Lead Your Family Like Jesus: Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families

Lead Your Family Like Jesus: Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families


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ISBN-13: 9781589977204
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 The Center for Faithwalk Leadership/Lead Like Jesus
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-58997-720-4

Chapter One

Important Forever


To Lead Like Jesus, Have an Eternal Perspective

Through His words and actions, Jesus taught that what people carry in their hearts is far more important than what they wear on their backs or where they lay their heads. He knew our hearts would be where our treasures are (Matthew 6:21). In his story about a major loss, Ken describes how he learned to take the long view—and how that view can revolutionize your parenting.

The voice message came when Margie and I were in Florida on an October day in 2007. She was at a conference in Orlando; I was in Naples playing golf with a bunch of old Cornell buddies. I got up a bit before 7:00 and checked my cell phone for messages. There was only one. It was from our son, Scott:

"Mom, Dad, I don't know where you are, but Mad and I had to evacuate our house. When we got down the road, we looked up and there were flames coming out of our place, and I think yours is gone, too. It's just awful."

That was my greeting for the day. The San Diego fires—which we'd last heard were thirty-five miles from our home—had reached our doorstep. It looked as if they'd consumed it.

Frankly, Margie and I were sadder for our son than we were for ourselves. Scott and his wife, Madeleine, had just finished a ten-month remodel of their house. They'd done it with such love and care, and had just moved in. They'd created a happy home for their family.

Margie and I prayed. We asked God that if one house could be spared, it would be theirs.

Next day I was driving with my friend and coauthor Phil Hodges when I got the call from Scott.

"Dad, you won't believe it!" he shouted. "I'm standing in our living room and our house was saved!"

Our prayer had been answered! The front doormat and some towels on the back deck had been charred—and the houses on both sides had burned to the ground. But Scott and Madeleine's house had been spared.

Scott's tone turned serious. "I'm afraid your house is gone, Dad."

"Scott, that's exactly what Mom and I prayed would happen!" I shouted, laughing and crying with happiness.

It mattered less that our house was gone. I was so overjoyed by Scott's news that we pulled the car over by the beach. Phil and I got out and ran along the shore shouting, "Lord, You're unbelievable!" Phil got a picture of me with my hands in the air and a great grin on my face.

Maybe my reaction was influenced by some reading I'd been doing. I'd just finished John Ortberg's wonderful book When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. John has a marvelous exercise in the book that goes like this:

It's 4:00 in the afternoon and you're getting ready to go home. There are two piles of Post-It notes on your desk. One says Important Forever and the other says Temporary Stuff. Put a Post-It from one of the two piles on everything you notice as you leave—the computer, your desk, your administrative assistant, the Coke machine, your receptionist, your car. Then do the same when you get home—on your bicycle, your golf clubs, people, and things in the house.

After the fire, it was clear to Margie and me where those sticky notes should go. What's really Important Forever is who you love and who loves you. We knew God was with us and what was really important in life, even as we walked through the ashes. Our family was safe. Even our dog was safe and being cared for by a friend. We'd lost a lot of temporary stuff, including many precious mementos, but we had each other. We still had our children, our grandchildren, our friends, and our coworkers.

Pause & Reflect

What is the Temporary Stuff in your life? What is Important Forever?

As a leader of your family, are you focusing on what's temporary—or on what will last?


Jesus knew all about that kind of eternal perspective:

"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being." (Matthew 6:19-21, MSG)

Just knowing about the long-term view wasn't enough for Jesus, of course. Everything He did was about the forever benefits, and He calls us to do the same:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3, MSG)


For many years Margie and I had a vision for our family, and those beliefs came out through our actions. We believed our house was not our own, that God had given it to us for His use. When we lost it, we mourned for the dwelling. But we also rejoiced in the ways God had allowed us to use it to care for others.

Because we wanted to celebrate all the good times, we held a memorial celebration for our house. The purpose of our service was to talk about the good times people had there. More than 100 people attended! Over the course of twenty-five years, individuals and families had lived in our home for two, three, or even more months. It was wonderful to have others talk about a party they remembered, or how they'd lived there during a tough time. They shared how it felt to be in our home. We immersed ourselves in what had been great about that house and all the memories we'd built there.

* * *

There are temporary things that always need to be done—cleaning, cooking, bathing, etc.—but I also like to focus on things that last forever, like spending time with others, serving others, making sure to praise my children, teaching them godly principles, and educating them.

—Martha, mother of four

At the end of that event, our daughter, Debbie—who has quite the sense of humor—spoke. "You know, I used to go to my parents' house," she said. "And I would look in the closets and the garage and would think, When something happens to them, it's going to be my job to clean this all out! And I don't have to do that now!"

Her comment may have seemed flippant, but in many ways it just reflected this reality: Even though our material things were gone, the memories were still with us. Our lives had been lightened. What we carried in our hearts was something that could never be taken away. And the service we gave to others in that house would forever be carried with them. No fire could destroy that.


It's easy to focus our time and efforts on things—jobs, houses, activities. But in times like the fire we learn that what we carry in our hearts and relationships is what lasts. Margie and I were challenged to hold things loosely and cherish people—particularly our family and one another. We were reminded that God's love is another thing that lasts; a fire can't take it away.

Peter Drucker once said that nothing good ever happens by accident. If you want something good to happen, he advised, put some structure around it. So let me give you some practical ways to act on the eternal perspective by cherishing your family. We have a few traditions that might inspire you.

Birthday Blessings. On every family member's birthday, we have a family gathering. As part of the celebration, we sit at the dining room table. One by one, each of us tells the person whose birthday it is what we really love and cherish about him or her. Our kids, Scott and Debbie, used to protest this tradition. But today they encourage their kids to take part in it, too.

Christmas Recital. Between dinner and dessert on Christmas Day, all our family and friends who are gathered share something special with everyone. They can sing a song, recite a poem, or tell us something important in their lives. This not only delights all those who are gathered, it makes the day memorable and meaningful.

Date Night. Margie's brother, Tom, and his wife, Jill, try to schedule a date night every week, when they get a babysitter and have a night just for themselves. There is no focus on their work or kids, just on their relationship. What a wonderful way to cherish each other!

* * *

Our Christmas Eve tradition started when our daughter was ten months old. It includes my husband reading the Christmas story from our family Bible while [we drink] hot chocolate. We also read a version of "The Night Before Christmas." As the kids have gotten older, they want to read the story from the Bible. We look forward to it every year!

—Regina, mother of two

My husband and I are very intentional about having a weekly (almost always) date night. Our kids know that it is a time for the two of us. Our eldest also has seen that we take time for our marriage by going to marriage conferences to keep "tuned up." Our whole household tells each other "I love you" whenever we are leaving. We want the last thing heard from us to be something kind and " forever," in case Jesus takes us home before we see each other again.

—Allison, mom of three


You may be thinking, Was having your house burn to the ground really such a positive experience? It's nice that you learned a lesson, but didn't you have at least a little trouble with this disaster?

Of course we did. And dealing with it meant taking a more eternal, God-centered perspective, too. As I tried to process the loss of our house and all our things, I thought of one of my favorite Bible verses:

"I came that they may have life and that they may have it abundantly." (John 10:10, ESV)

Just before the fire, I'd been studying another John passage with my Bible teacher and friend, Rich Case:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

During this study I'd asked Rich, "What did Jesus mean by abundant life?"

"Jesus wants us to have joy, peace, and righteousness," Rich had said. "Any time you don't feel joyful or peaceful or right with God, you're probably going it your own way and you're detached from the vine."

As the reality of losing our home and everything in it sank in, Margie and I weren't very joyful or peaceful. After I shared with Margie what I'd learned from Rich, we put our hands out and said, "Lord, we really need You. We can't make it through this by ourselves." With that thought constantly in our minds, we were able to maintain a peaceful feeling in the days and weeks that followed. Jesus met us in our time of need.

And that's the key to leading a family like Jesus—not only following His example, but relying on His presence within us. It's our lives connected to His.

We parents can try to give and serve in our own strength, but we won't get very far. It's His heart we're striving for. When we find His heart, He will transform ours. We can turn to Him during the hardest times of family life, and He'll be there, giving us the peace to make it through—and reminding us what's most important.

* * *

I have three kids. One has Asperger's and the other two are strong-willed. It is a necessity that I ask Jesus to walk with me. So each morning before my feet touch the floor, I pray. I ask Jesus to be tangible, to help me be able to hear His voice over the chaos that sometimes swallows my day.

—Heather, mother of three

We aim—though we often fail—to include Christ in every aspect of our daily living. I pray first thing in the morning. My wife and son read the Bible together during home preschool time. We pray at meals—not just as a routine, but with intentional hearts together as a family. We pray when we need help and we try to remember to praise as quickly as we can. As a family, we know we need Him, and we're trying to work together to remind each other to go to Him first. We end our day together as a family, reading our "goodnight" books and Scripture.

—Joey, father of two

When we lost our house, in the world's eyes we'd lost everything—but Margie and I knew better. We'd spent twenty-five years caring for the things in our home. In the end, Margie and I—and the family we built—are what stood. That's what the foundation of leading your family like Jesus is all about: focusing on who you love and who loves you.

Leading your family like Jesus focuses on what's really important.

And it all starts in the heart.

Pause & Reflect

• Tonight, thank God for giving you a family and a chance to parent.

• Write a prayer telling God you're a willing servant for your family. As you're preparing that prayer, do an honest assessment of how often you're a servant leader in your family—and how often you're a self-serving leader.


Excerpted from LEAD YOUR FAMILY LIKE JESUS by KEN BLANCHARD PHIL HODGES TRICIA GOYER Copyright © 2013 by The Center for Faithwalk Leadership/Lead Like Jesus. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: To Lead Is to Serve 1

Part I The Heart

1 Important Forever: Have an Eternal Perspective 9

2 Say No to EGO: Be Humble 17

3 An Audience of One: Focus on God-Not Others 31

Part II The Head

4 Family Values: Discover Your Family's Mission and Take It On 47

5 To Do or Not to Do: Say Yes to the Best and No to the Rest 59

6 Staying on Course: Know the Difference Between a Crisis and a Bump in the Road 73

Part III The Hands

7 For a Limited Time Only: Make the Most of the Childrearing Years 91

8 Teaching to the Test: Help Kids Succeed 105

9 Follow Me: Inspire Obedience-Not Rebellion 121

Part IV The Habits

10 Time with God-A Dad's Perspective: Stay on Track by Staying Close to Him 141

11 Time with God-A Mom's Perspective: Meet Challenges by Meeting with Him 157

12 Moving On: Turn Mistakes into Opportunities Through Forgiveness and Grace 171

Final Thoughts 189

About the Authors 191

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Lead Your Family Like Jesus: Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
richardblake More than 1 year ago
Family Leadership – Principles for Parenting New York Times bestselling author Ken Blanchard collaborates with Phil Hodges, Cofounder of the organization “Lead Like Jesus, and bestselling author Tricia Goyer in the book “Lead Your Family Like Jesus.” The authors begin by showing the relationship of leadership to the role of parenting. They stress the importance of following Jesus’ example of servant leadership. Meaningful practical personal examples and real life testimonies of parents illustrate the concepts discussed in each of the four parts of the book, which focus on: The heart, the head, the hands, and the habits of parenting. Each part covers three of the twelve Biblically based principles of parenting discussed throughout the narrative. The reader friendly format suggests thoughtful probing questions designed for taking time to pause, reflect, and offers specific ways for implementation. Another unique feature is the “Points to Ponder” review of key elements included within the chapters. These are found at the end of each of the four divisions. Several clearly presented powerful teaching diagrams provide a visual means of assimilating the material, for review, application, and a deeper study. “Lead Your Family Like Jesus” is ideal for classes on parenting, for couples, for men’s accountability groups, or women Bible study classes. It is  a book for parents, grandparents, family counselors and pastors. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book with real life application. The authors and guest posts really make you consider Jesus, your parenting style ,and your children. My only complaint was they used the Message bible translation which somtimes loses the feel of the text.
BeverlyLytle More than 1 year ago
What does it mean to lead? How do I lead effectively? How do I get my children to follow my leading? Parenting is filled with questions. Want to take the guess work out of finding the answers? This is a book filled with practical suggestions for ways to lead your family the way the creator of the family meant for it to be done. Using Biblical principles, Tricia Goyer, Ken Blanchard, and Phil Hodges take turns sharing from their hearts and their experiences about how parents can turn their families into Christ-centered, God honoring families. They share how parents can do this by examining how a parent’s heart, head, hands and habits can be turned into selfless acts of service to their family, thus giving them the joy and confidence they’ve been looking for in parenting. You will find this book to be broken down into short manageable chapters for even the busiest of parents. It also offers pauses in reading to offer a time of reflection. This book is one you will want to keep on your bookshelf for future reference. As a parent of grown children as well as a teenager, I have found that although the principles stay the same, our children go through many stages and changes. Information that may have seemed less pertinent at the first reading will later become applicable and helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ladybugofthree More than 1 year ago
This book is typical to Focus on the Family's style, it is full of hands on material you can put to good use with your family! Looking for advice and wisdom from others who have been in the same situation? Blanchard, Hodges, & Goyer have years of experience to share! I loved the layout of the book...the principle is stated, a real-life story is shared, thoughts/knowledge are backed up by biblical points, and then a pause and reflect time at the end! What a great book to work through with your spouse, or pick one up for yourself to read during your quiet time with the Lord! I give this book 5 stars, and cannot wait to share it with my husband! **I was given this book in exchange for my honest review**
malmal0505 More than 1 year ago
"Why is a single gal like her reading a book for parents in leading their families?"   Good question.  I wanted to read the book for a few different reasons.  I wanted to read, learn, and see how this book could help me in the areas of: 1.  my own personal family.  I am an aunt to three, sister, and daughter. 2.  my job since I work with children. 3.  my ministry since I work with our youth. Let me tell y'all...this book is AWESOME!!!  (And, I am so not just saying that either!)  The authors put in a lot of great advice, personal testimonies, principles to follow, and Scriptures to encourage and help in being a "servant leader".  So many times, I have been guilty of being a "self-serving" leader and not a "servant-hearted" one.  I want to be the best that I can be (play the army music with that-lol).  I know that I will never be perfect.  I will fall short at times, but I want to love and serve with all I am/have.  I want to be better equipped in dealing with others (whatever their age).  I don't want to be one that "harps" all the time, but one who disciplines out of love, respect, and gets the point across without beating them over the head with it.  I also know that this book will be something I will keep for when I have my own family one day (if it's His will).     
BTHM More than 1 year ago
The authors say "being a parent is probably the most important life-role leadership position you'll ever have, and it begins when you assume responsibility for raising a child". When you stop and think about it, it really is 100% true isn't it?  The book is divided into 4 domain areas of leadership (the 4 H's), that all apply to parenting: -Heart-character and rules you employ as you lead and influence your children -Head-your viewpoint and beliefs about leading and influencing your children -Hands-what you actually DO, when leading and influencing your children -Habits- how you continually refocus your desire to lead and influence your children as Jesus would have you do. The chapters then take on different parts of this concept and expound on them. they all include a basic principle, a sample story or two, what would Jesus do/did, ideas for parents, and then pause/reflection on the chapter's contents. Each section of the 4 domains ends with a review page, that brings to one page all the points to ponder for that area. As parents, we are reminded there are 4 areas of response to your kids actions: no response, negative response, positive response and redirection. The first 2 are a leave-alone/zap, which cause children to avoid parents' reactions, whereas the last 2 lead to teaching moments, and lasting memories. The book would be an excellent study guide for a church parenting class, especially for parents of elementary/tweens, who may have lost their way on a steady influence on their kids in a positive manner, and become more reactionary to their kids' actions.Additional resources are available to go with the book, including daily devotions, study guides, student resources, and interactive programs, to assist in making a program from the book for your church. It is an interesting and informative book, and one Christian parents should read.
inspiremichelle More than 1 year ago
Lead Your Family like Jesus, by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer Great book full of practical ideas, to be servant leaders of Godly households. This book will encourage you to be the best parent you can be. Challenge you to set goals, values and live with Christ as the cornerstone of your family. I really enjoyed all the personal stories they helped to bring the teaching alive and made them more real. The practical ideas show you how to apply them to your family. I would highly recommend this book to all parents.
ReneeAnn More than 1 year ago
I don’t have kids of my own, but after twenty-five years of observing family dynamics from behind my teacher’s desk, I’d have to say that parenting is the hardest job in the world. At our Christian high school, we dedicate ourselves to coming alongside parents as they seek to lead their children to Christ, guide their character development, and prepare them for life. So I’ll be sharing my copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus with as many parents as possible. I discovered this book as part of inspirational fiction author Tricia Goyer’s Launch Team. She co-wrote the book with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Are you wondering what qualifies Tricia to write a book on parenting? She began motherhood as a teen mom. After she gave her life to the Lord, He led her to marry a godly man. She and her hubs had two more children. Tricia became a working mom (she’s written 30+ books) and homeschooler. She started a Crisis Pregnancy Center. She leads Teen MOPS. Her family teaches children’s church together each Sunday. Now that Tricia has a married son, son in college, and daughter in high school, she and her husband recently adopted 3 young children. She provides a home for her grandmother, and Tricia is a grandmother herself. Are you catching on that Tricia has much practical wisdom to share with parents in all stages of their journey? You can connect with Tricia here at her website, on Facebook & on Twitter. How will reading Lead Your Family Like Jesus benefit you? This book will help you “take Christ out of the spare compartment of your private spiritual life and give him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships.” I’d sum up the main takeaway with these lines: “Leading like Jesus as a parent is first a spiritual matter. Whenever you have an opportunity to influence the thinking and behavior of other family members, the first questions you have to answer is, ‘Am I motivated by self-interest or by the betterment of those I’m serving?’” My favorite chapters discussed the concept of EGO. Initially EGO stands for Edging God Out and allowing Pride and Fear to dictate our choices, actions, and reactions. The authors remind us that “Edging God Out separates us from Him, from others, and from knowing the true selves He designed us.” They then encourage us that “when we replace our tendency to Edge God Out with Exalting God Only,” we operate from Humility and Confidence and “influence our kids in a way that points them to Christ.” ***Thanks to Tricia and Tyndale House for sending me a copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus to review. Please, don’t miss picking up a copy of the book! Both parents and parents-to-be will appreciate this book. And if you are a grandparent, one of the nicest things you can do for your grandkids is to share this book with their parents. More encouraging quotes from the book: “By looking at Jesus, you can learn how to build a loving relationship with your children and extended family—no matter how you were raised and no matter what challenges your family faces.” “When the bills appear bigger than your income, trust in God by acknowledging that He is your Provider. He will supply what you need—not always what you want. He promises to take care of His children.” “Family members will experience what’s in your heart and head when your motivations and beliefs about parenting affect your hands—your actions.”
The_IE_Mommy More than 1 year ago
This book was so incredibly helpful I literally felt a weight lifted after reading Lead Your Family Like Jesus. Three authors with different perspectives came together to create one cohesive book that is both inspirational and informative. As Christians, everything we do in our life should glorify God, including parenting. How many people have you heard say they wish their was a parenting instruction manual? There is! It’s called the Bible and Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer used this as the foundation of their book and should be the fundamental basis of all parenting. I found so many things helpful in this book that it’s really hard to sum it all up. I have to say the thing that impacted me the most was Chapter 6: Staying on Course. Principle 6 is “To lead like Jesus, know the difference between a crisis and a bump in the road. ” The example is given of spilled milk. There’s a difference between a true accident and of the child willfully dumping it. I tend to overreact to these situations because I want my house clean and I feel like it’s a constant uphill battle. However, yelling at my kids for an accident damages their spirit and will teach them to hide things from me because I’m unreasonable. It’s hard to remember not to sweat the small stuff and look at the bigger picture. Another thing that struck me was the concept of having a family vision. It’s almost like a mission statement but for your family. What is your family about? What do you stand for? Having this to focus on gives purpose to actions and helps with making decisions when you have a direction in which you are going. Lead Your Family Like Jesus is so helpful and simple yet profound at the same time. Every parent should read this amazing book!
Kurt_Bubna More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! It's filled with practical wisdom and godly insight. It will encourage and challenge you to grow and become the best parent possible. Sometimes books speak to our hearts . . . sometimes to our heads . . . this book does both.