Monday, February 22, 2010

Seven Secrets Of Effective Fathering

By John B. Tracy

Many fathers would agree with the statement one man made: “I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the fathering stuff. I feel like a fish out of water.” In response to this uncertainty, Ken Canfield has written a book he titles The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers. What are the seven secrets of effective fathering?

1. An effective father is committed to his kids, and he keeps his commitments. This means he chooses to take time, energy and resources each day to make a deposit for each child.

2. An effective father knows his child. He recognizes each child’s unique talents, strengths, weaknesses and fears; and, he communicates how very special each of his children are to him.

3. An effective father is consistent. He is not perfect, but he is consistent. His reliability and dependability mean that his children can count on him. They know where he stands on the important issues of life.

4. An effective father protects and provides. Children need to know that they are protected from harm and that their fathers will provide for their financial needs.

5. An effective father loves his children’s mother. A strong marriage provides security for the children. They know that regardless of the difficulties the family must face, Mom and Dad will face them together.

6. An effective father is an active listener. Fathers should be “...quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

7. An effective father equips his children spiritually. He takes the lead in spiritual training, rather than delegating this role to his wife. He sets the pace of spirituality in the home through his active involvement in the local congregation of the Lord’s church.

May God help us to be the effective fathers
we so want to be.

- John B. Tracy, adapted; via The Contender, the weekly bulletin published by the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY. Kevin Williams preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted at

Monday, February 15, 2010

One Hundred Percent Marriage

By Gerald Cowan

The success of marriage, or any other human relationship or endeavor, is a percentage game. Someone with more rhetoric than logic and accuracy said, “If you give a hundred percent to your marriage and your spouse also gives a hundred percent, you will have a two hundred percent marriage.” It sounds good, but it is not logical and cannot be true. It is like saying, “make a hundred and ten percent effort.” It is supposed to mean simply “make an extra effort, do more and give more than expected.” But literally giving or doing one hundred and ten percent is impossible. If you give everything you’ve got and do everything you are able to do, that is a hundred percent. You cannot exceed that. Nobody can possibly give more than a hundred percent of what he has, in anything. One hundred percent is all there is – there isn’t any more. Now about the marriage, if each mate gives a hundred percent to the marriage they will have a hundred percent marriage. If each one gives fifty (that is called “meeting half way”) they will have a fifty percent marriage. If one gives a hundred percent and the other gives five percent they will have a five percent marriage. Unless the partners are trying to find ways to improve their marriage as a personal relationship, continuing to give themselves completely to it, they will not only have a deficient and defective marriage, but may end up losing whatever they have already invested in it. Is there an application to life in the church here? No one can have a one hundred percent relationship with the church or with the Lord who is Head of the church unless he gives one hundred percent of himself. If one expects and receives a hundred percent from the church or the Lord, but only gives ten percent of himself, he has a ten percent relationship. Many complain that “the church is not doing enough for me,” when the fact is they are not giving enough of themselves to secure any real or lasting benefits. Scripture says, “Give yourselves to God as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). If you aren’t receiving properly from God or from the church, perhaps you should examine what you are giving before you start complaining.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Three R’s of a Great Marriage

The Three R’s of a Great Marriage
By Edd Sterchi

It’s always exciting to have a wedding here at the church building! And last Friday night sure was an exciting event for the church family that meets at Harrisburg. It’s moving to witness the joining of the lives of two faithful, dedicated Christians in holy matrimony. It brought to mind thoughts of optimism and hope for the future. As far as my advice to the newlyweds go, I would offer three “R’s” to a healthy and successful marriage.

Romance - Love is a key element to keeping a marriage vibrant. It is because of love that a marriage should take place, and it is love that keeps the heart of a marriage beating soundly (Song of Solomon 2:4-5; 4:1ff; 8:6-7).

Relationship - When a marriage takes place, the two become one flesh and they begin a holy, permanent relationship with one another, and with God (Matthew 19:4-6). A marriage will only survive when people are dedicated to one another exclusively and intensely (Ephesians 5:25-28; Titus 2:4).

Responsibility - When two people are wed, a husband and a wife are created.Each have biblical responsibilities in their respective roles (1 Peter 3:1-7). For a marriage to make it as God desires, each must take their spousal duties seriously and implement them as God has designed.

It would be good for all of us who are married to do an inventory check of these three “R’s” often to make sure we are doing our part in keeping our marriages alive. But there is another application to these: Christians are well aware that they are a part of the church, the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Romans 7:4). As a bride to Christ, these should apply spiritually to us, also.

Romance - Christian, are you “in love” with Christ? Do you “keep falling in love with Him over and over and over again”? (1 Corinthians 16:22)

Relationship - Christian, do you realize and maintain the special relationship and communion you have with Christ? (1 Corinthians 1:9)

Responsibility - Christian, do you take your promise to remain faithful in Christ seriously? (Revelation 2:10)

A great marriage upon the earth is a wonderful blessing. Let us do what we can to make them as good as they can be. But, as Christians we must also remember that we are spiritually wed to Christ, and that “marriage” needs to be the best that it can be, too.

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted at or through the congregation's website:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Facing Monumental Decisions

By Dan Jenkins

His master, Abraham, had given him total authority in the finding of a bride for Isaac. He swore to the patriarch that he would not seek a wife from among the Canaanites but would find one among Abraham’s relatives in Mesopotamia. He promised that under no condition would he take Isaac back to Chaldea, for Isaac was to inherit the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendants.

It likely took several days, even weeks, before the unnamed servant reached his destination. One can only imagine what thoughts he had as he traveled. But when he arrived in Mesopotamia, he prayed fervently that God would give him success and thereby show kindness to Abraham.

God answered his prayer in a most remarkable way. Even before he had finished praying, the future bride was standing beside him.

As it became apparent that God had heard him, and he learned that indeed Rebekah was from Abraham’s family, “the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord,”-Gen. 24:26. He was so thankful that God’s mercy had been shown to him. There is more to the story (read Genesis 24), but think of the following lessons we can learn:

1. Prayer should be a vital part of the selection of the person anyone is dating or contemplating marrying.
2. Prayer should precede every major decision we make. When faced with crisis, pray!
3. Prayer is heard in heaven and God answers.
4. Prayer that is answered should be followed by a prayer of thanksgiving that God has heard us.
5. Prayer should not be hidden. Don’t be afraid to pray publicly because of what others might think.
6. Prayer shaped the destiny of Abraham’s family and it affects the destiny of yours.

- Dan Jenkins; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: