I was not ready to be a father. (Not like anyone really is. . .) So when we had a daughter then a son and another daughter I knew that I was in the deep end of the pool. So I started doing all that I could to learn about what it meant to be the best father that I possibly could be. I read books, I watched videos, I talked with other fathers with grown children and usually I would ask, “Do you have any children that are in prison?” If they answered no then I would spend time asking them questions about how and what they did as a father. Ultimately it lead me to the parenting statement that my wife and I would use as our goal for our kids, “We wanted them to leave well.” That would mean that when we were going to make decisions about different areas of life. We would ask ourselves, “Is this going to prepare them to leave well?” Now I know some of you might be thinking that this sounds like a horrible statement. Where is the love in this statement? Where is the faith in this statement? Where is . . . you name it! For us we felt like that there was nothing more faithful or loving then to prepare our children to leave the safety of the home well. We made tough decisions that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. We challenged them in areas that we hoped and prayed would prepare them. We disciplined them in ways that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. But most of all we loved and cared for them enough to prepare them to leave well. So what are you doing as a father or as a parent that is preparing your children to leave well?
And just so that you know that I am not talking out of turn. I am proud to say that our oldest is graduating from college this May with a degree in elementary education and seeking to attend possibly for her masters, our son is playing college football where he walked on and earned a scholarship and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, and our youngest plans to run cross country and track at the same college as her older sister and brother where she plans to get a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in physical therapy. (There were bumps along the way, but we are seeing them leave well.)
I want to admit something to you. For some of you this may not be a shock but for others this may be very shocking. I am an addict. That’s right I am a book-aholic. Truth be told a Barnes and Noble is to me the closest thing to heaven, it has books and it has coffee. So with that being said, “Hi my name is Scott and I love to read.”
Okay with that being said I wanted to share with some of you a book that I just finished. In fact it is one that I have encouraged each of my staff members to read and chew on for ourselves. (Not really eat it but you know what I mean.) The book is called “How to Knock Over a 7-Eleven and other Ministry Training” and it is written by Michael Cheshire. Here are a few things that I was able to walk away with myself from the book:
- The church that partners with the hurt, fights for the downcast, and loves the broken will win.
- There is a massive difference between ministry in theory and ministry in life.
- Over time, we have come to see that because of how we do church, we are predisposed to failing more than others. In basketball, when you take a lot of shots, you may make a lot of baskets—but you also miss more.
- I believe that what defines leaders is not what they do with their lives but rather what they helped others around them do with their lives.
What was special for us was not just being able to read the book but to also meet the author and see what he wrote about first hand. For us a little drive to Conifer, Colorado was well worth the trip as we meet the team at JourneyFoothills and see the amazing work that they are doing to reach people with the radical grace of Jesus. It was truly an honor to spend time with Michael Cheshire and his team learning, it has enabled us to see and exciting future and think of things in a new light.
So I am sitting in a friends house in Jefferson City, MO with my wife when I receive an email from my 16 year old son asking me to read a book report he is about to turn in at school. As I sat there and read the book report I was more and more amazed at what an awesome man he has become and how proud I am to be his dad. It brought me to tears. His mom then came in the room and I said you have got to read this. In a moment Michelle was reading away at the same report. Her face was all a glow as she just sat there and said, “WOW!” I am not going to just sit here and tell you about it I want to give you the chance to read what he wrote, so here is Tyler Bloyer’s report.
The world that we live in is constantly pressuring us to conform to its ways. The book that I read, Hero: Becoming the Man She Desires written by Fred Stoeker and co-author is Jasen Stoeker, is trying help the men of God fight the fight and staying strong to the commitment we made with our bodies. It is taking on the myths of this world head on and firing back using what the Creator says. It is a book for the defense of those who want to keep sex between their future wives and them, and no one else.
The author is just trying to tell me that, just because I am a follower of Christ, it does not mean that I cannot have the same romance and intimacy that my peers have through premarital sex. Stoeker is helping me by suggesting to me what it takes to be a man of God through my actions with the women around me, and with my future relationships. He writes to me that a man of God does not look at women in a degrading and disrespectful way, and that God created them special and of course different than us men. And these differences are not just physical, but also mentally. The way that women view relationships is very different than the way a man perceives them to be. Women are more likely to be dedicated to a relationship, than a man would be. Also, he lays out all the expectations that God has for his men about sex and abstinence (Oh no I said abstinence!), and how important it is for them to protect their hearts from the temptations of our sex driven culture. God created sex, so why would he think it’s horrible and bad? He doesn’t, God created sex for a reason. It is the bonding of one man to one woman. He made it be awesome and pleasurable. What he doesn’t like is when people abuse this wonderful gift, and use it for our own ignorant pleasures with whomever we feel like it. He created it for a man and a wife to have together, when they had made that commitment to each other and God. AKA when they say I do. But our culture tries so hard to make men like me, fall to its low standards of integrity. Men are constantly under attack through the movies and TV we watch, through the music we listen to, and the websites we view. Satan has used many things to break followers of Christ down. He uses porn, masturbation, and other things like premarital sex. And sure man, we are not perfect people AT ALL, and if anyone says they are, they’re liars. We make mistakes just like everyone else. The only perfect person ever on this planet was Jesus. He never sinned. But yet, he came here on this jacked up world, and he died in place for all the crappy things I’ve said or done. And for this, I know that even though I live in a world of constant temptations and pressures, I know that because I believe that God came here for me and died for my mistakes, that I don’t have to worry about where I’m going after I die. It’s a sure fact.
This book is a tool that God has placed in my life, and I now know what I have to do to be the man that He wants me to be, and the man that future bride deserves.
I continue to pray for the young lady that will some day be my sons wife. I pray that she truly sees what being a Hero for Real looks like.