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s m a l l group participants guide

THE CHRISTIAN DAD

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Your Calling, Privilege, and Responsibilities

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Its time to be the dad

God has called you to be.

24:7 DAD | Power HOUR | the christian dad


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Welcome to the Power Hour! One of the first important lessons I learned when I became a father was that my child would need my love, nurturance, and support around the clock. Indeed, good dads engage their children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In a practical sense, that means that they provide, nurture, and guide their children 24/7. And thats how the term 24/7 Dad was coined! Participating in the 24/7 Dad Power Hour is a great way to sharpen your fathering skills and to think about the legacy that you build through your children. This program was developed by National Fatherhood Initiatives team of nationally and internationally recognized fathering experts and fatherhood practitioners, some of whom are ordained ministers. It focuses on the characteristics and skills that every father needs to be a great dad. Youll enjoy the opportunity to learn more about what it means to be a great father from a practical and a Biblical perspective.

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Best regards,

Our mission is to see that more children grow up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers in their lives by educating the public about the importance of good fathers, equipping fathers to be the best dads they can be (through programs like this and others), and through engaging all sectors of society in this important battle against father absence. For more information on National Fatherhood Initiative, I hope youll visit our website at www.fatherhood.org. Get ready to embark on an exciting and rewarding journey to becoming a 24/7 Dad. It will be rewarding for you and be life-changing for your children as you enhance your skills to help you love and raise them to be healthy adults. It will also be rewarding and life-changing for the fathers you host in your groups.

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Roland C. Warren President National Fatherhood Initiative


Quick correction: In the introduction video, I stated that I got my girlfriend-now my wife, Yvettepregnant when I was 19 years old. I misspoke because I got my math wrong. I was 20 years old. For the record, I always get my wedding anniversary right. ;-) Blessings to you...

Introduction
elcome to the 24/7 Dad Power Hour, a Christian program for use in a small-group setting (e.g. 6-12 dads). The dads in your group will use this small group participants guide before, during, and in between the times you get together. There are currently two other small group studies available. Each small group participants guide has 6 topics or sessions that engage dads, move quickly, and last about 1 hour. This guide is titled 24/7 Dad Power Hour: The Christian Dad: Your Calling, Privilege, and Responsibilities. As the name implies, its focus is on what it means to be a Christian dad. The six sessions in it will help you explore what it means to be a Christian dad in todays world; the calling, privilege, and responsibilities that accompany fatherhood; the impact on your fathering of the expectations you have for your child(ren); the differences in raising boys and girls; and the importance of developing a first fruits mentality in your child Each session ends with activities you can do during the week to enrich the relationship you have with your child and the mother of your child based on what you learned. If you havent gone through the other two studies, encourage your small group to go through them after you complete this one because they will help you and the other fathers develop a well-rounded approach to being a Christian dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All of us at National Fatherhood Initiative applaud you and the other dads in your group as you seek to be the best possible Christian dads.

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the greeks of the

new testament
era had at least

five words
that we can use to distinguish and describe the various aspects of

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love...agape
[the best and last of the five] is the totally

giving without expecting in returnit is the love that prompted

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unselfish love
that has the capacity to give and keep on

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Christ
to come to earth on our behalf.

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Dr. Ed Wheat, MD, The Five Ways of Loving from Love Life

Session 1

Christian Fatherhood
Time to Reflect:
And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17) But Jesus called them to Himself and said, You know that the rulers

of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 20:25-27 - NASB)

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But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Time to Talk:

Todays focus is on how having a commitment to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord can play a part in your role as a father and how Christian fatherhood differs from our popular cultures model of fatherhood.

As Christian fathers, we are given the ideal father as a model to imitate: God the Father. While certainly none of us can be perfect fathers, God calls us to strive to look like His Son. When we do that, we reflect the characteristics of Christ, such as patience, peace, hope, joy, understanding, justice, love, and compassion to name a few. We are also called to live a life of service and self-sacrifice in the best interest of our families. There are two other key characteristics that God has modeled for Christian fathers: sacrifice and service.

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God made the ultimate sacrifice for us with Jesus death on the cross as payment for our sins. As fathers, we are also called to sacrifice for our families. We are called to put their needs ahead of our own. We are also called to a sacrificial type of love. This is an agape love (see sidebar) that says, Even if you dont love me, or treat me like I want to be treated, my love for you is unshaken. In Ephesians 5:25-30, Paul talks about how husbands should love their wives. Paul instructs them to love their wives like Christ loved the church. This is another example of this sacrificial and passionate love. Throughout the New Testament, we are instructed to love our neighbor and to serve others. For the Christian father, the first place of service is in his home. It is important

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24:7 DAD | Power HOUR | the christian dad


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for fathers to prioritize their families to the top of their list. A dad meets the needs of his family before he meets the needs of others. God actually requires us to serve Him through caring for our families, which is the model that is reflected through God the Fathers relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, too many fathers, even well-intentioned Christian fathers devoted to full-time ministry, have neglected their families in the name of doing Gods work. God doesnt ask us to choose between serving our families and serving others. He asks us to do both, in the proper order. 1 Corinthians 11:3 shows us Gods hierarchy for family leadership: Jesus Christ is the head of the man, and although a man is placed in a position of spiritual leadership over his wife, he is ultimately the one who will stand before God in judgment for how well he did in that leadership position. In other words, God takes family leadership seriously. Being head of the household is not a position of power; it is to be a position of submission to a higher powera position of complete obedience to Christ as head. Remember, true leadership is service, and Jesus modeled it.

CHR I ST I AN F ATHERHOOD

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Finally, it seems as if a Christian father has a distinct advantage over a dad who does not know God. When the Christian father struggles with how to raise his child, he has the opportunity to ask the One who created his child! When a Christian dad doesnt know the answer, he has the chance to ask the One who does! And, in very real ways, God speaks to us and answers us through the witness of His Spirit and the Bible.

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Word Within

How are fathers most often depicted in our culture? How are Christian fathers depicted in the media and in our society at large? Think about television shows you might watch, such as the popular cartoon sitcom The Simpsons that has long featured a character named Flanders who is a Christian father. Do you think our culture values fatherhood more or less than it did 15 years ago?

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How does God model his ideal of fatherhood for us in His Word? Read 1 Corinthians 11:3. What do you think of this hierarchy? Who has the tougher jobthe man or the womanwithin this structure?

What is the main difference between Christian fatherhood and our popular cultures view of fatherhood? All fathers leave a legacy. What would you like your legacy to be and why? Share your answer with the other dads if you are comfortable doing so.

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Time to Connect
Reach Up
Read, reflect, and prepare to share your thoughts during the next session on the two Bible passages that werent the focus of todays Time to Reflect section.

Reach Out
To Your Child Take a few minutes and write a short letter to your child(ren)just a few sentences or paragraphs that tell your child how much you value him/her and how you hope to leave a legacy through him/her. Make sure to include what your dreams are for your child. Include, for example, that you hope that your child grows to love and serve Christ, and that he/she grows to be strong in his/her faith. After you complete the letter, think about a good way to give it to your child. Be creative! If your child cant read at all or well enough yet to understand the letter, save it for when he/she can read well enough. To Mom Take a few minutes and write a short letter to the mother of your child(ren)just a few sentences or paragraphs that tell her how much you value her as a person, mom, and, if appropriate, wife. Include, for example, that you hope that you want to work with her to help your child grow to love and serve Christ and that, as a family, everyone grows to be strong in his/her faith. After you complete the letter, think about a good way to give it to her. Be creative! Get inspiration on this weeks Reach Out assignment. Listen to the podcast  at www.fatherhood.org/powerhour.

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