Friday, March 15, 2013

Prayer Requests

Thank you for praying for  our family's ministry. Here are some things that we'd love for you to remember in prayer for us:

2013 CSB Staff Conference
The annual staff conference is this coming week. (March 16-23) I'm flying to Buffalo, NY. Please pray that this conference continues to be as productive and edifying as the proceeding ones.

Jenness Park
I am preparing to speak at a Father/Son Camp at Jenness Park Christian Camp May 3-5. Please pray for my preparation as well as that the attendees come with hearts ready to hear the message.

ISI Men's Conference Follow-up
I just spoke at an Iron Sharpens Iron Men's conference this past Saturday. God gave me the chance to speak to between 75 and 100 dads who were each interested in learning how to better speak to their sons. Please pray that they took home valuable tools and that they have the courage and streangth to actually put these tools into practice.

New Churches
I have had the privilege recently of being contacted out of the blue by churches that want to help their men disciple the boys and young men in their congregation and would like CSB Ministries to help them in that regard. Please pray that God would bless me as I seek to help equip them and that the men in each church would have a bold and clear vision for how to accomplish this vital task in their church.

New Materials

We are releasing one new module for our 3rd-6th grade discipleship materials. Please pray that we can continue to meet this target.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Not So "Right" Rite of Passage

At Old Faithful during our big trip with Sequoia Brigade Camp
I was 16 when my mom realized that my brother Mike and I needed some sort of initiation into manhood. I love her to death and appreciate her desire to mark this important transition but to put it gently ... it made me feel about as manly as a killer whale in bloomers. Without getting into details, let’s just say it involved a cupcake. I think there was a candle in it. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of cupcakes, but a cupcake, thrust at you unexpectedly as a symbol of your transition into manhood doesn’t scream dignity or masculinity. Other than the cupcake the only thing I really remember are her good intentions and the awkward feeling I had. The whole experience lacked a sense of genuineness. I did not feel like I had crossed over into anything except more adolescent awkwardness.

I still feel a pit of awkwardness in my stomach just thinking about it.

I agree with my mom’s intentions. It is vital to mark clearly for our children the moment we stop considering them children and start viewing them as young men and women.

My Brother's Letters

I love my brothers. That is in itself evidence of God’s offensive intrusion into my heart. There was a day when I attempted to transform a skateboard into a bat by swinging it at Mike’s head; and all I thought of my older brother Steve when he stepped between my improvised bat and Mike’s melon is that he was butting in where he had no business.

Well, in God’s kindness I now love both of my brothers and all three of us are evidence of God’s mercy.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share the words that my brother’s chose to share with Josh to mark his transition into manhood. What a gift they are to me and to my son. It is indeed good when brothers dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Uncle Mike's Letter To Josh


So, now that you’re thirteen, your dad says I ought to impart some sage advice as you cross the threshold into manhood. Well, unfortunately, he seems to have failed to realize that since you are now officially a teenager, you already know everything anyway, so what’s the point? Sorry...had to get the teenager joke out of the way. But seriously....that will be my first piece of advice: no one likes a know it all. Only the immature think they know everything; a wise man seeks counsel. So be a wise man. If that sounds like a proverb, it probably is...somewhere.

Which leads me to my second piece of advice: Read the proverbs. Nothing I could say in this letter can hold a candle to the wisdom contained in the word of God. The proverbs were written especially for young men seeking wisdom as they navigated the turbulent waters into maturity. But don’t stop at the proverbs. Keep your nose in your bible. Live it, love it. Breathe it in and out. Your dad is the man he is today because of the instruction in the word. God demonstrates manhood for us. Read about how he fathered Israel, and how Jesus loves his bride, the church. Look at how the son loved his heavenly father and was always faithful, even when he was called to do hard things.

Remember that manhood is servant leadership. You are united to Christ, so your destiny will follow after His destiny as a vine mirrors the branch from which it derives all sustenance and vitality. This means your life will be one of humility, suffering and self-sacrifice. Sorry. That’s inevitable. But just

Uncle Steve's Letter

A great preacher by the name of Charles Spurgeon once said. "Free grace can go into the gutter and bring up a jewel." For you and I young man, there is no greater truth. 
You may not know this, but in this life I was at times a liar, a thief, a foolish man, dishonorable and scared, addicted to my own selfish pleasures and unable to admit even to myself that I was wrong. I tell you this at risk of changing the way you think of me, but I would rather you hear those truths than think of me as a man who relies on anything other than Christ to define who I am.

You see, the worst sin I have ever commited was hardly worse than my smallest sin when compared to the price that was paid for those sins. The greatest thing I have ever learned is that those sins are gone, done, finished.

In other words, the Christ that died for me came into the gutter to rescue me. He promised to heal me and leave me as clean as a sparkling jewel in the eyes of our Lord. I tell you this as a reminder that the worst you ever do Joshua is already paid for. If you find yourself living with guilt, shame, grief, or just questioning your own value, remember that you are an amazing and valued son of the King of Kings, destined to inherit eternal life. Christ can heal you in this life, just as he can heal death eternally. Every experience you have is designed to bring you closer to God, no matter how much it hurts or makes you sad, or angry, or scared. These are things every man feels, no matter how tough they look or act and those feelings are a gift, not to be ignored.

This also means you can be free from your own weaknesses and failures. No matter what happens,

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

"As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one.”

The title caught my attention too!

I didn’t actually read the book first. I ran across a Christianity Today article that had been posted by a friend on Facebook by the author, Rosaria Buterfield. The article title was provocative enough that I was compelled to click on the link and after the first short paragraph I was hooked.

By the time I got to the end of the article I was so convinced of the importance of this woman’s message of the power of the cross and the redeeming grace of God, that I purchased her book, watched all the

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tactics for Talking with Your Son

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Wondering how to talk to your sons? Yup, it takes effort. Yup, it can be awkward. But there is no greater blessing than to see God use your words to bring about the growth, maturity, and spiritual health of your children. The list of 'tactics' below is specifically targeted toward talking to sons but much of it is relevant for talking to daughters as well.

WARNING: As I warn in my workshop, the answer to our communication struggles is NOT found in using the right tactics. The answer is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tactics will never work unless they are used in the context of the Spirit of God working in our hearts and the hearts of our sons. With that said I hope you find these ideas helpful.

    • Your sons will most often NOT come to you first. You are the adult. You are the leader and manager of your home. You must take the step no matter how scared, incompetent, or hypocritical you feel.
    • Start BEFORE things become a problem
    • For example: Start talking to your sons about sex around age 11 (in an age appropriate manner)

    • When sons begin to move into the teenage years conversations should be often and should be specific.
    • “How are you doing” is too general
    • “In what areas are you struggling with X” is a better question
    • Once you have built some trust questions like “When was the last time you looked at porn” is a good specific question

Dad's YOU Need to Be Talking to Your Sons About This Stuff

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Here's a handout that I provided to the men who attended my seminar this past Saturday entitled "A father's Call." This handout lists a number of key issues about which dads should be talking with their sons:
This is certainly not an exhaustive list nor is it the only important topics about which to be talking with your sons, but it certainly is a good start and I hope you find it beneficial.

  1. The Gospel
·         What is the gospel?
·         The exclusive nature of the gospel: Jesus as the only way
·         The importance of loving others and sharing the gospel
·         The exhaustive nature of the gospel: It affects everything we are and do

  1. Devotional life
·         How often did your son set time aside to read this week?
·         How was the quality of his time in the word and prayer?
·         What did he read?
·         What insights did he gain? How was he challenged or encouraged?
·         Did he feel like reading/praying?
·         What is the trajectory of his spiritual journey

  1. Sex
The Basics
·         Biological Mechanics
·         What to expect during puberty

Sexual Sin
·         Guarding eyes and thoughts
·         Pornography
·         Masturbation

Do I Really Know My Son?

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There are lot's of distractions in a man's life, many of which are even legitimate, (like working to provide for our families) that prevent us from thinking about how we're doing in our leadership in the home. During a workshop I did this past Saturday designed to help equip dads to speak to their sons I handed out this set of "diagnostic questions." It was designed as a thought provoker. Hopefully you find it helpful as well.

Diagnostic Questions:

As fathers we should be growing in our expertise concerning our families. The word ‘husband’ literally means ‘manager’ and all husbands and fathers should be ‘managers of their homes. Good managers know the strengths and weaknesses of the people on their team. Because of this fathers should know their children well and should be progressing in that knowledge. To put it bluntly, If you know your teams baseball teams stats better than you know your son’s stats your priorities are wacked.

These questions are designed to help you asses how well you know your sons and to give you some ideas regarding where to start learning. There are lot’s more that could be asked but this is a good start.