Guys It’s Time to “Rise Up!”
One of my passions is to encourage men rise up to their calling to be godly husbands and fathers. There is little that thrills me more than a man asking me how to start family devotions or hearing a wife describe how God is working in their family after the husband takes this calling seriously.
When Dr. Robert Otto sent me a copy of his book, Rise Up! I confess that I thought I would be reviewing simply another pseudo-Christian pop-psychology family help book. However I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even though Dr. Otto holds a PhD in Family Therapy, that he relies on the Bible alone to show why and how men should lead their families. Yes Dr. Otto is “book smart,” as his PhD attests to, but he is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy, served as an Airborne Ranger and as an officer in the United States Infantry. Throughout the book he returns to his experience leading soldiers and relates it to leading a family as a husband and father. This is a guy who Mark Driscoll would appreciate! He has both brains and brawn! But that is not what impressed me about this book. Dr. Otto knows men, and writes as a man speaking to other men not as a scholar to another scholar. The book is profound, yet simple to read and easy to understand. What impressed me most was his simple honesty about his struggles in attempting to fulfill his calling as the spiritual leader of his home. He constantly returns to the Scriptures, admitting his weakness and reliance on Jesus Christ for strength to lead his family.
Men, let’s be honest, most of us simply don’t know how to be the spiritual leaders our families need. Most of our fathers did not model biblical leadership for us so we never learned how to lead. Growing up, my dad was not a good spiritual leader. When I got married I had no idea how to lead, and I too failed at this. When children came into the picture, I struggled even further with how to be the husband and father my family needed. This put stress on my marriage and I know that I am not alone. I could have used this book years ago when I was struggling with these issues.
Using numerous scripture references, Dr. Otto begins the book with all the reasons why most of us men aren’t the spiritual leaders we could be, as well as the reasons why we should be reading the Bible with our families. He gives the example of Amos 8:11: “I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” As fathers we need to prepare our families for a famine of God’s Word by making our home like a “storehouse” of God’s Word. We need to read the bible and discuss it with our wives and children.
Dr. Otto then takes us along on his own families’ journey through the Bible. He read the entire Bible, 1 chapter per day, over a period of four and a half years with his family. He shows us that it was not always easy with the distractions of toddlers, antsy children, awkward, uncomfortable or “boring” portions of scripture and so on. Dr. Otto also gives us ideas on how to deal with some of the fears and issues we might come across as we read through the Bible. From the hardest part which is simply starting a new routine of Bible reading, to dealing with the kids and those “boring” (Do I really need to read 1 and 2 Chronicles? ) and “uncomfortable” (Song of Solomon anyone?) parts of the Bible. My favorite part of the book is the chapter where he describes reading Song of Solomon with his family. I laughed out loud, shook my head at the things his kids said, and was encouraged to not skip over it next time! He uses stories and scripture to help us see that our family worship time will never be picture perfect, but that devotional time with our wife and kids is one of the most important parts of being the spiritual head…and we will be held in account of how we led our families.
Each chapter begins with a story of his time as a soldier, which certainly kept my interest (I think most guys like army stories). He then relates those stories to the practical applications of leading as a father, backing each point up with scripture. Each chapter also ends with a list of scripture references used in the chapter as well as questions for further study, which would make this book a great resource for a men’s study group. In the appendix Dr. Otto references Bill Bright’s, “4 Spiritual Laws.” I admit that I am uneasy with Dr. Bright’s method of evangelism and myself prefer a redemptive historical approach to the sharing of the Gospel message; however that does not detract from the important message contained in chapters of the book itself. With that said, I highly recommend this book for all men who want to be encouraged in their calling as husbands and fathers. I was certainly encouraged to “rise up” to the challenge of leading my family boldly and I hope that you will be as well.
Enter to win a free copy of “Rise Up! For Dads Who Want To Lead Boldy.” By clicking on this link. COntest ends April 13, 2013 at Midnight.
Purchase your copy on Dr. Otto’s website: Riseupdad.com