Saturday, February 2, 2008

My kid can beat up your kid

Hello friends,

Where did I go wrong? How could I have failed so miserably as a father as to have a son who grew up to beat up people for a living? But that’s what happened. My second son, Christopher, is a professional Mixed Martial-Arts fighter (MMA). He’s known as “the Professor,” apparently for two reasons: (1) he has an annoying habit of correcting his friends’ grammar all the time; and (2) if you get in the ring with him be prepared because he is going to take you to school, if you get my drift. He can hurt you in a hundred different ways. (Check him out at…

In traffic I often see bumper stickers that say things like, “My son is an honor student at Elkdrool Elementary School.” I’ve thought of getting a bumper sticker made for my car that says, “My kid can beat up your kid any day of the week.” So far I’ve been able to resist the temptation.

Chris has a big fight coming up soon. On March 1st in Columbus, Ohio he will be going up against Jon Fitch in the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC 82). It will be on pay-per-view TV and televised all over the world. This is a great career-building opportunity for Chris, win or lose. If he wins, it will improve his already great record (13-3-0). But even if he loses, he will have lost against a highly-rated and worthy opponent. Either way, this fight will give him greater name recognition and higher visibility in the sport. He is already well known among fighters, but is not as well known by fans east of the Rockies as he is by folks out west. This fight will change that.
To be honest, this is not the career I would have chosen for my son, had I been in a position to choose. However, he loves it and is very good at it. He has the reflexes, speed, power, and agility of a tiger. Ramel and I go to as many of his fights as we can to cheer him on. A bunch of people from our church have even gotten interested in the sport because of him, and whenever he fights in Portland we usually have a Baptist cheering section. I know… it’s kind of weird. And all the Brazilians around here know Chris and Luciana so there are always a bunch of our Brazilian friends in the arena cheering him on too. We have lots of fun screaming in Portuguese.

So what does this have to do with anything? Last Sunday at our church we had a baby dedication. Five couples stood in the front of the church with their little children in their arms, having come to offer them in dedication to the Lord with the desire that they might grow up to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ all the days of their lives. I spoke to them of Hannah who offered up her son, Samuel, to the Lord, and of how she did everything possible to see that he would grow up to be a man of God.

As I looked at those five precious little ones on Sunday, including my granddaughter, Savannah Rose, I couldn’t help but wonder what they will turn out to be and how God will use them in the years ahead. I wondered if we might have a future president or ambassador, or perhaps a teacher or a police officer. One might even hear the call of God to become a pastor or a great missionary. And one might even turn out to be a professional fighter, like one of my kids. At this point only God knows.

Anne Ortlund, wife of well known radio preacher, Ray Ortlund, wrote a book years ago entitled, Children Are Wet Cement. Not only is it a good book, but I love that title, because it is so true. Kids are very impressionable. Children absorb whatever is around them, good or bad. Their tender little minds and hearts are fragile and soft, and can be easily shaped in one direction or another. They can also be easily wounded and scarred. This is why the Bible charges us: “Train up a child according to the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

As parents, our biggest job in life is to raise up children and grandchildren to know, love, and serve God, all the days of their life. There is no greater work, not greater purpose, no greater joy. This is “JOB 1.”

So now you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with all that stuff at the beginning about Christopher and his fighting career?” Let me connect up the dots for you… I’m proud of Chris as a fighter, and I love to go to his matches, but his career isn’t nearly as important to me as his character. That goes for all three of my kids, and all of their kids. I’m much more concerned that they become committed followers of Christ who know, love, and serve Him. Whatever they choose to do or be in life is fine with me. I’m just concerned with what they are and have on the inside, where it really counts.

Crazy about my kids,


  1. Dad, I love you so much I can't even begin to express it here. I am proud to be your son and happy that I had the priviledge of being raised by you overseas. I have benefitted everyday of my life from the fact that you are my father, especially from your wisdom and guidance despite some rocky times that all families experience.

    Thanks for everything dad. I just want you to know that even though I didn't go into the ministry (far from it) I love you and God and I know my strength comes from Him.

  2. Jesus said: "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:33-35 (NIV)

  3. My pastor is a bodybuilder, like his father before him, who at 72 looks like hes 42... He still lifts weights and says "he does it because he can and he can because he does"....
    Ive been a professional fighter and a singer... get your son to take singing lessons, lol... one day he'll get over the fighting. He sounds a lot like me, I wasnt the tuffest guy in the ring but I was the most intelligent and thats why I retired from kickboxing undefeated. I love the message from him on this page... if hes anything like me, he loves the guys he fights as well and the fighting itself is just for the challenge.....
    Thanks for posting a great blog, I found it from looking to find that bumpersticker saying that says my kid can beat your honor student kid any or something like that...
    A friend from Downunder...


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