Dear Trey,

Your mom and I are so happy that God has blessed us to have you in our life. You truly are a blessing and a constant reminder of God’s goodness and grace every day. You are not and will never be an inconvenience or waste of time. As your dad, I will always love you and be proud to call you my son. No matter how successful or not successful you are in life pursuits, I’m just happy that you’re my son.

As you grow up, there will be many things that you may want to pursue, such as sports, hobbies, job, education, business, and getting married. These things are not bad, in and of themselves, but they are not fulfilling. The world will throw at you fleshly pleasure and selfishness that will not be fulfilling either. The only thing of substance in this life and for eternity is Jesus. My prayer for you is that you would know what it means to be completely satisfied in Jesus no matter what life throws at you. This starts with your conversion, understanding you’re a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. The Gospel is the lens that helps you view the rest of the world. As you grow in your walk with Jesus, life will not be easy. Many times, it will be extremely tough. You have to deal with failure, rejection, loss, disease, doubt, death, possibly persecution, and much more. Going through this journey has wrecked the lives of weak and strong men. I don’t want that to be your fate. Seeing that Jesus is Lord over all of these things and finding satisfaction in God in the midst of these trials will be your only hope and joy.

With Jesus being the center of everything in your life, here are some practical pieces of advice:

1. Take risks.
Don’t settle for the status quo. See the problems around you in life, in your job, in your family, and do something about it. Be bold. That might mean starting a business or a ministry. It may mean stepping out and confronting injustice you see around you. Don’t let fear get the best of you.

2. Work hard.
Many things in life can distract you from this principle of working hard. You can play video games 24 hours a day and accomplish nothing. Don’t just quit your job because you don’t like it, or the boss isn’t treating you fairly. Learn to rise above that and finish something. Let your work ethic be an example to those around you.

3. Always be thankful.
Don’t ever have an attitude of ungratefulness. When someone else is generous to you, let them know you are thankful. Don’t complain. Find ways to show genuine gratitude to all those around you.

4. Always be humble.
It’s easy to see your accomplishments and what you have been blessed with and feel that you did something to earn that. Understand that whatever you have has been given by God to you. However, that doesn’t mean you should have a lack of confidence. It’s a confidence in God and not yourself.

5. Never stop learning.
Learn from others around you. Learn from books, podcasts, and anything you can get your hands on. Learn from other interests and hobbies. Once you stop learning, you stop being creative.

6. Die for your wife.
Ephesians 5 says that man is to love his wife as Jesus loved the church. Jesus died for us, and you should die for your wife. Sacrifice your own desires and interests for the needs of your wife. Love her. Find the ways that she feels loved. Spend your life learning and discovering who God has created her to be. Surprise her. Take care of her. Don’t ever let her question whether or not you love her.

7. Make sure your kids know how much you love them and are proud of them.
If God wills, your biggest impact will be in the life of your kids. Your sons need to know that you are proud of them. Your daughters need to know that they are beautiful. And, both need to know that you love them. This starts by telling them and reassuring them, but it’s demonstrated by showing them. When your child makes a mistake, don’t compare them to their siblings. Correct them, but never make them question whether or not you love them and are proud of them.

8. Spend time one-on-one with your kids.
Have daddy dates with your daughters and take your sons out to do things they are interested in. Have fun laughing with them. Ask them how their lives are going. Do this on a regular basis not just once a year on their birthday.

9. Read the Bible.
You can easily spend your time on many pursuits and never spend a minute in the Bible. Know what the Word of God says. Make sure that you’re life is centered around its truth. Know who God is.

There are so many things I want to share with you, and hopefully God will grant me much time to spend with you throughout your life and mine. I pray that I will be a good father to you. I hope to commit to the advice I give you here as an example. I love you son and can’t wait to see the man you’ll become.

Your Dad