Category Archives: Manhood Journey

5 Principles For Discipling Your Son

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5 Principles For Discipling Your Son

This article is a repost written by Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He is married to Tonia, and they have three children. He received the Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Ryan serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan.


Based on our recent survey of you, our reader, your top three biggest challenges are that you battle feeling like a failure, you want to be more intentional, and you struggle with discipline and training. This post will help you start tackling all three of these challenges, starting with intentionally discipling your son. Let’s rock and roll. 

In our handy, dandy father and son bible studies, we call these the “five vital principles.” Why? Well, when it comes to intentionally discipling your son, they’re “vital,” and they’re “principles.” There’s also five of them. Kidding aside, many of you feel like you just can’t seem to get your son to open up. One dads’ survey response struck me. He said, talking about his son, 

I wish we had the type of relationship in which I could speak into his life

How bad does it feel to think you aren’t speaking into your son’s life? On the flip side, how empowering would it feel to know you’re doing everything you can?

I want every dad reading this post to feel like you’re speaking into your sons’ life—and your son is listening.

Here’s the deal, do these five things. If you invest your time in doing these five vital principles, you’ll be intentionally discipling your son. You’re welcome in advance. You can thank me later. 

1. Take ownership of the process.

You have a small window of opportunity, don’t we? My kids are just starting to be the age where they have their own lives. You know? Like, their own “stuff” to be at. It sucks, not going to lie. What’s that saying, “the hours are long but the years are short”? It’s in those “long” hours that magic can happen—if we own that time.

Intentional fatherhood looks different compared to the world. Ephesians 6:4 has a different reference point for us as dads. There’s a purpose to it and our role. God’s Word instructs us to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Dad, don’t leave this to chance; bringing up boys to be godly men will not happen on its own. So own it—it’s yours for the taking. 

2. Be humble, honest, and helpful in all your conversations.

Remember, the goal is to raise your son into authentic, godly manhood. Within reason and depending on your sons’ age, be prepared to share areas where you struggle in your faith and pursuit of being a godly man. Let your son see you are a man who needs God’s grace as you work toward godliness.

Sure, your sons’ journey to manhood should be found in Christ’s model of manhood. But, he should be able to see an example—right in his own home—you! As you teach your son how to be a godly man, you will need to have the trust of your son over the world.

3. Engage in conversations, not lectures.

Kent wrote in our State of Biblical Fatherhood report a point I needed to hear. He said, “Stop trying to ‘be God’ to your children, instead reflect His character.” Whoa, what’s that sound? Oh, that’s Kent stepping on my toes. Let’s all agree to talk out the issues and help our kids come to the answers on their own, with your guidance. Remember that more is caught than taught.

MJ Dad pro tip: take questions to God, seeking wisdom in prayer and from His Word—in front of your son.

Good or bad, our kids’ first thoughts about who God is are shaped by how we dads relate to them. Some of my most challenging, yet best moments, as a dad, have been when I’ve apologized to my kids for wrongdoing.

4. Continually learn about your son.

One dad in our survey said, “Sometimes I’m all business/work and find it difficult to slow down to play ball or catch with the kids; in fact, we seem never to do this.” We can do better if we aim higher. One big goal is to know your son’s heart, which means you’ll need to peel back layers constantly. Learn to ask right questions and continually improve at numbers 1, 2, and 3 on this list. 

Use the discussion questions in our 1-on-1 bible study guides if you need to. We can tell you what to say and when to say it. Another MJ Dad pro tip: Put your iPhone on airport mode or in a separate room—away from you—for intentional times of connecting. Let your son know he has your undivided attention. I’m just preachin’ to myself now. 

5. Apply biblical wisdom to real life.

The Bible provides answers to our questions. It’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Remember, biblical manhood most easily starts with biblical fatherhood.

You will need to be digging into the Scriptures if you’re ever to be intentionally discipling your son. At the end of the Book of Matthew, Jesus gives us our mission in life to “go into all the world and make disciples…” (v. 28:19).

What if you started by intentionally discipling your son?

Question > Which one of these five vital principles do you struggle with the most? We’re here to help. You can always email me or tweet @ManhoodJourney.

7 Types of Busy Dads

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7 Types of Busy Dads

This article is a repost written by Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He is married to Tonia, and they have three children. He received the Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Ryan serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan.


Dad's Are Busy

Most of us dads are busy. I get it. Our sin is busyness. Said a different way—our sin might be workaholism. Here’s the deal: Regardless of busyness, you are responsible to shepherd your family. Many will tell you, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and darn it, people like you.” I’m not here for that. What kind of dad are you?

“As a shepherd, I don’t get to simply lead the sheep. I bind the wounds of the sheep. I take care of the sheep.” Dr. Tim Pasma 

The gospel truth is: you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough and people won’t like you.

You need God’s help. Getting at these seven types of dads will help us grow and change so we lead families who grow and change. I’ve learned most about this topic from Dr. Tim Pasma (Pastor at LaRue Baptist Church and one of my biblical counseling professors). This post comes from his lectures on the idols of the heart and workaholism. I’ve distilled his lectures down to dads. Thank me later.

Now, we church dads know our sinful heart drives our sinful behavior. Any behavior you see on the outside—has to do with the inside—the heart. James 1:13-15 says “each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death“.

Desire is at the root of all sin. Our goal then is to change the heart so we change behavior. How? By establishing biblical priorities and implementing biblical principles. Biblical fatherhood knows these priorities and principles.


7 Types of Busy Dads and the Idols of Their Hearts

#1 Mr. Able (Idol = Greed)

This dad wants to buy and own expensive luxury items. Think about large boats, more houses and so on. Before you draft an email to me—hear me out. There’s nothing wrong with having money and having fun with your money. But what are we teaching our children when it comes to selfishness and greed?

Tedd Tripp talks in Shepherding a Child’s Heart about the “fight over a toy” among siblings. He begs us to ask ourselves as parents whether it’s simply a “fight over a toy”? Or is it a failure to prefer others over self? Is it selfishness?

Tripp goes on:

Do you tend to see your children’s greedy “I wants” as the idolatry of possessions? Or do you think that it is simply natural—something that will be outgrown? If so, you will fail to help your children grapple with spiritual reality. You will never confront the sinful tendency to find meaning and significance in things. Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.  

Can you have money? Sure thing. Great on you. You’re blessed. Save and spend, brother, spend and save. But what does giving look like in your life? Better yet, what does sacrificial giving look like for you? If you reflect and find your hearts’ desire is to have a sixth and larger boat—when you ain’t in the boat-shipping business—well, that’s interesting, based on this verse:

See Matthew 6:19-24 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

#2 Mr. Baxter (Idol = Fear and worry about the future)

This dad is a tad different than Mr. Greed. This dad may not want rich things, but he’s afraid of financial loss and unsure about the future. He’s usually the over-saver. It’s a thing. Maybe you didn’t have possessions growing and now that you have some—you ain’t givin’ them up! You save so much you never give. You hold on to your possessions in fear and worry. Congratulations, this makes you a sinner like Richy Rich Dad in #1.

Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? … For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Full disclosure: I think the dad who seeks first the kingdom of God—his life will be a different example to his kids than the dad who doesn’t. Which dad are you?

#3 Mr. Dean (Idol = Reputation/Pride/Status)

You know this dad. This dad wants neighbors and community to view him highly—but inside of the house is usually a different story. This dad seems awesome on the outside. Everyone who doesn’t live with him would think he’s the best dude ever. But if his wife and kids were honest with you—a different tune would be played.

This one gets at motivation too. Honestly, even if people in your own house think too highly of you—it may speak to your efforts to play God and be the hero—instead of point your family to God. Go ahead and email me on this one!

It’s not that having your neighbors and community think highly of you is a bad thing. But, at what expense and how major and life-changing are their opinions to you? There is a work versus grace mentality going on here. Are you doing the “right things” for people and their view of you? Or, are you serving Christ and not living for people all that much? One of these ways is better than the other! I have to ask: which dad are you? Let’s seek humility over the sin of pride.

See Philippians 2:1-11 and Philippians 2:20-21: 

For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

#4 Mr. Eric (Idol = Escape responsibilities and duties)

This dad usually has a bad marriage and family life. If you’re this dad, you don’t want to come home. You drive slower in traffic just to take a longer commute. When home, you convince yourself and your family you’re too tired to help or deal with anything in the home.

Often, this is a slow decline. You started off decent as a newly married. You did everything to win the girl. Then, the slow creep down to escape-responsibilities town started taking place. So much that it’s been months or years and your wife handles most things at home and with your kids. Are you this dad?

Read the entire passage of Ephesians 5:15-6:4. But I’ll key in on Ephesians 5:15-17: 

Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Imagine the difference made in this type of dad if he lives in view of these verses? If we father with Ephesians 5:16 in mind, our evenings and weekends will look different than they do now.

#5 Mr. Ford (Idol = Pre-adultery/Adultery)

This dad finds acceptance and approval with the female secretary or colleague. He’s starting to form—or has already formed—unwise, inappropriate relationships. Let’s be honest and call this what it is—pre-adultery.

I won’t go lite here because I don’t want you to go lite on me. Dads, we don’t get up in the morning, read our Bible’s, pray and truly worship God all day—just to commit adultery by 5 PM. No, adultery is death by a thousand paper cuts. There were a thousand little decisions you made along the way. We can’t be ignorant of what’s happening. Guard your affections. See the signs. Teach your sons.

Matthew 5:27-28

“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

#6 Mr. Grady (Idol = Man’s approval/Avoid disapproval)

This idol is sneaky. You should want to do good work in life. And, in general, you should care what people think. But not too much! What’s your why? Kind of like #3 Mr. Dean—what’s your motivation behind your actions? You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Do you work hard at work—because you understand you’re honoring God? Or, are you working hard simply because you’re afraid of displeasing your boss or losing your boss’s approval? This takes discernment. But I see this one in my own life. Why do I say yes all the time and over commit to work or church or whatever? Why am I so afraid to push back?

When I’m at my best, I know whether I’m saying yes to simply please people—or—I can say no and please God. I get it. There’s seasons and all that. But, there’s gotta be a balance somewhere between doing the right things—yet not doing them for selfish interests—or being terrified to say no. Gotta be. What’s my point? We should be careful to serve God and not man—in all of our dealings. Fear of man is a thing. It’s in the Bible.

Proverbs 29:25: The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.

John 12:42-43: Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God.

#7 Mr. Heston (Idol = Self-righteous/perfectionist)

This dad is a “good Christian.” He’s proud of his work ethic and does what is right. Often, this dad simply hasn’t experienced failure. This dad says when things go wrong, “I’ll just lean in a work harder.” Half-truth alert! Sure, sometimes leaning in is the answer—because you actually haven’t been working hard enough! But, beyond that, where is God in your life? Are you dependent on him—regardless of how much or how hard you’re working?

Sadly, while this dad might not say it aloud, he lives as though he believes being the perfect worker makes him righteous. Are you this dad?

Philippians 3:4-9: 

I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: … But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ… 

These are the desires that drive each of us, busy dads. Our goal should be to change the heart so we change behavior by establishing biblical priorities and implementing biblical principles of time management. Biblical fatherhood knows his priorities and how to manage time.

Do you still feel too busy?

Change your heart, brother. If you want to help yourself and your kids, begin learning how to combat your idols—the idols of your heart—the cravings—the desires. This is why we wrote 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad, to combat these sins for dads.

What’s motivating you to do what you’re doing? Why are you overwhelmed with busyness? I not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I think God would remind you of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Last question: which dad are you?

5 Ways A Man Handles Money

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5 Ways A Man Handles Money

This article is a repost written by Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. He is married to Tonia, and they have three children. He received the Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Fellow at The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Ryan serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan.


I love the TV show Shark Tank. I recently watched an episode, and one of the business mogul’s (I won’t name names!) struck me saying, “The most important thing in this world is money.” Let that sink in. At best, it was a cute quip for TV. At worst, it’s his worldview. The world respects this idea; biblical manhood lives differently. In this post, I want to distinguish the men from the boys. Biblical manhood understands the money you have is not your own. These are the top five ways biblical manhood handles money.

My pastor recently explained, if you have access to the following, you are incredibly wealthy:

  • clean water
  • clothes
  • a roof
  • your immediate needs met
  • transportation (a bus or car)
  • one book

Guys, how we view money and wealth is one of the greatest challenges we face. When it comes to money and biblical manhood (or biblical fatherhood), will you be the example your family needs? 

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Thankfully, God is not silent about money. Let’s look at the biblical truths about money that can lead to a fulfilling life, no matter how much—or how little—financial wealth flows through our hands.

1. He Tithes

Oh, tithing, what should I write? I’ll tell you what. I’ll do my best to answer questions I think you’d ask about tithing. You’re welcome in advance!

Where do we tithe?

To and through the local church. The church feeds the poor and does God’s mission. Argue with me! ; )

When do we tithe?

Short answer: Regularly. There should be a clear pattern. You get paid bi-weekly. Don’t complicate it, give bi-weekly. Get in the habit of giving when you get. 

How much do we tithe?

Consult your local biblical scholar. Old Testament has lots to say about the tithe. Folks smarter than I have researched the first, second, and third-year tithe. Between the first-fruit offering and free-will offerings — conservatively — you’re looking at anywhere between 10 to 23+ percent. Have fun with that. A few Scriptures to ponder are Leviticus 19; 27:30, Exodus 23; 24; 35 and 36.

What’s the point of tithing? 

God wants His people to put Him before money. Tithes and offerings are not just God’s plan for financing His work. They are a means by which the Lord develops the heart of His people. When we give sacrificially without expectation of anything in return, we acknowledge that all we have and all we are belong to God.

A few principles we teach in our father and son Bible study about the tithe:

  • A tithe generally means a tenth, though that amount is not set in stone. (Leviticus 27:32)
  • A tithe is meant to honor the Lord, not just deprive us of material things. (Deuteronomy 14:22-23)
  • A tithe is the first or best part of what you earn or produce. (Proverbs 3:9)
  • God provided for certain people through the tithe. (Deuteronomy 26:12)

When should you start tithing? Right now. As in today. You’ll wonder where I stand on tithing if I don’t tell you now. Here’s my stance: Give now. Did you make $10 this week? Awesome. Give $1+ to the church in joyful worship understanding that God allowed you to come in contact with that $10. Biblical manhood tithes.

2. He Gives

What’s the difference between a tithe and a gift?

We owe God a tithe, but a gift goes beyond obligation; it’s an act of love, even a sacrifice to God or another person.

Those still reading will think, “Oh, tithing was sooooo Old Testament.” Well, in the New Testament, we don’t see specific commandment to tithe. Sadly for the greedy, money-hoarders reading this post, we see examples that go beyond tithing—to selling all of our possessions or giving everything away (Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-38).

This thinking may be helpful. When you tithe, you’re just getting started. Work in such a way that you can help someone or something out—beyond the tithe. What will I teach my son? By God’s grace, I’ll teach him that while we don’t give to get—when we get, we should give.

Scripture to consider:

  • Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” —2 Corinthians 9:7
  • “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 7:9–12

3. He Earns

Whether you have lots of money or little, it’s important to teach your son the value and responsibility of earning money. You work—you get money. That said, there’s a ton of Scripture that talks about work and responsibility.

Here are two verses and I’ll move on for now:

  • Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” —Proverbs 10:4 
  • Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.” —Proverbs 23:4

Live by example to your family about how you use your time and talents and work. These areas of life are opportunities to be grateful for the work and responsibility to earn money. Then, once you earn money, do the right thing with it.

4. He Enjoys

Do you think God wants us to enjoy our money? Sure. But, I don’t think this area is a problem for most of us. So, I won’t talk long about this point.

Just know these verses and let them guide how you enjoy your wealth:

  • Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil— this is a gift of God.” —Ecclesiastes 5:19
  • “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” —1 Timothy 6:17

It’s okay to enjoy material things and the wealth God provides. But we are not to pursue these things or let them become idols in our lives. If God provides something, we enjoy it. If He doesn’t, we rely on Him to meet our needs. The end. Jump to number five.

5. He Leaves

Do you have anything cool at home that your father or grandfather gave you as a special keepsake? My dad hasn’t passed or anything, but one of the coolest things I have from him is a few pocket knives. When I see one, anywhere, I think of my dad.

In Scripture, inheritances were usually passed on in the form of property.

  • Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. —Job 42:15

What’s the big deal?

When saving money becomes about how you can leave a legacy for your kids or future generations—instead of that next thing you want to buy—this is when you ultimately move from being a boy to being a man. Dare I say, it’s part of intentionally discipling your son.

God can be trusted with your kids, your home, your money—everything. It’s already His. Don’t waste your money. Start at number one on this list and work your way down. The Bible says live with contentment and gives joyfully. If you take nothing from this post, remember this: Biblical manhood understands your money is not your own. Understand that, then teach it to your family by what you say and what you do. Where’s the profit in gaining the world, but losing your soul?

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