presenting Grace, are Evangeliving and Thoughtless Witnessing. The biggest concern I had with the class, indeed with much evangelism teaching, is the seeming underlying assumption that the job of the evangelist (or witness) is over when the person is converted.

Evangeliving is a great concept and I think carries with it the meaning that Jesus had when He said “go therefore”. Evangeliving means that I am living out the power of the Gospel in such a way that others are drawn in and desire to know what the difference is in my life. Others can see that while there are struggles in my life, I do not respond the way everyone else does. And that intrigues them.

Evangeliving assumes that there IS something different in my life, of course. I cannot give to others what I myself do not possess. Evangeliving also requires that I have ‘earned’ the right to speak into your life. It means that I have spent time with you and listened to your story as you have listened to mine. One of the greatest problems with some types of evangelism is that we never take time to invest ourselves into the other person’s life, we just spew some generic Gospel presentation and move on to the next prospect when we get no response.

Thoughtless Witnessing is the idea that I am so conversant with the Gospel that I do not need to recite a program or look things up. Rather, I am able to spontaneously tell you what God has done in and for me and how He can work in your life too. It means that I am able to walk you through God’s plan of salvation without it seeming forced or stilted.

Many of us have a hobby or interest that we are passionate about. We are able and love to talk about it to anyone and at any time. That is what Thoughtless Witnessing is. It doesn’t mean we ramble on when the other is clearly not interested or just prattle off some bible verses. It means being passionate about sharing God’s story with whoever will listen.

The second part of Jesus’ command to His disciples, and to us, is to make disciples not just converts. He said to teach all that He has commanded us. If we stop witnessing as soon as someone comes to faith in Christ, we will have failed in our assigned task. Remember Jesus’ parable of the sower and the four soils (Matthew 13:1-9)? The second and third soil were rocky and thorny ground in which the seed sprouted then quickly withered. Perhaps part of the reason many fall away from God soon after conversion is that they were not properly discipled, IE. taught and led by mature believers into a strong, mature faith?

The third part of Jesus’s command is to remember that He is with us always, to the end of the age. We are not alone in our witnessing or in our life. Indeed as soon as we try to live out the Christian life on our own is when we fall flat on our face.

As a student of Chaplaincy with a mission to help men and their marriages, I understand that discipleship is crucial. God desires not just that men and women know Him, but that they learn to follow Him too. As a chaplain to truckers, I will seek out men who need to hear the Gospel and experience God’s redemptive power of salvation. Being prepared to share what God has done and what He can do will be critical.

Currently, as a driver trainer, I have the opportunity every few weeks to spend a month or so in the cab of a truck teaching driving, and hopefully getting a chance to tell my story of what God has done in my life. I get to plant the seeds of faith and hope in few men each year.

Good News!

God loves you! He made you! He created you to be like Him, to love Him and to be holy (to live right).

BUT, there’s a problem. We don’t love God. We choose ourselves over Him. God calls that sin. That sin has made us bent and broken people. Our sin has made us dead, unable to even call out to Him on our own.

But He still loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. He offers us the chance to be alive again, to be able to love Him, to be able to live right. He offers us forgiveness.

God promises that if we:

• BELIEVE in Jesus,
• ACCEPT his offer of forgiveness,
• REPENT of our sin, and
• CONFESS Him as Lord,

He will make us new, living creatures and will adopt us as His children. These are not separate steps, but rather all needed aspects of coming to Christ.

What The World Needs

The world needs Godly men!

Take a look at the U.S. today. No really, take a close look. What do you see? If you’re like me, you see families in chaos, wives being neglected or abused, husbands choosing alcohol or drugs or pornography over intimacy with their wives(1). You see children growing up not knowing one parent or the other, or being shuttled between the two like a piece of luggage. Worse yet, you find children being used as a pawn in a tug of war between the parents(2). You therefore find a leadership and identity vacuum in the home. And that vacuum is too often filled by independence, self centeredness, and strife rather than inter-dependence, love, and harmony.

What has caused this problem? Men who abdicate and abandon their leadership role in the home. Men who choose work over home. Men who choose to stare at the TV instead of leading their family. Men who are emotionally and spiritually weak and choose the apparently easy way of escape instead of the difficult right way of leadership. The Bible has many examples of men who were weak and chose the easy way instead of God’s way.

In Genesis 3 we find Adam shirking his duty to lead and protect Eve. God had made Eve for (and from) Adam as a suitable helper, and as the other half of him, that is as a ‘completer’ if you will (v.24a ‘…and they shall become one flesh’). He was to love her, and cherish her, and defend her (see note 1). But instead we find him standing by as the serpent tempted her and even joining her in her sin rather than losing her. In Genesis 16 we find Abram giving in to his wife’s ungodly advice to found his dynasty through her maidservant. King David in 2 Samuel 11 was lounging around one day instead of performing his duty as the king and leading his armies in battle. That led to seduction, pregnancy, murder, cover up, and finally the loss of his son.

So, How can we fix the problem? A man needs to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. A man needs to find an identity that builds up rather than destroys. A man needs to step up and lead his family from a Godly perspective. In short, a man needs to live a Biblical masculinity.

In an article on, Dennis Rainey(3) says there are 5 themes that help to define Biblical masculinity:

  1. A man controls his emotions and passions.

  2. A man provides for his family.

  3. A man protects his family.

  4. A man serves and leads his family.

  5. A man follows God’s design for true masculinity.

Promise Keepers, an organization devoted to building up Godly men, states(4) there are seven promises of a Promise Keeper, or in our terms a biblical man:

  1. HONOR A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  2. BROTHERHOOD A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

  3. VIRTUE A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

  4. COMMITMENT A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

  5. GENEROSITY A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.

  6. UNITY A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

  7. OBEDIENCE A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

How can our families (our wives and children) hope to have a healthy identity while their men refuse to be Godly leaders and are absent from the family, either physically, emotionally or spiritually? To fill the vacuum left by the absence of Godly men, our families will seek their identity and leadership from unhealthy sources; the world of their peers, the surrounding culture found in television or movies or music or magazines, or maybe darker sources such as the subcultures of drugs or alcohol or pornography.

And where can the men who have been so long absent hope to find their identity? In the Father God who seeks each of us and through a network of healthy, God honoring men. By following the leadership of the Father and the principles laid out in Scripture, we can start to reverse the pain and damage caused by our years of neglect. Then we who have are on the path to healing can finally lead our families to wholeness.

Note 1: The role of husbands and wives is a complex and somewhat controversial and contentious subject. In this article I have accepted the position as laid out in a straightforward reading of Ephesians 5:22-33, summed up in v.25 as ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her’. From that command we infer that husbands are to love, cherish, and protect, etc.

(1) Promise Keepers website

(2) Pew Research – The American Family

(3) 5 Themes of Biblical Manhood, Dennis Rainey,

(4) 07 Promises of a Promise Keeper