Fight Club – this is how we fight

here are the slides from this morning … Which Kingdom 13 – fight club 3

here is the video – we started at 13 minutes into the talk …

When you play football, you understand what fight club is all about.  You’re out of the stands.  You’re committed.  You have invested and sacrificed.  And you’re extraordinarily vulnerable because every play, every move, every block is graded and evaluated in the open.

It is completely different than the people sitting in section 304.

It can be like that in church – we can sit in church, watch from a distance, know 3-4 guys who seem to be Jesus guys and worship at a distance – or – we could get on the field, get some guys of our own, make the commitment and say, “I don’t want to be a spectator, I want to be a participant in what it is God wants for my life.”

 We fight in 4 arenas

We want to fight for our walk with God –  The enemy is going to try and destroy in every man, his relationship with God.  He doesn’t want us to be come a man of the Word and a man of prayer.  You were created for relationship with God.  The best gift we can give to the next generation is to become a “man after God’s own heart” = a man of the Word and a man of prayer.  That is going to take a fight because no one is rewarding us men carving out time to become students of God, becoming immersed in the Word, to learn the Word of God so we can live it and pass it on to our children.  Our call is to raise up our children in the Word of God, not default that to our wives.

We want to fight for our heart and our character –  Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.  To be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”  Survey humanity and culture and you’ll see that silver and gold is way more important than being esteemed.  For most men, great riches would be an easy choice over a good name.  We know we must fight for our heart and our character.  David honorable but he was still subject to temptation and so am I.  If you don’t believe that, you’re deceived and very vulnerable.  Bathsheba came along, and every man knows exactly how David fell.  James 1:14 – “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after his desire has conceived it, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”

Lust is in the heart of all men – lust for her, for power, for money, prestige, vengeance.  In this fight, there is something about having other men around you who can help you overcome these temptations when they come towards you.

We want to fight for our family –  We are providers and protectors.  We’re good at.  It’s what we do but we are also the fountain for the approval and worth that our family so desperately need.  Ephesians 5 – “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” At the heart of every woman is a desire for a man that is a protector and provider and a source of approval for her and encourager in her life.  Our families need more than financial deposits.  They need emotional deposits as well.  They need to know we love them, we like them, we think about them, we want to be with them and we want to help them fulfill their dreams.

We fight for our brother –  Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves but a chord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Help your brother fight to become the man he wants to be.  Brothers in war.  Transparency is crucial.  100% honesty.  Your success is dependent on how transparent and honest you will be.

It won’t work to get together to talk about work, talk about our family, talk about temptation, talk about lust … and not be honest.  You hold all the cards.  Unless you’re willing to put all your cards down on the table, you’re not going to make it to the ultimate destiny.

There hasn’t been one book ever written about the lone, one man who won the battle, by himself, against all the enemies coming against a man’s heart.  But there are enough books to fill this room of all the men who fell trying to fight against all the enemies in a man’s heart.

It’s going to take brotherhood and it’s going to take vulnerability.

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Fight Club 2 – Fathered by God

Here is the clip from Louie Giglio.  We started at 27:30 minutes in …

Here are the slides – Which Kingdom – Fight Club 2

To be a great father, I must understand that I have a great Father.  I am a beloved son of a perfect Father.

The enemy’s plan is to isolate you because that’s when you’re at your weakest and to insulate you, so you can then refuse to deal with the issues that are most important in your life.

A man who says, “I’m good.  I’m fine.  It’s under control” and says, “and there are certain things, I just won’t talk about” – that man, has isolated and insulated himself.  He’s a prime target for the enemy.

We all want the approval of our Dad’s – or we did when we were kids.  That desire is woven deep within us.  There is something about the approval of a dad that can’t be met in any other way.

The enemy knows this and will try to crack our perception of our earthly dad and thus, our perception of our eternal Father.

It’s hard to be a “man after God’s own heart” if the most important man in your life wasn’t after your heart.

Most men you know… are still striving for their father’s approval – or – striving to disprove their Dad who said he’d never amount to anything, never measure up, never be anything important or who was just silent.  This is hard for most men to admit because the pain is layered down deep.

Ephesians 5:1 – “Be imitators of God as dearly loved children”

For a lot of us, we’ve got a box full of parts but no picture of what a man is supposed to look like.  We never had a Dad, or our Dad was too busy, too successful, too dysfunctional or too disinterested.

Yes, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and He did go to Calvary and die on the cross as a sacrifice for us, so we could be forgiven and set free – but – God loved Him before He did any of that.  Jesus moved from the Father’s acceptance not for the Father’s acceptance.

We can do great things, build great things, lead great things, leave a great legacy and do what men do but not “so that” we get someone’s approval but because we already have the greatest approval anyone could ever want.

I want to be an imitator of God as a dearly loved child.

As men, we all long for one thing and that is to know we are the son of a father who takes delight in us, who sees us, who wants to be involved in our story and who wants to affirm us because we are His.  We all want that.

Every real life struggle we face as men is all in Ephesians 5.  But it starts with being “dearly loved children”.

Christ fought to the finish and fought to the death for you!

There is No shadow you won’t light up.

No mountain You won’t climb up.

No wall You won’t kick down.

No lie You won’t tear down

… coming after me.

You ARE a beloved son of the Father.  He delights in YOU.  Believe that today.

What a man after God’s own heart looks like…

Franciscan Benediction


May God bless me with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships

So that I may live from deep within my heart.


May God bless me with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations

So that I may work for justice, freedom and peace.


May God bless me with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war

So that I may reach out my hands to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.


And may God bless me with just enough foolishness

To believe that I can make a difference in the world

So that I can do what others claim can’t be done

To bring justices and kindness to all our children and to all our neighbors who are poor.


 

Fight club – A man after God’s own heart

Here is the video.  We started at about 24 minutes in…

A man after God’s own heart.

It’s OK to be a man and still have a heart.  You can be tough on the outside and tough mentally and tough about the things you set your mind to and to still be sensitive to the things going on around you and shed a tear every now and then.

David was a musician, brave, warrior, gifted speaker, Lord was with him, rancher, leader, bold, crack shot, poet, good looks, dancer but we also know he was easily distracted by temptation.  He was tempted to decisions that would be massively detrimental to his life.

You can be a man’s man and have your life summed up as a “man after God’s own heart”.

You can be a skilled fighter, but you must know when to fight and when not to fight.

Fighting is a man’s DNA.  Fighting brothers.  Wrestling Dad.  Football.  Fighting to win business.  It’s our nature to fight but we’ve got to know when to fight or else we can risk gaining the whole world and forfeiting our soul.

When the conflict arises, do I deflect, or do I say, “I’m sorry”?

It’s hard for us.  We’re sinful, proud, stubborn, arrogant fighters.  So, it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry” because that phrase brings with it a freight train of other things i.e.  “I’m not right about everything”, “I’m not right about this thing” or because I reacted this way to this, it shows there is something deep inside that just isn’t wired right.

We must know when and where to fight.  We will fight – no question – but to have it said about us, “he was a man after God’s own heart”, we’re going to have to know “when” to fight.

Some of us are still fighting with our Dads.  We fight against him daily even if he’s not around or no longer living.  You’re fighting that “thing” stuck between you and him.

Some of us are still fighting against a wrong in our past – a decision made, an unfair situation, something that wrongly went against us.

We’re fighting against what we can’t resolve, or we fight for things that ultimately won’t satisfy us.  We fight for success and fame.  They don’t satisfy.  Money doesn’t.  Winning the deal, having your name on the building, being first, being best, being most powerful … they don’t satisfy a heart that was made for God.

How can we be men who can have it said about us that we were men after God’s own heart?

How can we know when to fight and what to fight for?

It happens when we move out of isolation and insulation and we move into relationship with other men for the purpose of achieving the ultimate win which is being a man after God’s own heart.

Isolation is a chief skill of men – we’ve perfected it.  Insulation = nobody is getting to me.

I can’t do this alone or at least, I know I’m not getting the amazing outcome I sought doing it in isolation and insulated from others, so I need help to do this.

Fight Club = contending for what matters most.  It’s not what we’re fighting against but rather what we are fighting for.

Paul said (2 Timothy 4:7), “I’ve fought the good fight”.  I’ve contended for the right things in the right way and I’ve gained them.  I didn’t just fight fights, I fought the good fight.  I’ve finished the race, kept the faith.

The question we seek to dodge with our isolation and insulation is “How are you doing?”.  That deep, at the core, no-BS question – cut through the pose, the “I’m great” answer and peel back the layers and expose the real answer … how are you really doing?

Fight Club intends to fight for 4 key areas

  1. My walk with God – am I fighting for my walk as much as I fight for my career, my workouts, my hunting, my yard?
  2. My heart and my character
  3. My family – fight for my wife, not with her.  Fight for my kids.  My dad.  Will I stand up and be the spiritual leader of my home?  Yes or no?
  4. My brothers – will I get into what he is fighting against and get up in his face over it?

I’m going to fight for the disadvantaged and for those who cannot fight for themselves. I’m not going to live a self-focused life, a self-serving life, stacking up what I need, isolating and insulating myself from what I don’t want to feel.  I’m not going to do all these things chasing after a false prize I think will satisfy my life.

The enemy wants you to fail in all 4 of these areas.  So, you need a fight club around you that knows the real you, the honest you, not the church-answer you.  You need men around you where it is safe for you to say, “You know, I am not doing well”.

You have a heart.  Peel back the layers of isolation and insulation until you can get to where you know you’re a son of God.  Feelings, hurts, anguish, loss, anger, etc. are all stuffed down deep – we’ve got to peel those back to get to the covered-over heart, so you can know God at a heart to heart level.

Fighters that we are, real men and all that, we cannot approach God on a strength to strength basis.  It’s only on the heart-to-heart level where we can be fathered by God.

Storms and Olives and “You matter”…

I shared with you what this past summer was like for my family.  I watched my sweet wife waste away – losing 20% of her body weight, ravaged by a severe flare up of the Crohns disease she has battled for nearly 30 years.  In her weakest state, a blood infection or any other significant body blow and she might not have survived.

Four trips to the hospital.  Three full weeks in there.  Body blow after body blow.  Carrying the weight of what was happening to her, what might happen, the “what if this is it?” thoughts and then on top of that, immense stress in my work and crushing load of work.

And then, my visit in the middle, the worst of the storm to Chick Fil A where it appeared I was invisible.  “My pleasure” didn’t fall on me that evening.  Employee after employee walked past me as if I was invisible.  What on earth is going on?  “Lord, do I even matter?  Do you not see what all is going on?”

And in the middle of that, I read this …

Olive Trees    Lysa Terkeurst

In the garden, Jesus was surrounded by olive trees.  We live in deeply disappointing and distressing times.  We need an uncommon fellowship with God – where we stand in the midst of being utterly disappointed and we still say, “I will trust you God.  Not my will, but thy will.”

Olive trees – to produce fruit, they must have the harsh winds of the east and the refreshing winds of the west.  They need hard times and good times to produce fruit.  We are the same.  Our purpose must go through a process because the heart is naturally hard and bitter.

Like an olive off the tree – which must be salted and soaked in water – if we are to be rid of our hardness and bitterness, we must be salted in the truth and soaked in the living water.  We must have that uncommon fellowship with God or we will not be rid of the hardness and bitterness in us.

What is most valuable in an olive is when it is pressed beyond recognition, crushed almost to destruction and yet, the oil is where the value is.  It can be turned to light.  The hard pressing of life will produce an oil that can be turned into light to show the way to so many.

The word helped because it reminded me, God is with me in the middle of this storm.  He has a purpose in this FAR beyond me and my limited comprehension.  My particular storm is three years running now and I know beyond any doubt, God has a clear purpose in it.  There are many things He wants to knock off of me.  He is shaking me, breaking off the former idols, humbling me, molding me, loving me.  Too many years of my “high horse” of “I’ve got this, I’m good”.  Face plant in the mud.  “Now son, let ME shape you.  Let ME direct you.  My path is far better than you can ever imagine or dream.”

And then … almost smack dab in the middle of the worst of this summer, came this video from Catalyst of Brooke Ligertwood.  Please, please, please stay with me.  Read this.  Soak in it.  Like the olive – be salted and soaked in the water.  Listen to this man’s story …

I came to Catalyst this year with no expectations of anything for myself.  I was kind of on autopilot.  I am a 51-year old attorney with my own practice.  I teach/preach at my church every 3-4 weeks.  I love my wife and kids and take college kids on mission trips twice a year.  And yet … yet … I have found myself wondering and dissatisfied.  What I am doing in the Kingdom now looks vastly different than the “dream” of what I thought I would be doing.

All of that as background for what happened last Thursday night.  Tyler was on stage talking about us experiencing freedom that night.  I huddled my guys together and was laying hands on them and praying for them to experience freedom there in that place.

As I was praying for them, I felt a hand on my back from a person in the row behind me. I turned around and the guy pulled me in toward him and said, “I have a word for you.”

I found myself cynical, prideful and unwilling to receive a word for me or even hear it for that matter.  I wasn’t paying the greatest attention to what he said but I hugged him and thanked him.  Here is what I recall he said…

“The LORD sees you!  You are a warrior in the Kingdom.  Your impact will be for generations upon generations to come.”  And then he said, “Rise up” or “God will cause you to Rise up”.

After he finished I turned to resume worship.  Brooke Ligertwood began to read from Judges about Gideon.  Now here is where it gets really clear and fuzzy as the same time.  She said from stage…

“I have a word tonight but specifically for the man in the sixth row in the orange shirt” … and she was looking right at me.

Understand, I was the only orange or even brightly colored shirt in a sea of grey and flannel and black.  I was taken aback because in all my years of coming to Catalyst, I’ve never seen a personal word given from the stage.  I began to look behind me to find out who she was talking to and the kid behind me hit me on the shoulder with a huge grin on his face saying, “Bro!  Turn back around.  She’s talking to you!  This word is for you!”

And then she said something like, “God sees you; you are impacting generations” and then she said, “The LORD is going to cause you to Rise up”.

The rest of the night was a tear-filled haze as I was so blown away that the God of the universe took time to speak audibly to little me through his beautiful church in that big arena.

https://catalystleader.com/watch/brooke-ligertwood-at-catalyst-atlanta#.W-wliRkEWKs.mailto

He finishes with this and men, I believe this word is also for you.  How I know that?  Because this very blog post has been next to impossible to process.  System issues, cutting and pasting text won’t work, formatting is messed up … the enemy does not want you to read this next part but I strongly believe this is a word for YOU from your Father …

Here is my takeaway from what God was saying to me that night, in spite of me and my pride and resistance, the Creator Lord singled me out to say …

I love you and I see you!

What you are doing matters!

I know you have felt alone!

I know you have felt abandoned!  (or invisible at Chick Fil A?)

I know you have wondered if you have significance in the Kingdom!

I know you have wondered if you should shut it all down and pack it away for a better retirement!

Do not become weary doing good!

Son, keep fighting the good fight!  Keep going!

I am not looking for super saints, I want children who keep getting up and refuse to quit!

I am with pleased with you!

What you are doing is a legacy you may never see but is seen by ME!

You keep walking in surrender and I’ll take care of the “rising up” and be sure, I’ll be the One who does it!

 

 

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…)

 

Live! Live! Live!

We know what others think of us – but – we don’t know what God thinks.

Charles Spurgeon – “I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank and a nothing.  He made you for an end.  Find out what that end is.  Find your niche and fill it.  Do something in this great battle for God and for the Truth”.

You have a place that cannot be filled by any other man and you can be, in this life, much of who God designed you to be.  He gives us hints along the way of who He wants us to be.

In Good Will Hunting, he is telling Will, “It’s not your fault” and Will keeps saying, “Yeah, I know”But did he?  Really?  Truly?

We know so much truth as Christians.  Christ died for me as a sinner.  This is true.  But oh, when those words leap off the pages and go into your heart and you have this encounter with a truth that captures your heart and for the first time, you know it in your heart … words cannot describe.

Do you know who you are?  The beloved of God?

Has that captured you?

Seriously – DO YOU … KNOW THAT?

Gladiator – deep within him, he is a leader.  God created him to be a general of armies.  He knows who he is.

It is like the residents of Heaven are peering over the wall of the castle watching us here battle and struggle and the whole host of Heaven is cheering us on, rooting for us, “Live!  Live!  Live!”

He has a strength and confidence – “Hey, you can call me whatever you want – seagull, stupid, idiot – whatever the message, whatever name you give me.  You can put me in the crappiest of circumstances … but I know who I am.”

We forget that, or we never had it, or we lost it.  We see so many signs that say, “You cannot” or “You shouldn’t” or “Not you – maybe them – but not you”.  The wounds, they have a way of extending through the years and so how do you become that man?

Take all that you read about your identity in Christ and all the truth of what God has done for you and you just pound on the door … “LORD, take this and just embed this in my being and remove everything contra and counter that just shouts the truth down and assaults me.”

This is a daily battle.  Don’t lose sight of this.

We’re in the matrix.  We are heavenly designed beings living in a swamp of sin.  Evil runs rampant.  We are under assault … daily. 

It is not what we were designed for.

Heaven peers over the wall watching us.  They know.  They’ve been here, and they’ve gone home.  They know what you’re fighting because they fought it too.  Knowing what they know now … they know the secret.

They’re telling you to “LIVE”. 

They’re telling you to be the best lab you can possibly be.

St. Thomas Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.  I get that now better than I ever have. 

Do you see it?

The man “fully alive” is a great lab running free on the beach.  He doesn’t care about the signs.  He just wants to run.  He’s not worried about dying.  Not worried about impressing people or how big his bank account is.  He is unshackled.  Wide open.  On fire.  Alive.  Unapologetic for the Gospel.  Unafraid to risk.  Unconcerned with keeping score (he leaves that up to God).

He KNOWS who God designed him to be and he’s living it.

HOW ABOUT YOU?