Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

“But we in it shall be remembered, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers…” William Shakespeare’s play Henry V – St Crispin’s Day Speech

 

Men are very different than women in many ways, but when it comes to relationships it is most evident. We can be real loners. We do not connect well with other men when it comes to deep ties that bind. Women do this almost by instinct as if it was woven into their DNA to connect with other women on another level. That’s because they are relationship oriented.

Men are not.

Sure, we will be all about it when we are watching sports and cheering our favorite team but when it comes to being transparent about our daily lives and what is going on in our marriage and family or other struggles in our Christian walk, we are silent. We endure these trials and hardships alone and isolate out of fear and pride. 

We have no safe place to go and never had.

It’s almost like a red badge of courage that says we are strong. “I am a man and do not need anyone as I work through my life.”  We trust no one with those deep feelings and insecurities. If we say anything we will be thought of as less than. No man wants to be looked at as less than by another man. That is what was drummed into us as we grew up.

We go through our lives with this mindset as different issues begin to pile up making a mountain out of a molehill, day after day year after year. It gnaws at us, but we cannot quite put our finger on the source. We desperately want to feel better about ourselves, but our anger overtakes us. Escaping through alcohol, drugs, pornography or a million other diversions is a temporary fix with many men ending their lives with suicide. 

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Many of us have come from abusive families, bad religious experiences or both that have colored our world dark. I know mine was. I had anger issues. Anger was my addiction of choice.

I have left a path of destruction behind me because of my anger, especially with my wife and family. The things I said and the way I acted were an embarrassment to not only those closest to me but myself. It was like some demon took hold of me from the inside. I would become this Raging Incredible Hulk. I did not do this most of the time but in those times I felt heavy stress. Enough times that my wife and I had to separate on numerous occasions throughout our lives together. 

I think much of my anger came from fear.

Fear has been a part of my life in one form or another. When I was a child, I was fearful because my family fought all the time. I had a hearing disability that made my parents and teachers think my mental IQ was very low. 

I was kicked out of two Catholic grade schools and had nuns beat me up because they could not control this bad kid. I was fearful most of my adult life because I was always trying to prove that I was not stupid. I desperately wanted to show I had a talent of some sort that I could call my own and show to others.

Throughout my adult life, I have always wanted a mentor.

Someone that could show me the ropes in life. My dad was not much good at this. I think he suffered from the same issues I did so how could he teach me to navigate this minefield of human relationships. 

The truth be told, I needed something more than a mentor but other Christian men that I could trust. Spill my guts about my fears and insecurities. What was happening to me? 

Where do you find such men?

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

 

I do not think that I was aware for most of my life that I needed men in this capacity until I joined a group at a local church that dealt with these issues. Men that could come together without fear of being judged because they also had the same problems and had left a path of destruction in their own lives. I was not alone. I was not crazy.

The Men of Hope meets once a week. 16-20 men meet in the large group that goes around a large table setting and we all introduce ourselves and what has brought us to this place. New men show up all the time and are mixed in with men that have been meeting for a couple of years. 

Newcomers are almost in a state of shock for a variety of reasons. Most have never been in a setting like this before and for them to hear such honesty from the older members about their struggles and how God is helping overcome them. Just listening to others speak is amazing therapy in itself. I identify with the other men and I realize I am not so different from what they are going through. Being an isolated loner, I thought what I was dealing with was just me. 

There are usually a couple of smaller groups…

…meeting at the same time as the large group. These are men that are working through a 12-step book that helps them connect to our childhoods or other periods of pain usually in a setting of 6-8 individuals. These are men that have made a commitment to do the smaller group and have been going to the larger group for a period of time. We work the book together from start to finish. 

For many men, this is the first time in their lives that they are going back into their past for answers. Questions in the book are designed to peel back the onion of our history and emotions. We ask God to help us on this journey because He knows better than anyone what has brought us to this point in time.

Some men come just once, others come a few times then still others will come regularly and have for years. This is where strong bonds are formed. We become A Band of Brothers with our fellow journeymen on this Christian path. We learn what it is like to be a good husband, father and friend from each other with God in the center of it all.

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

 

Once a year a great number of men will meet for a weekend retreat where we enjoy each other’s company and listen to some great Christian speakers. Many men come away from this time energized and with new friendships.

My son and grandson both belong to The Men of Hope. We are three generations that are trying to be set free of the chains that bind us to a past that keeps us separated from God. Men in this setting become transparent and accountable to each other for the benefit of our wives and families.

Most men are not accountable to no one or anything. We have become these little demigods answering only to ourselves. Some of us have become tyrants in our own families.  

I recently read a blog post by Gary Thomas…

…called “Enough is Enough”. It took me on a journey of introspection of myself and my marriage. So many thoughts flooded through me as I found myself identifying with some of the men being described in this article.

His writing is about when is it OK to get a divorce from an abusive spouse. He is talking about a Christian marriage here. 

Gary says, “As Christian leaders and friends, we have to see that some evil men are using their wives’ Christian guilt and our teaching about the sanctity of marriage as a weapon to keep harming them.”

I do not want to go back…

…to being that angry man that is described in “Enough is Enough”. Men of Hope and my Band of Brothers are helping me do that. All those men that he describes in his blog and the comments the women made in the comment section are isolated men that answer to no one. They are accountable to no one.

Sure, it’s still a battle every day. It took me many years of isolation and being the prideful ruler of my life that God is teaching me a better way. A Godly way.

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

Our churches need to be open to having men groups meet regularly and I do not mean for just bible studies but a safe place for men to come and connect in a deeply meaningful way. As men, we yearn for meaningful relationships with other Godly Men deep in our core.

We all want and need A Band of Brothers even though many of us do not know what that is or looks like.

I do now and I thank God every day for finding this group. 

 

The Men of Hope meets once a week at Mountain Park Church in Ahwatukee on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:00. The church address is 16461 S. 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85048. All are welcome if you go to church there or not. There is no charge.

 

Christian Men Need Other Christian Men to Succeed

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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The Kingdom of Randy

The Kingdom of Randy

The Kingdom of Randy

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Randy, who, because of extreme emptiness and loneliness, decided to set up a kingdom to try and fill this empty world.

It seemed like a very dark and kind of scary place, so he decided to fill it up the best he could with various temples and shrines and gardens.

He had a temple to Pleasure; it included all the pleasure of sensuality, sex, fantasy, taste, drink and thus that alter the senses.

He had a temple to Self-Respect; pride, feeling good about one’s self, competition no be better than others and achievement. He set up a temple to Love and that illusive dream of finding another person to fill the void.

There were a number of temples to control, power, happiness, and golden things to fill up his kingdom with. But the gods of the temples were not kind and actually very dangerous.

Some took control.

Randy sat on a broken throne in rags, with a broken crown. The kingdom he built was dark, scary and filled with the stench of death. He blamed all the Kings and Queens that had the same kind of kingdoms around him. He was blind and became more self-deluded.

He lost control of his kingdom, but he continued to lie to himself that “Everything will get better if I just find that magic idol.”

The Kingdom of Randy

The Kingdom of Randy

 

One day a message came from far away that a great King wanted to visit Randy’s kingdom. The emissary from this great King made it very clear that the King had no intention of coming unless He was invited.

It was completely up to Randy. No pressure, no force, no threats. This King did things differently.

Randy thought about it and even though he was fearful, decided to go ahead and extend an invitation. Maybe this King would bring him a present of some sorts, maybe something happy to brighten up the kingdom. Maybe some paint. Maybe a few soldiers to help control things.

Well, the day arrived that the foreign King arrived. He brought with Him his councilor, best described as something like a shining ghost. He could move through objects, and more importantly move through people.

He also brought a host of 10,000 soldiers, which was actually exciting because Randy only had soldiers he had painted on cardboard. He never saw anything like this.

 

The King was less intimidating than he expected…

…actually very humble and kind with an ever-present smile. Randy knew this King had special powers he didn’t understand.

A tour of the kingdom was requested, and Randy was really scared about the condition of the place. He had no idea how bad it really was until the King and His entourage moved around.

They were filled with light, and the light shone on the crumbling temples and broken idols. He saw filth, sadness and decay. Nothing was as it seemed to him.

One by one, each temple was exposed to the light, and Randy grew more and more alarmed at the true condition of his kingdom. Then, they kindly King brought in a mirror from His Kingdom, and for the first time Randy looked into the mirror.

What he saw brought a bucket of tears, as he had no idea how ugly he was. He was dirty, wounded, bleeding, covered in bruises and sores. He cried, “Oh my God, who could ever save anyone like this?”

He fell to his knees in despair without hope in himself or his broken kingdom. But then, the kindly King lifted him up, held him close and whispered in his ear, “I love you. I can help you heal. May I take over your kingdom?” Randy couldn’t believe his ears.

There was this great King who could create a new kingdom in Randy. He simply said yes. That’s all it took.

Just a simply yes.

The Kingdom of Randy

The Kingdom of Randy

 

And then the work began. One temple at a time came crashing down.

Great fires burned up the many idols. The King’s water was brought in to irrigate and plants started growing with real fruit unlike any that Randy had ever tasted. Each day the light in the kingdom grew brighter and brighter.

Soon there were adventures as the great King taught Randy about the real truth and how things were run in the His Kingdom. Randy’s healing and training took many years.

He had a tendency to think about the old idols, but the new King would remind him gently about those old things. The King always gave Randy a choice about things. He wasn’t pushy. So Randy grew to see the wisdom in turning it all over to the new King.

Near the latter part of Randy’s life, he discovered he was growing to love his King more and more, even to the point that he couldn’t bear to leave His side.

He was becoming his life total.

The story was shared about what it cost this King to do all of this for him, and to this day, he still ponders a love that causes a many to lay down his life for a friend.

Randy became a friend of King Jesus, his Heavenly Father.

 

The Kingdom of Randy

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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Looking Forward to the Future

Looking Forward to the Future

Looking Forward to the Future

My entire Christian life has been one of looking forward to a future when somehow, I find peace on Earth. I’ve always had this expectation that somehow, I was going to arrive on some vague plateau of personal peace, harmony and perhaps a state of being that was more like coasting downhill on a bike as opposed to peddling hard uphill.

But alas. It has never gotten easier for me and I have never arrived into that state of “coasting”.

I had a recent epiphany about the probable reality of my life as a Christian.

Allow me to use a football analogy to explain a new understanding of what the Christian life may be like for most of us.

Let’s say I was born into a football family.

The exposure to all thing’s “football” is continually around me. My identity is wrapped up in football and my destiny is playing football.

And so, I play pee-wee football in elementary school running and bumping into the little guys and more than likely going in the wrong direction on the field. Zero maturity but an intro none the less.

Junior high football comes next; learning the rules, listening to the coaches and growing physically into a football body.

With high school football comes growingly difficult opponents, more disciplines, teamwork, and life new choices as I consider how my behavior will affect my ability to play ball.

I developed closer friendships with the other players as we work on our game and my listening to the coaches becomes indispensable for any success. I choose to reject passivity and anything that will negatively affect my game. Hard dedicated work brings success.

Then, moving up to college ball…

… brings a whole new set of challenges. What are you going to allow in your life? Which distractions will you reject? What is your commitment, your motivating goal?

College brings you into contact with the better players and opponents from high schools all around the country. Bigger and stronger and smarter guys who play to win. The hits are harder, the losses bitter but the perks grow.

You have a host of new tools at your disposal to become a better player. Great coaches, facilities, support and exposure on national television plus fans that have higher expectations and demands but winning brings that taste of glory.

Life choices get more and more focused and, in some ways, stricter and limited. Disciplines grow and actions such as getting drunk on Friday nights are no longer an option.

Every choice can have a positive or negative effect on your game and so you are willing to choose the better things.

On you go to play at the next level, pro football; greater challenges but greater rewards. Your opponents are giants, the best of the best and you absolutely developed your body and skills or get seriously injured. Every choice you make must consider if it will hinder or help you win.

How you think controls the rest of it so if you’re thinking or perspective is off or wrong, your game suffers.

Depending on how you may play…

… in the Super Bowl and win but that is your last game, your eternal exit game. No retirement. You die.

The point of this is to consider that the Christian life is a game in action from the beginning to end. Even if you think you have checked out you are still a football player in the field of life.

The opponents real and their hits painful. There is no retirement so stop looking for it.

Stay focused and motivated and trust your heavenly coach with the goal of winning for yourself and your team.

 

Looking Forward to the Future

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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Evidence of Repentance

Evidence of Repentance

Evidence of Repentance

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 3:1-2

Do you feel that the kingdom of heaven has come near? It was a message preached two thousand years ago, even by the Messiah Himself right before He recruited His very first disciples (Matthew 4:17).

So, if this warning applied enough two thousand years ago for the incarnate God of the universe to find it worthy, or perhaps even necessary, to preach as the initiate teaching of His earthly ministry, how much more ought we repent now that the kingdom of God is at least partially present now before us?

It’s been two millennia since this warning was uttered and it rings true today just as much as it did back then.

I have spent a decent amount of time listening to those who have made shipwreck of their marriages.

In my experience…

…I have seen that the ones who confess their adultery to their spouse have a much more successful time reconciling and working through the tornado they’ve unleashed in their own marriage.

This is especially true when those repentant souls have already begun their own steps to free themselves from this sin either through a regular attendance to a support group, committed introspection with therapy, earnest pursuit of spiritual rejuvenation, or the common combination of all three.

When we confess, it shows that we are actively seeking to rid ourselves of our sin.

Confession is likely the biggest step in the healing process and its why it is intrinsically interlinked with repentance. It’s the first and greatest piece of evidence of repentance; you cannot solve a problem you will not admit you have.

God and the world are both sick and tired of Christians who talk a big talk yet hypocritically walk crooked walks. We do not need more insufferable whitewashed tombs; we need men and women who are brutally honest with their shortcomings.

Christians who will take off their fig leaf and expose their naked soul to God and to their neighbor: knuckleheads, dog-lappers, and Simon Peters. This is the circumcision of the heart.

This is the kingdom of heaven.

Remember this as you find those Christians unashamed and perhaps a bit too open about their past sins: rejoice, for the kingdom of heaven has come near unto you.

 

Evidence of Repentance

Evidence of Repentance

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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Extraordinary God Engineered Encounter

Extraordinary God Engineered Encounter

Extraordinary God Engineered Encounter

Just had an extraordinary God engineered encounter with an older, clean cut, brilliant, intellectual Christian whose focus sees “every spot, wrinkle and blemish” in modern churches, all pastors, all Christians, and the whole educational system in America.

Apparently, the Reformation was the only valid Christian age. He sounded so much like me.

He likes the same old preachers from the 1800’s, etc.

He no longer attends any church and doesn’t disciple anyone (I doubt anyone would be worthy of his guidance).

Statement after statement he spouted and, not arrogantly, by the way. He said nothing I haven’t said or heard from some of my friends say multiple times.

He was older than me.

So many similarities and yet he is lonely, not knowing that he is a prisoner of his intellect and spiritual discernment.

He can’t accept the world as it is, thus without seeing it or knowing it, he is unable to save anyone drowning because the water is too polluted.

A divine appointment with the man whom I could easily evolve into if not for the grace of God.

Extraordinary God Engineered Encounter

I challenged him strongly, emphasizing that ultimately this is about an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lover of our souls, and our Lord is the one who jumps in the dirty, polluted waters, over and over again to rescue the perishing.

Lesson; get over yourself and focus on loving Jesus and others.

Amazing that God would bring a different version of yourself to Starbucks for a personal lesson in wisdom.

 

Extraordinary God Engineered Encounter

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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God Is the Author of Creativity

God Is the Author of Creativity

God Is the Author of Creativity

Allow me to share an experience that I had on my way back from East Tennessee to Phoenix this summer.

I took the Southern route through Dallas, Texas and decided to stop at The Dallas Museum of Art. I wanted to make this more than just a 2000 mile “drive back” trip.

The museum had a special exhibit on “Dior, From Paris to The World”. Needless to say, nether words nor images can adequately capture the sheer beauty of the magnificent pieces they have on display.

73 years of genius from the Dior creators. This is high fashion as art.

God Is the Author of Creativity

So, as a Christian I get my clues about beauty, art or esthetic design from God Himself.

God Himself is infinitely beautiful, but also creates incomprehensible beauty.

He is the author of creativity.

Look at the splendor of His creation.

Even though sin entered the world and infected everything we see, we still get glimpses of the extraordinary beauty God designed into creation.

Beauty is for God’s glory and is good:  beauty in and of itself is not a bad thing. I believe Satan hates any beauty unless it is corrupted to only glorify man.

As we are created in His image, we have the gift to create and some of us can create quiet beautiful works of art.

We take the raw materials God created and recombine them into something unique and with talent, and sometimes by accident, we create something extraordinarily beautiful like the Dior show.

“Satan became so impressed with his own beauty, intelligence, power and position that he began to desire for himself the honor and glory that belonged to God alone”. – Ron Rhodes

God Is the Author of Creativity

“We have only seen a creation affected and corrupted by the fall”

God Is the Author of Creativity

 

I enjoyed this spectacular exhibit of the design and craftsmanship of thousands of people who worked for Dior. 

It took various crafts to bring about the vision of the Christian Dior designs.

This artwork is not like looking at a painting by a single artist. It’s seeing the humble seamstress who knows the fabric and how to sew the perfect seam. 

The worship of what man creates is vain and empty because the very ability to create is merely a gift from God. Paradoxically, I still enjoyed and was overwhelmed by an exhibit that for all purposes “glorifies man”.

I dare say it was all done for the glory of man and the creators. And that cast a bit of a stench, almost like a wet dog smell, on the whole thing.

It was not right.

If the loveliest High Creator of all color, material, movement, texture, shine, sparkle, even softness of material is neglected it is a waste!

I really enjoyed Dallas but there was a better show that God had planned for me to see in Midland, Texas.

There is a museum called the “Petroleum Museum” that was created by 5 of the bigger oill firms in the U.S. In terms of museums, this is a real gem.

No expense was spared. The exhibits are massive and 1st class. They cover the history of the petroleum industry and of course, all of its geology.

The best part for me was their mineral and gem displays procured, from underneath the earth. I had no idea they had such a world class exhibit of gems and minerals! 

I can’t say that minerals and gems are a hobby of mine, but as I began to move through this exhibit, I was suddenly overwhelmed at the overall excellence of the collection the scope, and extraordinary beauty of these samples.

God Is the Author of Creativity
God Is the Author of Creativity
God Is the Author of Creativity

God Is the Author of Creativity

 

Specimens ranged in size from an apple to a basketball. Every subsequent glass showcase became more and more beautiful to me; more exotic, more extravagant.

And then… Boom!

I realized that I was looking at a display of God’s design sense and handcrafted beauty; far more extraordinary than what man can create and to beat it all, hidden under the earth, in the dirt! HIDDEN!

My eyes and my soul filled with gratitude and praise for this display of our Heavenly Creator then I realized I seen the best of the best that man could design in Dallas at the Dior show then in the middle of nowhere the greater show, the greater display, of beauty was to be found. I knew that neither stop was an accident as God intended for me to see both exhibits.

I felt God say to me: “Randy be grateful to Me for all of My gifts and remember you are only imitating your Heavenly Father.”

Only God as unique. Only His creation is original.

We are mere toddlers in the playpen. Children in a sand box.

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Two Measures Foolish are a Christian Apologetics group of writers that write from a Christian Perspective and Christian World View using the Bible as our core.

We all travel on an individual journey on this planet earth that God has put into motion from the day we were formed in our mothers’ body. We all have deep questions that need to be answered. Why are we here? Is this all there is?

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