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.