Per my earlier post, here’s Part 1 of an interview with Gary Thomas on his book…
I’ve started a new blog that I’m calling, Pursuing Godly Manhood. Below are a few highlights from this week’s postings. I would love for you to take a look around it and let me know what you think… what’s missing… etc.
Fathers & Daughters
Work & Vocation
Here’s a snippet from a new post at Pursuing Godly Manhood…
My life for yours. Training and nurturing our children in the Lord – when we rise, when we go to bed, as we live throughout the day, when it’s convenient, when it’s inconvenient – making sure that our children are not merely “taught at” but saturated in the things of God each day, all day – because they are eternal beings and heirs of the King. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Are we leaving a godly legacy to and for our children and our children’s children for a thousand generations? Are we dying so they can live – really live? Can we think outside our individual lives to see how our own deaths will extend the Kingdom of God by producing many seeds? Will we believe the promises of God that he has made regarding faithful, covenantal parenting? My life for yours and for a thousand generations after you. Talk about a payoff!
Click here to read the whole post.
NO HOMEWORK! Now that I have your attention, read on…
For 10 ½ years you men have been busting your backsides… faithfully doing your homework, showing up each week, participating in discussing God’s Word with your brothers, praying for one another, etc.
For our new study we’re going to take a brief hiatus from the homework… yet still dig in just as deeply to discover what God’s Word has to say about marriage, and especially who we’re called to be as husbands.
We’re each at different places on this journey. Some of you have been husbands for a long time and some for only a few years. Others of you have never been married while others of you are divorced or widowed. We’re all over the map. But here’s what I believe to my core: In addition to hearing what God has to say about marriage, we desperately need to hear from one another and learn from the variety of our experiences. We need to learn from our collective successes and failures. That’s one of the ways we can become the husbands that God has called us to be.
In a real sense there will be homework each week. I say that because, hopefully, with God’s strength and wisdom, you will apply what you learn each week, in whatever relationship you find yourself.
I’ll hand out the schedule for our new study at this week’s meetings. As always, this is a great time to invite new men to join us.
Please pray with me that God will use this new study to pour out his blessings upon us.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at DaleTedder@yahoo.com.
Your Brother in Christ,
I just started this book, which is subtitled, Every Man’s Guide to Couragious and Daily Integrity. That’s such a key phrase, I think. I have often said that the hardest part about parenting is that it’s so daily. Well, that’s also true about being a godly man. Consistency seems so elusive. We have good days and not-so-good days. But seeking to be Christlike is always our goal. This book has been out since 2003, but the ideas are as fresh and relevant as anything written today. In fact, it has recently been republished. This link will take you to the good folks at ChristianBook.com’s listing of it so that you can order it.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this is not a “book review.” Instead, I’m seeking to glean key ideas from the books I share (usually just focusing on a chapter at a time) so that I can share what I’m learning with you and the men I’m blessed to serve at Southside UMC. Enjoy, Dale
Introduction and Chapter One
From the Introduction
Men spend a lot of time playing to the wrong audience. “God Almighty is the only audience we need. …When we play for God, we become God’s man.”
The Three Rs of God’s Man
1.) “Read – God’s man reads. A careful reader soaks up truth and lives it out in his life.”
2.) “Recommit – Recommitment means relinquishing some of our rights and leading by serving. Recommitment means removing the sins that burden us down.”
3.) “Relate – God’s man relates to God, his immediate family, and to other men.”
From Chapter One: Bogged Down in the Red Zone
The authors reference Dallas Willard, saying that before we seek to renovate our lives, we must first renovate our hearts. I couldn’t agree more with that. In fact, I’ve written on that very idea many, many times as well. The whole Bible, I believe, is predicated on the need for heart-work before life-transformation can truly take place.
This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does. It first puts a man into a right relationship with God through Christ (by grace through faith and repentance) and simultaneously makes that man a brand new creature with a brand new heart.
That new man of God then spends the rest of his life seeking to become (through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit and the means of grace God has provided) what God has already declared him to be – holy (or what we might call “Christlike”). This is an inside-out procedure. It involves a renovation of our character and not simply behavior modification. Our minds must also be renewed before we can really start living lives that please God and conform to the Christlikeness that God desires. “Right actions” which are not done for God’s glory and out of love for Christ are not properly motivated and thus not pleasing to God. Too many ministries today focus too much on changing behavior first. They’ve got it backwards. I believe this book seeks to straighten that out.
Kenny Luck talks about the great privilege it is to serve men by pouring himself into their lives. I couldn’t agree more. I thank God daily for calling me to such a ministry. It’s a blessing that I enjoy each day.
I once heard Tony Evans say something along the lines that if you connect with a man, his family will be blessed, then his church will, then his work, then his community, and eventually the world. Luck quotes a pastor friend of his who made this similar statement: “If you reach a man, then you reach every relationship he has.” Amen to that!
Here are some of the things that the authors will be focusing on throughout the book (These topics look great. I can’t wait to really dig in and share what I learn with you.)
- the personal benefits of having an undivided heart toward God
- how to stop resolving to change and instead experience a revolution inside
- how to move against fear and replace it with faith
- how there is no such thing as a “double agent” believer because one agent is always compromised
- how to deal with the “mole” within that bids you to indulge the dark side
- how winning or losing a spiritual foothold changes the tide of war
- how and why “80/20” thinking fails; that is, doing things 80 percent God’s way and 20 percent your way
- the importance of “marinating” your mind
- why having other men watch your back is nonnegotiable for God’s man
- how confession releases God’s power and bloodies the Enemy’s nose
- how to partner effectively and practically with the Guide – God’s Spirit
- the source of real spiritual power and how to tap it
- why perseverance is the mark of God’s man
- the purpose of building and staying within well-marked boundaries
- the need to jettison the baggage in your life
- mastering your spiritual motivation once and for all
If that list doesn’t motivate you to go out and buy the book, I don’t know what will. I look forward to reading this book and working my way through it with you.
Pat Morley, founder of the ministry to men called, Man in the Mirror, has said something along these lines: “However many men are in your church, that’s how many men are in your men’s ministry.”
It has taken me awhile to fully understand and even embrace that idea. However, I have come to slowly wrap my mind around that idea and now completely agree with it. For many churches, the men’s ministry consists of those dear brothers who attend a monthly Saturday morning breakfast and quick devotion followed by spending the rest of the day doing “chores” around the church (for which, that church is greatly blessed). I know that I had a similar view of what or who constitutes a men’s ministry; I simply substituted men’s weekly discipleship small groups in the place of the weekly breakfast.
Ministry to men, however, ought to be thought of more comprehensively than that. There are certainly components which, in my opinion, should be present and operative in a men’s ministry, yet a one-dimensional definition of men’s ministry is counter-productive and, ultimately, will not yield very much good and lasting fruit for the kingdom.
Southside’s ministry to men, as we shall see in this post, (as well as the next one), runs the gamut of activities and programs all designed to help build up our men in their faith and to equip them to be a blessing to others, in every sphere of their lives.
Small Group Study in Community
In spite of all that I just wrote on not wanting to too strictly define or limit what makes up a men’s ministry, I still passionately contend that our men’s weekly discipleship groups at Southside are foundational to all our other men’s ministries.
These weekly discipleship groups, which we call The Baxter Boys, began as a little band of men who met in the living room of my house, just a bit over nine years ago. (Click here and here to learn about our namesake, Richard Baxter.) These weekly gatherings are where our men can be instructed, encouraged, equipped, enriched, edified, and even convicted through the ministry of God’s Spirit and Word working in the midst of Christian community. (Click here to learn more about the primacy of God’s Word in such settings.)
In the Baxter Boys weekly fellowship, our men learn about the things of God – how know him better, love him more, follow him more faithfully, and how to become more and more like him. We do this in the context of community and accountability. Curiously, such a setting has been described as a sterile environment and even irrelevant to real life. I suppose it could be seen as that. I guess it may be even be practiced in such a way. Yet, one would have a hard time making that case to many of our men who have had their minds renewed and their lives transformed in and through such a ministry setting.
Throughout the year we used a three-pronged approach that consists of Word, Doctrine, and Life. By Word, I mean a straightforward study through a book in the Bible. When we study Doctrine, we are isolating a particular affirmation of our faith and focusing on it for a period of time, such as the person and work of Jesus Christ. Finally, by Life, I mean a practical, rubber-hits-the-road approach to living in this world as Christian men, whether it’s as husbands, fathers, or in the workplace. Obviously, there is overlap for all three. For example, we don’t (and, I would contend, can’t) study Doctrine or Life without studying the Word. They all connect and interrelate.
Accountability and Encouragement in Community
The Baxter Boys discipleship ministry includes accountability, yet not in the same way as smaller and more intimate groups experience it. Accountability in this fellowship is experienced more through mutually encouraging one another to attend and participate in the life of the groups. And yet, struggles, even failures, are shared. Brothers building one another up in a common faith, lifting up one another in prayer, as well as victories and successes celebrated all make up the life of these small groups.
Leadership Development in Community
Our men also learn leadership in and through our weekly discipleship groups. As our men get more and more grounded in God’s Word, they begin to feel God’s Spirit moving and calling them to serve him in a wide variety of leadership settings, such as in their homes and workplaces, teaching Sunday school classes, working with inner-city mercy ministries, mentoring boys without a father in the home, administrative committees in the church, just to name a few. God has promised that regularly renewing our minds with his Word will bring about such transformation.
Leadership is also manifested in the lives of our men as they seek to pass the baton of faith onto other men. Through study, prayer, and fellowship, God’s Spirit draws them out of their comfort zones and encourages them to invite other men to join us. Many men also begin to pour their lives into the lives of other men through various forms of mentoring and discipling.
Unity in Diversity
One last aspect that makes our weekly fellowship so meaningful is that it is made up of men from a variety of church affiliations. True ecumenism is found when brothers from a variety of denominational backgrounds can gather together and affirm one Lord, one Spirit, one baptism, one faith, all grounded in one Word.
If this sounds like something you would like to become a part of, please do not hesitate to come and join our fellowship!
We meet on Monday nights in Southside’s Family Life Center from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
We meet on Wednesday mornings in Southside’s Family Life Center from 6:30am to 7:30am.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to call me at 396-2676 or email me at email@example.com.
Blessings in Christ,
(April 16, 2010)