ManSchool – Wild at Heart

Later in January (date to be determined), we will launch perhaps our most important endeavor – walking through John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart.  We will take our time and utilize the book, accompanying videos and personal testimonies/teachings from men that have been through the Wild at Heart material and attended the Wild at Heart boot camps.  Wild at Heart is John’s best known book and has had a profound impact on men all across the world.

I have just returned from “Boot Camp Advanced” in Colorado and was blown away by the depth of the teaching and the practical applications of the material.

Truly, truly I say to you, this is one study where you will only get out of it what you’re willing to invest in it.  Remember “what you feed grows”.  I highly encourage you to join us.  I highly encourage you to get the book now and to actually read it (!).  It amazes me how many men will tell me, “I just don’t read books”.  That’s an agreement.  That’s a statement of finality that they’ve made and they are missing so much of what God has to offer through these writers.  I will personally testify that Wild at Heart – of all the books I’ve ever read – has made the biggest impact on me as a man.  Through this book and the boot camps that followed, God woke me up and began a radical transformation in my life.

Many of you have already read the book and might be quick to dismiss this as “Oh, I read Wild at Heart years ago so I don’t need to go through ManSchool.”  Please don’t make that assumption.  If you’ve read the book then you are perhaps ready to read it again and, more importantly, to actively engage in it with a community of men.

Please, please get the book, and please … read it.  Take your time.  Walk through it, don’t rush it.  Read and underline and highlight the parts that speak to you.  The more you dig into the book, the more you’ll get out of it and the more this Winter/Spring ManSchool will mean to you.  Everything we’ve done in ManSchool these past few years has been building to this point, preparing us for the journey into Wild at Heart.

Join us on this quest.

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Feedback

What did you hear this morning?

In those men’s testimonies, what did you hear?  What did God reveal?

As you sat there and processed the culmination to this series and as you stood to Hank’s “let the shame fall off” call, what freedom did you find?

Through this entire process, what breakthroughs did you get?

 

Give me your feedback.  I am going to take those in and then summarize them (names will be excluded) so that all of us can share in what God did during this series.  Just post a comment below.  Thanks.

podcast from today

a few men asked me for a link to the podcast from Mosaic of Hank Fortener talking about shame.

If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad, go to the “Podcasts” icon on your device.  Or…click on iTunes and it will take you there.

Go to the “search” window and type in Erwin McManus and you will see “Mosaic Audio Podcast” or “Mosaic Video Podcast”, pick which one you want.  All the episodes will appear.  If you click on “feed” it will give you a list of all the podcasts and there are some great ones on there i.e. all the “Uprising” ones are great but for today’s scroll down to “Rethinking God: God is disappointed in you” from September 14.  This is the “shame” talk that we showed a few weeks ago and ended today with.

If you click on the little cloud to the right of this episode, it will download it for you.  Next time you come back there, any podcast you’ve downloaded will be listed.  If you click on “subscribe”, all future podcasts will come to your phone and you can watch/listen to any of them.

final ManSchool of the fall is tomorrow

This has been a great but also a very intense fall in ManSchool.  Tony Evans’ Kingdom Man was a great study and I think engaged a number of men who haven’t been in our tribe.  These past few weeks on pornography has been tough and intense and has left many men with much to process.  I hope – even though it’s been tough – that you’ve found these weeks beneficial.  It is our goal to present material to you in a real and very authentic manner and to address, head on, tough issues so that we can equip you for the reality of this life we face as Kingdom Men.

Tomorrow, we wrap it up and we’ll have four men share from their heart their struggle and how God is working in their lives toward restoration.  If you’ve been coming, please make every effort to finish strong and join us in the morning.  I believe it will become a celebration.  Join us.

Humility & Gratitude

Excurvatus Se – a life lived outward

Soul ties

Watch this video from Andy Stanley on “Sex is not just physical” from the 2:30 mark through 16:00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MMGp9TQCig

please see the attached slides from today >ManSchool pornography 3

We’re all given the capacity for many things – the capacity for love, for worship, for sex, etc.  But just because God gives us capacity, it does not mean we’ll always deploy that capacity in the right manner i.e. many of us “worship” the wrong things – being popular, money, material possessions, a pain-free life, etc.  Many of us use love in the wrong manner and certainly, many of us are using or have used the incredible gift of sex in the wrong way.

In the same way, we’re all given the ability to bond and that too can be used in the wrong way.  We can bond to others in emotionally unhealthy and destructive ways.  Genesis 2:24 “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”  The word “united” here is the same word for “knit together”.

“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body – for it is said, “the two become one flesh”.  1 Corinthians 6:16-17            

Unites = joined together or knit together = yoked together.

This uniting is God’s design for marriage and only for marriage.  It is beautiful and wonderful and powerful.  Andy does a great job describing the power of two souls united in marriage crashing into each other with passion, power and no fear, no comparison.  But for many of us, we gave that away long before we were married and in lots of cases, we gave it away to many other partners.  And so to think “that was just college and it didn’t mean anything” is simply foolish.  If God declares the sexual act to be one that “knits you together” then it applies to anyone you’ve been intimate with.  Sex isn’t just physical.  It’s never “just sex” – it’s always more.  No matter how hard the culture tries to tell us “it’s just physical, just a hook-up, no one gets hurt“, it simply isn’t true.  The Word of God is true.  Sex is more – way more – than just physical.  Many good Christian men – because they gave this away many times before marriage – now find themselves unable to engage intimately with their wife and have instead turned to porn to satiate their needs.  Many good Christian women – because they gave themselves away perhaps with multiple partners seeking love – now find themselves numb and unable to desire a sexual relationship with their husbands.  Sex is more than just physical.

And so all these former lovers … we have soul ties to them.  In some cases, the remains of those soul ties still exist 30+ years after the relationship.  Why is that?  Why is it that you can remember all the intimate details of the girl you slept with in high school or college?  Why is it that you can replay the “tape” of every liaison in graphic detail?  Why is it that in times of distress or loneliness – or – in times of drought in your marriage intimacy that you can “go back” to these memories as a sort of comfort?  It is because you gave a part of your soul away to that young women.  Perhaps you even made declarations/agreements like “no one will ever love me the way you love me” or “I can never feel this way with another woman“.  Most people find they cannot find sexual wholeness and true sexual intimacy and freedom in their marriage until they permanently break those old soul ties.

You bonded together.  It wasn’t a hook up.  It was deep, it was emotional, you pinned many hopes on her and those acts you did together.  You were knitted together.  You were yoked together and if you find yourself today struggling with intimacy in your marriage and sexual intimacy, it very likely is because those soul ties are still there.  If you are maintaining gifts from  your former girlfriends, pictures of the two of you, love letters, if you are looking them up on Facebook to just see how they look and see what their life is like, etc., then you are maintaining that relationship and feeding it.  Remember – what you feed grows and what you starve diesIt’s time to kill off those old memories and break those soul ties. 

How do you break a soul tie?  The first thing is to open this up to prayer and preferably with a peer or mentor to enter into a listening prayer session 1) where you be still and quiet your soul   2) exercise authority over the enemy   3) invoke God’s presence and invite God openly to thoroughly search your soul.  This is a “let’s be honest” session where you truly open up your soul to say, “Lord, who is that I am still holding onto?  What memories are there that I still cling to?”  4) Ask God to speak to you   5) wait in silence and write down your impressions of what God is showing you.

In the slides attached are some other examples of prayers/way to pray to break soul ties – but the key principle is this, inviting the Cross of Jesus Christ permanently in between you and this other person(s).  That I have given my high school girlfriend/college girlfriend or these random hook-ups a part of my soul.  That the sex was more than just a physical exchange, it was a deeply emotional bonding which was wrong and naïve and costly in hindsight.  And so, I need to place the Cross of Jesus Christ now between me and ________.  That was the past, it was a mistake and once and for all, I need to confess it and lay it at the Cross and let Jesus deal with it and in so doing, those memories and that connection to this person are place “as far as the east is from the west”.  This is crucial — “it” is gone, dealt with, forgiven and forgotten and importantly, she is too.

“I bring the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ between me and _______.  I have been crucified to them as Galatians says and they to me through the Cross of Jesus Christ.  So by the Cross of Christ, I break and repent and renounce every unhealthy bond, every soul tie with this person.  I command their spirit to be bound back to their body (in other words – that “part” of them I took in just as I gave a part of me to them, I now command it back to them) and all their sin, warfare, struggles back to work of Jesus Christ in their life and I forbid it to transfer to me (in other words – I no longer carry them with me, I don’t carry their burdens, struggles, etc. I’m giving them back to Christ).  I allow only Jesus Christ between us, only the love of God and the bond of the Holy Spirit between us.  I pray this in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

This same prayer is also applicable to others in your life.  We can have soul ties that aren’t sexual.  We can give too much away in any relationship, pour too much into it and take too much from that other person and lump it on our shoulders to carry.  This can be an over-controlling mother who perhaps views you as a surrogate husband.  It can a dominating older brother.  It can be a boss that you put way too much stock in and he betrayed you.  These are people you cannot get out of your mind and there are conversations you continue to have in your head with this person (by the way, it’s never good to have a conversation with a person when they aren’t even in the room).  If so, these are signs that this person takes up way too much real estate in your soul.  It’s time to break this soul tie too.  And by the way, this isn’t cold or unfeeling.  This is holy.  It is taking a relationship say with your mom and removing the unholy part of the relationship and asking Christ back to His proper place in that relationship.

So what does this have to do with pornography?  Perhaps everything.  These sexual soul ties, I believe (and I think if you’re honest with yourself, you’d agree) have a direct link to the stimulation we seek in pornography.  These soul ties call out to us in our loneliness and we go back to those agreements we made like “I’ll never be able to feel this way with another woman” and deeper loneliness sets in and we reach out to porn to find some warmth and comfort only to find it’s a false god with deep hooks.

This is deep, deep stuff but I am convinced if you want freedom, if you want a whole, vibrant, passionate, pure, deeply intimate sexual relationship with your wife, that you need to embark on the tedious work of dredging this stuff out of the channels of your soul and break those to soul ties.

There were 50 and then 30…

We’ve been running 50-55 men this fall in ManSchool, week to week, as we pursued Kindgom Man.  And then, we shifted into pornography.  It got dicey.  It got tough.  It got personal and it got messy.

And we had about 30 men at our last session.

Why is that?  Ask yourself and ask the LORD … why is it that when the going got tough, I opted to skip?

No shame here.  None.  We don’t do the “shame game”.  No, this is warfare.  Your attendance at ManSchool – particularly when the going gets tough – is going to be opposed and the topic of pornography, which has so many men trapped in a vice grip, is particularly opposed.

We’ve got two more weeks.  This week we are going to talk about Soul Ties = something you don’t want to miss and next week, we’ll have testimonies from a number of men who have struggled, still struggled and are on the way to restoration.

Please make every effort to join us tomorrow at 6am … even if you haven’t been coming at all this fall.  There may be just one man who shows us tomorrow who hears one thing that leads to a breakthrough towards freedom.  Is that man you?  Is God nudging you to come?

that’s our prayer…