Your heart is the treasure of Heaven

Next week is our last week of Spring ManSchool.  We’ll wrap up the book.  Normally, we break for the summer and start back up in the fall but we are getting this overwhelming sense that there is too much momentum to stop.  4 months is WAY too long to break from this community of men that is forming.  Something very special is happening and we want to seize on what God is trying to do.  There is so much more guys.  So much.  We can go so much deeper.  The radical walk we’ve been talking about is there and we can get there.

So next week, we will also talk about the Summer and the plans to continue on.  Press on.

Today we talked about your heart being the treasure of Heaven = that it matters to God…deeply.  He gives you this heart of flesh and says, “Take care of this, it is mighty important to Me.”  We’ve been entrusted with our hearts – the wellspring of life – and we need to protect it.  We need to fight for it.  If we ignore it or harden it, we won’t be able to hear God.  Remember, it is the wellspring of life – all life comes from it and that is what we are after.  Life.

Here are the slides.  Waking the Dead 12

I have some more posts I will get up over the next few days – thoughts that are bouncing, nudges from God, messages coming from others.  Aslan is on the move.  LiveUP!

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Fellowships of the heart

Do you want this?  What would your life look like if you had 3-4-5 men that were your intimate allies?  Men that knew you and knew your heart.  Men that fought for you and challenged you.  Men that were driven to have a deep walk with the Lord.  Men that understood this is a world at war and understand the importance of not being a hero – not daring to try this walk alone?

Want to know what that looks like?  Check this out…

 

You see the brotherhood of men.  You see the enemy.  You hear her say, “This task has been appointed to you…

“Fate has chosen him.  A fellowship will protect him.  Evil will hunt them.”  That is our life.  You can choose not to believe this or you can awaken to the reality that God has selected you.  God reached down and saved you.  He rescued you from a life of captivity and an eternity of damnation.  He freed you.  He gave IT ALL for you.

He did not do this so that you can shrink back into the shadows and lead a quiet life hoping to avoid any conflict or pain.  He rescued you for a purpose…“this task has been appointed you.”  You are needed, desperately needed, in the battle.

And you are not alone or better said, you have the choice to not do this alone.  So I asked at the start of this, “Do you want this?”  Do you want this band of brothers, this deep fellowship of the heart?  Do you?  Then you’re going to have to fight for it.  It won’t be handed to you on a silver platter.  You’re going to have to fight for other men.  You’re going to be disappointed.  They will annoy you at times and at others, they will seem to simply check out.  You’re going to have to keep going back to the well and fight.

I want this.  I need it.  Do you?

Here are the slides from today… Waking the Dead 11

One last point – Angels.  Last week we talked about Angels and their power and might.  We have them fighting for us.  They aren’t these chubby cheeked little baby Angels we tend to think of playing a harp and sitting on a fluffy cloud.  No, they are warriors.  Why else would they frequently appear to people in the Bible and immediately say, “Fear not…“?  They are awesome.

These guys are fighting for you.  Pray them down on your home – one on each corner.  Pray them down on your wife and your children.  On your business.  Hedges of protection are nice but I prefer these guys…

-2  -5

Be Thou my vision

Take a minute and read the words of this song from the 8th century.  You’ve heard this song many times in your life but have you really meditated on these words?  I haven’t until Robin Carr sent it to me.  It is so powerful.  I dare to paraphrase what I hear…

Waking or sleeping be my light

Be my wisdom and my true Word

You are my father, I am your son

Be my battle shield and sword for the fight (notice, there will be a fight)

Be my delight

Be my soul’s shelter (refuge from the storm)

I don’t seek riches or man’s praise

You Lord are my inheritance not this world

You and You only Lord will be first in my heart

You’ve given me victory, Heaven awaits me

 

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

ManSchool 10 – Setting Hearts Free

We’re getting close to finishing this book and the study has been great.  Again today in our small group, men were speaking up coming to terms with the strongholds in their lives.  Breakthroughs continue to happen.  God is moving.

We have two “Christian” paths to choose – the traditional path – the nice, Sunday School path where you go to church on Sunday and maybe Wednesday night, maybe you’re a deacon or an elder or serve on the finance committee and you offer up these little popcorn prayers of “Lord bless me today” or “help me win this new business” and then we put God back up on the shelf until next Sunday.  This is path is “safe”.  It’s the norm.  It isn’t weird.  It is comfortable.  “A nice respectable man.  Dutiful in his service to the Church.”  Doesn’t rock the boat, doesn’t make anyone nervous with his faith.  That’s one path.

The other path is radically different.  It is learning to walk with God.  Learning to develop conversational intimacy with Him.  Finding the wounds and digging them up.  Dredging them up.  Getting the tractor out to plow them up so you can deal with them once and for all.  Then it is letting God lovingly restore you and break you free from the bondage of your captivity.  After and through all these steps, the enemy shows up.  He doesn’t want you going anywhere near this path.  He wants you on path one – the nice, clean, safe “Christianity”.  This radical stuff is going to bring his fury.  But down this path is freedom, sweet freedom.  There is restoration.  There is life.  Abundant life.  There is a close, intimate walk with the Lord, learning to hear His voice.  Quick little prayers won’t cut it any more.  It’s time to dig deep.  The “Daily Prayer” at the end of Chapter 10 is awesome.  You can download it from http://www.ransomedheart.org under the prayers tab.  And as we learned today, there is an app for that too.  If you look at this prayer and your initial reaction is “that’s too much for me, I don’t have time for that”, then you are right where the enemy wants you.  “It’s too much, that kind of deep spiritual stuff is for Derek and Keith and those guys.  I don’t have time.  God doesn’t talk to me that way.”  Bingo.  He has you.

The second path is the one we want.  It is the one that will be opposed.  Which one do you want?  Do you want freedom?  Restoration?  A radical, passionate walk with God?  It will take some time.  It will be messy.  But you will be liberated.  He will restore you.  It is yours for the taking.

Here are the slides from today … Waking the Dead 10

And now, what I read to you today about you as a man…

LiveUP is not a “high emotion, chest thumping, testosterone-laced” men’s movement that will quickly fade out.  Our one and only goal is to bring men into a radically closer walk with and pursuit of Jesus.  That’s it.  It’s all 100% about Jesus.  “The glory of God is man fully alive” — fully alive in Jesus.  Not shrinking back.  Not passive.  But bold.  Bold in his faith, bold to share it, bold to lovingly lead his wife by serving, bold to model his faith for his children and raise them up loving the Lord.  Bold in his work and his community.  Alive.  Fully alive.

The call to LiveUP is the radical call of Jesus.  He said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and it abundantly”. 

So here is a recap of last night’s slides for you…

  • God creates man and breathes life into him.  It was intimate.  Close.  From the very beginning God designed man for relationship with Him.  Man was given a job to do, a garden to cultivate, a land to have dominion over, animals to name and subdue.  Man was given leadership, dominion, responsibilities, a job, rules about the Tree…and Eve hasn’t even been created yet.  This was – at first – about God and Man.  A father and a son.

And we get this image of God creating this land and sitting on the porch with His son showing it to him.  Just the two of them.  A loving Father having dreamed up this marvelous creation and revealing it to his son and then, handing it over to him.  “Here it is son, all of this is yours to keep.  Fish, hunt, cut the fields, plant the crops, enjoy the cool of creeks and the majesty of the land.  It’s your inheritance entrusted to you to keep, subdue and grow.” 

  • The Fall.  And then there is the fall.  There is a thief.  Manhood has been attacked.  Warriors are wounded.  We carry the absent father wound, the controlling mother wound, the soul wounds – mistakes we’ve made that even to this day haunt us with regret and pain.  Men have shrunk back and gone passive in our wounds.  Women have stepped into void and run many of the businesses, churches and little leagues in our nation.  Culture beats up manhood – TV shows feature men that are weak and helpless and commercials mock us and yet, society then dares to ask, “Where have all the real men gone?”  This world desperately needs Godly men, fully restored and fully alive.

We need to restore the “mythical” figure that is man.  None of this is to diminish women as much of life cannot happen without them.  With that disclaimer, consider this mythical man….

  • He’s looked to as the spiritual head of the home.  Ultimately, the condition of his family’s faith falls upon him.  He carries the responsibility of a wife.  He pursues her, woos her, courts her, romances her, listens to her, puts her needs ahead of his own, protects her, defends her honor, fights for her, assures her, supports her, builds her up, loves her, comforts her and does spiritual battle for her.  He carries the burdens of his wife and children.
  • He works.  He puts his boots or suit on every morning and goes out to do battle in a fallen world – a world driven by greed, lust and an unquenchable thirst for “more”.  He deals with a boss, co-workers and customers.  He leads a battalion of men.  He must be a visionary.  He teaches and learns and hustles.  He meets unreasonable sales quotas.  He provides a home, income, foods, clothing, braces, cars, vacations, eating out, cash for birthdays, he pays for Christmas and pays the bills.  He does the taxes and the 401(k).  He worries about college and weddings and retirement.
  • He secures.  He protects the home.  He kills the snake in the backyard.  He protects his family at home and in public.  He’s alert at all times to risk.  He cares for the yard, cleans the gutters, washes the car, fixes the broken bicycle, cuts up the fallen tree, he puts lights on the Christmas tree and then takes them off and drags the tree out when she says it must go.
  • He teaches his son about guns, knives, politics, money, girls, integrity, how to shoot a basketball, throw a curveball and shoot a gun.  He teaches him when it is right to fight and right to walk away.

This is a mythical figure.  When you read this list it is exhausting.  This man is a hero and a modern-day knight.  He should be celebrated instead of being dumbed down by the culture.  This man is you.  You are a mythical figure.

And so is your wife and we could write an even longer list about her….but….we’re talking about you and in the context of God’s original design and that front porch conversation with your Father when he gave you the keys to the farm, this is a beautiful and good thing!

You carry a lot on your shoulders.  God has given you dominion over your land, your home, your wife, your children and your career.  That’s a lot.  But He’s given it to you and the call is to rise UP and take dominion over what He has trusted to you.  And that is what LiveUP is all about — helping to restore men.  Patching a few of them up.  Perhaps removing a few bullets and patching a few broken legs and doing this so the men can get back up on their feet restored and energized for the life ahead.

LiveUP!

Spiritual Warfare – ManSchool 9 – pay attention to this one…

Sorry – this one is long.  See what you think…

We’ve got 3 more chapters to go and this has been a great study.  Please finish strong.  If you have missed a few of last sessions, please rejoin us.  The small groups are key to this and we want our groups to finish together strongly united as we move into the summer.  Bonds are forming and fellowships of men are being developed.  For some of you, this will continue and you’ll build on it.  It is so important that you surround yourself with a strong community of men to do battle with you.

“Battle”.  Why do we even talk about battle?  I mean, isn’t Jesus about love?  He wasn’t a warrior.  He didn’t come in with an army but rather came in as a babe and spent his life teaching love and forgiveness.  War?  Warrior?  No, Jesus is always pictured with lambs and small children.  And you know, if you think about society today and the raging arguments around gay marriage, taxation, legalization of drugs, you name it — aren’t you also being told, “Well, Jesus didn’t judge anyone.  He was just all about love and acceptance.”

Rob Bell, the Christian pastor, dove into this line of thinking last week when he came out in support of gay marriage.  He said, “I am for marriage.  I am for fidelity.  I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.  I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs – I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

OK, there it is.  Precisely there.  We should not judge (after all Jesus didn’t) and we should just affirm people wherever they are.  Is it just me or isn’t this kind of thinking ALL over our society today.  “Explore your sexuality”, “Celebrate self”, “Find yourself”.  Self, self, self.  “Pursue what makes you feel good, feel complete in self and celebrate that”.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Rob Bell.  Or not…

He continues, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work (he means the conservative Christian theology).  I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told, ‘we’re gonna change this thing’ and they haven’t.  They’ve actually turned away a lot of people.  And I think when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful.  You sort of die or adapt.”

So Rob Bell nails it – our culture has turned its back on God and His teaching – and the Word no longer works with them.  (Note to Rob Bell, God’s Word has never “worked” for people who turn their backs on it.  Remember Pharaoh?).  For heaven sakes, look at the movies today, TV, the newspaper summaries of society breaking down.  They have pursued their own selfish desires and lust there is a divide.  The culture is moving quickly away from God.  The Church has found itself hanging onto a “particular subculture that doesn’t work” i.e. the Word of God.  No kidding it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work among a mass of people diving head first into their own desires – “I want the gay lifestyle.”  “I want to smoke pot all the time and don’t really care if my kids are doing it.”  “I’m for open relationships and want my teenage daughter exploring her own sexual identity and freedom.”    Just this week, a Judge in New York said the “morning after” birth control pill should be over-the-counter with no age restriction.  So a teenager can’t get a Big Gulp Coke but she can waltz into a CVS and pick up a pill that will destroy any “evidence” of last night’s unprotected hookup.

Rob Bell is saying that the Word is too rigid for this culture and they are turned off by it.  In fact, they are actually turned away by it.  And because they don’t like it, because it doesn’t mesh with culture’s decisions, the church must change.  Despite what Jesus said about marriage, in America 2013, we have decided marriage is whatever we decide it is and so Jesus is wrong.  Rob Bell is right.  Jesus was wrong.

Look at our politicians.  In just the past few weeks, the nation’s tide turned decidedly in favor of gay marriage.  The Supreme Court has taken it up and is debating it as we speak.  And suddenly, 6-7 Senators have shifted their stance on gay marriage.  Hillary Clinton has “evolved” her thinking on it.  Last year, President Obama “evolved” his thinking on it largely based on his children questioning how he could judge people who loved each other.  He couldn’t reconcile his children’s logic so he “evolved”.

This is where we are.  This is warfare.  Spiritual warfare.  A delusion has been cast over America and we are devolving right in front of our eyes – not evolving.

So Jesus wasn’t a warrior?  He doesn’t battle?  He was just about “love”?  No.

He is a warrior and please don’t kid yourself, there is a raging, raging spiritual battle taking place right now across our nation, this world, against your home, your kids, your wife and you.

The reason I pulled this national “debate” on gay marriage into this conversation is to illustrate what goes on in your life – every…single…day.

You can open the slides and see the breakdown on spiritual warfare.  It’s there.  Waking the Dead to Walk with God is opposed.  As you start to walk with God, start to have conversational intimacy with Him, find the wounds, dig them up and heal in deep restoration, the enemy is going to show up.  He wants NONE of this for you.  He will vehemently oppose this with condemnation.  So don’t kid yourself, there is a battle underway and Jesus very much is a warrior battling for YOU.  Enough said.  Dig in.  Find this.  It’s there.  Jesus wants you fully alive, triumphant in Him.

LiveUP!

Waking the Dead 9

 

ManSchool IS meeting this Wednesday + a book challenge

We are meeting this Wednesday at 6am covering Chapter 9 in Waking the Dead on Spiritual Warfare.  Important chapter.  See you then.

Robin Carr has issued another challenge to win a free book.  If you want to answer, leave your comment below.

The answer to last week’s challenge is HalleluYah!  Praise the LORD! which ends many Psalms. It may be hard to see Yahweh’s name in -jah or ia endings of some spellings. Halleluyah equals Prasie  Yahweh my personal intimate God and Redeemer. See Ps 68 vs 4 in KJV or NKJV.

This week’s challenge: win another book: in the first 5 chapters of the Gospel of John there are at least 5 personal encounters Jesus has with people. Name  5 people, and at what season some of the encounters occurred.