— By Cosmos Misquita
Highlights of the recent Men’s Weekend Conference in the Auckland Branch of Lamb of God Community in New Zealand
“He who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). This passage from the Apostle Paul highlights for me how the men who attended the weekend conference were blessed and built up. During our weekend together I could see God’s promise bearing fruit for my brothers in the Lord.
The men’s conference was based on the theme, “Take me higher up – being accountable for our lives before God.” During these 3 days the men had the opportunity to pray, worship, listen, share, reflect and have lots of fun.
We started off the evening with a party atmosphere similar to an entrée; the momentum continued throughout the entire weekend. It was wonderful to see men opening up and sharing their inner lives with like-minded brothers. Praise and worship were Spirit-filled that helped build a platform for each talk.
The talks given by John Tham, Tom Caballes and Jonathan Hesp gave food for thought regarding our roles as husbands and fathers and touched on commitment, faithfulness, transparency, etc. Group sharing amongst the brothers provided enough evidence of soul searching by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
The committed men in the kitchen raised the bar and did a fantastic job of a normally daunting task; providing physical nourishment. The upward trajectory continued until the last day when every action taken and word spoken was spontaneous. We were all edified by the music team and felt they all performed to a very high standard. Truly the power of the Holy Spirit in action. The conference was truly an exhilarating experience. All praise, honor and glory be to our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Some key points on family life shared during the conference
Recognize the spiritual battle we are in
We are in a Spiritual battle. At stake are our own souls – and also the souls of our spouses and children, and their children’s children. The need of the hour is strong, mature, and responsible men of God who can take their place in their families.
Because of what society is now, it is no longer acceptable to be just a ‘good’ husband and father. God is calling us to be the best husbands and fathers we can ever be. We as husbands need to take the role of leadership in our marriages: if things are not working well, it is our responsibility to make them work!
Most marriages around us break apart because men do not take seriously their roles as husbands – or do not know how. The key to a happy wife [and a successful marriage] is a loving and a caring husband!
Don’t miss the opportunity to influence
Our window of opportunity to influence our children is slowly fading away as time passes by. When our children are young, they are like sponges – they absorb what we give them. That ‘sponge’ gets firmer and firmer as time passes by and the values, priorities and character ofour children gets formed more and more. As our children mature, we become more like advisers and friends to them rather than telling them what to do. Deep down inside, children yearn for their father’s approval. It is in-born, as God designed it. Our roles as fathers are very powerful – in fact, life-changing to our children.When children do not get their father’s approval, they seek that approval from someone else. Missing fathers create a massive vacuum of unmet needs in the lives of their children, which only their fathers can fill.
God’s eternal purpose for fathers
God created fatherhood for one eternal purpose: to reveal and represent Himself. Every human father is called to be a physical representation of God to His children, to reveal Himself to the next generation. There is no other most influential person in a child’s life than his dad. Mums are very important and priceless in their roles, but they were never created to be dads. Why? Children get their identity from their dads; they get their values from their dads; and they learn their self-worth from their fathers.If our fathers had not been good ones to us, we need to forgive them and break the chain of ungodly fathers in our line of ancestry. Our fathers probably just did what their fathers did – either for the good or the bad. You can break the chains of the past generations of anger, abuse, negligence and rejection. You do not have to follow the footsteps of your own father if he was not a good one. Be a chain breaker! Let us start a new ‘line’ of godly fatherhood that can be carried on from this generation onwards.
Stepping up to the challenge
There are five areas of legacy we can be for our families: (1) a loving provider, (2) a strong protector, (3) a truthful leader, (4) a respectable authority, and (5) an intimate friend..
We need to be the spiritual leaders at home – and it all boils down to our relationship with God. We cannot give what we do not have. We cannot teach what we do not practice. Our families can smell hypocrisy from afar. We need to be credible leaders and authority at home. We need to be faithful to our own prayer time and lead our families in spiritual undertakings like family prayers, celebration of the Lord’s Day, etc.
As leaders of the family we need to swallow our pride many times. We need to acknowledge our shortcomings to our spouses and children and resolve to do right.
We need to develop a “heart to heart” relationship with our children. When their hearts are open to us, the more they can receive what we tell them. If deep inside your children feels you love them, you have their hearts. We need to ‘capture their hearts.’ How? By giving them undivided attention, generous affirmation and loving affection.
On the other hand, we lose our children’s hearts by our absence [physical and/or mental], our uncontrolled and unrighteous anger, unjust and unexplained discipline, harsh criticism, lack of compassion, favoritism and comparing one child to another, hypocrisy, hurting, abusing or disrespecting their moms, misunderstanding and not truly listening, and setting unrealistic expectations for them.
The challenge before us is to be the best husbands and fathers we can ever be. It is not an easy task. It takes a real man to do the job. Are you ready to take the challenge?
From Living Bulwark, used with permission. Source of some materials are from the book The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick and Randy Alcorn, B and H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee.