Next week – The Poser

Please read chapter 2.  It is a good follow-on to Chapter 1 and there is good stuff in there.  But we are going to shift our focus and for next week, I need you to read Chapter 3 – “The Question that Haunts Every Man” and we’re going to introduce “The Poser”.

As we said on Wednesday, we’ve spent a good bit of time with the big picture, the rally cry and the call and now it is time for “the more”. 

It’s now time to peel back a layer and expose some things.  It is about to get really good but make no mistake, its also going to get a little prickly, a little tricky and it’s going to ruffle some feathers.

From bouncing around on Wednesday and listening to the small group discussions, it sounds like we’re all ready to go after the “more” and the deep stuff.  We’ve been silted over and its time to start dredging.  That process is never easy, it requires getting deep in the muck with the heavy equipment but if you are willing, the dredging will uncover the deep channels in your soul, previously forgotten and it will eventually allow the River to flow once again… to flow deep and strong and to bring life.

dredge 2

Grab an hour this weekend and really read chapter 3 slowly and begin the process of letting God stir things up.

See you on Wednesday.

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Do you see? Wild at Heart 3

here are the slides from today which include pictures from the Carver Banquet > wild at heart 1

Do you see?

Most men don’t live this way we’re talking about.  Most Christian men don’t live this way.

It’s too easy to fall into just doing life.  It’s too easy to be an American Christian, dutiful and giving, 401k growing and trying to be a nice guy.

There is an enemy that seeks to steal, kill and destroy.   Most men miss this.

There is an Epic story underway and you have a role to play in it.   Most men miss this.

Your life will be opposed.

There is a Kingdom to come and the battles you fight here and face every day, they are shaping you for the coming Kingdom.

Most men miss this.

There is a battle to fight.  A beauty to fight for and rescue.  And yes, there is an adventure to live.   Most men miss it.

There is this spiritual numbness that has overtaken most men. 

Oh sure, they are good men but they are numb.  They are quiet, reserved, checked-out and resigned.  Their channels have been silted over and what once ran deep, now is quite shallow. 

There is a way things work in the Kingdom and so many of us just miss this.  We cannot carry heaps of guilt on our heart and expect to be a joyful person.  We cannot live with a quest for perfection and a rules based life and expect to find true contentment.  We cannot jump into each day – disconnected from the Vine – and hope to have any real success.

This quest we are on is to awaken our hearts.  It is the discovery of what has become in many ways, the lost kingdom. 

Once you have a taste of it, you’ll be like Ryan and say, “What have I been missing?  I want to learn whatever I can now so that I’ll be immediately useful when the future Kingdom arrives!”

The story of Jesus is full of life, beauty, noble battle, adventure and delight. 

It is far beyond the quest to be a “nice guy”.  There is so much more.

Morgan asks it too – “We must be fiercely intentional about the stories that both we and our kids encounter.  We must take responsibility for the scale, heroism and richness of the version of God’s story we are sharing with them.  Every day I ask myself, “What is the story I am living in?”  And “What is the Christianity I am offering to my kids?”

Do you see the contrast?  The contrast between all this we’ve summarized this morning and the “religion” you were taught growing up? 

Look at your life and the story you are living in. Is your faith story rigid, rules-based and dutiful?  Is it that in trying to do everything right that you now play life so safe that you take no risks?

Or, is there more?  Is there a bigger story at work, you knowing you have a role to play, an enemy seeking to destroy, a battle for your wife’s heart, your kid’s hearts, your brother’s hearts.  Is it that you now live outward instead of inward?  Is it that you are willing to be beaten up, bloodied and battered in your quest so as to be shaped for the coming kingdom?

Does your story know that God passionately loves you and He so desires conversational intimacy with you?

Ask yourself, to the outsider, to the non-believing friend, looking in upon your story, is your faith one they would want?   

We’re pushing into new frontier here.  We’re going to be leaning into the Kingdom and learning how His Kingdom works.  We’re going to adapt and learn spiritual warfare.  We’re going to adapt and learn we’ll have to fight for our Eve’s heart. 

We’re going to push to understand our heart – and the things that stir our hearts – and in so doing, learn of God’s heart and his passionate pursuit of us. 

John says it, “This next frontier is one most men never venture into”. 

We are!

Wild at Heart – chapter 1 (part 2)

Please read Chapter 1 for next week.  We’re going to walk through that chapter.  I’ll have 5 more copies of the book and if you haven’t paid for you book, please bring $10 next week.  Here are the notes from this morning…

Bart – “There are the adventures we choose and then there are the adventures that choose us.”

Keith asked Sunday – “We all know we’re made for something bigger than ourselves.  What might you live for that’ll cost you and require real courage?  God is at work and He will move – the question is, if He asks you, will you step up?”

Bart and Keith are asking the same question – there are some adventures, some callings that will choose us.

To step up, we’re going to have to live beyond our present boundaries

To step up, we’re going to have live outward

To step up, we’re going to have to leave “safe” behind

To step up, we’re going to have to push into new frontiers and those are risky, they are scary and yes, they are uncertain.

New frontiers = living life where God has to show up to make it work.  Most of us live so safe that it’s only optional if God shows up.  If He shows up, then great, if not, we’ve got a plan B.

In reality, this is Godlessness.

Best example of new frontiers – we need look no further than beauty.

Living beyond our present boundaries

Living outward

Leaving safe behind

Pushing into new frontiers that are risky and scary and uncertain

Pushing to where God has to show up

Guys that pretty much describes our life with Eve.

The naked woman’s body is too much eternity for the eye of the man to behold.” Amen to that.  Nothing grabs a man’s attention like a woman.  Put beauty on it – and it sells. The desire for our Eve is good.  It is good.

This desire, this passion we have for beauty, for Eve is good. It is so deep in the heart of man because it is so deep in the heart of God.  God is a passionate lover.  He is.

In Isaiah – “I have fought for the freedom of my people.”  You get this sense of His undying love and His passion for restoration.  Yes, God is passionate.   After all, God gave us sex!

So the desire we have for our Eve is good and yet, she is the biggest dilemma for man.

25 year old son, newly married“The problem with rescuing the beauty is that the beauty doesn’t stay rescued.”                   BINGO.

And then Morgan talked about behavior modification in his marriage only going so far.  The issues are much deeper.  There are areas of his masculine journey, my masculine journey and your masculine journey that need more healing…

          The issues are much deeper

They are rooted in areas that need more attention

That need more healing

That need more from God

That need more counsel from older men

 Consider …

Do I ever find myself coming home and resenting being needed?

Why do I go silent?

Why do I retreat?

Why do her questions pierce me?

Why do I procrastinate?

Why do I let her limited sex drive reflect upon my masculinity?

Why am I unsure about my ability?

Why do I just check-out and shut down?

Where does the self-doubt come from?

We’re going to talk A LOT more about Eve but here is the bottom line –

The reason Eve has the ability to trigger all these questions is that you are taking your masculinity to her.  You are giving her the keys to your masculinity and in her, you are looking for the validation you need.

Eve cannot handle this responsibility.  She will misuse it.  If you give her the power to validate you as a man…You also give her the power to invalidate you.  More on this to come.

What do you want?

Jesus with the paralyzed man at the healing wellsWhat do you want?”  Why ask that question?

Life has a way of stripping you, taking your heart away. 

Something in us has been lost, stolen or surrendered.

Something in us has been assaulted.

If we could get that core, masculine image of God back in us – oh it would be incredible.  We can, you can.  It is still available.  Christ came to “set the captives free”.

So we’ll end with that simple questions to take to your group –

Why am I here?  What is it that I want?

Carver – summary of men signed up

It’s not too late to help so if you’re interested, we can still use a few more on Friday night for the set up and we can probably use 2-3 more servers and for clean up.  Here is who I now have signed up to serve…

Set up Team – Friday night (arrive 6pm pizza served) – Richard Illges, Josh Reynolds, Steve Lovell, Robert Nobles, Jay Hoffstetter, Fred Remick, Rich Cellino and Ron Smith.  We need 2-3 more.

Coach wants to start the meal at 5:45pm so I’d expect players and families to start arriving between 5:00-5:15pm

Kitchen Team (arrive at 2pm) Jerome Harrell, Robin Carr, Joe Morrow

Grill Team – Coy Nichols and Ryan Walker (Can maybe use 1 more)

Greeters (arrive at 4pm) Patrick Grant, Bill Angles, Bill Gaddy, Rob Deloach, James Warren

Servers(arrive at 4pm) Bret Crumpton, Richard Illges, Phil Staten, Sid Sayler, Lon Arrington, Michael Wood, Eric Kennedy and James Warren.

Clean up(arrive at 7pm) – Richard Illges, Phil Staten, Josh Reynolds, Ryan Walker, Sid Sayler, Robert Nobles, Mark Alberici, Lee Taylor, Eric Kennedy, Bret Crumpton and James Warren (we can use a few more here).

thanks to all of you for your help.  It’s truly amazing what a band of brothers, what a TRIBE can accomplish when we come together to serve and live life outward.               Excurvatus ex Se!

A battle to fight, an adventure to live…

In our second session on Wild at Heart, today we dove into the broad overview of Chapter One.  Next week, we will continue with Chapter One.

Some brief takeaways from John and Craig’s talk today…

Everything you want in this life, you’re going to have to fight for.  The recovery of your “warrior heart” is absolutely essential for your job, your friendships, your church, your calling and your marriage.

This notion of a “warrior heart” troubled a few men this morning.  Let me be clear on this, when John is speaking of Jesus’ warrior heart, he is not specifically referencing nor is he glorifying modern day combat, guns, tanks, etc.  Yes, he/we use analogies, images of Braveheart, Gladiator and maybe even some war movies but please, don’t get hung up on that – what John is going after is this notion listed above, that “everything you want in this life, you’re going to have to fight for”.  Look no further than your relationship with your wife in your marriage.  Your wife and your marriage are under all-out assault and you better believe you’re going to have to “fight for” and be a “warrior for” your wife.

And John followed that statement with this – “And how’s it going by the way?  Your job, friendships, family relationships, your marriage … is all that coming easy for you?  Is life just handed to you on a platter?”     For most of us, the answer that is “sure…right”.

This life requires a warrior.  The world we live in emasculates men.  It does.  It fears masculinity and as Craig said, he finds himself having this desire to dig deep and find that masculine heart and to find that something that captures his heart to fight for.

Adventure – in my opinion, is a dying art.  Again, don’t get hung up on this.  We aren’t talking about skydiving, rock climbing, field-dressing a deer, motorcycle riding – although all these things are worthy – no, we are speaking of this basic spirit of adventure we are all born with as men.  As a little boy, you dreamed, imagined, built forts in the woods, fought Indians, turned your bike into a fighter jet and imagined you were the quarterback on the NFL team.  As we’ve aged, we’ve gradually lost this ability to dream, to adventure.  Yes, some of us still have it and it is glorious.  It can be adventures in business, in the church, on the mission field, 30-40 miles on a bicycle just seeing where this road leads or the backyard project.

Whatever it is, adventure calls us out.  It tests us.  It requires something of you. It pushes you (new frontiers?) to find cylinders you didn’t know your engine had.  And if you will live some adventure, it will stir some other things deep within your soul.  It will awaken something.  Adventure is one of the ways God shapes men.

To contrast that, we find that many men are leading “lives of quiet desperation or resignation” and at that point, we find many men that are bored.  Boredom is a very dangerous place for a man.  If you are bored, you are a sitting duck to be taken out.  It explains pornography, affairs, gambling, video games, etc. as men grasp at something, anything to find a little excitement.

As he says in the clip, “The gold is sitting in living rooms staring at the boob tube, bored to death.  Bored to death Tyler.”

We’ve only just begun.  There is so much more we’re going to uncover.  This will be opposed.  This is going to rub some men the wrong way.  You may bristle at some of this. Good.  Push into that.  “Why is it that I am so offended that John is saying ______ ?” Perhaps we have cemented in some beliefs for our protection that maybe need to be chiseled away?

We’re going to push into some deep new frontiers here and it will be messy at times and it will be opposed.  All I can ask you as you start to quickly form opinions about John or this material is that you back off a bit and give it time to see it through.  Let’s see where God takes this.

New frontiers!

 

a comment from one of us…

Jeremy Bond sent this to me a few minutes ago and I wanted to share it…

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“I wanted to say THANK YOU.  I have already read the first chapter of Wild at Heart and was SO MOVED.  I picked up a couple of LiveUP stickers and decided to put one right where I can see it on my laptop so whenever I am tempted to look at something I shouldn’t be, LiveUP is in fully view.”

Beautiful.  Thank you Jeremy and guys, PLEASE read the first Chapter of Wild at Heart.  Read it slowly.  Digest it.  Ask the Lord to speak to your heart in your reading. Underline the parts that are meaningful to you.  Jot notes in the margin.  Grab a journal and go ahead and start putting into writing what you’re hearing God say. Actually, writing down these things will greatly help clarify your thinking. There is great power in using a journal.

See you next Wednesday and yes, LiveUP!

a great start to Wild at Heart

This morning about 65 men were with us as we kicked off this adventure into Wild at Heart.  If you missed today, please join us next week.  I sense there are more men in our midst that need to be a part of this.  If you have the book, please read chapter 1 for next week and please bring a notebook/journal and pen so you can jot down some notes.

We are so excited as we launch into this new frontier.  This is a quest.  It is an adventure and we really believe your life may never be the same after taking this journey with us.  That’s our prayer!  Our hope is that you will come out of this “alive and free and true”.

As we prepared for this first session, a very common theme emerged from various places and that is “New frontiers”.

First, the weekly podcast from Mosaic talked about 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.  The old has gone, the new is here.”   Get this — this isn’t a future tense thing…it is now.  It isn’t some point out way out there.  It isn’t “someday” when you finally get your act together.  It isn’t once you’ve learned enough or done enough.

It is now.  The “new is here” … now.  The new frontier is here for you … right now, today.  This is a fresh beginning, a new start and “blank slate” to truly hear what God says about you as an authentic man of Christ.  How exciting is that?

Second affirmation of the message – a quote that John used in December that really stuck with me at the retreat and that is on the first page of the book“The spiritual life cannot be made suburban.  It is always frontier.  We who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.”

Lastly – from Ransomed Heart’s monthly letter – he talks about the Chronicles of Narnia and the Hobbit – where innocent people were called out of their comfort zones and into very epic situations, situations where “you will never be the same” afterwards.  Why is it that God seems to call us out of our comfort zones?  Because God is growing us all up.  “It helps us to understand why Jesus keeps changing the picture in our lives; he keeps introducing “new frontiers” to each of us.  Just when you think you’ve got parenting down, your kids enter into a new stage; just when you think you’ve got a pretty good grasp on your inner world, Jesus shows you something that needs healing.  Relationships are always changing; church life changes; your body, your income – my goodness, can you think of anything that doesn’t change?  And have you wondered why?  Why does God arrange for new frontiers to always be cropping up in our lives?  Because God is growing us all up.”

“New frontiers” is a great intro to Wild at Heart.  We are pushing here into some vast new frontiers together and our lives may never be the same.  Lord may it be so!

Movie clips – we showed this clips this morning.  Watch them and see what they stir in you…

What do they stir in you as man?  The hero inside you, just waiting to be awakened?  A beauty to rescue?  A band of brothers?  Excurvatus ex se – a life lived outward?

These stories call to us as men.  They awaken us, awaken the soul of a man.  Why is that?  These stirrings/longings you have as a man are there for a reason.  These scripts were written this way because the writers share the same longings you have – that you would live your life fully alive, outwardly for others and live in freedom, alive and true. Psalm 119 says – “I run the the path of your commands because you have set my heart free.”

This is where we are going on this adventure this winter/spring – to set the hearts of men free.  May God bless and guide us in this new frontier.

LiveUP!  LiveOUTWARD!