To all of the Fathers out there, Happy Fathers’ Day! Today we celebrate you and say to the world how honored we are to have you in our lives. All too often, fathers get a bad rap in society. We call them “deadbeats”, “absentee” and “sperm donors” when in actuality, there are many, many fathers who are stepping up to the plate and taking on the responsibility of both parents, just like single mothers. I have been blessed to have been surrounded by men who are wonderful fathers. My daddy has always been my hero. He was my chauffer,my chaperone, my cheerleader and my champion. I couldn’t imagine my childhood without him. My granddaddy was just like my father, and he was there at every awards ceremony, every sermon and every sideline encouraging me and letting me know he had my back.
Then I look at my husband and the wonderful father he’s been to our son, Christopher. Watching him take on the role of both parents and being a role model for our son has helped to ensure that another generation of men will grow up honoring God and being an example for their families. I look forward to the day our son will grow and become a husband and a father, and I am encouraged because I know the model that was set before him.
To the fathers out there who are not doing everything they should, know that it’s not too late. Pick up the phone. Stop by and check on your children. Know that they need you. Your daughters will grow up looking for a man like you. Be the man you’d want your daughters to grow up and marry. Be the man that you sons will want to emulate in adulthood. More importantly, be the man that God designed and purposed you to be. We are all counting on you.
There is a saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This may be true, but if we are holding on to trash, our hands are too full to embrace the treasure s that God has for our lives today.
Everything has a useful lifespan—buildings, cars, technology, even human beings! Have you ever walked into someone’s house and it was so cluttered that you felt trapped inside? Hoarders have this obsessive compulsion to hold on to things way past their useful life. I believe that there is a little bit of hoarder in each of us. We are afraid to let go of the past because the future seems scary and fraught with uncertainty. The beautiful thing about walking with Christ is that He knows where He’s going, even when we don’t!
When we fail to let go of things, we imprison ourselves to our past. Not only that, but we begin to hold others prisoners to their past as well. Have you ever had someone tell you, “I remember when you…”
For some of us, the past is a place of romanticized nostalgia; for others, it is a place that renders us nauseous with regret. No matter how wonderful or how woefully horrific your past, two things are true about it: you cannot undo it and God saw you through it.
While we cannot go back in time and erase things from our past, we can use it as a testimony to God’s goodness in our life and encourage others. If you have a past full of great memories, praise God! Just know that life didn’t end there—God still has a purpose and a plan for you to go on and accomplish even greater things in Him.
We have all been called to run this race of faith. No runner can win a race looking behind him. This race will require us to lace up our shoes, set our course, and keep our eye focused on the finish line. We have got to let go of yesterday’s junk.
Today, our challenge is to let go of past hurts, unforgiveness, bitterness and all the “stuff” that has kept you from running your best race. You’ll be amazed at how much quicker you can run without the extra weight.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. On tomorrow, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Originally known as “Decoration Day”, this practice of decorating the graves of the deceased is a practice dating back to ancient times. After the US Civil War ended in 1868, this practice took on a new cultural norm as the death toll for both the Union and Confederacy were so high (over 600,000 soldiers). National cemeteries were established to bury the fallen soldiers and commemorate their death.
As we take a moment to reflect on their sacrifice, I think of Jesus’s words to his disciples in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
We honor the true friends of our nation—those men and women who gave it all for the sake of our country, our freedom, our liberty. And yet, despite the sacrifices they made, they still did not pay our debt to sin and eternal death and separation from God. Only Jesus’ death paid it all. Only his blood that was shed was enough to pave the way for countries such as the United States of America to declare itself One Nation Under God. Only Jesus made that relationship possible.
And so on tomorrow, while we fire up our grills and host our backyard barbecues or enjoy a day at the beach, let us take a moment and pray for the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and children who still grieve the loss of their loved ones who gave it all for their country. And let us praise God for Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice so that all of humanity might have life and liberty in Him.
It has a strange way of haunting our present and preventing us from fully functioning in the now.
Why is it so hard to let go of our past? Is it because we are holding on to unforgiveness? Unmet expectations? Unfulfilled purpose?
As mothers, we often have a difficult time seeing our children in their now because we are intimately involved in their past. We’ve seen them at every stage of life, and often times we fail to accept their adult selves, especially when they make decisions that run contrary to our wishes and the hopes we had for their lives.
The key to operating in the now as a parent is to understand our God-given role in their lives.
We have been given the sacred task of stewardship. A steward is responsible for managing that which is not his/hers. Our children do not belong to us. They belong to the God who entrusted them to us for a season and a time.
We are not God. As such, we cannot change their hearts, their minds or their choices. The God we serve, however, has the sovereign power to change them from the inside out. Our role is to turn them over to God, trust His will for their lives, and stand ready to love them as they are; not how we want them to be.
Whenever we go to make a major purchase, we typically get an estimate of the cost before making the investment. We shop around for the best deal—looking for quality, workmanship and cost. We compare costs; ask for advice from others and often times mull over the decision for weeks if not months before making a decision to buy. If we go through all of that effort for a car or a house, why do we not take that same level of care and consideration when deciding where to invest our heart?
Men do this.
Women do not.
In the context of relationships, men are seeking something very particular—many times we just don’t know exactly what it is. But we know when we’ve found it; conversely, we know when you’re not it. Once we realize you’re not it, depending on our ego, we either string you along or we get out. Oftentimes, our exit comes long after we’ve snuffed out the light within you, either through dishonesty, betrayal or abuse. Most times, hurting you is not the objective. It is the collateral damage of our search for light. The light of the right woman for our life. What happens when a women gives up her heart without knowing the heart—the true intentions—of the man? The heart is her lifeline that directs decisions whether to open up or to heed the alarm that is going off inside telling you to cut bait and run. You cannot afford to ignore the red flags when a man is searching, browsing, seeking something he can’t yet identify.
Jesus knew the value of a woman’s heart; that is why he entrusted her with the light of the gospel. The first eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrection, she carried the good news back to the other disciples. A woman was the first person to bear the light of Christ and share it with men. I find it amazing that women don’t know the value of your own hearts and therefore, you devalue it, thinking that it can be purchased with cars and bobbles and pieces of time doled out strategically by men in their effort to stroke their own ego and purchase that which is priceless. If money can buy your heart, you didn’t get the proper estimate of what your heart is truly worth.
Men are strategic investors. We evaluate every relationship we enter determining the investment required for the return we desire. Our investments are driven by our ego. Author Deepak Chopra wrote that the ego is a type of social mask that thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power because it lives in fear.
Men have a tendency to dominate when we are afraid to expose our hearts. We were taught not to cry and hurt when we should. As little boys, when we fall and hurt ourselves, we are quickly told to “Man up”, or “Suck it up and take it like a man.” We are afraid to go to doctors and refuse to ask for direction when we are lost. Quick to cover up our true feelings, we never want to be exposed, especially to a woman. Ironically, it is only a woman who can disarm our ego and get behind the mask we wear for the rest of the world. How she goes about doing it makes all the difference. Ladies, here’s a quick guide to help you guard your heart so that your light can be bright when the right guy comes along.
Know your worth. Understand that your most powerful weapon lies between your ears; not necessarily between your legs. As men, we are driven to chase, capture and conquer. If there is nothing left to conquer in our relationship with you, we quickly grow tired of you and find another to chase, capture and conquer. Ego, remember?
Operate in your purpose. There is nothing sexier or more challenging than a woman who is walking in her purpose and doing her own thing. While the damsel in distress theme strokes our ego, we’re looking for returns on our investment. Partnership is always more attractive when our partner is bringing purpose to the table. Otherwise, it is just a type of co-dependency, and that is not going to last.
Develop your heart. Take time to get to know yourself. Know what you like and don’t like, and be willing to speak up and let us know. Understand your strengths and your limitations and be comfortable in your own skin. Sexy is 10% appearance and 90% attitude. Having it and know what to do with it are two very different things. You need to know both.
Raise the stakes. Know who you are and what you possess. Don’t compromise who or what you are for us. By nature, men have very low standards. Women are our primary motivators. We work, buy houses, cars and have 401(k)’s all to impress women so that hopefully, we’ll capture them and make them ours forever. Otherwise, we would be in one room bachelor pads or worse, in the basement of our mother’s house forever; riding bicycles and spending all of our money on Taco Bell, Sports Illustrated and GameFly subscriptions.
Be our light. It always amazes me how bright our house becomes when my wife comes home. She walks through the house and immediately begins opening The curtains on the windows and turning on the lights in the house. When I’m home, it’s dark—like, movie theatre dark. Darkness doesn’t bother most men. Women love light because they reflect light. Don’t allow us to put out your light. If you have lost your light because of past relationships, hurts or even abuse, it is time to let go of what or who hurt you and move forward in a way that will restore others surrounding you. As men, we need you to get up from where you are, release your past through forgiveness and give us another chance. We need the light in you to shine again and show us the way.
We had the privilege of attending Steve Harvey's Act Like a Success Conference this past weekend, and it awakened something in us to move beyond our comfort zone in business and ministry.
As we began evaluating our business, we asked ourselves the question, are we setting our business and our ministry up for growth? Have we done the due diligence necessary to create an environment for healthy, sustainable growth?
Here are three takeaways from our time with Steve Harvey this weekend that have helped us rethink the framework for our success plan
1. Lose the fear of failing. Failures will happen; it is a natural part of life. Rather than fear failure, embrace it and look for the lesson and the blessing that comes with it. Failure is never final, unless we decide to make it so.
2. Connect your passion to your gifts. For leaders, this means connecting your members/employees with their gifts and passions. While a team member may be passionate about a particular role, if it does not align with his/her gifts, ultimately, it will frustrate both you and him/her when it doesn't result in success. It also means being honest with yourself about your gifts and talents and relinquishing things that don't align with your God-given talents to those who possess the gifts to get it done.
3. Plan each day with a sense of expectation. Expect the best for your business, your ministry, your life. Have an Ephesians 3:20 declaration for your day. Know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can ask or think according to the power that works in you. If His power resides in you, then success is inevitable.
So, embrace the day, failures and all, connect with your gifts and operate expecting greatness today!
For more information on how to bring these teachings and other resources to your business/organization, connect with us today.
I’ve often wondered what is at the root of generational poverty. But then again, that begs an even larger question of, what defines poverty? The national poverty line has been set at $24,600 for a family of four. So does that mean that a working mother of 3 children who make $25,000 a year is not in poverty? Or that the two-parent household with only one working adult who make $24,800 a year is middle class? What about the single person who graduates from college making more than the $12,060 a year that defines the poverty level but who has $80,000 in student loans trying to launch out on his/her own? Are they not poor?
I’m not here to argue for raising the national poverty line or even to postulate the argument for eliminating student debt. Those discussions are for economists with far greater knowledge and much more powerful calculators.
I am here, however, to discuss poverty and the impact that it has on the self-efficacy of a generation to move forward. How generational poverty is tied to entitlement and a sense of hopelessness when it comes to changing one’s lot in life. And how all of this impacts workforce development here in our region.
I have come to define poverty as a person’s lack of capacity for self-efficacy that perpetrates hopelessness and a sense of entitlement when it comes to life’s basic necessities. Poverty runs deeper than one’s annual income.
Poverty impedes vision, thereby skewing priorities and preventing progress. It is difficult to set 3-5 year goals for one’s life, when we cannot see past the next two weeks’ paycheck.
In the same vein, it is difficult to help people see the value in long-term workforce development efforts such as re-training programs and apprenticeships when they are balancing multiple minimum wage jobs, the responsibilities of parenting and all of the other duties that come with being an adult. In a state where only 28% of adults hold any type of post-secondary degree or certification, we are fighting a losing battle if we hope to get our workforce development efforts moving by focusing on just retraining and internships. The problem runs deeper, and so must the solution.
We must help people to dream again.
We must remove the immediate barriers to success and empower people to dream big dreams and set big goals—God-sized goals that are rooted in their purpose and their destiny. We must help people reconnect with their Creator and find their own path to success.
And we don’t have to preach or break out a Bible to do it.
If we allow people the space to dream and provide a network of support to help remove the immediate obstacles to their success, we can help them overcome smaller challenges and develop the confidence to take on bigger goals with higher stakes.
That is what Dent Enterprises is all about. Our Effective Parenting Initiative (EPI) provides a safe space for parents to develop the foundational skills needed for every employee—the ability to think strategically about problems and collaboratively work to develop a solution. EPI helps parents develop life and goals and an action plan for them and their children to reach those goals. It provides an opportunity for parents to collaboratively address problems and tackle some of the obstacles that they face in a supportive network that will guide them and help them become not only better parents, but better employees, better citizens, better people.
Contact us today to see how we can help your church or organization unlock your people's ability to dream again and prepare them for success in the workforce.
Wal-Mart is an excellent instructor on patience. There’s the little old lady with over $100 in grocery counting her pennies for payment while the line backs up into the men’s clothing department; the two lanes that remain darkened as management stands by chatting idly, seemingly apathetic to the line you’ve been stuck in for the past 20 minutes. Or, better yet, the cashier who turns off her light just as you are about to put your items on the conveyer belt, indignantly stating to everyone and no one simultaneously, “It’s time for my brake, and my feet hurt!”
What do these scenarios teach us (besides the fact that we may need to find another place to shop)? They teach us the principles of patience, and for many of us, that we still have not mastered these principles.
The question then becomes, what does it take to become a powerful person of patience?
Dictionary.com defines patience as the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. Does this pertain to you? Do you want to become a patient person in 2017? Do you struggle with attitudes of family and friends, coworkers? Are you constantly upset with careless, insensitive people who manipulate situations and get in your way? Have you grown weary of thoughtless and unsympathetic people who have no respect for life? Nothing sabotages or creates a destructive mentality more than being impatient.
To become a person of patience takes effort as we learn to adjust our attitudes while we find ourselves in the holding pattern called delay. It allows us to see how delay can work in our favor. Being patient is easier when we focus on the big picture and expose our thoughts to God.
God empowers us with grace to endure when others are impatient with us. Patience takes others adjusting to our attitudes and personalities as well. Patience works best when handling difficult people and it starts within as we learn to be patient with ourselves. It takes others being willing to share in our struggle and support us and hold us accountable for loving ourselves as our love grows for others. Surrender daily to God and leaving the results up to Him. Think About It!
Based on 42, Becoming a Powerful Person of Patience. Dent Enterprises, Inc. 2016, Charles Dent, PhD. For more information, or to order your copy, contact us today.
The Complete Thinker division of Dent Enterprises, Inc. is our strategic planning and publishing house. We provide onsite strategic planning for churches and non-profits to help expand your scope of ministry, increase your operating budget and engage members and stakeholders in vision building and mission execution. We also provide tools to help build your organization for success. Contact us today to see how we can help you think completely through your plans and goals for maximum impact.