Posts about becoming a father and growing in understanding of what fatherhood and Fatherhood is all about.

Big Game Fathering

Warning – potential spoiler alert.

I recently watched a movie called “Big Game,” starring Samuel L Jackson and Onni Tommila, which chronicles the coming of age of a young boy.

From the very beginning, I was hooked. I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers, but I was amazed at the way Jalmari Helander, the director, depicted Oskari’s (Tommila) rite of passage and how Oskari crossed paths with Moore (Jackson). Essentially, we have a classic terrorist act as the backdrop of the movie. And Oskari becomes the unlikely unlikely hero.

What captivated my attention for all 87 minutes was the parallel of Oskari’s life and passage into manhood with every one of our lives and the way we grow and mature from boys to men or girls to women. I have to admit I don’t know as much about the way it works for women, so I’ll speak mostly from a man’s perspective.

In Oskari’s culture, you go out into the woods on your 13th birthday and hunt an animal in order to show your manhood. All the men of the village send you off into the woods and wait your return with whatever animal you were able to kill during your night-long stay in the woods.

At each progression in the story, we learn more intimate details of Oskari’s growth. A book that explains this progression well is called “Fathered by God,” by John Eldridge. I highly recommend it.

But I wanted to point something out. In all cultures throughout time, we see a motif of coming of age or rite of passage. Yet, in today’s society we are increasingly unaware of the role fathers, and father figures, must play in the lives of young boys. It’s this rite of passage that helps us mature from boys who are beloved cowboys to men who are warrior kings.

The difference? A personal responsibility toward a call. We see this in Oskari as he steps up and takes responsibility for the situation in which he finds himself. The world needs people who are willing to step up and take responsibility, even in situations that aren’t their fault. And the world needs examples of father figures who can establish moral authority, confer identity, provide emotional security, and affirm potential.

What happens if Oskari doesn’t make it through this rite of passage? He misses the chance to be affirmed in his potential. He finds himself without a clear identity and lacking the correct mindset that moral issues are his responsibility. His emotional insecurity will lead him to look for opportunities to medicate rather than facing difficult situations and emerging victoriously.

I applaud Oskari’s culture and father for providing him the opportunity. I applaud Oskari’s unending passion to do what’s right regardless of the consequence. And I applaud father figures and sons who do likewise.

I have seen several rites of passage in my life. There was my first job, 8th grade graduation, my first trip overseas, model UN and Mock Trial, among others.

Have you had a rite of passage in life? What was it? What happened? Can’t wait to hear your story!


Two Power Prayers that Will Change Everything Today

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We talk about prayer as an important aspect of our lives, but sometimes, we struggle to get started or even know if our prayers are working. Do you sometimes find yourself in a seemingly hopeless situation? There’s one prayer that will change everything. Have you been praying a prayer for weeks, months, years, and still everything seems at a standstill? There’s one prayer that will change everything! The Bible says that prayer is “powerful and effective” as its based in the righteousness that God has given us through Jesus Christ (James 5:16). You can have a powerful and effective prayer life, too. Here are two prayers you can pray that will change the situation you’re in.

  • In 1 Kings 18, we read about Elijah standing up to the prophets of Baal. Israel wasn’t following God and all seemed desperately hopeless. But Elijah choose to stand in the gap and seek God for revival. He decided to invite the prophets of Baal to a showdown to see whose God answers with fire. In one prayer, Elijah sparked a revival that touched an entire nation (1 Kings 18:16-40). Elijah prayed what we will call “the prayer of fire.” In one moment, he invited God to reveal himself as “the God who answers with fire” (1 Kings 18:24). God responded in that very moment and things changed. He’s inviting God’s justice to reign in the land.
  • Just a few verses later in 1 Kings 18:41-46, Elijah has another opportunity to prayer for rain to fall on the land that’s in a drought. Yet, this time the prayer doesn’t get answered instantly. In fact, Elijah has to pray seven times before God responds. In this case, Elijah is praying for rain. He’s not slow. He’s patient. God’s goodness is beautiful. He’s inviting God’s mercy to reign in the land. When you pray for something and it doesn’t seem to come quickly, don’t give up. The God of Mercy is coming. His rain is going to fall.

You are righteous in Christ and your prayers are powerful and effective. You can choose today to pray the prayer of fire and the prayer of rain to see how God will move. Enter into each situation with a fresh expectation that God will do something great!

Gallons of Grace


We just got the car from heaven. It’s not because it’s really the most amazing car.

Knowing we were coming back to the States for three months, we decided we needed to have a set of wheels to help us get around while in Minnesota. We reached out to family and friends to see if anyone had anything available and a couple of people started looking around. 

In the end, my father in law decided to buy us a vehicle. We started looking around for options. His price range was set a little higher than I felt comfortable with. I explained that I’d always grown up working hard for things and earning them. 

Dave sat at the kitchen table and explained that we’re part of the family. He credited God for providing what they have and talked about how proud of us they are. He said it was no big deal, but that he really wanted us to be taken care of. 

As we went car shopping, he constantly asked my opinion of things and then negotiated a deal for a great vehicle that was indeed outside of our personal price range. 

The next morning, as we were preparing to take our new Lincoln Aviator on our first trip, Dave stole the keys and filled up the tank. 

We’re literally driving down the road a vehicle purchased by grace and fueled by grace. 

This is the kind of life I want to live. Andy Mason talks about the “cycle of Sonship” in his quick, but profound book entitled “God With You Work.” 

 In the family, we are connected and receive an inheritance to increase 
He understands that in the kingdom, we begin with the value of family. It leads to connection with God, the Father. In our relationship with Him and through our connection to Him, we receive an inheritance and learn to increase it. 

I have a strengthened desire not only to use this vehicle well, but to increase it, to invest in it. My hope is that I would learn how to live by grace, which freely receives and can freely give, but also expects more than “earning it,” because grace empowers. Our vehicle has been purchased by the blood of Jesus our tank is filled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What’s stopping us from driving right into what He has for us today?

Talent: Discovered or Developed?

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Talent hunters are everywhere. I just saw an article the other day about people going to other groups and companies and trying steal people from their company. Why? Because we want the best in our organizations. No one wants to have their child taught by the worst teacher in school. No one wants to go to a restaurant where they intentionally hire the worst chefs. And no one wants to be a part of something where sub-par talent is the highest expectation we can find.

In a similar fashion, talent developers are everywhere. Companies spend billions on trainings, retreats, reviews, and more. Why? Because we know that we haven’t reached our full potential yet.

As Aroma transitions into a totally new season of growth an expectation, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. I’ve also been getting a lot of feedback through onsite and offsite peers, consultants, mentors, fathers and leaders.

We left one 5 hour session asking ourselves this question: Are we discovered or developed?

As a company owner, church pastor, and missions site coordinator, I interact with a lot of people. We’ve constantly prided ourselves on giving people opportunity to grow. And yet some of the most explosive things that have happened come when someone from the outside comes in and offers just a little advice, or makes just the slightest change to a product, SOP or marketing tactic.

So, take a look at your life. Have you been discovered or developed? Do you want to be discovered or developed? Do you want to discover others or develop them? I’d like to take a brief survey of the benefits of both:


  • Discovering talent is costly. You have a lot more interviews. You need to spend time finding the right person. You need a backup plan for when that person leaves you for some place better.
  • Discovering talent is limiting. When you put all of your emphasis on discovering just the right person, you limit yourself to what they bring to the table. This includes their talents, but it also includes their culture, the sum of their beliefs, values and reactions in certain situations. Unfortunately, top talent often know they’re just that.
  • Discovering talent  is explosive. If you find the right person, the right culture match, the right time, etc. you have set yourself up for an explosive time of growth. The right talent discovered and injected can be just like a downed espresso shot. It burns immediately and gets you going quickly.


  • Developing talent is costly. They often underperform and you have to spend countless hours training, explaining, reviewing, and on and on and on. Taking into account the time value of money, you’ll probably lose more investing into that person than you’ll get out of them after they’re 100% ready. Not to mention the outright detrimental things they’ll do to you and your company in the mean time.
  • Developing talent is limiting. Until that person is everything you think they can be, they’re not. Let me repeat that. Until a person is everything you think they can be, they’re not. No matter how much you believe in someone, no matter how many resources you throw at someone, there’s still a journey.  You’re going to bottleneck your organization for a time.
  • Developing talent is explosive. Have you ever been supported? Felt believed in? I remember when my 9th grade band teacher, Mrs. Gallagher yelled at me in front of the whole class. She told me to grow up. After I sat in the corner crying for 20 minutes (literally), she took me into her office and explained how much she cared for me. She told me that there are plenty of students she saw every year who wouldn’t amount to much of anything. But she saw something more in me and wanted me to see it, too. Having someone take the time to invest in you. And being someone who invests you, can make all the difference. At all times in my life, I’ve had people investing in me, and it’s been great!

No matter which side you fall on, you’re still going to have to choose at times. I default to developing. Why? Because I’ve been developed. But, I also see the benefit of discovery. Why? Because I’ve been discovered.

The good news is that both of these are options. You don’t have to do just one. In fact, God has done both in us. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul says we were “chosen before the foundation of the world.” Sounds like a great discovery to me. Esther was chosen for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). There are countless stories, like David and Moses, of people who were discovered and elevated into a position of great opportunity. They nailed it.

Conversely, there are the people who are developed. Paul was definitely the worst, worst choice for a church plant. He was the most anti-Christian person available at the time (Acts 8:1), but then Barnabas (Acts 4:36) and Ananias (Acts 9:10-12) were used to develop him into the author of 13 books of the New Testament.

Which is it: discovered or developed? I say both! God’s much bigger than limited you to one. Get out there and discover someone. Then develop them. Hold them accountable; that is, make them “account for their God-given ability” (Kris Valloton).

The Evolution of a Relationship

God calls us many things in the Bible. He uses pictures to help us understand the dynamic of our indescribable relationship with Him. Here are a few that have touched me recently:

  • Clay (Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18)
  • Sheep (John 10:14)
  • Disciple (Luke 6:40)
  • Slave (Romans 1:1)
  • Child (John 1:13)
  • Friend (John 15:15)
  • Beloved (Ephesians 5:1)
  • Apostle (Ephesians 4:11)

Some of these happen in parallel, others are distinct seasons that build on each other. My prayer is that as you reflect on these, you’ll see that you’re becoming a trusted member of the family, just like the son who got the ring and the robe (Luke 15).


32 Things Fathers Do by Paul Manwaring

I recently heard a podcast that really stirred my heart.  Here are some notes.

Focus on what you do have or what you don’t have. Father people. Father organizations. Become sons and daughters who become fathers and mothers. There are enough resources. Be jealous for experiences with sons. Be jealous of something or for something. Go on the trip of a lifetime. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father.

32 things fathers do

  1. Fix things. Restore and rebuild.
  2. Believe in their kids.
  3. Show the world.
  4. Help them discover what they love. Give the desire. Grace the desire
  5. Show children how to love wives
  6. Give permission
  7. Blessing
  8. Provide
  9. Steward resources
  10. Serve their family with pleasure
  11. Create culture of the home
  12. Create memories, landmarks and targets.
  13. Truth, goodness, beauty. Moral compass. Healthy debate.
  14. Introduce to the right people
  15. Love unconditionally, Luke 15. Here’s the ring, robe, sandal.
  16. Celebrate and throw parties even if they don’t deserve i.
  17. Give identity, Ephesians 3.
  18. Learning to focus and be thankful
  19. Change the orphans cry for more out of lack to the cry for more from hearts of sons and daughters and abundance.
  20. Beauty and mystery, and wonder
  21. Direction, safety and freedom
  22. Don’t envy kids
  23. Show and model affections, good and bad emotions and be responsible
  24. Relationship first
  25. Create opportunities. Not nepotism. We are meant to create opportunities.
  26. Raise favorites. Not fair. Favorite. If you treat all kids fair you’ll fair. Fair is the political  spirit. Favorites is we know identity, calling gifts
  27. Further, higher, wider, deeper than ever
  28. Give inheritance and blessing
  29. Pay a price, be authentic
  30. don’t burden your kids before their ready
  31. create a joyful, hopeful, faithful culture
  32. redeem lost years

Which one hit you this time you read through them? I believe a different one will hit you each time.