words cannot capture…
Dave Jeffers a member of our tribe shares this…
So is it really worthwhile getting up early in the morning for Manschool? Does it really matter? Won’t I get more out of another hour of sleep? For those of you who might be thinking that, let me tell you my story. Last week we heard from Craig McConnell, a leukemia patient, talk about his experience in the hospital and God telling him that regardless of his circumstances, he want him to pray for others and not worry so much his own condition. So here’s where my story starts. I too, am a leukemmia patient and was scheduled for some out-patient surgery this past Friday. Mind you, this was the first surgery I have ever had, so I was just a little anxious. But I heard God speak to me through Craig’s experience. He was saying “I want you to pray for others, I’ve got you!” I kept hearing it over and over again all the way to Friday. So Friday morning came early. They always want you there at O-dark-thrity! We arrived about 5:15 AM and proceded to the surgery waiting room. We hadn’t been there more than a few minutes and they called me back. They gave me the gown that Craig affectionately referred to as a “bib” and hooked me up to the heart monitor. I had a low blood pressure and I laughed a bit with the nurse and told her I was supposed to worry about the other patients – God had me! While I laid there, I could hear the conversations with the other patients, understood what they were there for and knew how to pray for them. I laid there for over an hour without anyone interrupting me for IVs, or questions confirming why I was there, and continued to pray for others. I think that was a God-thing! Finally the Doctor came in and was amazed that no one had done anything to get me ready for surgery and proceded to get the ball rolling. Everything was happening at breakneck speed. Well, I obviously came through the surgery fine – after all, God had me! I couldn’t decide if I should share my experience or not but I thought if it helps just one other man to start coming to Manschool to see what God wants to say to him, it’s worth it. I believe God speaks to us in many ways and many times through others. I certainly heard God speak to me through Craig’s experience.
So I want to encourage you if you’re not coming to Manschool because you’re not sure what difference it might make, to show up and see what God has to say to you. You never know when God is going to speak to you, you just need to keep listening and show up! See you in the Fall!
We just had our last session of the summer. Attached is a link to the Ransomed Heart website and the “Men at the Outpost” series. These are free and there is a ton of great material for you to invest in as a part of your movement towards God. The link goes right to John’s talk with Craig about Craig’s battle with leukemia and how God showed up during the battle. Fast forward to about 10 minutes in to where Craig starts talking.
- We are in a love story set in a world at war.
- God is good. He is. He strides into the battlefield of suffering to show His goodness.
- Our enemy doesn’t relent. He doesn’t give you a break. When you are beaten down and the attack is relentless, he won’t back off.
- The enemy knows your vulnerabilities and weak spots and comes right at those weakest points.
- But in the midst of Craig’s worst moments, God would come and everything would fade “I’m safe in the hands and care of the Mighty One”.
- The primary value and component of the Kingdom is love.
- At the peak of the battle when Craig was just about give up, God came and asked him to battle/pray for others. What an amazing example of Excurvatus Ex Se!
- While seeming cruel at first, Craig says that is the moment when he felt closest to and the most like, God.
- There is no exemption from love. Communion with God is seen in loving others. The deepest reality is to love.
- Look for God in the little things – not the triumphant miraculous cure but rather in the little things. He’s there. He’s working.
- There is a cost to this life. If you haven’t known hardship and doubt, you will.
- Suffering/affliction changes people for the good or for the bad.
- Craig got to that moment many times of despair, hopelessness and just giving up and while it is so tempting because those things seem to offer relief but deep inside some part of him said, “NO. I will not give in to that.”
- If you have disappointment, chronic disappointment in one area of your life – you know that the marriage simply will never “be good” or that everything else is good but you just have this chronic disappointment, failure and shame with your finances – a ha! that’s the battlefield. The enemy is there wanting to instill in your heart this resentment towards God. He resents God. He hates God and he is trying to steer you to that same place to take on his posture towards God.
- But the evidence is extraordinarily clear that God uses our afflictions to shape us.
Last week we heard a great call from Erwin McManus on the “Here & the Now” – essentially that our faith is not for some far off distant time and place of eternity but rather it is for right here, right now. He reminded us that our greatest success/dreams cannot be achieved alone but in community, in a tribe. King David – who we attribute as a hero, was enabled by a tribe that came alongside him to fight for him. Agile and fearless warriors with faces that “looked like lions” joined the fight to help David become King. David couldn’t have done it alone. Loyal and united, they were filled with God’s spirit, they declared their loyalty to David and his success.
McManus reminds us that too many churches are suburban and safe and we cannot go to war if we want to remain safe. Our faith isn’t for “safe”. We have to remain humble, adaptable, flexible and courageous to go where we’re not wanted. Our culture doesn’t want us. Society isn’t committed to “each other” instead it is cannibalistic and committed to “winning at any cost”. They desire the pursuit of self and so while they don’t want us, they need us because we bring Jesus.
We must step UP and step into the life of adventure and risk and fight for those around us who are lost and off track. We are here for a reason and people will never connect to God if we don’t steward our responsibility. The church isn’t a buffet where we just take and take and take. Sadly too many of us come to church to get our fill, get our needs met, take what we need and leave nothing behind. No, our call is to go and give it all away to others and build the Kingdom of love, grace and forgiveness.
The message was clearly Excurvatus Ex Se – a life and a faith lived outward
Joe Morrow had this to say about last week – “Awesome message Wednesday morning! Especially appreciated the insight that Phil shared as it concerned the nature of Jesus and that we don’t ever see Jesus “taking” except for His quiet times in communion with the Father. A life lived outward is the only way to go. The movers and shakers in this life, this world are very rarely, if ever seen as greedy, self-centered, prideful, self motivated individuals. Rather those that make an impact are one, outward focused and two, supported by a cast of like-minded friends, family and community. As the men of this church we must pray and live the following: God, help me/us to take the focus off ourselves and turn it towards this lost world via the heart and cross of Jesus.” Amen.
Tomorrow – we wrap up manschool lite with a stirring message from Craig McConnell talking about his battle with leukemia and how God has moved in his life. You don’t want to miss it.
Robin is hosting a weekly prayer session to gather men to pray for the men’s ministry and manschool and our church.
They meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at 12:20pm in the prayer room.
Manschool is Wednesday morning at 6:30am. This week we will hear Erwin McManus give a powerful call to live outside of self, to live outward. He talks about their church and the church’s mission to LA and it is very, very appropriate to Christ Community Church.
Are we going to be a church that lives outward? Are we going to be members that just keep taking and taking and taking and never giving back? Are we going to keep coming to church to get what we need or are we going to use church as a platform to launch us out into this community to give them what they need??
Please join us.
at manschool this morning, we started with a focus on beauty. From the “And Sons Magazine” blog please take a minute and read this blog post and look at the pictures. Let it soak in …
and if you want a stunning look at the beauty only God could create, check out this 4 minute video…
Lastly, we heard a great talk from Andy Stanley on time. It is quite fitting that we started with a focus on beauty and then transitioned to time. Andy’s talk is a must watch session, especially as he shares insights from Bronnie Ware on her observations as a Hospice nurse. Moses in Psalms 90 reminds us that each of us has an allotment of time and when our time is up, it is up. Think of it this way – we all have this sliver of time and God is just sitting there with an “I just can’t wait to see what they do with their time”. Imagine God coming to manschool one day and handing each one of us $10,000 with the instructions to go out there that day and put that money to the most creative and highest best use we could imagine for someone else’s benefit. Then imagine in his anticipation as we come back into the room in the evening as we give an account for how we’ve invested that time…ummm…I meant to say that money.
You see, I kinda figure that’s the way Heaven’s going to be as we get to report what we did with the blessing that is our time on this earth.
Viewed in that context, that our days are numbered and we’d better make sure we’re making the most of them, it reorders our perspective on … time.
Next week we’re going to hear Erwin McManus speak on our call as believers to go and share our faith … to make the most of our time. To live outward, sharing these gifts we have with a lost and deeply broken world, instead of making it all about me and living inwardly.
Watch Andy. Let me know what you think. Join us next Wednesday at 6:30am. We only have two more weeks of this manschool “lite” but we’re getting a ton of great teaching.