Aug 15, 2018

The Definition

Manhood is protecting integrity, fighting apathy, pursuing God passionately, leading courageously and finishing strong.
                                                            ~The Great Hunt for God
For a recent Christmas, I gave each of my sons a Model 119 fixed blade Buck knife. I chose this knife because of the Buck Family’s outspoken faith in Jesus Christ. Every knife contains a written statement of faith claiming Jesus Christ as their “business partner.”
Each of our knives has the definition of manhood engraved. The boys lit up with excitement as each opened his knife and I explained what it meant to be a man.
Knives are made for work. And it takes a lot of work to make a man.
Manhood is a moving target for a society that has systematically emasculated men. It is vitally important that men have a frame of reference for manhooda target if you will. Without taking two hundred pages to explain what each aspect of manhood means, here it is, “Manhood is protecting integrity, fighting apathy, pursuing God passionately, leading courageously, and finishing strong.”
Notice the progressive tense of the verbs describing each of the five points of manhood.
Manhood is progressive.
It’s ongoing. It’s a daily thing. Men can’t stop protecting integrity, and expect to be mature and complete.
They must continue fighting apathy and resist the things that will callous them.
Men must continue pursuing God through His Word.
Leading with courage is a daily battle for the spiritual leader.
Lastly finishing life strong is the sum of finishing each day strong.

Jul 31, 2018

Manhood And Self Control

Nothing tastes as good as looking good feels
                                                         ~ Unknown
Former San Francisco 49ers coach, Bill Walsh, once responded to reporters when questioned about benching a highly acclaimed offensive lineman by saying, “Instead of finishing his plates, he needs to finish his blocks!”
Research proves that the typical American gains weight as they age. I’m a poster child for this. Since graduating from high school I’ve gained twenty-five pounds, or about a pound a year. Our extreme wealth is killing us with obesity and all of its resulting ailments, which keep us from being fully alive in Christ. It’s like carrying a loaded backpack every time I go out to do something. Over time it takes its toll.
We tend to frown on “those people” with drug, alcohol, and sex addictions. Ironically, we ignore the blatantly obvious food addicts who steal family resources through extreme food consumption and increased medical bills that could've been avoided through a lifestyle of self-control.
We can’t ignore that self-control is one of the fruits of the
Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
Here’s a fun solution. Instead of giving people with weight-related health issues a blue placard allowing them to park closer than others, they should be issued a red placard that forces them to park in the farthest spot available. Let’s help them get fit, not reward them for being fat.
I recommend that we take a health class, receive prayer, join a gym, schedule a workout, and get some help for our sin of gluttony. Do something with your fat so you can enjoy God’s will for you.
Is your weight hindering you from God’s fullness? Does your life lack the discipline to have victory over food? Join me, get out of the refrigerator and do something about it!

Jul 24, 2018

War and Peace

Christian surrender means the death of complaining.
~ Gary Thomas, Seeking the Face of God
The Business Administrator at our church, Jeff, was a trusted co-worker and friend, who supported the youth ministry. But as the Administrator, we were often at odds. Once, I picked up a per diem check for a youth trip only to discover I’d made a mistake. Jeff politely informed me that, because of my mistake, I needed to gather all the per diem receipts to prove I hadn’t spent the money for personal use.
The trip covered 1,600 miles with 85 high school students and counselors. How would I ever collect all their receipts! It was an impossible request. Diabolically, I collected receipts the entire week far exceeding the nearly one thousand dollars I was accountable for, and when I returned, dumped them on Jeff’s desk!
Unbeknownst to Jeff, I’d declared war! I was in a bad place. 
A week later, I left on my first sabbatical in two decades and returned a different man. I asked Jeff for forgiveness, we both had a good laugh along with an awkward man hug, and all the receipts ended up on the floor of my office a week later! Well played, Jeff.
Complaining is often a relational declaration of war. Complaining can be the outward response of an unhealthy heart. It’s the negative expression of a life not fully surrendered to Jesus Christ and subsequently not fully alive. I realized my lack of peace was the fruit of a life that needed to re-surrender to Christ.
Galatians 2:20 brought this to life: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Complaining doesn’t fix things. If action is needed to right a wrong, then fix it and stop complaining. What part of your complaining needs your response of surrender and repentance?

Jul 17, 2018

Hide and Seek God

God does not hide things from His children. He hides them for His children.
                                                                                                                ~ Bill Johnson
Men need challenges to keep them fully alive. As an adult it’s been sports, fitness, and the outdoors. For me, hunting is more than simply killing. It’s an experience on the soul level. The wilderness
beckons me to journey deeper with nothing but my gear and camp on my back. As the summer starts to fade—the days grow short, and the air becomes crisp—I hear the whisper in the wind of the wilderness calling me. It compels me to explore further, journey deeper, and climb higher.
          My soul longs to journey into the mountains to meet my Creator. It’s in the mountains where I sense God’s silent call, His sovereign pleasure, and supreme freedom.
          But one mistake in the wilderness could mean certain death.
Thus, I prepare for whatever weather heaven throws my way. The wilderness calls. But it never begs. I can take it or leave it. The choice is always mine. Our great hunt is no different. God isn’t needy or
          He beckons, but never begs. He calls us but doesn’t need us.
          He speaks but doesn’t shout. Men fail to hear Him not because He isn’t speaking but because they refuse to pursue Him. God knows men need to be challenged to seek the God who is not easy to find. Jeremiah 29:13 beckons us forward, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
          The challenge is to hunt, stalk, to pursue God.
          “Seek first his kingdom" (Matthew 6:33).
          Develop the eyes of a hunter. Look for God in the small things. God is not hiding from us. He’s hiding for us. Those who pursue the hard-to-find Creator of the Universe will find Him.