Today we concluded our Spring series of Manschool with the last segment of the movie “A Story Worth Living”. You can buy a copy of the movie here … https://store.ransomedheart.com/collections/video/products/a-story-worth-living?variant=22869610118
It is bitter sweet to end our sessions and break but we do so by design. One, it is for rest and refreshment but more importantly, it is to challenge you to fight for community. Manschool makes it easy in that we meet each week but now that we’re taking a break for the summer, if you want community, you’re going to have to fight for it. We’ll be posting more about this but many of our small groups are already making plans to continue to meet over the summer. This is a challenge – will you pursue community? Will you find 2-3 men and push into each other’s stories, going deep into each other’s lives? Tell your story – all the gory details – and then let the next man tell his. Don’t hold back. Don’t hide. Get it all out on the table and let other men speak into your story. If you do this, you will see some amazing things happen.
The only question is … will you do it? Will you?
Here are the notes from today…
Darkness tries to assault us. “Can we do this?” “Can we get off this mountain?” The feeling is, “No. We can’t do this. We won’t make it through this”. That sustained assault against your story is real. Fear is the thief of joy.
The turning point in every good story is the rescue.
This is the hope of the larger story – that your story can turn out differently. In this age, the belief is that all of life is an accident and when it ends, it’ll be an accident that takes it out. You don’t want your life to be an accident.
Whatever our story has been, whatever darkness we have known, we’re all looking for redemption. To get to that place where the old shame has no power – that it is no longer a prison but rather we see it as the doorway for your heart to be revived.
Because there is this larger story at work, there is hope, there is healing and there is redemption.
God can rescue your story. “I am no longer fishing alone” — “My brother’s words spoken against me, they no longer have any power over me”.
When living in the larger story, you live in a sense of anticipation. “How will this story end?” A really good celebration remembers the losses and the hardships but it also savors the victory. As story is only as good as its ending.
We are made for restoration and every good ending has something of evil being addressed and vanquished and something of those being divided being brought back together again. (think Gladiator)
This complexity of justice and mercy and goodness really is the core of the sweet desire every one of us has when all things are put well and good again.
At the restoration of all things, there will be nothing in between us, no misunderstandings, no envy. We will know and we will be known. And it will be good. Everything we’ve lost will be returned. There will be no goodbyes. You’ll never lose anything or anyone ever again. There is no heartache, no opposition, no hatred. Nothing evil or confusing or negative will ever come at you. All that will come towards you will be good.
This life here is partial at best. Good things always come to an end. Though the age has become cynical, deep in our hearts, we all long for the happily ever after.
Are you living with a sense of anticipation?
What are you looking forward to?
How do you want your story to end?
And then this final challenge from AW Tozer that goes right at this Summer Challenge – what kind of soil as a man will you be?
There are two kinds of ground: Fallow ground and ground that has been broken up by the plow.
The fallow ground is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow. Safe and undisturbed, it sprawls lazily in the sunshine, the picture of sleepy contentment. But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility: Never does it see the miracle of growth … nor see the wonders of bursting seed. … Fruit it can never know because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.
In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken, but … the seed shoots up its miracle of life. All over the field the hand of God is at work in the … ever renewed service of creation. … Nature’s wonders follow the plow.
There are two kinds of lives also: The fallow and the plowed. . . .
The man of fallow life is contented with himself and the fruit he once bore. He does not want to be disturbed. … The spirit of adventure is dead within him. … To be has taken the place of to become. He has fenced himself in, and by the same act, he has fenced out God and the miracle.
The plowed life has, in repentance, thrown open the protecting fences and sent the plow of confession into the soul. … Such a life has put away defense, and has forsaken the safety of death to the peril of life. Discontent, yearning, contrition, courageous obedience to the will of God: these have bruised and broken the soil till it is ready again for the seed. … Fruit follows the plow … as God “rains down righteousness.”