Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Category: For Men (page 2 of 24)

Father’s Day Gratitude

Father’s Day feels a little different for me this year. Maybe it’s because the past year or so has been full of emotionally charged events. I got married a little over a year ago, so becoming a father is something I see for myself in the not-too-distant future (Mare Cris and I are waiting until we get established in the States to take that step). Months later my mom passed away—a harsh reminder that no one, including our parents, will be with us forever.

I’d like to publicly share what is on my heart this Father’s Day.  These are some very personal memories and reflections that I hope will serve as a tribute to my dad.

Some time in the 70's

Some time in the 70’s

I was blessed to grow up in a home that was led by a hard-working, Christian dad. I’m sure I took him for granted at times, but even in my youth I realized some of my friends were not as fortunate as I. This became especially clear to me around the time of my early teenage years. Two of my best friends were from broken families. Mom and Dad always welcomed them in our home and even on some vacations/outings.

I remember one time when Dad allowed me to carry one of my friends on a fishing trip. We got up during the wee hours of the morning, hitched up the boat trailer to our old truck, and headed to the lake. Apparently the trailer was not quite connected the right way because it became unattached while we were going down the freeway. You can imagine our surprise when we saw the boat/trailer passing us in the left lane. Fortunately it ended up in the grassy median without causing a wreck (wasn’t much traffic at that time in the morning). I don’t remember how many fish we caught, but I assume the rest of the trip went well.

The Tradition Continues: Dad with his grandsons (2011).

The Tradition Continues: Dad with his grandsons (2011).

I could share dozens of fishing stories. Some would involve bringing along friends; most would be memories of just the family. All are precious to me, because I realize not all boys are blessed to grow up with dads who take them fishing.

Dad has been a deacon in our church as long as I can remember. He and Mom always made sure we were there every Sunday. Sometimes we would wake up early in the morning to cook for an event called Brotherhood Breakfast, a Sunday morning gathering of men in the church.  I know my life would not be what it is if I hadn’t grown up hearing the gospel on such a regular basis.  I’m blessed—not all boys have the privilege of growing up in a home with a strong spiritual leader.

I got really serious about my relationship with Christ early in my high school years. Not long after that I felt God was calling me into vocational ministry. It didn’t make much since to me since I was so shy. One night I told my parents what I sensed God was asking me to do. Their advice was similar to what Eli told Samuel (1st Samuel 3:8-9)—they encouraged me to keep listening to God and obey Him. Mom and Dad have always supported my ministry, even when it took me far away from them.

My early years of ministry were a real eye-opener for me. I still remember some of the training I went through as a teenager in preparation for doing prison ministry. “Be careful about referring to God as ‘father,’” the prison chaplain warned us, “that doesn’t bring up a nice image for many of the men you’ll meet in here.” I understood it, but I was thankful for being unable to relate to it.

I spent years as a substance abuse counselor after I graduated college. I did meet people who came from good families and just made bad choices. But I met a lot more whose lives seemed to be direct results of growing up without a father (or with a bad one). It made me all the more grateful–not all boys grow up in a stable, Christian home.

These and other memories have flooded my mind this Fathers’ Day.

There’s a lot more I could say here–all the lessons my dad has taught me about the importance of education, financial stewardship, and the list goes on.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad–I Love you!
I wouldn’t be the man I am without a father like you.

The righteous who walks in his integrity—
    blessed are his children after him!
-Proverbs 20:7

Praying for the One

Someone asked question to me through my Facebook page a few days ago:

“Is it OK to ask God to give me a specific person as my future spouse?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question, though people phrase it in different ways. Students have asked me, for example, if it is OK to pray about someone you admire.

Let me start my response this way: I definitely encourage singles to pray about relationship decisions. God is eager to guide us and give us wisdom about every choice we make—especially something as significant as who we will spend the rest of our lives with.

But you need to keep a few things in mind while you are praying. Let me first address the men, then the women:

For the Men:

A young man asked if he could pray and ask God for a specific girl during the Q/A portion of one of my seminars.

“You need to find out if she likes you first,” I replied, “otherwise, you may be wasting your prayers.”

I like the way Proverbs 27:5 puts it: “An open rebuke is better than hidden love!”

In other words, prayer is not intended to be a substitute for old-fashioned pursuit and courtship. If you like her, tell her and pursue her. One way or another, the answer is going to come from her, not directly from God. If she’s not interested then it’s time to move on.

For the Ladies:

I never encourage women to make the first move as far as initiating courtship or expressing romantic interest. With that in mind, here’s my main piece of advice: don’t assume a guy is interested in you unless he has made it 100% clear.

I’ve noticed a tendency among less mature Christian women: “praying for someone” can turn into a complete fantasy world. She’s planning the wedding and praying about what to name their first baby while the “potential husband” hasn’t even asked her out for coffee. Part of “guarding your heart” (Proverbs 4:23) means not allowing your fantasies to consume your thoughts.

A Few Final Thoughts (for Guys and Girls):

*Remember that “NO” is an answer, even if it isn’t the one we want to hear.

*Don’t expect God to supernaturally coerce someone into loving you. It doesn’t work that way.

*I really wish I didn’t have to say this, but I do: don’t tell someone you barely know that God told you to marry him/her. Your unsuspecting future spouse may not have gotten the divine memo.

*Last but not least, remember that God is not going to choose your spouse for you (see God’s Will and “The One.”). He will help you choose wisely, but don’t expect Him to choose for you.

Lies, Relationships, and Cockroaches

If you see one . . .

If you see one . . .

A faithful witness does not lie,
    but a false witness breathes out lies
-Proverbs 14:5

Sometimes I’ll get a text from someone who has caught a boyfriend/girlfriend in some kind of lie.  Here’s my main piece of advice if you are sure you’ve been lied to:  don’t ignore it!

Lies are a lot like cockroaches–find one and you can be pretty sure there are a lot more you haven’t discovered. 

A relationship requires complete trust, and there’s no way to have this when lies are involved.   It’s much better to be alone than to be in love with a liar.


Dangers of Premarital Sex

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything about premarital sex.  Maybe part of the reason is I’ve been more interested in reading and writing about married life.  The emphasis of my ministry has also changed since moving here to Angeles City (I don’t spend quite as much time with students as I used to).

But there’s another significant reason for the lack of new posts:  I just haven’t thought of anything new to say about this topic.

Today I decided to remind everyone of some of the consequences of sexual immorality by referring to articles I’ve written before:

There are physical consequences, like unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (herpes, HPV, etc).

But I usually spend most of my time writing about the emotional/spiritual consequences of premarital sex:

Regret:  having to live with things you can never go back and change.

Emotional Baggage:  damage from previous mistakes being brought into your future marriage.

False Intimacy: a false sense that your relationship is actually better than it really is.

The Downward Spiral:  Setting yourself up for future mistakes.

God’s solution to avoiding these consequences is simple: you have to avoid sexual temptation the same way you would a hand grenade.  Think about the consequences before you act and you’ll save yourself from a great deal of suffering.

Note to my readers in the Philippines: please read Basta LoveLife if you’d like to learn more about this topic.

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