Archive for the 'Masculinity' Category

12
Nov
10

Being an Effective Modern Messenger

A Christian media consultant named Phil Cooke came and spoke at the undergrad’s Chapel this week and gave an excellent message about the importance of presenting the good news of Christ that we have received to others in a way that they can understand.   In essence, packaging the Truth in a well-conceived PR campaign and presentation.

But this got me thinking: what are we communicating as Christians?  What depths are we drawing from?  Are we sharing a life giving message to everyone around us-through our words, actions, and lives…or are we trying to give our friends, family, and neighbors water from a dry well-seeking only to appeal to them?

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite scriptures because it describes the type of men we should aspire to be-the kind of men God delights in, and the kind of men that have something meaningful to offer to the people around them:

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever he does prospers.” –Psalm 1:1-3

When we spend time with God in prayer and in His word, his Truth, his character, his heart, and his wisdom is poured into us so that our lives can yield fruit and bring what we’ve received from God to those who are around us.

Once we have our source right, then we can examine the delivery.  For that, we can look at what Jesus said when He sent out the 12: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Be on your guard….  But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:16-20).  It was God who gave Moses the words to say before Pharaoh and his nation, it was God who gave the judges and the prophets the words to say, and it is God who will give us the words to say that are poignant and relevant to those around us…we need only ask Him and spend time with Him.

Like every worthwhile pursuit in life, the fear of the LORD is the first step we need to take-we cannot pour into others’ lives without first receiving from God.

-Jonathan

Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solo Christo, Soli Deo gloria

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19
Sep
10

Where’s the Gold?

master blacksmith shaping metalWhere’s your gold?  Recently, we talked about being “metal men,” or men who are ready to be used for God’s nobler purposes according to 2 Timothy 2:20-21:

20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

We then read the story of Joseph and challenged each other to “find the gold” that has been put in each of us by God: the gifts, the talents, and the character that we display for the world when we are at our best.

I challenge you to do the same.  Take some time to think about the man you are-not the titles you have or the roles you fill (such as salesman, director, student, husband, father, etc…), but that which was woven into who you were created to be by God.  When you take the time to find the gifts, talents, and character of who you are and when you know who you long to be at your core, you can live out of that strength and use the gifts God has placed in you to make a difference in the world around you for the Kingdom of God.

Here’s an example of what I put down:

Jesus guiding his disciples through the storm“I am a restorer: I work to redeem that which is fallen, broken, or lost; working to transform it into that which is forgiven, healed, and rooted.  This applies to people and relationships, but also to areas of this world.

I seek to lead with a quiet strength: leading others with a consistent and sure example-knowing that I am a son of the Most High God, established in His Truth, and assured of His love.”

I am a protector: I fight to advance my Father’s kingdom and establish beachheads of peace, hope, and rest in a battleground of turmoil and despair.

I am a guide: I point those who would seek it to God’s perspective and Truth.

As a group, eNgage is now trying to live out of our statements of who God created us to be.  This is impossible if we rely on our own strength, but when we put our faith in God and look to Him to be our strength, we know that God will use us to transform this world.

Gentlemen, I challenge you to know who you are and who you were created to be and then to go out and make this world a better place.  Your words and actions can bring a blessing or a curse to the people around you.  Find the gold God knit within you, allow Him to refine you and let the former be true as you live out who you were created to be.

Want some accountability?  Post your statement below for your brothers to see.

Jonathan

Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solo Christo, Soli Deo gloria

17
Jun
10

DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON by Mark Driscoll

Lesson #11: Die with your boots on

You’re either going to go out like Judas or Jesus—that’s how your life is going to end. You’re going to go out like Jesus, faithful to the end, whatever the cost, or you’re going to go out like Judas, prematurely, tragically, rebelliously, shamefully. I want you to keep your boots on, finish strong, run your race, see it through to the end, be a completer, a finisher, a closer of the things God has given you to do.

As you read this, maybe you’re like me, you may wonder, “What happened to these guys?” We know in the Bible, they went forward. Some of them were cowards, but they toughened up. The resurrection put some steel in their spine. They preached, they taught, they planted churches. John wrote five books of the Bible, Peter wrote two. These guys did get some stuff done, but the Bible doesn’t tell us how they finished—for that we’ve got to go to history. Did they die with their boots on? Here are some of their stories from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It was first written in 1559, and it’s fantastic. Gotta love the Puritans.

James

Wonder how James died?

    The first apostle to suffer after the martyrdom of Stephen was James, the brother of John. Clement tells us when this James was brought to the tribunal seat, he that brought him and was the cause of his trouble, seeing him to be condemned and that he should suffer death, was in such sort moved within heart and conscience that he went to the execution and confessed himself also of his own accord to be a Christian. And so were they led forth together, where in the way he desired of James to forgive him what he had done. After James had a little pause with himself upon the matter, turning to him he said, “Peace to thee, my brother,” and kissed him, and both were beheaded.

James had a critic who wanted him murdered. He had a Judas, and on the way to be crucified, apparently he had some conversation with his Judas, and his Judas repented and said, “I’m sorry. Let’s get beheaded together for Jesus,” and they did. James is a bad man—in a good way.

Thomas

“Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmenians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians. He was killed in Calamina, India.” Most of these men died murderous martyrdom. You know what? Mars Hill Church would be much smaller but much holier, more effective, more fruitful, I think, if we had a little bit of suffering. Can’t make it happen, I’ve tried. But what happens is when people start giving their life for the cause of the gospel, all of a sudden those who are playing church stop playing. They either step up for Jesus, and go from “come and see” to “go and die,” or like Judas, they just walk away and go do something else.

Simon

“Simon, brother of Jude and James the younger who were all the sons of Mary Cleophas and Alphaeus, was bishop of Jerusalem after James,” Jesus’ brother. “He was crucified in Egypt.” Crucified. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it well: “When Christ calls a man, he calls him to come and die.” Come and die. When Jesus says, “Pick up your cross and follow me,” that’s what it means to be a disciple, that you go the way of Jesus. You give your life for what he gave his life to, the glory of God and the good of others for the church. “The other Simon, the apostle, he was also crucified.”

Bartholomew

“Bartholomew is said to have preached in India and translated the Gospel of Matthew into their tongue. He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded.”

Andrew

    Andrew, Peter’s brother, was crucified. Bernard and St. Cyprian mentioned the confession and martyrdom of this blessed apostle. Partly from them and partly from other reliable writers, we gather the following material:
    When Andrew, through his diligent preaching had brought many to the faith of Christ, Egeas the governor asked permission to the Roman senate to force all Christians to sacrifice to and honor the Roman idols. Andrew thought he should resist Egeas and went to him, telling them that a judge of men should first know and worship as judge in heaven. ‘While worshiping the true God,’ Andrew said, ‘he should banish all false gods and blind idols from his mind.’ Furious at Andrew, Egeas demanded to know if he was the man who had recently overthrown the temples of the gods and persuaded men to become Christians, a ‘superstitious’ sect that had recently been declared illegal by the Romans.
    Andrew replied that, ‘The rulers of Rome didn’t understand the truth. The son of God who came into the world for man’s sake taught that the Roman gods were devils, enemies of mankind teaching men to offend God, and causing him to turn away from them. By serving the devil, men fall into all kinds of wickedness,’ Andrew said. ‘And after they die, nothing but their evil deeds are remembered.’ The proconsul ordered Andrew not to preach these things anymore or he would face a speedy crucifixion.”

If you were going to get crucified, would you stop calling yourself a Christian?

    Whereupon Andrew replied, [and this is an amazing line] “I would not have preached the honor and glory of the cross if I feared the death of the cross.” He was condemned to be crucified for teaching a new sect and taking away the religion of the Roman gods. Andrew, going toward the place of execution, and seeing the cross waiting for him, never changed his expression, neither did he fail in his speech. His body fainted not, nor did his reason fail him as often happens to men about to die. He said, “‘Oh cross, most welcome and longed for, with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously I come to you being the scholar of him which did hang on you because I have always been your lover and yearn to embrace you.”

“You boys want to crucify me? There’s a good spot, go for it. I belong to Jesus.”

Matthew

“Matthew wrote his Gospel to the Jews in the Hebrew tongue after he had converted Ethiopia and all Egypt. Hircanius, the king, sent someone to kill him with a spear.”

Philip

“After years of preaching to the barbarous nations, Philip was stoned, crucified, and buried with his daughter.”

Peter

    The first of the ten persecutions was stirred up by Nero about 64 A.D. His rage against Christians was so fierce that Eusebius records, “A man might then see cities full of men’s bodies, the old lying together with the young, and the dead bodies of women cast out naked without reverence of that sex in the open streets.” Many Christians in those days thought that Nero was the Antichrist because of his cruelty and abominations. The Apostle Peter was condemned to death during this persecution. Although some say that he escaped, it is known that many Christians encouraged him to leave the city and the story goes that as he came to the city gates, Peter saw Jesus coming to meet him. “Lord, where are you going?” Peter asked. “I am coming again to be crucified,” was the answer. Seeing that his suffering was understood, Peter turned around, returned to the city where Jerome tells us he was crucified upside down at his own request, saying he was not worthy to be crucified the same way his Lord was.

John

“The second persecution began during the reign of Domitian, the brother of Titus. Domitian exiled John to the island of Patmos.” It’s an actual spot and I’ve been there. “But on Domitian’s death, John was allowed to return to Ephesus in the year A.D. 70. He remained there until the reign of Trajan, governing the churches of Asia, and writing his Gospel until he died at about the age of one hundred.”

But at a hundred, he may have had a lot of scars on his body, because before they exiled him, they tried to kill him. They boiled him alive, and he lived through it, so they exiled him for a while. He got out and wrote books of the Bible, as a boiled old man.

We’re glad you come and see. You need to go and die.

Father God, I pray for us as a people. We’re in a day where we get a lot of come-and-see. There are free sermons on the Internet, classes, training, Christian music, radio stations, radio preachers, church events, mass crusades, services, small groups. It seems, Lord God, like there are more come-and-see opportunities than any people have ever been offered in the history of the world. And God, we rejoice in the come-and-see opportunities. We rejoice that people come to hear the Bible and see lives change through Jesus.

But God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit and the hearts and minds and the lives of our people, that they would respond to your call to become Christians, that they would respond to your call to persevere as Christians, that they would give like Christians should give, that they would serve like Christians should serve, that they would suffer like Christians should suffer, that they would testify like Christians should testify, and Lord God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit on us as a people that we wouldn’t just be a come-and-see people, that we’d be a go-and-die people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Note: This has been a series on 11 Leadership Lessons from 12 Disciples, based on the recent sermon Jesus Calls the Twelve, on Luke 6:12-16.

16
Jun
10

Houston we have a problem

13
Jun
10

Why men hate going to church

C

Click the man sleeping through church above.

09
Jun
10

43 Lions

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07
Jun
10

Justification by Affliction: by Dustin Neeley

A Confession

Let’s start with a confession: I love Affliction T-shirts.

The fleur de lis reminds me of my city. The skulls remind me of my depravity. They are comfortable and hand crafted. I love ’em. But because of their cost, I own only one of them that I bought on clearance at Macy’s. Oddly enough, at the risk of sounding girly, I actually think about that one shirt a lot (although the bones do help my case). And it’s not primarily for the comfort or the craftsmanship, though it may indeed have something to do with my depravity.

As the thought turns in my mind, the question that haunts me is, “Why did I really want that shirt in the first place?” Is it for the reasons I mentioned above, which seem harmless enough? Or is it for some less harmless reason like, “All the cool kids wear them and I want to fit in?” Hmmm… The plot thickens.

We have just stepped from the dark closet where my shirt hangs into the much darker corners of the soul.

The Lie

All of us have “false justifiers” that we use to try to justify ourselves before God and others, and there are ways we seek false justification that are as nuanced as our own personalities and ministry contexts. For many, what we wear, or at least our appearance, is high on the list. And each time we allow how we appear before others to become more important than how we appear before God, it is stark evidence of our belief in the great Lie that Jesus and the good news that he has spoken over us is not enough.

The Truth

As with any lie, the only way to effectively counter it is with the Truth. When we seek to “clothe ourselves” in the righteousness that the “right kind” of clothing can provide, we must remind ourselves that we are already clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Isa. 61:10). When we seek to find our value in the fact that we can buy something of significant value on earth, we must remind ourselves that we are of great value to God and have been bought at a great price (1 Cor. 6:20) already. We have to counter the Lie with the Truth.

So is it wrong to wear an Affliction T-shirt? No.

Is it wrong to define yourself by what you wear? Yes.

So tomorrow when you reach in the closet for what to wear, stop and ask yourself, “Why am I about to wear what I am about to wear? To honor God or to seek to impress others?” If you find the Lie at work, kill it with the Truth. “I am not justified by what I wear, but by the righteousness that I am now clothed with in Christ.” And with the name of Christ written on your soul, it doesn’t matter what name is written on your shirt.

To be continued.

by Dustin Neeley

Learn more about how to spot the Truth and the Lie working in all areas of life at the Exchange Conference in San Diego, June 17-18.

Dang




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Wednesday Jan 26th 2011
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