Monday, June 20, 2011

101 Things I've Learned From My Dad

Today is Fathers Day and I've been thinking about the countless things my Dad has taught me throughout my life. For those of you who may not know, my Dad has been married to my Mom for 32 years and has been a model for me in what love and commitment look like. He's demonstrated principles and characteristics in parenting and leadership and has shown me how to be a man that pursues Jesus on a daily basis. My Dad has also been Pastoring churches my entire life, so he's taught me directly and indirectly how to lead in ministry and shepherd people and push them towards Christ.

I thought about the things he's taught me in my 31 years and then decided to jot a few of them down so that I can be reminded of them in the future. So, here are the first 101 things my Dad has taught me so far:

101 Things I’ve Learned from my Dad

1. Your personal relationship with Jesus is more important than anything else in the world.

2. Outside of Christ, your family has to be priority number one. Always.

3. Your children look to you as the example for everything, therefore, live a life worth repeating.

4. If you cheer for a team long enough, there’s a good chance they’ll win a championship someday. Go Mavs!

5. The best gift you can give your children is to love their mother unconditionally.

6. Happiness is a pile of guts. (deer hunting reference)

7. The most beautiful color in the entire world is Camo. Hands down.

8. As a Pastor, work on growing Christ’s church and not your own.

9. Surround yourself with wise counsel and trust those who have already walked down the road you’re traveling on.

10. Every time you order your food at a restaurant, it’s an opportunity to share Christ and pray for your server.

11. Flirt with your spouse in front of your kids. It may be awkward, but it’s healthy.

12. Make sure you’re home in time for dinner. There are few things more valuable than dinner with your family.

13. Throw the ball with your kids and don’t throw in silence, use it as a time to encourage and invest in your children.

14. Never miss a ballgame, recital or performance if at all possible. The final score won’t be remembered, but your presence will.

15. Pray with your children before bed; and don’t rush through it.

16. Pray for your children without ceasing.

17. Church attendance isn’t optional… not if you’re serious about growing in your walk with Christ.

18. If you want people to remember your sermon points, it helps if you make them rhyme and start with the same letter.

19. Always look your best.

20. Love your children. You spell love T.I.M.E.

21. Vacation well. If you have extra money and extra time, use it to make memories for your family.

22. Document family memories well. Videos and Pictures are priceless and will become a treasure for years to come.

23. If you use your home to entertain and minister to people, you will be blessed.

24. If you drink your coffee black, it will grow hair on your chest.

25. Be humble.

26. Leading well means you’re constantly duplicating yourself.

27. Look at everything in life through the lens of Christ.

28. The Dallas Cowboys really are God’s favorite team.

29. Life is short; live every day like it’s your last.

30. If you can do anything except for ministry and feel completely content… do it.

31. If God calls you into full time ministry, anything but complete obedience is destined to end in disaster.

32. Life is worth fighting for.

33. Christ will constantly change you if you’ll let Him.

34. Laugh a lot.

35. Inside jokes with you kids are priceless and they have a really long shelf life.

36. You should obey the law… especially when hunting.

37. Texas really is the best state… even if God calls you away.

38. Family history is important. Know where you came from and where you’re headed.

39. Every crisis is an opportunity.

40. If you don’t have something to shoot for, you’ll never hit the target.

41. Education is an important thing, but not the most important thing.

42. As a Pastor, it’s just as important to shake hands with people as it is to preach a powerful message.

43. You should never be too busy to visit someone’s home with the intention of sharing Christ with them.

44. Funerals are a great place to teach your children how to mourn.

45. Don’t be afraid to cry in front of your children.

46. Don’t fight with your spouse in front of your children.

47. Date your wife on a consistent basis.

48. Date your children regularly.

49. Encouragement goes a long way. Harsh words go a long way as well.

50. Invest your money wisely.

51. Plan ahead financially and be prepared for the worst.

52. Don’t spoil your children, but let them see your generosity towards them from time to time.

53. Be swift to punish your children and be consistent in the punishment when they do something wrong.

54. The only Christmas Album anyone really needs is Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” Period.

55. A good Dad shows his son how to be a good son by being a good son himself.

56. Although your children may be different, you’ve got to find a way to love them as individuals and spread your love evenly amongst them.

57. Never give up on one of your children. God’s grace and redeeming love has no limits.

58. Don’t gamble. You’ll lose every single time.

59. Don’t take anything for granted. Every breath is a gift from God.

60. Divorce can never become an option. Remove the word ‘divorce’ from your vocabulary and you’ll be better off.

61. When it comes to fighting with your spouse, fight fair.

62. If you want to win a fight with your spouse, don’t focus on ‘winning’ the fight.

63. In marriage, you’ll never lose if you’re focused on serving your spouse.

64. Don’t ever get to the point of feeling entitled; we don’t deserve any of the blessings God gives us.

65. Ask your children tough questions and stick around to listen to their answers.

66. Take your kids to ballgames and take the time to explain the game to them as it’s played.

67. Don’t bring ‘work problems’ home with you.

68. When you take a day off from work, make sure you’re making it a day-on for your family.

69. When God tells you to go, the only answer is yes.

70. No matter how great the SEC may be, the Texas Longhorns will always be a supreme football program.

71. Tithing isn’t optional if you’re serious about obeying Jesus.

72. Don’t drink alcohol if you care about your marriage, your family, your health or your reputation.

73. Deacons can be your best friends or your worst enemies.

74. Love old people.

75. When running, your body will tell you to shut down, but if you’ll keep going, victory becomes a possibility.

76. Grandkids are a blast, but much easier to control when Gramma is around.

77. Make sure you keep the focus on Christ during Christmas. It’s really cuts down on the confusion later in life.

78. Take care of your body. It’s the only one God’s going to give you.

79. If you’re serious about sharing Christ, then you need to find ways to constantly connect with new people in your community (join a gym, frequent a restaurant, etc.)

80. Your beliefs should dictate your actions. If your actions don’t change, you need to revisit your beliefs.

81. Successful parenting is done on your knees. Never stop praying for the specific needs of your children.

82. A bigger church isn’t necessarily a good thing. God’s calling is what determines if it’s good or not.

83. Enjoy the mountaintop experiences in life. Enjoy them.

84. There is victory in the valley. Although it may be difficult, embrace the valleys and trust God through it.

85. Enjoy the journey. Don’t be so focused on where you’re going that you overlook where God has you right now.

86. Don’t habitually say yes. Sometimes it’s a good thing to say no.

87. Life is short. Leave it all on the field.

88. You should avoid shooting bald eagles… even if it’s on accident.

89. Make sure you lead your children to love your wife as much as you do.

90. Dinner is the best meal of the day, therefore, you should eat it 2-3 times every evening.

91. Chicken-fried venison back strap is the only real reason you need to go deer hunting.

92. Talk to your kids about your childhood; the more transparent you are, the easier it is to see you as a real person.

93. Be romantic, creative, spontaneous and intentional in your relationship with your spouse.

94. Sex is great, but it’s not nearly as important to your wife as it is to you. J

95. Don’t forget the Great Commission and never forget about the ‘ends of the earth.’

96. Find ways to constantly pursue Jesus more every day of your life.

97. The books in a man’s library will tell you a lot about that man.

98. If you read a Proverb a day, you’ll continuously be challenged and reminded of the wisdom of God.

99. Keep encouraging notes close at hand and when you’re feeling down, revisit them.

100. If you want to hear from God, spend more time on the back porch and less time in the office.

101. Never let a Father’s Day go by without recognizing how blessed you’ve been throughout your life to have such an incredible teacher, mentor, model & friend showing you how to live and constantly pushing you to chase Jesus more than anything else in the world.

Thanks Dad.

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