it is part of your story…

The constant theme all winter as we’ve talked about the storms of life is that they become an integral part of our story.  We can’t see the reason why these things happen in the middle of the storms but later, after time passes, we can see how God was moving and what He has done with these storms to 1) shape us and 2) reach others for Him through them.

Yes, God will use your storm to reach others.  I’ll get to that at the end.

First, Erwin McManus said three things in the story of his prostate cancer …

If you’re not honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone else.  When we close ourselves off from our inner pain and struggles, we inevitably close ourselves off to everyone in our lives as well.

I’m convinced that many people have lost their faith in God because they have confused source with process.  Yes, God is the source of all peace, and that source is available to all of us freely.  The process, though, requires struggle and resilience and does not come without a cost.

I stepped into my pain.  I walked through my pain.  You see, one thing I was certain of was that on the other side of my pain, there awaited my freedom.  So many of us experience pain as the boundary of our limitations.  When we experience pain, that’s when we choose to stop.   The way of peace is not without pain.  The way of peace comes only by walking through the pain.

We started this season off with the story of Katherine Wolf – the young mom who had a massive brain stem stroke six months after the birth of her first child.

She said – “I kept wondering if God had made a mistake.  Should I have died?  God clearly said to me more than once, Katherine, you are not a mistake.  I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.  I know better than you.  I’m God, you’re not.  Remember that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in your mother’s womb, and that is when the AVM formed in your brain.  There is a purpose in all of this.  Just wait.  You’ll see.  There is no replacing you!  James could never have a Mom like you.  Think about what this will mean for his life.  Mommy’s stroke will always be a part of his story.  That is a gift to him.  It will inform his life.  Trust me.  I am working EVERYTHING out for your good.

Don’t doubt the truth just because you’re in the darkness now.  What’s true in the light is true in the dark.  I know you can’t fight this.  That doesn’t matter.  All you must do is be still and let Me fight for you.  I will complete the good work I began when I gave you new life.

My nature is to redeem and restore and strengthen.  This terrible season will come to an end.  You will suffer for a little while and then I will carry you out of this.  You will see my goodness in the land of the living.  Lean into this hope.  Most people will never go through this kind of hell on earth.   I have chosen you.  Live a life worthy of this special calling you have received.”

Think about that – little James’ Mom’s brain stem stroke will be an integral part of his life story.  Imagine how that little boy will be shaped by this.  Imagine what he can do with this story to reach others with the Gospel.  And remember this last word God gave her, “you will suffer for a little while” …

These light momentary afflictions are producing for you an eternal weight of glory

Remember – there is a purpose in everything we go through.  There is outcome on the other side.  We all have a role to play.  Life is not fair.  Some of us are born with gifts others don’t possess.  Some of us are born with disabilities that others will never have.  Life will take its turns against me in ways that you may never have to endure.

It is not for me to question “Why?”.  It is for me to ask, “What now LORD?”  Not why but what.

And then there is the song, “I Raise a Hallelujah”.  It’s become the anthem, the battle cry of Manschool this winter/spring.  It’s our song.  It so fits exactly with everything we’ve been working through.  Here is the back story to that song …

At the end of this video, Jaxon’ mom said, “This is part of our story now.  It’s part of Jaxon’s story – that the world will know that miracles happen.”

 

McManus, Katherine Wolf, Jaxon … the storm is now a part of my story.

 

The Pastor at Bethel said this, “This Gospel is not haphazard.  It’s not a guessing game.  It’s the absolute nature of God revealed in His goodness and kindness.  What is necessary is that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power.  There is no other option.  We are called to this.  It is our responsibility.  It is our privilege.”

The Pastor said this so very well — “it is necessary that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life”.  Read that = we have a choice to make.  Will I shrink back into defeat or will I choose to step UP into the battle?  And then, “with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power”.  The storms will come.  We must first decide how or if we’ll even fight and second, we will choose not to blame God or think He has abandoned us rather, we will shift the narrative into believing Who He says He is!

Last point … this story of Jaxon is a miracle.  They don’t all turn out that way.  Whether Jaxon made it or not, a song was born out of this horrific storm.  A song that is being sung all over the world today.  A song that has had millions of downloads.  A song that has become the battle cry for so many.  A song that has come at just the right moment for so many – right before the marriage ended, right before she walked out, right before a life was taken, right before a decision was reached to give up.  People have heard this song and done an about face and said, “No, I will fight.  I will praise YOU in the middle of this storm” and the enemy has fled.

all from the suffering of an innocent child.  PRAISE GOD.

When the storms come…

There will two posts from today – first, the notes from the discussion.  The second post will relate to the story/video from Catalyst.    REMINDER – NO manschool next week (day before Thanksgiving) we will see you the following Wednesday.

here are the slides from today > Which Kingdom 10 – storms

Here is the “Tribe Tune” – Who YOU say I am … when the storms come and you are beat up and not certain of how it will turn out, LISTEN to this song.  “You ARE for me, not against me.  I am who YOU say I am!”

Rock bottom will teach you lessons that mountain tops never will.

Vegetation doesn’t flourish on mountain tops.  The lush growth is in the valleys.  When you’re in a difficult place, realize that the LORD either placed you there or allowed you to be there for reasons perhaps known now only to Himself.  Rest assured of this, whatever God has planned for you is way bigger than your comfort zone.

Last week, Derrick said – something to the effect of – “Detours come to break our pride and humble us, so we can be worth His glory”.

Not sure I heard that right, but I sat and pondered it.  “Worth His glory”?

The LORD has a glory – of that, there can be no doubt.  His glory will go where it will go.  Will it land on me?  Not if I’m full of pride.  Not if I lack humility.  Not if I forget from Whom all blessings flow.

Full of pride.  No humility.  Equals > “I’m in control.  Success is mine.  I made it.  I’m beautiful.  I’m talented.  I made “this”.  The self-made man.

Is that man worth God’s glory?

His glory will move and rest upon those in whom He finds favor.  That man that made it all on his own … the glory of God won’t come.  Glory might.  Success might.  Fame might.  But it won’t the glory of God.  It’ll be the glory of this world.

God’s glory won’t come and rest upon that man because he seemingly doesn’t need God.

Which Kingdom will I serve?

CS Lewis

“I’m not sure God wants us to be happy.  I think He wants us to love and to be loved.  But we are like children, thinking our toys will make us happy and that the whole world is our nursery.  Something must drive us out of that nursery and into the lives of others and that something is suffering.”

Suffering?  Why does suffering drive us out of the nursery?

Because suffering reminds us that the “things” of this world – the toys in the nursery – can never satisfy us.  The suffering still comes no matter how many toys we have.  What then?

Craig Groeschel

“If we’re going to become stronger in our faith, more committed to God, more in love with Jesus, then our beliefs will be tested.  They must be tested.  Henry Blackaby explains, “Will God ever ask you to do something you are not able to do?  The answer is yes.  All the time!” 

People will tell you that God won’t give you more than you can bear.  While they probably mean well, that’s simply not true.  The Bible does say that God won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can handle (1 Cor 10:13).  But He often gives you more than you can handle, so you can learn to depend wholly on Him.

Your times in the valley may not be pleasant, but it’s in the valleys of life that you grow closer to God and stronger in your faith.

Mountain tops can trick us.  When everything is golden, it is easy to forget God.

God knocked me off my horse 3 years ago.  He’s kept me off it the whole time.  There have been no mountain tops in those 3 years.  He is shaking, humbling, molding, breaking me.  He has a purpose in this far beyond what I can comprehend.

At one point this summer, I had a former business partner pass away at 50 from pancreatic cancer, my firm was being examined by our regulator, my wife spent 3+ weeks in the hospital in 4 visits, she lost 20% of her body weight and there was a day or two in there where I wasn’t sure she would survive.  My dad was also in the hospital and we had to negotiate and plan my daughter’s wedding.

Craig Groeschel

Often when we want God to do something, the solution wouldn’t require much of Him – a quick nod, a spoken word, an answered prayer – in the grand scheme of things, just a small miracle.  If only He would allow me to be rewarded for all my hard work!  Or just heal my sick child!  Or help my loved one overcome depression!  Or break my sexual addiction!  Or bring my prodigal child back home!  Or at least let me win the lottery!

As we grow to trust God, we must recognize what I consider to be some of the fundamentals of growing in the Christian faith: awe, respect, reverence, appreciation for God being God, acceptance of our limitations as human beings.

We can’t know everything or see into other people’s hearts.  And we sure can’t see ahead to how it all will unfold.  But God can.

Like a master story teller, He is crafting an epic in which He allows each of us to play a significant role.  There are no minor characters or bit players in God’s story.  We are all important.

He’ll never abandon us and he’s working everything for our good.

So, when we are suffering, ranting and raving about all the unfairness of life, we would do well to remember that there is so much more going on than we can see or understand from our limited perspective.  We’re only seeing a tiny sliver or a much bigger story, perhaps only one sentence or one paragraph on just a single page.

In the middle my storm this summer, I had zero certainty of how it would all unfold.  I didn’t know if my wife would survive.

But I can say with great confidence, God sustained me through that.  It could not have been done on my own.  And remember this from earlier … “I’m in control.  Success is mine.  I made it.  I’m beautiful.  I’m talented.  I made “this”.   This summer, there was NONE of that.

Utter — complete — dependence —- on Him.  And in that posture … God’s glory can come and rest upon you.

(part 2 in a moment…)

 

Fear and hiding… why we pose…

here are the slides from this morning > Fear and hiding

Fear generally stems from three areas in our lives –

1) we were raised in a fearful environment by fearful parents … always worried about what could go wrong.  That spirit of fear was planted in us and we find ourselves today as worried about life as our parents were.  And… we find that this fear paralyzes us into a corner of seeking safety above any risk.  The “fear of fear itself” is debilitating.

2) control – we were probably raised in a controlling environment by controlling parents and their obsessive desire to control every outcome has taken root in us and as a kid growing up in that environment, we did our own thing to rebel from the control and find our freedom.  Oftentimes, that led to heartache of our own doing.  Or maybe, it has nothing to do with our parents.  Maybe, it is personal choices we made that brought on a lot of pain and somewhere along the way, we made an agreement to never be exposed again and so to accomplish that, we set out to radically control every possible outcome in our lives.  Whenever we sense there is something out of our control, fear rushes in.  Anxiety comes.  Anger follows.  We must have our way.

3) concealment – hiding.  We hide.  We’ve sinned, we’ve messed up and rather than confess it and release it, we hide it.  Bury it.  Pretend it didn’t happen.  Brush it off.  Pose.  Put on the mask that we don’t struggle, we have it all figured out, we don’t fear, we aren’t vulnerable, we didn’t make that mistake, it didn’t happen.  And then… it happens again.  The temptation rushes back to try it again.  The lies follow of no one will know”, “all your buddies are looking at porn”, or “you’ve got this under control, a few drinks every night won’t hurt”.  Rather than admit we’re weak, tempted or might have a problem, we stuff it down, rinse and repeat.  The cycle continues.  We bury ourselves further into the lies of “I’ve got this under control, no one needs to know about this” and then, the enemy pounds you with condemnation.  The big fear is “What if I am exposed?  What if everyone found out who the real me is?”  THAT giant must fall.

The enemy thrives in the darkness.  He never wants you to confess.  Giving into fear is expressing faith in the enemy.  Speaking of your weaknesses, your failures, your mistakes, owning them, coming clean, dropping the mask of the poser who has it all figured out … THAT is faith in the Lord.  As believers in Christ, why do we hide?  What do we have to hide?  What do we have to fear?  If we believe and profess our faith in Christ and believe in the power of the Cross and the healing of the resurrection … why would we ever again need to hide?

You may suffer from all three of the above.  You may have posed all your life.  You may have bought the lie that it is too late for you to change.  I’m telling  you that right now, right this very moment as you read this, your life can turn completely around this very second.  Right now… the giant of fear can fall in your life.  The poser can die.  It is never too late to be authentic.  In fact, it is in defiance of tyranny that you can stand right where you are, close your eyes, throw your hands up and confess your sins and lay them at the foot of the Cross.  Today … you can leave all that behind and in so doing, experience a sweet freedom you thought you’d never again experience.  You cannot slay the giant of fear on your own.  Some of this roots back to how you were raised as a kid and the patterns are baked into your life for 40,50 or 60 years.  But … Jesus.  Jesus can slay that giant right now, this very minute.  You can begin the process of letting go of your past and how you were raised and you can let go of the fear that consumes you and runs you life and you can let the Lord Jesus run your life from today forward.  You can let go of trying to control every future outcome and live today, for today trusting God with just today.  Will you surrender?  Will you give it all up today and drop the old self, the old patterns, the old failures and lay it all at the Cross?

Fear and your Promised Land

Why worship matters …

I’ve seen you move, come move the mountains and I believe, I’ll see you do it again.  You made a way, where there was no way and I believe, I’ll see you do it again.  Walking around these walls I thought by now they’d fall but you have never failed me yet.  Waiting for change to come, knowing the battle’s won, for you have never failed me yet.  Your promise still stands.  Great is your faithfulness.  I’m still in your hands.  This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet.  I know the night won’t last.  Your word will come to pass.  My heart will sing your praise again.  Jesus you’re still enough.

It matters.   So much.

The attack of the enemy will come.  We do not live in Eden.  There are giants in the land taunting us but we have to see beyond the giant.  We must cast our eyes upon the Victor.  We know the war is over – we know the the Winner.  Faith trumps fear – “yes, giant you are big and you taunt and yes, you can knock me down (if I let you) … BUT … I see beyond you and you’re already dead, you just don’t know it yet.  I do.  I’m looking past you to Jesus and He’s WAY bigger than you or anything you can throw at me.”

We win by faith.  We win by our worship.  We win by believing in our Promised Land. 

Fear is a giant – one of the most common giants that must fall.  Fear can taunt us and harm us.  Fear can get a foothold in our lives and begin to dominate us.  Fear can demoralize us and ultimately diminish God’s glory in our lives – i.e. the way we reflect God’s glory.  The way we show the world who God is and our ability to walk out our testimony – that’s what is lessened.

It doesn’t always look like fear.  Are you anxious, nervous, worried, stressed or feeling dread?  Are you tense or having stomach problems?  Is sleep very hard for you?  There’s a good chance fear is at work.  Fear chews away at our lives and erodes our sense of confidence and well-being.  It robs us of sleep and rest.  Fear blinds us and steals our praise.

Fear seeks to obscure our view of God and crush our confidence.  It will yell insults to try to convince us that we’re going to live with this giant the rest of our lives.

The opposite of fear is not being bold and courageous.  The opposite of fear is faith.  Faith beings by us saying, “I have confidence in God that He is bigger than this giant.”

Americans are the most medicated culture in the history of mankind.  We take prescriptions by the millions for worry, stress, anxiety, despair and terror – all cousins of fear.  Some get medication from their doctor and some from a bottle.  But the end goal is always the same.  We want to take the edge off.  We want to decompress.  We just want to forget about the things that are troubling us for a while.  We want to not be afraid.  The answer for fear is seldom as simple as saying, “fear, go away in Jesus’ name.”  Fear is symptom of a deeper cause.

Goliath was a champion.  He had a record, a history and that’s significant because a lot of us have a history with our giants.  These giants didn’t just show up this morning.  You’ve been battling some of these for years, decades.  Ever heard these voices?

Remember when you went to that retreat and promised how your life was going to change?  Guess what, it didn’t.

Remember that time you thought you were going to be all big and bold and you lit a candle by your bed and said, “the light of God is with me?”  Too bad sucker, I still won out on that day.

Remember that time you went to church and they had that message on life change, and you thought you felt something different that day?  Nope, nothing changed.  Won’t then.  Won’t now

That’s the voice of your Goliath.

He harassed them for 40 days and 40 nights.  He came out every morning and every night.  He started the day taunting, and he ended the day taunting.  He started the day demoralizing and diminishing, and he ended the day demoralizing and diminishing.  Giants are relentless.  They don’t take days off.

So, we must battle.  It isn’t one quick prayer and this is behind me.  No, he’s far too crafty for that.  He will come back.  This is daily.  It is drawing upon the Vine.  It is worship.  It is soaking in God’s Word.  It is daily conversation with Father.  It is preparing before you go into toxic environments, girding with prayer and inviting God in ahead of you.  It is a process.  Day by day.

God paid it all – for you – you are incredibly valuable.  You have a Promised Land – the area God created you for where you can thrive and cast glory to God.  The enemy is trying to dominate your thoughts, mind, will and emotions to keep you from seeing your creative value and seeing the price Heaven paid for you.  Bad fear is chronic and debilitating – that is not from God.  It’s a controlling spirit by the devil to keep us off our promised land.  Once I understand that isn’t me, but a separate identity, I can begin to take authority over it.

By believing this and pursuing our Promised Land, we keep our eyes on God and what He believes about us and there is no room for the roaring lion.  When he roars, we roar back!

Exposing the roaring lion of fear

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you.”   Luke 10:19

We have authority over him.

1 Peter – he prowls around seeking who he may devour – “may” not “can”. i.e. we’ve given him permission, an opening.

60% of believers don’t believe in the enemy – they have no grasp they’re being stalked.

Be sober, be alert … means stay disciplined.  The areas I let get out of control, are the areas where the attack will come.  He’s your adversary whether you like it or not.

He’s active. He’s coming to your territory trying to produce in you a mistake that will then give him an opportunity.  Do I fear him?  No.  But I should understand him.

Lions are nocturnal – you’re safe in the day but not at night.  It’s dangerous at night.  Darkness is the devil’s domain.  You’re safe in the light.  Sin is his domain and you can’t cast him off it.

Ephesians 5:9-15 (Instructions for believers)“Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.  Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is the light.  Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk – not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”

Where two or more are gathered in His name, there Christ shall also be – i.e. don’t be a lone ranger.  Surround yourself with Godly people.  The devil will come at you but he won’t see you, he’ll see Jesus because they are in the spiritual realm.

You’re safe in Christian fellowship.  Satan is trying to provoke you to break off on your own.  Lions don’t attack the herd, they intimidate to try to get a weak one to break off alone.

Lions are territorial – don’t run from lions, they’ll kill you.  The purpose of the roar is to intimidate you so you’ll run away from his territory.

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  There is good fear – see a rattlesnake and fear appears, you heed the warning and move away and the fear subsides.  That fear is temporary, protective and circumstantial.  It comes, it goes, it protects you.

Bad fear is chronic and debilitating – that is not from God.  It is a controlling spirit by the devil to keep us off our promised land.  It’s not my emotion.  It’s a demonic spirit trying to keep me off what God has promised me.  Once I stop dealing with fear as my emotion and my weakness and I begin to understand that is a separate identity from me, I can begin to take authority over it.  It comes saying “you’re going to fail, you’re going to embarrass yourself…” it tries to intimidate.

So, when that spirit of fear comes, what are we to do?

“I bind you spirit of fear in the name of Jesus and every lie you’re telling me.  You’re a demon spirit and you’re on my territory.  You’re standing on my promised land.  Not only am I not going to give you this land, I’m taking it back from you.”

You have a promised land.  It is a God-given destiny and as sure as you have that destiny, there is an enemy standing on your land roaring at you, screaming, “you’re not good enough, smart enough … who do you think you are?”  He’s stealthy.  He implants this fear but doesn’t tell us it is him – he makes us think it is us.  I’m fearful of people, I’m fearful of failure, I’m fearful of what other people think, I’m fearful of rejection”NO, you are NOT.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.  It’s an add-on from the devil to try to control you.

It is time to expose the roaring lion and understand what he is up to. It’s time to take our land back. We have authority over him. Don’t run. Attack him. Run to the roar. He’s already been defeated. Kick him off your promised land and live your life as God intended you to live. Make a stand against a spirit of fear.

Prayer to break the power of fear …

“In the name of Jesus, I don’t have fear.  I’m not going to run from you.  I’m taking my territory back from you right now.  You’re standing on my promised land and I won’t rest until I have it back and you’re gone.  I bind your voice.  I bind your lies.  I bind your influence and in their place, I pray for a spirit of love, of power, and of sound mind.  God give me a spirit of love.  I want to be motivated by love, power and your wisdom.  I declare victory right now.  The devil will not devour me.  I’m the child of Almighty God.  I’m invested with divine authority and wherever I go, you go with me Lord Jesus.  Help me fulfill my perfect destiny in You. From today forward, when I hear that roar, I will run toward it and take authority over it and claim my promised land in Jesus name.”

Fear – how are you doing against it?

In the past week, how have you done battling fear in your life.  Is it there?  Do you even recognize it?  If you’re willing to take a look, I think you’ll be able to see places where fear has seized some of your territory and robbed you of life.

You have a Promised Land.  A divine plan for your life and fear is out to take that Promised Land away from you.  In many cases, it already has.

We’re going to take it back.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, of love and of sound judgment.”  2 Timothy 1:7

“I fear what other people think about me”.  “I fear I won’t succeed.”  “I’m fearful of failure.  “I’m fearful of rejection.”  NO you are NOT.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.  It’s an add-on from the devil and he’s trying to control you.

We’re going after the roaring lion of fear this fall at ManSchool and we’ve got a great talk on Wednesday that will bless you life, break down walls and show you the way to say “ENOUGH” to fear.  It will open the path so you can take back your Promised Land and live the life God intended for you to live.

what are you waiting for?

here are the slides from today > Goliath 3

Run the race … What is slowing you down or tripping you up?  It is time to strip off everything that is weighing you down.  In life, you only get to run once, so run to win.  To avoid stumbling and losing the race, don’t look back.  You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.  Don’t be anxious for about the next lap, focus on the next step.  Older and wiser people have come to understand their burdens are of no real importance.  We waste our strength extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own.  Time is your most valuable resource.  Save it and you’ve increased assets and decreased liabilities.  Travel light.  Ditch the baggage of self-sabotaging habits and pointless fears.  There enough painful trials in life; why endure the ones you can strip off?  You can never know how successful you can be until you get rid of the things that slow you down and trip you up.

Erwin McManus’ new book is the called The Last Arrow – save nothing for the next life.  He reminds us in this video that too many of us have equated the word “faith” with safety.  Nowhere in Scripture are we taught that as followers of Christ that our life will be safe.  If that’s the goal, that’s inward thinking — that life and faith is suddenly about me, my life, my comfort, my safety, etc.  Faith in Christ is risky and yet full of adventure but it begins with steps of faith and great courage…

Too many of us are so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover  how strong we really are.

For me, fear is rampant.  The very nature of my work is risky.  Many things I simply cannot control.  I am daily at risk of simply being wrong, at risk of a client saying, “Enough.  You don’t know what you’re doing.  I’m firing you”.  That fear has hung over me like a sword.  The overwhelming message I heard this past summer was on “fear”.  Fear is pervasive in our society and in religion.  It is the design of an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  He’s trying to steal your confidence.  Kill your desire to live and destroy your life.

How about you?  How much fear is in your life today?  Fear of failing?  Of being “found out” as a fake and a poser?  Fear of reaching for that next promotion?  Fear that you don’t have what it takes?  Fear of your wife?  Dig deep here.  Ask Father.

How do we combat this?  By the Word.  Yes, I am pressured in every way, but I am not crushed.  I am perplexed but not in despair.  Struck down but not destroyed.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).

I KNOW the cost of the Cross.  God paid it ALL for me.  Christ emptied Himself … for me.  I KNOW what HE thinks of me … “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I know He delights in me and that I am His beloved son.

Sure, I will make mistakes in my career.  Yes, no doubt, I will lose clients for a variety of reasons.  BUT … it does not define me.  What defines me is Christ.  He determines my worth, not man.  If I rest in this, trust in this, believe this then I have no fear.  Say it again, no man will define my worth.  Christ defines what I’m worth and to Him, I’m worth it all.

McManus asks us, “If you’re not where you want to be, why do you keep choosing to stay where you are?  If you know there is a future waiting for you, why do you choose to stay in the past?  It is time to move past what God will do “For you” and to what God wants to do “Through you”. 

It is time to stop being a lake that stores up all the resources for your consumption and instead to become a river that flows those resources downstream to rescue others.  It is time to LiveUP and LiveOutward (excurvatus) for others.  Once I no longer fear man, I can then go battle for man.  Jesus calls us.  “Don’t weep for Me!  Join Me!”  He poured Himself out as an offering.  We are also called to do the same.

Which man will you be…

Inward?  Bruised and deeply wounded, you curve into self, living by fear and addiction.  You move away from others.  Seeking gratification in all you consume, having your needs met and your pain medicated?

Outward?  Restored and knowing I am delighted in by Father, I move outward towards others.  I have no fear.  Self dies.  There is no need to pose anymore.  No need to medicate.  I am who I am.  I’m a river flowing life to others.

Which man will you be?

Harrison gave us a great testimony of what Authentic Manhood looks like.  He is leading his family.  One income, the budget is tight but there are no financial secrets.  He and his wife talk and are open about their finances.  He’s praying.  She is praying.  He heard Father saying “pick up your sword” and discovered that meant, give this money away, trust Me.  Bravely, he came home to tell Stephanie and she said, “Let’s do this”.  She trusts his leadership.  It’s beautiful.  Do you see why he talked this morning?  Fear, yes of course but it is temporary fear which he rose above by trusting Father.  Stepping up to lead his wife?  Yes.  Bold?  Yes.  Risk?  Yes.  Courage?  Yes.  THAT is faith.  It is NOT safe but it leads to beautiful, marvelous freedom!