3 Words: Disciple, Husband, Father

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

I recently asked this question to a group of my students and had them make a vision board using their three words and cutouts of pictures that demonstrated those words.  It was a fascinating exercise.  Overall, most of their words were positive and encouraging.

But this got me thinking, what three words describe me?

After much consideration, (well not really, these popped into my head pretty quickly,) I came up with:

  • DISCIPLE
  • HUSBAND
  • FATHER

These three words describe me and my stage in life right now.  So let’s take a look at them and see what they mean.

DISCIPLE

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.  Mark 8:34-35

For me, this is where my life begins.  I had the blessing to grow up in a Christian home with parents who taught me to love and fear the Lord.  They kept us in church and helped us stay surrounded with godly friends.  I have always pursued Jesus because he pursued me first.  So the word disciple is a perfect description of my life.

I like the verse above because Jesus is completely honest with his disciples, (and by extension you and me.)  He lets us know that to follow him is to deny ourselves.  This means we have to put aside what we want and focus on what He wants for us; things that will further the kingdom.  This isn’t always easy to do, but I have found that the more I focus on God, the less I am concerned with the things of this world.

My desire as a disciple is to be conformed into the image of Christ.  When Jesus died on the cross for my sins, his blood washed me clean.   Now when God looks at me, he doesn’t see me as the sinner that I am, but rather he sees me washed clean.  This amazing transformation is ongoing.  I continue to sin, in spite of myself, and he continues to shape me and mold me more closely to the image of Jesus.  This is what being a disciple is.  However, this is not all that it is.  Being a disciple means I must continually seek to share Jesus with those around me.  It may be through words, it may be through actions, it may be through this blog, but a disciple of Christ sits at his feet and then goes out into the world to share him with others.

Disciple defines every other component of my life.

HUSBAND

The next word that describes me is husband.  I have been married to my bride for almost fourteen years.  She is a perfect fit for me.  I know that God provided her to be my wife and me to be her husband.  It is amazing the way God created us. Where I have a weakness, she has a strength.  When I don’t know the answers, she is there to help me find them.  I always tell people that my wife knows me better than I know myself.

This word defines me because God put us together for a specific reason.  We are made to go together and work out his will for our lives.  I take my responsibilities as a husband seriously.  I know that I am to serve my wife, to give my life up for her if necessary.  This is what the Bible says in Ephesians 5:25-33.  First Peter 3:7 also says that I am to treat my wife with tenderness and consideration so that nothing may hinder my prayers.

I will be a husband until the day that one of us places the other in the arms of Jesus. It is more than a word, it is what I am called to be and a commitment that I have made.

FATHER

The third word that describes me is father.  I am so incredibly blessed to be a Dad.   Every day when I come home, my kids greet me with genuine excitement to see me.  This too is a huge responsibility.  I can remember when my daughter was born my grandfather told me congratulations and then told me that I had created a life for eternity.  Talk about an eye-opening statement!  Now, years later as I try to teach and lead and love my kids, I realize the truth of that statement.  Like many things in life, what I do with my kids while they are young will stick with them for the rest of their lives.  They will hopefully hear my voice in their head as they grow up and make decisions and choose careers and spouses and lives.  I hope that I have followed Proverbs 22:6.  Train up a child in the way he should go,  And when he is old he will not depart from it.  This is my awesome task that God has given me to accomplish.  


I encourage you to take a look at your life and find out what your three words are. Are the positive and what you want them to be?  Are they negative and need changing?  It is up to you to decide, today, what your words are and how they will affect the rest of your life.

Future Generations, Future Blessings.

As parents, if we live for God, our blessings will be passed down to our children and subsequent generations.

         In this week’s message, Pastor Jimmy made the statement above.  Its context was in regards to Solomon—David’s son and recognized as the wisest man who ever lived.  Solomon had big shoes to fill.  After all, his father was known as “a man after God’s own heart.”  Although Solomon failed God towards the end of his life, he left behind much that we can admire and much that we can learn from.

         The statement that the way I live now will affect my children and future generations is something that I have thought about frequently.  I come from a family that has a Godly Christian heritage.  Both my parents are believers as are all of my grandparents.  My grandmother even played the organ at one of Billy Graham’s early revivals.  I am blessed to follow in the footsteps of the ones who came before me.  In the same way, I have been blessed in this life with a wonderful wife, beautiful children, my health and my salvation.

         But the same foundation that has been laid for me I must continue to be lay for my children.  I often look at my kids and wonder what plans God has for them.  I am then reminded that I must fervently pray for them and their future.  I must walk according to God’s will for my life both to give them an example to follow and also to pass on the blessings that God has given me. 

         Many of us are resigned to the fact that we will face the consequences of our actions. In some ways we believe that we can handle that.  But it becomes a different story when our children and grandchildren have to suffer because of our sin.  That is the problem with sin; it taints everything around it.  There are many stories in the Bible of the effects of one person’s disobedience being passed down from generation to generation.

         I would urge you this week to consider the effects of your walk with God on your family.  Are you living in such a way that God will bless you and as a result those blessings can’t help but overflow on to those around you?  Or are you living in a way that is displeasing to God and the effects of that are seeping into your family life?

         What you and I do here and now has echoes in eternity.  The way we choose to live can be a blessing or a curse on our children and grandchildren.  Make the choice today to be a father or mother that passes on blessings to future generations.

Father, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a blessing to others long after I am home with You.  Help my life to be a shining example for those I love to follow.  Help me to walk this day according to your purpose and plan and to follow you in obedience.  Bless me as you said you would and let those blessings flow down to the ones I love.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Are You Living On Purpose? (Part 2)

I have been reading a book by John Eldredge called “Wild At Heart.”  It is interesting to me how God places things in our path that parallel what we are going through at the time.  This book is doing that for me right now.  It isn’t a how to book for finding a job or career, nor is it a book about relationships.  What it is is a book about finding what it means to be a man.  Or more directly what it means to be a man of God.  One who seeks to live life fully and abundantly, wildly and passionately, just as we were called to do.  Often times a sentence or a passage will speak to me.  Here is one such sentence and it got to me today, especially in light of last nights post on “living on purpose.”

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (From a book by Gil Bailie)

So this sentence really hit home with me.  It smacked me right between the eyes because I have been trying to find out what the world needs from me.  What I mean is that I have been trying to match the particular skills and abilities that God has placed in me with the jobs out there waiting to be filled.  There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but there is a danger of missing out on what God has called you to do. 

Think of it this way in regards to the discussion on leaving a legacy.  For those of you reading who have children, which would you rather they say about you:

That my dad (or mom) radiated an inner joy and contentment from doing what made them come alive or that my dad (or mom) was really skilled and successful in whatever career path you have chosen?  Which of the two do you think the world can understand better?  Probably the second one: that you are really good at the job you do.  Is there any wonder that most of us buy into that mentality and seek to be the best or most educated or most esteemed at what we do even though it does nothing for us on the inside?  We are surrounded with a society in America that pushes the “American Dream.”  Again, there is nothing wrong with that.  But what you have to ask yourself is this, Am I a citizen of America first or a citizen of Heaven first?  The answer will be reflected in the path you choose and therefore the legacy you leave.

All my life I have known that I was a citizen of Heaven first.  The Bible tells us we are “aliens” here.  That explains a lot about how different I have felt in the past.  The choices I have made that brought me to where I am are not easily understood by the world.  But they make perfect sense to me. 

So if this world is not my home, then asking, “what the world needs” is an exercise in futility.  What this world needs is for me to be true to myself, to be unashamedly Christian in all that I do, to be “salt and light,” to love them like Jesus loves me and to follow the path that He has set forth for me. 

So for the past few weeks, without knowing that’s what I was doing, I have been trying to determine what “makes me come alive.”  The resounding response within my heart and on this page is writing.  I don’t know how I could have missed it thus far.  It took God removing all of my distractions to bring it clearly to light.  So in a way, this epiphany has helped chart the course of my direction.  In a sense it will be a concrete way to help define and leave my legacy.  Not because my words are special in and of themselves, but rather because the light that is in me that has come alive will be reflected on the pages that you read before you.  You don’t even have to know me to know that I am sincere in the words I write.  But hopefully for those of you who do know me, and especially for my wife and children, I am establishing a legacy that will long outlast me and certainly outlast the things of this world.  You see I am working on a legacy that I will one day be able to look down from heaven and see its effects on the ones who succeed me.

That is my hope and my dream.  That is my desire.  To be a brick in the wall, like those who have gone before me.  To be used to help build the Kingdom of God in whatever way the Master Builder sees fit.  That is my purpose.  That is my calling.  That is my legacy.