Friday, December 14, 2012

The Manhood Challenge

Nathan turned 12 yesterday. I can't believe he's 12. I really can't believe he's one year away from being a teenager. Crazy.

We celebrated with his favorite dinner, German-chocolate cake and presents. But I had a special gift for Nathan. It's called the Manhood Challenge. 

This is something I've been thinking about for about 5 years, ever since I read about Mark Batterson doing something like this. Basically, the Manhood Challenge is a year-long commitment of intentional discipleship between Nathan and me. I'll give the same gift to Matthew and Levi when they turn 12 too. I wanted to share it with you because I want you do intentionally disciple your kids. 

12/13/2012 Nathan, Happy Birthday! I am so proud of the man that you are becoming. I can remember the day you were born. It changed my life. And come to think of it, it changed yours as well. You are a great kid. But your time as a kid is almost up… even though you’ll always be my kid. As you know so well, in one year you will turn 13. This coming year is a big one for you. You are transforming from a child into a young man. So with that in mind I have something I want us to do together this year. I call it the Manhood Challenge. The Manhood Challenge has three parts:
  • A physical challenge.
  • An intellectual challenge.
  • A spiritual challenge.
Let me explain each one. First, there’s a physical challenge. It is so important that you learn to take care of your body. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6 that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We need to be good stewards of our physical bodies. So here’s what I want us to do together this year. I want us to do some physical challenge together. This could be running a 5K, doing a difficult hike, participating in a mud-run, or some other physical feat.
 Second, is the intellectual challenge. It is essential that you learn to develop your mind. You are doing that in school, but it’s more important that you learn to develop your mind on your own. Jesus says that we are to love God with all of your mind. Part of doing that is growing our intellect. This challenge will involve you and I reading 4-6 books together this year. They will challenge both of us. I have some books picked out, but I want your input as well. Here are the books I want us to read:
  • In a pit with a lion on a snowy day – Mark Batterson
  • The Screwtape letters – C.S. Lewis
  • More than a carpenter – Josh McDowell
  • Draw the Circle – Mark Batterson
 Finally is the spiritual challenge. More than anything else I want you to develop a healthy and growing relationship with Jesus. This is the foundation of everything in life. The best way to do this is to spend time in God’s Word. The best habit you could ever develop is the habit of reading your Bible on a daily basis. Here’s what we’re going to do: Basically, you and I are going to go through the story of the Bible this year. We’ll memorize some important scriptures along the way. You’ll be getting a gift at Christmas to help facilitate this challenge for both of us. I love you. I love who you are becoming. And I know that God has something he wants you to do with your life. He has big plans for you. I can’t wait to take this Manhood Challenge journey with you over this year. Accomplishing these feats is going to be a challenge. It’s going to take hard work and sacrifice and discipline for both of us. But I am so excited about working through these challenges together with you. I love you. I am proud that you are my son. Love, Dad Manhood Challenge Commitment I, ___________________________, commit to join with my dad to take up the Manhood Challenge. Signed ___________________________________  Date _______________ Printed name __________________________________________________ Dad’s signature _________________________________________________


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