I have this hanging in my office, along with some other inspirational posters, such as, “This too shall pass” and “Only boring people are boring”. 🙂 But, this one, is the most important one to me. It really is a life mantra. And, it ties into the story of Nehemiah. Actually, it is almost exactly what happened in the story of Nehemiah. Today, I want to talk to men about being a “Nehemiah” in the life of a child.
1. Get on your knees and pray
Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:3), was told that the city of Jerusalem was still in rubble, the city gates were in cinders and the living conditions of the people who had survived the exile were appalling. When he heard this, he sat down and wept. He mourned for days, fasting and praying before God.
2. Get on your feet and work
Nehemiah was not in a convenient circumstance to do what was on his heart to do. But, this is what he said, “If not me, then who?” Nehemiah bravely went before the king and asked to go to Jerusalem to help the rebuilding. Then, he went a step farther and requested supplies for the rebuilding effort. The king gave him everything he asked for, and in addition, sent him with a cavalry escort.
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he made an inspection of the walls of Jerusalem. He then came back and gave a report to the leaders. “Come – let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer…they said, We’re with you. Let’s get started. They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:17-18 MSG)
we make a life by what we give.
Remember Nehemiah’s response to the horrible conditions of Jerusalem? This is the report of the horrible conditions of American children. It is time for us all to get on our knees and pray.
· 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.(Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census). · 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
· 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.(Source: Center for Disease Control).
· 80% of rapist motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes. (Source: Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26).
· 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (Source: National Principals Assoc. Report on the State of High Schools).
· 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. (Source: Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. Of Corrections, 1992).
– Girls raised in fatherless homes are 92% more likely to divorce.
Above statistics from http://fathersunite.org
I truly believe that the church should look different than the surrounding culture. Our culture has been devastated by fatherlessness within the last 60 years. The church needs to step up and become a powerful force in the lives of the children that we have been given responsibility for.
MEN: GET ON YOUR FEET AND WORK
If “grandmas teaching with felt boards” is your idea of children’s ministry. Wow, have times changed! Our culture has changed…if we are still teaching kids like that, we will lose the boys before we begin. Boys need to know what it looks like to be a man that loves God, loves his family, yet, is still a man.
That’s why, I want the men to do boy things, blow stuff up, throw rocks at cans, go hiking, go camping. Family ministry will never look the same, but that is alright by me! Our society, our families and our churches need some Nehemiah’s to GET ON THEIR KNEES AND PRAY, THEN GET ON THEIR FEET AND WORK. I’m excited to see what God will do not just in our church, family or community, but even in our nation!
Men – get involved in your family ministry. Teach a teen class. Volunteer to take the boys hiking. Get to know some fatherless boys in your church. Don’t feel overwhelmed – what we always say is, Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone. If you feel like you can’t do much, just do for one. Changing ONE life is the most important thing you can do!
Want more ideas on fathering and getting involved in your community? Visit The National Center for Fathering
With love, Kristen
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