A 'Courageous' Resolution for Dads
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com -In the DVD movie release, Courageous from Sherwood Pictures (the folks who brought you Fireproof and Facing the Giants), tragedy unites four men, leading them to formally commit to be the husbands and fathers God calls them to be.
As they did with the New York Times bestseller, The Love Dare, the film’s screenwriters, Alex and Stephen Kendrick have teamed up to craft The Resolution for Men, a book devoted to calling men to a deeper responsibility through fatherhood.
CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with the Kendrick brothers to discuss their highly successful movie, the concept of traditional fatherhood being outdated, and how to overcome the many pitfalls dads face.
In society today, fatherhood is often seen as a lost art of sorts. Traditional fatherhood is considered to be something of a generation long since past. Do you believe that?
Alex: Look at how media is portraying fathers today. You look at almost any commercial, and the father figure is the idiot, the goober, the guy who doesn't get it. The wife or mother is the one who really knows what's going on, the smarter one. And you can't name one TV show right now that has a really good, honorable father. This generation is growing up with anti-heroes rather than heroes. Rather than Superman, truth, justice, and the American way, it’s now Bart Simpson and his dad, Homer. When we ask what the definition of being a man is, you get everything all over the map. There is no unified understanding of what it means to be a man.
Let's say you grew up in an environment where your dad wasn't really around, and maybe you've had some past failures yourself as a father. Despite that background, can you still be a good dad?
Stephen: Absolutely, but it's harder. When I say absolutely, I'm talking about with Jesus Christ. In Scripture, God is the father of the fatherless. Fatherhood on Earth was created by God. Ephesians 3 says that fatherhood comes from our heavenly Father in Heaven. Fatherhood on earth was created by God to introduce the next generation to who God is, that a loving provider, a protector, an example, a leader, of integrity, all of those things a father is supposed to be for his children, to introduce them to who they're heavenly Father is like. And so when He is removed from the home, James 1 says, pure religion is visiting the fatherless in their affliction, the widows in their affliction. Well, how does one become fatherless and a widow where can you take the most important man in their life, and you take them out.
Now we see a picture when the father is removed in the home, or he's not engaged. Then their view of the heavenly father is, “He probably doesn't care that much about me. He's not interested in my daily life, and so it damages their spiritual perspective. Having a healthy father in the home only increases their view of the Lord, their belief in their personal value that God loves them, has a plan for their life, and cares daily about their value in their walk. So yes, it is terribly damaging; and our culture does not realize what this is doing to the next generation.
Kids are 20 times more likely to stay in the church and stick with their faith if their dad is the spiritual leader of their home and is pouring into their lives. That's huge. And so, that's one thing that we wanted to focus in on in Courageous and the The Resolution for Men. That is, if a guy grew up without a dad, can he live it out? Can he still be a great dad? Absolutely. My dad was an example of that. He broke the chain. He forgave his father. He let Scripture teach him how to be a dad, and become the model rather than his own father. And then he began to follow that example in Scripture and pouring into us. That's one thing we're trying to challenge men to do is, “You need to be a chain breaker for the next generation. You need to help your children have a great fatherhood story.”
You have mentioned the importance of Scripture in being a good father. There are some wonderful dads in the Bible. Who are some of them, and what sets them apart?
Stephen: Our primary verse that we focus on is Joshua 24:15, where Joshua courageously steps up in the front of the nation of Israel and says, “You choose this day whom you're going to serve. But as for me and my house, we're serving the Lord.” And so, we're calling men to that type of resolution, and to say, men you've got to step up, no matter what culture is doing, and say, “As for me and my house, we're serving the Lord. So we want to go to that grassroots level, and men can do that in small groups of accountability. Because we need the body of Christ to keep us accountable, to encourage us, to mourn with us, to grieve with us, to remind us of what's important. None of us can stand on our own. So, it's examples like Joshua’s proclamation to Israel. His personal resolution. But yes, you can look at Joseph as an example of a godly father. Even though they weren't perfect, you look at how Jacob loved his children.
Alex: And David in Scripture was an example to Solomon of a great dad, and for an example when it came to Absalom. David lost Absalom's heart, and he didn't rebuke his son when his son sinned He didn't confront him. He didn't restore him, with Absalom. But if you look at Solomon, Solomon grew up seeing the consequences of what Absalom had done.
Stephen: And Solomon says, “My father came to me when I was tender and only, I was small in side of my mother, and my father told me, ‘My son, give me your heart, and delight in my ways.’” And Solomon was teaching his own son when his father taught him. So much of the book of Proverbs is a father to a son. This is the counsel a father should be giving to his son.
Alex: Here's a principle that we say very clearly in the movie. If I have great conservative rules and regulations, and values in my home, but if I don't have the heart of my children, they're not going to listen to me. They will listen to the people that they think really care about them. And most of the time, if a dad is not engaged, it doesn't matter what his views are. They're going to listen to their friends. But if a dad captures the heart of his children, then he can speak into their lives, and they will listen, and value what he teaches them.
Sometimes, despite their best effort, fathers sometime fall short. What are some pitfalls a man can make?
Stephen: Most men have a part of their heart that would love to be honorable and noble. Most men would like to think that they could be a courageous leader. But unless you have that level of integrity, the accountability around you in that walk with God, you're going to struggle. So, in the movie, there is one character who is confronted with the temptations that all men will face at some point in their lives, he bends to those temptations. That goes back to the high need of accountability that we have. That we are a body of Christ, and we must exhort, and help one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, and so yes, all of us have a default level. All of us do. You were born and raised to have a certain default level. When nobody's watching, what do you do when you're by yourself? And so his character is an illustration of the man that is not sold out to those principles. He does it when he's with his friends. When he's not with his friends, he's got a different standard. You can't do that, because you're going to get burned.
Alex: And really, we tried to keep in mind in The Resolution for Men that men are going to walk out to the theater and be moved emotionally. They're going to want to sign a piece of paper and put it on their wall, and they're going to fail. And so how can we set them up for success? Let's take a look into what God's Word says that a godly man is. And so, really the Resolution for Men book, the purpose of that book is to help men live out that resolution long-term, and be found faithful to it. So we unpack, here's what godly fatherhood looks like from birth to death. Here's how your father or a father can impact his children from the moment, even before they're born, by how he's living, and how he dedicates them to the Lord. All the way to the legacy he leaves to them when he dies.
After people see this film or read The Resolution for Men, there is likely going to be a lot of soul-searching for some guys. Do you have any tips for these men who get to a certain chapter and say, “I can't do this.” What encouragement can you provide?
Stephen: We write about shifting from, in your own energy, trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, to becoming poor in spirit before God, and completely depend upon his Holy Spirit, and completely surrender to Him. We know our best laid plans, or the highest standards we can live by, we're in a situation, Alex and I, where we see our own faults. We see where we make mistakes. But what does Scripture call us to? We can't compromise that standard. If we're going to lay out a book, and say here's what God is calling us as men to do, we have to state the same standard the Scripture states. But always with Scripture, and I'm so grateful for this. He says, “Be holy for I am holy. Or be perfect for your heavenly Father’s perfect, and you're like, “Holy cow!” It is only in Christ that we can be that way in Him. But secondly, yes, through Him, I can do all things through Christ, and then when I fail, His mercy is on the other side.
After people see the movie Courageous and/or read The Resolution for Men, what's your goal for the audience? What do you want people to take away the experience?
Alex: To call men to step up, to be the leaders that God intended them to be. And to change culture for His glory.
Stephen: To help this generation grow up with a father who loves them as model of their heavenly father. If we can change dads, we can change the world. God has placed them in that spiritual role. So one thing is, we say we want the next generation to grow up with a great father story, because it's going to represent their heavenly Father.
To purchase The Resolution for Men
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