Today we continue our conversation about how we as nerd dads can both nerd well and love our children even better. We’ll cover specific steps we can take to make intentional time for God, fives accessible ways to pursue our wives, and the attitude we need to truly be able to make disciples.
A sermon series to encourage you with Scripture — Steve Schell, The Book of Acts.
- New City Catechism: Download the app!
Some Gospel-centered reminders in music: My family loves some Christian rap. I strongly recommend Tedashii (check out Home for a good starter), Flame (check out Start Over), Hulvey (Can’t Tell It All, Beautiful, Crack the Tomb), KB (King Jesus), Bizzle (The Gospel), Andy Mineo (The Saints)
Want something more chill? I strongly recommend Psalms by Shane & Shane ,and Moments by Hollow Coves.
Encouragement for being a great husband: Fierce Marriage
Encouragement for being an intentional dad: Dad Tired
Ways to listen:
🔗 click the link in the profile
🎧 search Gospel Tech in your favorite streaming service (iTunes, Amazon)
Purposely. Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Thank you for joining us today as we enter part three of the Nerd Dad podcast series. The Nerd Dad podcast series is birthed out of my passion for really two things. First, seeing young people reach their full potential. That is my driving force behind why I was a teacher, why I started this ministry and why I run Gospel Tech. And Gospel Tech specifically is the second thing I’m passionate about, which is equipping, empowering families to love God and use tech. That comes from my first passion, which is I believe if I equip parents to do three things, if I equip a parent to understand how to talk about healthy tech, how to communicate the gospel and then connect the hope of the gospel, this idea that I’m a sinner in need of a savior and now I extend that grace and hope and standard for our tech use to my children, then I’m going to get kids who love God first and then use tech because they love God and that will help them reach their full potential.
So that’s still my driving point is I want to see kids reach their full potential. Gospel Tech is an extension of that. This then conversation is a natural piece of that conversation. All right, well when I’m talking to families, the more often I talk, over especially the last three years, the more times I run into dads who are either working in technology or passionate about technology and they’re the most likely to either ask me questions and push back a little on what I say or to get super excited about what the Lord’s done in my life and how I’ve handled my gaming and have lots of really specific questions. And I’ve been working on this for a while now and this conversation is kind of what’s coming out of that. I don’t have all the answers, please don’t listen to this because you think I’m going to fix you or your spouse, depending on who you are listening to this.
But do listen if you are excited about raising your kids up in a tech world or not. You might even be fearful and you want to be excited about it because this conversation, while it is for dads, is for all tech people. Today we’re specifically diving into, all right, how can we Nerd Dad Well? And there’s really three parts of that and that is what today’s conversation is going to look at a big picture and then as our weeks progress continuing to dive into really each week, what’s something practical we can take away? How can we recognize how God’s made us and then work out of the hope that comes from that rather than just trying to either adjust our lives so we’re not as bad or change who we are, which isn’t God’s goal. Well, okay, God’s goal, let me reword that. Change who we are artificially. We want new hearts, but that’s going to make us more true to who God’s made us to be and pair away all the distraction. I hope that made sense. We are changing who we are, but we’re letting God do that work. We’re not just changing the facade, we’re not changing the outside and making ourselves appear “less nerdy”. Instead, we’re being deliberately nerdy in all the things God’s given us and dropping everything else. So that’s the conversation. With no further ado, let’s get this conversation started.
Thank you to everyone who’s made this podcast possible. Thank you for listening, for liking, for subscribing, and for sharing with your friends, coworkers, family members, neighbors. It’s been amazing to watch this podcast continue to grow, and such a blessing. Today, three things we’re talking about with how do We Nerd Dad Well? The first point is how we can love God, that’s our first piece. The second is going to be how we can pursue our wives. And the third is how we can make disciples. Nerd Daddying Well, to review in the first two episodes we talked about how being a nerd means you are passionate about something enough that you want to help other people be passionate about it. This happens in the analog world all the time. People are passionate about running or they’re passionate about exercise or fitness like nutrition or they’re passionate about their job and they want to tell you a lot about it or they’re passionate about some hobby they’ve got. They like to fish, they like to hunt, they like to roller skate. Whatever it is, it’s something they like and they want to extend to others. This was me with board games, I’m very much a board game pusher. They might be excited about desserts. Come on Bakers, I see you.
So this is our concept of a nerd. You’re passionate about something enough that you want other people to be passionate about it too. That’s how we’re going to define that. And then the dad piece is that, well, we are called specifically to raise up our children in the way they should go and the way they should go is in the fear and admonition of the Lord. How do we raise them up? It’s not just have good enough rules, it’s not protect them from the world and keep it far enough away that somehow they’ll magically be the ones to be good in a broken world. Instead, it’s recognize they’re in a broken world and call out all the lies they’re believing. If they believe technology is going to make them okay, call it out. If they believe that a job or that dating relationship or that food are making you happy, if those things are going to make them whole, we call that lie what it is and we lovingly point them back to hope in Christ. That really does matter because only then can we actually use all of our stuff on purpose. In this case we’re talking technology. Only then can we use technology on purpose [inaudible 00:05:21] then for purpose.
So Nerd Dads, we’re nerds. We’re passionate about stuff that we want other people to be passionate about and we’re fathers and one of the things we want to be passionate about is our children. But before we can be passionate about our kids and raising them up, well, we got to start first things first and our nerd dads, we have to love the Lord well. Jesus really only gives us three commands. He tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. To love our neighbor as ourself, and then to help others do the same. And that when taken in its wholeness, Jesus says repeatedly throughout John 13 and John 14, that if you love me you’ll follow my commands and his command is to love one another, which can be unfortunately overly simplified as just like, “well as long as they’ve got positive vibes, then we’re good”. That’s not what it says if you’ve got to take all of scripture. And what he is saying is we have to love God first. That’s the only way our love for our neighbor can actually matter. Our love for our neighbor is an extension of God’s love for us. We as 1 John 4 says, we love because he first loved us.
So first we have to recognize our need, that we need a loving God, that we can’t do this out of our own strength and drumming up goodness somewhere in our magical interior. Instead, we repent of what’s in our interior and we get made new. That’s our first thing. Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Then love our neighbor as ourself, our neighbor as our spouse, our neighbor as our kids, our neighbors are our physical neighbor in proximity or anyone else to the ends of the earth that the Lord sends us to. Those are our neighbors and only then can we make disciples so we start with love God. I do need to say before we dive any further into this that all of this is convicting for me. I was writing this going, “man, I don’t want to have to say these words because I’m not good enough to say these words” and that’s the first prideful response, right?
It’s like I feel like I have to have reached a certain level to be able to speak truth. To be like, “well, I do this so now be more like me”, and that’s not the point of this conversation. The point of Nerd Daddying Well is I love a lot of things very specifically and want to be passionate about them, and I have other people be passionate about them too and I want that to come from a place where God is glorified even in my nerdiness. So let’s look at it. I need to hear these words as much as anybody listening to this. We need to love God with all we are. Everything, our heart, soul, mind and strength. How do we do it versus we got to make time for it. It has to be a priority. Some of this is flesh stuff where we just have to have a spiritual discipline like a schedule.
Yes, you can be ADD like me and still use a schedule. It probably means it starts before your alarm goes off. It starts whenever you get into bed. I understand life has a lot of diverse, what would you say, options for sleep schedules depending on your work, your family, your life situation and season that you’re in right now. But let’s just say you need a schedule and your wake-up is going to be impacted by your bedtime. If you’re going to bed at 2:00 AM expecting to wake at 6:00, because that’s what you wrote on a piece of paper is “I need to be up at six to read my Bible”. Well, that may not happen, especially if you’re trying to do that repeatedly. Maybe you’ll get away with it once. But if that’s your daily schedule, probably a low success environment. So we can then in loving God with all we are, we can love God with our heart, soul, mind, strength, and sleep.
It’s a loving act of faithfulness to trust the Lord enough with our busyness to get the sleep that we need to be able to wake up to start our day on the right track. Why do we start with time with the Lord? One, because priority shows value. What’s coming first. Certainly there are seasons, again if you’re waking up at 4:00 because you got to get your kids out the door to do the things. I understand that you may not be able to take that time. The Lord understands that too. This isn’t that you’re doing quiet time 0.5. I just want to say that if we have the opportunity to make a priority, priority shows value. I show deference for the things that are important to me, I make space for them. So we’re going to make space to be with the Lord.
Being with the Lord, really three things. We’re going to pray, we’re going to read scripture, and we’re going to do some kind of worship, some kind of singing. Psalms is full of calls for people to sing to the Lord. David, a man after the Lord’s own heart, sang. We understand that worship is important. We can get into the nerdy like what does singing do? It does use a different part of us. I had a friend in high school had a stutter, and he could sing but he couldn’t speak. He could also pray by the way. He could pray out loud and he could sing in front of people, but he couldn’t speak without a stutter. You can certainly get into like what’s the psychology behind the brain, but just know it uses different neural pathways. Why does that matter? It’s important for us. Worship is something we’ve been given and when we sing, physically sing songs, not just think the lyrics or read them but actually sing them, not just listen to them, sing them ourselves.
Something does happen in us and we are told repeatedly to sing to the Lord, sing the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord his goodness, sing to the Lord our hurts and our needs. Worship the Lord because he’s worthy of praise and yes, worship in lots of different ways, but specifically worship him with song and with words. So make some time. You don’t have to sing loud, I’m not going to make that happen. You don’t even have to sing in front of your family, but you do have to sing. Those are the three ways we can worship the Lord. We’re going to make it a priority. We’re going to read scripture. If you don’t know where to start, start in a gospel. If you don’t know what gospel, you can just begin in Matthew. I’m reading through John and I know a lot of people say start in John and it’s because the sentences are really simple, but the ideas are not.
I would personally, like when I’ve worked with Young Life Kids, I like to start in Luke because it’s super factual even though the sentences are longer. Because at least you can read it out loud, it makes sense. John has a lot of imagery and a lot of big, big, big concepts that hit you really fast because of those short words. But people say starting John, and I was so blown away by why upon asking people smarter than me. They said because there’s only like, I’m going to make this up, but it’s something like 100 different words that are used in it. So it’s vocabulary is simple so you don’t have to know a lot of words to make sense of it, but you have to know some big concepts. All right, anyway. So read a gospel, read a Psalm. You could be done with that.
You could read a paragraph of each or a chapter of each. I would say five minutes is a great goal if you’ve never done this, but consistency. If you miss a day, fine, just go to another day. Wake up the next day, do it before you go to bed. Find those five minutes, intentionally, to make time. If you want to talk about prayer, so we’re reading scripture, we’re worshiping, we’re praying. Worship is songs. You can go with hymns, it needs to be biblically accurate. Not songs to sing about you, but songs to sing about God. So hymns are great. Something like Amazing Grace, more modern stuff like Bless The Lord. I like things that are inspired directly out of scripture which are solid because you’re singing the words of the Bible and that’s pretty good. But for prayer, the Lord’s prayer is a great spot to start.
I’m going to read it in its entirety here from the Matthew version and I’m going to do this because I want you to be able to hear it. The Lord’s prayer is simple, but it gives us a great spot to start. “Our Father who’s in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors. Lead us not in temptation but deliver us from evil”. Matthew 6: 9-13. It’s a great spot to start because it starts by worshiping the Lord for who he is. When we pray, we’re thanking God. We’re reminding our hearts who God is. God doesn’t need to hear that, but it’s a truth that sets our day in perspective now because well this is God and God is holy and God is other and God is great and he’s in heaven.
Then we start asking, Lord, would your will be done on earth, in me, as it’s always done in heaven because it’s not always done in me. I’m not constantly doing the Lord’s will. It’s why Jesus asked me to pray that so that my heart would be soft. It’s not even that I don’t always know the Lord’s will. Sometimes I don’t, but sometimes I do and I just don’t like it. And so I want that part to die and sometimes I don’t have the strength to do that. So what’s my choice in that case? Well then I turn to the Lord for help for the thing that I need help on. Give us our daily bread, daily strength, daily encouragement, daily reminders, daily Holy Spirit refilling because I leak and while I am always saved in the Lord, I’m not always feeling it, I guess. The way to say that. Sanctification could take a lot of different turns, so the Lord’s making me look more like Jesus. He will finish that good work when I step across, but I need daily bread.
“Forgive me my debt as I forgiven debtors”, I don’t always forgive my debtor as well and the Lord will bring that up right there. When I ask him for forgiveness, he’s like, yeah, what you doing with that? Are you forgiving your enemies? Are you forgiving the people that have wronged you? Forgiveness is something I can give unilaterally. It’s something I can give because the Lord demands it of me, that it’s not my right to judge and hold this in contempt. Instead, I’m forgiving. Huge conversation there that I just touched on. What I’m not saying is so it’s groovy and the law never has to get involved because you forgave them. Nope. Sometimes part of forgiving them is getting them the help they need, so when we’re talking cases of abuse, of broken rules, of unsafe situations, please forgive them and because you love this person, get them the intervention and help they need, especially when law’s involved. But we are saying we are not holding onto this thing as a vendetta, looking for revenge and being excited about the day where we get to go all punisher on them and kind of soaking up.
There’s all those take in any of these other movies and shows and games that really celebrate the revenge aspect. That’s not what we’re called to do as Christians. We are called to lay it at the feet of the cross. Know that judgment comes from the Lord and truly pray for this person’s repentance. That’s what we want. We want this to be a brother, a sister in Christ who’s made new and those sins that they’ve committed against us are dead on the cross and they’re risen a new life. And know that if that isn’t the case, Jesus also has that covered. So forgiving our debtors and finally leading into temptation, delivering us from evil, praying that the Lord will set our minds on that path of right, Jesus will set our minds on the things of the flesh, excuse me, things of the spirit, not the things of the flesh as Romans 8:5 reminds us that those are both options and that sometimes our option isn’t, “well I’ll just do better”. It’s “Lord, help me be made new”.
Nerds, this is how we start our days. It’s convicting to me because while I have a good plan and I do it sometimes even when I do it, I do it out of a “well I checked my box and I must be good now,” it’s like an inoculation of Jesus to start my day and that’s not the goal of this. The goal of this is we are nerds. We want to be nerdy about the Lord. We want to be so passionate about God that we want other people to be passionate about him too and it’s not necessarily something you can just drum up. Certainly disciplines, practices will make it more real and therefore you’ll be more passionate, but there’s also this practice of just entering the presence of the Lord regularly through his word, through worship, through prayer that will make us passionate, that will make us want to see the Lord be evident to our children, be evident to our spouse, be evident to those that we hang out with.
Let’s be nerds about the Lord, not necessarily getting seminary degrees. Please do if you’ve got the time and passion and the calling, do it. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m saying nerdy in that you are passionate about meeting the Lord and it shows in your priorities in the time. That’s the first way we nerd well fathers because then we’re going to pursue our wives. I’m not even touching today on the content we consume, the games we play, the stuff we nerd out on because I feel like all of that is secondary at best, tertiary probably. It’s pretty far down the line when we get there because this is the stuff we have to do well and this is going to take care of a lot of that. We can’t love the Lord with all we are and seek our satisfaction in some artificial space.
Instead, that artificial space should be pushing us back to our satisfaction in the Lord. I should read Lewis or read Tolkien or read whatever my favorite Sanderson, whoever I’m reading, this should make me more satisfied in the Lord and more hungry to see his kingdom come. And if it doesn’t, then when I’m reading it getting satisfaction, what is that satisfaction? Is that satisfaction a distraction? Is it satisfaction in personal kingdom building? Those are the questions that this will bring up because then it brings us to pursuing our wives and oh my goodness, do I need this? I did not enjoy writing this, but here we go. Loving your wife as a nerd, being passionate about your wife and wanting to extend that back to her. Make her recognize your passion for her involves loving your wife as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her. This is really important because they use passion. People think, “oh, intimacy, attraction like we felt when we were first dating”. And sure that’s all there and yet here’s how Ephesians, Paul says this in Ephesians 5:26 and 27, “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that he might sanctify her having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” and then at the end of 27 in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
All right. So yes, certainly the attraction piece being passionate, but that’s not what this is talking about. Husbands love your wives. When we are being the best nerds, our nerd activities need to help us do this. So many times we become so passionate about an outside hobby, a digital escape, a book that we’re reading that we actually neglect our wives. We don’t become more thankful for her. We don’t become more passionate about pursuing her and encouraging her and washing her with the word. What? Our lesson from this is when we nerd well, we’re doing more than buying her nice gifts and remembering our anniversary. Not less than that though. Those things can be there and those can be very important, but the biggest challenge that I saw when this is that it’s not a one-off thing, this isn’t a single day thing that we’re being prescribed.
We’re being told that part of our Christian life now as husbands is being nerds for our wives. That they become something we study, they become someone that we engage and pursue and research and regularly return to because we are passionate about them. And if we’re not, we pray about it and we ask the Lord for that passion. We ask the Lord for that insight knowing that this is something we’re called to do and therefore he will give us the strength, the wisdom, the insight, the opportunity to be passionate, to be nerds about our wives. What does it look like then? Well, we have that phrase washing her with the word that something Jesus does to the church and is used as an example of what the husband is to do to his wife that is speaking truth from a source beyond ourselves. Not just, “oh, you’re beautiful because I find you beautiful and therefore it’s true because that’s my opinion”.
Like, okay, there’s a kind of truth in that that’s true for you. That’s great, wonderful place to start. But washing her with the word is we’re speaking truth from a source greater than ourselves and that is becoming the salt and the seasoning of our regular conversations. Meaning we’re speaking truths to what God sees in her, to what God has designed her to do, have and be. And that means that we’re speaking to more than just her position as her wife. This woman doesn’t have value because she’s our spouse. Instead, she gets her value and purpose because she’s a child of God and that’s what we’re speaking for. This is a metaphor, this marriage thing, our spouse now and our ability to love her, husbands to love our wives means my goodness, we get to somehow echo, somehow reflect this beautiful picture of how Christ loves the church in this idea that the church is the bride of Christ.
That’s huge. It’s important and we are called to do this. This is not an option. We are going to nerd well on this. So how do we nerd on our spouse? I guess we’re going to date in all five areas of life and here’s what I mean. Your wife is emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social and physical, and we’re going to address all five of those. So husbands, how do you become a nerd about your wife? Well for emotional, you’re going to ask a real question and listen. Ask just as simple as, and this is when I am reminded far too often to ask because I think I did it, but I didn’t use the words. The words matter. How has your day been? It’s a simple start gentlemen. Ask, how was your morning? How was your day? Asking those questions, I will ask specifics like, “oh, how was it when you saw so-and-so”, but I have been notified that is not exactly the right question.
This has been a loving conversation. We’ve been married 17 years now, and that specific question allows her to respond and then listen. And if you’re like me and you go into problem solving mode, repent if you do that. Ask forgiveness because your job in listening to where she’s at emotionally, simply asking and listening is a valuable piece. Spiritual is next. Repeating those spiritual truths and reminding, refreshing her, watching her with the word of who she is. And when she’s feeling down, when she’s feeling low, when she’s feeling isolated, recognizing that you can write it on a sticky note. I personally love sticky notes. Leave them places, simply as on the counter before you leave in the morning. Simple as honor dresser after she goes to bed. Just little reminders, not just remembering that, “Hey honey, I love you”, but reminders of “Hey, this is what God says about you”, that God, like we said last time, it’s establishing your work that the plans belong to our hearts, but the Lord establishes our steps.
These are the reminders that your wife needs, so that’s her spiritual. Then her intellectual, ask her what she’s listening to, what she’s reading, what she’s being inspired by. Her social connection. What do people bring out in her? This can be just something you recognize and bring up, but watch her. When she hangs out with people, how does she interact? Does she listen? Does she always ask the questions? Does she sit on the wall and get a lay of the land? Does she dive right into the middle? And speak to those things, it’s just things you recognize that God’s equipped her for because she is a social person. It’s part of how we were made, we’re social and relational. And then finally physical. Yes, certainly the act of marriage and the intimacy part. Very important. There’s entire podcasts, degrees, books, written about that subject. I’m specifically speaking to the actual physical aspect where she has real life fatigue.
She has real life joy. She has a real life energy tank that might be full or low, and that’s what you want to ask about in dating your wife. You’re doing more than just going to dinner once a week or doing an activity together. You are looking to these five areas and you’re being a nerd about your wife. You want to know, you want to have a finger on the pulse of where she’s at in these five. And again, saying this out loud, I know this to be true and I don’t do great at it. Because I get busy or I get tired or I think I did it, but I did it like a week ago and I haven’t done it since. So gentlemen, this is our opportunity as nerd dads to dive in well. Maybe your spouse is a nerd with you in your area of focus.
You love to do this activity together or dive into this book together, watch this show together. Super cool. Do not let that get in the way of knowing these things about your wife. You now know one thing that might be social relational, something about the show she loves, something about that character she enjoys. That’s great. You might have just tapped into the intellectual side too. But all five are important. Do not let it just be that single act of marriage that then defines your relationship because that’s not how our relationship is defined with the Lord. We are all five as the bride of Christ and we are to pursue our wives and wash her in the word. Finally, making disciples. Not because you’re perfect. Again, the reason I’m speaking these words isn’t because I do this well. So when I say that first we need to make time for the Lord, then we need to pursue our wives, and finally we need to make disciples.
None of this is being said because I do it perfectly right now. It’s because it’s something I’m passionate about. I want you to be passionate about it too because this is how we are going to use tech well. This is how we’re going to love the Lord. This is how we’re going to make disciples. When we get to making disciples, we’re going to do it because the gospel demands that we be humble, curious, and kind. We’re going to be humble because the gospel tells us as Ephesians 2:1 tells us that we’re sinners dead in our sins. But 2:4 tells us, but God being rich in mercy, I have to be humble now because the Lord being rich in mercy while I was still a sinner, sent Christ to die for me, and now I get to extend that to others. So when I correct my child for doing something wrong, I’m not doing it out of self-righteousness. I’m doing it out of humility saying, “Hey, that was wrong and I love you too much to let that continue, and I’m doing that because someone did that to me”. I love Jesus because I seen my own wrongs and I need you to see yours.
Same thing with our spouse. When there is a fight and there will be fights, sometimes those fights are worth having. Sometimes you just need to apologize and not be dumb, but sometimes this is a fight worth having. Why? Because you love this person and humility. You recognize that this needs to be lovingly called out, drawn out, spoken about, prayed over. And you are now a person deputized to do that. And so we’re humble because we need the help. Then we’re curious because we know this person matters and we want to now be invested asking what makes this person tick.
That’s what we’re curious about. Where’s Lord place nerdiness in this kid? And third and finally, we’re kind. We love because we were first love as 1 John 4 mentioned again, that promise that we’re going to be kind because we love these kids, we love our neighbors, we love our spouse, and so we’re going to dive in and be nerds about that. This is easy for me to say. It is not easy to do, but it is relatively simple. It requires those three things. We’re going to nerd well because we’re going to love God with all we are. We’re going to pursue our wives and we’re going to make disciples of our kids, of our neighbors, of our coworkers, being humble, curious, and kind.
There are some wonderful ways to do that. Use your car time. Be invested. It’s easy for me to play with my kids. I’ll say it this way. It’s easy for me to play with my kids. It’s easy for me to help them with stuff. It’s pretty easy for me to go to my job. It’s very easy for me to nerd out. But it’s pretty difficult for me to pray with my family or for me to share scripture. I feel like I’m being forced, or excuse me, I’m forcing this. Pray into that. Let’s make space to make this happen. Let’s take five minutes each day this next week and be nerds about our families so that when we nerd out in other areas, it’s extending from the core focus that we are loved by God and therefore we’re going to go love other things and love other people because we are loved well.
So I hope this is encouraging to you. I’ll include some resources in the video notes, show notes excuse me. A great sermon series by Steve Shell, some great music options, some scripture in the car if you want to get the New City Catechism going. Links are in the show notes. Thank you for listening, for being a part of this. If you have any questions, you can write me [email protected] or send your question to [email protected]. Find us on Facebook and Instagram @lovegodusetech, and then join us next week as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.