Sunday, June 16, 2019

I Will Call Upon the Lord

I Will Call Upon the Lord

By Michael O’Shields

I will call upon the Lord, (women echo)
Who is worthy to be praised (echo)
So shall I be saved from my enemies (echo)

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock,
And let the God of our salvation be exalted.

Jesus Christ who died for me, (echo)
And He took away my sins (echo)
I will live with Him for eternity (echo)


I will call upon the Lord… (end in unison)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sign-up to review Standing Together

Standing Together: The Inspirational Story
of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love

Kregel Publications

Tour dates: August 6-20

About the book

A true story of hope and courage in the face of astonishing challenges
During his fourth deployment, US Marine Corps Sergeant Carlos Evans stepped on an IED--and the loss of both legs and his left hand was just the beginning of the struggle for his life.

For the next two years, he and his wife, Rosemarie, went through the rehabilitation process together. As a nurse and mother of two young children, Rosemarie was used to caring for people, but the task of taking care of her triple-amputee husband brought new challenges every day. In addition to his limb loss, Carlos faced PTSD and developed an addiction to painkillers. He was sure Rosemarie's life would be better without him--and that it might have been better if he hadn't survived at all.

But unlike the majority of marriages put under similar strain, Carlos and Rosemarie stayed together. With the help of family, friends, and--most importantly--a strong faith, they've built a solid marriage and discovered a ministry they never expected. By the hand of God, their story, which began in devastation, has turned into one that draws in and lifts up more people than either of them would ever have dreamed.

Not only will disabled veterans and their loved ones find help here, Carlos and Rosemarie's captivating journey also speaks to those who long for stronger marriages, care for loved ones with disabilities, or are facing a new normal in their own lives, small or large. It is a powerful resource for leaning on God in the midst of life's great difficulties--and for finding ways that, through faith, profound loss can bring incredible blessing.

About the authors

Carlos R. Evans is a minister with the Assemblies of God USA, a Wounded Warrior spokesman, and a motivational speaker. He served in the Marine Corps for eight years.

Rosemarie Evans, an experienced nurse, is now a full-time caregiver and student working toward a master’s degree in marriage and family from Liberty University.

Carlos and Rosemarie live in Orlando, Florida.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sign-ups open for the Shame off You blog tour

Shame Off You: From Hiding to Healing

Abingdon Press

Tour dates: August 1-31

Learn to recognize and process feelings of shame in a
biblical way to restore God-ordained self-worth and hope.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” — Romans 8:1 
Shame is an assault on the core of who we are. It assassinates our character, minimizes our worth, and dashes our hope. Like Adam and Eve, we often hide shame, but hiding never heals it. Left unattended, shame can develop into a crippling reality that paralyzes us. Like an infectious disease, shame impacts everyone . . . but not all shame is bad.
Shame can either be an oppressive and powerful tool of worldly condemnation or a source of conviction that God uses to bring his people back to himself. Having the discernment to know the difference and recognize shame in its many forms can change the course of one’s life.
In a transparently honest style, Pass shares of her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. Having lived through the aftermath, she leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations.
Shame Off You shares how freedom can be found in choosing to break the cycle of shame by learning from the past, developing healthy thinking patterns, silencing lies, and overcoming the traps of vanity and other people's opinions.

Learn more at

Denise Pass, author of Shame Off You, is an award-winning CCM recording artist and singer-songwriter, accomplished writer/blogger, speaker and worship leader at women’s conferences as well as a worship leader on staff at her home church. After a crushing discovery of her former husband’s hidden life as a repetitive sex offender, and surviving a painful divorce, she now shares an inspirational message through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries, about seeing the deeper truth in God’s word when life hurts. Denise also founded and directed a home educational co-op for 12 years and engaged in many educational pursuits, including forming and directing a classical children’s choir. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Denise now resides in Virginia, with her “Kinsman Redeemer” husband and five children.

Find her online at

What people are saying about Shame Off You...

*Reviews from

"'It has been said that what we think on, we are.' This is one of the many sentences that pierced my mind and heart while reading this book. Denise did an amazing job in balancing her own personal stories of shame and helping the reader to understand how to fight shame. This is a great book for anyone who has endured shame and needs to learn how to overcome it. Denise’s story is not a pretty one but her story and the scriptures she uses will inspire you to kick shame to the curb in your own life."
~ Gina Fox

"Coming from a place of shame as a child, and not knowing how to overcome it, this book opened up many of those old wounds and set them free. Denise Pass shared her past shame in this book and provided biblical ways to overcome through God’s word. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Shame Off You study group, which further impacted my understanding of how we don’t have to live in shame anymore because God bore all the shame so we can be set free. Anyone dealing with shame can find comfort and healing through this book."
~ Christena Plasse

"Shame Off You: From Hiding to Healing by Denise Pass, is an indispensable book for dealing with and conquering shame. Shame Off You gives me the hope and tools I need to overcome the stronghold of shame. I learned that shame is a much larger problem than most would like to admit. While its effects can seem debilitating, there is a way out. The way out is through Christ alone. Through Him, we have all we need to get past shame and move forward into hope and healing. Denise Pass has written a valuable book that guides readers to freedom, health, clear thinking and true peace. I learned that although I have felt shame, it is not who I am; shame does not define me, nor is it my life sentence. Denise Pass shares her own personal struggles shame, and guides readers to a better way: a way of strength, courage, and truth."
~ J.M. Ukes

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Bachelorette: Hannah B. - Week 5

Last night when the NBA Finals came on instead of The Bachelorette, everyone who reads my blog messaged me to figure out what was going on and to chat.

It made me feel good.

Ok, just two people messaged me, but that's probably the only people that read it. The rest of the post visitors are the Russians who are always bouncing off my blog for who knows what reason.

It still made me feel good.

So, we start off with the Luke drama as it continues at the cocktail party prior to the rose ceremony.

Hannah has pulled both of them out to talk. She wants the two of them to talk to each other, not do he-said/he-said to her. I don't like either one of them, so I'd be good with her kicking both out right now. Hannah is not amused as she's watching them interact. Stalker Luke accuses Annoying Luke of not being there for the right reasons.

She is annoyed with this. Hannah gets up and walks off, leaving the two Lukes to quickly shutdown the conversation and sit in silence. Then Stalker Luke starts back up. He said he didn't even want to talk to Hannah about him. Annoying Luke asks about getting kneed in the head. Chris Harrison interrupts and pulls them back in with the rest of the men. Cocktail party is over. Time for roses.

Honestly, I don't even remember last week and who got roses. I've slept since then and had other things on my mind. (Jed, Tyler and Garrett)

Hannah said it's been a confusing night and a hard week. She's going with her heart.

Before she can give the first rose, Annoying Luke interrupts and asks if he can speak to her. He apologizes if he caused her any pain, but it was hard to defend his character time and time again. He warns her to keep her eyes open for he thinks she knows who. He leaves on his own. Chris Harrison comes in and takes a rose away.
  1. Peter
  2. Connor
  3. Dylan
  4. Dustin
  5. Mike
  6. Kevin
  7. Devin (Who is this guy?)
  8. Grant
  9. Luke P.
I'm not a fan of John Paul Jones, but he would have been a better choice. Matteo leaves too. 

The guys may not get it. Hannah's head doesn't always want Luke P. to be there. here  heart wants him to be there. It's all chemistry, even with red flags. 

It's off to Scotland now. 

Luke P. has to make a toast, but he tells the guys the toast is mostly for Hannah. Some of the guys choke. Hannah may be second guessing her decision already. 

When they get to Scotland, Hannah tries to give a history lesson. She's going to play the role of Mary, Queen of Scots, except she won't be beheaded.

Speaking of history lessons, The Bachelorette posted on Facebook about her history lessons. I commented I thought they were ridiculous and wasn't amused. Some people disagree, some agreed with me, and one millennial accused me of not liking fun. She was a smart mouth. I like fun. Maybe not her kind of fun, but that's ok too. 

So Hannah meets them at a pub. She says she's going to have to reset and be more honest with them since she wants them to open up with her. 

Instead of giving a date card, she invites Mike to explore Scotland with her. He's really excited. Luke P. has a look on his face like he's about to go kill a small animal. Luke says he's always himself. Some of the men cut him off. 

Mike is all smiles. The book lovers are dying right now as they go to a bookshop. They have a basket of goose eggs for sale, and she holds one up to her ear. Why? No one knows. She doesn't know either.

Next, they head to a candy shop where they try some really super sour candy. She's trying not to spit it out, but is practically in tears. 

They try haggis next. She says she liked it, then she found out what it was. She doesn't like it anymore. 

Meanwhile, Luke is wandering around on his own while everyone is inside talking about him. 

Mike is still all smiles. They talk about having relationships where you can laugh together. 

Later that night, they have their real serious meal and conversation. Mike hasn't told anyone he loved them since 2014-2015, his last serious relationship.

Hannah talks about living her life from one relationship to another, man to man to man. 

Mike says he doesn't open up to everyone. Hannah makes him nervous because he doesn't want to get hurt again. 

At the castle, a date card arrives.

"Devin, Tyler, Jed, Dylan, Grant, Connor, Dustin, Peter, Kevin, Garrett - Love is a battlefield. - Hannah. 

That leaves the other one-on-one to Stalker Luke. He says this will give him a chance to see if he still wants to be here and if things are moving forward. 

He has only told one woman he loved her, and it took him a long time to get over her. He can see himself getting down on one knee in a few weeks. After that, she has to give him the rose. 

The next day, the men are going to take on the Highland Games. 

After doing the Scottish yell, they practice axe throwing which doesn't go well. Hannah did better than the men. 
After a milk bucket race, they take turns wrestling. Thank goodness Luke isn't there.

Speaking of Luke, Mike tells Luke he is concerned because Luke is questioning wanting to be here again. Luke denies that he's questioned anything. Mike think's he's the Lukeness monster.

The men all put on some kilts to compete for an audience. Practice didn't make perfect for axe throwing. Someone hits the target, but my satellite blinked out. 

Peter did the milk bucket race best. Hannah thought it was hot when Jed poured milk over himself. 

It's wrestling time and some of them men are commando so black boxes are in play. One dumb guy, Dylan, is worried about his butt showing. It wasn't his butt he needed to worry about. Hannah referred to bagpipes. 

Moving on.

Jed won the Highland Games. He gets the first alone time at the cocktail party. He kind of feels her up, but she's going at it pretty heavy. 

Kevin walks up, watches a couple of minutes and turns around and walks off. When Jed joins the group, Kevin admits watching.

Peter lays Hannah out on the pool table and they go after it. 

It's so quiet you can hear the clock tick back at the castle with Luke and Mike. When there is a knock at the door, Mike walks out. Luke gets his date card. "Luke - Let's figure this out... one way or another - Hannah."

Tyler wears his kilt because he caught Hannah checking him out earlier. They are in a bedroom, so she invites him over. 

This is beyond kissing everyone tonight. It's moved to slutty. 

When it is rose time, Hannah gives Jed the rose. 

Hannah takes notice that there has been no drama and makes the correlation with Luke not being there.

The next morning, Luke is awkward and says he heard they wrestled in kilts. He's trying (and failing) to be funny. None of the men are amused.

Hannah has been nervous about today. She knows every man hates him. It's either the first one-on-one date with her future husband or the first and last one-on-one date with Luke. 

My advice (for what it is worth), don't go for the hot guy if he literally cannot get along with anyone. 

They go on a bit of a hike to the ruins of a old castle on a cliff. She asked if he expected a one-on-one this week. He doesn't want to talk about the past couple of weeks, but asks if there's anything she wants to clear the air about. She doesn't understand why the guys don't like him. 

He thinks the root of it is the conversation about what went down between them about what happened with Luke S. I'm not sure that sentence made sense, but he's kind of blah, blah, blah. Hannah says she doesn't think it's just Luke S. Everyone hates him. He blames the other guys for blowing things out of proportion. 

Luke says that up until now everyone has always loved him. This annoys her. Hannah says that sounded boastful. He doesn't know what she wants him to say. He wants to enjoy the rest of the day. She doesn't know what to do. 

Hannah wants to know how all this makes him feel, how it affects him. The answer he gives is the wrong answer. She can't tell where his heart's at. She doesn't think he can express his emotions. 

Hannah talks to the producers. She wants them to talk to Luke about what she means when she says, "What do you feel?" They tell her she has to talk to him herself. 

When she comes back, Luke says it hurts him. He is going to try to make things clear and right. She doesn't want to hear what happened or him saying he's going to try to make it right. She needs more. 

She says they aren't getting anywhere, so, "Let's go look at the castle." She wants to have a normal conversation with him. "Do you like macaroni and cheese or spaghetti more?" She needs the real, but doesn't seem to be getting it. 

Hannah hates admitting she likes Luke. She wants to be able to cut him free like every other guy that's pissed her off. 

Honestly, at this point, everyone on Twitter talking about the men passing a pink jacket around is more interesting.

That night, Luke and Hannah have dinner. Luke says he's been trying to be too perfect. It's been hard for him because all the guys are saying things that aren't true. She wasn't mad about what happened with Luke S. on the rugby date so much because that day he had real emotion. Luke asks her for advice in being in this situation.

She wants to learn about him. He doesn't talk about himself other than saying he wants to be completely real. He just vaguely goes on about not wanting her to slip through his fingers. He likes her, even with her flaws. 

Luke is making her more and more crazy. She doesn't want to marry someone who can't own up to his mistakes and blames everyone else. He's not getting what she's after. 

Meanwhile, the men are hoping Luke was being sent home.

Hannah says she's never met someone where she's felt like she did when she first met him, but now, she doesn't feel like she's getting anything in return. Luke asks if she thinks they have spent enough time together today. Hannah says she's had as much time with him as anyone. She doesn't feel good today. She wants to see Luke be Luke, but it's not what she hoped for. 

He really doesn't even try. She says she is always good or bad wanting to spend time with him. However, today has been the worst day. She wants to see what she thinks is there. However, she hasn't seen who he is. He's just stone cold sitting there. 
Hannah tells Luke she cannot give him the rose.

It ends right there.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The NBA Finals have thrown my blogging schedule off

On Saturday, I finally caught up with my blogging and thought I was set to get off on the right foot of being caught up this week. After all, Mondays are the night for The Bachelorette. I knew what I was going to blog about, right?

Well, the NBA Finals are on tonight, and the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors have pushed the latest in Hannah's ongoing saga to tomorrow night. I guess I actually learned of this on Saturday after I finished blogging. 

Throwing off the day is just par for Monday. 

I had to go back out to Office Depot today because when I went out yesterday, they had printed part of my order wrong.

While I was out that direction, I went out to the school to pick up graduation photos that were supposed to be ready today. Well, they weren't there and evidently at 2 PM today, I was the first person who had attempted to pick them up. I'll have to make another trip out there at some point.

I went out to check on my plants in the backyard and realized as I unlocked my back door that my succulent that's been sitting on a shelf for probably about a year suddenly took a downward turn. Literally. It was fine a 2 or 3 days ago when my mom and I were looking at it. I never knew it was sick. 

It's like it deflated and flopped over.

I started picking a few leaves off a plant in a hanging basket on my clothes line pole (yes, my current backyard had clothesline poles and an old school mega tall TV antenna circa 1962 on a concrete base). I saw something moving in the begonia basket next to it. A bird was in the basket about 18 inches from my head. It flew out the back side and started squawking at me. It was a small, but fierce bird. Scared the 

Tomorrow, I have a meeting to start off the day, need to print mailing labels and get galleys down to the post office. Socrates has been waiting a week for me. I told him I was going to be back last week with a load. 

Tomorrow afternoon, the inspector goes out to look at the house I'm in the process of buying and I have to meet up for the report. I want to go by to look around the house and plot and plan out where I am going to put everything and how I might want the painting done. 

I brought my laptop down not only to blog tonight, but to work on my VBS lesson for next week. Because I got this bright idea that I would rewrite the lyrics of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and told people about it, I now need to work on writing it, even if it is 10:30 at night. 

I should have kept my mouth shut.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

I Want to Be Like Daniel

I Want to be Like Daniel,
I Want to be Like Ruth

(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…

(Girls) For Ruth was so, so, sweet and kind
(Boys) And Daniel was a mighty man
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel.
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Back caught up on blogging

Instead of working on reports today, I've been fighting my internet to get the blog up to date, and as of today at 6:15 PM CDT, I'm back up to date and have tomorrow's post scheduled.

Let's see if I can keep this up this week!

I'm sure I'll be back to back posting before you know it, especially seeing my work week ahead. 😝

Friday, June 7, 2019

The move from panic to excitement and even impatient

This past week, I've really made the turn from being freaked out by all things house buying to being really excited and ready to move.

Honestly, now I'm even getting impatient with the process and am ready to move. Some things came up this week that made me feel even better about it.

Now, I'm sure I'll swing back the other way soon.

It's getting real though. The appraiser is trying to set up a time, I've arranged an inspection for next week and hope to get a quote from a painter next week too.

However, evidently, I didn't tell Angie I was moving forward. She messaged me yesterday to see if I bought a house while she was on vacation.

I thought I had told my friends. *shrug* As Mom says, maybe she got too much sun in Corpus Christi.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Does this mean I am turning into my mother?

I used to give my mom a hard time about knowing the name of every plant in her yard. When my parents moved into the house they live in now (10 or so years ago), her yard went even more haywire between what was already there and what she planted. She even has a green house set up in the corner of the yard for the winter.

Strangely enough, one of the things I'm really looking forward to in getting a new house is fixing up my backyard.

What's really odd about that is I spend like zero time in my backyard now except for checking on my plants. The new house has a privacy fence around the back, and last weekend my parents and I went looking for patio furniture. 

I didn't find what I was looking for, but I found a Clementine tree. Mom is plant sitting it until it's time to move. Dad is spray panting a metal bucket orange for me. 

The rain has been really kind to the plants, so everything looks so good. I think my new yard will be filled.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Boldly Yet Humbly Declaring the Truth

Boldly Yet Humbly Declaring the Truth
Steve Brown encourages Christians to step up to share
their faith and speak out on what they know is right.

It can be difficult to be a Christian in today’s culture. Not only is the outside world hostile to Christians and their faith but the voices that speak loudest don’t always speak for the masses. There are a lot of assumptions out there about what Christians do and don’t believe. With all this hostility, speaking up about issues related to faith can be intimidating. However, in his new book Talk the Walk: How to Be Right without Being Insufferable (New Growth Press, June 3, 2019), Key Life Network founder Steve Brown calls Christians to step out and speak up about what they know to be true.

This attitude-altering book invites Christians to cultivate both boldness and humility in communicating gospel truth. By uncovering self-righteousness and spiritual arrogance, Talk the Walk shatters stereotypes and helps believers consider how they present the good news without watering it down.

Brown writes that while we, as Christians, may be right on issues of salvation and theology, we may miss the less articulated truths of humility, love, and forgiveness. This guide unpacks the call to “go out into the world” and share faith by being truthful and winsome. By helping men and women love others out of a deeper love in Christ—the one who first loved us—Brown helps Christians present the gospel clearly and with compassion.

“America and much of the world has gone through a massive cultural shift over the past thirty years. That shift is called postmodern, post-Christian, or perhaps transcultural. Whatever the name, the old and traditional views of anthropology, sexuality, social norms, religion, and culture have been set aside for the new views of tolerance, acceptance, and freedom,” Brown shares. “Most thoughtful Christians I know are concerned about the cultural shift and feel, as it were, as if believers are standing by a cliff, telling people to be careful. Those folks to whom Christians express their concern are tolerant, albeit dismissive. Believers stand by the cliff, giving their message, ‘Look at the blood down there. Don’t get so close to the cliff! It will kill you.’ But folks keep jumping.”

Talk the Walk explores the tools necessary to accomplish an attitude change of confidence and humility, repentance and truth. Readers will discover how to share the message of Christ without distorting it and speak confidently without being cold. By operating out of humble gratitude for the gospel, they will begin to talk the walk of Christian faith, reflecting the love and truth of Jesus.

“I would hope that the reader would have a major ‘attitude change’ in our call to ‘go into the world.’ I hope to give believers the tools necessary to accomplish that attitude change,” says Brown. “Boldness, repentance, compassion, confidence, humility, truth, love and street-smarts are the ‘takeaways.’”

Author and speaker Elyse M. Fitzpatrick praises Talk the Walk by saying, “I have yet to figure out how to be confident enough to speak truth to people and yet humble enough to close my mouth when all I’m doing is showing off how smart I (foolishly) think I am. It’s for this reason that I’m really thankful for this book. Steve is a wise and gentle pastor, and he’ll help you (as he has me) feel the pinch of truth while he pours in the gentle love of the Christ who knows you. Get this book. Your unbelieving friends will thank you.”

Talk the Walk: How to Be Right without Being Insufferable
by Steve Brown
June 3, 2019 / Retail Price: $15.99
Print ISBN 978-1-948130-63-9
Religion / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth

About the author

Steve Brown is the Founder of Key Life Network, Inc., the Bible teacher on the radio program Key Life and host of the talk show Steve Brown, Etc. He was a pastor for more than thirty years and continues speaking extensively.

He has authored numerous books, including How to Talk So People Will Listen, Three Free Sins, Hidden Agendas and his latest release, Talk the Walk. Brown has also written for publications such as Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth, and Today’s Christian Woman. He previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of Christianity Today and Harvest USA.

Brown and his wife have two married daughters and three granddaughters. They make their home in Orlando, FL.

New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and kids’ Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Talk the Walk: How to Be Right without Being Insufferable and other resources from New Growth Press, visit

To request a review copy of Talk the Walk, schedule an interview with Steve Brown, or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings,

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Raising boys requires a new definition of manhood

Part 1 of an interview with Joel Fitzpatrick,
Author of Between Us Guys

Reports suggest boys are more likely to be violent and unable to express their emotions than girls. There’s also a great discussion going on about toxic masculinity leading to pent-up aggression, frustration, isolation, problematic relationships, violence, anger, and other devastating realities. It’s clear raising boys today requires a new definition of what it means to be a man.

It’s more important than ever for fathers to be role models and have gospel-centered conversations with their sons about becoming a man. In Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads and Sons (New Growth Press), author Joel Fitzpatrick shares how dads are given an incredible opportunity to be the primary influence in their children’s lives. By inviting conversations about every aspect of life such as family, girls, love, defending others, failure, strength, and heaven, the author shows fathers how to pass down the message of Christ to the next generation, redefining what manliness means through the lens of the gospel.

Q: How has having conversations with your own son prepared you to write this book?

The conversations I’ve had with my son as he’s been growing up has created a bond between the two of us. I didn’t know where to start, I was scared, I messed up a bunch of times, but my son and I built a friendship. The trust we have developed over years of walking, playing and talking about the topics covered in this book set the stage for what I wrote.

Sometimes the conversations in this book are close to how things went when they went well. Other chapters are how I wish I would have handled the conversation. Some document conversations I had with kids when I was a youth minister. The point is that none of us are perfect, none of us get every conversation right every time, but as dads we are called to have these as well as many other conversations.

Q: Why is it important to have these conversations, particularly for elementary school-age or pre-teen boys?

Kids need guidance. They need to know how the world works, what their place is in the world and who God calls them to be. There is no shortage of voices answering these questions. Social media, video games, the internet, teachers, movies, music and friends all tell them who to be and how to act. Some of these influences are good, some are bad, and some are just plain harmful, but all of them are feeding our boys a message.

God has given our sons a great gift, a parent, a dad or mom who cares and wants to speak the truth of what God says about who we are and who our sons are. But God doesn’t stop there. He gives parents a guide to these conversations. We can read this guide, especially the book of Proverbs which details conversations a Father has with his son. Even more than that, the entire Bible is a conversation that our good Father, God, has with us concerning what we should believe about him and who we should be. As dads, we are given the privilege of helping form and shape our kids.

Q: What are some of the common definitions the world gives for masculinity, and how does the gospel define it differently?

There are a few major ones that we are able to see in the media on both the negative and positive side. Some media portrays men as being arrogant and hyper-masculine. These sorts of men display their masculinity by dominating through strength. There is the man who is effeminate. These sorts of men are empowering, smart, witty and caring. There is the nerd who is also snarky and devious. Then, there is the man who acts like a boy. There are so many others. Most men I know are just trying to be good workers, men and fathers, but they also struggle with how to do this while still satisfying their desires for fun and relaxation.

The gospel frees men to become who they long to be. It frees them to be men who love their wives and find fulfillment in their relationships. It gives them the power of the Holy Spirit which enables them to lay their lives down for their families. The gospel connects dads to the only power that will conform them into the image of Jesus who laid down his life for his bride, the church.

Q: How can fathers help their sons express and process their emotions?

Dads can help their sons express and process their emotions by providing a safe space, a role model and a gospel partner. Dads get the opportunity to give their sons a safe space where they know they will be loved and cared for, even in the middle of their anger, happiness and depression. Dads can be their stable rock when their world, bodies and emotions are unstable.

Dads get to be their role models, not only in how to process emotions correctly but also in how to struggle and ask for forgiveness. There have been many times when I have been depressed and it has helped my son (who struggles with his emotions) to see me not give up, but to pray and trust in Jesus for help.

Also, Dads get to be gospel partners for their sons, reminding them of what Jesus says and thinks about them. Dads get to tell their sons about Jesus who had emotions and understands what they are feeling. Dads get to remind their sons about the forgiveness and love of Christ when they struggle with their emotions.  Dads get this amazing opportunity to walk through the difficulty of dealing with emotions and point their sons to the source of all goodness and joy, the gospel.

Q: What advice do you have for a father whose son has shown signs of aggression and/or violence?

This is a difficult one to answer because there are so many different things that could be responsible for his anger and aggression. It may be that his hormones are going crazy or he may be getting bullied at school and feel like anger is the only way he can control that. He may just be aggressive and not know why. I think Dads need to keep their sons and the people around them safe, so this is where Dads need to step in and protect people.

Dads can give their sons a safe space to process their anger in a healthy way, if it is appropriate. They can lovingly help their sons see the dangers of their anger and the seriousness of their violent thoughts.

If necessary, a dad can get their sons help with a counselor. If their son is hurting themselves or others, dads can go with their sons and support them as they get help. Dads get the opportunity to lead and walk with their sons through this with love and care.

Q: How would you encourage fathers to navigate intentional relationships with their sons if they didn’t have strong father figures themselves?

It is important to say; I am sorry if your relationship with your father was not good. If he was missing, abusive, neglectful or just distant, that can make it hard to know how to love and care for your son. However, you are not your dad. You don’t have to fall into the same pitfalls as your father, you can love your son. God can give you the strength to do so.

Maybe you had a dad who loved you but was just too busy or didn’t know how to have these sorts of conversations. You can change things, spend the time with your son and show him the love you wanted and the guidance you needed.

So, two things—first, don’t give up. Make the effort. Second, while you didn’t have an earthly Father who cared for you in these ways, you do have a heavenly Father who is pleased with you and loves you.

Q: During your time as a pastor with a focus on youth and family, what obstacles have you seen fathers run into when teaching their sons how to be gospel-centered men?

Some of the big ones I ran into often were time, energy and lack of know-how. Dads are busy with their jobs, taking their kids places and doing work around the house. Dads must be intentional about the time that they spend with their sons, carving time out to spend with their boys to teach and show them.

Some men, at the end of a long day of work, struggle to have the energy to spend time with their sons. Dads should think about the times when they will have the energy to spend time with their sons. Whether it is during a pancake breakfast, an after-work fishing trip or a simple walk around the block, finding time for these conversations is vital.

Men may be scared that if they say the wrong thing to their son, they will ruin their son. They look for help and advice for how to have these sorts of conversations. That is why a book like Between Us Guys can be so helpful. It gives dads a guide and encouragement for having these conversations.

Learn more at and follow him on Twitter (@JoelDFitz).

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Bachelorette: Hannah B. - Week 4

Saturday night I bought some BBQ chicken leg quarters to put in the crockpot to cook today so that I would have dinner ready before The Bachelorette. I came down about 2:00 this afternoon to put them in and turn them on figuring since I didn't freeze them, that would be plenty of time. I went back upstairs and didn't come down to check on them until 6:00 when I was done for the day.

Turns out, I plugged in the toaster instead of the crockpot. Since the chicken sat out for four hours in a room temperature crockpot, I threw it away so the salmonella wouldn't kill me.

Then, I burned one side of my quesadillas I fixed in place of the chicken I had myself all ready for.

Aren't you glad I shared that before starting tonight's blog?

Now, onto Hannah and her men.

The morning after the rose ceremony, all the men are musing of how they knew Cam would be on his way out. Chris Harrison arrives to talk to the 15 men that remain. It is time to leave the mansion and head to Newport, RI.

Must be the cheap budget season. Rhode Island may be nice, but it's not Thailand when it comes to travel.

Perhaps someone is not allowed to leave the country.

The date card arrives at the more modest than usual resort.

"Jed - Meet me in Boston. - Hannah"

Not sure why they go to Rhode Island to head off to Boston, but whatever. Hannah has a really hard time spitting out, "No taxation without representation."

When Jed arrives, they had off to the local market. Then, they tour the city while Hannah makes up facts about American History. Oh, my, word. Talk about not bright.

They find a photo booth before heading to "Cheers" the bar made famous by the TV show or the bar that came about from the TV show. One or the other.

Every time she opens her mouth tonight, she proves herself dumber and dumber.

They eat some ice cream and make out in a park. She has a surprise for him though. They go to the Celtics practice gym and shoot hoops with Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown.

Jaylen sits down with Hannah like he's her brother to see how it's going and to give relationship advice.

When the players leave, Jed and Hannah play L-O-V-E instead of H-O-R-S-E. In middle of a kiss, he does a one arm over the head shot and miraculously makes it. That was Hannah's favorite moment of the date.

Back at the hotel, the guys wonder if there will be another one-on-one or two group dates. 

Cue the date card.

"Dylan, Matteo, John Paul Jones, Connor, Garrett, Dustin, Devin, Grant, Peter, Kevin, Mike, Luke S., Luke P. - True love requires blood, sweat and tears. - Hannah"

Luke P. thought he might get the one-on-one, but he's excited because he is a competitor. 

That means the one-on-one will go to Tyler C. (the one Tyler remaining).

Jed's moment of honesty is talking about how music is such a passion of his life. She would never want to take the passion of music away from him. However, she has needs too. Would he have room for marriage? There's something about Jed tonight I don't like. Maybe it's how gushy he is about her now. Hannah gives him the rose.

The next day, all the men arrive at the group date to play rugby. Luke P. isn't scared. He played high school and can get rough. 

The real rugby players talk about how rough and physical it is and how injured players get.

Hannah wants everyone to be safe and not get hurt. After practicing, the men divide up in two teams. There are 13 of them, so not sure who's riding the pine.

John Paul Jones proves himself a player.

Kevin fell on his shoulder making a tackle and hurts himself. He asks for medical attention and is sent off in an ambulance.

Luke P. is like way too passionate about being willing to fight for her and playing all out. The guys think so too. He goes after Luke S. Luke S. takes it as a personal attack and plans to tell Hannah about it.

Later that night, Kevin is still in the hospital and not at the cocktail party. Hannah takes Luke P. off first. Luke P. brings up the encounter with Luke S. first. He claims Luke S. was cussing him out and took a swing at him. That's when he put Luke S. on his back.

Hannah tells Luke P. that she's concerned. He says Luke S. is the only person he has issues with and that Luke S. is always talking about his liquor brand, not about Hannah. She wants some time to think.

Hannah takes Luke S. off next. She wants his story of the tension on the field. Of course, he gives a different side of the story, including getting kneed in the head. He says that a number of them are concerned about Luke P. He shares the story about Luke P. talking about leaving the other day. She brings up the tequila brand.

Dustin, Mike and Dylan all express concerns. Luke P. tells all the men they didn't see it with their own eyes. I don't know how he knows that. Luke P. tells everyone that he felt threatened and was defending himself. He can't keep a story straight and has all the men rolling their eyes. Several men get up and walk off. Then, they all leave the room, including Kevin and his sprained shoulder joint. Only the two Lukes sit in the room.

Garrett has some really tall hair. He wants to tell her that he is crushing on her hard. Being open has been uncomfortable for him before, and it's kind of awkward for him now. He's pretty chill about it though. He doesn't say it in the stalkerish way.

The Lukes have a staring contest. Then Luke S. go after him verbally. He never wants to see Luke P. again in his life. Luke P. wants to get to know Luke S. on a deeper level.

My satellite receiver keeps doing strange things and cutting out. Hopefully, I won't miss anything.

Peter reminds me of a cross between Colton and Ben Higgins.

When it comes time for the rose, Hannah gives it to Garrett.

By the way, Hannah's shiny suit was hideous and she really should have been wearing something under the jacket instead of Miley Cyrus'ing the thing.

The next morning, Hannah is distraught. She got so many stories last night about Luke P, but she may have the strongest feelings for him of anybody. She's ugly crying and doesn't really want to see anyone today even though she has a date with Tyler. She's trying to play off her emotional state when he arrives. 

Hannah says she's not doing real well. Tyler asks if she had a rough night. She's had a rough morning too. 

They go out on a fishing boat. They fish lobster traps out of the water. They eat some of it later.

It's been a long couple of weeks and I stayed up too late this weekend, and I admit I had to close my eyes for a few minutes. My eyes were shutting down their own. That's how bored with this date especially I have become.

That night's dinner takes place at the country's oldest tavern. I have no clue if that was true or one of her fake facts.

Hannah felt comforted today by Tyler. When he tells his sob story of the night, he almost didn't come because his Pops was knockin' on death's door in the hospital for 25 days, a coma for 10... But Grandpa told him Hannah was his girl. He gets the date rose.

From there, they go to a private concert with Jake Owen.

Now we come to the cocktail party and rose ceremony which takes place at a mansion.

Luke P. gives a speech about being honest and themselves. Luke S. hopes to set things straight tonight.

Hannah tells her it has been a hard week that has caused her to question some people's character. She hopes to get clarity tonight.

Peter asks Hannah if she wants to be his girlfriend, and he's ok with her dating fourteen other guys. He's the first one to ask her. She considers it a strong start to the night.

Dylan would consider Luke P. getting a rose to be a devaluation of a rose. Mike and Luke P. get into it. He accuses Luke P. of being a psychopath. Luke looks up the definition on his phone to "prove him wrong."

Luke S. wants to clear the air with Hannah. He grew up with two social workers and his reputation and morals are of the utmost importance to him. She's irritated at both Lukes.

Luke S. comes back into the main room and confronts Luke P. Hannah doesn't trust him and he thinks it's all because of what Luke P. said.

Luke P. says Luke S. wanted him to put a good word in for him. She takes one in to talk, then the other. The two Lukes have a confrontation in front of all the men again. They bicker on and on while all the other men just listen. Hannah overhears and pulls them both out of the room.

No rose ceremony for tonight.