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VIDEO Tony Evans Father’s Day Sermon: Men Need to Make a Choice

By Megan Briggs -June 16, 2021

Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, delivered a challenging Father’s Day sermon this year. Speaking on Joshua 24:14-15, Evans unpacked the declaration that Joshua made to serve the Lord regardless of what was happening in the culture around him. Evans said the men listening had a similar choice to make: Whether they would choose to serve God or choose to serve themselves. In our current cultural climate, the choice to serve God can look counter-cultural.

As in Joshua’s time, Evans says “What we need is some men with a spiritual backbone who love themselves properly and love their families and love the world in which they live, but are inextricably clear: ‘Y’all may not want to go where I’m going.’” 

Evans goes on to put this declaration in terms that may sound more familiar in our day and age: “My race may not want to go where I’m going; my class may not want to go where I’m going; my culture may not want to go where I’m going. But let me tell you where I’m going whether or not you agree with me.”

The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher Right Now

Evans believes “There’s never been a time when fathers have been more critical to the well-being of…kind of like everything…than they are right now.” We live in a time with a fork in the road, Evans said, a time where we face “chaos, confusion, lack of clarity, voices coming at us from all different directions.”

Fathers and men are so critical, in fact, that in Isaiah 3, we are told what happens when men make the wrong choices. When men don’t make the right choices, the children go into rebellion, the women can take on “an illegitimate authoritative role,” as Evans puts it, and the men become “neutered and weak.” We are seeing this happen today, Evans says. “Today we have too many men falling on the sword. Too many men becoming domesticated, meaning operating in a way that is outside your divinely ordained responsibility.”

In contrast, a “Kingdom man” or a man who has decided to follow Jesus “has made the decision to operate consistently under the governance of God and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” 

While the decision to follow God is a choice one has to make, Evans explains that God does not make all the decisions for us. He gives us options. Still, all of our choices are within certain, sovereign boundaries that God has set up for us. Evans likened these boundaries to a football field. The field has clearly marked boundaries that are non-negotiable, but within those boundaries the players have choice. It’s our choice, Evans says, “which plays you’ll run.”

However, Evans gives a warning about choices when he says that although the choice is ours, we don’t get to choose the consequences of our choices. Those are up to God.

Joshua Makes a Declaration

In Joshua 24, we see Joshua declaring that “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Before this, he tells the Israelites he is leading that they need to throw away “the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt.” He also tells them to choose between the culture’s gods they are living among, the gods of the Amorites, and the Lord God. 

Evans explains the context of the verse is that Joshua is concerned the Israelites, though they have left Egypt already, “still have a little Egypt in them.” Joshua is telling them they can’t hang on to both the remnant of Egypt and the blessings of serving God. “They want the benefits of the promises of God without the selection to the submission and service to God,” Evans says. 

Additionally, the Israelites need to choose whether they will assimilate into the culture they are currently surrounded by: the Amorites. “Don’t let the place you’re living define the decisions that you make,” Evans says is the message Joshua is trying to convey to the Israelites. 

As the Israelites were living in the midst of the Amorites at the time and feeling the pressure to conform to that culture, so now we are living in a time and place where multiple voices are telling us what to do. We’re hearing voices telling us “how to live, how to operate, how to move, what we ought to say, how we ought to feel.” In these verses, Joshua is essentially saying “I have made a decision that my decisions will be defined, not by the culture around me, but by the Christ inside of me. By my commitment to the will and word of God.” Joshua is warning the Israelites against “spiritually compromising” as they live among the Amorites.

Today, Evans says many men are spiritually compromising. “They are one way in church but then they go secular as soon as they leave church.” 

The Israelites are warned against serving idols, which in that time in history were physical things that people bowed down before and made sacrifices to. In our day and age, Evans explains, “Anything or anyone (including you) that can overrule God means that is an idol in your life.” God can’t be second and he will not allow any competing deities. He has what Evans calls an “exclusivity clause.” 

“With all that we are facing today, you better have God on your side,” Evans says emphatically. 

Three Hallmarks of Joshua’s Declaration

Joshua’s decision is a personal decision. In the same way, men today need to know that the decision to follow God “can’t be made by anyone but you as a man, as a husband.” Evans says too many men today “are like jellyfish…they have no backbone, they just go with the current. They don’t take a stand. I don’t mean being mean, but I do mean being clear. That ‘I follow Jesus Christ.’ Everybody else is saying who they follow. Why should we be ambiguous as men about who we follow?” 

Joshua broadens his decision to include his house. By saying “and my house,” Joshua “takes responsibility for his family.” Why does he make a declaration and not ask for a vote, Evans asks. “Because in the Bible the father would be held responsible by God for the direction of his family.” A Kingdom man accepts responsibility under God. Not even your wife gets to make the final decision, Evans says. Explaining this, Evans says Adam got in trouble when he allowed Eve to overrule God’s instructions in the Garden of Eden. 

Joshua’s is a “covering statement,” Evans argues. “Unless a man lets God cover him, he can’t properly cover his loved ones.” 

Finally, Joshua’s is not only a personal commitment, a family declaration, but also a “culture-wide declaration,” when he addresses the culture by saying “If it is undesirable to you…” 

Evans Challenges Men to Make a Public Declaration

Bringing this back to our current culture, Evans says we need men to go public with their Christian faith like Joshua did. We are facing all kinds of pandemics right now: “We’ve got a health pandemic, a racial pandemic, a police and community pandemic, we’ve got clashes going everywhere.” The best solution to these pandemics, Evans believes, is “godly men taking their place and speaking about what God says about racial injustice, what God says about order, what God says about healing wounds, what God says about how we relate to other people, what God says about the role of government, what God says about how institutions ought to operate…” Evans says God has given direction on all of these things.

Evans is careful to note that Joshua didn’t put himself in the position of disagreeing with people just to be disagreeable or just to be different. And his declaration was not meant simply to be lip service, either. Joshua declared with his mouth and with his actions that his household would be serving God by word and deed. 

There’s a warning in Evans’ Father’s Day sermon that he doesn’t want men to miss: “There’s a culture out there that doesn’t want men of God to succeed….While our goal is to move forward, there will be resistance. And that is why you need God on your side.” 

God relates to us based on how we handle the relationship with him. Going back to Joshua, in the next several verses following Joshua’s declaration, the Israelites make a covenant with God. Evans again uses a football analogy to explain a covenant. The game of football uses the ball as the benchmark for every ruling in the game. For example, a touchdown is determined if the football has broken the plane of the end zone; a field goal on whether the ball has gone through the uprights; an offsides ruling is based on where the players are in relation to the football; out of bounds is determined by where the player has taken the football. Everything revolves around where people are in relation to the football. Likening the football to the covenant or the agreement we make with God, Evans asks “Are we relating to him and are we ruling underneath him?” In other words, where are we in relation to the covenant or the relationship?

Addressing fathers specifically, Evans says perhaps you’ve walked away from your family. The pastor says God provides men the opportunity to get back in alignment with him, and whenever possible, back in alignment with their families. 

“You’ve got a culture that wants to trick you and trip you up,” Evans says. “The answer is in your choice. Do you choose to follow him or not?” If you choose to follow him, “then we ought to know about, your family ought to know about it, your friends ought to know about it, the culture ought to know about it, and when God sees it, you’ll see God act through it to make a difference in your life and our world.”

AUDIO Dad, Are You Leading Your Family On The Right Road?

By Rev Bill Woods

Picturing “Father” through the ages:
4 Years: My daddy can do anything.
7 Years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot.
8 Years: My father doesn’t quite know everything.
12 Years: Oh well, naturally Father doesn’t know everything.
14 Years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 Years: Oh that man is out of date. What did you expect?
25 Years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 Years: Must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 Years: A little patience, let’s get Dad’s meaning first.
50 Years: What would Dad have thought about it?
60 Years: My dad knew literally everything.
65 Years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

 In honor of Fathers’ Day I want to share a story I heard.

Two children came home from school and started begging their mother to let them bring home the classroom pet. This wonderful creature the children wanted so much was a hamster named Danny. 

Mom kept saying no and had good reason why the children couldn’t bring Danny home. 

It finally came down to fact a pet’s a lot of responsibility and work. Both kids promised to do everything to take care of Danny. And after hours of begging and promises Mom gave in. 

She made it clear if the children stopped taking care she’d find Danny a new home.

In only a couple weeks Mom had to constantly remind the children about feeding and watering and cleaning up. Two more weeks passed and mom started calling to find a home for Danny. 

She went into the living room to tell the children her decision. She told them Danny had become a lot of work for her. They hadn’t been any help and she’d found him a new home.

She was surprised that the children didn’t seem bothered by her announcement. 

Then her daughter said, is it because he eats too much? Maybe they could find a way to help him eat less. 

Mom said, it wasn’t the eating so much as the mess and the smell and all the extra work she had to do cleaning up. The children seemed to understand and nodded in agreement and turned back to their TV program.  Mom picked up Danny’s cage and supplies and came back through the living room. 

The kids saw her carrying the cage and started shouting, hey, what’re you doing with Danny? 

Mom said, “We just talked about this.  Because of all the extra work and having to do it all myself I’ve found Danny a new home.”

The children said, “No not Danny, we thought you said Daddy!”

You know, Dads and Moms have a tremendous responsibility pointing their kids to Heaven.  We really need a map to show the way!

Matthew 7:13-14 
13  “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
14  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Most people wouldn’t think of starting a trip without any preparation.

    – Henry Houseman, “We just got our Charge X, and we’re going to Hawaii.”

Most people want instructions showing where they’re going, how to get there, where to stay, how far they’ll travel, the cost — accommodations along the way and how they’ll meet their daily needs while there.

You’d be foolish to start a major trip without some planning.

  • Yet, how many travel through life that way!

Someone’s usually responsible to plan the trip and make arrangements so things will go well.

    – If things aren’t planned and organized, it can be disaster.

      – As a teen, I went camping with a couple friends. We all forgot the food (each thought the other guy was bringing it).  Poor planning!

Dad (Mom), God’s trusted you to plan life’s journey for your family. 

In the O.T. God instructed fathers:  Deuteronomy 6:6-12  
6  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
7  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
8  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.
9  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10  “The LORD your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build.
11  The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land,
12  be careful not to forget the LORD, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

In all the blessings God’s given you, don’t forget God!

    – How are you doing, Dad?

      – Have you kept God before your family?

       – Someday God will talk to you about the job you’re doing………………

Life’s a journey — you’re leading the way.

    – Have you made provisions so it’s safe for those you love to follow?

Learn to use the Instruction Manual (Bible) God’s provided for you.


        – Zone Pastors’ dinner in Vancouver, while in Stevenson — wrong restaurant!

          – We were given a name of the restaurant where to meet – the problem: there were two restaurants from the same chain.

         – We assumed we knew where to go with no further instructions.

We talk about Heaven and how we plan to get there someday.

    – We think we know the way — so many people assume they know the way, but are lost and haven’t realized it yet!

      – Are you on the right road?

        – It’s easy to get careless — to take your eyes off the goal. (Other things grab your attention)

John 14:6Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.  

Are you on the right road?

“Macho men” say, “It really doesn’t matter what I do!  I’ll do what I want to!”

    – Turn around, Dad, Grandpa – watch the child following you and mimicking your every step.

      – I had a neighbor, Jim and his grandson — What an opportunity to lead the child toward Jesus, but Jim missed the way.

      – Someone’s watching — is it safe for them to follow your lead?

        – We must be sure of our walk with Christ in this evil generation and lead them to safety.

The Bridge Builder                                                                                                                                              by Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

      – The destination is so important.

        – You won’t get there if you travel the wrong road.  (Sincere, good…….) — No!  Jesus Christ!


Many start out right, but grow careless and make a wrong turn.

    – At District Conference I missed a turn-off in California and went miles out of my way.

      – I lost time, wasted gas, and reaped ulcers.

        – The turn-off was marked on the map and signed on the road — I wasn’t paying attention and drove right passed the freeway exit.


    – I’ve learned the hard way.

        – It’s a “Macho” thing to find your own way.

          – Real men don’t ask directions — sometimes we’ll go miles out of our way rather than ask.

Too many guys won’t carry a map because it’s such a bother — they won’t use it anyhow.                              .   – now we have GPS (Ernie wouldn’t listen)

    – I’ve been lost in Phoenix, I’ve been lost in Kansas City, California, Arizona, Oregon,

      Washington, Wyoming, Tennessee — it seems there’s no place I haven’t had that exhilarating experience of not knowing where I was, how I got there, or how to get back.

Some of the biggest quarrels Marty and I’ve had have been while traveling — disputing which direction to go.

    – I know I’m right — it’s a man thing — she pulls a map — I have to eat crow.

      – Leaves a fowl taste.

When lost, I always accuse myself because I could’ve avoided this mess — she’s right there to help with the accusations!

God’s instructions are clear how to avoid much pain and heartache.

Matthew 6:33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

    – So many of us want to go our own way. (Israel refusing to enter the Promised Land)

      – We don’t want to follow God’s instructions so we learn the hard way……………

        – Dad ignored signs not to drive on the beach and got stuck in the sand.


    – Others depend on you to know the way and know the time needed.

        – Missing the ferry to Victoria, B.C.

Time’s slipping through your fingers.

    – There’s no second chance if you blow this one.

      – Prophecy’s being fulfilled daily — money, cameras, One-World Government, Mark of the Beast, ect.

Even if that wasn’t true, you’ve so little time to prepare your family for what’s ahead.

    – No time to waste!



Dr. Dobson using Poem,  

“The Cats In the Cradle”:  BY Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon

When you comin’ home Dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s sure been nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then.

Listen, follow the wrong road – end at the wrong destination.

    – So will those following you!

Scheduled Missionary speaker at Pinelow Park Boy’s Camp didn’t check directions and ended in Seattle instead of Spokane!

You don’t have to travel the wrong road.

    – Check God’s Instruction Manual — Follow it carefully!

Matthew 7:13-14 
13  “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
14  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.


  • Too many parents are asleep to what’s happening to their family.
  • Satan is trying and succeeding to destroy your children and grandchildren.
  • Public schools are teaching the Critical Race Theory.  White Supremacy.
  • They are teaching explicit sex education.

It’s time to wake-up before disaster catches you!


Some of you have built buildings – you know the importance of a good foundation, accurate measurements, straight studs, and level footplates to keep everything in plumb.

  • If the walls aren’t plumb you’ll have a real mess with the finished project.

That’s like life.

  • If you aren’t building your life square and in plumb with God and your foundation level with your loved ones, you’re making a mess!

Some of you know what I’m saying because your life’s just one big upheaval after another – “IF ONLY things would level out for a while.”

  • God’s the Great Leveler use His Instruction Book as you build your life, your family, and your home.

Matthew 7:24-27
24  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.
25  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.
26  But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.
27  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Last Thought:  Be real, genuine, honest!

Don’t try to fake an experience with God that you don’t have!

Your family knows if you’re a hypocrite and will be turned off on God rather than drawn to Him.



The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.

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