Our country desperately needs men who will stand up for what’s right.
To help launch a movement of promise-keeping men, we need prayer warriors. We need peopleto tell their pastors and other men that Promise Keepers is back. And, if God is leading you, we need financial support. Here are four projects we are praying will be fully funded by December 31:
1. Promise Keepers’ next national stadium event will be held July 31-August 1, 2020, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — and will bring together 80,000+ men, plus a projected 5 million men in churches and groups worldwide through simulcast. Due to critical production and logistics costs to prepare for the 2020 event, we need just over $1.5 million by December 31.
2. A Promise Keepers worship album will unify men in praise and worship and ensure we are all singing the same songs during the global simulcast. In years past, our worship CDs were a key part of the Promise Keepers experience. Once again, we will identify the best singers and songwriters to create a worship album worthy of men. Cost: $125,000
3. The Promise Keepers smartphone app will encourage men on a daily basis before and after our 2020 event. This app is an essential tool for Fire Teams — small groups of men who will ensure the impact of Promise Keepers lasts long after our annual events. Cost: $350,000
4. The Promise Keepers Bible will give men powerful study tools along with an accurate translation of the Word of God. Through QR codes, you will be able to hold your smartphone over the Bible and watch videos about what the Bible is teaching and the history behind events. Cost: $95,000
We believe God’s hand is upon each of these projects, and we believe God always pays for what He orders. In that spirit, we share these projects with you and invite you to support them financially. We will never pressure you into giving. However, we’ve promised to communicate our needs openly and honestly, and this is one of those times.
To support these projects by December 31st, mail your gift or give online. Thank you!
As the U.S. deals with its latest mass shooting, with at least two killed and four others injured Thursday (Nov. 14) at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., evangelism and gun control are cited to Baptist Press as possible remedies to stem the tide of violence.
Police and other emergency personnel responded Thursday (Nov. 14) when a 16-year-old student killed two fellow students and shot four others, including himself, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif.
A 16-year-old Asian male Saugus High School student described as the suspected shooter was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound less than three hours after he is believed to have opened fire at the high school of about 2,500 students. One student was treated and released, and two others remain hospitalized.
In the hours following the shooting, many students were sheltered at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, a non-Southern Baptist congregation that hosted a night of prayer Thursday.
Baptist Press interviewed Southern Baptist evangelist Greg Laurie, whose 29th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade in August marked the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. BP talked with Promise Keepers Chairman and CEO Ken Harrison, a former police officer who leads the evangelistic and discipleship outreach to men, and retired pastor Al Meredith, who was senior pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1999 when a gunman killed seven and injured seven others before killing himself.
Laurie, in his 2019 Southern California Harvest Crusade, reported more than 8,000 professions of faith, 65 percent of them from Millennials, he said.
“I believe that the ultimate answer to so many of our problems in the culture today, from acts of violence against others to even acts of violence against yourself,” he told BP, “is the Gospel. But we have to understand what the Gospel is.
“The Gospel obviously means Good News; the bad news is we’re sinners,” Laurie said. “The bad news is we’re separated from God; the bad news is we’re broken. The Good News is Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, and rose from the dead. And if we turn from our sin, put our faith in Him and follow Him, then He’ll change us.
“But that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing something horrible,” he said. “So it’s not just believing Jesus; it’s following Jesus. And it’s living by what His Word says.”
God is working among youth, Laurie said, “but we need to redouble our efforts to proclaim the Gospel.”
The motive of the suspect in Thursday’s shooting has not been revealed, but the shooting did occur on his birthday. He was taken into custody while hiding at the school with a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, authorities said.
“I’m sorry, it’s just not enough to say you know, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,'” Meredith told BP. “Why is our death rate so much higher? Why do we have mass shootings that have become common place, they don’t even register on our emotional radar? And other countries like Scandinavia, and Germany and France and Great Britain, they shake their heads in amazement at why we allow these things to happen.”
Days and weeks before BP’s interviews, two young men had killed 34 people in one weekend in August in the U.S. In El Paso, Texas, a 21-year-old man had killed 22 people and left 26 others injured at a Walmart, and a 24-year old male gunman had killed nine in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio. The previous weekend, a 19-year-old male was identified as the shooter after three were shot dead at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., about 300 miles north of Thursday’s school shooting.
“Hope is two-fold,” Meredith told BP, as tragedies make more common the term “domestic terrorism.” His views are his own, Meredith said, and not those of the church that in September marked the 20th anniversary of the 1999 shooting there.
“One, only God can change dead hearts into living hearts. Only God can transform evil characters into God-honoring people,” Meredith told BP. “In one sense, all these mass killings are an issue of the human heart. And it’s a sign of our failure as evangelicals to win the world to Christ.
“The other level,” Meredith said, “is it seems as though our problems are systemic in our society.”
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. registered 3.85 deaths by guns per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to rates ranging from 0.12 per 100,000 in Germany and 0.03 per 100,000 in Singapore. The numbers, released in 2017, do not include deaths from armed conflicts, accidents or self-harm, the institute said.
“And that should tell us,” Meredith told BP, “there’s something wrong with the system (in the U.S.)…. Something must be done to change the system, both in the area of some semblance of restriction on the availability of automatic weapons. And the other issue is mental health, and somehow do a better job of caring for and bringing healing and normalcy to people that are emotionally disturbed.”
At the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2018 annual meeting in Dallas, messengers passed a resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” addressing many of these issues. Read it here.
Harrison, whose Promise Keepers ministry focuses on evangelism and discipleship, sees the answer more in evangelism and discipleship than in gun control. “When you look at mass shootings, they’re … mostly young men who, they don’t know that Jesus loves them,” Harrison said. “They don’t know that they can be forgiven for their sin. They don’t know where to turn for answers.
“The number one thing the church needs to do is let these young people know about the grace and love of Jesus Christ,” Harrison said. “But more practically … one of the biggest problems that these young men have, is they don’t have dads in the home. They don’t have positive male influences, and they’re filled with anger. I was able to see the effects of that when I was a policeman in South Central Los Angeles in the Watts-Compton area.” There, he said, where 95 percent of the population was law abiding, the influence of gang violence was prominent and left people in fear.
Problems were exacerbated by fatherlessness and a lack of Gospel evangelism, he said, adding that a father in the home doesn’t necessarily equal a stable environment.
“We as Christians, we have got to be active in sharing our faith,” Harrison said, encouraging Christians to seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people they encounter in daily life. “Just say, if there’s one thing I can pray for you today what would it be? Unbelievable where that goes.” In his experience, people rarely refuse to talk and such conversations most often lead to salvation experiences, he told BP.
The suspect’s father died two years ago, according to ABC7.com.
Help Send 500 Young “Men of Honor” to PK’s 2020 Event
The Men and Ladies of Honor—a Christian ministry based in the Dallas area—teaches chivalry and virtue to at-risk boys and girls on public school campuses in the United States and locations around the world. The majority of students served are fatherless and live below the poverty level.
Through The Men and Ladies of Honor ministry, students are mentored and instructed in core values and leadership, with an emphasis on good character, honor, and integrity. Their mission is to develop passionate followers of Christ, urging students to create a culture of honor, excellence, and exemplary behavior in their schools and communities.
We have a vision for 500 of these young “Men of Honor” to attend Promise Keepers’ next national event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on July 31–August 1, 2020. If you sense God’s leading, you have an opportunity to help provide a scholarship for one or more young men to attend the event. A gift of $100 to our Scholarship Fund can provide a ticket for one person. To help, click here and choose “Fund a Scholarship.”
You Can Do This Now
Interested in having an impact on others? We’ve created another simple way for you to encourage a young man to attend Promise Keepers. Share an audio testimony by calling (877) 880-1181 and leave a message with your story of how God has worked through Promise Keepers to change your life.
We’ll use your stories to encourage and strengthen others. Thank you!
Judge Vance Day will serve as president alongside Ken Harrison, the Chairman and CEO of Promise Keepers.
Our Lord is calling men across the nation, indeed the world, to be Servant Kings. Each generation has a calling upon it to stand tall for what God is doing here on the earth.
In the 1990s, we sensed God moving and accepted His challenge to step up and call men to action. Praise God, we saw Promise Keepers become the largest movement of men in the history of the church, with millions of men repenting of their sins and dedicating their lives to Christ. Now, we sense God’s calling upon Promise Keepers once again. We all know that our nation urgently needs a revival of godly men living out true masculinity.
Last month we laid hands upon Judge Vance Day and affirmed his calling to be President of Promise Keepers. He is a man of great integrity and steadfast resilience. He has been tested in the crucible of intense fire and shown his mettle to be that of the Lord. He is a faithful husband, father, brother, and friend. Judge Day is a man who mirrors the admonition of 1 Timothy 3: 1-7. He is a man of the Word and possesses a joy which only comes out of severe testing. We trust him.
Ken Harrison, who will continue as Chairman and CEO of Promise Keepers, and Vance Day have stepped into a rich heritage of leaders who have accepted the challenge to call men together for restoration and revival – not only in this nation, but across the world.
Today, men of God have a choice to make. Are they committed to reading the word of God daily? Are they determined to embrace brothers who are racially different? Are they loyal to their local pastor and church? Are they protecting their wives and children? We are convinced the answers are “yes” from Ken and Vance to each of these questions! Accordingly, we challenge men of God to join Ken and Vance as warriors determined to ignite revival in America in this hour!
We congratulate Vance as he accepts this great responsibility and calling. We will be praying for him. We ask that you do so as well.
The largest movement of men in the history of the Church is once again calling on men to rise up as warriors for Christ. Join 80,000+ guys on July 31-August 1, 2020 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home of the Dallas Cowboys) for a weekend that will change your life.
As a person grows in Christ, he or she becomes a prayer warrior. I can’t think of a better example of a person who serves others through prayer than my own wife, Elliette.
She prays with women constantly. She prays late at night when someone needs help; she prays early in the morning with women who need her guidance; she prays in the hospital for people who are suffering.
Elliette prayed one day for a heroin and meth addict whom I’ll call Andrea. Elliette had prayed with Andrea’s grandmother for a year that her granddaughter would come to Christ. Finally Andrea consented to meet Elliette.
When she did, Andrea showed off the “daughter of Satan” tattoo on her neck, along with satanic symbols tattooed on her arms and chest. Unimpressed, Elliette explained that God defeated Satan and was waiting with open arms for her to turn from the defeated master of this world — and run to Him.
Elliette soon had Andrea and her boyfriend praying to receive Christ as their Savior. Only a few days later, Andrea learned she was pregnant. She was terrified because of all the drugs she had done and the damage that would have been done to the growing life inside her. She called Elliette and begged for money for an abortion.
Elliette didn’t give her the money.
Instead, she gathered several women and they prayed for Andrea and for her baby’s life.
I asked my men’s prayer group to do the same.
Elliette asked Andrea to meet her, and she showed up with another addict, a friend from high school who was not the father. This young man insisted Andrea must have the abortion. He explained that of their eight-person group of friends from high school, he and Andrea were the only two still living four years later. All were dead from suicide or overdoses.
He didn’t want to lose his last living friend.
Andrea and her friend raised the money for her abortion. Then Andrea called my wife and apologized for what she was about to do — as she was walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic.
We prayed. Inexplicably, Planned Parenthood turned her away. Our suspicion was that Andrea was too high on drugs at the time.
Andrea made another appointment the next week and called Elliette again as she walked into her appointment. “How could I not have an abortion?” she asked.
She hadn’t been able to stop her drug use, she said. The baby was loaded with heroin and meth and would likely be disfigured and sickly, she felt.
Her next appointment for an abortion would require more money because she was now nearing the 26-week legal limit for terminating the life within her.
While we were praying, the nurse gave Andrea an ultrasound. When the nurse left to go get the doctor, Andrea wept. The nurse never returned.
No one came.
After a very long time, Andrea got up from the table and walked out — only to make another appointment for another day.
Andrea’s next appointment for an abortion would require more money because she was now nearing the 26-week legal limit for terminating the life within her. She struggled to save enough money, but a few days before the deadline, she had saved enough.
On the day of her appointment, she headed to Planned Parenthood again. True to her pattern, on her way there Andrea called Elliette.
And that’s when God met her.
Suddenly Andrea had an overwhelming love for the life growing inside her. She panicked at what she had almost done — and cried out to God that He would protect her baby from all the abuse she had heaped on him.
She called Elliette again and told her the news.
We prayed for Andrea’s battle with addiction, for the health of her little baby, for self-control for her during the rest of her pregnancy.
A few months later, Andrea gave birth to a completely healthy baby boy.
The child is now being raised by Andrea’s aunt, who is overjoyed. Andrea visits her son three times a week. That’s the legal limit set by the state of Colorado while she tries to finish getting herself completely off drugs.
I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately in conjunction with my new book and the launch of a new era of Promise Keepers.
She prays with women constantly. She prays late at night when someone needs help; she prays early in the morning with women who need her guidance; she prays in the hospital for people who are suffering.
A lot of the questions are the same — but every now and then a question takes me by surprise, as one did the other day. And that’s when I answer from my heart more than my head.
This was the question I was asked recently: “Why is it that you have such a heart for men’s issues that you’re bringing Promise Keepers back?”
It was a fair question. And my answer was immediate: “I don’t really have a heart for men’s issues. I have a heart for women and children.”
The answer welled up within me. I couldn’t respond any other way.
Women and children are the ones who suffer when men are messed up. If it’s true that 70 percent of men in the church look at pornography twice a week or more, then who are our daughters supposed to marry?
How are we supposed to expect men to treat women with respect as their partners — unless we change the hearts of men?
What I saw in my days as a Los Angeles Police Department street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of men.
Calling men to be men isn’t chauvinistic or somehow against women, although it is countercultural and controversial. But it is a fact that when men check out of their families, women suffer the most.
four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
Look at all the ministries that are fighting sex trafficking in the world. They’re all very, very, very important.
But every one of them is fighting a war that cannot be won by only attacking the supply side of the issue.
And for every girl rescued from the horrific world of slavery, traffickers will enslave 100 more.
But if we can change the hearts of men, we change the demand side. When we attack supply and demand — then we defeat this evil.
That’s why Promise Keepers is so necessary. It’s not that we’re aiming for men; it’s that we’re aiming for the whole world. We owe that much to our kids.
There’s a desperation in America, as I see it. Too many men are becoming too passive. Many of them are obsessed with video games, sports, and pornography — and it’s women and children who are suffering.
But when a man is a man and keeps his promises, those around him are cared for and provided for, as I see it.
Real men never do anything solely for their own benefit. But they’ll swim shark-infested waters for those who count on them.
That’s what a man is — being a leader, being courageous and stepping into the fight, cherishing our wives and families, and being unshakable in our commitment to making the world a better place.
It’s urgent today for men to come back to the basics of what it takes to be a man and what it means to be a man of God. That’s what Promise Keepers is about. That’s our mission, to help men understand who they’re called to be.
And when men understand that — it will change the world.
Independence Day reminds us that when powerful ideas capture the hearts of purposeful men, the very course of history can be changed. Those men — our Founding Fathers — faced fearsome odds in standing up against the might of the British Empire.
And they relied on the “protection of Divine Providence” and each other, “mutually [pledging] to each other [their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor.” It was no idle pledge.
Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, “Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.”
But they ignited a spark that couldn’t be extinguished.
When people ask me what the goal is for Promise Keepers in the new era, I tell them with a smile, “We’ve got our sights set low: All we want to do is change the entire foundation of America.” Men can absolutely do that — again — but we must get out of the stands and onto the field.
When men get saved — and not just saved but when they become disciples and give their lives to Christ — their families change, and their kids learn what it is to be men and women of God.
Men need action. And the problem today is that most Christian men are only expected to sit down, shut up, listen, and lather, rise, and repeat next week. That is not how men operate.
That is not how Jesus said the church is supposed to be. We’ve got to get involved in the lives of the people around us.
Dr. Howard Hendricks, a former board member of Promise Keepers, was fond of quoting this definition of football by legendary coach Bud Wilkinson: “I define football as 22 men on the field who desperately need rest and 50,000 people in the stands who desperately need exercise.”
Gallup found that 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as “born again” or evangelical. That’s over 134 million people. Imagine if every one of us got out of the stands and took responsibility for five houses on our street, prayed for those people, served those people, helped them out when they needed something — and witnessed to them. That would cover pretty much the whole country.
Imagine the impact if we just did that.
That’s why Promise Keepers in this new era is not only going to gather men from across the country and around the world in annual massive stadium events to remind them they’re not alone, we’re also going to connect men to each other in change-making teams in their local communities for discipleship and service.
And we’re going to teach the most dangerous, revolutionary book that’s ever been written: the Bible.
I was talking with a man recently who was complaining about how many millennials today aren’t clear about what the Bible says about being a man and sharing the faith. I told him plainly, “That’s because their dads didn’t teach them God’s word.” He didn’t like my answer, but that’s absolutely the problem.
When you look at Scripture, God gives the parents and specifically the dad the job of teaching his children. Unfortunately, we’ve outsourced the education of our children to others — but it’s our responsibility as dads to teach our children the things of God.
We need to be understanding, humble and loving with our kids — teaching them the Bible to be sure, but modeling righteousness and integrity as well.
I recently spent time with a bunch of well-known musicians, youngsters in their mid-20s. We started talking about Scripture, and they were enthralled. So for the next three nights, I just taught them the Word.
Much was new to them — as was the process of an older man teaching a younger man. They said to me, “We need older men to teach us like you’re doing.”
And I said, “Absolutely. The Bible commands older women to teach the younger women and older men to teach younger men.”
I believe that through Promise Keepers, we can get hold of the hearts of men through proper discipleship and follow-up. The Christian men of our country want to know the Bible. They’re looking for someone to get hold of them and teach them, train them, and show them how to train their kids.
This is the way to change our country — and it’s not too late.
Ed: In your new book you write that, “Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived.” Where exactly have Christian men been deceived?
Ken: Satan has been playing the long game on separating Christians from the love and unity we have in Christ. God says in Genesis 1-3 that male and female are the image of God, meaning that a fully masculine man and fully feminine woman coming together as “one flesh” in marriage is the best image of God that we have in this broken world. By attacking our understanding of what a man is, Satan is re-writing our understanding of who God is.
We must understand that God defines what a man is, not society. Men are called to stand up for justice, care for the poor and oppressed, and be jealous for God’s name. This is why I often say that humility is the mark of a person who is in love with Jesus and the outward expression of humility in a man is courage and generosity.
Courage, because when you don’t see yourself as any more important than anyone else, you will always stand up for the truth and for others. Generosity, because a humble heart gives possessions, time, and spirit with abandon because humility trusts in God to fill our cup back up to overflowing.
Ed: We live in a culture that attacks the very idea of masculinity, that wants men to be silent and soft. How are men supposed to act today—especially Christian men? What does it mean to be a “true man?”
Ken: A man is one of action, not reaction. He understands that he is accountable for solving problems and making the world a better place for everyone in his charge. He is constantly looking for areas where those he loves are struggling or in need and he fills those needs.
A man is designed by God to initiate, a woman is designed to respond to a man who initiates in humility and love. Too many men today are waiting for someone else to initiate.
When we see a problem in our lives, we first examine what we may have done to cause it, then we look for ways to solve it. We don’t blame others, we lift them up.
Lastly, a Christian man understands that his life must be one that points to Christ in every way. We are responsible for the spiritual state of our wives and kids. This means that knowing and understanding God’s Word so that we can teach our families and give them perspective to counter the lies of the world is one of the most masculine things we can do.
Ed: What do you mean when you say, “a hallmark of being a man is accountability?”
Ken: One of the most important aspects of masculinity is accountability. And the beginning of accountability is self-control. A man takes responsibility. A passive man looks to take from his relationships. He looks to be served rather than to serve. A real man comes to his relationships with an offer to serve and he evaluates his relationships based on how well he keeps his promises and commitments within those relationships.
Ed: You write about a time when God broke you when he brought you completely to the end of yourself. Why is the experience of brokenness so essential?
Ken: Pride is an insidious disease from which we all suffer. It must be destroyed before we can really walk hand in hand with our Savior. If you look at your spiritual failures, even the fleshly failures like slandering others, sexual sin, or greed, you will see that pride is usually at the core, spurring on your flesh. Not serving and lifting up others stirs up so many sins. It is a lack of following God’s words: “In humility, consider others as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
“Walking with God is a long process of going from the sinful nature’s pride to a place of complete faith. We’re all on that journey, and God wants to bring us each closer to him.
Sometimes it is through his gentle nudging as we read the Bible and pray. Sometimes, though, it takes a time of great pain because God must break us in some area so that we can really grow. I have found that real, life-changing growth always come through pain and sometimes, pain that results in utter brokenness before we’ll come to God in desperation where He can then truly work in our hearts.
Ed: Last year you became the new chairman of Promise Keepers and your team is in the midst of preparing for a huge stadium event next summer in Dallas. Why is this a good time for a new era of Promise Keepers?
Ken: God’s timing on this is so perfect because the church is finally nearing the state of desperation that I described previously. Women and children are suffering under the yoke of emasculated men, and men themselves are tired of living lives without meaning.
Promise Keepers will remind men of who God says they are and what he called them to be. Our lives matter greatly and our families are counting on us to rise up and be counted. Promise Keepers is not only calling men back to their identity in Christ but we, as an organization, are returning to our identity, which is an NFL stadium full of men praising our Lord.
This Father’s Day, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a father like me — a conversation that all fathers need to face.
I had just finished giving a presentation to a large audience when a line of people formed to ask questions or give their input to the talk.
Then I noticed the desperate face of a desperate man.
“I need to talk to you,” he said.
I shook more hands and answered a few more questions, and then as the crowd thinned, he and I were able to move to a private corner to grab a few uninterrupted minutes.
“My wife doesn’t respect me!” the man told me. “My kids don’t listen to me.” His face was shrouded in anger, the kind of anger that comes from pain. We settled down for a long conversation.
He was a retired Marine — and hew looked like one. He was lean and muscular and stared through me as we talked. We went through the usual symptoms of the problem until we got to the root.
He didn’t listen to his family.
“Man,” I told him, “if there’s one thing you can offer your wife and kids, it’s to listen. You can’t imagine how important it is to them that you hear them out. Don’t have a solution to the problem, don’t offer to help. Just listen and try to empathize.”
“I try,” he said, “but it’s all just so boring. My daughter goes on and on about who’s dating who. She talks about all her silly friends. It drives me crazy. I really don’t care. I sit at the dinner table and wait for it all to be over so I can turn on the TV and unwind.”
I paused. “You know,” I told him, “when I was a newlywed, my wife was traumatized because her jewelry store was burglarized. She went on and on about it.”
“In those days I was a cop in a brutal area of Los Angeles,” I added. “I averaged over one gun arrest and two felony arrests every day. I had to buy six watches in one year because mine kept getting shattered while I was fighting with some bad guy in a gutter or tackling some gangster in a parking lot. In my world, a jewelry store getting burglarized was nothing.”
“But as I watched her face while she told her story, I realized that she felt violated. Some bad person had broken into her store and taken some of her inventory. I listened intently to her because it was important to her. I don’t know why I had the wisdom to do that, but God gave it to me.”
To be a true disciple of Jesus, one must take a genuine interest in the cares of others.
“Who’s dating who may not matter to you — but it matters a lot to your daughter, and for that reason, you should give her your full attention. She’s developing her expectations of the man she’ll marry based on how her dad treats her — and that’s you. Are you teaching her that she’s important and deserves to be listened to? If you’re bored by what matters to her, she’s picking up on it. And she’ll carry that with her for the rest of her life.”
“You need to teach her,” I added, “that what is important to her is important to you, simply because it’s important to her.”
“Everything I just said to you ain’t bad marriage advice either,” I also told him. “You’re a Marine. I doubt that your wife doesn’t respect you, but I’m betting she doesn’t feel cherished by you. She doesn’t feel cherished because you don’t listen to her.”
About six months later, I spoke again in that city. And wouldn’t you know it: That same Marine came up to me afterward. I recognized him right away. He had the same desperate look in his eyes. “How’s it going with your family?” I asked him.
“Well, you know,” he said, “I tried to take your advice, but it doesn’t work. I try to listen, but my mind just drifts away.”
He seemed to want to settle in for another long conversation in which I’d give him advice that he’d then choose to ignore.
Instead, I stood up and clapped him on the shoulder. “If you want to take up my time again, make sure you know the names of all your daughter’s friends. And tell me all about them.”
I spoke again in that city again about a year later — and he wasn’t there.
We men understand that our responsibilities are to protect and provide for our families. Often, the most important thing we can provide is to make them feel loved. All too often, men listen for an assignment: We listen for something to do, or for a problem to solve. Yet sometimes, just listening and caring is all our loved ones really need.
To be a true disciple of Jesus, one must take a genuine interest in the cares of others. Things that wouldn’t normally interest us become interesting because they matter to someone we love.
As you examine your life in Christ, don’t look at the outside — at whether you’re following a certain set of rules. Instead, look on the inside. Do you take a genuine interest in what’s important to others? Do you pray daily for them? Do you authentically wish the best for them?
If not, take a deep look into your heart and ask God to help you to see others through the eyes with which He sees them.
He will answer that prayer, and the world will begin to look vastly different and more interesting.
This Father’s Day, I pray that God gives you and me and all fathers the patience and strength to really listen. I pray that He makes us fathers worth celebrating.