Impacting young men in our church…a great opportunity…

Robert Williams the youth pastor has this idea to have a camping trip for the high school and older boys where men from LiveUP will engage and impact the young men, sharing life and showing them certain skills.

Here are the basic details.  He wants to try this on Friday evening September 19 and Saturday the 20th.   The general idea is to provide input from some older men on basic “man-skill how to’s” such as pitching a tent, starting a fire, changing a tire, tying an tie.

Some of the youth don’t have dads or don’t live with them.   Needs are a place to camp, tents, men to be part of the conversation. It probably should – I hope it would  –  work into a regular connection of some manschoolers with the high school guys.

Robin Carr has been talking to Robert and I realize this is only a few weeks away but if you have an interest in this, please email Robin at disrcsrc@mchsi.com and we will see where this goes.

If the Lord so moves…

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fatherlessness

I believe most men carry some wound of fatherlessness in their lives.  We see signs of this all around us in men that seemed just checked out, passive.  We see symptoms of this when Moms come forward to ask other men to pour into their sons.  The problem is rampant and it is debilitating.  I think it explains why you see so many women stepping up to take control of ministries – because – the men have checked out and defaulted it to the women.

Bart Hanson (Ransomed Heart Ministries) was recently interviewed by Morgan Snyder and Bart shared his story of fatherlessness.  It is very powerful.  http://www.becomegoodsoil.com/005-videoaudio-risking-love-an-interview-with-bart-hansen-podcast/

Some of the key takeaways…

  • He drove harder and harder in business on his own strength.
  • He felt like he was only as good as his last deal and the next deal had to be bigger and better.
  • Validation came from the pursuit of success and in reality, he now knows, he was looking for a father.  We all want that pat on the back, “Man, you’re doing a great job” affirmation that a father can provide and we turn to other things to get it when it is absent from our father.
  • He created this false self, this persona around him to mask his hurt.  What they call the “poser”.
  • He took bigger and bigger risks to find life.  It becomes like an addiction and the last success doesn’t fill you so you seek an even bigger success.  He started to believe “I can do this on my own” at so much cost to everyone around him.  Question – are you doing life alone, you vs. the world?
  • Chasing success on his own was a bottomless pit.  The illusive “It” is never there.
  • The Church can fill this void.  The institutional church will gladly take this performance mentality and plug you into roles and you’ll start performing for the church.
  • Bart said he had a “wasteland in his soul from his fatherlessness“.

And to stop for a moment here, a key thing he said was, “You can go back into those places of where your father was absent and let God father you.”  This is so key and frankly, I’ve been missing this over the past few years.  Pain from fatherlessness?  Yes.  Have I sought it in other places, perhaps in mentors or teaching myself projects?  Yes.  And while that is valid and even holy, the thing I have missed is taking all this to the true Father.  God wants to father me.

What we all crave as men is that father that will say, “Son, I love you.  I love your life.  I love what you’re about.  I’m so proud of you.”  I crave that.  How about you?  And we can take this all sorts of places – to Eve, to our work, to the next deal, to church work, to mission work and even to darker places.

But God wants to father you.  He created you.  He instilled in you all the character qualities you have.  You arefearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14.  “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”  Jeremiah 1:5

God wants to father me.  He wants to walk with me in the cool of the day, see my work, see my wife, see my kids, see my projects, my visions, my dreams and He wants to embrace those and say, “Good job Son.  I’m proud of you“.  He wants the fears, the worries, the hang-ups and the hurts.

This is so rich.  You need to hear this.  Don’t do life alone as an island.  If you do life alone, you’re going to miss so much of this.  Other men around you, knowing your story inside and out can help you with this and you can help them.  You need men around you that know your story, understand the big picture of what’s going on, men that understand your glory and that you are opposed by an enemy.  You fight for and alongside each other.  This isn’t accountability.  There is a massive difference between a man holding you accountable and a man that understands your story.

Last point – Love.  How you treat your own heart is so crucial to this.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  Matthew 22.  At the core of Bart’s drivenness, he didn’t really like himself.  Be kind to your heart.  Don’t make agreements based on your failures, fatherlessness and setbacks.  Make margin in your life.  You don’t have to be a “dutiful man”.  It’s very OK to say “no” to things.  Know your boundaries and know when to say “no”.  If you don’t, your faith will become performance driven as well and you won’t enjoy grace.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  It’s never too late to love.  Risk love.  It’s the greatest risk we can take.  Everything flows out of it.  Risk loving others.  Risk loving yourself.

I hope you will watch it and would be interested in any thoughts this stirred in you.   LiveUP!

Leading young men – an opportunity

The Young Adults ministry has a need for older, wiser men to minister to the men in Young Adults.  The call is this — would you consider leading one of three groups of young men this fall in a small group study?  They have a need to teach the 18-22 year olds, the newly married men and the 23-30 year old men.  About 10 men are in each group and the need for leadership and discipleship is real. 

Imagine the value of being in a small group as a newly married men where you can build community, ask the tough questions and have a Godly, older, experienced man leading on how to be Godly husband.  I would have loved to have had that opportunity when I was first starting out married life.

Imagine being 18-22, sort of in school but directionless about a vocation, not knowing how to “do” the dating thing, not grasping how to find God’s calling on your life.  Imagine being in a small group of 8-10 other 18-22 year old men, all seeking the same thing, all dealing with similar wounds and going through Sam Eldredge’s new book “Killing Lions” together.  How cool would that be?

Does leading something like this stir something in you?  If so, let me ask you to pray about this and push into it.

These small groups would be on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night at a location/time that best suits the group.  If you are interested, please email Meghan Stewart and she and Mason will work with you to set this up(meghandollstewart@gmail.com)

Thank you for considering this great opportunity to LiveUP into ministry to these young men. 

Don’t do life alone – the fellowship of men

This has been a rough week for me.  The matrix is coming at me hard.  Every morning this week, I’ve woken up around 5:30 and been unable to go back to sleep.  I find myself at the office before 7am and am here until 6pm.  I can’t seem to get a grip on all that I have to get my arms around.  My daughters leave for college next week.  I know tough times await us as we deal with an empty nest.  I feel as if I am aboard an out-of-control freight train.  There are more things that beg for my attention than I have enough time in the day to tend to.

Ever been there?  Can you relate?

What do you do about it?

And so here I am struck by just how hard life comes at us as men.  Yesterday, a friend came to see me.  He was processing through an issue in his life and just needed a sounding board.  He needed the fellowship of men.  We all do.  I was delighted to listen and hopefully probe into his heart and offer the little guidance the Lord would lead me to give him.  That’s what this “fellowship of men” is all about.  We are here to hear and know each other’s stories.  We are here to walk through the tough things of life.  Here to laugh with one another, cry with one another and fight for one another.

But here is an undeniable truth, without a fellowship of men around you, you won’t make it.  Man is not meant to try this life alone.  A man in isolation is not a pretty picture.  A godly fellowship of men around you will see things you are missing.  They’ll probe and question things that maybe you don’t want to own up to.  And they will speak truth into your heart when the enemy has you beaten down and convinced you’re a hack, a fraud and a loser.

What scares me is that I see so many men in our midst going it alone.  They won’t drop the façade.  They just pose and present the “I’ve got it all under control” face.  We need to change that.  We need to draw other men into this.  If you are reading this and you are a “going it alone” man, it’s time to change that.  Come to ManSchool.  Engage in the Carver ministry.  Form your own small group of men and meet weekly.  Share each other’s stories.  Go deep.  When it is your turn to talk, let it fly.  Open up.  Get it all out there.  Drop the front.  Be real and fight for one another.

There is great, great power in this.  The power of community, of restoration, of affirmation and there is power in you giving yourself as a friend to another.  There is power in laying down your life to stop and listen to another man.

Watch this 3+ minute video from John Eldredge’s son on this topic.  In here he talks about “Being intentional.  Going deeper.  So many men have a lack of friends.  It’s too easy to isolate yourself and I don’t do well in isolation.  I need guys around me.  Guys who want what I want, who are chasing the real thing, pursuing their dreams, walking with God and fighting for one another.”

Great theme for this fall for us — Chase the real thing.  Pursue our dreams.  Walk with God.  Fight for one another.  That is LiveUP!

 

Carver – we need your help

It is hard to believe but football is almost upon us.  I am excited.  Once again, Christ Community is partnering with Carver High School to support the Tiger football team.  We feed the team the night before each game and it has become a great ministry.  If you have been involved, you know what a blessing this is to these young men and the coaches.  Many of these kids wouldn’t eat dinner the night before a game were it not for our ministry.  The Lord has really opened up an incredible opportunity for us to serve and speak into these young men’s lives.

Our first meal is NEXT week!!  Next Friday afternoon so we need to get moving!

We typically need 5-6 men a week.  Arrive at Carver at 5pm and we are done by 6:30pm.  It is quick, not a ton of work but it is very rewarding and if you will engage, you will find yourself developing a connection with these kids and it will warm your heart.  They love having us there.  Carver is moving up two classifications to AAAAA.  That’s a big jump and they’ll be playing some great teams.  Carver has a few standout players that are top 300 national recruits.  It should be a great year.

This year is unusual in that Carver has its first two games on Saturday (so two of our meals will be on Friday nights) and they have three games on Thursday nights (so three of our meals will be on Wednesday nights).  That’s good because we have a need on Wednesday night, Thursday night and a few Friday nights so it should be able to work around your schedule, Celebrate Recovery and community groups.

We also need a man to quarterback the water.  Phil Staten has done a masterful job serving as our “water man” but Phil is undergoing chemo (please be in prayer for him.  His spirits are good, he Trusts the Lord fully and he needs a legion of prayer warriors lifting him up) and can’t take that role this year.  So we need one man to step UP and take the lead.  What that involves is bringing a few big coolers full of iced down water each week.  It may be that 3-4 of you will take this and rotate it.

Robert Nobles leads this ministry for us and does a great job.  Many of you got an email from him but I wanted to extend this out to all the men that read this blog.  If you want to help, please email Robert at Robertnobles@synovus.com so he will have your contact info.  If you want to help specifically with the water, email Robert or just reply to this blog post.

thanks for your help.

Richard