Daddy – by Travis Simpkins, age 20, Fulton County Jail, Atlanta

“I’d like to think that I’ll be a better father, that I have learned from Dad’s mistakes. On most days I can buy that. But there are times when I look in the mirror and see who I’ve become, and think of who he’s always been, and I’m not so sure. You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading of the nightmare that is child abuse, or how alcohol is ripping families apart. I see these articles and feel a little foolish for my anger. My father was neither abusive nor alcoholic. He was simply absent.

Dad always did love me. He still does – or so he says on the rare occasions when we catch one another on the phone. He had his priorities when I was young, and now I have mine. I’m in jail, and my primary concern is my trial. I’m sure he understands. I always did.

I don’t remember much of him in the early days except that he was my hero. I recall stories I sued to tell the other kids about an important and powerful man. He used to fly in on a moment’s notice. I’d see him for a few precious hours. Then he was gone.

Such is the innocence of youth that when he called, always a few weeks after Christmas or my birthday, and told me that the package I had never received must have gotten lost in the mail, I believed him wholeheartedly. Until I was 13 or 14 years old, I was afraid to mail a letter for fear that the same fate would befall it.

The road from realization to acceptance is a lot longer than it looks. I’ve been on it for the past 5 years, and I’m not all that far from where I started. My father and I have a hard journey ahead of us, provided we can find the time. There is sorrow in his voice when we discuss the past, and I know that if he had it to do over, he’d do his best to do it right. Second chances are few, and it’s much easier to do it right the first time.

My dad loved me as only a father can love a son. I don’t question that. But he was also self-centered and let me down when I needed him most. A part of me will always be that kid at the window waiting and waiting with his nose pressed against the glass; knowing that if Dad said he was coming, he was coming; but waking up curled beneath the window, alone.

I love my father, but looking in the mirror sometimes I get a little scared. We are just so much alike. Father’s Day is just a few months away. There are a lot of kids thinking about their hero’s and a lot of hero’s thinking about their kids. Probably there are many kids who don’’ see too much of Dad. If I’’ lucky, a handful of those fathers are reading this. Your kids will love you whether you make it or not; that is the nature of being a hero. But maybe you should take time to consider how important whatever else you have planned is. We do grow up fast. Just ask my dad, or better yet, ask yours.”

Signed – Travis Simpkins, age 20, Fulton County Jail, Atlanta.

And so we see the end result of another failed father. The sad tale of another man who refused to follow God’s plan for the family, the fruit that came to another man who never knew heaven in the home.

https://manlytraining.com/2018/01/24/how-to-be-father-easy-steps/

Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

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Jesus The Teenage Rebel – part 3

In Jesus The Teenage Rebel, we have been looking at the fact that Jesus grew up in a normal home. Jesus lived without sin, but his parents and his siblings did not. There was surely conflict in His house. Sibling rivalry, parenting issues and other kinds of conflict. Jesus was a pretty normal 12 year old when he chose to go to the temple and ask the Rabi’s questions. But His parents didn’t think so. They were worried! Jesus rebelled against the teen tendency to view adults as irrelevant, boring, stodgy, out of touch old people. Instead, He saw how much He could learn from them and maximized His opportunity to learn.

We are looking a Jesus as a teenager. In the first two parts, the lesson was mainly for the teensagers, but parents got some encouragement too. There are not a lot of writings about this time of His life. we can find the best one in Luke 2:41-52. And you know what it shows us? It shows us that; Jesus was a teenage rebel!

Luke 2:41-48

Luke 2:41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.
Luke 2:46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

There is a third thing I notice in this passage. A very interesting one, especially for parents.

3.- Jesus’ obedience to God caused some anxiety.

His growth produced some tension. By choosing to maximize His opportunity for growth Jesus made His mom and dad anxious. That is often true for us also. As we grow, and change, it is often uncomfortable.

We have growing pains. You often hear teenagers and pre-teens complaining about their legs, their arms and just about every extremity in their body. That is very uncomfortable!

Let’s not forget the whole issue around weight and height! As pre-teens turn into teenagers and young adults, they first put on some weight. Then they gave growth spurts. Their bodies are ever changing and getting ready for adulthood!

Let me tell you that the same is true spiritually. As we grow in obedience to God, it often creates tension with others around us!

Examples

I can think of several examples of this spiritual principle. Take for instance when one spouse decides they want to be more giving and another would rather make the next big purchase. That has to add tension to any relationship.

What would happen if one family member suddenly wants to become a world Christian and wants the family to give up a meal each week and send the saved money to the hungry in Africa? Tension!! Especially for those les “spiritual in their growth”.

As we mature as Christians, we may come face to face with this other issue causing tension at work. The partner at work doesn’t understand why you “suddenly” have a moral problem with the way income is reported for tax purposes.

That is just how it goes. Growth produces change and change sometimes creates tensions and anxiety. Expect that! Embrace that as part of the process! Above all, don’t let it stop you from making steps in your spiritual life. It is part of being a rebel!


 

Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

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It Just Makes Sense.

3. It just makes sense.

Teenagers are wet cement. They form to the forms layed out for them. While working with adults is definitely important, sometimes a jackhammer and wheelbarrow is required before the wet cement can be poured in their souls.

Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the most intelligent scholar/preacher of the 1st Great Awakening, recorded that the “revival has been chiefly amongst the young….” Teenagers led the way for awakening in this powerful 18th Century revival. As a matter of fact, teenagers have been on the leading edge of every major spiritual awakening in the history of the United States.

Teenagers are idealists, visionaries and unrealistic. This lack of realism allows them to see visions and have dreams that thoses of us who have been worn down by the realities of life may no longer see. Adults tend to use microscopes while teenagers have a penchant for telescopes. We tend to get worn down by life and they tend to get fired up by causes. We wonder how much money it will take and they just don’t care.

An old French proverb goes, “The most dangerous swordsman in France is the one who has never wielded a sword.” Why are they dangerous? They don’t know the rules so they just hack away and break the rules of engagement until they win.

Teenagers don’t know the rules of engagement which can help them win souls. They can break the foolish patters of their forefathers which, for the most part, has kept the Gospel locked within the four walls of the church sanctuary.

They don’t know that they can’t reach the world for Christ just by spreading the gospel so they are willing to do it. They don’t know that they can’t reach their school for Christ without market research so they just reach it.

The average teenager has 425 online and face-to-face friends. They can use their social media clout to spark Gospel conversations in ways we could never imagine as adults.

Hitler hijacked teen culture and used it to advance the Nazi agenda. Communists harnessed and unleashed the idealism of teenagers to spread the message of communism. For years radical Muslims have recruited young people to spread a message of hate and, in far too many cases, trigger acts of terrorism around the globe.

If evil people and evil philosophies can mobilize young people for their causes then why can’t the Bride of Christ unleash young people to spread the gospel for the best cause ever, the spread of the gospel across the planet?

Teenagers are the most underutiziled, underestimated and underchallenged group of people in the church. As a result, our churches are dying.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto was asked about how he felt. His answer was stark, “I am fearful that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”

It is time to awaken the sleeping giant in the church called teenages and fill them with holy resolve. To join the movement, simply share this with as many of your friends and family as you can. Then, click HERE to subscribe to our mailing list.

No matter if you’re a lead pastor, a youth leader or a volunteer, never underestimate the power of teenagers to change the world for Christ and transform this culture!


Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

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The Foolish Things of the World

2. God receives glory when the foolish things of the world confound the wise.

1 Corinthains 1:26-29 makes this crystal clear, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

If this passage is not a case for working with teenagers I don’t know what is. Teenagers are foolish, goofy and hyper. I love it! God loves it! He wants to use them as twitchy revolutionaries to change the course of nations and to launch a global awakening of Biblical proportions just like his Son did 2,000 years ago!


Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

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Teens Can Do Great Things.

God has a track record of choosing teens to accomplish great spiritual feats.

From Joseph, to Timothy, to Esther (who won a beauty contest then saved a nation), God has used young people in big ways to do even bigger things.

In 1 Samuel 16 when the prophet Samuel goes to the house of Jesse, it’s not the strapping, strutting older brothers of the house that God chooses to be king. It’s the underage runt of the litter that got annointed as the future leader of Israel. One chapter later, this kid named David, who was delivering cheese and crackers to his older brothers in the war, got ticked off that a nine foot giant was talking smack against the God of Israel. His anger left an impression on Goliath…a deep one.

But its not just in the Old Testament that God demonstrates his predisposition to choose and use teenagers. For the most part Jesus mostly picked teenagers to be his disciples. In Matthew 17, when Jesus, Peter and the disciples go into Capernaum, only Peter and Jesus pay the temple tax (although all of the disciples are there!) According to Exodus 30:14 the temple tax was only applicaple to those twenty years old and older. If I’m reading that right, that means that Jesus was a youth leader with only one adult sponsor…and one really rotten kid.

And God used this “youth group” to reach the world! He can use you to do the same!


Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

Just Click  on the Patreon Logo to go to Patreon and start receiving exclusive material from Manly Training.



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Why Train Teenagers?

ejq3 is a website I launched with the sole purpose of reaching our young people for Christ and then training them. After all, we are called to make disciples.  For the past two and a half years, I have been working on “manlytraining.com” and reaching men (and some women) to train (or disciple) them in God’s ways. I reasoned that if we could reach the men, we could reach the whole family. And if we could reach the families of America, we could make a difference in our nation. For as the family goes, so goes our Nation!

So far, Manly Training Ministries has done well. We have a large online following made up mostly adults from 30 to 60 years of age. We have a weekly group of men we call “The Men of Destiny”. These men get together every week to encourage each other and study God’s word so that we can grow as men and become the men God created us to be.

As a part of the strategy that God has given us here at Manly training Ministries, we are now launching out to the younger generations. After all, they are our future. But WHY would we take on a ministry that aims to train or disciple teenagers? Well, let me tell you why:

We want to disciple the younger generations because:

1. God has a track record of choosing teens to accomplish great spiritual feats.

2. God receives glory when the “foolish things of the world” confound the wise.

3. It just makes sense.

I will explain each one of these three reasons in seperate posts. Let’s make a difference together as we train our teenagers and young adults to become the men and women God designed them to be.


Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

Just Click  on the Patreon Logo to go to Patreon and start receiving exclusive material from Manly Training.



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© 2017 MANLY TRAINING

Jesus The Teenage Rebel – part 1

Jesus The Teenage Rebel

I wish there were a couple hundred more verses at the end of Luke 2. I wish there were more stories about Jesus’ teen years. some indication of how He related to His peers or how He and His parents got along.

Somehow we get this idea that Jesus’ growing up must have been conflict-free; that since He was sinless everything would have been just fine all the time. That simply can’t be true – Jesus was perfect but His parents (and siblings) weren’t!

Maybe Mary was having a bad day and got all mad at Jesus for something He didn’t do. Maybe Joseph hit his thumb with His hammer one time and tried to blame it on Jesus because He made some noise in the shop right then. Then maybe one of His siblings lied and got Jesus in trouble (it wouldn’t be the last time He was punished for someone else’s wrongs). How would Jesus have responded when He saw His parents sin? There may have been some conflict!

The point is that there would inevitably have been some conflict. Even though Jesus was without sin, His parents and siblings were not.

Take Comfort

I hope that those of you who are parents of teens, and those of you who are teens, will take some comfort from that. Some conflict is normal! And although there are not a bunch of stories of Jesus as a teenager, there is one: Luke 2:41-52. And you know what it shows us? It shows us that there WAS some conflict; Jesus was a teenage rebel!

Luke 2:41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.
Luke 2:46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

Let me give you a little bit of historical background. First let’s look at  Jesus’ education:

At the time of Jesus, most Jewish kids went to school in the synagogue. There were 3 schools that the children would go starting at 3 years of age.

– #1 – Bet Sefer –

The First school was called Bet Sefer which means house of the book – you went seven days a week for 5 years (in the mornings only) and learned to read and memorized Torah (that’s our Old Testament – except for Song of Songs and David and Bethsheba…) No Questions Allowed!

– #2 – Bet Talmud –

The Second school was called Bet Talmud which means house of learning – at this point you went morning and evening, 7 days a week for another 5 years. And here you memorized all the previous interpretations of Torah (which is a collection of writings called the Talmud). Still you couldn’t discuss anything or ask questions. You would be about half way through this school when you had your bar mitzvah (turning 13). This was where almost everyone stopped – memorize the Torah and the Talmud, and then if you didn’t really have any new ideas or interpretations of Torah you would quit school and continue to learn a trade from your father.

– #3 – Bet Midrash –

The Third school was called Bet Midrash which was reserved for the really gifted. It was at this point that you could finally discuss and argue and interpret.  Can you imagine that after 10 years of memorizing without speaking some may speak with some passion when they are finally able to?

So the normal pattern for raising your kids in first century Palestine was to send them to school when they were between 5-7. Then have a bar or bat mitzvah the Saturday before their 13th birthday. (Which welcomed them as adults into Jewish society). Then teach the boys a trade at their father’s side and the girls all of the home skills of cooking and sewing and child-rearing.  And then get them married off by age 18. Now this is important: in Jewish culture – if you were not married by age 20 at the latest, not only were your parents and family upset, but God Himself was very angry with you!

So that’s a bit of cultural background to the passage that we are looking at. I thought you might find it interesting just as context. Since this passage tells us Jesus was 12, we can assume he was in the middle school working hard at memorizing the Talmud.

Anyway, enough history. Let’s look at the passage:

Luke 2:41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.

Notice what is going on here.  The family, all together, were having a Spiritual holiday. This was a tradition. You see, “every year” they went to Jerusalem for the feast of the passover.

We have a few things like that. We have a few customs and traditions: Christmas is one – kids being a part of the kids Christmas pageant, going to church together on Christmas eve, our Easter services, etc.

I would even say that getting to church together week after week is like this passage. This teaches our kids that the family goes to church together.

Be a Family and do Stuff Together

I want to encourage you to try really hard to enjoy coming to church as a family. Make sure you get there five or ten minutes early, so that you have time to get the kids to their classes and get into the sanctuary and find your seat before things begin (I know I’m asking a lot here). But then you’ll be ready to worship, and you’ll show your kids how important God is.

Maybe you can find something as a family that you can do each week to make it more enjoyable. Stop for a slurpee on the way home, or let your kids invite a friend over, or have lunch with some friends. Whatever you can think of to really make each Sunday a positive experience for your family. For lots of you it is already, if it isn’t I challenge you to sit down as a family and decide how you can make it more enjoyable!

– back to the story…

Luke 2:46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”

So there we have it: Jesus was a teenage rebel. Now by saying “Jesus was a teenage rebel” I don’t mean that He turned His back on His parents, rejected everything they had taught Him, and took off to become a Greek Philosopher. Although His parents might have been a bit concerned… “I just don’t know what could have gotten in to Him… He’s always been such a cooperative young man, and yet I’ve been worried sick about Him these past three days…” So what DO I mean? Well, let’s look at what we learn about Jesus in this passage:

1. Jesus was a pretty normal guy.

Jesus had a normal family, normal upbringing, lived in a normal Jewish place and had a normal mother and father. Even the fact that there were some abnormalities is pretty normal. This passage shows how normal everything was.

Some of you are saying now wait, how many other twelve year olds are sitting among the teachers in the temple and impressing them?? THAT certainly isn’t normal… and I’d have to agree. But what I would say is normal is that all of us at some point in time need to embrace our faith for ourselves. And that is what I see Jesus doing here – embracing His faith for Himself. We need to make a separation from our parents . We must distance ourselves a bit as we become adults and individuals. There comes a time when each of us has to examine the things we have always been taught and always believed and determine whether in fact we will own that faith for ourselves.

A Word to The Parents

Looking at this passage from a developmental point of view, I think that is what is happening. Jesus is getting it from another source. He is taking the initiative, as a twelve-year-old boy, to search out His faith and embrace it himself. Parents you need to provide room and opportunities for your kids to do that as they grow older. Send them to camp, make sure they have exposure to other adult Christians, encourage their questions and help them find the answers for themselves, even if that means allowing them to struggle to their own conclusions.

Really, that is one of the key reasons why we need to work with teens – to help them think through and challenge and question and thus come to a firm personal conviction and experience with Jesus as THEIR Lord and Savior. And parents – your biggest job here is to be a consistent example and to pray. And to let your kids know that you are praying for them!!

https://manlytraining.com/2018/02/15/school-shootings-man-america/

Patreon

Patreon allows you to support this Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization with a tax free donation. Your donations and support will go towards program material, training material, summer camps and much more. In addition, we have overhead such as the website and its maintenance, transportation, and well, my family and I need to eat.

On Patreon you can pledge as little as $1 a month, and in return you’ll get some pretty cool rewards, ranging from your name and blog on my MTM VIP page, exclusive content, and PODCAST VERSIONS of my posts! You can support Manly Training Ministries with as much as you want, I won’t stop you. But I will pray for you and with great gratitude, we will receive it and put all of it (100%) to work for the ministry.

Just Click  on the Patreon Logo to go to Patreon and start receiving exclusive material from Manly Training.

 

 



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