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.
I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately in conjunction with my new book and the launch of the new era of Promise Keepers. A lot of the questions are the same, but every now and then a question takes me by surprise, and I answer from my heart more than my head.
This was the question, “Why is it that you have such a heart for men’s issues that you are 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.”
This might not have been the smartest thing for the head of a men’s ministry to say, but it welled up within me and I couldn’t answer any other way.
Women and children are the ones who suffer when men are screwed up. If it’s true as Josh McDowell says that 70 percent of men in the church look at pornography twice a week or more, 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 an LAPD street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of little 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, and so do their children.
Look at all the ministries 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 thesupply side. 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 thedemand 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.
I think there’s a desperation in America. I think men are becoming more and more passive, obsessed with video games, sports, pornography, and it’s women and children who are suffering.
But when a man is a man and keeps his promises, those around him get cared and provided for. Real men will never do anything solely for their own benefit. But we will swim shark-infested waters for those who are counting on us.
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 around us a better place.
I believe that the time is incredibly urgent 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.
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.
We are in a fight. If you don’t feel like you’re in a fight, then you aren’t paying attention. There are misery and need all around us, and God has called us — as men who have received His gift of grace — to fight for His suffering people, and fearlessly share the Gospel.
A continuing theme in Paul’s writings is that we are soldiers in God’s army. But soldiers fighting what? Paul wrote, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand” (Ephesians 6:12–13).
So we see that the deceivers and the deceived are really just tools of Satan and must be rescued from him. Most refuse to be rescued. Some just can’t see the truth. Some love their sin and don’t want to repent. Some just really love evil. If you stand firmly, gently, and humbly for Christ, people will have one of two responses: “To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
A man of God in today’s society will have enemies because he is standing for the truth. If you don’t have people who dislike you because of your commitment to following God’s Word, then you’re probably not even in the fight.
My wife, Elliette, got a call not long ago from someone claiming to be with the IRS, stating that they were sending the police to arrest her and she needed to give them all her information to save herself. I’ve gotten that call; you may have gotten it too. When I got it, I just hung up. Not Elliette. “How could you do this?” she asked the caller. “Don’t you know that these kinds of calls only deceive the elderly and the uneducated? How could you steal from such people?” The caller hung up.
Unfortunately for them, they hadn’t called me; they’d called her and she’s a fighter! She prayed against them and the damage they were doing to people, and then she felt a strong push to call them back. And she kept calling them. Each time, as soon as she explained why she was calling and began her lecture, the person on the other end hung up. Finally a supervisor answered the phone and yelled at her for interfering with their business. She cussed at Elliette and hung up. Elliette kept calling.
On the thirteenth call, a young man answered. This time, when she asked how he could do such a thing, he answered her, “Because I’m a wicked man.”
“Why would you choose to be a wicked man?” she asked.
“I don’t mean to be,” he said, “but where I’m from there are no jobs. This is the only way I can make money.”
“Do you know Jesus?” she asked.
“Yes, but He won’t listen to me. I’m a wicked man.”
“Jesus died for wicked people. He died for you,” she told him. “He will listen to you if you repent of your sins and give your life to Him.” Elliette walked him through the gospel and they prayed together. Elliette, like a marine in World War II, took the rock in front of her, and a young man on the other side of the world is on his way to heaven. Twelve other people rejected her or cussed at her, but she found the one whose heart God had been working on, and now he’s saved.
In our fight, we mustn’t concentrate on those who reject the truth; we must just keep pushing forward for those who will respond. We are commanded to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). And we see from examples in the Bible that the more closely we follow Jesus, the more intensely the wicked will hate us. There was only one perfect man who ever lived, and they nailed Him to a cross. After that, they hunted down His apostles and murdered many of them too. It’s worth pausing and asking yourself a very serious question: Who hates you and why?
With Mother’s Day this weekend, I oddly find myself not focusing on just the women in my life, but on the men as well. I am not wondering what “the guys” will gift me with on this holiday, because they are doing dinner for Mom and me. They already told us that we “are not to cook or clean anything.” Wow!
Along with whatever they chose to purchase, they will bring us their smiles, laughter, their words of encouragement and dedication to our family that runs so deep. The men in my life are men of integrity. They are promise keepers.
I first encountered the Promise Keepers ministry as a young mother in the 1990’s. As a divorced mother raising four sons, and two daughters, I needed guidance. Having been raised in a patriarchal-focused family, I understood the importance of the godly influence of fathers and grandfathers. When I think of the need for the new era of Promise Keepers, four critical Scriptures come to mind:
… so the next generation might know them — even the children not yet born — and they in turn will teach their own children.
Promise Keepers exists to equip men of all ages to fulfill their roles within their families, churches and businesses. I grew up with strong godly male figures in my life. As a single mother, I knew that having those godly male role models would be vital to the growth of my four boys. What they learned and believed when they were young would influence them for the rest of their lives, whether for good or bad. We need Promise Keepers to empower men (and the women in their lives) to embrace the truth that sets them on the path of growth and godly wisdom.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
Growing up with men who were preachers and fathers, then later having a pastor who walked in the same revelation, gave me a great desire to raise godly sons and grandsons according to the same patterns. My sons and grandsons come from a rich history of integrity and compassion. These qualities are deeply rooted in the promises of God that we as a family hold near and dear to our hearts.
Promise Keepers is based on those same covenant promises, equipping men to live out those promises on a daily basis. When fathers and grandfathers, brothers and sons put these promises into practice, their families thrive. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are able to see one another the way God sees them, extending grace, mercy and encouragement in supernatural ways. We need more of this today and Promise Keepers is committed to standing in that gap.
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
In order for families to remember, truth must be taught from generation to generation. I am grateful to have been raised and mentored by men who did their best to be promise keepers. They left solid examples based upon God’s Word.
Because of my family’s commitment to remembering truth, God is not only the God of my father. He is the God of Alveda. He is the God of my sons and my daughters. He is the God of my beautiful grandchildren. We are all promise keepers, relying on the truth of God’s Word and the faithfulness of His promises. We need Promise Keepers today for men to intentionally pass the truth to upcoming generations of men.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
God’s promises are forever. When I remember my beloved forefathers and mentors, I remember God’s promises. God has blessed my family more abundantly than I could ever ask or imagine. I thank God that He has done the same for Promise Keepers. The new era of Promise Keepers, ushered in with Ken Harrison at the helm, allows for the same encouragement I found for my family, now supplemented with modern technology and a further reach.
Now even more men will receive the encouragement and discipleship that helped build my family. Lives will change and God will be glorified. Men and women alike will reap the benefits of listening ears, kind words and godly leadership for generations to come.
As I reflect on this Mother’s Day, I think of the legacy that my family leaves. I think of the godly men who lead and encouraged me and equipped me to be the strong woman I am today. Because of the godly influences in my life, I was able to raise my four sons to carry on the legacy of those who went before them. What makes them so well-equipped for the job is their integrity. They are promise keepers. On this Mother’s Day, that is the best gift I could possibly ask for.
ALVEDA KING is on the board of directors of Promise Keepers whose 2020 National Event is coming to AT&T Stadium in Dallas July 31-August 1. Alveda is the niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Currently, Alveda is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, serving as Executive Director of Civil Rights for The Unborn for Gospel of Life, headed up by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. She is also part of the teaching and music ministry as well as former Executive Director of African Humanitarian Christian Fellowship, founded by her mentor, the late Pastor Allen McNair, Founder of Believers’ Bible Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Alveda lives in Atlanta and is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com “Insiders” section as well as a Fox News contributor. She is the grateful mother of six and a blessed grandmother.
PROMISE KEEPERS is calling men back to courageous and bold servant-leadership by sparking a movement that will mobilize millions of men to follow Christ into today’s broken world as changemakers for their families, churches and communities.
Men, what your wife wants from you this Mother’s Day is to be cherished. Far more than an expensive gift or a thoughtful card, she wants you to lead her family with her best interests in mind. She doesn’t want a man who is silent and soft, a man who is passive and withdrawn, or a man who is paralyzed by regret over past mistakes. Your wife wants you to be a man of God — a “Servant King.”
She wants you to be a King — proactive, courageous, generous and humble. A man who embraces his identity as leader with authority and conviction.
She also wants you to be a Servant — a man who puts his wife and children ahead of himself, who nurtures them and makes sure everything he does is in their best interest, and who is ready to lay down his life for them if necessary.
God did not create man to be sufficient in himself. The ultimate intimate relationship a man can have on this earth is with his wife, whom God calls his helper. We see that they are to be “one,” a picture of how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. That is, they are to be in such complete unity that they are of one purpose and one spirit.
God gave man the role of leader of his family, but what does that look like? The world often tells us that leadership and authority are the same thing, but this is not so. Authority is that influence that the law gives to a police officer or a military commander. Authority says, “Sir, please exit the vehicle,” or “Grab your backpack and sit down.” Authority offers no reward for obedience, only punishment for disobedience.
We are not called to be in authority over our wives; rather, we are called to lead them. Leadership creates the space for a person to choose whether or not to follow. Notice that a woman is commanded to submit to her husband, not to obey him. I obey the commands of a police officer out of fear of punishment, but I don’t submit to him. This is because submission involves equality and choice. Obedience involves a hierarchy and offers no choice. A slave obeys his master, and a child obeys his parents. But an equal chooses to submit or not, based on the value in the relationship.
Jesus always offers us a choice when it comes to submitting our lives to Him. Submitting to the perfect Leader maximizes our fellowship with Him and gives us ultimate joy as a result. In the same way, a wife chooses to submit to her husband or not.
As husbands, it is not for us to judge her willingness to submit. It is for us to be the kind of leader to whom she can gladly submit.
Therefore, it is incumbent on a husband to be as much like Him as we can be so that her choice is an easy one.
Give Your Wife the Gift of Leadership
“I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). We seek to lead our families as Christ leads the church. How does He do this? He “gave Himself for her to make her holy . . . to present [her] to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25–27). Someday Jesus will present all His children to the Father, having given everything, including His life by being tortured to death, for the purpose of presenting them without blemish. Whether they will be presented as such will be dependent on the level of their willing submission to Him. Similarly, we will be judged on how we present our wives to the Father. Did we give our lives for them, as Jesus did for the church?
Does your wife see in you the heart for her that Jesus has for His church? None of us will completely measure up, but the closer we get to this standard, the more oneness we’ll have with our wives.
Going further, there are three overarching qualities that I’ve observed in great leaders:
1. Vision—All great leaders know and communicate who they are and where they are going, whether in an organization or elsewhere. Your wife must know that your relationship exists to glorify God. Leaders always keep themselves accountable to their people and remain open to constructive criticism. Does your wife feel the freedom to express her opinion in a safe and loving relationship? Leaders are not defensive and they do not argue. Are your words leading to life and unity or to division and distress in your marriage?
2. Ambition—Great leaders focus on the health and growth of their organization (or family). From the moment they rise until they close their eyes at night, they relentlessly pursue the implementation of their vision. Does your wife see that you are seeking to present her to Christ “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless”?
3. Empathy—Empathy is the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. There is no more important place for this than in our relationship with our wives.
This Mother’s Day be the Servant King your wife is longing for, the Servant King your God has called you to, and that you were made for.
After seeing the destruction that such teaching wreaked on society, the world now teaches a new message about men. It is convoluted and vague. It flees from machismo toward an equally dangerous lie; it teaches men to be effeminate.
Let’s tear down the lie of society, which has come from the enemy of our souls, and look at what God says about masculinity. First, we must destroy the foundational lie upon which every other lie about society over the past several generations has been built: the lie of modern superiority.
We tend to read Scripture through a lens of modern arrogance, interpreting it using our “superior” intellect. We act as if the God who wrote the Bible and created the world and the very minds with which we reason needs our help in updating His dated ideas. We have become easily deceived by each new idea that comes along, and that tendency is pulling us from a foundation of biblical truth to devastating effect.
Satan has been around since before the human race, so he is playing the long game. His lies build on his lies until even people who love Jesus have assumptions they believe to be true that are not. We seek passionately to avoid becoming pawns in his wicked game; therefore, we must understand his plans so that we can fight and defeat them.
Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived. Let’s take a scalpel to the things that some of us may accept as truth that are not truth at all; rather, they are cancers that our enemy sowed in our minds when we weren’t even aware.
Satan’s scheme, now and forever, is to disrupt the two most foundational building blocks of society:
1. Our relationship with God 2. Our relationship with one another
First, there is something not right in us, and to make things right, we must throw ourselves on the grace of the Creator. A philosophical change has spread across the world to convince people that there isn’t actually anything wrong with them and, if there is, it isn’t their fault. We are seeing Romans 1 play out before us now—not only are sin and perversity abounding, but people publicly commend those who live this way.
Second, there is nothing more foundational to who we are and how we relate to one another than the fact that God created us male and female. Humanity was created as two types—both are equally loved in God’s eyes and both will have equal status in Heaven. However, their relation to one another on earth is defined through distinctive roles determined by God at the foundation of creation.
The two genders, male and female, are together the earthly representation of who God is. Neither, on its own, is a full representation. This is one reason marriage between a man and a woman is so important and meaningful. The truest representation of God’s nature is a healthy marriage between a fully masculine man and a fully feminine woman, each acting in submission to Christ and in submission to each other.
“Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Every man is to be a leader. This is why being proactive is the foundation of being a man. When something needs to be done, a man seeks to do it.
When we understand that a man is called to lead, we see that a hallmark of being a man is accountability. This is difficult for many men to accept, but you must recognize that you and only you are accountable for your walk with Christ, for your marriage, for the state of your children, for providing for your family, and for protecting your family and anyone else who may need it.
Your family—and your God—are counting on you to act like a man.
Nearly 8,000 alleged pedophiles abused a reported 12,000 victims within the Boy Scouts of America, attorney Jeff Anderson said this week.
“That is a number not known before today or ever revealed by the Boy Scouts of America,” said Anderson, who represents former scouts.
The numbers come from the “perversion files,” which The New York Times reports began after World War I and continued through 2016. The files named 7,819 “perpetrators” and 12,254 victims.
Though the “perversion files” were unsealed in 2012, an expert recently reviewed the files and shared her findings in a testimony earlier this year.
Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia, said during her testimony that she had been hired by the Boy Scouts and spent five years reviewing data in these files that contained information on volunteers whose involvement in the group had been ended “because of reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse.”
“The alarming thing about this is not just the number but the fact is that the Boy Scouts of America has never actually released these names in any form that can be known to the public,” says Anderson.
He continued: “The disclosure made by Dr. Janet Warren really sounded the alarm to us.”
The existence of the abuse database is not new but the scope of the abuse is. In 2012, more than 14,000 pages of documents relating to abuse by 1,247 scout leaders was released in connection to a case in Oregon. That same year, The Los Angeles Times createda database detailing about 5,000 men and a small number of women tied to the Boy Scouts who were expelled in connection to sexual abuse.
Warren’s number shows a significant jump in that number, and Anderson is calling for the Boy Scouts of America to make the list public.
“This is information that the Boy Scouts has and has had for several years … [and is still] keeping secret today,” Anderson said.
The Boy Scouts said “every instance of suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement.”
“Additionally, all of the names on the ‘Anderson List’ are publicly available; all of these individuals were removed from Scouting and reported to law enforcement,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.
The Boy Scouts could be hit with more sexual abuse allegations, though, as states expand their statute of limitations laws.
States have been moving in recent months to adjust their statute of limitations laws so that victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue for damages. New York state has passed a law that will allow such lawsuits starting in August. A similar bill in New Jersey has reached the governor’s desk. Bills also are pending in Pennsylvania and California.
In New York and elsewhere, lawyers are hard at work recruiting clients to sue the Boy Scouts, alleging they were molested as youths by scoutmasters or other volunteers.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers “recognize that this is a very unique and lucrative opportunity,” said attorney Karen Bitar, who formerly handled sex-crime cases as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before going into private practice.
Attorney Tim Kosnoff, a veteran of major sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, said Tuesday that he and his team have signed up 186 clients from dozens of states in just the past few weeks who want to be part of litigation against the Boy Scouts. Kosnoff said 166 of them identified alleged abusers who have not been named in any of the Boy Scout files made public in past years.
Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization continues to evaluate its financial situation, and she defended its current abuse-prevention policies. The organization serves more than 2.2 million youths.
Many Christian families have backed away from Boy Scouts in recent years as the organization shifted to accommodate the changing cultural climate. Other scouting organizations with biblical values emerged, including Trail Life USA.
“Our culture is rife with confusing messages about human sexuality that are contrary to what we know the Bible says,” says Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life. “Although in a fallen world it’s impossible to guarantee the safety of our children, Trail Life USA is doing what it can to make clear statements on purity, sin, and gender roles, as well as provide regular criminal background checks and child safety and youth protection training to all of our adult members. Our 1-2-3 Child Protection Policy means no one-on-one contact between an adult and child, 2-deep adult leadership in every setting, and buddy systems of 3 or more boys. We also require any incidents be immediately reported to authorities and manage none of those in-house.
“Christian families need to take care to place their children only in programs that are clear in their stand on biblical sexual purity and gender roles, vigilant in their efforts to keep kids safe, and rigorous in the management of any actual or suspected violations,” Hancock says.
In 2017, when the Boy Scouts announced girls who identified as boys would be allowed in, Christian organizations like Trail Life USA doubled down on their biblical values.
“It’s the beginning of the end of what the Boy Scouts used to mean,” John Stemberger, chairman of the board for Trail Life USA, said at the time. “It’s really a sad move.”
Other Christian leaders have tracked the Boy Scouts with heartache at the organization’s downfall.
“As we’ve all watched the caving and compromise within this wonderful organization, many of us warned of what would happen as well as withdrew our sons and grandsons from involvement,” says cultural commentator Larry Tomczak.
“We recall the over 100-year oath boys took and worked with dads and leaders to uphold, especially to remain morally clean: ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.’
“Disregarding God’s design for marriage and sexuality has brought tragic consequences. Thank God responsible men founded Trail Life USA, the Christian Boy Scout alternative that I encourage all to support now more than ever,” Tomczak says.
Ken Harrison, CEO and chairman of the board of Promise Keepers, said: “Men are commanded by God to nourish and cherish their wives and children, to lay down their lives for them, to love them even as Christ loved the church. Instead, these scout leaders did just the opposite–using children for their own sexual gratification. But it’s not just for the Scouts to dramatically increase its vigilance, we need Christian men everywhere to commit themselves to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.”