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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just One More Brick

Do you have a dream, a Big, Audacious Dream?  If you do you have probably encountered some big obstacles as you moved forward toward your dream.

I once heard a story about a man who headed off to California as part of the gold rush.  He staked his claim and began to dig.  He dug and dug, dug and dug some more.  He hit some small pockets of gold but never the Mother load!  After several months of digging he became frustrated and decided his mine was not going to produce any Mother load.  He walked out of his mine and headed into town.  He went to the real estate office and told them he wanted to sell his claim which included his notes.  A man over heard his discussion and made an offer.  The man took the offer and headed for the train a beaten man.

The man who purchased the mine began to study the notes the other man had written.  He made some calculations and decided that with some more digging a Mother load would be found.  He headed to the mine and began to dig.  He dug and dug, then he dug some more and within just a few feet he hit the Mother load.  

The other man had quit just a few feet from his dream.

Are you like that man?  Are there obstacles that are keeping you from reaching your dream? Are there walls that have been built that keep you from achieving victory in a relationship?  

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to keep moving forward.  Do not stop.  Do not let anything or anyone steal your dream.  If God gave you that dream and if it is His will He wants you to keep moving forward.  Yes it might be hard.  It might become discouraging but He wants you to remain faith to what He has called you to.

Maybe you are just one brick away, one more shovel full of dirt away, just one more step from reaching your goal, your dream.

As Joshua took over the job of leading Israel into the Promised Land God said, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may have success wherever you go." Joshua 1: 6-7

One more step, one more brick, just one more shovel full of stuff.  Sure the fulfillment of your dream cannot be seen but if it is of God it will happen if you don't give up!  In Hebrews 11: 1 we are told, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." and in verse 6, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

For those of you who do not have a dream I encourage you to get John Eldredge's book, "Dare to Desire".  On page 39 he says this, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs are people who have come alive."  Whatever makes you come alive place it before God.  What makes you come alive has something to do with your dream.  

Don't quit moving forward.  Don't quit now.  If your dream is from God only you can stop it from coming true. Don't quit now you are just one brick, one step, one shovel full away from achieving your God given dream. God is the "Dream Giver."

It Ain't over!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My history with Spiritual Gifts.

In my last post I hope I stimulated you to want to find out what Spiritual Gifts the Holy Spirit has given you.  In this post I want to share my story and history with Spiritual Gifts.

From second grade on I was very shy and introverted.  When I was in the Navy I purposely did not move beyond E-3 because I knew I would have to be more responsible.   I did not begin to take on more responsibilities until I was 38 years old.  This was a full 6 years after I accepted Jesus as my savior and after I went through 5 years of a speech club called "Spokesman Club".  Even though the church I was attended did not believe in the gifts of the Spirit I began to grow by serving.  In 1991, 8 years after accepting Jesus and being baptized, I was ordained as a deacon.

For the next 10 years I served and then one day the Holy Spirit moved a pastor to have me lead some servers.  The more I served the more I found myself also leading.  Then one day I found out that a friend was in the hospital with a growth on his heart.  He was going to need surgery which had a 50/50 chance of success or death.  When I visited him in the hospital we talked and just before I left I asked him if I could pray for him.  I simply prayed this simple prayer, "Father, we come before you to ask for your will to be done and may the outcome glorify you. In Jesus name amen."  That was it.

An interesting part of this story is I had just lost my job and so I had the opportunity to visit my friend and then to be there the next morning to sit with his wife during the operation.  After about 45 minutes into the pre-time the doctor came out his face ash white and asked his wife for some private time.  Of course we all thought the worse.  After about 5 minutes they came out of the room and she came to us with tears in her eyes.  She stopped in front of us, smiled, and shared with us how they did a sonogram and found no trace of there having been a growth. There would be no need of an operation.

I believe God healed my friend.  That was four years ago and I have never experienced that happening again.  I believe that because I was obedient in using a gift the Holy Spirit gave me, service, He gave me a temporary gift of healing.  I look at gifts like this as situational gifts.  As i use my main gift the Holy Spirit brings in my life opportunities to use other gifts as He chooses to give. 1 Corinthians 12: 11 (Message) All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

I want to remind you that whatever your main Spiritual Gift is it is not your ministry.  Out of that one gift springs ministry.  For example with me: Out of my Spiritual Gift of serving sprang a "Moving Ministry, a Men's Ministry and a Men's Small Group".   

I will be the first to admit using the Spiritual Gifts God has given out is risky and sometimes gets me into sticky or uncomfortable situations.  I would not trade those experiences for anything. I encourage you to take the plunge and see what the Holy Spirit does in your life as you use your main gift in service of others and for the His glory.

I would love to hear your story about what God is doing in your life.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's In Your Tool Box?

What’s in Your Tool Box?  What’s your favorite tool? 

I believe God gives us tools that we can use in our daily lives to touch the life of another person. and thereby fulfill the Great Commission we find in Matthew 28: 18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Let's look at some scriptures about Spiritual Gifts.

1. 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 Spiritual Gifts 
1-3 What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often mis-understood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit. 

4-11 God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful: 

 wise counsel 
 clear understanding 
 simple trust 
 healing the sick 
 miraculous acts 
 distinguishing between spirits 
 interpretation of tongues. 

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

2. Romans 12: 3-10 I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. 

 4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. 

 6-8 If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. 

 9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. 

3. Ephesians 4: 11-12 But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is, 

  He climbed the high mountain, 
  He captured the enemy and seized the booty, 
  He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

So what are these scriptures telling us?  

If we look at the priesthood of the Old Testament it is different than what we see in most churches today or is it? Starting with Moses and Aaron the priesthood did the work in the temple. They did the teaching and leading. They communicated with God. The people sat, watched and listened.

If we take a serious look at the Spiritual Gifts and the instructions God gave the church in the New Testament leadership should be very different than what it was in the Old Testament.  We will find that God has chosen to take the gifts He gave to the leadership and priests and spread it among the body of Christ. Today some churches try to retain the old leadership style where the pastor is expected to do everything. But is that the model Jesus set for the church?

Let’s look at 1 Peter 4: 7-11 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Here are four key things for us to consider from these scriptures:

1. God has established positions of leadership in the church. Eph 4
2. God has given every member of the body Spiritual Gifts for service. 1 Cor 12
3. It is the duty of the pastor to equip and empower the body to use their Spiritual Gifts in acts of service.
4. It is your responsibility to exercise your Gift in ministry to others.

So when is a toolbox useful? What keeps us from using our Spiritual Gifts?
1. Some of us have never discovered our spiritual gift.
2. Sometimes we are afraid we will fail. FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
3. Some of us have never been inspired & empowered to use them.

Keep in mind that Spiritual Gifts are not your ministry, they are the tools you use in doing ministry.  

Your pastor is called to perform the duties of leading, preaching and teaching. You have been called to do the functions of ministry. A pastor is given Spiritual Gifts just as you but his or hers are to be used in the equipping of the body to minister. Let’s face a fact, your pastor does not have every Spiritual Gift and could never minister to more than 50-80 people. In order for the body of Christ to grow both physically and spiritually ministry will need to be done by more people.

I encourage you to take the time to get with your pastor and explore what your Spiritual Gift(s) are and how you could use them in serving.

What does it take for you to open your tool box? I believe it takes FAITH or a willingness to take a RISK.

The tools in your tool box are useful only when the box is opened and the tool taken out and used.  The same is true about your Spiritual Gift(s).  I encourage you to open your tool box and use the tool or tools that the Holy Spirit has given you and help the hurting, the lost, and grow the body of Jesus Christ.  

How did God speak to you through this post?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

When does God speak to you?

Several years ago the senior pastor of Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS gave a sermon about God speaking to us.  If I remember right he said God speaks mostly through the Bible but He does sometimes choose to use other methods.  It can be through a sermon, a friend, a song, a blog, an event, when we pray or sometimes by an Angel or even personally.  I also heard a man say that God is speaking all of the time but we are so busy with life we often do not hear or we ignore what He is saying.

For me personally I am best able to listen when riding my mount bike out on the country roads near our small town.  My problem during those times is I do not have pen and paper with me to write down what He stirs.  I am sure it is a funny scene me riding down the road peddling as fast as I can and apparently having a conversation.   I am sure this is why I would like to ride my bike every day because I love having that personal time with God.

I encourage you to find that quiet time for you to spend talking to and hearing from God. Jesus often went off alone to talk with His Father and He encourages us to have the same relationship. All we have to do is remove the clutter of life so that we can hear His voice.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What is holding you back?

Have you ever been a member of a group of men who are studying God's word and found that your sharing never goes deeper than a superficial sharing?  Find that the discussion almost always shifts from digging deeper and to what we do for a living or the activities we like to do?

What will it take for your group to move to a deeper level of sharing?

The answer lies in the leader of your group.  You and the other men will only share at the level of the man who is leading the group.  This past weekend the Holy Spirit convicted me of this fact when anther man from our small group shared his desire to go deeper.

If you are desiring for your group of men to move to a deeper level of sharing and closeness to God then do what a friend of mine did and call your leader and put the spur in his saddle.  If a leader is transparent all it takes is for one man to have the desire and express it for him to open the door for a deeper experience to happen.

Our small group this week is going to take that next step.  Here is the plan:
1. Read the scriptures below
2. I will share, in 2 minutes, some thoughts (that will be a first)
3. We will then discuss these scriptures in a different way than we have before (cannot share that yet)
4. God’s word to you before Thursday, Joshua 1:9 (New American Standard Bible)  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

There are several key ideas in these verses.

Acts 10:38-44 (The Message)

 37-38 "You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him. 

 39-43 "And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross. But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen. Not everyone saw him—he wasn't put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead. He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead. But we're not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets." 

 44-46 No sooner were these words out of Peter's mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn't believe it, couldn't believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on "outsider" non-Jews, but there it was—they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (The Message)

 5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

James 5:13-16 (The Message)

Prayer to Be Reckoned With
 13-15 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out

 16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

Are you tired of sharing with the men who support you only on a superficial level?  Then either get with the leader of your group or become the leader by becoming transparent and sharing first.  If you do I believe that the Holy Spirit will show up in a dramatic way and you will experience a breakthrough.

So what is that one thing that is holding you back from moving forward?  Lust, Fear, Pride, Anger, Life Controlling Habit, SIN?  I encourage you to take the risk and trust another man and share it and experience the beginning of being free of the control of that one thing.

Note:    If you are looking for a group where you can finding healing, transparency and honesty go to www.vineyard.org or www.vineyardusa.org.  I share these websites because that is where I found groups that brought healing for the broken and understanding and encouragement instead of criticism and condemnation.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It is time to work out your salvation!

Have you truly accepted Jesus as your savior?  Is your life really all that He wants it to be? What are you doing with all of the gifts and talents God gave you? Are you sitting around letting them gather dust and become useless?

Philippians 2: 12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

What does Paul mean to work out your salvation?  Is he trying to tell us that we need to do works to earn or keep our salvation?

I think if we look at it in the following way it will be a little clearer.  When you want to get in better physical shape you make a plan and to achieve that plan you have to work it out.  Unless you follow that plan and take action you will not reach the goal you set.

The same is true about salvation.  God has set out a plan for your salvation and unless we follow it and take action you will not reach the goal.  Let me be very clear YOU CANNOT EARN your salvation.  Jesus is our key to salvation but He has also gave us some instructions on what we needed to do after we accepted His plan.  Let's take a look at some of those instructions.

In Matthew 25: 14-30 Jesus told the story about the men who were given talents and what they did with them.  Some invested but one hide it away out of fear.

This story to me talks about we are to take the talents and gifts that God has given us and pour them into the lives of others there by investing them.

Later in Matthew 25: verses 31-46 Jesus tells us that when He comes back people will be divided into sheep and goats.

To me the ones who follow Jesus are the ones who fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, clothed those who were naked, visited those in prison and invited in the stranger.  The others went their own way thinking they were Christians.

In Matthew 6: 19-21 Do not lay up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

From all of these words I can guarantee you that I can take one look at your calendar and your checkbook and tell where your heart is.  From where your money goes I can tell where your treasure is and from your calendar I can tell what you are doing with your talents and gifts.

So let me ask you again. Have you truly accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord?  Is your life really all that He wants it to be? Are you using all of the gifts and talents God gave you? Are you investing in the lives of others?

I hope the Holy Spirit is convicting you if no was an answer to any of those questions.  When we do not use our spiritual gifts we cheat others of what God intended to give them through us.  I encourage you to dust off your talents and open up your gifts and work out of your salvation to bring glory to God.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is Your Dream worth His attention?

Do you have a BIG Dream?  One that seems impossible to achieve?  If so I have some encouragement to share with you.  I was reading in Bruce Wilkinson’s book, “Beyond Jabez” that I want to you to consider and then I am going to challenge you to do something for 30 days.  

From "Beyond Jabez".

Okay, let’s suppose you’re praying and stepping out in faith and the hand of God begins to work in your life. What exactly can you expect to happen? In the Bible we find that God’s hand intervenes in our lives in primarily five ways.

First, the hand of God intervenes to make provision.  

Have you ever found yourself in a predicament where you thought maybe God couldn’t – or wouldn’t – come through with something you needed? Money? People? Basic needs for survival?

This is one of our most common fears. Maybe God isn’t strong enough, or doesn’t care enough, to provide for this size of a problem.

Second, the hand of God intervenes to move the hearts of those in power.

Kings? Presidents? Dictators? Emperors? They’re all under God’s sovereign ruleship. Proverbs 21: 1 assures us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Third, the hand of God intervenes with His presence.  

In 2 Kings 6 Elisha and his servant found themselves surrounded by a huge, hostile army. Elisha’s servant panicked, but the prophet calmly said, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha looked up to the One who commands the angels and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”

The Bible says, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw: And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6: 15-17).

God came in a special show of His power, in order to remind the servant, I’ll never leave or forsake you.

Fourth, the hand of God intervenes to defend and protect.  

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus was brought before Pilate, but refused to respond to any of the Roman’s questions. Finally the frustrated rulers said, “Do you not know that I have power to crucify you, and power to release you?” 

Listen to Jesus’ answer as He stood there, beaten and bloody: “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19: 10-11).

Fifth, the hand of God intervenes to overcome your personal limitations.  

Anytime you face a big task – especially one that seems impossible – you come face-to-face with the reality that you are a limited being. But be careful not to project your inadequacies onto God. Just because you can’t, that doesn’t mean He can’t.

So let’s look at the little prayer found in 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10

9-10 Jabez was a better man than his brothers, a man of honor. His mother had named him Jabez (Oh, the pain!), saying, "A painful birth! I bore him in great pain!" Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: "Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don't let evil hurt me." God gave him what he asked. ( The Message )

My Challenge

I challenge you to take the next 30 days and simply ask God to bless you indeed, to give you the land and resources you will need to begin the greenhouse farm, to protect you from financial difficulties and personal protection. Let’s see what God does in those 30 days.

My warning is not to pray this prayer without hope, without conviction, without commitment to doing whatever God reveals that you need to do in the next 30 days and do not pray it without faith that God will answer.

If your dream is of God and it is in His timing then no one and nothing can keep it from coming to pass. God will intervene and bring the backers, the resources, and give you what you need to overcome your own personal limitations so that it can be achieved.  If your dream is His dream it is worth His attention and He will hear your prayer.

If you take this challenge I believe over the next thirty days you will if nothing else receive confirmation that your dream is or is not of God.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I couldn't sleep so I wrote this

The other day I was asked to install some paper towel containers on each support of the retail establishment I work at. The supports are steel so it took some drilling to make the holes to support the towel holders. Everything went well until I went to this one support pole and just could not get the drill bit to drill. After two hours of frustration and 2 broken drill bit I discovered I had accidently pushed the button to make the drill go in reverse instead of forward. Once the button was on the correct setting the job took less than a minute to do.

Men do you find yourself not being able to overcome that one thing that keeps you in bondage. It could be fear, greed, lust, pride, or you name it that keeps control over your life. You know that you could achieve so much more if you could only overcome that one thing.

I know the solution and it is kind of like that drill. Right now you have your life on self-control and not Jesus-control. I have found that once I switch the control button from me to Jesus I was able to overcome my lust, my fears, my pride. The Holy Spirit and another spiritual warrior provided me the support I needed to change.

Here is how it is done: John 15: 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you."

I encourage you to surrender your control to God and find another warrior to keep you accountable as you move forward in overcoming that one thing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Take a few moments and Worship

Father, thank you for all of the blessings we have. Thank you for providing us a way out of death. Thank you for giving us every good thing we need. In the power, authority and name of Jesus Christ. amen

Monday, May 4, 2009

Homosexuality, Judgement and You

Homosexuality is a Sin but......

Before I go further let me share an experience I had when I was 18 years old.  It was 1968 and I was traveling to my first duty station, the USS Kitty Hawk, and had to stay overnight at an Air Force base in California.  I checked in and one of the sergeants that checked me in told the other that he was going to show me the town.  He told me to get my gear stored and meet him in the hallway which I did.  

Being the young guy from the midwest that I was I thought how neat it was that someone who was above me would want to take the time to show me a good time before I headed for my duty station off the coast of Vietnam.

Once we arrived in the small town outside of the base he first stopped and got a motel room and told me that if we had any drinks we probably should not drive back to the base.  That seemed wise to me.  We went up to the room that had two beds and he told me he needed to shower before we headed out for a few drinks.  When he returned from taking a shower he had a towel around his waist.  The details of what happened I will leave out but he more or less pulled rank on me and in a gentle way sexually molested me.  

This man sinned against me by forcing me to do something I did not want to do.  His actions affected how I related to other men for the next 30 years.   I was 48 before I truly trusted another man with friendship or felt safe alone with another guy.  Now you might say this man's sin was using his authority over me in a wrong way not homosexuality.  I believe God says that it was both.

Let's look at what the God's Word, the Bible, has to say about homosexuality.

Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."1 

Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them" 

1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 

Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

I believe it is celar that God sees this behavior is sin and having said that let's look at some other sins God equally hates.

Proverbs 6: 16-19 Here are six things God hates,  and one more that he loathes with a passion: 
eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.

Galatians 5: 19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. 

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

Matthew 5

 21-22"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. 

 23-24"This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. 

 25-26"Or say you're out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you're likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won't get out without a stiff fine. 

Adultery and Divorce
 27-28"You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt. 

 29-30"Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here's what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump. 

 31-32"Remember the Scripture that says, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights'? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are 'legal.' Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you're responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you're automatically an adulterer yourself. You can't use legal cover to mask a moral failure. 

Empty Promises 
 33-37"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

I think it is clear from all of these scriptures that homosexuality is a sin just as slander, unjuust anger, divorce,  gossip, pride, arrogance, lying, pornography, lust, covetness, greed, and many other actions that you and I might have.   My point is when you judge another's sin and we should we first must examin our own sins and repent of them.  But more than that it is our responsibility to focus on ourselves and let the Holy Spirit take care of others.

I encourage you to reach out to those you know are struggling with sin and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them as you love them.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Small Things are sometimes BIG Things

I want to share with you two events that happened to a couple of people I know that will show you how small acts of kinds can grow into something God uses for His glory.

The first happened about five years ago. Our men's ministry got the great idea to put together a softball team. The core group met and within a week we made the plans for the team. When we met with the men we had enough men for two teams. We decided to ask the men who showed up for two volunteers for the coaching spots. There just happened to be two men who had coached teams before and so they got hired.

A few years later I was talking with another man who knew one of the men who coached and he told me a story that is worth sharing here. His friend told him that the week before we started the softball teams that he had decided to quit coming to church because he did feel like he fit in. And when he was asked to coach one of the softball teams he felt valued and he decided to continue attending church. Now five years late this same man is very active in the church and has a dream for a ministry that he feels God is leading him toward.

The second happened just a few weeks ago.  Our men's ministry has a moving ministry and some of the guys were helping to move a single mom and her son.  The boy is and is struggling with all of the changes that is happening in his life.  He was not being very helpful during the move.  One of the men took time to shoot some basketball with him before carrying boxes.  Later when a love seat was moved onto the truck and the boy laid on it he joked how the boy could get covered up with the next set of boxes.  There were several times when the guy joked with the boy and did not criticize him for his lack of .  After the move was completed the boy told his mom how he had felt encouraged by the actions of the guy.  This event has not led to any great changes in this boy's life but it has laid the seeds for growth in his life.

I want to encourage you to do some small act of kindness in someone life and maybe you will be used by God to make a life changing impact on anther person.   Now go and do some small but BIG thing.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Why Men Hate Church

I have a friend who shared a book with me written by David Murrow called "Why Men Hate Going to Church" which you can purchase at your local Christian book store or online at ChristianBook.com or Amazon.com.  With this post I am going to challenge every pastor who is reading it and probably upset some women who read it but if the body of Christ is going to reach men it is time to take the steps listed in this book.

I believe every pastor who wants to grow their church needs to read this book.  Let's look at some stats: Less than 40% of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25% of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. In many churches most men who do go to church are bored and non-engaged.  Most leadership positions in most churches are occupied by women and the church is geared toward women, children and the elderly.  Here is a website for more information on stats about men and church:  Church for Men.  

Many churches have programs that focus on the youth and that is good but studies show that if a youth leads a family to church about 15% of families follow.  There are many churches with great women's ministry programs and that is good also but studies show that when a woman leads the family to church about 30% of families follow.  Few churches have good solid men's ministries and even fewer have services that appeal to men but studies show if a man leads the family to church over 95% follow.  If these studies are true than I think it is a no brainer that leaders should be focusing on having good children's, women's ministries and working hard to develop a solid men's ministry.

The important thing to remember as you develop a men's ministry is to make it manly not a whimpy girly thing.  Don't focus on having a monthly or quarterly breakfast without including some manly activities.  More importantly deliver sermons that are hard hitting and speak the truth.  Develop ministries that will equip the men for leadership and then provide the men with opportunties to work.

Now you pastors have a choice to make.  You can stick with your whimpy church services with your pews or chairs mostly occupied by women or you can take the steps to develop a manly service which will draw men and as they come their families will be by their side.

Get the book and read it before you make any changes.  Check out the information provided and use what best meets your church but don't stick with what you are doing unless you have at least 50% of your chairs filled with men.   

REAL Men RoCK is the result of a manly man challenging me to become a godly man.  I encourage you to take the risk and make a few changes that will attract men and then a few more as your comfort level grows.  I believe you will be surprised as your male population grows and your leadership changes in reflection of those changes.

Pastors you cannot continue to do the work by yourself unless you are satisfied with watching more men drive by your church than driving into the parking lot.  Remember you may have to talk with Jesus about why men did not make that turn.

I welcome your comments.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are you stuck in your comfort zone?

This is a question God is asking me.  

You see I attend a church called the Vineyard and I have received a great deal of healing there.  I began attending the Vineyard in 1999 and I was a beat-up leader looking for a place to hide.  Instead I found a church that believes being a follower of Jesus means you "Do the Stuff" that Jesus did.  A church that believes in seeking healing for our physical, emotional and spiritual wounds.  A church that empowers people to use their spiritual gifts for service of others.  A safe and encouraging church. 

In 2006 I graduated from Vineyard Leadership Institute and was ordained in the Association of Vineyard Churches, USA. I have been waiting for God to show me a clear vision of what He wants me to do with my training, my spiritual gifts and my ordination.  I have become very comfortable with attending the Vineyard in Overland Park, KS and all of the opportunities it has brought me to serve.

I moved to a small town called Louisburg, KS in 2004 and have come to love our small community and I am looking for ways to serve here.  Soon after moving here I ran into a young man, Erik Kingsley, who pastors the New Life Family Church.  It seems that over the past five years God kept creating opportunities for Erik and me to bump into each other.  We have had great talks about how to reach the those who do not attend church in the Louisburg area. 

Yesterday, we had one of those vision setting sessions and Erik challenged me to consider changing where I attend church.  I told him I would think and pray about it.  As I drove off I prayed for God to show me through my wife, Kat, what He wanted.  I felt pretty sure that the answer would be to stay at the Vineyard and continue to wait for doors to open there.  I knew this because Kat loves the Vineyard and would not want to move.  I was comfortable in knowing that. 

After our men's group last night I went home and shared with Kat the discussion I had with Erik. Without hesitation she said, "I would have no problem going to church here in Louisburg as long as it was at the New Life Family Church.  OOPS!  Now my comfort zone was not only being shaken but turned upside down.  

Do you find yourself comfortable where you are?  I am not asking about being comfortable with what church you attend and I am not encouraging you to change where you attend church.

My questions to you are:

"Have you found the pew or chair you sit in each Sunday so comfortable you never do anything else but sit each Sunday, listen to the sermon and never move outside of the walls of your church to serve others?"

"Do you find the group you run with more comfortable than seeking those who need a friend?"

"Are you more comfortable staying where you are than maybe hearing what God wants you to do and doing it?"

These are the questions God is asking me and with this post I believe He is now asking you.  I encourage you to get your butt off the chair, dust off your talents and spiritual gifts and go out and get your hands dirty with the lives of those in need.  

I believe that God has a blessing waiting just beyond our comfort zone. Get up and move beyond your comfort zone and find that blessing.