Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

I’ve been mulling this one over for a while now. The question has been rolling around in my brain: what is it that prayer produces in the life of the disciple? And what on Earth does it mean for men?

As I was thinking about it I got my answer.

But first, I want to share some observations.

Men are wired to think through problems. I’ve said this before. We want to solve things, and God has blessed us with the genetics to go after problems at the source and root them out. We sink our teeth into problems, and don’t let go until we’ve bitten off a chunk. We obsess and find our drive in the places that we think we’re going to be the most useful.

Secondly, think of all the people that you know who are ‘prayer warriors’. How many of them are women?  (more…)

Matthew 6:33-34But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I have struggled for years to understand how people who don’t follow God or read the Bible come up with morals and principles.  It baffling my mind to understand how you know if something is right, is it because someone said so.  Do I just believe whatever anything tells me? If that is the case you will fall for anything.

Personally, I have always wanted someone to prove and back up whatever they tell me. This is what appeals to me most about God’s word (the Bible).  The Bible is a living and breathing book that still teaches me something every time I read it and applies to all situations.  I know a lot of people have a difficult time with this and I can completely understand that. A lot of things done in the name of God that don’t even begin to make sense.

I understand those who profess to be Christians as well as the church body have deeply wounded and hurt others leaving them feeling betrayed and hating God, Christians and the church. As a follower of Jesus, someone whom has actively been involved in church as well as served in leadership, I have experienced deep wounds to the point of wanting to walk away from it all and never return.  This is not a just a one time experience, this has happened on more occasions that I can count.

As I have gotten older I have come to the realization that we are all sinful, there is no perfect church and the building where we meet on Sundays is a building composed of sinful people who will fail us. God is always the same, he never changes.

Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

In my life I have been through more than my fair share of trial.  The one constant in my life has been my relationship with God.  The experiences I have had to walk through are not something I would wish on anyone, however they have shaped me into the man I am today.  What I have experienced shouts out there is a God and he is in charge and there is absolutely no denying this. Time after time I have seen God prove himself in my life primarily through grace, peace, wisdom and love. The only way I am the person, husband, father, friend or leader I am today is because of God and his work in my life.

James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

To be honest I have actually never read the entire Bible from front to back. I’ve found it difficult to read the Old Testament; the New Testament just seems to appeal to me. I believe the Bible is relevant today just as when it was written. I do not doubt for one minute what God said in the beginning doesn’t pertain today. I have learned to look at the culture it was written to, take out the principles, test them and work them out in my mind.  See how they apply to my life and the culture in which I live. For me the center and core of my life is designed around God and his word. The morals that guide me as a person all ties back to what God has called us to be.

Almost every single day starts with reading passages of scripture and then spending time in prayer. I realize I am of no value to anyone if my days don’t start this way.  For me to spend the rest of my life means daily pursuing God. I’ve always needed it, but as I have grown and matured, I realize just how valuable it truly is. I strive to be the example for my children as they are my greatest audience. I take an active role in our church not just as a leader, but as a participant, I go to church on Sunday, meet with other guys weekly and talk openly and honestly about life issues we all face, I pray with other folks and make myself accountable to stay on track. I open myself up to feedback all the time to make sure I am getting it right. This allows God to speak into my life through various means.

I believe that real men need a moral compass to guide and direct their lives. Mine happens to be God. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without him. I need and want him everyday. I believe for a man to be any good at anything he will need God to guide and direct his path. I believe men who are authentic choose to get real about who and what they believe as well as putting God in the driver’s seat.  Real men are proud of these things and allow it to permeate every aspect of their life. These are the real authentic men I know. This is the real authentic man I have become and it’s only because I put God first that I am able to do this.

Proverbs 3:6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When I talk to other conservative Christian Men about marriage, I often hear about the complementary theological views, wives submitting to husbands, and men only in Church leadership. However, when I look at other aspects of these same men’s lives, I sometimes see that they are tyrannical in their man first attitude of life. I’m definitely not saying this is all conservative Christian men, or even the majority, only that it is present enough to be addressed publicly. There are several verses that these men often use to support this behavior; here are a couple of them:

Col 3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Eph 5:24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

You’ll notice in both of these, scripture says to submit. It does not say to be subservient. While submission is similar to subservience, there have different connotations.  I’ve looked up the two words in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and this is what I find referring to people:

Definition of SUBMIT

transitive verb

1: to yield to governance or authority

intransitive verb

1: to yield oneself to the authority or will of another: surrender

2: to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another

 

Definition of SUBSERVIENT

1: useful in an inferior capacity : subordinate

2: serving to promote some end

3: obsequiously submissive: truckling

When you look, submit is a yielding or consenting to be led by another. However to be subservient is to go one step further. Look at the third definition of subservient; obsequiously submissive. Obsequiously is akin to fawning affection; the way we describe a dog’s affection for his master. Throughout history, many men have sought this kind of relationship from their wives, some even treating their dogs better than their wives. This is not the way that scripture calls for and this is not how a Hardcore Christian Man treats the women in his life.

Look again at those definitions. Do you see that submit is mentioned in subservient’s definition but not the other way around? If God had intended for us to use the more severe of these two definitions, don’t you think that the word use would have matched? Instead all of the inspired authors of scripture use submit both in terms of marriage and discipleship to God. This is a show of God’s love. He does not want to lead us with an iron fist, but with a loving hand. He protects us and guides us, just as husbands are called to protect and guide their family.

Jam 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Look again at Ephesians 5:24 (above). It says that wives should submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ. Would you want Christ to command you in the way that a tyrant commands his subjects, as serfs? Why should our wives be commanded as serfs by us then? They submit to our guidance; they are not subservient to our rule.

I think a better way to think of submission is this: it is a partnership. In the case of Man and Christ, we are the junior partners, while Christ is the executive or senior partner, giving us guidance but allowing us to have physical input into the labor. So then should be a marriage, a partnership. Just as Mark 10:7-8 tells us, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will become one flesh.” We are joined together as one through marriage. So, just as we partner with Christ through acceptance of Salvation, we partner with our wife by accepting the covenant of marriage. The husband is the head of the family, but he leads as a servant, just as Christ showed through His example.

I’ll talk more about servant leadership in a later blog, but it is an important concept. We best lead as Christ led. Christ led through giving up His ability to command and instead walked alongside His Apostles, leading and teaching. He led from among, treating us with dignity instead of as dogs. This is what we should do, men. When someone tells you to “Man up” they are not telling you to take control, but to join in and do your part. Doing your part is leading, not commanding.

I encourage you to study your Bible with this thought in mind, “How can I lead my family and wife as Christ leads the Church?” I think you’ll be surprised at how different His leadership is than yours.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

Scripture references are from http://net.bible.org/. Definitions are from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/.

Last week was amazing. God has used me in amazing ways in the last week, and I hope He continues to this week. I’m always amazed to see how God uses us when we allow Him into our lives. That is a major thing that every man must learn, how to submit his will so that God will do His will in him. Submitting is a hard thing for us to do, are there any tricks?

I’m going to be writing about the Biblical definitions of submission later, but for now, I’ll just say that it is not being a pawn, but being an active partner in the effort. God gives us talents and skills that he then uses to further His Kingdom. By abiding in His will, we become part of His eternal plan. Sounds good? Yeah, me too. I love the idea of being part of something so powerful and long lasting, but how can I set aside my selfishness and make this step?

God gives us tools to help us make the choices and the step toward Him. We are shown through scripture the failings of great men, and then their recovery and return to God’s graces. Did God punish them? Sure, He did, but afterward, it was forgiven. Take David for example. God told David that the Messiah would come from his line (2 Samuel 7:12-17). While David ruled as warrior king, he chose to send his army into combat without him. While they were on campaign, David observed Bathsheba and then demanded her join him in his bed(2 Samuel 11). This broke his covenant with God, and while God did punish him, by not allowing him to build the Temple. He also forgave him and kept his promise about raising the Messiah from his line, Jesus was of the line of David both through Mary by blood, and his adoptive father Joseph, by law(Matthew 1).

God does not expect perfection from us, but he does expect our obedience to His will. We can learn His will for us by listening and observing. God gives us guidance through His word, through people around us, and through prayer. I recently followed Him into a situation I never would have gone into myself. My wife and I decided to move to Dallas to continue my school about 9 months ago. We started looking for jobs, and when the move date came near, we didn’t have jobs yet. We prayed about staying, and felt discomfort, but when asking if we should still go, we felt peace. We packed up, put our house up for lease, and moved. I started applying for jobs again on arrival in Dallas and couldn’t find one. God works in the hidden spaces though. I went to interview a professor for a college paper and by the end of the interview, I was asked for my resume. I hadn’t even told him I was hoping to enter into a ministry position. Two weeks later I went to work in an international ministry that he leads. I encourage you to check it out, rreach.org.

God worked through me to put me into this position because I followed His will, not my own. He wants me to help His Kingdom. I want safety and security (with a little danger on the side :-D). He wants me to experience His power. I want to experience the peace of knowing where the next meal is coming from. He wants me to fully trust Him in all things. I want control over my life and situations.

Well, Men, we can’t have it both ways. We can have our peace, but we lose His rewards. We can have our safety, but we lose His love. We can have our control, but we lose His wisdom. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like throwing my hat into the wind and trusting God to carry me through. He has a plan, I just have to open my ears and listen to him.

Oh, and He did give me a reward for following His lead to Dallas. He gave me a raise and He gave me the guidance to start this blog, which is drawing men from places I never would have imagined. Thank you for following His lead to Hardcore Christian Men.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul