If someone were to ask me, “Mark, what is the single most important need in our society today?” – my answer would be this:
Fathers who take their role and responsibility seriously! Fathers, who are actually living with their children and actively, intentionally fathering them.
Imagine for a moment if every child in our cities, our neighborhoods, had their father living with them in the home, who took his role and responsibility seriously? A father who was striving every single day to be a Godly, loving man. Imagine the impact on our cities, imagine the drop in gang activity, imagine the impact on our society, of committed, spiritually and emotionally engaged fathers, who passionately loved and honored God, lived upright, Godly lives, who laid their lives down for their wives and children, and lovingly, guided and led their children into God’s ways.
Over the years I have spoken to thousands of people. I have spoken at many parenting conferences and I have asked these questions.
How many of you grew up without the consistent presence of a father in your life? Many hands go up in the air. How many of you grew up with a father in the home, but he was an emotionally distant, emotionally un-engaged father? Almost all the rest of the hands go up in the air. How many of you men in this room, think to yourself, I want to be just like my father was? And very, very, very, very few hands go up in the air!! What a great tragedy. Those questions are so revealing of the times we live in. Godly, effective, serious-minded fathers have all but disappeared from the landscape.
In some people groups today in America, almost 60 -70% of kids will grow up without their father in the home or even actively involved in their lives. This is catastrophic and does great harm to a child’s life. God intended for children to have a Godly, loving father present and engaged fully in their lives, living with them and before them, and alongside them.
Our culture has been indoctrinating us for years that men really don’t matter, that a father’s presence is not required in a child’s life. This is a lie straight from the pit of hell itself. It has caused tremendous harm and damage to our children and to the mothers of our children.
When I became a father 38 years ago, I realized that the kind of father I became was a matter of life and death for my children. I realized that there is a great societal, cultural, and spiritual war going on for the life, and the soul and the character of my child’s life. I could make all the difference in the world to what they ended up becoming and the life they would embrace.
I began to write things to myself, sayings, synthesized thoughts, and truths, that were guiding lights to my fathering every single day for the last 40 years.
I’ll be damned if the world is going to get my children!
I thought of this phrase every single day for almost 40 years. I know some of you are shocked, but men, hear me. Please hear me. If you don’t get ferocious, absolutely determined, if you don’t get your fierce on and realize this wretched godless culture is coming for your child’s life, soul, and very person, you have no chance whatsoever to raise them upright, for Jesus Christ. YOU WILL LOSE THEM TO THIS WORLD!
This culture will rape your child’s heart, mind, and soul, slit their throat, and leave them broken, dying and bleeding out by the side of life’s road. the world is at war with you, and they are after your child.
My children were given to me by God. They are a stewardship from Him. To raise them with secular values, with a worldly point of view, would be betrayal and high treason. A complete disregard of my stewardship from God!
Again, this may shock you, or you may think to yourself, “Mark, this is way too hardcore. That puts so much pressure on me!” Did you know what God says in Malachi 3:15 (NLT), “Didn’t the Lord make you one in spirit with your wife? In body and spirit, you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself.”
Wow, does that not hit you right between the eyes? Fathers, God wants a particular kind of child from you. He wants a Godly child. He wants you to love, guide and shape your child’s heart and soul for Jesus Christ. God wants you to instill in them Biblical and Godly values, beliefs and perspectives, and not the culture’s values and perspectives.
This drove me every single day, as my wife and I raised our 4 children for Jesus Christ. It was on my mind every single day. I would often picture in my mind what it would be like to lose a child to this world, to drugs, to foolishness, to immorality as a teenager. Or, for me even worse, to apathy, complacency, spiritual luke-warmness, and a disregard for God and His word! It sickened my soul and made me desperate for God.
I knew it all started with me. With the man I was determined to become, day after day. The man I lived out before my children, and the seriousness with which I took my God-given responsibility!
Let me close this first edition of my Strong Disciple newsletter with this: By Gods grace and wisdom, Kathy and I did indeed raise our 4 children to love and honor Jesus Christ. They did in their teens, they did in their 20’s, and they are all doing that now. They each passionately love Jesus Christ. They each married Godly Christian spouses, and they are each raising our 11 grandchildren to do the same today.
Over the course of the coming weeks, I will be sharing the insights and wisdom God gave to me as a father, husband and man of God to help you be the man God wants you to be in your home, in your marriage, and in your daily life.
It is my passion and joy to be of service to you.
Helping you become a strong disciple,
Because of Jesus,