Ready? Manschool starts this Wednesday 9/18

It’s that time.  Manschool is ready to resume this Wednesday morning at 6am.  We’ve got a great game plan for this year.  I feel strongly that this is a message that is timely for the men in our Tribe.

We’re not going to ease into It.  Instead, we’re going to hit the ground running.  Come prepared with a note book and a pen.  Come with a heart to listen to the nudges God sends you during our sessions.  Be on the lookout for other men in your midst that need to give Manschool a try.  If you feel a man you know needs to be there, ask him.  Don’t ignore the nudge.

Clear eyes – we’re going to take a good hard look at the reality of this world and our society and the way many of us are living.  Nick talked about some of this in today’s sermon.  Joshua 24:15 “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourself whom you will serve.”  Point is, you’re going to serve something.  Will it be money?  Prosperity?  Social media?  Your career?  Possessions?  Security?  Entertainment?  Individualism?

You are going to serve something.  “but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

We are also going to be talking some about some realities about life.  The wise man goes about his day with the reality that he is taking nothing with him from this life.  The reality is, the end is coming for every one of us.  It is the 21st century.  I’m safe to say that anyone reading this over the age of 30 will not live to see the 22nd century.  I’m not.  I about to turn 55.  Safe to say, I am now assuredly past “mid-life”. My end is closer than my beginning.

I need to have clear eyes about the reality and part of that helps me form the “purpose of my life”.  Purpose gives direction.  It gives meaning and value to the process of life.

Part of “clear eyes” is finding our purpose.  Since “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” is a football themed statement, check out Dabo Swinney talking about his purpose as a man…

A man living with a clarity of his vision for his life is a man that can live with a full heart.  We’ve got a ton of great material to cover and unpack.

I hope you’re looking forward to Manschool.  I promise you, we’re going to leave nothing on the field this year.  All in.

Clear eyes, full hearts. Can’t lose. Manschool starts 9/18

Manschool resumes in two weeks – Wednesday September 18th at 6am.  We’ll be done by 7am and small groups go for 30 minutes afterwards.

Clear eyes, full hearts.  Can’t lose.  

This will be the theme of Manschool for this “school year”.  A man of clear eyes – seeing what is going on in and around him.  A man with clear eyes to see the errors of his ways and instead, learning to lean upon the Father for his daily bread, daily guidance.  A man with clarity of vision – to see that he is being called UP into a life of service beyond self, outward living rather than curving in upon himself.  A man with clear eyes to see these are dark days we’re living in – warfare rages all around him and coming to the place that he can clearly see he cannot navigate this world alone.

Clear eyes.

Full hearts – once we develop clarity of vision, clarity of the situation at hand, we can move forward into a life of a “full heart”.  We will explore and dig into learning what it means to be a man “in love” with Jesus.  A man “sold out” on the Gospel.  A man that knows he will take nothing with him at the end of this life and instead will pour out his life into the lives of others in love.

Full hearts.

A man with clear eyes and full heart … cannot lose.  This will be our quest this year.  It’s time to prepare.  It’s time to reach out and find other men that need to be a part of our Tribe.  There are men at your work, men in our church, neighbors, hunting buddies, etc. that are out there doing life alone.  They need our Tribe.  They need to hear this message.  But it won’t happen unless you pursue them.  They aren’t just going to come.  You need to ask them.  If Manschool means a lot to you, then you can speak with confidence to them about how valuable this Tribe is.

Can’t wait.  It’s gonna be great.

 

Comfort & Brokenness – Hugh Freeze

Today, we heard from Coach Hugh Freeze (former Head Coach at Ole Miss) as he shared his story of his fall and the grace he has experienced in his brokenness.  Like a lot of us, Coach Freeze went to comfort and complacency.  He had “it all” and took a lot of things for granted.  Worldly comforts provided him no true reward but he let his guard down with devastating consequences.  Through God’s grace, he is being restored and he took this opportunity to stand up in front of the family of faith and ask for forgiveness.

Even more powerful is the follow on later in the video from his wife, Jill Freeze, about how this season has impacted her and her walk with Christ.  When this was revealed to her, she immediately went to her pain, her offended self and quickly, God steered her to “Jill, do you want to stay in the pain or go to the healing” and she made a shift.  And, the more she went to God, the more it became about her sin, not Hugh’s.  God had things He wanted to deal with in her through this pain which is usually the way it is in these broken times – God is usually up to something far more vast than we could have every imagined.

Coach Freeze says in here –

What I found in 2017, when my world fell apart, is that the faith I stand on in Jesus Christ as my Savior is a solid rock, a solid foundation.  His love never changes.

There will come a point in life when you’ll need something bigger than self.

Integrity is not about “doing what is right”.  It is when something is not done right, then owning it.  It is being accountable for it.  It is seeing it for what it truly is – my failure, my sin, my pride, my shortcomings.  That integrity leads to confession and brokenness.

As you go along, and things go well, some false pride comes in, false security.  Comfort.  The lie I bought into was, “I can white-knuckle my way through it” and “I can be isolated”.  It’s a lie.  Don’t do it alone.  That will take you down a road you don’t want to go.  Confess it.  Own it.  Be willing to be broken.

and later he says –

The Devil wants you to stay where you are in defeat and as a “failure”.  But failures are not final.  You can move forward by the grace of God.   You can have the mental toughness to get up every day and surrender again.

I cannot change what other people think or say about me.  But, I can make up my mind.  My mind is set.  My eyes are clear.  My heart is full.  My feet are pointed forward and I look forward with thanksgiving for what God has given me.

You can finish well.  You may have stumbled or failed but you can get up and finish.

Pride wants to keep you from that broken spot.  Isolation from community does that too.  It’s a sign of pride to say, “I can’t talk about that”.  A lot of us were raised in churches where it was never really OK to say, “I’ve got a problem with this and I need some help.” And then guilt and shame set in and the only true way to freedom from that is brokenness.  

I’ve struggled with why this private matter between Jill and I, that I thought I was dealing with in the right way, had to go out into the public eye.  And the answer was so I could experience true brokenness and then use it for the Glory of God.

Brokenness is agreeing with God daily that anything that is outside the boundaries of me following Him, breaks His heart.  That brokenness leads you to obedience.

Amen!  Some of you reading this need to come clean.  There are things in your heart you are hiding.  There is a judgmental spirit, an offended self, resentments you’re carrying, unforgiveness that is eating you up or secrets you never want exposed.  Those are breeding grounds for destruction via the enemy.  He thrives in these dark places.  It’s time to come clean and confess.  For some of you, it may be you need to sit down with your spouse and open up.  Maybe you’re not ready for that step and so, it may be you need your closest friends to hear what you’re struggling with.  Certainly, it needs to go to the Father.  Stop and confess.  Open your heart and be willing to be totally broken.  Give it to the Father.  Leave it at the foot of the Cross where all mercy, grace and forgiveness were laid out for you.

Incredible freedom lies on the other side of brokenness.

Here is the actual video from our session this morning …

and here is the version from Liberty University.  Fast forward to about 15 minutes in through the end of his talk and Jill Freeze starts talking at 41:50 in…

Dabo Swinney talk

Attached is a link to Coach Swinney’s talk here in Columbus.  It’s long but it is full of wisdom.  He did a great job and poured so much of himself into the talk.  He left nothing on the field.  If you have children, I promise you, there are many lessons in this talk that will help you with your kids.

What you will see come through in this talk is here is a man who came from a terrible background but he persevered.  As he likes to say, “There is no handicap in life except a bad attitude”.   He had a clear vision for what he wanted the Clemson program to be about and the impact he wanted it to have on the players entrusted to him.  He has a strong faith and he knew God had a purpose for his life beyond “self” – exactly what we’ve been talking about these past few weeks.

God clearly had a purpose and mission for Dabo Swinney and he is living it out and in so doing, is impacting so many.

Fighting for your Promised Land

I went to South Carolina with a mission, a dream.  There was something bigger than me in this day.  It was a dream.  I was going to take a tour of Clemson’s new football operations facility and to hopefully get down on the field of Death Valley.  I had tickets the next night to the Clemson/Tech game but alas, the driving downpour and very cold temps kept us from the game.  The day before was glorious.  70 degrees and clear blue skies.

But before I headed down the road, there was a battle to fight.

The enemy came down hard on me the night before and that morning.  Accusation.  “You’re a loser”.  “You have no business doing this”.  Potential problems back at home at work came in hard upon me – “this isn’t going to go well”, “this situation at work will turn against you and you’ll fail”.  It was an onslaught.

Friday morning, I headed out alone on this quest.  I prayed hard on the way.  Shed a tear or two.  I prayed that Jimmy Evans prayer …

“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.”

I cranked that Elevation Worship song from the last post, “Do it Again”.  God met me there on that beautiful country road.  The enemy tried – my iPhone update glitched up my GPS and my maps weren’t working.  I got lost five miles from Clemson.  (You see, he doesn’t fight fair and he doesn’t let up).  I turned around, saw a corvette and followed it.  A block away, I saw an elderly gentleman at a tire store wearing a Clemson hat.  Using old fashioned GPS, I rolled the window down, “Excuse me sir, can you tell me how to get to Clemson?”  He smiled and said, “It’s three miles right down this road.  You’re going to God’s country”.  Amen.

I made it to my destination and met my host.  He gave me a full tour.  I saw it all – the locker room, the dining hall, the movie theater, practice fields, indoor practice field and Coach Swinney’s office.  And he blessed me with a tour of Tiger Stadium – Death Valley – including getting to go on the field.  Amazing.

The level of detail inside the Football operations facility is amazing.  It is state of the art.  College football is big business.  I was amazed at the signs everywhere of encouragement and uplifting.  I asked my host, “How much of all this is Coach Swinney?”  And he said, “Every bit.  Everything you see, he had a hand in.  He knew exactly what he wanted it to be and how it was to look.  Even down to these signs”.  Coach Swinney had a vision.  He had a Promised Land in mind and fighting the naysayers and the fear and the doubts, he pressed forward.  He is all about family and building the complete man – athlete, husband, father, businessman.  He’s living his dream.  His dream is blessing a lot of young men, their families and all the employees that support that program.

Here is the cool thing.  I left a book on Coach Swinney’s desk – The Barbarian Way – and in there, I wrote him a note saying “Coach, I love what you’re doing at Clemson.  Love the focus on the complete man and equipping these young men for life beyond football.  Clearly, you’re in your Promised Land”.  And to my host, I knew his daughter had health issues and as I prayed about what to give him, John Eldredge’s new book, “All things New” – which is about God’s restoration of all things – a new heaven and a new earth.  It’s a very hopeful book.  And I wrote him a note saying that the word I’d received for him was “RESTORATION” As our time was coming to an end, he told me his wife has MS and his daughter has MS and Autism.  Indeed … the hope of RESTORATION is balm to this man’s soul.

My trip was a dream.  It was also a divine mission.  Little did I know.  Little did I know that I’d talk about “Promised Land” in a note to Coach and then come to find out, he is living out his Promised Land.  Little did I know that my new friend would have so many heavy things in his life and I’d hand him a book about RESTORATION.  God had a purpose for me that day that was WAY beyond me.  It was opposed.  Of course it was.  But God was Triumphant … as He … ALWAYS … is.  Amen.

Remembering Lonny Arrington

What will you do with your platform?

If you are a believer in Christ and have been saved and freed from the bondage of your sin, then God has a purpose for your life.  He saved you for a specific reason, a specific purpose.  That purpose is outside of “self”.  Self is the old sin nature we all possess and even as a believer, there is a constant battle against the flesh.  But we’ve been offered the keys to escape the bondage of self.  That is … a life outside of self.  A life lived outward.

You have a platform.  We all do.  God has given you this platform.  He expects you to do something with it.  Like the parable of the talents, the men were given 1, 2 and 5 talents.  Each of us have been given our “talents” or our platform.  Those men that got 1, 2 or 5, before they were given this, they had zero.  Nothing.  The talents were given to them and the Master expected them to do something with them.

The same is true for you.  Whatever your platform – no matter how large or how small it, no matter if it impacts 3 people or 300 or 30,000 – God expects you to maximize your impact on those in your platform.  You need to understand what your “it” is in life.  “It” is to be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world” Matthew 5:13-14.  Your “it” is real simple – it is to impact and influence others for the glory of God through the platform He has given you.

Coaching is not Hugh Freeze’s purpose, it’s just his platform.

Obstacles to your platform

  1. Looking at everyone else’s platform. It distracts you from being intentional and influential with the platform God has given you.
  2. Opposition will come. Fear can distract us from living out our platform.  Your platform comes with opportunity.  Fear can take that away from you.  What warriors do is charge into the fear, not shy away from it.  David “ran quickly to the battle”.
  3. God’s timing is not always ours. His answer sometimes is “no”.  But I’d rather live with Him – even if the answer is no – knowing He has my back, than I would live in this world without Him.

We have to have a game plan to accomplish our “it”…

  1. We must be more intentional about being in relationship with God. lifejournal.cc and the Divine Mentor (a daily walk through the Bible) is how Coach Freeze does it.  Every day, the program takes you into God’s word and God has used it in amazing ways to give him the exact verse he needs that day to answer tough questions he brings to God.  He prays on the way to work and gives God his list of “Things I need you to guide me on today Lord” and then he goes into Divine Mentor and seeks God’s answers.  God will speak if you are intentional about seeking Him.  We will get it wrong without Him.
  2. Have an attitude about you – it is the way you think about yourself, it is what you believe about yourself and who you are in Christ. Attitude is the way we talk about ourselves and the platform we’ve been given.  Something should be different about us if we’re going to impact others in our platform.
  3. We must stay in the game – when life beats you up (and it will), you’re going to be tempted to retreat to the training room to get relief. When it gets rough, we’re going to want to stay in the training room soaking in a hot tub and not go back out on the field.

The thing about us Christians is that we win in the end.  We’ll get through these trials and setbacks by God’s grace and through His mercy and we know, we win in the end.  1 Cor 15:57 “your work for the Lord is not in vain”.  Stay in the game.  The right kind of man has the ability to finish.  It doesn’t mean you won’t stump your toe or get beaten up or even have a train wreck along the way … but …  you have the ability to finish.  Get back in the game and finish.

Be in the game.  Be salt and light with the platform God’s given you.  God gave you this platform – whether it reaches 3 or 300 or 3,000 – it is your platform and He’s got you there for a reason.

He wants you to stay in the game for His glory.  Watch this video.  There are priceless treasures in here…