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Summary: Father's Day message for 2016 - It challenges men to be proactive servant-leaders of their home

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‘IF’… 7 things I’d do differently as a dad

Ephesians 6:1-4 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you

and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:18-21 - Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything,

for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

How often I have thought, “Boy, if I could only do THAT ONE over again.”

Maybe it was a wrong decision… a misspoken word… a question of ethics where I did the easy thing instead of the RIGHT thing. Truth is, if I could somehow go back in time and change some things – you better know I would! Especially as it pertains to being a dad.

I wonder men, if you could go back - would YOU do some things differently?

Sadly, life doesn’t afford us any do-overs. Parenting is hard and kids don’t come with instruction manuals. So today, I want to pass on some things I’ve learned the hard way, to help you not make the same mistakes I made.

But before I start, I want you to understand that FAMILY is very important to God. It is the first and foundational institution of the human race. As the family goes, so goes the church, so goes society.

Since the family IS so important, God was sure to include clear instructions for the effective operation of the family. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provides practical insight into how the healthy home operates.

Paul wrote both, Ephesians AND Colossians. As you study them you will notice that the early chapters deal with errant BELIEFS in the church.

But the second half of his letters confronts errant BEHAVIORS. One of his common topics is the family.

With so much misinformation about the family being promoted by the world, it is important that we consider what GOD has to say about the Christian home and how it should be different from what we see in the world.

His wisdom transcends time - always relevant - always helpful.

With Paul’s counsel and my own regretful experiences to draw from, I want to share 7 things you can do, dads, to keep from blowing it with your family:

1. First, to make your home the place God designed it to be, you need to Love your wife and make your relationship with HER a TOP priority.

The greatest thing a man can do for his children - AFTER leading them to Jesus - is to love their mother the way Christ loves His Church. Your priorities, your passion, your plans – should be poured into this important relationship.

When single, men go to great lengths making their girlfriends feel cherished. But once the vows are exchanged, the effort seems to stop. But the Holy Spirit challenges men “to love their wives” in both passages. In Ephesians 5, Paul says, “husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.” And in Colossians, he says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

“Love” her… the word is “agape” - SACRIFICE YOURSELF for her - GIVE of yourself - even when you don’t feel like your love is being reciprocated or appreciated ⇒ LOVE her!

The very best counsel I can give you that will help your children grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults, is for you to love their mother and to show it every day in the way you speak to her, the affection and kindness you show her.

Your children learn what love IS by watching how you relate to your wife.

They learn about the roles of men and women by watching you. There is a WHOLE LOT of confusion about ‘gender identity’ today - maybe it’s because parents don’t have healthy relationships with each other?!?

Girls learn about godly affection – and how a man should TREAT a woman by watching their dads.

Boys learn how to handle stressful moments that happen in every family by watching their dads.

Kids learn about godly priorities and what real commitment looks like – all from YOUR example.

Families are under incredible stress today: economically, socially, and spiritually – threadbare from life’s demands. But I want you to know that SOME of the stresses we are under are self-inflicted – men aren’t doing their jobs.

Even a casual observer can see that we place too much value on the wrong things – and it’s had an effect: our kids watch how WE live and grow up with wrong priorities.

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