Tag Archives: father

There has to be more to life than this-And there is!

While reading the story of the prodigal son to our daughter I had to pause for a moment as I felt God speak to my heart. The story tells us the younger of two sons who tires of the harsh labor of farm life and goes to his father asking for his share of the inheritance now. The father is sad, yet grants his son’s request. 

The son goes and spends all that he has on wild living and is happy for a short time. Then his inheritance runs out and none of his ‘friends’ come to his aid as he is in desperate poverty.

He finds himself alone at the lowest point of his life he has ever been. And the scripture says “Then he came to himself.” This is the moment where he realizes what he had and what he gave up. 

Have you been there? 

Have you felt that moment where you realized that all you have done is not worth what you gave up to get there?  

This is a dark and sorrowful moment but THERE IS hope for the broken hearted:

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; 

A broken and contrite heart

You, God, will not despise.”

(Psalm 51:17)

As we read in the story, we can all draw a comparison to the prodigal son in that he realized what he had done.  

As I read this story, I noticed that as the son returns home to ask his father’s forgiveness his father sees him and races out to meet him. He doesn’t condemn him, He doesn’t ridicule him, and surprisingly he throws him a party to welcome him home. Because the Father knows the son’s heart. He knows that he not only is sorrowful for his past but has repented & turned away from what was wrong.

My friends, in life we are guilty of many things but what matters is the state of our hearts. God is patient with each of us and longs for us to “come to ourselves” and return home. 

He is ready to run out to meet you and has made a way home through His son Jesus Christ.  

2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God is ready for us all to come home. He isn’t mad at us. He loves us and has proven it through the Jesus. I pray that wherever you are, when you come to yourself, realize that you can come home.

God is ready and waiting with open arms…

Andy Starnes 

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries 

Taking off the Helmet

Taking off the Helmet:

In the moments that we serve, we often forget our place…
We give, direct, lead, and we make a difference…
We solve others problems in a moments notice…

But then we go home to our wives, our husbands, and our families…
We forget to take off the helmet, to remove our rank, to remember who we truly are…

We give orders instead of giving love and support…
We demand compliance with no Grace given to them when they fail…
We answer questions too quickly instead of listening with our heart…

We persist instead of being patient…
We complete the list rather than trying to see where their real need is..
We answer abruptly instead of taking a moment to realize…

The truth is:

Our families need fathers not firefighters…

Our children need their mother not managers…

Our wives need husbands not heroes…

Our husbands need wives not warriors…

Our loved ones need us and their need is for who we truly are…

Our families need a role model, a relationship, and not regulations…

Our children need leadership and guidance not forced compliance…

Our marriages need nurturing and investment not neglect and name calling…

Our titles are given to us by man however they might be earned…

Our roles as Spouses and Parents are God given and must be cherished or they can be lost…

The saves we make as firefighters pale in comparison to…

The lives that we save by being a husband, a father, a wife, and a mother…

Our badges are symbols of the commitment that we are sworn to uphold…

Yet the names written on our hearts are the greatest commitment that we will be held accountable for…

Let us not forget our place nor our calling…

This doesn’t mean we aren’t to be great firefighters…

It means that if we truly embrace our calling…

We will be significant not successful in all things that we do…

By placing our relationships first and our rank last…

Our proper order and service should be our faith, our family, and the fire service…

May we take off the helmet when we return home but may we never take off the calling placed upon our hearts…

For one day we will have to hang up our helmet but we shall never retire from leading, loving, and serving our families…

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries20140627-134945-49785952.jpg

Daddy Don’t Go

As I lie here with my five year old daughter nestled in my arms…
My mind is a chaotic mess of life’s obligations and commitments….
I gaze upon our precious daughter and pray that God would keep her safe from harm…
I rise up to leave and she cries out: “Daddy don’t go.”
I calm her fears and lay quietly by her side praying even more…
God how many of us cry out to you only when we feel alone?
How many of us have felt lost and abandoned by those who love us so?
Then a flood of emotions sweep over me and I remember these words…
“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
I remember what price that which was paid for me and my family…
The God of all creation who promised to never leave nor forsake us…
Had to place the weight of all the world’s sins on His son and look away from Him…
He did this out of “His great love for us” and through the cross He forgave our sin…
Many of us cry out in our hearts “Daddy don’ go” when we feel the weight of our own sin…
We try to hide it, justify it, and deny it though it is plain as day to Him…
We hurt and we struggle with our past and our behaviors…
We try to save ourselves instead of trusting in the one true Savior…
Then when our world comes crashing down and is torn apart….
We fall to our knees and give Him our heart…
We cry and we are ashamed of all that we have done…
And we meet the loving God who loved us so much He gave us His Son…
He doesn’t reject the broken or the contrite…
He takes our sinful lives and washes them white…
He heals our wounded souls with his nail scarred hands…
He looks at our hurt and says I have for you even better plans…
We begin to search His word, pray fervently, so we may know…
That we will never again have to cry out “Daddy, don’t go..”
For He has never left us nor forsaken us through it all…
We made the mistake of trying to stand on our own and began to fall…
We now stand upon the solid rock, Christ, the cornerstone…
We now have a faith and a hope that comes from Christ alone…
So when the darkness creeps in and the storms rage…
On bended knee, we cry out the words off the page…
These pages were written and divinely inspired….
They are found in the Bible, God’s word, His Holy fire…
That is our strength, our source of wisdom, and guide…
So we may know that we shall live even after we die…
We need not have a spirit of fear but of bravery…
For our God, our Father, Jesus Christ lives within you and me…
God Bless,
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

Firefighters-An Overseer, A Noble Task Often Neglected

Firefighters- You are an Overseer, A Noble Task often neglected:

“Early on he worked more than 64 hours a week arriving home between 8 and 10 pm each night. The cost of the lifestyle was his marriage. ‘All I worked for was wiped out with one phone call to the divorce lawyer.” An excerpt from Faith on the Fire Line by Fellowship of Christian Firefighters.

The Fire Service is a demanding profession. For those who are blessed to be a part of this noble calling can often fall victim into the trap of ambition. At first, our efforts seem noble; after all we are bettering ourselves to serve our community which also helps to insure our safety thereby showing the utmost regard for our loved ones at home, right?

It starts with a spark and we are the tinder. Before we know we are a roaring fire. We are consuming everything in our path that is fuel: textbooks, conferences, classes, on-line material, and on and on…

But then something happens, we look forward at all of our accolades, knowledge, and skills but there is an emptiness that is creeping into our heart.

What is this?

Why do we feel this way?

It is conviction. In the midst of our search for success and helping others we have forgotten about our first priority: Our family

Another class that we teach and we miss another ball game….

Another hour at the desk late at night and our spouse falls asleep in tears feeling more and more alone…

Another conference we attend away from family, and our children are growing up…

Another promotion we earn and responsibility we take on, while our role at home is diminishing and fading…

And then we hit rock bottom…

The pinnacle of success is not the pinnacle of significance. A thousand lives impacted and saved on the fire ground while we neglect our own family is the ultimate hypocrisy that many of us, including myself, have tried to justify as “part of the job.”

Neglecting our family is not part of the job! Our ever increasing divorce rates should not be part of the job. How are we to serve the public and set the example of integrity if we fail to serve our loved ones at home?
It has to be a balance. God designed work but he also designed rest.

Exodus 34:21
21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest ;(AU) even during the plowing season and harvest (AV) you must rest.”

How much do we rest? Do we rest with our families? Or do we seek rest in other places away from them?

His plan for our life is to have a relationship with Him through Jesus, model that relationship within our families (our first crew), and then model that relationship to others.

As firefighters, we are “overseers”, those called to watch over others. It is a great responsibility but yet there is one greater: Our role as leaders in our family. They are our first crew. They are our home church. They are directly under our care and supervision.

As a husband or a wife, you have been given a great blessing and a responsibility. It is to take care of those in your household and lead them in the “way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

Consider this:

1 Timothy 3: 1-5

Here is a trustworthy saying : Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife,temperate,self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

In closing, prayerfully consider this application-Balancing our checkbook:

In our lives, we must be careful that as we serve others that we do not forget about our most noble calling which is to love, serve, and lead our families.

Let us all take a moment, and perform a spreadsheet of the commitments in our lives. Begin by adding the hours that we work (all of our jobs), the hours we sleep, the hours dedicated to other commitments (studies, writing, extracurricular activities, time away from home, etc.) and then perform this simple equation:

168 hours in a week –Work-sideline job- sleep-extra activities & commitments=time we have left over.

24 hours X 7 days: 168 hours

Average Firefighter work week: 56 hours

Sideline job: 30 hours a week

Average Firefighter sleep cycle: (4-6 hours a night) 48 hours a week (should be 56 hours a week to be healthy)

Extra Curricular Activities: Gym, writing, school: 10 hours a week

This leaves 24 hours a week for our families. Or to put it in terms that really hit home, 3.85 hours a day with our loved ones!

In our homes and in life this isn’t a guarantee that those 3.85 hours means that everyone will magically be there to spend time with us. What about their commitments? Your spouse’s job, your children’s school and activities. What about life?

Now how much time do we really have with our loved ones?
They say, if you want to know what is most important to you in life start by looking at your checkbook. Whatever receives the most of our financial capabilities is usually the most important. Let us, all look at our ‘checkbook’ of life and start managing our ‘life resources’ more in line with what is most important to us:

Our families.