Tornado of the Spirit

Do you ever feel like your home is being ripped through by an emotional tornado?  Where previously blue skies become black and gale force winds blast apart your peaceful and well-constructed family?  Perhaps yours is in a season where it seems like your abode has been picked up and dropped down in the middle of tornado alley – and it’s storm season.

An incident in my life this week had me thinking about natural disasters in the home.  You know, when things go from cool to blazing hot in an instant and you say to yourself, “Whoa!  What happened?”  Generally, when that much emotion is generated I find I’m doing something really wrong - or really right.  Either way, these shake-ups deserve our attention.  It is easy to understand strife when we’ve slipped off track.  But what’s the deal with the grief when we’re doing the right thing?

Take Dr. James Dobson, for example.  Imagine being the source of an uninterrupted flow of criticism for nearly 40 years… the negative articles, the slams on television, nasty grams and hateful blogs, the gunshots and death threats – all reactions to his unwavering commitment to stand for the family and promote the biblical principles upon which solid families are built.  Bearing these attacks, both physical and spiritual, is the cost of his dedication and the burden of his God-given mission.  As mothers and fathers we also open ourselves up to spiritual attacks both from outside and even within the home.  Our assignment and responsibility is great.  Especially if we are on the right track as we shepherd our kids, live daily in faith, and are brave enough to be counter-cultural, we should expect the inevitable thunder and lightning.

I mentioned the attacks that Dr. Dobson has weathered.  The flip side to that cost is the incredible gain.  Over the years, millions of people have been reached and supported through his books, radio broadcasts, and ministry initiatives.  Generations of families have been impacted and inspired through his practical advice and living example.  Yes, the price has been high, but reward far greater.  In our homes too, our family’s spiritual foundation is what will anchor us through storms.  The payoff can be a spiritual legacy that will literally change the world.

If charged emotions are tearing at your family and you feel under siege, it may not be that you are doing something wrong.  In fact, it may be quite the opposite – that you’re standing firm in your values and prayerful convictions.  Never underestimate the enemy.  Satan is clever, deceptive, and powerful.  When given even the slightest crack into the Christian home he’ll use good for evil and work to exploit our human flaws.  Fortunately, our God is almighty.  Through Him our victory in this battle is imminent IF we do not allow our spirits to be broken by the fight.  Until then, know that the Lord can and will heal the damage created by the tornados of the spirit in your family, as He will in mine, if we let Him.

Fatherhood Challenge: Expect the rain.  Brace yourself.  Shelter your family.  Persevere!


Business is naturally competitive.  Organizations make their case for commanding larger share of limited constituent time, mind space, and of course, financial support.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the media – usually.

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee.  There, I witnessed hundreds of men and women, representing some of the country’s largest radio, television, and online media professionals set aside their own agendas to stand together in a united mission: reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  As different media personalities, network executives, and strategic experts of all types lifted the hood of their engines and discussed what made their own vehicles go fast, the decided absence of ego and personal advancement was inspiring – uplifting even.  With the open exchange of experience and support all boats will rise with the tide. 

What then does this have to do with the Fatherhood Challenge, you might ask?

I would submit that the keys to developing loyal, passionate, and engaged audiences are not dissimilar to what is required to create and maintain lasting relationships in the home, with our children.

• We must know our audience.
• We must work hard to capture attention.
• We must be interactive.
• We must be credible, provide actionable advice, and entertain.
• We must track performance and adjust our strategies to fuel growth.
• And, we must demonstrate that we care even more than we know.

To all the moms and dads out there, as producers and 24/7 performers on the set of family life - you know the stakes are at an all-time high.  We risk more than low ratings or languishing economically.  Popular or not, this program simply must not be cancelled.  The show must go on.

You can do it.  You’re a rock star.   

Fatherhood Challenge:  Rise to the challenge.