The Quest for Authentic Manhood…

lion

The quest to LiveUP in Authentic Manhood  – a life lived outward – is a passionate pursuit of a different kind of greatness.  Though its path runs counter to selfish ambition, it is no less ambitious. 

It inspires the rare man who longs to live a heroic life that honors God. 

It calls a man to a new kind of courage.

It demands so much of us. 

Integrity not only harnesses our passions, it focuses our intentions.  There are some paths, some options and some directions we simply will not choose no matter the cost to us of standing firm in this Quest.

 

Kingdom Man #6 – your role in the Kingdom

Every man has a role to play in the Kingdom.  The Church is the local manifestation of the Kingdom of God established by Jesus to prevent the gates of hell from advancing.  It is a battle.  Men play — or it must be said “should play” —- a huge role in the Church and therefore, the battle.

However, men have checked out of the Church and left it to the women.  The Church, therefore, is not in alignment with God and if the Church isn’t aligned with God, God will not move through the Church.  Take Christ Community out of this and just look at the mainline denominations ordaining women as pastors, elders, bishops and CEO’s of the Church and now they are changing their views on homosexuality (The Presbyterian Church PCUSA has just changed its stance on homosexuality along with cutting ties with Israel) and ordaining gays and performing gay weddings…fully embracing the gay lifestyle.

The Church at large is out of alignment with God and therefore, the Church isn’t relevant in the battle.  Oh God is moving and God will triumph, He just isn’t moving through the Church proper.

Satan wants to keep men disconnected from the Church.  If he can disconnect the men — which has happened — he’ll knock the Church out of alignment.  God, on the other hand, has called men to lead the Church.  Period.  He calls us as leaders because men are responsible.

You are responsible for the Church, you are responsible for your wife, responsible for your kids, responsible for your home and YOU are responsible to be the spiritual leader in your home.  Period.  No excuses.  When God came looking for Adam, He was looking for Adam.  He was asking Adam, “What happened?  I left you in charge.  I left you responsible.”    Adam – “but this women Eve…you gave to me…she…”     God – “Oh no Adam, it isn’t her fault, I put you in charge.  If Eve strayed, it’s on you.  You are responsible.”

The responsibility men has been given to us.  Don’t default it away to your wife.  Lead.  Lead your homes.  Lead this Church.  StepUP.

The proof of your walk is the impact you make and it starts at home.  It is the impact you make on your wife and your kids and their walk with God that truly is the mark of a man after God’s own heart.

One last thing and we repeat this over and over and over as a foundational part of LiveUP and that is “Don’t do life alone.”  Man is not meant to be a lone ranger.  A lone wolf sounds cool and tough and it sounds manly.  “I’m just a lone wolf out there doing business and being a man.  I don’t do men’s groups or opening up.”   That man…is going to get taken out.  It’s only a matter of time.  That man is kidding himself.  A lone wolf isn’t cool and he is no threat to you if you stumble across him in the woods.  A pack of wolves is another story.  They have no fear.  But a lone wolf has been kicked out of the pack by the alpha and in reality, he’s just a scavenger and is as afraid of you as you are of him.

Don’t be a lone wolf.  Don’t check out of this.  You need tribe.  You desperately need tribe.  Don’t kid yourself.  Engage in community.  Engage in your small groups on Wednesday morning.  Be real.  Open up and trust these other men to draw out of you the source of life and to defeat the shame and condemnation we all feel.

Next week – we are going to go right after shame.  We’re going to tackle it hard.  Please join us.

Summary of the past 3 years – this captures it

This is the final summary of the past three years.  I believe this quote summarizes and perfectly captures what it is we’re trying to do at ManSchool.  This captures community.  It captures “Tribe”.  It is man battling for man, calling him UP to a higher standard, pushing him towards the Father.

We all have our battles.  We’re all beaten down, afraid, unsure and disengaged.  But many of us have awakened.  The Lord has ignited something – a newness, a freshness of radically seeking after Him.  In so doing, we’re finding Life, glorious Life.

Is there still pain, heartache and setbacks?  Of course.  But there is life.  Sweet life.

And we’re engaging in community of men in a way we’ve never done before.  We are experiencing “tribe” and the Lord is blessing it…

Many men live shallow lives but deep beneath their surfaces lie grand purposes buried. Every man struggles with sort of a self-dummying down.  Day to day lives are the pursuit of the insignificant.

These men are haunted by a desire to search out and find grand purposes.

Those purposes are not absent in you – they are just buried.

Proverbs 20:5 “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters but a man of understanding draws them out.”

The proverb reminds us of two actions that must take place…

First, every redeemed man must come to understand that he possesses a glory that has been buried, recognizing that he has allowed silt to settle into the deep channels of his soul, turning the depths into shallows.

He needs a settled belief that he is not to remain shallow.

Second, he needs other men. Understanding men who persevere with unfailing love to draw out the hidden glory from the depths of a murky soul.

Men of understanding are rare; few are willing to engage in the tedious and dirty job of dredging.  It is worth it.  Deep treasures of the soul lie buried under the silt in deep waters. 

This is why we do what we do. This community, this tribe is available to you.                                  

But you must act.

Summary of the past 3 years – The Vine

Perhaps the most important part of the foundation of ManSchool is our need for constant connection to The Vine.  Apart from the Vine, we are a dead branch.  This is a daily call.  Coming to church once a week is not close.  It will not sustain you.  You fight a war on three fronts – Satan, your flesh and this world.  To attempt to fight a battle with enemies on all your flanks alone and disconnected from the Vine is madness.  It’s suicide.

Men the only chance we have is a radical connection to the Vine.  Let Him feed you, nourish you.  Take your every struggle to Him… “What now Father?”  Let him father you.  Let him guide you.  Going back to our earlier comments on fathering – we all have this deep need as men for a father to say, “I am proud of you.  I love your life.  I love what you’ve become.”  And while our earthly fathers may not have fulfilled that role, the Father, the Vine longs to be your Father.  Let Him guide you.

The Vine

You have to create relational space for God – make room for Him.  Our lives are crazy madness.  You cannot run at the pace of the world and hope to have God.  Our lives have no margin for our own soul, let alone God.

Nourish your soul. Be kind to yourself.  Get away from the madness.  Unplug from the matrix.  Turn off your cell phone.  Turn off the TV.  Escape this feeling of urgency.  Create calm and invite God in.  See what your Father would want to whisper to you in the cool of the evening walking in the garden.  Be still…and know He is God.

You live in a completely toxic culture.  Period.  Accept it.  You face three mortal enemies – Satan, your flesh and this world.  None of these three will relent.

Jesus wants to feed you life, Zoe (the Greek word for life is “Zoe”) daily.   Like a vine feeds a branch.  Drawing upon God is your first task.  It takes priority over your wife, your job and your kids.  Start with Him.  Draw upon the stream of living water to be nourished.

Spend time alone in the “real” instead of the artificial.  Beach.  Mountains.  Camping.  Sitting by a rocky creek just listening to the water flow.  Watch the sun rise or set.  Feel God.

Relief or Restoration?  There is a huge difference.  A beer, a bag of chips, your chair and the remote is just relief.  Porn seems like relief.  Even sex with our wives can feel like relief.  “Just give me some relief”.   Restoration restores the soul vs. the escape of relief.  Relief is a bottomless pit.  Restoration is fresh water, fresh wind, fresh fire that heals and equips and connects you to Zoe.

Summary of the past 3 years – Agreements

In part III of our summary of the past three years, a common theme of “agreements” has come through.  Agreements are dangerous to our heart.  They are debilitating.  We make a mistake or we fail and we “accept” the “fact” that we are a failure.  This agreement cements and begins form the basis of all future decisions.  Or, our heart is broken in a relationship and we decide, we agree that we can no longer trust anyone.  Satan uses these agreements to pound us.

Christ came as the great liberator.  He came to break to bondage of sin and brokenness.  He destroys these agreements and sets the captive free…

Agreements

Let’s face it, life is full of some crap. Cancer, job loss, rebellious kids, theft, backstabbing, hurts, checked-out fathers, etc.  If I quit in the face of the crap and resign myself to “God isn’t for me”, I lose.  Shoveling the crap of life = these are the miles that make a man.  Forged by iron, by tough times, we grow into the Kingdom man God intends for us.

We are not of those who shrink back. We used to be but not anymore.

What we say to ourselves and to others can determine whether we live imprisoned or we live free.

Where the river flows, there is life. But the river can beat you up along the way.  Nowhere in the Bible does it promise us a “pain-free life”.  Too many of us have hurts – father wounds, broken marriages, pornography addiction, failed in business – and we are washed up on the shore, hiding in the tall grass, hoping to go unnoticed and avoiding future hurts.  Agreements paralyze us from being what God called us to be.

Make no agreements. During a tough time, during an assault, make no agreements.  The enemy will suggest all sorts of things like “God doesn’t care” or “You’re not worth fighting for” or “She’ll never change” or “You’re a failure”. Don’t agree.  Call it out (out loud so Satan can hear you) in the name of Jesus as a lie.

Safe? Just where did we get this idea that God’s optimal desire for us was that we’d live an insulated life, in a bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing and worry about nothing? Where did that come from? Jesus died to free us from the fear of death and so we can truly live.  It’s time to get back in the river!

Nothing will heal you if you are ungrateful.

The redeemed heart is good. It isn’t desperately wicked as many believe.  We battle our flesh but the redeemed heart is good.  Jesus took your heart of stone and gave you a new heart.  A good and noble heart.  Christ came to heal the broken-hearted and set the captive free.

Summary of the past 3 years – Community

in part II of our summary of the past three years, here is a brief summary of the consistent themes that have been coming through on the importance of community/tribe…

Community – the tribe of men

Man was built for community, built for “tribe”. He can’t do this alone.

If you keep your struggles silent, in the dark, Satan is going to thrash you. Bring them to community, into the light and their power over you breaks.

Imagine you are surrounded by a small company of men who know you well. They understand we are at war.  They know the purpose of God is to bring men fully alive.  They are living in the four streams – walking with God, intimate counsel, deep restoration and spiritual warfare.  They fight for you and you for them.  You could have a fellowship of the heart.  It is there and it’s rich and powerful.

Community pulls each other up. It listens.  It doesn’t say, “Oh, I’ve got that too” and then take over the conversation.  It listens

Community elevates. It doesn’t allow me to wallow.  It doesn’t accept mediocrity.  It calls me UP to live my most heroic life.  If I’m doing life alone, I miss all this.

True community is something you’ll have to fight for. You’ll have to invest time and energy to get it.  You’ll have to fight to keep it.  Without it, you’ll go back into captivity.  This is why small group fellowships thrive overseas.  They need each other.  They have no other options but community.

Summary of the past 3 years – Fathering

I was going to cover this tomorrow morning as a recap of where we’ve been and as a set up for Kingdom Man.  We thought for those new men starting ManSchool tomorrow (about 10-15 first time guys) we thought this recap would serve as a summary of the foundation of what God has been building upon in our community.  But we will instead post these on the blog and jump right into Kingdom Man tomorrow.

Going over our notes from the past three years, some really consistent themes emerge around four key areas – Fathering, Community/Tribe, Agreements and the Vine.  Today, we’ll share the Fathering summary with no other commentary.  Hopefully this will trigger good food for thought…

Fathering

We “pedestal” other men because we look at a part of his life and compare it to part of my life.  We transpose that his “whole life” looks great because this one part looks so good, so appealing.  This is radically unfair to our heart.

 It is OK, even holy, to say “I don’t know”.  Mentors (at any stage) are a very good thing.

 At the core of every young boy, every teenage boy, every young man and 50-year old man is the need for a father saying, “Son, I love you. I love your life.  I love what you’re about.”

 “I can do this alone” won’t work long-term and it creates great cost for those around you.

 Chasing performance to find life is a bottomless pit.  “It” isn’t there.  You cannot “performance” your way to filling that hole in your soul.

 The pain you have been through, experiences, the wounds that cut deep, the failures you’ve known create this space for doubt and fear.