I have been reflecting on the past year after attending the last session of the year.

A Good Place to Bear Fruit

A Good Place to Bear Fruit

My last in-person conference of 2021 was an Iron Sharpens Iron men’s event two weeks ago in Syracuse, NY. It is always a privilege to talk with men about being a servant leader in their home. Since this is the last event of the season, I have been reflecting on the past year

Throughout the year I have attended many conventions, some in-person another’s online, and am always blessed and edified interacting with families who share God-centered values and a like precious faith in Jesus. Regardless of which talk I have been asked to present, I set aside a portion of the session to address how my relationship with God determines and impacts my relationship with my wife, children, and grandchildren. 

Up until the last ten years, whenever I spoke on building a family of faith I would point to passages of Scripture which had impacted me in seeking to be a godly husband and faithful dad. However my message has changed. Now whether I am teaching at a conference, writing a newsletter, or recording a podcast, I make it a point to share the good news of God’s love for His adopted children. God knows us completely, loved us when we were sinners, pursued us, and sent His Son to die for us. When we trust in Christ, He cleanses us, clothes us, and adopts us into His family. 

My relationship with God changed in 2012 when my Heavenly Dad brought me into a new season of abiding in His love. Knowing that God loves and likes me for who I am and not based on what I do or how I perform has helped me to rest in Him. When i am resting and abiding, instead of feverishly remaining busy and active, I am kinder, more thoughtful, and safe. 

As I reflect back over these years I could never have foreseen how He would lead me to this good place. However I know that I would not have arrived in this place of abiding without the input and support of my wife and the ongoing ministry of the good Holy Spirit. I would like to spend a little more time explaining what each of these components mean to me.


From the time that we were married and God gave us children, I have wanted to be a godly husband and faithful father. I studied the Bible for insights, attended seminars, read books and made this a top priority. Sandi and I developed the habit of having regular times of family worship, homeschooled our children, and sought to be family centric. We did life together as a family. 

While going through deep waters nine years ago, I heard from my family that while they never doubted my love for them or my desire to serve and bless them, I had also hurt them. As the head of the home, I have been given authority to build them up, but sadly I had misused my position and also wounded them.

I learned some big lessons. The first was that no one had the potential to build up my loved ones as I did, and no one had the ability to tear them down like me. I also learned that if I could create a safe place to listen to them, they could help me in being a better husband and father.

Good Place with my Heavenly Dad

At the same time that I was learning these hard realities, God was also revealing how much He loved and cared for me. When I first heard the gospel as a teen, I loved hearing that “God so loved the world, hat He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) I believed those words and responded by receiving Jesus as my Savior and friend.

However over the years, a distance had entered into my relationship with God and I struggled to believe that God still smiled when He saw me or that He enjoyed my presence. I had no difficulty believing that He loved and cared for others, but felt like I was sitting in the back of the room and God was graciously allowing me to be there, but didn’t really like me very much.

During this season, God wonderfully illuminated a passage which changed my trajectory. John 15:9, Jesus is speaking to His disciples when He utters this magnificent truth, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” The inspired Word of God came alive and I saw that as much as God the Father loved His Son, in the exact same way, His Son loved me, and each of His adopted children.

When God illuminated John 15:9 to my heart, I knew that I needed to spend time in the Word to transform my thinking. After years of believing that God loved me more if I did more stuff for Him, it was going to take intentional study of the Scriptures to rewire or transform my thinking(Romans 12:2).

For much of 2012 I searched through the Bible and came away with a few nuggets of fundamental truths. God is love. God never changes. Nothing can separate me from His love. There was much more that I comprehended with the help of the Spirit, but thankfully this knowledge transformed my head and made it’s way to my heart. I am persuaded that God loves me. He knows me. And He likes me. I am now rooted and grounded in these truths as never before. I have attached a document with many of the Scriptures to support these statements.

In hindsight I see that it was the Spirit of God Who illuminated John 15:9 and led me in my study of Scripture to confirm God’s love and care for me. I had been experiencing Romans 5:5, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.“

Courageous Wife

I discovered this saying in a gift shop. “A psychiatrist is someone that will give you expensive answers that your wife can give you for free.” While I agree with the basic premise of this saying, I think it is not completely accurate. What makes seeing a psychiatrist expensive, is how long it takes for them to learn what makes us tick. No one knows us like our spouse. 

The cost to a spouse is never free. It will cost our wife dearly if we do not receive her input well. It took a tremendous amount of courage for my wife to confront me. For the benefit of her family, she took that risk. Sadly, I did not initially receive her insights well. But several months later I looked her in the eye and thanked her for being brave and helping me become a better man. I would not be where I am today without her input and support. She is a true helpmeet.

Abiding in His Love

The last four words of John 15:9 are: Abide in My love. Comprehending that Jesus loves me just as His Father loves Him, is amazing and life changing. As I wrote earlier, as I abide in His love, I am kinder, more thoughtful, and safe. I want to emulate Jesus in my relationships with my wife, sons, and grandchildren. I cannot do this without resting in His love and letting His grace and mercy flow through me.

Jesus taught, “abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

More to Come

This newsletter is long enough for today and I will devote more time to this topic in the next newsletter. May you each have a blessed Thanksgiving abiding in His love and affection. If this topic resonates with you consider praying this prayer in Ephesians 3:17-19, which I prayed on my journey to grasp God’s love. Read it slowly and prayerfully for it is long, but rich. 

“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (NLT)



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