Street-Level Faith: The Story of Paul David Tripp


Paul David Tripp is a pastor, an author, and an international conference speaker, yet he still finds time to run his own ministry. As president of Paul Tripp Ministries, he strives to connect Jesus Christ’s transforming power to everyday life. Tripp’s unique vision has led him to write 14 books on raw Christian living—and eight of these can be found on Vyrso. Tripp’s preaching and teaching is inspired by a passion to help people connect the gospel to every aspect of their life—a necessary feat in our broken world.

Faithful relevance

Bible Study Magazine recently sat down with Tripp to hear about his experience in preaching and teaching Christianity on the “street level.” Check out this excerpt from the cover story:

“Tripp can relate to those who struggle to see how faith plays out in real life. ‘Growing up, I didn’t understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. I learned that Christ died for my past sins and I am forgiven because of His death. I learned that Christians can look forward to eternity because of Christ’s sacrifice.’ But he didn’t learn how faith in Christ was for the here and now—what it means in terms of family, parenting, relationships, the workplace, finances, and sexuality. ‘I heard about God’s plan of mercy and forgiveness, yet I lived in a culture that offered laws, rules, criticism and condemnation instead. There was disharmony between the message and the realities of everyday life.’

‘For a long time, I studied the word of God to understand its content—the theological information it contained. That’s a very important step in the process, but I stopped before I ever asked how it spoke to the particular issues of life in a broken world.

He sees the Bible differently these days. ‘The Bible is a grand redemptive story, but it may be better to say it’s a theologically annotated story. To some degree, every passage tells something about God, about me, about life in the fallen world, about the disaster of sin and the operation of God’s grace—every passage tells me something about every dimension of my life.’”

Read more!

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine before July 31 to get the Paul David Tripp issue and continue reading. And explore more of Tripp’s powerful books on pastoral ministry, marriage, and more: check out all of his titles on Vyrso today.

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Why Are We So Quick to Leave the Church?

The Unfinished Church

Today’s guest post is by Rob Bentz, the pastor of small groups at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs and a featured blogger for His first book, The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress tackles the harmful attitude that’s becoming a cultural norm—the one that says: “I love Jesus, but hate the church.” Drawing on his experience as a pastor, Bentz helps those disenchanted with the church to rediscover its importance for the Christian life by examining the biblical, theological, and historical reasons why Christ’s followers should embrace gospel-centered community—even when it’s hard. Pre-order this honest look at the church for just $7.79!

I like to eat at Chili’s. I like to shop at Eddie Bauer. I like to sit down for coffee and conversation with friends at the locally owned coffee shop. And I typically enjoy my experience at all three of these favorite locations.

But occasionally, something can get a bit sideways. Sometimes the food is served cold, or they don’t have my size, or every seat in the establishment is full. Yet, I return again and again, offering a measure of grace to the places and people I value.

I suspect you have a few favorite places, too—places where you enjoy the products, the familiar faces, and the atmosphere so much that you’re willing to overlook a few mishaps.

Yet one environment that rarely receives this sort of social grace is the very place where it ought to be on display the most: the church.

Recently, a woman told me that she decided to leave her church community because of one difficult and awkward interaction. One! One rough conversation. One less-than-pleasant experience. That’s all it took to for her to say goodbye. The church that she called home for years is now just some place that she used to go.

She’s not alone. Many people leave their church community for seemingly insignificant or overblown issues. The question we must ask is why? Why is the first choice to pull up roots and move on? Why is the knee-jerk reaction to leave? This isn’t how we respond to our favorite coffee shop. We don’t get our feelings bruised, puff up our chest, and boldly decide never to return.

Perhaps walking away from our community of faith is easy because we see so clearly the faults of our faith family. Perhaps it’s just too difficult for sinners to look past the sins of others to get a true glimpse of how God sees them.

It seems as though we easily forget that we’re all broken people. We forget that we’re all striving to live out our faith in Christ in honest, real, tangible ways the best way we know how. We forget that God is at work in each of our lives, redeeming us from the ways we’ve been beaten up by the sins of others and by our own sinful choices and struggles.

Without a clear and accurate picture of Jesus’ sacrificial payment on behalf of his people, you and I won’t see each other accurately. We will see the sin that’s stained us. We will feel the rough edges. When we dismiss other members of God’s church so quickly, we’re ultimately dismissing God and his sanctifying work in the life others.

To be a part of God’s church requires more relational grace than is easily given. It challenges us to see one another as God sees us—redeemed men and women who are part of a community that God is redeeming called his church. This is something to fight for, wrestle with, and champion—not something to simply turn and leave behind.

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Learn more about why the church is an integral piece in the Christian life and how the modern church can embrace gospel-centered community: pre-order The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress today for just $7.79!

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Get 11 Wisdom Hunters Devotionals for $0.99 Each!

Wisdom Hunters Sale

Through July 16, get 11 Wisdom Hunters titles for 99 cents each—or buy them all for just $10.89! Wisdom Hunters’ ministry, based in Atlanta, was created to encourage Christians to apply God’s unchanging truth in a changing world. Whether you’re a mom, a small group leader, or someone wanting to get more joy out of your job, Wisdom Hunters’ founder Boyd Bailey has created a devotional designed to help you make a habit of spending daily time in the Word and applying Scripture’s truth in your life.

Reaching more than 80 countries across the globe, Wisdom Hunters has a devotional for everyone. Here are a few 99-cent books to choose from:

Seeking Daily the Heart of God

Go deeper into God’s Word every day. This book offers three-minute devotions for every day of the year, and it challenges you to know God better and fill your life with his wisdom. Begin each day with a clear and applicable Scripture reading and lesson, and discover how seeking God’s heart every day will enrich your life and empower your spiritual walk.

Wisdom for Marriage

Get scriptural wisdom and practical tips for a better marriage today. These 30 devotional readings are designed to move you from settling for a mediocre love to an unselfish love that flows from the love of the Lord. This easily digestible, yet impactful book covers envy, pride, hope, prayer, and much more as it dissects the most beloved Bible verses on love and marriage and applies them to your life.


Get the spiritual truth and encouragement you need to infuse the Word into your life and extract sin. This 90-day devotional offers a fresh look at Scripture, and it’s specially designed to encourage you to spend regular time with God. This process of regular spiritual infusion gives you the emotional and mental stamina to “walk wisely” within a world of hurt. Each day’s entry includes Scripture paired with a devotional reading and a concise spiritual lesson.

Wisdom for Work

God created you to find pride in your work. In fact, a job well done invites the commendation of Christ, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” By serving as a strong steward of your gifts and skills, you bring honor to Christ. This devotional will help you focus on Christ and his character as you face both work-related struggles and successes.

Wisdom for Fathers

Do you ever feel inadequate or overwhelmed as a father? You’re not alone. But the struggles you face as a father offer the perfect opportunity to approach your heavenly father for wisdom, guidance, and encouragement. Discover how to practice godly principles in your everyday life, so you can be the husband, leader, and father God designed you to be.

More 99-cent books:

Get them all for just $10.89!

Hurry—this deal won’t last long! Get all of these devotionals for 99 cents each before July 16.

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Dads: the 2 Most Important Things You Need to Model

The Shepherd Leader at Home

Today’s guest post is by Timothy Witmer, author of The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family. Dr. Witmer is also professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and he has been the senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church since 1986. In today’s post, Dr. Witmer takes us through the two most important things dads need to model:

1. Put the Lord first

On Father’s Day, I’ll be in the same place doing the same thing that I’ve done for the past 35 years. No, not in my church preaching a Father’s Day sermon. Actually, despite the fact that I’ve been in ministry for 35 years, I’ve never preached on Father’s Day. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I remember many services in the brightly painted, white, clapboard chapel nestled on a mountainside overlooking Pine Creek, one of the most beautiful valleys you could ever imagine. The sound of the church bell rings across the valley, signaling the beginning of the service. The opening hymn is “Faith of Our Fathers,” sung to the accompaniment of a foot-pumped organ that sounds more like an accordion. To my right, I can hear the clear tenor voice of my dad. Soon we will hear a simple, clear, heart-stirring challenge from the lay pastor about the need to take our biblical responsibilities of fatherhood seriously.

As I’ve sat in that pew over the years, my heart has overflowed with gratitude to God for what I learned about fatherhood from my dad. The very fact that we were there reminded me of the importance of keeping my priorities in order. It was 10 a.m. on Sunday morning and we were on vacation. It was my parents’ only Sunday away, but we were in church. It was never debated or in doubt. We were going to worship the Lord. Dad was the hardest-working man I’ve ever known, but church attendance was never compromised all year long. The Lord was a priority.

2. Make time for family

We were also there because my dad saw the importance of making time for family. Our annual trip to the mountains became an anchor in our lives. It was a time of fun and outdoor activities fueled by lots of fattening food. But most importantly, there was extended time together in which long conversations and laughter echoed from the back porch across that same valley. Relationships were deepened and mutual respect grew.

I suppose the bottom line is that my dad modeled these priorities. He was a good example to his four sons. The priorities of faith and family cannot be taught by mere talk, but must be modeled. What makes us think that our children will take seriously things that we don’t? Dad didn’t talk a lot, but his actions clearly communicated the importance of faith and family. Words from the last stanza of “Faith of Our Fathers” are appropriate here:

And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Be the father God designed you to be

I must admit that, as I’ve sat in that pew over the years, I’ve often been convicted of my shortcomings—either by the pastor’s message or by my own reflections that flood into my mind. But I’m also reminded of the forgiving grace of my heavenly Father and the persistent presence of his spirit to help me to become the dad and husband that I ought to be.

So that’s where I’ll be, again, this Father’s Day. My dad’s been with the Lord for some years now. I know I’ll have difficulty singing “Faith of Our Fathers” as the tears well up in my eyes. My efforts to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks are futile. My wife is ready with an understanding look and a tissue or two. She is ready because she knows what this means to me. She knows what I’m thinking. But she also knows that my tears are not tears of sadness, but tears of gratitude to God. Now there are the voices of my children and grandchildren around me, hopefully learning the same lessons that I learned for so many years from my dad in that brightly painted, white, clapboard chapel on the mountainside.

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Learn more about the importance of fatherhood and how to be a strong leader at home. In The Shepherd Leader at Home, Dr. Witmer offers a biblical framework for knowing, leading, protecting, and providing for your family. Get this highly respected and well-loved resource: download The Shepherd Leader at Home today!

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The Measure of a Man: 4 Decades Later and Still Changing Lives

The Measure of a Man

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Gene Getz, senior pastor at Fellowship Bible Church North in Plano, Texas, and author of the bestselling book The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of a Godly Man. More than 30,000 people currently attend the Dallas churches he has started, while even more Fellowship churches span the globe. Dr. Getz is the author of more than 50 books, the host of the 15-minute daily radio program Renewal, and the director of the Center for Church Renewal.

The story of The Measure of a Man began at a men’s Bible study over 40 years ago. I just launched the first Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas. Growth was immediate—and I was definitely convinced that one of the biblical priorities for growing healthy churches was to develop a strong men’s ministry. Consequently, I issued an invitation to join me in an early morning Bible study. To my surprise, about 25 guys showed up!

I then faced the question: what biblical passages should we study together? As I reflected, my thoughts drifted to the profile of maturity in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. In these letters, Paul outlined 20 qualities that form a profile for determining how each one of us measures up to the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ.

As senior pastor, I led the first study—“Having a good reputation.” We looked at relevant scriptural passages and spent time discussing how we could become that kind of Christian man. My goal in that first session was to model how to lead future studies—which worked. When I invited others to lead additional studies, they responded.

This became one of the most dynamic Bible studies I’d ever attended, and I began to journal the biblical and practical insights that were emerging from our discussions. I was definitely growing in my own walk with Christ. I was not just their pastor/teacher. I was a fellow learner.

Then one day, about six or seven weeks into this study, Bill Greig Jr., then president of Gospel Light, showed up in my office. I had known Bill for several years and he had become a good friend. He informed me he was visiting Dallas and had heard about what was happening in our first Fellowship Bible Church. He wanted to know more about it!

God was indeed working in amazing ways. Church growth was immediate. Lives were being changed and those of us in leadership were facing the challenge of just keeping up.

“Gene,” Bill said, “tell me what’s happening!” At that moment, I reached for my notebook and shared with him what I had been journaling.

To my surprise, Bill’s response was immediate. I remember his words: “I want that as a book!” He then turned to Dave, his acquisitions editor, and asked for a contract. Dave opened his briefcase, pulled out what was then a couple of pages (how times have changed). It was indeed an author’s agreement and Bill asked for a commitment.

Surprised, I told Bill I‘d pray about it and, well . . . the rest is history. The final product was The Measure of a Man, which to the surprise of all of us has never gone out of print since 1974.

Why has the book endured? Why has it been translated into numerous languages? Why is it being used today even more than the day it came off the press?

I have a simple answer: I borrowed the outline—the 20 qualities of maturity—from the apostle Paul (and, we all know where he got it). I’ve had the privilege of bringing a biblical outline of maturity into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I often say that when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ, Paul will receive the rewards and I’ll be penalized for plagiarism!

Seriously, what Paul gave us 2,000 years ago is spiritually supracultural. It measures maturity today in the same way it did when Paul penned these letters to Timothy and Titus. And, because it’s biblical, it’s applicable in every culture of the world at any moment in history.

I love meeting men as I travel and speak. They inform me that they came to Christ nearly 40 years ago, 30 years ago, yes, just a few years ago—and they share how The Measure of a Man changed their lives. Many say, “It’s the first men’s book I read!”

It’s a humbling experience. In fact, here’s a portion of a recent email:

Dr. Getz,

I’m a crime scene investigator (CSI). More importantly, I’m a Christian man saved by grace and my wife and I lead a married couple’s ministry in our church. I read your masterpiece, The Measure of a Man some time ago and decided to cover it in our monthly men’s Bible study. It has been phenomenal. Aside from enduring the many challenges that Christian men face on a daily basis, I’m also challenged with the task of leading an incredible group of Christian men and women while serving as a CSI in one of the homicide capitals of the country.

Allow me to take this opportunity to say thank you for The Measure of a Man as it has been so edifying, enlightening, and convicting for me, especially toward my roles as a husband and father. Even to someone who operates in (literally) one of the most diabolical environments possible, your work and the Word of God is so applicable and beneficial.

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Take 80% Off the Father-Daughter Bundle!

Daddy's GirlThis last week we’ve been offering amazing deals on 24-hour book bundles that provide wisdom and encouragement for dads everywhere. Today’s Father-Daughter Bundle is filled with titles designed to strengthen and inspire your relationship with your daughter. The icing on the cake?

Here’s what you’ll get:

1. Nourishing the Seed: Learning to Please Father God by Bob Mumford

These devotional-sized teachings are designed to spiritually move you forward in a greater understanding of what the father’s love means. You’ll come alongside Bob Mumford’s 55+ years of experience as he teaches in-depth concepts on how to cultivate, nourish, and produce fruit in your life. The end of each chapter contains additional thoughts, questions, diagrams, and charts to add a deeper understanding of the concepts discussed.

2. Eyes of Honor: Training for Purity and Righteousness by Jonathan Welton

Find an honest and refreshing viewpoint that offers hope and complete freedom from sexual sin. Jonathan Welton devoted himself to finding a way to find freedom for years through books, 12-step groups, and counseling—with no success. Through the encouragement of countless friends who longed for freedom, Welton found answers in Scripture. In Eyes of Honor, he presents how to live a pure life by understanding your personal identity, the proper view of the opposite sex, and recognition of your enemies.

3. What Guys See That Girls Don’t by Sharon Daugherty

What are guys looking at? What picture do men see you paint? Sharon Daugherty speaks frankly—with Scripture as her backing—to teens and young women about the impact of their dress and behavior on the opposite sex. Find practical advice your daughter can use to project radiant beauty from the inside out, develop a pure and genuine aura, and send the appropriate signals, all while living joyfully with God-set boundaries. We recommend that you read this book with your teenage daughter as she establishes her own sense of style; learn more about her developing personality and impart your keen wisdom!

4. Raising a Lady in Waiting: Parent’s Guide to Helping Your Daughter Avoid a Bozo by Jackie Kendall

Learn from bestselling author Jackie Kendall as she opens her heart to share her experience raising daughters that navigate the challenges of relationships. Get valuable principles that help you effectively guide your daughter to maintain high relationship standards, guard her mind from false relationship images, and teach her the value of waiting for God’s best. As a parent, you are your daughter’s most influential mentor and coach—help her make wise decisions today!


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24-Hour Deal: Get 70% Off the Power of a Father Bundle

Power of a Parent's Blessing

Today’s Father’s Day Bundle is here! For the next 24 hours, get 70% off the Power of a Father Bundle—you’ll get four books for just $17.99.

This bundle shows you how to bless your children and empower them for lifelong discipleship, how to conquer the most destructive family issues, and how to be a better father, husband, and leader.

The Power of a Father Bundle offers four resources designed to draw men closer to God, including:

1. The Power of a Parent’s Blessing: See Your Children Prosper and Fulfill Their Destinies in Christ by Craig Hill

This books offers a road map for the incredible things that can happen when you bless the children in your life. By blessing your children, you’re empowering them to prosper in the life God has planned for them. Author Craig Hill addresses key topics, like when and how you should bless your child, the consequences of not blessing your kids, the role of parents, and practical tools to bless your child. Start empowering your kids for a prosperous and fulfilling life today!

2. Restoring the Christian Family: A Biblical Guide to Love, Marriage, and Parenting in a Changing World by John Loren Sandford and Paula Sandford

This book combines 30 years’ of family counseling wisdom and provides helpful insights and illustrations from the authors’ own lives. Paula and John Loren Sandford tackle the leading issues tearing families apart, including disappointing marriages, resentful children, and poor communication. This book offers concrete advice and provides hope and healing for anyone wanting a happy and healthy family.

3. 10 Lies Men Believe by J. Lee Grady

10 Lies Men Believe offers a revealing look at why so many Christian men today are in serious crisis. The author, who spent eight years confronting the abuse of women in more than 20 countries, believes men are failing in marriage, fatherhood, friendships, and careers because of 10 wrong mindsets inherited from culture. With gut-wrenching honesty, the author offers practical answers for men who struggle with a variety of issues, including addiction, abusive tendencies, pornography, controlling behavior, and emotional problems rooted in a lack of proper fathering.

4. Not by Bread Alone: Daily Devotions for Disciples by Greg Hinnant

In this series of daily devotions, Greg Hinnant sheds light on the promises of God’s Word in order to encourage each of us to pursue a closer walk with Christ. Not By Bread Alone will help you understand Scripture and apply it to your life, so that you can experience the blessings and power of Christ. These daily devotions address the Lord’s blessings, witnessing to others, dealing with pride and hurt, marriage, and raising godly children.

Hurry—this bundle expires in 24 hours! Get all four books for 70% off with the Power of a Father Bundle.

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The Best Advice for the Modern Dad and His Growing Daughter

That's My Girl

Today’s interview is with Rick Johnson, founder of Better Dads, a fathering-skills program that empowers men to lead and serve in their families and communities. He’s the bestselling author of ten books on marriage, family relations, and parenting, and he’s a highly sought-after keynote speaker at parenting and marriage conferences. His popular book, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, shows men how to develop close relationships with their daughters that teach them how they should be treated by men. Whether you’re a soon-to-be-dad, a counselor, or just a man wanting to be a better role model, this book is for you: get That’s My Girl for just $8.44 today. 

1. What are some of the greatest challenges you see parents facing today? And how do you encourage them in the face of these challenges?

The biggest challenge parents face today is the continual onslaught of negative cultural influences that their children experience every day. Everything from early sexualization of our children to the promotion of unhealthy lifestyles seem to grow our children too fast and rip away their natural innocence and naiveté. Combine that with our ultrabusy lifestyles, which keep us from spending quality time together, and you have some significant challenges facing families.

Parents need to remember that despite what our culture promotes, you are the most important influence in your child’s life. Even teenagers when surveyed consistently rate their parents as bigger influences than peers, friends, movie stars, or singers. That means we need to actually use that influence or we lose it. We use that influence best by spending time with our children and intentionally teaching them what’s important in life.

2. What’s the most important step in developing a close father-daughter relationship?

Females greatly value verbal communication. They not only process information and their emotions by talking about them, they also develop closeness and intimacy with loved ones through verbal communication. Most females tell me what makes them feel most loved is to have the undivided attention of the important male in their life. Dads, if you want a close relationship with your daughter spend your most valuable commodity on her: your time. The most-asked question I get from teen girls at our father-daughter conference is, “Why won’t he talk to me?” You don’t necessarily have to talk, but you do have to listen—intently.

3. What advice do you have for dads who desire a healthy relationship with their daughter, but feel constantly rejected or even hated by their kids?

Dads who don’t live with their daughters often experience this, but even dads in the same household report this issue once their girls enter puberty. Dad suddenly goes from being the center of his daughter’s life to an invisible nonentity (or at best an inconvenient ATM). But these are often the times our children need us most. All relationships have peaks and valleys. Dads who persevere through these low seasons in their relationship reap the rewards later. Having the courage and steadfastness to continue to reach out—even in the face of rejection—tells our children that they’re so important to us that we’re willing to risk rejection to connect with them.

As a man of faith, I always told my kids that I would one day be accountable to God for how I raised my children. I didn’t want to have to explain to him why I allowed my kids to do harmful activities or why I didn’t do everything in my power to father his most valuable creation to the best of my ability. The fact that I was accountable to the creator of the universe seemed to mollify their scorn to a lesser degree.

4. How can dads be a part of their daughter’s world while still giving them the space they need to grow into an independent young woman?

It’s important for dads to provide a rudder in a young woman’s life. His calm and objective (nonemotional) perspective can give her balance, especially during the wild ups and downs of adolescence. His experience can also protect her from life’s dangers.

I think it’s important that dad be an enforcer of family rules and boundaries. As teens, many girls rebel against these boundaries—but they’re in place to protect her, so enforcing them tells her she’s loved. This can be difficult, but getting worn down and letting her do what she wants is often destructive. I’ve had too many broken and wounded girls tearfully tell me their daddies didn’t love them enough to fight for them. They equate dad letting them do destructive things to dad not loving them enough to protect them from harm. Stand by your values, guys, even when she objects to them. She might not like you sometimes (by the way, your job as a parent is not to be “liked”) but she will respect you. In the long run, that’s better for you and for her.

5. What’s something your daughter has taught you?

As a dad, I didn’t truly understand how much my words meant to my daughter until she was an adult. Guys, as a dad you are your daughter’s first and most important example of a man. She internalizes how much value she has as a female (and a human being) by the way you treat her and her mother. She develops her self-image and self-esteem by how much her father values her. She learns how to expect a man to treat her and love her by your model. She learns what healthy male sexuality and respect look like through your example. Remember, your actions speak louder than words.

6. How can parents correct undesired behavior and pass on personal values without restricting their child’s development as a unique individual?

I’m not sure the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. Everyone who has raised a child realizes that no matter how much you correct them or try to teach them your personal values, the fact is that the child is a unique individual with free will to choose the path they want. Sometimes that’s great, andother times the choices they make don’t work out so well. Regardless, I think it is a parent’s job to raise a child with the best possible chance to live a healthy productive life, while achieving their full potential. That means putting healthy boundaries in place and correcting destructive behaviors. It also means giving them a healthy value system in order to have a foundation to leap off into life from. Perhaps having the goal of that “bigger-picture” view (that you are raising a healthy adult, not that you are raising a child) makes it easier to balance those objectives.

7. Children who have irresponsible or uninvolved fathers are much more likely to experience behavioral issues, like low self-esteem and sexually promiscuous behavior. With divorce rates at 50 percent in the US, how can fathers be active participants in their daughter’s life, even when they don’t live with them?

Despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to the negative outcomes for kids living in father-absent homes, I know many men who have been successful fathers even though they did not live with their children. The biggest factor in those success stories is the willingness of both former spouses to place the best interests of the child ahead of their own selfish needs and desires. That means working together as a team to parent, even though they’re no longer married. Couples who are able to do that effectively seem to be able to overcome the challenges of divorce. Unfortunately, very few couples can actually pull this off. I would encourage noncustodial fathers to jealously guard your time with your children. In the face of not living together, it is so easy to slip into the lethargic milieu of letting time together slip away. Face time is important. But your child knowing that you cared enough to make the effort (sometimes in the face of overwhelming obstacles) to stay connected is also important. Even if they reject your efforts, continue to call and write cards and notes to them on a consistent basis. That may be difficult, especially if you are continually rejected, but it matters—especially later in life.

9. How is Better Dads equipping men and women to become better parents and spouses?

My books, CDs, and other materials are ongoing resources for parents and spouses. In addition, we provide numerous seminars and workshops for men and fathers, moms on raising boys to become good men, marriages, and healthy relationships. Better Dads also hosts a free summer camp for single moms and their kids called Foundations in Life, a father-daughter conference for men and their teenage or adult daughters, and a father-son campout for noncustodial fathers and their sons. We also speak in prisons and at military installations.

* * *

Discover what it takes to be a strong leader and compassionate father: get Rick Johnson’s That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empower His Daughter for just $8.44!

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Leadership: A Lesson from the Good Shepherd

The Shepherd Leader at Home

Today only, get the Shepherd Leader Bundle for only $17.99—that’s 70% off! This Father’s Day–themed bundle includes Timothy Z. Witmer’s insightful book, The Shepherd Leader at Home, as well as Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood; Ten Secrets for a Successful Family: A Perfect 10 for Homes That Win; and God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. This deal is only available for 24 hours, so download the Shepherd Leader Bundle now!

Think of someone in your life that you respect as a leader. It might be a parent, a teacher, or an unexpected mentor. Reflect on this person for a moment: what is it that gives them that charismatic leadership quality? Maybe it’s their kind eyes or endearing smile, or maybe it goes deeper than that—a listening ear, a quiet confidence, a humble opinion. A leader is someone who cares and nourishes those around them. According to Oswald Sanders, “True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing others to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them.”

A biblical perspective on leadership

The Bible often portrays godly leaders as shepherds. Contrary to popular belief, a shepherd is so much more than a glorified sheep babysitter. A shepherd’s first duty is to truly know his sheep. Imagine yourself wandering Israel’s deserts circa 50 BC and running into your friend and his flock. When you part ways, how do you figure out whose sheep are whose? A good shepherd can differentiate his sheep from any other flock. In John 10:14, Jesus declares that he is “the good shepherd.” He knows our hearts; not a hair can fall from our head without him knowing. Now that is a GREAT shepherd!

While sheep seem as though they all act the same and have the same needs, some wander off quicker than others. In the same way, Jesus knows that each of us must be led in a different way. Knowing each sheep is the foundation to being able to effectively lead, provide, and protect them—all in their own special way. It’s that selfless service that’s the key to shepherding the flock. The sheep listen because they know of the shepherd’s immense love and concern for them; they trust him to provide for their needs and protect them from harm.

The shepherding father

For patriarchal families, the father is the leader of the home. In the book The Shepherd Leader at Home, Timothy Z. Witmer examines the idea of fathering from the role of a shepherd. Leading a family is much different than leading a flock of sheep—even from leading a team or business. Rather than leading with a booming voice or demanding nature, Witmer says that a father should continuously strive to follow the pattern of leadership set by the good shepherd.

This is easier said than done though—as always. With a spouse and any number of kids to care for, a family’s needs are endless. What works for one may not work for another. There is no one-size-fits-all manual for leading a family. The closest thing is learning how to shepherd a family. Listen to your family. Care for your family. Pray for your family. Above all, seek wise counsel from the good shepherd—he is your father in heaven.

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5 Crucial Talking Points for People Leaving the Church

Called to Stay

Today’s guest post is by Caleb Breakey, author of Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church. Called to Stay takes a refreshingly honest look at the church, the problem of millennials leaving, and the stark reality of why the church desperately needs them. Get Called to Stay for just $7.79 today!

Right now, people are saying that they can follow Jesus without joining a local church. There’s a growing sense that, “Hey, I follow Jesus but I’m done with traditional church.”

And I totally get where they’re coming from.

Much of what we do in church has become stagnant tradition instead of meaningful conviction that boils with passion for Jesus Christ. Pastors across the country spend precious few minutes on the why of church, leaving many wondering, “No why? No point.”

That said, Jesus has shown us that the body of Christ is his bride, that he loves her, and that his will for us is to love her, too. This is why I wrote Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church.

We can’t love Christ’s bride when we leave her, badmouth her, or pick and choose those whom we gather with (i.e. your friends at Starbucks or church online).

Are there exceptions? Of course. But catch the heart of what God’s Word communicates to us:

1. Staying in a body of believers is a commandment (Hebrews 10:24–25).

When we stop gathering with a local body of believers that follows God’s structure, there’s no iron sharpening iron. There’s no building up of one another.

We need to go to church on a mission—encouraging others to love and do good deeds—the same way we go and tell others about Jesus.

We need to sit down and say: how can I go to church and be intentional? How can I serve and bless my brothers and sisters throughout the week? Where are there voids in the church, and how can I help fill them? We’re all surface-level at church, so how can I have meaningful, deep conversations in order to be a part of the solution?

 2. Staying in a body of believers is part of Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:20).

The second part of the great commission is to teach one another to “observe (obey) all that I have commanded.”

Everyone in your church is somewhere in their relationship with Jesus, knowledge of Jesus, and how they’re obeying and following Jesus. And here’s the thing: we need to be a part of their growth. We need to teach each other to be more like Jesus—not by giving others our convictions, but by crying out to God, “Lord, use me in the growth of others. Help me be intentional.” The local church is a great place to do this.

3. Staying in a body of believers practices God’s golden rule (Luke 6:31).

Your life is not your own. Your life is a product of those who’ve poured into you—career wise, education wise, and spirit wise. Maybe it’s been just one person, or maybe 100. But they’ve all helped you become who you are in Christ today. They invested in you.

Deciding to live intentionally is to pay that love forward. It’s to say, “I’m a product of my brothers and sisters who God has used to make me the believer I am today, and now I’m going to pour this same love into others on the journey—especially those behind me.”

4. Staying in a body of believers shows others that you are Christ’s disciple (John 13:35).

If you love someone who loves you, what profit is that? Anyone can do that, Jesus says. But if you love the messy bride of Christ—people in church—that’s supernatural. That speaks. And we have to have faith that speaks.

What might change if you bore your church in love and made every effort to keep unity with it (Ephesians 4:1–3)? If you carried the failings of your church and equipped yourself with the endurance of Christ (Romans 15:1–7)?

Through our forgiveness of one another, we show the world that we are disciples of Jesus. And we can’t ever lose sight of the fact that that shows people we know and love him.

5. Staying in a body of believers reflects Christ’s unconditional love (1 John 3:16).

Jesus died at the hands of his people, for his people. This self-sacrifice is the Jesus way.

Today, people are about what’s fair: “The church isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, so I’m going to leave and do my own thing.” But that’s not the Jesus way.

Jesus laid down his life for the church. What does this mean for us in the body? Sometimes it means being the messy one and staying. Sometimes it means being okay to fail alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes it means staying, being intentional, and going deeper with people in church in everyday life.

You’re going to screw up, for sure. But wouldn’t you rather screw up being passionate for Jesus and loving the church like him, than critiquing the church and being bitter toward her?

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Discover what it truly looks like to be a church member in the modern world: get Breakey’s Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church on Vyrso today!

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