a proverbs a day, keeps the world away…

You’re either going to lean into God — or — you’ll lean into the world.

You’re either going to listen to the Word of God — or — you will be listening to the message of this world.  And, you know, the message of this world is coming at you faster than ever today and the message today is more destructive than ever.

So, you’ve got a choice.  Which kingdom will you serve?  Which message are you going to listen to?

There are 31 days in most months.  There are 31 Proverbs.  Here is a pearl of wisdom from today’s Proverb that ties in EXACTLY with what we heard at manschool this morning… “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”

If you’ve never been a Bible reader, now’s your chance to do a 180 and get into the Word.  The enemy loves to whisper to you “that Bible-reading stuff isn’t for you”.  Negate that lie.  End it … today!  Today, you can change the course of your life and end this lie by reading a Proverb a day.

In so doing, you’re blocking out time to listen to wisdom, to listen to the Word of God and to invite conversation with the Father.  And you’re also drowning out what the world is shouting at you.

It’s easy.  You’ve just got a choice to make.  Five minutes on facebook or Twitter or the ESPN app … OR … five minutes in Proverbs?

your choice…

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What’s the wise thing for me to do?

Here are the slides from this morning > Which Kingdom 3 – what is wise

Here is the video of Andy Stanley > http://justaskit.org/musical-chairs

This question will save you a lot of money.  Save you a lot of time.  More importantly, this question will save you a lot of tears.  In fact, your greatest regret would have been avoided if you had asked this simple question and then acted on it.

What is the wise thing to do?

Full version – In light of my past experience, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing for me to do?

Not “right thing” but the wise thing.

If you don’t opt for wisdom, you accidentally opt for some other things.  If you walk away from wisdom – understand this – is to walk towards something else.  Many of us have never considered what we’re backing into when we say, “You know what? I know what the wise thing to do is, I’m just not going to do it.”

The fool knows but just doesn’t care.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”  Proverbs 26:11.

“A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes…”   Proverbs 10:23

If you have an area of your life where you say, “I know this is wrong but I’m going to do it anyway”, Solomon would say you’re a fool.  A fool knows the difference between right and wrong and they just don’t care.  A fool knows the consequences of doing wrong, they just don’t care.

To that, you’d say, “That is offensive, I’m never coming back to church”.  Yes, you will.  You’ll come back when you’ve experienced the cure for being a fool…

The cure for the simple = Time.

The cure for the fool = Tragedy.

Here’s the thing you need to know – in your mind it is – It’s my life, I can do what I want to.  It’s my body, I can do what I want to.  It’s my money, I can do what I want to.  I’m not hurting anyone else.”

That’s just not true.  This is where your foolishness has blinded you to your selfishness.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”  Prov 13:20

a companion of fools – OR — of a foolish husband of, of a foolish wife, of a foolish father, of a foolish boss, of a foolish brother, of a foolish friend … suffers harm.”

The tragedy of being a fool and of knowing right and wrong but just not caring isn’t that you just hurt yourself, its that eventually, you will hurt someone else.  And you can say all day long, “it wasn’t my intention” – yeah but they’re still hurt.  “I never mean to” – but they still got hurt.  Because the companion of fools suffers harm and your actions carry consequences.

Correct the simple and they won’t get you.

Correct the fool and they will ignore you.

Correct the mocker and they will hate you.

Correct the wise and they will thank you.

Eventually the simple, fool and mocker all will need wisdom.  At some point, they find themselves in a situation where they can’t talk their way out of, think their way out of, criticize their way out of.  Eventually, they need to work things out, get out of debt, break an addiction, rescue a marriage, reestablish contact with their kids – at some point, everyone sitting in these seats needs wisdom.

The problem is, if you sit in these seats long enough, Solomon would say you won’t even be able to recognize wisdom.  If you sit too long, you won’t even be able to hear wisdom.

It is heart breaking to be a pastor or counselor when people, who intentionally sat in these chairs for too long and they finally decide they want to fix their life, sit and tell you their story.  They say, “help me” and you think two things – 1) why did you wait so long and 2) what you want, you can never have in this life – you’ve done permanent damage to your life, to your relationships and in some cases, to your soul – not from God’s perspective but in the context of this life because you just stayed there too long and you knew it.

You reap what you sow.  You’re sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing and when you begin to reap, a counselor cannot erase the cause and effect consequences of sowing and reaping.

If you’re a mocker, you think “I can control outcomes.  I can control outcomes.  I can control outcomes.”  No, you can’t.  And because there are certain things you cannot fix, there will be certain things you can never experience because you were too arrogant to admit that your wife, your co-worker, your friend, your children, your brother, your boss … were right.

But here is the good news … whoever listens to me (wisdom says) … will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. 1:33

Guardrails

A guardrail is a system to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off limit areas.  We’re glad they’re there if we need them but for the most part, we don’t pay attention to them.  For the most part, they are not actually located in the most dangerous part of the road.  The point is – to keep you away from the actual point of danger.  You’ll do less damage if you hit the guardrail than you would if you hit what was on the other side of the guardrail.

The truth is, your greatest regrets relationally, financially, morally and ethically could have been avoided if you had had some guardrails present in your life.

Our definition – A guardrail is a personal standard of behavior that becomes a matter of conscience.  “A matter of conscience” meaning, that I am so committed to my principles that if I violate them, it bothers my conscience.  I feel guilty.  It is my personal standard of behavior that informs my behavior.  This is a personal decision you need to make.  Where is the line?

Ephesians 5 is addressing the question of “How do I live in a culture that doesn’t reward faithfulness?  That doesn’t reward integrity?”

5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live (walk).  Not as unwise (careless) but as wise making the most of every opportunity.”

It’s saying “Make the most of your time.  Redeem your time.  Being very intentional with your time.  Because the days are evil.”  In other words, if you’re not careful, there will be a price to pay.  Because you live in a dangerous time, you’ve got to be careful with how you walk.

5:17 “Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is”.  What Paul is saying is “I want you to face up to, to accept, to embrace what you know in your heart is God’s will for your life.  Stop deceiving yourself.” 

All of us have the tendency to play it as close to the edge as possible.  We dance on the edge of chaos.  “How close to sin can I get without it being sin?  Where is the line?”  Quit flirting with disaster.  Quit messing around.  You’re playing with fire.  He gives an example using drunkenness to make his point but it applies to lust, to greed, to material things…

5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery”.  Debauchery = extreme indulgence that leads to a loss of control.  Loss of control is the key.  Drunkenness is a guardrail.  It is what is on the other side of drunkenness that Paul is warning you about.

Lust, greed, alcohol, anger, food, money, material possessions – anything that leads to a loss of control, anything that baits you into things you don’t need to be involved in … that’s where the danger is.  That you’d get yourself so torqued up that you lose sight.  That you get so obsessed with that new car that you’ll buy it being willing to jeopardize your kid’s college savings.  That’s a loss of control.  And it will cost you.

appetites

Anything that baits you to the point of you losing control, your heavenly Father is against.  Because on the other side of that … is disaster.  Any area of your life where you tend to hand control over to someone/something else is where you will need a guardrail.

Paul is saying, “Don’t get drunk.  It’s foolish.  Be careful because the days in which you live are evil.  Drunk leads to a loss of control.  Loss of control is a sin.  It leads to disaster.”

“Instead, be filled with the Spirit”.  God wants to be the primary influence in your life.  The Holy Spirit indwells the believer.  He will prompt you, nudge you, guide you, direct you.  The Spirit doesn’t yell.  He doesn’t scream.  He usually clears his throat.  It is a still, small voice in your conscience.  We know.  We know.  We know what’s the right thing.  Quit fooling around.  Pay attention.  Be careful.

This talk might have nudged you.  Maybe there is an arena where you’re getting closer and closer and you get so full of lust, you lose self-control.  What would it look like if you backed up to a safe distance and put a guardrail in place that maybe no one else would understand but it might just save your marriage?

No one has ever regretted establishing a guardrail but plenty of people regret not having had one in their lives.  Guardrails are wisdom.  You know where your boundaries should be and you know the cost if you cross them.  “What’s the wise thing to do?” Guard yourself.  Guard your heart.  Guard your eyes.  Don’t take foolish risks.  Be wise!

Fathered by God – the Sage

The last stage of our life — it typically starts around 55 and continues through the rest of your life.  It is a time of wisdom and fathering of others.  The elder at the gate whose lifetime of wisdom is now a fountain of blessing for others.

It can be a tough time because he can feel like his position is shrinking as a king.  Maybe he steps down from his position and goes into retirement but it actually is his time of greatest influence where all his experiences flow over to shape and guide others.  It is a time of communion with God where your inner life is actually greater than your outer life.

The Sage invites you to come closer to God.  You don’t feel pressure but rather you feel the invitation of his life.

It can be wounded and undeveloped when he doesn’t learn his life’s lessons and pay attention to the journey.  He can have very little to offer if he hasn’t submitted to God in the process and paid attention to all God has tried to teach him.  He can be wounded when he is dismissed and no one wants to listen to him.  As in a church or a business when the young are arrogant and want to run the show and push the older to the side.

The call for all of us – no matter the stage you’re in right now – is to learn our lessons in life and pay attention.  It all builds for your future.

When you’re around a sage and you’re wanting to hear from him, hear what he has to say … have you noticed, he lights up.  As he starts talking, he looks like the years fall off of him.  He cranks up with passion, wisdom, counsel, stories, etc. gesturing wildly as he talks … he has an apprentice who wants to hear what he has to say.  That’s the power of this.  We all need a Gandalf.  And the Gandalfs need us!

There is an amazing process that takes place when an older man sees something in you.  When he sees it and has confidence in you and freely gives to you – imparting his experience to you … that is so powerful in a young man’s life.

“He who  keeps the company of the wise will become wise.”  It is available.  But you have to ask.

There is a world of younger men desperate for sages.  The power of the presence of a Godly, older man cannot be measured.  And for those men 55 and over … you have so much to offer.  There is an osmosis that comes off you onto these younger bucks and they need your wisdom.

Wild at Heart – Sonship (2)

This music video by Jimmy Wayne captures much of what we’ve been talking about in regards to Sonship.  The little boy keeps reaching his arms out asking for love from his dad.  Even though he is rejected, he pursues.  He never gives up hope.  And as you see rather emotionally, he comes to the realization that the very things he wanted from his Dad, God was always offering him.  With arms stretched wide, God never gave up, never quit pursuing us even to the Cross.

As Morgan said this morning, “God is bigger than the loss of a father”.  You see that in this music video.

In Braveheart’s opening scene we see young William with his father, enjoying him, knowing he is loved.  Then innocence is lost.  The assault comes.  He loses his father.  At the funeral, the girl comes and gives him a flower.  The flower is God saying to him, “Don’t shut your heart down.”  The uncle comes and takes him in.  He teaches him manhood and the things of a warrior.  Teaches him Latin.

Wallace goes on pilgrimage and in so doing, releases control.  He goes away from home to be fathered.

Leaving the old life and going on pilgrimage is the greatest risk you will ever take as a man but you must go.  The only way to receive God as father is to relinquish control of the world you have, the safety, the demanding of your father to come through for you dead or alive – you have to leave that and receive God’s invitation to take a pilgrimage away from home and to be fathered by Him.

In Morgan’s life, he had father wounds via a dad who worked 7 days a week.  But it has come full circle.  He now sees his Dad as a father but there is no pressure on the man to come through.  Morgan no longer demands that his father come through to meet his needs.  Morgan is a validated, confidant man.  He knows his True Father and he knows what God says about him.  So he can release his dad, enjoy him and even offer a strength to him.

Morgan serves under really good kings.  Godly men – John, Bart and Craig.  Each is a part of Morgan’s father image.  Each brings him something he needs to soak in – things his earthly father can’t provide for him.  But no single man can fill that need for “father”.  It is too much to put on a man.

He even had an 83-year old woman teach him how to shoot a bow!  Morgan needed someone to teach him, prayed the Father to come and father him through this and at the bow store, he gets an 83-year old woman.  So Morgan goes with it and as it turns out she was an Olympic archer who has taught youth for 43 years.

Morgan questions, “How do you give him what you don’t have?”  That’s a real question for all of us as men in regards to our sons.  If you didn’t “get it” from your Dad, what do you bring your son?

Morgan is now very, very intentional about what he is bringing to his own 10-year old son – from teaching him about bow hunting, knives, camping, processing a deer, reading books, riding bikes, campfires and stories, Saturdays at Dunkin Donuts … Morgan is present in Joshua’s life and intentional about schooling him in the art of being a man … fathering him.

He has learned how to ask to be fathered in many things.  Every time there is a project around the house, he’ll go to Home Depot and pray before he goes in, “Lord father me through this”.  Invites God into it.  And every time, help has come to walk Morgan through the “how to do this”.   NAPA commercial, “Just because you have to do it alone doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself.”

A little humility and a lot of questions and God will father you through it.

And as each sage comes along and teaches you and shows you how … a little substance is transferred to you as a man.  Find men and ask them to father you.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  When the son is ready, the father will appear.  He will discover that the father needs him as much as the son needs the father.  The sage gets much from showing you the way.

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16

God will father you.  He will show you the ancient paths.  If you invite Him in and let Him do it.  It is available.  More.

We need to first ask Him to heal our unbelief that He can or will.  It all starts with releasing our earthly fathers – letting them go, taking the demand off of them (whether dead or alive) that they must come through for you.  Once you release them, you see them as a son just like you are – it radically shifts the relationship.  No longer insisting that they come through, you will find you can come alongside them and that you have much to bring to them.  It starts here and then it goes to asking other men (or 83 year old women!) to father you in many things from bow hunting, to finances, to marriage, to fixing things around your house or many of the “I have no clue … will you show me’s” in this life.  And most importantly, it is ALL about asking The Father to father you.  Bring God in and let the Father speak into your heart.

And we ended with this song as a prayer.  I love this song.  It captures this step of faith we must make toward Sonship, this pilgrimage…

“I’ve come to this place in my life I’m full but I’ve not satisfied this longing to have more of You.  And I can feel it my heart is convinced.  I’m thirsty my soul can’t be quenched.  You already know this but still come and do whatever You want to.

I’m standing knee deep but I’m out where I’ve never been and I feel You coming and I hear Your voice in the wind.

Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in.  Let love come teach me who You are again.  Would you take me back to the place where my heart was only about You and all I wanted was just to be with You?
Come and do whatever You want to.

And further and further my heart moves away from the shore whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours
And further and further my heart moves away from the shore whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free.  I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Then you crash over me, and that’s where You want me to be.

I’m going under, I’m in over my head.  Whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head”

 

Wisdom

Last week, we discussed Wisdom from the book Uprising.  Tomorrow morning, we will conclude this study, take a week off and the new ManSchool will resume on Wednesday February 5th.

Wisdom – We need to stop destroying our life, friends and our future with stupid decisions.  Ouch.  That’s direct and not so nice.  But it is a fact.  A cold, hard reality.  Too many of us are repeating stupid decisions and wondering why our outcomes aren’t any better.  One bad decision is just that, a bad decision.  Repeated patterns of bad decisions are a choice and are, stupid.  Sow/Reap.  What goes around/Comes around.  Choices today/The Future you create.

Solomon was told by God to ask “for anything” and he chose wisdom.  He didn’t ask for money, power, prestige, position, etc. but rather wisdom.  God rewarded him for seeking wisdom above all else.

Oh Lord, that I may become wise.

Solomon cites an example of the power of great wisdom in Ecclesiastes 9 when a poor but wise man was defending a small city against a great king.  The city was saved by his wisdom.  The quiet words of the wise.  Solomon realized that wisdom was better than all the weapons of war.

Oh Lord, that we may become wise men.

How big is your vision?  When you finally see what it is God is calling you to do, finally embrace your calling, you will have an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.  Think of Moses.  He couldn’t speak without stuttering and God called him to march into Pharaoh and demand him to “Let my people go”.  With the magnitude of this calling, Moses was sure of his own smallness.  If you think you are bigger than your vision, then your vision is too small.

We need to tap into the power of one man + God.  one man + God.  Jesus showed us that one man + God could save the entire world.  If we live with a bold purpose devoted to God, we’re going to go to war and we’ll wonder, “How exactly does God expect me to do all this?” and that is precisely the point.  God wants us out of our comfort zone and boldly stepping out on faith.

And oh, money isn’t the key.  If we start something with “If God will fund this new mission with $2 million, then we’ll launch“.  No.  New missions are usually launched with a passion for the people, a passion for the need and hearts ready to serve.  Think of CCC’s mission in Phenix City.  If upfront money was the key to us doing this, it’d be years before we went.  No, we must go and Trust.  Trust that God will provide.  Trust that God will move on people’s hearts and Trust that He will provide all we need.  He wants us depending on Him, not money.

God doesn’t give us resources so we can trust Him.  He gives resources to those who Trust Him.  Provision does not come before Vision.  God looks for people who will go with nothing because He then knows if they will do that, then He can Trust them with everything.  The moment you start dreaming of how you can impact the world, God starts putting it on people’s hearts to help and come alongside.  He has unlimited resources for those who walk in courage.

So I wonder, “What are the endless resources waiting to be poured out into your life – right now – just waiting for you to step out into a world without resources?”

What is it that you are being called to do?  Your choices are informed by your character and your character shapes your future.  We are given the responsibility for the cause/input.  We don’t have power over the effect/outcome.  What kind of man to you want to be?  Do you want to be exceptional?  Do you want to radically reshape your future and align yourself with the King of Kings?  Will you surrender to His will – or – will you insist on remaining in control?

God has great plans dreamed for you.  A hero inside of you is just waiting to be awakened, just waiting to be called upon.

Will you LiveUP?     (by the way, if you have liked this post, it is along the lines of what we’ll be doing in our new ManSchool starting on February 5)   Here are the slides…


uprising 13 wisdom