Far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on child-rearing is Standing on the Promises, by Doug Wilson. If you were to ask to borrow my copy, I’m not sure it would do you any good because you probably wouldn’t be able to read the words from all my notes and markings.
However, if you are looking for a “how to” book to help you raise your children, this is not the book for you. While the book is not without practical application, Wilson is far less concerned with giving you twelve easy steps to parenting godly kids as he is with giving you a firm foundation upon which to do so. But, I hasten to add, the book is anything but abstract and impractical. It is encouraging, instructive, and even inspiring. I heartily recommend it to any and all parents who are seeking to raise godly children in this ungodly age.
Here are a few choice quotes from the first chapter that I think are worth passing on…
The Fountainhead of Culture
The biblical family is an instituted government, established by God at the very beginning of human history. The constitution for this government was written by him, and revealed to us in his Word.
Parents bring up their children to be colonists at the proper time, planting families of their own.
Consequently, each family is designed to be a culture – with a language, customs, traditions, and countless unspoken assumptions. God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it. The duty of the husband and father is to ensure that the shaping is done according tot he standards of the Word of God.
[A common problem among modern Christians] is that of forgetting the family is a culture at all, and allowing, by default, outside cultural influences to take primacy in how the children are shaped. When the biblical cultural mandate for the home is abandoned in the home, the vacuum will not be there for long.
By nature, children are malleable. They will either be shaped lawfully, by those commanded by God to perform the task, or they will be shaped unlawfully, by outsiders. But as children, they will be shaped.
As David Powlison says in his Forward to Tedd Tripp’s, Shepherding Your Child’s Heart, “most books on parenting give you advice either on how to shape and constrain your children’s behavior or on how to make them feel good about themselves.” Of course, neither of those objectives is completely wrongheaded… they just shouldn’t be a parent’s primary objective. Tripp puts well what should be our primary objective with these words…
God is concerned with the heart – the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Parents tend to focus on the externals of behavior rather than the internal overflow of the heart. We tend to worry more about the “what” of behavior than the “why”. Accordingly, most of us spend an enormous amount of energy in controlling and constraining behavior.
When we miss the heart, we miss the subtle idols of the heart.
When we miss the heart, we miss the gospel. If the goal of parenting is no more profound than securing appropriate behavior, we will never help our children understand the internal things, the heart issues, that push and pull behavior. Those internal issues: self-love, rebellion, anger, bitterness, envy, and pride of the heart show our children how profoundly they need grace. If the problem with children is deeper than inappropriate behavior, if the problem is the overflow of the heart, then the need for grace is established. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and died as an infinite sacrifice so that children (and their parents) can be forgiven, transformed, liberated and empowered to love God and love others.
from Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Well, I did it. For better or worse, I wrote a book (I'm not much of a marketer). It comes out of years of working with and discipling men.
And, according to my mother, who is a godly woman, it is an easy read. I'm pretty sure she meant that as a compliment. Here's a little bit about it...
Before men can live godly lives and go into all the world to make disciples for Christ, they must first have a firm foundation.
The foundation all men need is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only when a man becomes a new creature in Christ can he grow in Christlikeness.
This godly man will then follow his Lord into every sphere of his life, making a difference in his home, church, workplace, community, culture, and world. He does not pursue such godliness in isolation, but in the fellowship of other godly men. This is how God’s Kingdom transforms the world. But it must start with the Gospel.
Foundations for Godly Manhood encourages men to pursue all God created, redeemed, and calls them to be by building their lives upon the firm foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his life-giving, life-transforming truth revealed in Holy Scripture.
Share this with men you're witnessing to. It works for one-on-one discipleship, small groups, or read it devotionally for yourself.
You can click here to order it.
Since I first wrote this post, I put together a great page of links to websites and blogs for ministering to men. You can click here to check it out. However, the ones below are still fantastic and I encourage you to visit them when you're able.
For this Top Ten I wanted to share some of the websites that have blessed me regarding ministry to men. However, because I’ve come across so many helpful websites on this subject, carving this down to ten is, I’m sure, an injustice to others that ought to be included.
Part of my criteria for choosing which websites make my Top Ten list is that the website has to be useful. In other words, the ministry that a website represents may be phenomenal and doing great things for the Kingdom. However, if the website itself doesn’t do much more than tell me a few interesting things about the ministry, then it’s not very useful as an online resource. Thus, the websites I like most are the ones that provide articles, devotionals, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media connections, newsletters, etc. That’s how I decided which ones to include on this and every Top Ten list.
PS – The following websites are focused more on ministering to men “in general.” I’ll include Top Ten lists later that will focus on top websites for fathers, husbands, etc.
This list is in no particular order… except for the first one, because I believe it is far and away the best.
1.) Man in the Mirror Ministries with Pat Morley – Morley and company are the premier thinkers in the world of ministering to men. Their website is super user-friendly. You can read countless articles on men’s ministry, men’s issues, etc. You can download and listen to men’s Bible studies taught by Morley or watch them online. You can also sign up for a number of training events that Man in the Mirror holds or purchase some fantastic resources online. Great website that goes well with an incredible ministry to men.
2.) Every Man Ministries with Kenny Luck
3.) Top Gun Men’s Ministries
4.) Men’s Stuff at CrossWalk.com
5.) New Man Magazine
6.) Men’s Ministry at Bible.org
7.) Church for Men
8.) Live Bold
9.) Christian Businessmen Connection
10.) Men’s Ministry Catalyst
Grace and Truth,