A Fading Role

There is a stark contrast between family life a hundred years ago and today’s modern family. Boys of yesteryear had significant daily interaction with their dads, but today’s dad is mostly absent for one reason or the other. Somehow the American father has all but disappeared from his family. Yet one thing remains constant: boys still long for intimacy and input from their fathers. The lyrics in that great country song by Rodney Atkins so succinctly makes my point:

“I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do.
So I’ve been watching you.”

Boys beg their fathers to teach them how to do ‘men’ things, like play baseball, be in the outdoors, or fix things. But with their dads missing from their lives, many boys grow up with those yearnings and needs largely unfulfilled. The result of this absent dad has left behind a generation that is riddled with stories of masculine anger.

Many men today have approached manhood feeling unprepared and ill equipped. They come into manhood knowing very little about how a man works, plays, relates to other men, and loves women. Men today are trying to act and function as men in this world, just as their fathers seem to have done. But at the same time, they struggle because their dads never showed them how.

Experience has shown us that the men who are happiest and most content in their masculine role are those whose fathers invested time and energy into their lives. These dads may have worked outside the home, as the vast majority of fathers in our society do today. But their priorities were in the right place. They were committed in principle, and found concrete ways to maintain a positive, nurturing relationship with their sons. These fathers helped their sons discern and nurture their individual talents, and supported them in their chosen careers. They identified their sons’ strengths and weaknesses and addressed them accordingly. They attempted to understand their sons’ unique ambitions, and appreciated their achievements. In short, these fathers helped their sons become men. And as a result of their investments, their sons are among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our society.

However, men with these kinds of dads are in the minority today. Most men are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm, and validate them at the most fundamental level. These men have had fathers who have abdicated their role and have left behind a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear, and anger. These adult sons are often the angry men of our society.

If you are reading this today and are a dad, my question for you is which description best fits your situation? Are you reaping the benefits of a committed, invested father, or are you struggling to overcome a sonship that has left you a wounded and angry man? If it’s the latter, don’t remain stuck there—won’t you take steps to get some help? Call us today at 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433) and let us help you on your journey to restoration.


Stop Clinging to Unrealistic Expectations

7-minute-marriage-solutionThis article was published in The Huffington Post yesterday. A great article that every Christian should read. Click here to read it. Excerpted from The Seven Minute Marriage Solution by Stephen Arterburn

Warning: Facebook Could Destroy your Marriage

A New Jersey pastor told his married church leaders that they either had to delete Facebook or they would have to resign from their leadership role in the church. Other pastors have likened Facebook to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and have urged their entire congregation to shut down their pages. The issue became more urgent when the marriage statistics came out for 2011. The report said that 33% of all divorce filings mentioned in their paperwork Facebook as a factor that led to the divorce.

We cannot blame Facebook–it’s what people do on Facebook that is the problem. The most obvious problem develops when out of curiosity, one reaches out to an old flame–“just to see how they are doing.” Or an old flame reaches out to us for the same reason. Without realizing it, we can soon be spending more time “Facebooking” with an old flame than we’re doing face-time with our spouse. And the longer we reminisce about those old feelings the more we find they become current feelings.

I don’t do Facebook. I have a Facebook page, but it is managed by the New Life Live radio/TV program people. But I’ve worked with couples whose major complaint was that their spouse was spending hours a day on Facebook, posting pictures, chatting, and checking on their “friends’” postings. It’s all too easy to get caught up in what appears to be someone else’s exciting life, especially if we feel we are merely existing.

Another step to creating a major problem in a marriage is for one partner to become too personal in what they share with a “friend.” Talking about your marital issues with someone other than your spouse creates intimacy with that person, and it is especially dangerous if they are of the opposite sex. That’s really how just about every Facebook affair begins–They say they simply just sat and talked with an attractive other about what was not working in their marriage.

In the real world, an affair can take months to develop. But on Facebook, all it takes is a couple of clicks. People are tempted, and it is so much easier to give in to that temptation on Facebook. One may be too reserved, or shy in real life, but they can become much bolder behind the screen than they would be in person. Many of those who have ended up destroying their marriage would never have even thought about having an affair without the private seduction available over Facebook.

How do you know if your marriage is in danger? The problem is already occurring if one person refuses to talk with their spouse about what is happening on their Facebook. If you are being shut out of your spouse’s activities on Facebook, your marriage is probably already in the danger zone. Safety comes with complete openness regarding who you each are talking with, and when both of you know all of each other’s passwords. That’s at least a beginning point in protecting your marriage. Be careful in this digital age–you don’t want to be one of the 33%.

How do you handle Facebook and other social media issues in your marriage? In your family?

Article was sourced from the blog of Dr. Dave Stoop with permission:  Dr Stoop is a regular co-host on New Life Live.

Ashley Trenner’s Story

The Trenner Family has been long time friends of the ministry. Last month their daughter, Ashley, lost her battle with melanoma. Ashley was 40 years old when she died.  In her younger adult years, she was a frequent user of tanning beds.  She threw off the warnings and concerns that the use of tanning could be dangerous to her and might cause melanoma.  However before she died, she became a strong spokesperson against the use of tanning beds and regretted that she didn’t heed those warnings.  Below is her story, which was shared at her memorial service.  We share this with you knowing that God is a redemptive God. Ashley’s desire was that out of her death there might come a new awareness of melanoma – how to prevent it and find early detection and treatment.

Thank you, Bob and Karen, for allowing us to share Ashley’s story with our New Life family and audience.

AshelyIn 2003, a tiny lesion appeared on Ashley’s right buttock.  A dermatologist removed the lesion and the pathology was negative.  Within a year the lesion reappeared.  Since she didn’t have medical insurance or the money to have it removed again, she didn’t go to a doctor until the lesion got a little larger than a quarter and it became very painful.  In 2006, she went to a different dermatologist to have the lesion removed.  This time the result was melanoma.  At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance she immediately had a larger biopsy on her right buttock and a lymph node dissection in the right groin. This was crucial surgery because if the cancer spread internally the survival rate is less than 50% in 5 years, and difficult to treat. If melanoma is caught in the beginning stages and hasn’t metastasized the survival rate is over 95% and is highly treatable.  Ashley’s sentinel node, which is closest to the lesion, tested positive.  One month later she had another surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible removing more tissue and lymph nodes in the groin.  Treatment began with Interferon 2 months after this surgery.  For 3 years her checkups were negative for melanoma.  On Thanksgiving in 2009, she discovered a lump on her right hip which was diagnosed as melanoma.  In 2010, she started a series of clinical trial drug studies; MDX, Yervoy, and OncoVex.   In January, 2011, her scans showed cancer in her lymph nodes, both sides of her groin, liver, upper back, and lungs.  In October, 2011, she entered another clinical trial drug study, MEK/BRAF. The cancer eventually reached the brain and in October, 2012, she had gamma knife surgery.  Two months after this surgery she did one phase of InterLuken 2.  Her scans showed continued growth of melanoma so nothing more could be done. In January, 2013, she entered the hospital to remove 4 inches of her intestines due to a blockage.  A few weeks later she reentered the hospital to have a PEGG tube placed in her stomach. On February 6, Ashley moved to her parents where she received hospice care. On March 1, she was taken to the emergency room and the next day she was moved to the Evergreen Hospice Center. On March 11 she was taken by ambulance to her parents where she wanted to be when she died. On March 15 at exactly 5:00 am Ashley left us after her seven year, courageous battle against metastatic melanoma.

Lessons learned by Ashley:

  • Don’t use tanning beds.
  • Don’t procrastinate if you see something suspicious on your skin.
  • Do get regular skin checkups by a dermatologist.

And Mom says, “ask for help if you need it.”

Ashley’s warning about tanning beds

Beth Moore’s Take on the Matthew Warren Tragedy

Sadness and Madness


Steve Arterburn with Joyce Meyer on the Enjoying Everyday Life Show

God Made a Farmer

Video: Steve Arterburn and Josh McDowell discuss the importance of Christian Counseling

The secret to making New Year’s resolutions stick

By Dr. Henry Cloud | Published December 29, 2012 | FoxNews.com

There are three areas in life where we make resolutions: clinical (how you feel), relationships (marriage, dating, family friends, work) and performance (dreams, goals, talents, accomplishments).

Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions in the next few days in one or more of these areas, but there’s a problem with those resolutions. Most of them will be based on will power, commitment, or trying to make better choices.

While commitment is important, it always fails without another ingredient: we have to develop the capacity to reach those goals. Research shows that people who succeed do so by opening themselves up to capacity building from the outside.

How do you get that capacity to succeed and make sure 2013 is not what I call a “groundhog year”?

When you put your New Year’s resolutions into your schedule, you have to figure out where the power drains and old patterns of failure come from and begin to say no.

You’re going to need two things: 1) a new energy source and 2) a structure or template to guide that energy. For example, if you want to stay on a diet, you need the energy of a support group and the structured guide of a program plan of diet and exercise. That kind of structure in any endeavor along with energy will close the gap. It can be a coach, a buddy system, an accountability partner, joining a program or reading new books—there are a million different ways to structure a growth pattern, you just have to get in one. Having said that, I’m going to give you a few more tips:

First of all, the biggest mistake people make is trying to accomplish the goal based on commitment and trying harder. That will fail.

Instead, get together with people who are already accomplishing what you want to accomplish. If you want to become healthy, you have to surround yourself with a group of people that are getting healthy and you have to be connected to a community that is doing what you want to do. That is why programs such as Weight Watchers, or other support communities are so powerful.

If you want to become more spiritual, you’ve got to get connected with a group of people that are growing in that area, instead of just thinking you will do it and sustain it on your own.

We know from research that growth is actually contagious so if you want to reach your goals, you’ve got to get around people that are going in the same direction you want to be going and you will catch the success. The data proves it.

Also, expect to fail. That’s right—both you and I—nobody gets it perfectly all the time. Here is what’s actually going to happen: you’re going to blow it!

If your resolution is to lose weight, there will be a time when you’re going to eat five days worth of Weight Watchers points in one day. Don’t interpret that as a horrible thing, that’s a normal part of the process.

The problem is that people blow it and then they feel bad about it. Then they go off and binge eat in order to get over feeling bad about it and then they drop their whole plan altogether.

Instead, when you blow it, accept your setbacks as normal.

Don’t use all or nothing thinking. Take each day as its own day and don’t worry about it if you mess up one day. The most important thing you can do is just get back up on the horse.

Remember: perfection goals fail, while “get better goals” succeed. Just do better tomorrow than you did today.

Next, ask yourself, “why hasn’t this worked before? How did I fail last year?” We don’t usually need new ways of failing; the old ways tend to work just fine.

Are there people that normally get you off track? Do you have trouble saying no? Do you fail one day, get discouraged and quit? Do you fail to protect the time you need in order to get things done?

I remember when I wrote my first book, “Changes that Heal,” I never could find a way to actually get it done. Then I thought to myself, “why have I not been able to do this before?” I had not been able to do it because I had never blocked off the time that I really needed to finish the project. So, I made a commitment and a priority that for the next six months from Friday when I got off of work at 5 o’clock until Monday when I went back to work that I would lock myself up and I would not do anything but work on my book. I had just one exception to the rule and that was that I’d let myself go out to dinner for two hours on Saturday evening. I said no to everything that would interfere with my plan and I had accountability with others.

You’ve got to set some boundaries to protect what you’re trying to build. When you put your New Year’s resolutions into your schedule, you have to figure out where the power drains and old patterns of failure come from and begin to say no. It’s important to create some very protective boundaries.

Another important item is to have sub-goals. You’re not going to lose 100 pounds immediately but what is your plan for tomorrow? Go on a 45-minute walk and work up a brisk sweat? Here’s an example of sub-goals: when I was writing my book, if the whole book was 100,000 words my goal for tomorrow might be to write 2,000 words.

If your resolution is to get out of debt, you can skip eating lunch out each day and start sending that money in to pay off credit card debt. Then, voila…in six months that credit card might be paid off. As you’ll begin to see, your daily goals help you fulfill your larger goal. Sub-goals are very, very important.

Lastly, also remember that the goals you choose are important, too. Some goals are not going to fulfill you. Choose goals that you value and care about.

Do all these things and I bet 2013 will be better than 2012.

WATCH: Let Go Of Your Anger

Psalm 37:8
Pastor Stephen Arterburn
Heartland Church: 12.16.12