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(RE)Focus on the Family –Sunday, March 18th, 2007

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
- Ephesians 5:25; 6:4

I have been thinking about a meeting I had recently with a friend and pastor of a church downtown Dallas. We were sitting in a coffee shop saying how tired we were and we felt we looked tired. Not good characteristics to have. And as this local pastor continued to share with how he has been spread thin with all the responsibilities in front of him. However, he is attempting to get better at spending more time with his family. IMMEDIATELY when he said this, I felt convicted. Unbelievable. I have been so consumed with the family of Christ in Dallas, that sometimes I have forgotten my own personal family and my own responsibilities. No, I haven’t neglected them, but I know more time needs to be invested in their lives, starting with my wife Laura, and then with my two little girls Maya and Nadia. Can any of you MEN relate to this? Maybe it is not in planning a 40-day tent revival, but maybe it is your office work. Maybe it is your insurance work. Maybe it is travels. Whatever it is, are we neglecting our own families? Dare I say ~ based on the current statistics of today’s society, the answer is an astounding YES.

This is why the Apostle Paul instructed the church of Ephesus to keep the family perspective. It is so easy to lose amidst a busy lifestyle. Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” What practical words of wisdom. The husband’s role in this passage is to love the wife sacrificially. We are to do whatever it takes to “emulate Christ’s love.” And if this means going home from work early, if this means changing jobs, if this means not watching sports for an afternoon, we must do what it takes ~ with an unconditional attitude and action. The same focus must also be for the fathers in today’s society. Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We mustn’t neglect our interaction with our own children. We mustn’t be a negative influence in their lives. Rather we need to make time and instruct them with Biblical teaching.

Randy Skinner, Director of Urban Transformation at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, gave me a wonderful resource tool to use as a “strategic prayer guide for the Dallas Metro Region.” In this resource called Redeem Dallas, the issue of men and their role in family and society is addressed. He writes, “If the Dallas metro area is going to see a change in the spiritual and moral climate, if the demographics are going to be changed in relationship to a waning spiritual interest, then the church must call men to leading out as spiritual leaders in the community. The spiritual demise of the Dallas area, are the result of men not leading out spiritually. The rising trends in divorce, crime, suicide, illness, promiscuity, abortion, and drop in reaching our cities for Christ, are all related back to the men of the church. Young children and teenagers are unable to stand against the rising tide of ungodliness because the foundation of godly fathers has been eroding over the past decades.”

If the passage from Ephesians and this practical quote doesn’t want to make me step up as a husband and as a father, I don’t know what will. One thing is for sure, I need to learn from my past mistakes. When I was in college, my senior semester, I went through a small revival. And looking back, even though I was single at the time, I know I lost a sense of balance. I was so caught up in the moment I lost my perspective of reality. But I will attempt to not let that happen this time. Regardless of what is thrown at me, I must remember my very own family is an essential ministry to me. I have a spiritual role to play, and I mustn’t forget that. I must love my wife unconditionally and instruct and love my children daily.

A couple of weeks, I spoke with Sammy Tippit, the opening night speaker on Monday, April 9th. With his passion and enthusiasm, he unknowingly convinced me that the “family” image has been lost in our culture. And this is partly because the men have forgotten their role as a spiritual leader of the household. Therefore, will you join in with me, and pray for the men of our society to refocus their roles as husbands and fathersin their own families? Let us pray that the men not turn from the family tasks at hand. Let us pray that the men not run from the household problems we are faced with. Let us pray that the men will lead their own family as the spiritual leaders.
- klm
" We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again."

- G. Campbell Morgan