5 Reasons Why Fathers are an Endangered Species

fathersThere you are…quitely lurking away from view. Your prey doesn’t see you and you are getting ready to pounce. One wrong move and you will scare them away. You can’t afford to make a noise or you will lose the hunt. Everything is riding on this moment…then you strike. TICKLE MONSTER!!!!!!!! Your heart and life instantly fills with laughter as your children succomb to the power that comes with identifying pressure points on the body meant for tickling. You are a father. You are awesome and you know it. Then, as soon as it started, it abuptly ends in a crash! You just broke something. Something Mommy really likes. Kids and Daddy are now in trouble. Oh, but it was worth it.

There have been so many times during my work day where I will start laughing simply thinking about my kids. I will look at a picture on my desk, and start cracking up. In that picture, my daughter is making that face. You know what face I am talking about. I can’t help it. I love them so much. Fatherhood is the most rewarding discipleship ministry I am involved in. It just is.

Fatherhood, in general, is like that…it is not all perfect and happy, but the reward is amazing. The problem is, fathers are becoming an endangered species. The male reproductive contributor has not been decreasing in popularity, but fathers have…why is this?

I think there are 5 main reasons why fathers are becoming an endangered species.

1. It is difficult– When it comes to discipline, consistency, and the expectation of provision, the role of a father becomes harder and harder when one is fully involved. Mommy definitely has an extremely hard job, but both parents should be active in the life of a child. Sometimes it is easy to default to anger, lethargy, or a general disconnection with th fatherly role. In my personal experience, it is hard to work a full day and get home in time to play with my children a few hours before bed time. It can be taxing and I find myself turning my mind and heart on autopilot. Dad, fight this temptation. Don’t allow yourself to become jaded or remote.

2. Sometimes work comes before family– This is a dangerous attitude to be in. It is easy to default to this mode when we feel like the full provision of the household rests on our shoulders. We become stressed and determined to make sure that our sweat and effort will produce more and more. Granted, this is the most traditional view of a father, and many households do not reflect this expectation, but there are so many that do. We have to remember that we are not alone in our fight and we are not called to venture through this role alone. Relying soley on our strength will eventually lead to collapse. Do not worship your work, and let yourself believe that you are defined by your occupation or how much money is in your account. We shouldn’t walk away from our responsibilities, but we can not forsake our first call.

3. We think kids come before spouse– Now, I know that many families are single parent households, and this will not apply to everyone, but I think it is still important to say. Your spouse comes first. Why do I say this? I say this because God has put you together for a lifetime…to grow, love, and team teach a new generation. Your children will be with you for 18-21 years…your spousal relationship will be for a lifetime. Plus, your kids need to see affection, respect, conflict resolution, and laughter among their parents. If you are a single father, your child needs to see the respect for the people around you. You are an example to them.

4. We are not fully involved– This is a simple one to understand. Quantity time and quality time are both important. Not valuing these things can be detrimental to fathers. It’s okay to look foolish while acting in a spontaneous make-believe play. It is okay to knock things over while wrestling. It is okay to care about what kind of diapers, crafts, and education your children is receiving. In fact…it is amazing.

5. The role has been under emphasized– One of my pet peeves involves this very thing. An example would be found in the countless times I see people posting questions on social media asking for parenting advice. The question always starts like this, “Okay Mom’s, I have an opinion question…Junior is not sleeping at night and I was wondering…” Did you catch it? Just one time, I want to read a question that says, “Dad’s! What ways have you gotten your kids to eat vegetables?” It is a minor thing, but we have done this to ourselves…fathers have almost been removed from the conversation of the daily operations of parenting and this is unacceptable. We have to reclaim this…

I realize that there are men out there that have been praying for a long time for the opportunity to be a father. I know many in this situation, and I propose we take some regular time out of our day to pray for those in this situation. It can be hard to wait/ fervently pray any amount of time for God to bring this blessing.

Love you all. Fight the good fight.

-Landon DeCrastos

Carry On and Trust

giving handsDisclaimer: The following blog post is not meant to shame others or boast, but when God brings about a miracle it is usually for the purpose of encouraging others.

Money, for some reason, is a hard subject to talk about…especially in a church setting as a pastor. When pastors talk about finances many automatically assume they are doing so for the purpose of increasing revenue for the church. In the same vein, it is hard to talk about giving because people may start to make personal comparisons and feel ashamed about their own giving history…perhaps the money is extremely tight and God has not dealt with you in this area. That’s okay…but…brothers and sisters, I urge you to not overlook the purity of what I am saying and thus miss the point. We are not talking about a salvation issue here. So, are we good? Okay, good. Here we go.

At the beginning of this month, my wife and I had “the talk”. You have been there at some point. This talk was one that centered around finances. The outcome was meager for us to say the least. My wife had added up the bills and the projected income and we were going to be behind. We realized that, if we did not buy groceries this month, we would still be “in the red”. It was a nauseating feeling…to know there was nothing we could do short of selling a kidney on the black market to break even. The most frustrating thing about this is the fact that we are really wise with what we spend. We are not extravagant spenders and our lifestyle is very simple. Where was God? This was an honest question that we had, and that anyone would natually have in this situation.

We began to brainstorm about ways we could cut back in order to make it. Next month was going to be better, we knew that, so if we could do something to get ahead that would be very helpful. As we tossed around ideas we thought maybe we could cut back on our weekly giving at church. I mean…God has only asked us to give 10 percent, so maybe he would understand if we adjusted our giving to make that our new goal. In the midst of this conversation, God reminded me of similar situations in the past in which He worked out these kind of details. I remembered being a newly married youth pastor and spending more on gas than I was making at my first church assignment. I remember the time when we gave what we had to help a friend and a random check came in the mail from a reimbursement we were not expecting. So, we had a history with God in these scenerios. A long history.

Cutting down on giving made sense, but it also made me think. I couldn’t imagine that God would be sitting on His throne saying, “Okay, you really need to stop giving as much…I can’t keep up.” So, we decided to carry on, and simply trust. It was so hard to do. Even though I preach about it regularly. I suppose I am a normal hypocrite like everyone else in that regard.

We had such a peace about the coming month. Our minds shifted from asking “where is God?” to “I can’t wait to see what He will do.” The result was amazing. We saw blessing after blessing. Reimbursement checks we were not expecting, savings on things we didn’t account for, and a generous gift from a sister church that we did not know was coming. All of these things, together, added up to a month of abundance…and by abundance, I mean paying all the bills with a little bit left to get ahead for next month. We attributed it to allowing God to work in our thought process.

Odds are you have stories like this…and odds are you frequently forget about them like I do.

I tell this story simply to say this… God wants to show off. Let Him do so.

Love you all.

-Landon DeCrastos

Isaac Reflects

Walking up the mountainside with my father that day felt very natural. We were traveling there to make a sacrifice to the god that my father called Yahweh. This was the only god that my father worshiped and he seemed to act as if he really spoke to this god. They actually had an intimate relationship…like they were best friends that had been through so much together. Father seemed a little upset and even nervous while we were heading to the altar site that day. He would not look me in the eye and he would answer my questions with short replies. He was talking to Yahweh the whole way. At first the conversation with Yahweh was friendly but then the mumblings sounded more frustrated. Nevertheless, my father seemed determined to give God honor.

After a long walk we finally made it to the site and set up the altar. I soon realized that dad forgot the offering. Obviously we were going to have to go back and get it. This happened one other time before and it was a long day. We had never been to this site before and I was looking at the two servants that were with us and they didn’t seem to notice. I should have said something before we left but I wasn’t paying attention. When I was about to mention the lack of a sacrificial animal my father turned to me and I noticed something alarming. His eyes were puffy, and his beard was soaked with tears. I could tell he had been crying for a long time. My memory went back to the night before when I was awakened by the sound of violent sobbing. Father was upset about something, and he was even pounding the walls…So, EVERYONE was awake.

I then mentioned the fact that we did not have a sacrifice and he looked as if he was angry that I mentioned it. Rather rudely he snapped back at me “God will provide a sacrifice”.  Ok then, remind me never to mention something like that again….he was obviously in a bad mood that day. He picked me up and put me on the altar. I wasn’t sure why but I imagined it was to test the sturdiness and how much weight it could hold. Then he raised the knife with his hand shaking. Wait……what was happening? Was I about to be the sacrifice?

 

Just then we heard a rustling sound. After that, a wimper… It was a beautiful and majestic ram caught in a bush. I then heard a booming voice and I could tell that it was God but I couldn’t understand the words. Dad did though… My father jumped higher than I have ever seen him jump and started laughing as if he were crazy. He kissed me and tossed me to the side like we were wrestling around at home. God provided a ram for us to sacrifice.

Later I found out more than I ever wanted to know about that day. I was the one that God asked my father to sacrifice. His beloved son. I can’t imagine the pain that my father was feeling after God asked him to take this step.  Looking down from my current perspective, and knowing what I do now I have made one main observation about this current generation. I have noticed that sometimes God asks us to do things we don’t understand. If we are obedient, blessings always follow. It’s rather simple really…but applicable to all generations.

-Isaac

Abraham’s Journal

I was discouraged to say the least. Resting on a rock in the coolness of the night, I began to pray and look at the vast ocean of stars above my head. What was my purpose? Why was I here? I knew that God had more for me to do and experience but I was getting old. Much of my discouragement came from the fact that I knew I was getting old, and I had no sons to take care of my estate after my death. Call me old fashioned, but I just really thought it was important to pass on my possessions to the next generation.

As I rested and prayed, God revealed to me that I would be the father of many. I immediately thought of my age and my energy level. Even if this was true….how? My wife was past the age in which she could conceive a child (not to mention the lack of desire to take part in the “creative process”). I laugh about it now, because God has always been faithful to his word and I tend to listen to my fears. I was scared, confused and thought God was having a mental breakdown and needed a vacation. He promised me that day with a blood covenant of various animals. I suppose God knew something I didn’t know….like always.

Fast forward: God did what he said he would do. I found out, not only was God referring to my own blood line, but the promise He made also extended to people who embraced His son (very clever). Now, I have the opportunity to watch this story play out and I have made a couple observations about my “children”.

The one observation I can personally relate to has to do with God’s provision. Generation after generation has made the same mistake. No matter how many time God provides, we think that it was all a coincidence and God couldn’t possible do it again. We all know not to take God for granted, but this sentiment is taken so far to the extreme to the point where we don’t grant God the opportunity to show His power.

Finally, my children fail to remember that God can make future impossibilities a current reality. In the process our lives are changed and our capacity for deeper faith is increased. It is a difficult process to embrace, but pays infinite dividends if we choose to allow God to work.

Children, sometime soon, look into the sky and notice all the stars and realize something very important. God’s blessings are not limited and He hasn’t even scratched the surface with you.

-Abraham