Welcome to REAL Men RoCK

This blog is about the issues men face and things I have experienced.

I hope you will be encouraged, challenged, and stirred to take action.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)

17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another


ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 


ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Friday, February 27, 2009

Evil. Where Did It Come From?

This post is going to be a little different than my other posts because I am going to ask you to help me write it.

Last night in our men's group we discussed who created evil. If God is all-powerful why doesn't He stop evil from happening? Since the Bible says He is all-powerful then He must have created both good and evil. Why did He do that?

With this post I would like to ask you to study the nature of God which is found in the Bible and share what you have found proving one of the following questions:

Gos is all-powerful and allows people to have free will, which sometimes leads to evil.

God is all-powerful and created both good and evil.

God is not all-powerful and cannot stop evil.

What are some of the possible reasons God allows evil to happen even to good people?

Please share your discovery by commenting to this post and back up your statement with scriptures. Next Thursday when our group meets again I will share your responses with the men.

I look forward to your comments about this subject. I can promise you that you will find within the pages of the Bible the truth about God's nature.

2 Timothy 3: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Our hope regarding evil is found in Revelations 21: 4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away,".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are you a life giver?

My second grade teacher did something to me that would influence my life for over 27 years. In my life she was a life taker not a life giver. You can read this story in my post http://realmenrock.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-story-school-years.html. Her actions of embarrassing me caused me to struggle with being in front of people and a result was I was an underachiever.

For years I would turn beet red when I would be pointed out in a crowd. It did not matter whether I was being pointed out for a good thing or a negative thing I would get so embarrassed by people looking at me.

When I was 34 years old I decided that I was tired of allowing something that happened to me when I was seven to control my life. I joined "Spokesman Club", a speech club for men to help them develop speaking skills for leadership. It was tough and took 8 years but I overcame what I experienced when I was seven because of the encouragement of other men and leaders .

My second grade teacher was a life taker but these men where life givers. They practiced the following scriptures:

1 Thessalonians 4: 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3: 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Because of their actions I was able to root up what someone else had planted in my life. These men plowed the field where new crops would grow.

Today a new crop is being harvested and the seeds from that crop is being sown in the lives of other men through this blog and through a men's group I lead on Thursday evenings.

If you are suffering from negative words that someone has sown into your life I encourage you to find a group of men you can partner with to root out those lies you have lived under. Find men who will sow into your life words of truth and encouragement.

If you are a man who has had positive words spoken over you and you are living a life of encouragement I want to encourage you to use that blessing to sow words of life in the lives other men. Discouraged men need encouraged men to come along side of them and sow the words of life into their lives.

So my question for you today is:

"Are you a Life Giver?"

This post was stirred in me by the sermon: "The Neglected Key to Holiness" by Mark Warner of the Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS

Monday, February 16, 2009

No Words Needed

God does not care about how much you know...

Yesterday as I sat listening to our senior pastor, Mark Warner, deliver his sermon, "Do You Know More than You Do?", based on James 2: 14-26 I tried to answer some of the questions he was stirring in me. To listen to his sermon click the title and you will be directed to the Vineyard Church sermon page. I began to ask myself is my faith truly genuine based on the following three areas.

Was my faith more than words?
As I thought about this question I kept saying to myself, "Yes! I am doing more than just talking about the truth."

Was my faith more than doctrine?
As I thought about this question I also kept replying to myself, "Yes!" I not only know doctrine I am putting it into practice.

Was my faith a lonely faith?
Here I answered to myself, "No!" My faith is backed up with serving.

One of the things Mark said that keeps ringing in my ears is, "It is not the truth you know that sets you free and saves you but the truth that moves you to action."

I felt pretty good about how I was living up to those three areas until I woke this morning and answered a phone call from one of my friend's wife. She was calling to let me know that Jeff had died last night. After hanging up the phone what kept going through my mind was those three areas? Did I really show genuine faith in regard to my friend who has for 4 years suffered unemployment, sickness and depression? Was my faith more than words with Jeff? Was my faith more than doctrine in regard to what Jeff faced? Was my faith a lonely faith or did I combine faith and works in regard to my friend, Jeff?

This morning the Holy Spirit convicted me that maybe I was not doing so well in these three areas after all. Maybe I was a little too quick to answer yes when I should have been asking how can I improve.

The point of this post is not to admit I did not help Jeff or that I failed to be there when he needed someone to talk to. The point is I was self righteously answering yes when I should have been asking God to show me how I could improve.

I once heard someone say, "People do not care what you know, they care about whether you care." I think we could change that to "God does not care about how my much you know about His Word, He cares more about how well you put into practice His Word."

This morning the Holy Spirit woke me to the fact that I sometimes think I know more than I do and I definitely do less than I think I do.

What about you? Are you more talk than you are action? If so then I encourage you to quit putting off that visit to a nursing home, that visit to a friend, that involvement with a homeless shelter or whatever need someone you know has and put your faith into action. Tomorrow you just might wake up to a phone call reminding you that it is too late.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love, Value and Dignity

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

These words come from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. I want to focus on the first sentence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It would be dishonest to say that our country has always lived up to those words. The plight of the Native Peoples and the enslavement of the African Peoples are the two most striking examples of injustice and a lack of living up to the ideals mentioned in that first sentence. The beauty of our nation is that when a wrong is discovered the people eventually push through the solution. Down through history Christians have lead the way in pushing through changes that have corrected the wrongs in society.

As a white person I have struggled over the years with what I could do to make right what my ancestors did? The answer is I can't because I am not responsible for the sins of someone else. What I can do is provide the three things that people from all tribes and nations want and need.

Before I get to what those three things are let me state here that money is not one of them. Money is a short time satisfier and does not lead to any lasting effects on the three things.

Here is what I believe everyone wants and needs:
1. Love - People want to feel loved and those who grow up without love usually turn out to be violent and lack value for others.
2. Value - People want to know that they are valued by other people especially their parents.
3. Dignity - People need to have their dignity and when that is taken away they usually break down to their lowest form of attitude and behavior.

Just giving someone money will not express love to them, will not provide value in their life and will not give them dignity. For a day, a week or maybe a month they will feel satisfied but then the money begins to disappear. But if a person feels loved, valued and has a sense of dignity they can be satisfied with very little because they have their inner needs met.

Let's look at what Jesus would do for the Native Peoples and the decendants of enslaved Africans. Personally I think if we apply the following two scriptures to our lives we will be well on the way to giving those three things to others.

I will not take up the space to list the entire scripture.
James 2: 1-26 In these verses James tells us to accept everyone equally. In other words all men are created equal in the eyes of our Creator.
Matthew 25: 31-46 In these verses we are told that when we serve the least of our society we serve the Lord.

So how can we apply these to the plight of the African Americans and the Native Peoples? It simply boils down to taking the risk and the effort to serve another person in whatever way you can. For example, at our Vineyard in Overland Park we participate in Angel Tree, a program by Prison Fellowship of providing Christmas gifts for the children of incarcerated parents. Many of the families touched by a parent being incarcerated are African American. We have made the decision to take Angel Tree from a Christmas event to a year round ministry and reach out to those families in ways that expresses love to them, makes them feel valued and gives them a sense of dignity.

Doing something for the Native Peoples of our country is a harder act and honestly we are still working on finding the opportunities to put this in motion. Part of the reason for this post is to gather resources to make both of these work so if you know of an opportunity within the Missouri/Kansas area that would allow us to serve please share that with me. One thing we are planning for this Spring is to do an educational event at a local park and invite local Native People to come and share.

The main point of this post is to point out that both of these people groups need to feel loved, to know they are valued and to be allowed to have dignity. Throwing money at people instead of giving our time does not show love it shows that we do not value them enough to give of ourselves. Throwing money at people instead of spending time with them takes away their dignity but when we show that we value them enough to spend time with them they gain a sense of dignity.

The problem is all three involve inconveniency. But doing something when it is inconvenient expresses love, gives value and raises the dignity of another person.

I encourage you to explore ways you can express love and value to others and you will enable them to have a sense of dignity.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Break Free!! or stay in your stuff. It is your choice.

Men are you tired? Tired of being enslaved? Tired of not developing that intimate relationship with your wife? Are you tired of fighting the battle as you lose the war?

If you are reading this blog and you look at pornography once a week, once a month or even every now and then I want to encourage you to do three things:
1. Visit Heart to Heart Counseling Center site on sex addiction and consider the list of questions.
2. Download Covenant Eyes
3. Find another man you trust and respect and ask him to become your accountability (Encouragement) partner.

The following was sent to me by Covenant Eyes

Men if you are tired of being enslaved to PORNOGRAPHY? Then stand up and find another man you can share with and then both of you get Covenant Eyes set up so you can hold each other accountable for the goals that you set.

My goal is to get 100 men holding each other accountable and on Covenant Eyes. To be honest with you I make a small commission on the fee from men who sign up through my link at REAL Men RoCK Mall so if you would rather sign up and not go through me just go to this link: http://www.covenanteyes.com.

Here is my offer: If you are having a hard time finding a guy to partner with you and want to take back what pornography has taken from you then contact me. I will add you to my accountability list and if you are open I would even give you a call each week.
"Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns

Father, I thank You for the men who respond to this post by taking back the territory pornography has taken from their lives. I thank you for the marriages and relationships that You restore as these men bravely step out to admit they have a problem. I thank You the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit in their lives and the freedom You are giving them over pornography. I thank You in the name, the power and the authority of Jesus Christ. amen

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your Enemy, Your Equipment and Your Back

Rising nearly 1,500 feet above the jungles below, Hill 488 was just 25 miles west of Chu Lai, Vietnam, and it was the perfect place for a Marine Corps recon team but for one minor factor…it was deep in enemy controlled territory, well maybe two, and surrounded by massive enemy buildups. Like David facing Goliath, the 16 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen were pitifully small in the face of overwhelming odds.

It was June 12, 1966 in the early days of the United States involvement in the Vietnam war and as the sun was falling behind the western horizon several helicopters moved to the top of Hill 488 to drop off Staff Sergeant Jimmie Howard and his 15 marines. Two Navy Corpsmen completed the small unit delegated the mission of watching for enemy troop movements in the valley below and calling in artillery and air strikes on them. For two days Howard and his men did their jobs well. The North Vietnamese control of the area was disrupted by the effectiveness of the American firepower.

It didn’t take long for the enemy to figure out that there had to be someone in the area watching them, directing the fire upon their every move. By the 3rd day Howard’s Battalion Commander A. J. Sullivan began to sense the danger the small recon patrol faced and offered to pull them out. S/Sgt Howard believed he could hold out one more day and requested permission to remain on the hill. By the time word reached Chu Lai that a full NAV battalion of 200-250 well trained soldiers were moving on Hill 488, it was too late to pull Howard and his men out. Somehow they would have to survive the night.

Everyone in the patrol knew it was coming. S/Sgt Howard placed his Marines in strategic positions around the summit of the almost barren hilltop, with orders to pull back into a tight perimeter the moment the enemy struck. That moment came at 10 o’clock at night, only 12 feet from one of the Marine defenders. As the enemy swarmed the hill amid gunfire, grenades, mortars and support from four .50 caliber machine guns, Howard’s men pulled back into a tight circle only 20 yards in diameter. Back-to-back they began to defend their small area, counting on each other to work as a team to do the impossible.

S/Sgt Howard moved among his men, encouraging them, directing their fire, shoring up the weaknesses in the perimeter. For most his Marines it was their first major test of combat. Huddled in the darkness amid the crash of grenades and mortars, the sky filled with tracer rounds, and outnumbered more than 10 to 1; the leadership and inspiration of S/Sgt Howard was all that sustained the men.

Then quiet engulfed the hill as the enemy pulled back, their fanatical human wave assault initially repulsed. S/Sgt Howard looked around him. Every one of his young Marines and both Corpsmen had been wounded in the initial attack. Several were dead. Worse, he knew the enemy would return in force again at any moment. Grabbing the radio Howard told Colonel Sullivan back at Chu Lai, “You have to get us out of here” But no rescue force could reach Howard’s men that night..the Marines would have to hold out until dawn.

Then, from down the hill the enemy began to taunt the few survivors on Hill 488 shouting into the darkness, “Marines, You die in an hour.”

One of Howard’s men asked, “Can we yell back at them?”

With nothing to lose Howard told his brave young men, Sure, yell anything you like.” They did, and soon their taunts back to the enemy were met with gunfire. The enemy was preparing to swarm the hill once again. The beleaguered Marines caught the enemy off guard as they joined voices in a “horse laugh”. The enemy suddenly stopped shooting and there was stoned silence.
The enemy could not understand how a group of men terribly outnumbered could be laughing.

S/Sgt Howard knew the quiet would not last long. He surveyed what remained of his Marines and found that ammunition was running low. The grenades were gone, expended during the first wave of the assault. So he issued one of the most unusual combat orders in Marines history…

“Throw Rocks!!”

As incredible as the order sounded, it worked. When the enemy soldiers began to push their way through the sparse brush and knee high grass to probe the perimeter, Howard’s men threw rocks at them. Mistaking the rocks for grenades the enemy soldiers would move quickly out into the open, allowing the defenders clear shots that made every round of remaining ammunition count.

The Marines held the hill for another 5 hours and were finally rescued shortly after daybreak. After the 12 surviving men were safely back at Chu Lai it was realized that among them they only had 8 rounds of ammunition remaining.

I believe the above story tells us three things:
1. We need to know our Enemy
2. We need to know our equipment and
3. We need to know who has our back covered.
Let’s look at this same concept using Ephesians 6.

Know our enemy.
Ephesians 6: 10-12
A Fight to the Finish
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

In Job 1: 8 we see that Satan and his demons are very powerful but they can only do what God allows them to do. (James 4: 7 Resist and he will flee)

Know and use our equipment
Ephesians 6: 14-17
13-18 Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Belt of Truth - The Roman soldier girded themselves with a belt, from which hung strips of leather to protect the lower body. Truth is crucial because dishonest Christians cannot hope to withstand the lies of Satan. The truth referred to here is integrity, a life of practical truthfulness and honesty.

In John 14: 6 Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” and it is this truth that holds all our Armor together.

Breastplate of Righteousness - The breastplate of Roman times went completely around the body, so that the back of a warrior was also protected. The breastplate was made of hard leather or metal.

The righteousness that the breastplate represents is not the righteousness of Christ, which all believers possess, but the practical, righteousness and deeds of the believer. This breastplate protects the Christian’s heart from wrong desires.

In proverbs 4: 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10 3 We put no obstruction in anybody's way [we give no offense in anything], so that no fault may be found and [our] ministry blamed and discredited. 4 But we commend ourselves in every way as [true] servants of God: through great endurance, in tribulation and suffering, in hardships and privations, in sore straits and calamities, 5 In beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless watching, hunger; 6 By innocence and purity, knowledge and spiritual insight, longsuffering and patience, kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love; 7 By [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God, with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [to attack] and for the left hand [to defend]; 8 Amid honor and dishonor; in defaming and evil report and in praise and good report. [We are branded] as deceivers (impostors), and [yet vindicated as] truthful and honest. 9 [We are treated] as unknown and ignored [by the world], and [yet we are] well-known and recognized [by God and His people]; as dying, and yet here we are alive; as chastened by suffering and [yet] not killed; 10 As grieved and mourning, yet [we are] always rejoicing; as poor [ourselves, yet] bestowing riches on many; as having nothing, and [yet in reality] possessing all things.

The life we live either fortifies us against the attacks of Satan’s kingdom or makes it easier for him to defeat us.

Shoes of the Gospel - A Roman’s soldier’s feet were shod with hard, studded shoes. Paul used this image to represent the preparation of the gospel of peace. This may mean either that the gospel is the firm foundation on which Christians are to stand or that the Christian soldier should be ready to go out to defend and spread the gospel. Good footwear could mean the difference between winning and losing.

Shield of Faith - In some translations verse 16 reads Above all else take up the shield of faith…. This may mean that the shield is to be used against everything. It may also mean that the shield is to cover the whole armor. A Roman’s soldier’s shield typically measured 2 ½ to 4 feet. The Christian’s shield offers protection against all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Flaming arrows could not penetrate the fireproof shield of the ancient Roman soldier, nor can the assaults of Satan penetrate to the believer who places his or her faith in God.

Psalm 3: 3 But you are my shield, and you give me victory and great honor.

Helmet of Salvation - The intricately designed Roman helmet protected the soldier’s head and also made him look taller and more impressive. For Christian’s the helmet of salvation is to protect our minds from the things Satan will try to get us to think about that would not be pleasing to God.

Proverbs 23: 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

Sword of the Spirit - The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, is the only offensive weapon in the believer’s armor. This weapon is not necessarily the Bible as a whole, but the specific word that needs to be spoken in a specific situation. To have the precise word ready, a person must know the Bible intimately. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (James 4: 7 Resist and he will flee)

Know who has your back.
Ephesians 6: 18 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Just like the marines under Sgt Howard’s command covered each other’s back you can have the assurance of knowing that through your continued prayers you will have God’s Holy Spirit covering your back. We all can benefit from having an accountability partner who not only holds us to a set of standards of our choosing but who has permission to speak into our life words of life. God has made us to be relational, with Him and with others.

Today some of us are facing giants or an enemy that appears to be larger than Goliath or maybe the giant is too small for the eye to see and it wants nothing more than to destroy us through discouragement. Some of us are faced with the giants of wrong thoughts, wrong desires of the heart, and some do not put on the shoes of sharing the gospel, others are fearful of relationships and sometimes we forget to put on the full armor available to us.

I want to encourage you to fully prepare for every day's battle. I know when I do not I usually end up losing the battle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Become a Slave to Gain Your Freedom

Slavery is a word that stirs deep passions in people. When we think of slavery in the United States we think of the injustice our ancestors did, both black and white, during the younger years of our nation. We think of the civil war that brought about the freedom of the slaves in our country. We think of the long struggle of blacks to earn the right to vote.

A side note here is these events where brought about by the efforts of Christian men and women. A good movie to watch on this subject is Amazing Grace the story about William Wilberforce.

Let's look at the definition of Slave from Dictionary.com
1. a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant.
2. a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.

Back to the title of this post. Are you willing to become a slave to gain your freedom?

Before we tackle that question let's look at the history of slavery.

From Wikipedia
Slavery is not a new to the world it has been around since the dawn of time. Slavery traces back to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1760 BCE), which refers to it as an established institution.[1] Slavery in ancient cultures was known to occur in civilizations as old as Sumer, and it was found in every civilization, including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia,[28] Rome and parts of its empire, and the Islamic Caliphate. Such institutions were a mixture of debt-slavery, punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war, child abandonment, and the birth of slave children to slaves.[29] Records of slavery in Ancient Greece go as far back as Mycenaean Greece. It is often said that the Greeks as well as philosophers such as Aristotle accepted the theory of natural slavery i.e. that some men are slaves by nature.

According to Wikipedia
Some argue that the Bible condones slavery in Ancient Israelite society by failing to condemn the widespread existing practice present in other cultures.[73] It also explicitly states that under certain circumstances, slavery is morally acceptable.[74][75][unreliable source?] The Bible emphasises often however, that slaves are to be treated fairly by their masters.[NKJV Bible, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-4:1] There are also scholars who argue that Islam condones slavery,[76][unreliable source?] although the institution of slavery has largely been outlawed in the Muslim world.

The Bible mentions several reasons people find themselves in slavery. When nations were conquered by another nation they usually either killed all of the males and made the women their slaves or they killed the warriors and made the rest of the people slaves. They formed a Suzerian-Vassal Treaty which is not a treaty between equals, but between a lord and a servant. It required complete loyalty and obedience from the servant who benefited from the provisions and protection of the lord.

According to Wikipedia
Suzerainty (pronounced /ˈsjuːzərənti/RP or /ˈsjuːzəreɪnti/RP) (/ˈsuːzərənti/ GA) is a situation in which a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which allows the tributary some limited domestic autonomy to control its foreign affairs. The more powerful entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the head of state of that more powerful entity, is called a suzerain. The term suzerainty was originally used to describe the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its surrounding regions. It differs from sovereignty in that the tributary has some (limited) self-rule. A suzerain can also mean a feudal lord, to whom vassals must pay tribute.

Slaves in the Middle East were often consider to be part of the family and were well cared for. Many slaves became slaves because they could not afford to pay off their debts and became enslaved to the one they owed to pay off the debt.

The Africans who became slaves in Europe and America were sold to the white men by other Africans who had either defeated them in battle or raided their village and hauled off the young men.

Today in America we still have slaves and here is a short list of those caught up in slavery:
Drug addicts
Porn Addicts
Welfare - For info on this read Star Parker's article Moving back to Uncle Sam's plantation
Sex Addicts

These people are in bondage to their addiction and cannot break away without the help of a friend and the power of the Holy Spirit. You might be surprised by the real solution to their becoming free from being enslaved to whatever they are in bondage to.

In order for them to truly be free of their addiction they will have to surrender everything to the Creator God and become a slave to Him and others. It is much like the Suzerian-Vassal Treaty of the old ages. If we will submit to our conquering King and Lord then He will provide all that we need.

Matthew 20: 25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

2 Corinthians 3: 5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

1 Timothy 4: 6 in pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have bee following.

My question is: "Are you willing to become Christ's slave in order for you to truly be free of the bondage you are under?" If so your King and Lord will fight along side of you and take back the ground that has been taken by the evil forces of this world. You can choose to have your King fight for you and deliver you from bondage or you can choose to fight by yourself and win a battle now and then as you continue to loose the war.

I want to encourage you to become a slave of Jesus Christ which will require complete surrender and you will, through the Spirit of the Lord, gain your freedom.

Friday, February 6, 2009

BodyKare - A Dream Becoming Real

In one of my past posts I talked about the Evolution of my Dream.

With this post I want to share a dream that a friend of mine has and you can find more info about her dream by clicking either the picture at the left or the title of her business, BodyKare by Karen.

BodyKare by Karen

Karen's husband, Rick, also has a dream and I will also share his with you in this post. The reason I am doing this is to encourage you to take your dream and put it in writing and place it some place you can see it daily and then make it happen. This is what Rick and Karen have done and step by step their dreams are coming a reality.

Karen's dream: To help others be successful at eating healthy whole foods as part of their daily life. To help others learn to prepare nourishing meals and explore some easy steps they can take to Eat Well and Be Well!!

Rick's dream: To develop a year around farm based on growing vegetables for harvest in the winter months in the Kansas City area. This will be accomplished using “high tunnel” structures, similar to a greenhouse. Part of his dream is to use this farm to teach year round High Tunnel Gardening and using the farm to help the disability community develop the skills to create their own farm. This dream will provide local grown food for families in the Kansas City area and by teaching others additional sustainable farms will be developed.

In his book Follow Your Dreams D. Conway Stone lists the following 8 steps to Turning Your Dreams into Reality. Both Karen and Rick are using these steps in making their dream come true. I will not take the time to unpack each of these at this time because I think each title gives a good picture. In the book each step has it's own chapter. If you want to get each step in depth purchase or get the book at your library.

Step #1: Vision
Without a vision the people perish - Jewish book of wisdom

Step #2: Be Your Life
Most dreams of glory are safe, because we never venture to put them into practice. - Charles Curothe

Step #3: Focus
Wherever anything is being accomplished it is being done by a mono-manic with a mission. - Peter Druker

Step #4: Write it Down
Dream in a pragmatic way. - Aldous Huxley

Step #5: Strategy
People spend more time planning a two week vacation than they do planning their lives. - Unknown

Step #6: Expect to Win
There has never been a winner who did not first expect to win. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Step #7: Persistence
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve problems of the human race. - Calvin Coolidge

Step #8: Faith
If God is your partner, make big plans. - Dr. Robert Schuller

Another good book to read is The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson

If you have a dream and you want to make it become a reality you have to get off the couch, turn off the television, turn on your imagination, write down your dream, share it with a select group of friends, filter it through the pages of the Bible, and then lay it at the feet of God through prayer. Once you have done that then get to doing the hard work required and give your all to making it become not just a dream but a reality.

I would be very interested in reading about your dream. If you share it here I will pray for God to guide you as you move forward.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What do God's people and God's Enemies have in common?

Tonight our men's small group is hosting a movie called "The List"


Georgetown, South Carolina, 1863

With news of the defeat at Gettysburg ringing in their ears, a group of wealthy Confederate landowners meet on a stormy night to form a secret blood covenant to protect their families' fortunes. One man refuses to sign, uttering a dark prophecy against the dangers of greed and black magic. Ignoring the warning, the men pool their gold in a desperate attempt to smuggle their treasures to Europe.

140 years later, Renny Jacobson, a young Charlotte lawyer, is shaken by news of his father's mysterious death. Although they were never close, the young man is stunned to discover that his father has left his substantial estate to charity, leaving his son with nothing but a reference to an obscure entity called "the Covenant List of South Carolina, Ltd."

Mystified, Renny sets out on a quest to learn the truth about "The List." Along the way, he meets the lovely Jo Johnston, another descendant of a family bound to the secret society. Renny soon discovers that they are both inheritors of an ancient and sinister secret - as well as a vast fortune.

As he delves into his own shadowy past, Renny learns the hard way that tragedy follows those who bind themselves to The List. Having signed the covenant with his own blood, he is unprepared to fight the evil forces that now seek to devour everything - and anyone - Renny holds dear. As his world crumbles, he is joined in the spiritual battle by some unlikely and courageous heroes.

In an unexpected and thrilling climax, Renny finds that he must fulfill the prophecy spoken in 1863 and destroy the power of The List - or risk losing the true treasure that has changed his life.

One of the lines in this movie that really spoke to me was one Daisy said, "God's children and His enemies make the same mistake: They both underestimate the power of prayer."

I think that sometimes Christians fail to pray ( which is talking to God ) because they base their faith in prayer on human reasoning. For example: "I cannot go before God because I am a sinner." or "God won't answer my prayer because I don't deserve it to be answered."

There is some truth in each of these two statements to keep us from kneeling and seeking God's help in our lives. We are sinners and we don't deserve His blessings!! BUT, God is like a parent and He wants us to come before Him and submit to Him so that He can provide all good things for us. We will never be good enough or right enough to deserve His blessings but we can have them because of His goodness and His righteousness that He grants to us through our faith in Jesus.

What a wonderful truth, "We are not good enough or righteous enough but God wants to talk with Him so that He can grant us His Goodness and Righteousness so that He can answer our prayers.

If you had all of the money in the world and knew you could do whatever you wanted you would not hesitate to move forward with your dream. Why not do the same with your prayer life. God is waiting for you to go before Him and submit every part of your life to Him through prayer.

Tonight I am going to challenge the guys to over the next 30 days to lay everything no matter how small or large before God through prayer, thank Him for His answer and then as they rise off of their knees to walk the day as if He answered it already. I place that same challenge before you and invite you to get back with me within the next 30 days with the results.

I will write a post about how God answered my prayers on March 7, 2009 and I hope that you will have some comments to add to that post about your results.

Father, we thank You for what You are going to do over the next 30 days in the lives of those who take the challenge and every day share with You through thankful prayers their desires and needs. In the name, power and authority of Jesus Christ amen

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Evolution of a Dream

When I was younger I had several dreams that I wanted to accomplish. One was to have a second home on the beach in Grenada. I wanted to be able to stay at this home for several months each year. Another part of this dream was to have a sailing yacht and be able to sail the Caribbean when I was down at the beach home. I wanted to earn enough money to decide what I did when I wanted to do it and with whom I wanted to do it with. I do not think there is anything wrong with having a dream like that except that it did not involve helping anyone else except in the context of making more money.

When I thought of these dreams I could almost smell the salt water and hear the waves on the beach. I could almost feel the rocking of the sail
boat as it moved through the Caribbean sea.

For some reason though I could not fully get motivated by these dreams. Something was missing.
I would not discover what that something was until I was in my 50s.

In 1999 my wife, Kat, and I began to attend a different church called the Vineyard Church located in Overland Park, KS. We had just left a church that we had spent over 15 years attending and we were beat up and discouraged. All we wanted to do was go to church each week and worship God and learn more about how He wanted us to live.

Over the next four years a vision of what He wanted for my life began to develop. Here is what I found the above dreams are not bad in themselves nor is a desire to make a great six figure income. What makes them wrong is having a motive to use that money for one's own personal pleasure while ignoring those who are in need. Money is not the root of evil but the love of money is ( 1 Timothy 6: 120 ). I found my dreams were based on making money but I was not achieving them because my heart was not in it.

A vision placed in my heart by God began to grow and I was moving from a purely knowledge based faith to a heart based faith supported by knowledge. I found that my dreams went from having a beach home and a sailing yacht to using the gifts and talents I have been given to help others.

At this point I have not fully achieved my dream but I am moving toward it a step at a time. I have formed a small group that ministers to men, a small group that ministers to couples and this blog called REAL Men RoCK. I do not believe my dream is a destination but a journey and over the remaining years of my life it will change as the Holy Spirit moves my heart.

Here is my vision today: I want to live in the modest home that Kat and I have while I serve others in whatever way God desires for me to. I want to be able to take Kat on a vacation each year to a place where we can be energized for the next year. I want to spend time with my grand kids and my daughter. I want my daughter and sons and grand kids to discover a relationship with Jesus and then grow in their faith. I want to grow old with Kat and die in her arms after living my remaining years serving God by serving others. I want to do these things as I focus on building the following dream found in Matthew 25: 34-36 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

I have already received salvation through Jesus Christ and that is the greatest blessing one can ever have and it is that blessing that drives me to the dream listed above.

I encourage you to take a long hard look at your motive for the dreams you have. What are they rooted in? Who will they bring glory to? I would be interested in reading about your dream and vision for your life.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It!!

Have you ever thought about how often we give more credit to the devil or evil forces than we do to God?

For example: I have heard Christians say I am being spiritually attacked and I believe we can be spiritually attacked. When I ask them what is going on they tell me they suddenly came down with a tooth ache or they had am important meeting at church but were late because of traffic.

Now I fully believe that we can experience spiritual attacks and even these the examples above could be a result of one. But what I am talking about is when we give credit to Satan for every problem or situation we find ourselves in. I truly believe if we really looked at some of the things we blame on the devil we would find that much of it is the result of either our or someone's poor choices, a lack of planning or just natural causes.

I believe we should be instead focusing mainly on those things that God has caused to happen in our lives and minimizing those things Satan or his kingdom brings into our lives. If we don't we will become like Flip Wilson's character "Geraldine".

I believe it is important to realize Satan and his kingdom can only do what God allows them do to and we find an example of this in Job.

Job 1: 6-7 One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?"

Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth."

8 God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil."

9-10 Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can't lose!

11 "But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what."

12 God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God.

I think too often we are giving credit to Satan for messing with us when in reality we did not plan good enough, counsel long enough or life happened to us. I would rather focus on giving God the credit for the good things that happen to me and be equipped to battle when Satan does bring his forces against me. We find how to do that in Ephesians 6: 10-18.

A Fight to the Finish
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
I encourage you to focus more on giving praise to God and less on giving credit to Satan for the hassles of life.