what are we to do with this?

Reminder – manschool has been cancelled for the foreseeable future due to the virus.  

I talked to Bart Hanson today at Ransomed Heart.  He’s been going across the country visiting with supporters and his report was encouraging .  The folks he’s talking to are calm and at peace.  They know God is in control of this and that none of this is a surprise to the LORD.  Bart reiterated what I’ve been feeling all week – that this virus is a fabulous time to spread the Gospel.  Many of the people you know are hanging on by a thread swamped with worry.  Fear is running rampant.  Fear is a foul spirit and it is doing a ton of damage but in that damage, there is a wide-open door for God to move.

Brothers, you possess a peace that surpasses all understanding.  You possess an inner strength, forged in fire, that your faith has given you.  That is a precious commodity these days.  Those around you need your strength.  Your co-workers who are freaked out about their 401k or worried about their job or fearful of the virus need the calm and strength that you can give.  That strength is from God and they will see it.  They will ask you about it and you will have an incredible opportunity to explain to them why it is you are not fearful.  A recent study asked Americans “Being realistic what are the things you think can control in life?”  After studying the responses, it was determined that we actually can control only about 15% of those things we “think” we control.  It is times like this that we realize just how little “control” we have over anything in this life.

But we don’t have to worry over the things we can’t control.  We know where our peace rests.  We know the assurance of Jesus.  We know the price He paid our freedom.

Rejoice!  Smile.  Reflect the light of God’s glory in this dark world spinning out of control. We have hope, eternal hope and it is glorious.

With clear eyes and a full heart, we cannot lose.

hope is coming…

We shift gears away from the “clear eyes” part of this message and we move into the “full hearts” part of the narrative.

There is a crisis of hope in our world today.  Hope being that confident expectation that something good is coming.  Do you believe that?  Do you live it?  Do you face your day with the hope of good coming?

We desperately need union with God to navigate this world gone mad but the world we live in is perfectly designed to combat that union.  In order to find union with God, we’re going to need to learn how to live a different way.  To learn how to live as Jesus did. That’s where we’ll be going in coming weeks.

For now, let us celebrate the vastness of God.  Watch this video.  Let it nourish your soul.  Feel the power of God as you watch the cosmos scroll by.  Realize the power of the God of Creation and know that He has a plan and trust that you are safe and have faith that He is in control…

And now, watch this video from John Eldredge.  Watch and listen closely.  See how your heart is stirred.  See if you don’t remember your love for Jesus when you hear John talking about what is to come…

Easter morning, Jesus walked out of the grave.  The most dramatic illustration of restoration possible.  As John said in the video, the promise Jesus gave was the coming Kingdom – no more death, no more tears, no more pain, no more loss.  Your hearts will be free.  Free from fear and guilt and shame, depression and sorrow.  There will be no more grief.  No more assault.  No more evil.

Imagine with me.  Dream.  Think of the ones you most love.  Forgetting yourself, what would you give to free your wife or your son or your brother of the torment that oppresses them?  What will it be like one day to know your wife in all her beauty, all her gifting, with none of her pain, no battles for her to fight, no condemnation coming at her but just her, glorious and magnificent self, free to be who God created her to be?

What would you give for that?  I imagine some of us would trade our life sacrificially for our wife to have that kind of permanent freedom.

And that is what Jesus did for us.  So, let’s dance and worship and shout!

soul care – will you pause?

(Note- we are meeting next week, the day before Thanksgiving)  You spend 93% of your time indoors – artificial air, artificial lighting, plastics, synthetic fabrics, etc.  Fake.  God is in the real.  The fake atrophies the soul.  Will you pause to seek Him?  Read on for a great tool that’s free for you.

You spend 4-8 hours a day on your phone.  10 hours a day on media.  It does not create margin.  Technology, while it ramps up efficiency, it consumes your margin.  20+ years ago, there was limited email and no texting and almost no internet.  You came home from work and that was that.  Work was left back at work.  Not now.  Now they can get you 24/7 and they expect you to always be available.

 

You should not ask your soul to live at the pace of your iPhone. 

 

How hard pressed are we that typing a reply to a text seems burdensome i.e. “I just don’t have the time to reply back to this, so I’ll send a thumbs up emoji”.   

We must learn a way to sustain whole-heartedness in a world gone mad.  This is a brutal time.  Insane pace of life.  Tsunami of media/technology.  We’re aware of too much heartache.  The madness and the pace of things has an impact on me.  Pay attention to my soul.  Notice how easily distracted I am.  I feel like my soul is getting shallower.  I’m lacking the ability to give God my presence.  The soul is not shallow – but it is being pushed there.

The hurried pace, the over-commitment, the over-scheduling, texting while driving to maximize your productivity, frenetic pace of information pouring through you … it has a way of pushing you into the shallows.  The shallow water.

Pay attention to the depth of a person’s soul.  CS Lewis Great Divorce – the people from hell were sent to Heaven but they were so shallow, that they couldn’t withstand the depth of Heaven.  Even the grass hurt their feet.

Shallow-fied souls that are turning into barren fields…

dried field

Starved of water, their soil dries up and becomes hard baked.  Barren ground cannot receive rain.  It is why flash floods happen – the water just rushes off.

The River of Life flows but we cannot receive it.

We medicate and distract.  Binging on TV.  Chocolate.  Apps.  Wine.  It does not heal the soul or the fragmentation that comes.

To navigate this hour requires a soul that is saturated with God – like this picture of the sponge.  Your life saturated by His love.  His wisdom.  His life.  His beauty…

sponge

The soul is a vessel designed to be filled with God and to overflow with Him.  A reservoir filled up and it spills over and from which will flow rivers of life.  Saturated with God.  Like a sail catching the breath of God – carried by it.  But if the soul is torn to bits, it cannot catch the wind.  This world is designed to shred the soul.

The reason you can’t find more of God is become you aren’t looking with much of yourself.  There’s not much of you left.  But, you can get it back.

How?

You don’t have to be on social media.  I’m not on facebook, instagram, snapchat and I just shut down my twitter.  My life goes on.  I don’t have to know what all is being posted there.  I don’t have to keep up with the impeachment trial.  What will happen, is going to happen.  Nothing I can do will change it but for me to engage in it, watch it, comment on it, read other’s tweets about it (or any other topic) … only serves to suck me into the drama.

Your soul was not meant to move at the pace of your iPhone.  Your soul was not meant to engage with media every waking moment.  To break free, you have to break ties.

Psalm 1:1-4  Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

and then this …

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message   “Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion? Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

This is what we’re after.  And here is another great tool to help you.  Check out the “One-minute pause” app.  You can download this on the app store.  It’s free.  It will chime at you at 10am and 2pm (or whatever time you set) and center you back on God.  Check it out.  It’s a very powerful tool…

one minute pause

We will dig deeper into this next week at manschool

**** yes, we are meeting next week, the day before Thanksgiving ****

the real you …

here are the slides from this morning … manschool 2019 15

iceberg

Believe it or not, this iceberg is you.  10% of you is visible above the surface.  It is what you’ll let us see.  The other 90%?  It’s hidden and you’ve developed an elaborate system to keep it that way.  That’s your pose.  It’s the image you’ve created that you want us to see but the real you is below the surface.  That’s where God wants to go.

The pose works for only so long.  Throw a good storm into your life and the pose is quickly exposed.  Your wife is very good about tweaking you just enough to peel it back and expose the false self.  A true, good friend can do the same thing.

Lately, we’ve been talking about Soul Care and I believe one of the kindest things you can do for your soul is to face and expose your pose and to reject the false self you’ve created and live out of.

I will tell you that it was hard to give this talk this morning.  The deeper we got into it, the more I sensed the audience checking out.  In the last five minutes, 6-7 men had their phones out and were checking email.  That tells me something.  Brushing up against the pose is just enough to turn some men away … “it’s too much to think about” or “this isn’t for me” or “I don’t have time for this” is usually the reaction.

Plus, there is the “swamp thing” going on.  We’re so deeply into swamp of our lives that pulling out to address something like our pose seems too invasive.  We’re barely making it as we trudge our way through the swamp and so, to open the hood and do some heavy lifting seems like it might drown us.

It won’t.  It just might save you.  This is where God wants to work.  He doesn’t want to deal with your pose – it’s fake after all.  He wants the real and He wants to pursue the real you underneath your mask.  Brene Brown summed it up nicely …

“Our “masks” and “armor” are perfect metaphors for how we protect ourselves from the discomfort of vulnerability.  Masks make us feel safer even when they become suffocating.  Armor makes us feel stronger even when we grow weary from dragging all that extra weight around.  The irony is that when we’re standing across from someone who is hidden or shielded by masks and armor (The Poser), we feel frustrated and disconnected.  That’s the paradox here: Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but it is the first thing I look for in you.” 

Craig McConnell said this about posing …

As long as the counterfeit, the posing works, we’ll never desire and pursue the authentic and real thing.  So, you know what God does for our redemption?  He disrupts our lives.  God either allows or orchestrates things to happen to expose us for us to see that we are living far less of a life as a man that we can be.

Exposure isn’t to shame us.  Exposure is to heal us and to drive us to something more.  It is to become true, more authentic, more real to be the man God desires us to be.

Life’s working good … why change? 

But then … God will disrupt things.  Shake us.  Rattle us.  Get us to realize, “My God, what have I become?  Am I just another shark in a suit?”

God takes us through these difficult, disruptive moments/events where we realize that this life, the way I’m living, who and what I am is not what I want.  It’s at that moment we get the invitation – there is another way, there is more.

Take some time to be alone with God to ask some pretty tough questions about yourself… 

How do you see yourself as a man?

What words would you use to describe yourself?  Would you use words like “courageous, strong, loving, passionate, genuine?”

What words would those who know you use to describe you?

Do you have the courage to ask those in your life what they think of you as a man?

What do you fear they would say?

What would you hate to hear?

What might be true of you from the eyes of others?

You can tell what kind of man you’ve got simply by nothing the impact he has on you.  When you’re in the presence of a man, does he bore you?  Does he scare you with whole doctrinal trip?  Does he make you want to scream because he’s just so very nice?

What do you think your impact is on others?

What’s the affect of your life on others?

What do you fear it might be?

We need to turn and say, “God I want the real thing”.  So, where is it that you’re faking?  Where is the counterfeit?  Identify that and then ask God to turn it, remove it.

What would that look like? 

Find a quiet place and go to God. 

What am I?  Who am I?  What am I like?

 

WHAT TO DO WITH THIS ?

Dan Troller asked me this morning how he should best push into this question of posing.  Great question.  Take these questions Craig asked one by one.  Get alone with your journal.  Ask the Father these questions and be candid in what you hear, what you’re sensing and feeling.  Write it down.  How do you see yourself as a man?  What would others say about you?  What do you fear they’d say?  Good, weighty questions.  Take them, wrestle with them.  Do the heavy lifting of being authentic with the questions.

Then, get with 2-3-4 men you trust (at least two) and be willing to share your revelations.  Let them hear your story, hear your answers to these questions and let them speak into what they see and hear about you.

Do you want the freedom on the other side of this?  Really? 

Then do the hard work of excavating beneath the surface.    

excavation

the chain of our past

Here are the slides from last week > Which Kingdom 6 – the chain of your past

Here is the video of Louie Giglio speaking on the chains of our past >

The whole talk is good but we showed a clip starting at 37:38 minutes in until the end at 49 minutes.  So, it’s 12 minutes long and I encourage you to watch it again.

Why do we pose?  Why do we put on this facade that we have life all figured out?  I think, because deep down, many of us don’t like ourselves very much.  We’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, man enough, successful enough, powerful enough, we don’t have enough money … we’re simply not “enough”.  And then, there are the mistakes of the past – the affair, the broken marriage, the addictions, the failures and the enemy seizes upon all of this with lies and we’ve believe the Liar.  And… we make agreements with those lies.  From all of that, we simply don’t like ourselves anymore.  That’s a huge chain of that past that Jesus came to set you free from.

The way to move away from the chain of your past is to use our past as fuel to defeat the enemy’s works in our life and in the lives of others.

God takes what the enemy uses against us and He turns it around and uses it against Satan.  God takes what the enemy uses and turns it around – but – He will only do that if you will let him.

I believe you can only be truly free of your past if you will use it and not hide it.  The enemy hates transparency and authenticity.  He loves for you to pretend, pose and fake.  Bring your pain/failure into the light.  Expose it to other people.  Don’t hide it.  Bring that box of shame up out of your basement where you’ve hidden it all these years.  Don’t give the enemy a foothold to beat you down with the things you hide.

There is a lot in your past that God wants to use and in using it, you’re actually going to experience freedom from it.  Because you’ll now be on top of it instead of it being on top of you.

Instead of judging me and condemning me for the past, He is calling me into the future.

I don’t like my past, but I am going to take it and use it to bring freedom to someone else who is in the same hell that I was in.  Being open about your past gives you a platform and a purpose.  God can take your mess and turn it into a miracle but you can’t hide the mess.  You’ve got to own it, share it and help others be free from it.  Will you?

who are you listening to? (tribe tune included!)

We resume manschool tomorrow with a powerful testimony from a man in our tribe who has been through a very difficult season.  It is brave and bold of him to share with us.  There is real power in testimony.

Until then, last week, we ended with this song and I wanted to hit you with it again here today.  Seems to me one of the greatest battles we face as men is whose voice we’re going to listen to.  We face an enemy who is quite real and quite dangerous.  He is the father of all lies.  But … but … the Creator of the universe is also speaking to us.  He fights for you daily.  Pursuing you.  Crossing paths with you.  Trying to get your attention.  Seeking you.  He is the Father looking for His son to come home.

Read these words, say them over your soul.  When tempted, repeat them.  When the lies come – and they will – you can say with the complete confidence of a warrior —  “Oh no, I was lost and He brought me in.  Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.  No, no foul one, I am a child God.  Yes, I am.”

Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me, Oh His love for me
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.  I’m a child of God.  Yes I am
Free at last, He has ransomed me.  His grace runs deep.  While I was a slave to sin, Jesus died for me, yes He died for me
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.  I’m a child of God.  Yes I am
In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me.  I’m a child of God
Yes I am.  I am chosen.  Not forsaken.  I am who You say I am.  
You are for me.  Not against me.  I am who You say I am. 
I am chosen.  Not forsaken.  I am who You say I am.
You are for me.  Not against me.
I am who You say I am.  I am who You say I am.
Who the Son sets free.  Oh is free indeed
I am a child of God

nothing wasted…

Join us on Wednesday morning as we wrap up this Goliath Must Fall series and break for the summer with a message that will uplift and encourage you.

There is nothing wasted with God.

Maybe you have failed.  Sometimes, we make decisions and we let them cripple us and allow them to steal from us our future.

But there is no “wasting” with God.

The only way to leave your past in the past is to let God create a new future for you.  You see it as “waste”, He sees it as fertilizer to plant a new harvest.

You thought it was wasted – all your brokenness, failures, all the moments you thought were wasted and could never get back – but with God, nothing is wasted.

No matter your past, God sees an amazing future.  Will you step into it?