Family

What my Kids' Bedtimes Taught me About my Heart

Bedtimes. When they come, my kids’ room can feel like a battlefield and the victory of sleep is not easily won. I would like to say bedtimes are the most peaceful moments of our family’s day. I would like to say we have a perfect routine and each night we sing our songs, say our prayers, get the kids tucked into bed, give them a kiss on their foreheads and they snuggle in for a deep sleep, not to be heard from until the morning.

That is simply not the reality in our home. We do have a routine, but it does not always go as planned and it nearly always has interruptions. And once the lights are turned off and we leave the room, the kids have perfectly timed and flawlessly executed stall tactics.

Lest I leave you disappointed, I need to tell you now, I have not discovered the perfect strategy to consistently leave your bedtime battles with a peaceful and simple victory. This is not so much about bedtimes, but what they have taught me about the battleground of my own heart. Bedtimes, and parenting in general, has helped me see what deeper idols lie beneath the surface. Peeling back the layers of sin can be ugly and parenting has a way chipping through the layers pretty quickly. My kids' bedtimes have taught me that I love control and comfort too much.

"But dad, I want what I want"

My son's transparency about his desires has helped me see my own more clearly. Earlier this year, when he would not get his way, he began to tell me, "but Dad, I want what I want." He was brutally honest, not knowing his statement betrayed his own selfishness. I began to realize I often feel the same way. Like my son, I really just want what I want.

What I have begun to see is that my experience at bedtime is highly influenced by my own heart idols – by my desire to get what I want. My frustrations can be disproportionate to the good and right motivation I have for my children's obedience and need for sleep. At some point, I am not so much motivated by what is good for them, but I am motivated by my own comfort and control. I just want them to listen, because my idol for control wants to be listened to. I want them to listen, because my idol of comfort wants to move on with the rest of my night.

Their behavior and my heart

Sleep is good and necessary for kids. Learning obedience is good and necessary for kids. Therefore, I stick in the battle for bedtimes, for their good. All the while, I wage war on my own heart idols. It’s important that we distinguish between their behavior and our hearts.

My heart issues do not give my kids the freedom to do whatever they want. We might be inclined to give up on some aspects of parenting, because at times we find ourselves having selfish motives. But we should not give up. We must pray. Repent. And trust in the gospel. Don’t allow your heart idols to stop you from following through on what you know is right and good for your kids.

Not just at bedtime

Bedtime shines a spotlight on my heart, but I have begun to see that my idols of comfort and control are present all over my home. When I walk through the door at the end of a long day at work, my idol of comfort tells me that I deserve to sit down and rest for a bit. When I am bombarded with requests to change a diaper, read a book, play with cars, set the table, take out the garbage, or build a tower, I can feel my idol of comfort fighting to say no, I just got home, I need to sit down for a bit.

My idol of control goes wild when my daughter is taking her brother’s toy… again… In that moment, I don’t want to patiently give her correction and instruction again, my idol of control wants, no demands, that she listen. In those moments, I am not as concerned about helping her understand the impact of her decisions, because I am too preoccupied with my idol of control.

Fighting our Idols

Bedtimes have illuminated some of the ugly that still wages war against my soul. I am not content to allow these patterns to continue, so when I am fighting on the battleground of bedtime, I am reminded there is also a war raging on the battleground of my heart. I cannot ignore what parenting is revealing about my idols, so I continue the lifelong habit of repentance and faith.

When sin is revealed, no matter where or when, even during the daily routine of bedtimes, I am called to repent. I am called to recognize my sin, admit my wrongs and turn away. Sometimes, this will require me to humbly ask for my kids’ forgiveness. In faith, I also remind myself of the beauty of the cross and the grace Jesus offers. As I model this for my children, they get a taste of God’s goodness – which is more important than an extra thirty minutes of sleep anyway.

Cindy Adelman: In honor of my mom

My mother passed away late on Monday, July 18th due to complications related to cancer. She battled cancer for nearly three years before it finally took her life. In honor of her, I wanted to write this short post. She was a wonderful woman, and I am grateful for the years I got to spend with her, even though it feels like they were too few. She died young, at the age of 53.

Cynthia Lou Adelman was a tenacious woman, with a competitive spirit and compassionate heart. She would challenge a 235-pound man to a leg wrestling competition (and win...), but she would also cry watching the atrocities she might see on the evening news. She was at times quiet and stoic, but she had a soft spot for animals of all kinds. Especially dogs. If my dad had not limited the number of animals in the home, she may have ended up on the news for being an animal hoarder... We took in more than one stray animal in my years growing up at home.

My mom raised three boys, and as my dad said earlier this week, "She was the perfect mom for boys." She was not afraid to put on a glove and throw the baseball around the yard or insert herself into the middle of some teenage roughhousing. At my high school wrestling matches, she would cheer loudly, as though she was right in the middle of the mat with me. But no matter the outcome of my sporting events or other competitions, she loved me the same. Win or lose, she was my mom, and that was not the least bit affected by my performance. She helped to raise three men - not an easy task.

An honest portrayal of my mom must also include what some might regard as a lack of propriety. She was honest, and she was not hindered by pretense. Some might say she was blunt - and I think that would be an accurate description. She might offend you one minute and then be your buddy the next. She didn't give a lot of concern to doing things just to keep up appearances and she wasn't interested in impressing others for the sake of their approval. It might have turned people off at times, but if you spent enough time with her, you were pretty sure to find out what she thought. Good, bad or otherwise, she made her opinion known.

She was a wonderful woman, who sacrificed for her family and those she loved. I am grateful for her strong will and soft heart. There is much to celebrate, but her life was not without its challenges. Getting cancer in her early fifties and having to leave behind so many loved ones was hard on her. Knowing that she would have grandkids who might barely remember her, and others whom she may never meet. Leaving behind my dad, her husband of nearly 34 years was a struggle. Adding to her cancer, my sister Jessica's death was always heavy on her heart. It was almost 20 years ago now, but the memory of Jessica was often on my mom's mind. Further, adding the death of her own mom to cancer, my mom's life was not without its trials.

My mom had her internal demons. She had difficulties and challenges. If you knew her well, she may have shared some of them with you. She, like many of us, struggled to embrace the forgiveness and grace of God. She knew her faults. She knew her pains. "How could a good God love her?" she might ask. She and I had many conversations about God and His love. Like the main character in Bunyan's classic, she was a pilgrim in this world. She was on a journey, one which took twists and turns, with struggles and joys. It came with its pains and also its pleasures. I am glad that the suffering of the cancer is over now, and that she can see clearly the love and grace of God, which she always struggled to believe for herself.

We will miss her here on earth, and we will not forget her. We will tell stories of her and celebrate the years we had with her. I will always remember the time she, James and I were out on Lake of the Woods, catching our limit of walleyes. They were coming into the fish house so fast, we had to call my older brother to come join us. Once Joe got there, we had to deliver the news that we had already caught his limit too, but that we would be grateful to ride home with him, so we could keep the legal ratio between humans and fish. We will tell of the time she got hit by someone driving a 4-wheeler and how she took it like a champ. We will tell of the dogs she owned, her love for her grandchildren and her tenacious attitude toward life. We will tell of the hard times too because they are also part of my mom's life. My mom will be missed by many. I am grateful for the 31 years we got to spend together on earth. We love you, mom

Will you give some feedback on a new book for men?

A friend, Mark Benson, and I are in the early stages of writing a book for men. This has been on the horizon for each of us in different ways for quite some time. A few recent events have catalyzed some fresh movement and we are beginning to nail down some of the essential details. And we would love your thoughts and feedback!

How we got here

There have been a variety of factors that have led us to this point. Allow me to briefly share them with you.

Family Man series

In January, I had a Guest Post Series on the blog that was called "The Family Man that Follows Jesus." Mark was one of the four guests that posted on the blog. The response that I got for the series was extremely positive. It was a clear reminder of how important it is for men who follow Jesus to live in a way that is consistent with their faith in Christ.

C.S. Lewis Quote

Mark was reading through The Screwtape Letters and was struck by a particular passage in which Screwtape writes to Wormwood:

"And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal way a man's best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off."

The idea that Satan is seeking to steal away the best years of a Christian man's life through meaningless distraction resonated with Mark. And when he shared this quote and general idea with me, it was illuminating.

Desire to communicate and apply gospel-centered truth

As you will see when we explain our general premise, we believe that the remedy is not simply a need to refocus on what matters and then work harder. The most basic problem is a loss of identity and a lack of seeing how the gospel of Jesus frees us from the various distractions in life.

We have a deep commitment to communicate the gospel and help people apply it to their lives. In this case, men are in need of a renewed understanding of the gospel, and how it can free them from the indifference caused by life's many distractions.

We saw a need

There are many books for men already in existence. But none that take the unique perspective that we will. And we see a great need to address the apathy and lethargy caused by input overload. We believe that this will be a timely book, and one that men need to read.

The premise of the book

Here is the working premise statement for the book:

One of the greatest problems facing men today is the enormous amount of distractions in life. A lack of intentionality in the ordering of our priorities leads to idols and failed responsibilities. If the demands of life are constantly pressuring you to work harder, be better, and run faster, this book is for you. God is calling men to trust in Christ and know the reality of their new identity in him. Rooting out idols and fighting to reorder our lives around a Biblical vision of manhood, so we can be fully alive in God.

Feedback survey

And now we need your help! Your feedback will be extremely helpful for us to consider various perspectives and elements that we may not have otherwise. We also have a list of seven potential titles we would like you to vote on. So, please take a couple minutes and fill out this survey.

Gender *
Select the title that you like the best *
What are the core problems you feel that men face today (choose up to four)? *

5 Ways to Be More Present at Home

During the month of January, four different men have contributed guest posts in our "The Family Man that Follows Jesus" series. It has given me a month off, so I can spend time with my growing family. The series has been very well received, and you can get links to all the posts at the series page.

I have enjoyed it so much that I wanted to write a post for the series as well. So, here is my contribution to The Family Man that Follows Jesus series.

Present and Engaged fathers

The number one predictor of at risk behavior in a teenager may not be what you think. It isn't race. It isn't gender. It isn't socio-economic standing. The number one factor for whether a teenager will engage in at-risk behavior is whether there is an involved father in their lives. Unfortunately, one out of every three children in America grow up in a biological father-absent home.

Sadly, even in homes where a father is physically present, they are often unengaged. As husbands and fathers who desire to follow Jesus and honor God, we cannot just be physically present, we must also be intentionally engaged. And not just with our children, but with our wives as well.

Admittedly, it can be difficult at times. After a long day, it is easy to detach from our family and enter the worlds of media, technology or sports. We might still be thinking about the work we left behind or just longing for bedtime. But, I believe that God calls us to more as husbands and fathers.

5 ways to be more present at home

The first step is to get home. Work or other factors may pull you away from your family, so fight the current and find ways to be physically present in your home. Once you are there, here are some ways to be more engaged.

1. Turn off the phone or device

While your children and wife are awake, get rid of the phones, tablets and laptops. I am bad at this. If I have my phone in my pocket, I am prone to pull it out and check my email, social media accounts, news, sports scores, blogs, etc. As a way of reducing the number of times I reach for my phone, I have designated two spots in my home that I try to keep my phone. When I get home, the phone comes out of my pocket and onto my kitchen counter or fireplace mantel.

When our wives and children want to engage with us, but see that we consistently prioritize our devices over them, a message is sent that we care more about technology and the outside world than we do about them. Do whatever it takes to limit your phone usage at home, and engage with your family instead. 

2. Ask good questions

When we ask good questions, we show that we care. Good questions require more than casually asking, "How was your day?" It means that we think about what we know about our wife and kids, and ask specific questions. "How was your time at the library today?" "Did you read any good books today?" Or to our wives, "Were you able to get some time to think today?" "Did you have any particularly meaningful times with the kids today?"

Simply asking, "How was your day?" is a bit lazy. Being intentional to ask good questions shows you care and also gets a far more transparent and revealing answer.

3. Involve them in your work

When I come home at the end of the day, I do not always have the margin to simply play with my kids or sit around and talk. I often have projects I need to do around the house, chores that need to be completed or other miscellaneous work to be done. Rather than getting home and just ignoring our family to complete the projects, find ways to involve them. I have tried to make it a habit to involve my three year old son (my oldest) in the work that I do. Whether it is building our dining room table, shoveling our driveway or doing the laundry, it is great when he can join me. It may not always be a reality, but be creative and find ways to involve your family in your work.

4. Get on their level

This goes in the opposite direction of the last one. When you are not pressed by a necessary project or chore, then engage them on their level. Get on the ground and wrestle with them. Build something epic with their Legos. Go outside and make a snowman. Have a tea party. Read a book with them. Don't expect them to come to you, join them in their interests. This goes for our wives as well. Watch the show they want to watch (even if it is totally lame...). If they want to play a game, read a book, have conversation, get a back rub... The list can go on and on. Know your wife and engage her in her areas of interest.

5. Read with them

The older I get the more I appreciate books, more specifically, the more I appreciate words. Words are absolutely crucial. God has chosen to communicate with us through words (The Bible), and language is foundational to nearly everything we want to do in the world. One of the most important things you can do for the development of your child is to read books with them. I hear about study after study regarding the importance of reading, and what a better way to reinforce the value of reading than having their father read them a book. I recently read Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. She does a masterful job of articulating the value of reading in the home.

I would also argue that reading with your wife can be a really special time. Whether it is a classic novel, a book about parenting, or a book about faith, it can be very meaningful to share that time with your wife. Reading is a great way to engage with your family when you are home.

It's your turn. In the comments below, share one way that you try to engage with your family at home.

Apathetic Tendencies in the Modern Family Man

During the month of January, five different men are contributing guest posts in our "The Family Man that Follows Jesus" series. It will give me a month off, so I can spend time with my growing family, and I am really excited to personally learn from the series myself.

This week, Mark Benson, Board Member of First Baptist Church in Minneapolis and Chief Technology Officer at Exocitehas written about how the tendency toward apathy that exists in the modern family man. He also provides a framework for how we can move forward as men. Mark has become a great friend and I am thankful for his investment at First Baptist Church and his leadership within his own family. A more complete bio of Mark is available at the end of the post.

Bystander Apathy in the Modern Family Man

On March 13th, 1964, Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment building in Kew Gardens, a neighborhood in Queens, New York City. Reports of the attack described a scene of apathy from nearly 40 bystanders who failed to help or call the police. Why did this happen? Why did no one help? What would I have done in that same situation?

In social psychology, there is a phenomenon called bystander apathy (or sometimes, the bystander effect) where the probability that an individual will help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist hypothesized an interesting explanation to bystander apathy by saying that the bystanders′ callous behavior is caused by the strategies they previously adopted in daily life to cope with information overload.

As I was reading about the case of Kitty Genovese, I couldn’t help but think about how I myself as a husband and father at times am guilty of being a bystander to my own life and actions, and also how this so often is due to self-imposed information overload in my life which distracts me, saturates my senses, eliminates margin, and keeps me from acting with clarity and conviction. Examples:

  • When my marriage is drifting, the voice of apathy reminds me of how tired I am that night.
  • When my children need help sorting their place in the world, the voice of apathy reminds me of things I need to do for work that week.
  • When my alarm clock rings to wake me up to spend quiet time in prayer with the Lord, the voice of apathy tells me I had a late night, and deserve a few more minutes of rest.

A Clear Identity and Purpose for the Modern Family Man

As fathers and husbands, God wants us to act bravely in our daily lives and battle those apathetic tendencies head on. I suggest that the root cause of apathetic versus non-apathetic behaviors in men is rooted in their perceived identity of themselves. A clear identity and purpose in life is the engine that drives a disciplined thought life, principled behavior, and intentional relationships. A model of the relationship between these elements is shown in the following figure.

Figure 1: A Model for Engaging the Battle Against Apathetic Tendencies in the Modern Paterfamilias (Family Man)

Figure 1: A Model for Engaging the Battle Against Apathetic Tendencies in the Modern Paterfamilias (Family Man)

As fathers, the world tells us confusing messages about who we are. At work, we are lead to believe our worth comes from our title or how much money we make. The media tells us our worth comes from how we look or what our accomplishments are. The truth is very different from that, and it starts with a Christ-centered identity.

God wants us [husbands] to act bravely in our daily lives and battle those apathetic tendencies.

Christ-Centered Identity

If we are to confront apathy, we must first resolve our identity. Only after a clear Christ-centered identity is established (i.e. salvation) can we start seeing anti-apathetic results in other areas of our life. Our salvation in Christ is the core thing here that signals our understanding that we were created in God’s image made for His glory to take care of His creation. It is amazing the kind of relief it brings when we settle into the role and that God envisioned for us from the outset. "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God […]” (1 John 3:1 ESV)

Disciplined Thought Life

If our true identities are in Christ, and we really believe it, we need to set our compass on God and do the same for our families. Our thought-life can be held captive to apathy just as much as our actions and relationships. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

Principled behavior 

No one is perfect. However, a man with an identity rooted as a child of God following in the footsteps of Jesus will tend to act with his behavior in alignment with the things he knows to be right. Most of the time, we know the right things to do. yet the voice of apathy often confuses the situation and causes us to rationalize our apathetic actions. The Bible reminds us of the truth: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct," (1 Peter 1:14-15 ESV)

Intentional relationships

An identity rooted in Christ, when paired with a disciplined thought life will cause us to create and maintain intentional relationships. Intentionality is what creates space for quality time with our children and spouse, and guides our decisions when it comes to picking friends and acquaintances chosen for the purposes of either growing closer to Christ or helping others do the same. There are many verses in the Bible about the relationships men have, but one of the key ones relates to our children: "In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." (Proverbs 14:26 ESV)

A Call to Fight Against Apathy

Apathy is the absence of choice, which is itself a choice, and is enemy to the life God wants for us. I challenge you to think about how the noise in your life (multimedia, busyness, distraction, work, anger, lust) prevents you from battling apathy on a daily basis. How will you live? What will your legacy be? 

More about Mark

Mark Benson is passionate about seeing men follow Christ in boldness, creativity, discipline, and intentionality in their thought life, behavior, and relationships at work, home, and in their communities. Mark is on the board at First Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, he works as Chief Technology Officer at Exosite. Mark holds a BS in Computer Science from Bethel University and an MS in Software Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Mark and his wife Mandy have three beautiful kids and enjoy running, cycling, swimming, photography, and reading.

Loving our Wives with the Cross in Mind

During the month of January, five different men are contributing guest posts in our "The Family Man that Follows Jesus" series. It will give me a month off, so I can spend time with my growing family, and I am really excited to personally learn from the series myself.

This week, Drew Bontrager, the Connections Pastor at Lakeview Church in Indianapolis, IN. Drew has written about how important it is for husbands to remember the example of Jesus on the cross. The humble servant-heart of Jesus is the template for how we should engage with our wives in marriage. Drew became a friend while being a classmate of mine at Bethel Seminary and is a great man who loves Jesus very much. I am excited to share his post with you all. A more complete bio of Drew is available at the end of the post.

Love Sick

Recently, my wife Courtney had been sick. It hasn’t been anything major, just a common cold and fever but it put her in bed for a couple of days. She experienced common symptoms: headaches, sore throat, her temperature went up and down, and she was just exhausted.

Now I know it’s a bit cheesy but my heart breaks to see her in pain even if it is just a common cold, and I felt kind of bad because she probably got it from me. I had gotten sick a few days prior to Court, with the same stuff and was absolutely of no use to humanity, but to make matters worse I started recovering and feeling great while she was still in the thick of it. She never said it but I imagined she was thinking, “You did this to me!”

But here’s the cool part of the story; her sickness afforded me the opportunity to serve her. While she was officially out of commission, I had to step up my game. So I was doing everything. 

I prepared food for her, which was a miracle. Granted, it was food she had already cooked and all I had to do was heat it up, but nonetheless I “cooked” and cleaned up afterwards. I picked up her used tissues and threw them away. I made a run to the drug store to pick up extra meds and remedies. I checked in on her throughout my day. I cleaned the home. I made sure she had everything she needed. I was forced to put her needs and interests before my own.

At first, Court was hesitant about making requests. She started out by saying, “Could you…if it’s not too much trouble…possibly get me some more water?” Of course I obliged and slowly she started realizing, she could pretty much ask for anything. She was eating it up and all of a sudden, her tone changed. What was once a shy and polite request, became a demand as she said, “Where’s my water?!” Which was one of those questions that’s not really a question.

The most fascinating thing about it all is that while I served her, I noticed that it genuinely brought me joy. Albeit, it was a challenge at times and I didn’t always have the best attitude. There were times I almost said, “Get your own water!” Thankfully, I never did but even in the struggle of my own humanity, I found love and fulfillment as I gave myself up for her.

Out of reverence for Christ

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph 2:21, 25, 28)

Paul starts this passage in the letter to the Ephesians; in which my NIV Bible calls “Instructions for Christian Households,” with an imperative to both husbands and wives who follow Jesus, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21). In other words, if we love Jesus then we should serve our spouse simply out of our love and devotion for Jesus.

He continues in 5:25 and he speaks more specifically to husbands and how they can love their wives, “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” This passage beautifully echoes another one of Paul’s writings in Philippians 2:1-5 when he encourages the Philippian believers to humble themselves, value others above self, and put the interest of others before their own because this is the mindset of Christ. The context of relationships Paul was writing about in Philippians was different than in Ephesians, but the imperative was the same; follow the example of Jesus who humbled Himself all the way to the cross.

The picture God wants in our eyes when husbands see their wives is the cross. The self-sacrificial love of the cross is how to cultivate a healthy marriage relationship. Paul reminds us that when we think about how to love our wives, how to serve our wives, or how to relate to our wives that we must think of the cross.

Dynamic Service

My wife and I have been married for 5 ½ years now but I quickly discovered after we got married that I am naturally a selfish person. Serving Courtney and putting her needs before my own does not come easy. Though, it seems that the more I serve her, the more I enjoy serving her.

Serving isn’t something that only transforms the person receiving the service. Serving is dynamic. Paul said that when we love our wives, we love ourselves. There is something profoundly deep, mysterious, and wonderful that happens in a marriage relationship when a man and a woman love one another the way Jesus loved us. It places us in a humble position to give without the assurance or proposal of receiving anything in return. This type of generosity and vulnerability is the heart of God for a husband. 

The self-sacrificial love of the cross is how to cultivate a healthy marriage.

This Is Hard

I have been challenged lately with this question, how can I serve my wife in my normal day-to-day life the way Christ loved the church? Because if I’m honest, this is hard! It’s one thing to serve my wife when she is sick and incapable of taking care of herself every once and a while, but it’s a whole different ball game when she is healthy, autonomous, and taking care of business! And if I’m brutally honest, most of the time, I just don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like listening to my wife or asking her questions after a long day of work. I don’t feel like going on a walk with her because I’d rather watch sports. Or I don’t feel like cuddling up on the couch because I would rather have my own space.

The reality however is that I’m most likely not alone in my feelings because this is very natural. It’s not natural to want to serve. It’s natural to think of self. It’s natural to want to do things that give me satisfaction. The cross reminds us that God doesn’t want us to live a natural life.

God has something so much deeper and rewarding for us. The Kingdom of God is always counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. Jesus said that the first will be last and that if you want to live, then you must die to yourself. The cross shows us that if you want the kind of marriage God intends and to be the best husband you can be, then you have to live it like it’s not about you! 

More about Drew

Bontrager.jpg

Drew grew up in Indianapolis, IN where he met his wife Courtney. They are childhood sweethearts and have now been married for 5+ years. Drew traveled to Minneapolis to study and prepare for the call of God on his life to become a pastor. He studied Pastoral Studies at North Central University and Theological Studies at Bethel Seminary. He has served at two churches as an associate pastor for the past 5+ years and is currently back in Indianapolis serving as a staff pastor with his family at his home church, Lakeview Church. Drew's heart is to reach people for Christ and help them connect to the church family and use their gifts in ministry. 

Teach them Diligently to Your Children: Fatherhood and Reading Scripture

During the month of January, five different men are contributing guest posts in our "The Family Man that Follows Jesus" series. It will give me a month off, so I can spend time with my growing family, and I am really excited to personally learn from the series myself.

This week, Caleb Drahosh, a pastorat Buffalo City Church, a new church plant in Jamestown, North Dakota. Caleb has written about reading the Scriptures from the perspective of a Husband and Father. Caleb was the best man at my wedding, and someone whom I deeply respect. He is working as a bi-vocational pastor, planting a church in the growing city of Jamestown and his post this week is a great reminder that we do not read Scripture in isolation. A more complete bio of Caleb is available at the end of the post.

A dry season

Just a few short years ago I couldn’t picture myself driving a minivan. And just this last week I bought one. And I’m cool with it. What changed? My life situation.

We affirm that the truths contained within God’s Word never change. But we humans--in our gross mutability--are always standing in a different spot. It’s like beholding a breathtaking landscape and then moving twenty yards to the right and discovering a whole new facet of beauty.

I found recently that I was struggling to engage Scripture as I had previously, even just a few weeks earlier. I felt lost as I plowed through James, Romans, and Lamentations in my quiet times and I preached some pretty poor sermons. Being a rigidly formulaic and structured person, I dusted off my copy of Mortimer J. Adler’s How to Read A Book, convinced that I needed to brush up on my understanding of genre and authorial intent.

Nothing.

A shift in perspective

Even though I’ve been married for over seven years and am a dad to two young boys, I quickly began to realize I had moved twenty yards to the right, but I was engaging Scripture as a guy still standing in a previous position. I was desperately straining to get the view of the landscape that relied upon a significantly different orientation.

If that doesn’t quite make sense, consider the admonition given in the Shema:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Do you see that imperative buried in there to “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house?” As a husband and a father to two kids it’s commanded to me, that I make my home a place that bathes in the commands of Scripture.

Solomon gets this. He’s responding directly to the imperatives in the Shema in the Proverbs:

My son, do not forget my teaching,
                        but let your heart keep my commandments,
            for length of days and years of life
                        and peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1-2)

Solomon’s engagement with the law includes an understanding that he needs to be able to reproduce the truths contained therewithin to his son.

And this is where a shift in my own orientation to the text had changed. It is my duty as a husband and dad to consider the implications of Scripture for my family in every instance. I no longer read the Bible as a single dude with little to no responsibility; I read it as a husband and a father.

It is my duty to consider the implications of Scripture for my family.

Reading Scripture for more than ourselves

In a heavily individualistic society and a Christian culture that hasn’t always adequately resisted said individualism, we are trained to approach Scripture and read it with ourselves as the primary beneficiary. But we need to approach a text with a question that removes “me” from the place of prominence. We need to consider our families and be prepared to saturate our homes in gospel imperatives; imperatives that we are free to observe as those who are in Christ.

This is where mission begins. I am fully convinced that one reason Christians are bad at making disciples, is because we fail to note our own situation in life. When we read our Bible, we don’t properly consider our spouse, kids, coworkers, fellow students, the cashier at the grocery store, or the mailman. We don't properly consider our own situation as husband, father, coworker, neighbor or friend. When we begin to engage the text as one who lives in a dynamic world and not a vacuum, we will always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)”

It’s important that we ask questions about authorial intent and genre like “what were minivans intended for?” and “how does a minivan illuminate my understanding of motor vehicles as compared to mid-sized sedans?” But those questions don’t get you into the minivan. We only get there by being a parent. And--like Solomon--we behold the beauty of the landscape that is set before us when we grapple with where our feet are currently fixed; my feet are fixed in the place of fatherhood and my approach to Scripture is as one who seeks to diligently teach the truths of Scripture to my children.

More about Caleb

Caleb grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis before moving to Fargo to study at North Dakota State University. While at NDSU, he met his beautiful wife Rebekah and received his call to ministry. After graduation, Caleb and Bek moved to Louisville, KY to study at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Caleb received his Master of Divinity. They have two sons and are helping to plant Buffalo City Church, a new church in Jamestown, ND. Caleb is striving to see transformed lives engage in Spirit-empowered worship, Christlike service, and gospel-saturated community, resulting in multiplying congregations.

He is here! It's time to meet Jack!

The Birth

Our son was born on New Year's Eve Day, at 1:01am. We are so excited to welcome Jack into the world and watch him grow older. I am such a proud husband and father. My wife was a rockstar, and gave birth to our beautiful boy after four hours of active (and intense) labor. And little Jack came out doing great!

We are grateful for the many people who gave us support in preparation for his birth. Whether it be the many prayers people prayed on our behalf, the numerous people who were willing to be on call to watch the older two while Jack was born, our doula (Marnie Blackman from Blissful Beginnings), the midwives at the Minnesota Birth Center and so many others who gave texts or calls of encouragement as we waited for Jack to come. And come he did!

Every baby that is born is a miracle from God, no matter the way it happens and so every life should be celebrated, no matter how it is born. And so we celebrate! But I do want to say just how very proud I am of Megan and her intentionality with the labor and delivery of our children. She truly amazes me! And if you want to hear more about Jack's birth story, we love to share and talk about birth, so just send me a message.

The Specifics

Everyone loves to know all the details of a newborn, so here they are:

  • Date: December 31
  • Time: 1:01 am
  • Weight: 7 pounds 15 ounces
  • Height: 20 1/2 inches long
  • Head circumference: 14 inches

Baby and momma are both doing great and resting at home. Our older two are very excited to see, hold and touch their little brother. By God's grace, it is so exciting to see our family expand. And it will be a joy to see his little life grow.

The Pictures

Everybody loves pictures!

Waiting on Baby... And the January blog plan

My wife and I are past the due date and still waiting for our newest son to come out and meet the world. Currently (at the time of writing), he is still inside his mother's womb, and we are anxious to meet him. And it isn't easy to wait. There have been a range of emotions in the Adelman household, both positive and negative. Whether it has been frustration that he hasn't come, disappointment that he isn't here or joy at the anticipation that he is coming, we continue to wait.

I believe that God will work in the midst of this season to grow our trust in Him and His perfect timing, and we are praying and seeking to respond well as we wait. It has been challenging for me, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for my sweet wife. She has the constant reminder that he is still there, waiting to come out. Because for her, he is literally, right there, waiting to come out. While I can "forget" about it for a moment as I focus on other things throughout my day, she cannot. And yet, we wait.

Waiting isn't easy. But it is absolutely worth the wait.

Come soon our little son. Come soon.

January Guest Series

With the anticipation of our expanding family, I have reached out to some men whom I greatly respect and asked them to write guest posts. They are all men who are either husbands or fathers, and men who are following Jesus faithfully. I have asked them each to write about how to be a Christ-Centered Husband and/or Father.

Christ-Centered Men

There is a deep need for men to be good husbands and fathers, who do so in God-honoring and Biblical ways. As I expand my own family, and think myself about being the kind of man that God desires, I am excited to share what these other men have written. I am still pulling together the final details of who will post which days, but you can expect at least one post per week. I have not given too narrow of topics to each, but just the broad subject of being Christ-Centered husbands and/or fathers. I am trusting that God will weave it all together in a way that equips us all to follow Jesus more faithfully.