Act Like Men

In my last post I shared a recent sermon on being a Gift to woman. The sermon if from a series our church is doing called, “Last Man Standing”. I woke up this morning at 4am, unable to sleep and came down and began thinking about the next post I wanted to write. I went back and began watching the first sermon in the series, entitled Men or Boys. Follow the link and watch if you desire, it really is good.  This post feeds off of that sermon.

This sermon was one that has moved me greatly, perhaps more than most. It reminds us that we were made men by God, and we should act like it. Now this may go against what our common culture teaches us today. Today, we don’t want boys to act like boys and we don’t like it when men act like men. But what does “acting like men” really mean?

In Genesis 1:27, we read;

So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.

God created us to reflect his image in us. He created men to be fully men, to show the masculinity of God, to provide the protection of God, to have the strength of God, the initiative of God. To reflect the God that is always watching, always on guard. We are meant to reflect that half of God. When some part of that is missing in us, we are missing the full likeness of God. We are missing what God intended us to be. If we don’t have an example of that in our lives, we were not shown the full likeness of God.

I am lucky and have a father that was a great example to me. He was strong and hard working, yet was always present in our lives and loved us unconditionally. Even when I was being disciplined, or I had disappointed him, I knew he still loved me. He was quiet yet you always knew that with him there, we were protected. So not only can I look to Jesus, but my earthly father showed me what it was like to be a man.

Women, you were created to reflect the other half of God. The compassion, the nurture, the love of God. If we don’t have the mother figure in our lives or one that was absent, we miss that half of God.

Paul was writing to the church at Corinth when he wrote these words. And note that he was speaking to the entire church.

Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.  -1 Corinthians 16:13

When he was saying be men of courage, he was telling us…to act like men. And not just us flawed men, but to act like the true man. As the title of the sermon series says, The Last Man Standing. Jesus, was the only man that lived the way a man is meant to live. We need to look towards Jesus whom reflected the glory and image of God.

We men are called to have the strength and courage of God to call it how it is. To have the initiative of God to speak out when we see sin. To have the truth of God in us to know what is not OK. We are called to be on guard and protect those we love. We as men need to stand up and be leaders.

What happens when we don’t? Well lets look back to Adam and Eve.

So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it too. -Genesis 3:6

Eve tends to get the bad reputation for being tempted and eating of the fruit. But Adam was with her! He was not acting like a man and keeping guard. He did not lead like God intended him to.

So men, be on your guard. Watch and pray for those in your life. Be present in their lives. Don’t just coast when you’re at home, with your family. Let them see you pray and make them a priority in your life.

Men, stand firm in the faith and be strong. Men we were made to fight. When we see the enemy coming at our family or at ourselves, use the weapons that God has given us and fight. Jesus taught us how to fight the enemy. But be tethered to God. Weapons are useless if we aren’t tethered to the one who gives us power.

Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” -John 19:10-11

Through the victory that Jesus had on the cross, he disarmed the enemy. Men, stand firm and look to the last man standing when the enemy comes your way.

Do everything in love. Let them see you live it out. People don’t care what we say, but what we do. Love them in the small, boring moments that no one but they will see. I’ve seen those who like to help those who have less, who need assistance. But it is not done from love, it is done selfishly to be sure that everyone sees how great they are. It is done to show others how generous THEY are, not to glorify God. They speak compassionately and actually do some kind things, but their actions towards those they love, their family and friends tell otherwise. I’ve stated before in another post, our lives may be the only Bible some people read.

I will end this post, the same way our sermon ended. With a short clip from the movie Courageous.

This applies to me as my heart is willing and courageous.

In my home, the decision has already been made.
You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will.
You don’t have to ask who will teach my children to follow Christ, because I will.
Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will.
Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will.
Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will.

I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.
I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home.

It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say, “I will. I will. I will.”

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Welcome 2016

I’m not always a consistent blogger, but one thing I have been regular on has been my New Years post.  As many bloggers do, I like to take this post to reflect briefly on the year behind us and then look ahead to the new year.

2015

Last year, always feels weird to say that at first, was an interesting year to say the least as there were many highs and some lows, but I do feel I learned a lot about myself, my relationship with God and how that effects my daily life.

Looking back on my New Years post from 2015 is always interesting as I like to see what I was expecting and hoping I would do and then see how well I accomplished that.  Last year I wanted to focus on figuring out where God is leading me, I wanted to pursue God, not sit there waiting to see what happens.   The focus from last year was to see how to change myself.  There were three aspects I talked about, being more humble, reading more and to be still.  I really want to reflect more on the first one…being humble:

Being more humble.  I think I’ve always been somewhat humble, but I wanted to focus on thinking of OTHERS instead of myself.  I may not have truly discovered that until the end of last year, but in some ways I’ve succeeded.   But before I could do that, I had to learn one other thing…something I’ve always struggled with.  I had to learn to LOVE myself.  That was something I really hadn’t thought of, but if I thought less of me, that I wasn’t worthy of God’s love it actually made me dwell on myself…I couldn’t think of others, when all I thought of was how much I really didn’t like myself.  Well I learned, that God loves me no matter what.  And it’s not that he is just sitting on the sidelines thinking how much he loves me as I continue heading over the cliff…no he actively pursues us.  In a post that I’ve been writing, but have yet to post, I highlight a few verses that have taught me much.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever – Psalm 23:6

God’s love follows us wherever we go, he loves us unconditionally even when we continually reject his overtures of love towards us.  He continues to let us know, ‘I’ll be here when you are ready‘ and in fact, he goes one step more and reminds us constantly, sometimes forcefully, ‘Hey, I’m here and I still love you.

God has a plan for our lives and He will go to great lengths to complete his plan in us…in fact, nothing will stop him.

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.  -Philippians 1:6

Life’s Journey

So in 2015, I went on a journey to find out what my purpose in life was, what I was meant to do and how God was going to use me.  I wrote a whole series of posts focused on this (and read them in reverse order to get the gist of my journey) and it was really quite illuminating, but it didn’t take me long until I actually believe I found what my purpose is, and it applies to all of us I believe.  I wrote about it in my post entitled, Come and See.

This was truly enlightening and I can say that it changed my life.  I learned that God has me where he wants me…and when he’s ready to move me, he will.  I was struggling to find out where I was going so I could prepare or perhaps try and talk God out of it…but I found that I’m serving God each and every day right where I am.  There is no need for me to do something “great” at least how humans define greatness.  God has me doing “great” things right where I am.  Someday he may call me to the human definition of “greatness”, but right now I’m exactly where he needs me.

Look at these lyrics from a song by the Newsboys song, How to Change the World.  This really epitomizes my journey in 2015.  It was the culmination of a year of learning, about myself, about God.  I learned that I’m serving him in every moment of my life.  When I’m at work, I’m serving him.  When I’m coaching my son’s baseball team, I’m serving him.  When I am grocery shopping, I’m serving him.  As I’m typing this post, I’m serving him.

It’s the prayer in an empty room
Little things we do when nobody’s around
A hand reaching out to a heart in doubt
It’s the smallest spark that can light the dark

That’s how you change the world!

2016

So what do I think 2016 will bring?  I’m not entirely sure.  I’m sure it will have it’s high points and low points.  I’m sure I’ll reflect back in a year from now and see things that I had hoped to accomplish, still sitting  undone…but as usual, I suspect that I’ll learn something completely unexpected, but it will be exactly what God had in mind for me all along.

God bless and Happy New Year!