How to Live Faithfully in Fayetteville and Forever

Much to my surprise, I have found dropping off (turning loose may be a better term) a young man on a university campus to be a much more sobering experience then the dropping off of a young woman.

The first two previous times I loaded the Suburban and headed to college towns it was to drop off a daughter, which as you can imagine, has its own set of concerns.  When I dropped off Ally and Kirby, they were ready to meet, enjoy and integrate into their college campuses with their eyes wide open and their hearts cemented to the idea that whatever college was about, it was more than just themselves.

My girls and I had long ago shared all the necessary conversations about the duties and dangers of being a young woman in a university setting, and though it is never easy to leave any child you have invested in and enjoyed daily for eighteen years in a strange land to care for themselves, I knew it was time and we were all sad, excited and ready.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2015 and all of a sudden my wife and I were about to make our way to Fayetteville Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks (the boy had “said no” to the Ivy League option) to drop off our first born son.  As the day neared, and much to my surprise, I had a growing and much different sense of responsibility in sending off a young man to college then I did a young woman.  I knew college meant my son, like my daughters before him, would have a new and greater freedom to live and lead his life as he wanted, AND I knew that there were Dad’s, just like me years earlier, who were dropping off their freshman daughters where they would either be blessed or burdened by the young men around them.

One might think that dropping off a girl and leaving her alone around a bunch of newly unleashed young “men” with unlimited freedom and limited maturity was the more daunting task, but such was not the case for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it say that I found it more sobering to turn loose a potential predator then I did potential prey.

What you have below is a summary of the last hours of conversation this Father had with his son as he dropped him off to prayerfully, be faithful in “Fayetteville and forever”.  You can be certain I pray daily that these truths would be embedded in his heart for more than these next four years and you can be certain that I am praying now that they will be in some way useful to you as you seek to be faithful yourself and with any men you are charged with shaping.  Fayetteville is not the only place that needs faithful men…right where you are does too.

So to Cooper (and eventually Cade and Camp) and to you today, I say….

If you would like to hear a message I gave at a men’s breakfast at Watermark on this very topic listen here, http://www.watermark.org/message/3498

IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS:

  • College is not a time to taste the world. It’s a time to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
  • First, believe that college is not a time to sow your wild oats. It is a time to show your world Whose you are.
  • John 1:1-4; Col. 1:15-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20

JESUS IS ALL ABOUT BRINGING YOU TO THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IS ALL ABOUT RESTORING HIS GLORY IN YOU:

  • God does not deny men pleasure, He makes them great.
  • College is the beginning of your revealing the greatness of your God, not having what the world calls a great time. What the world calls a great time does not make great men, God does.
  • John 14:3; 1 Peter 5:10; Col. 1:13-14; Psalm 84:11; Prov. 22:4; Heb. 7:25

IF YOU KNOW THE FATHER AND THE SON AND YIELD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, YOU WILL LOVE AND SERVE OTHERS:

  • Nothing is about you. Your life is not your own. Great men know this. College is for men.
  • Men understand the principle of delayed gratification. College boys do not.
  • Eph. 5:18-21; Phil. 2:3-5; Prov. 13:16; Ecc. 10:16-17

YOU CAN’T LOVE AND SERVE OTHERS IF YOU DON’T LEAD AND FEED YOURSELF:

  • Discipline is the heavy door that leads to freedom. Lead yourself to be free to serve others. • Everything you read, watch, eat and do is a blessing or a burden.
  • 1 Tim. 4:6-8; 1 Cor. 9:26-27; Prov. 12:27

HOW YOU START EACH DAY, EACH WEEK, EACH SEMESTER DETERMINES MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE:

  • You will be what you are daily becoming.
  • Every day is a day you are preparing for something. Make that something faithfulness.
  • Galatians 6:7-9; Matt. 6:33-34; Psalm 27:4; Prov. 15:14; 18:15

WHO YOU CHOOSE TO RUN WITH AND LIVE LIFE WITH IS HOW YOU WILL CHOOSE TO RUN AND LIVE:

  • The best way to lead yourself is to run with men who follow the King.
  • Make sure your “mighty men” are committed to going to war against enemies of God’s people.
  • 2 Tim. 2:22; Prov. 1:10-18; Heb. 3:13; 1 Cor. 15:33

WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE ALONE IS ALONE WHO YOU ARE:

  • Live honorably in the dark so you can walk boldly in the light. • Prov. 10:9, 11:3; Mat. 5:11,16

WOMEN ARE NOT PLAY TOYS. THEY ARE GOD’S DAUGHTERS. HONOR THEM. PROTECT THEM. SERVE THEM:

  • Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • Wait to taste the lips of a woman. Don’t waste yourself on lust.
  • Consult your Dad on all dates and consider every time you are alone with a woman a date.
  • 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Prov. 31:30; Prov. 22:3; 1 Tim. 5:2

DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS OR YOUR FUTURE CAREER BY HOW MUCH FAME OR FINANCES THEY OFFER:

  •  Money takes wings. Fame is a vapor. Character endures.
  • Love people. Use things. Avoid those who love things and use people.
  • Prov. 23:4-5; 28:20; 1 Tim. 6:9; Heb. 13:5

BE WISE. BE HUMBLE. BE FUN. BEWARE OF THE LIE THAT THOSE THREE ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE:

  • You have a powerful enemy who wants you to be foolish, prideful and believe that faithfulness to the Father is a fast track to futility. He is a liar.
  • John 8:44; Prov. 13:13-15; Psalm 16:11

BE READY. BE BOLD. BE KIND. BE FAITHFUL:

  • Go forth with courage. Return with honor. Live fearlessly because of your future hope.
  • Play the man: Step up. Speak out. Stand firm. Stay humble. Serve the King.
  • 1 Cor. 16:13-14; Jeremiah 1:17-18; Micah 6:8; Prov. 20:6; Heb. 6:10

I will build my life on the truths above.
I will attend my classes (tend to my business) every day.
I will be excellent in my work, diligent in my effort, and my work will  produce results.
I will welcome accountability in all areas of my life.
I will self-report my failures.

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Click Here To Download A Hardcopy of this Hand Out

What Does It Mean To Be “God’s Man” Or “God’s Woman?”

FAMILY-LIFE-RADIO-TODD-WAGNER

This week I had the opportunity to speak on Family Life Radio on what it means to be “God’s Man” or “God’s Woman.”

I’ve attached the interviews below for you to check out, and encourage you to download the handouts that go with these interviews here (characteristics of a Godly man) and here (characteristics of a Godly woman.) Be sure to visit the links, print out the handouts, and follow along as you listen to the interviews below.

How To Be A Godly Man

 

How To Be A Godly Woman

There’s no greater gift  a parent can give their children than helping them become the person God created them to be. I encourage to check out the series, Gifts I’d Give My Children, for some additional resources to help you do that.

What ways are you helping your children become the person God created them to be? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

11 Questions To Regularly Ask Your Kids

Todd Wagner's Questions to Ask Your Kids

The Wagner Family

(Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for additional parenting resources.)

My wife and I were asked to speak a couple of weeks ago to a large group of parents on the topic of “Leaving a Godly Legacy.” (Click here to listen to that talk.) We were encouraged by the presence of so many parents and especially the passion and leadership modeled by the Mom’s leading the ministry at Watermark Community Church. We spent well over an hour talking about the topic.

At one point we shared how we regularly like to give our kids a chance to give us feedback/ help us measure how we are doing at modeling for them the things we HOPE we are modeling for them. ( Deut 6:4-9) While the specific questions change each time, the general idea is still the same. We give our kids a chance to give us direct feedback on the full spectrum of our parenting/leadership.

Below is the latest set of questions I use for the “Wagner family survey.” I encourage you to use them if it would be helpful with your own kids, and please feel free to add some better questions of your own (be sure to leave them in the comments as well!) My only encouragement to you (in addition to actually doing this) is to keep it short, specific and easy to answer. This isn’t the SAT….though it just might be more important!

Questions to Ask Your Kids

  1. What have been some of the best times you have had with your Dad this past year?
  2. If you had to give me some advice on how to be a better Dad, what would it be and why?
  3. If you and I could sit down and talk about ANYTHING…what would it be?
  4. What are some of the things that are making you anxious, fearful or discouraged right now so I can pray for you.
  5. What is something that you would like to do with me?
  6. How can I help you grow in your love for God and in your ability to serve Him and live faithfully for Him?
  7. What has been the best thing I have done this last year, or that we have done together as a family this past year that has helped you the most in your understanding of God and His love for you?
  8. What would you say has been the biggest area of growth for you in the last year?
  9. What have you learned about God/Christ/faith this last year that has blessed you?
  10. If you could grow in any area in the next 12 months….where would you want it to be?
  11. What do you think your Dad is most passionate about?

Additional Resources:

#1 Mistake I See Most Parents Make

If you were with us at Watermark this past Sunday, you heard me talk about what I believe to be the biggest mistake I see parents making.

Check out this condensed clip from Sunday here, or the whole thing here and be spurred on as you love and challenge your children.

Also, stay tuned in the days ahead for more on parenting on this blog.  We hope to post a “Parenting’s Dirty Dozen” soon!