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

Monday, July 27, 2009

Betrayal - Two Lessons

Pastor Erik Kingsley of New Life Church in Louisburg, KS gave a series of messages on "Betrayal" and in the final sermon he shared his own experience of being betrayed.  I came away with a couple of thoughts that I would like to share today.  I hope you will be stirred to take action to either approach the one who betrayed you or approach the one you have betrayed.
First I was stirred to write in my notes "Don't Wait! Do it Now!!"  In Matthew 18: 15-17 "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won't listen, tell the church. If he won't listen to the church, you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love. 

 18-20 "Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

If we have been betrayed by someone we can either choose to let it simmer and burn us or we can do the spiritually mature things and go to that person and sit down with them and explain how they have hurt us.  I will be the first to admit I sometimes just let things simmer until I am burned by a desire for revenge.  I know the root of why I do this and it grows from the times people I have gone to do not hear what I am saying and turn what I am sharing around on me.  I walk away feeling even more hurt and new wounds are ripped in my heart.  My fear keeps me from doing the spiritually mature thing and risk speaking the truth in love.  We need to use the Holy Spirit to overcome our fear and go to the one who has hurt us and be honest and share with love our hurt.
My final word on this part of the post is be willing to walk away content that you have done what the Lord wants you to do even if they do not listen.  Once you have shared leave your hurt and do not allow the other person to add to it if they do not listen.  If the one you are sharing with is a Christian and they do not listen to you then you have the obligation to share the matter with the church.
My other thought can be summed up in "Betrayal leads to lack of trust".  When someone betrays us we are less willing to trust someone else with our dreams and into our lives.  I will use an example from my own life.  When I was 18 years old and on my way to Vietnam I had to stop at an Air Force base for an overnight stay.  A Sergeant invited me to go into town with him and I was glad to hang with him.  He ended up betraying me by sexually molesting me.  That event caused me to not trust men and I did not overcome that until I was in my forties when the Holy Spirit showed me that there were men I could trust. 
If you have been betrayed by someone I encourage you to risk sharing with them how they made you feel but do so willing to leave your wound behind even if they do not listen to you.  If you cannot go to the person do not let your feelings simmer and turn into bitterness (which is sin) but go before Jesus and lay it at His feet.  Once you lay it down, get up and walk away leaving it there.
If you have been betrayed and are having a hard time trysting other people then I encourage you to go before God and ask Him to give you the Grace to overcome the wounds that keep you from trusting others.  If you stay in your lack of trust you will never grow in your spiritual life or your ministry.  I found that I could not minister when I did not trust others.  
I also found that I could minister if I knew of incidents where I had betrayed someone and had not repented of it.  In Matthew 5: 23-24 we are told by Jesus "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the alter, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the alter, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."
If you have a story about "Betrayal" please share it.  Lay it down before God here by writing it out and then hitting the Publish Your Comment button.  Then turn in your chair and walk away from it knowing God will give you the Grace to heal your wounds.  
God desires for you to be healed of all of your wounds but you have to trust Him with them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is required for you to experience healing?

I believe that God heals today and that He can do it in a dramtic way or He can do it through the hands of a doctor.  Several elements need to be in place for healing to occur and we find them in the following scriptures.

Luke 5:17-26 (The Message)

 17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and religion teachers were sitting around. They had come from nearly every village in Galilee and Judea, even as far away as Jerusalem, to be there. The healing power of God was on him. 

 18-20 Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn't find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, "Friend, I forgive your sins." 

 21 That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. "Who does he think he is? That's blasphemous talk! God and only God can forgive sins." 

 22-26 Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, "Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say 'I forgive your sins,' or to say 'Get up and start walking'? Well, just so it's clear that I'm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . ." He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: "Get up. Take your bedroll and go home." Without a moment's hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, "We've never seen anything like that!"

The first element that has to be present is the power of God to be on a person who is going to be the instrument that God uses.

The second element is faith that God is going to heal us.

The third is we have to act.

Sometimes the faith is ours and sometimes the faith is found in our friends who are praying for us but it always is found in Jesus.  Often people will sit back and wait to see the results of the prayers of others.  They wait and wait hoping to receive healing.  

Here is what I suggest: If we are physical or emotionally sick we need our friends to do what these guys in these scriptures did.  They need to slip before God and seek healing for us especially when we lack faith or the ability to go before God with them.  We then need to act on what was requested and thank God for what He is going to do.

In this story the Holy Spirit was on Jesus for healing to take place.  We also find a group of men who believed that their friend would be healed by Jesus.  They would not be denied getting their friend in front of the one God was using for healing.  The man on the mat was lowered in front of Jesus and it must have been somewhat uncomfortable with all of the people focusing on his paralyzed body.  He probably heard the whispering that was going on and the looks the Pharisees and teachers were giving Jesus.  And then he heard Jesus say, "Rise and take up your mat and go home."  He no doubt was momentarily stuned but then he moved and stood.

Healing often does not come until we take action.  Waiting can be an act of unbelief and actually delay our healing.  We have to take action with thanksgiving for what God is doing before we realize that He healed us.

So my challenge for you with this post is to take your emotional, your physical and spiritual wounds before God and lay them at His feet.  If you lack the faith to do that then get your friends to do it with you.  Then accept God's healing by acting as if it were so and then tahnk Him for it.  Your healing may not happen immediately but I doubt it will happen if you wait for it to happen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hello In There

Last weekend Kat and I went to a Flea Market and I found a CD by John Prine. Then the other day I was walking through the store I work at and I saw an older woman in a wheelchair. I looked into her eyes and they appeared lonely but when I smiled at her and acknowledged her with a nod they brightened. I instantly thought of this song which is on that CD by John Prine.

From many of John's songs I get the impression he has little use for religion or even God. I believe God can use anything to speak to us if we are open to hearing Him. I encourage you to listen to this song again and as you do close your eyes. I believe God will speak to you.

Here is the Chorus:
Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

I live in the United States and it is not uncommon for the elderly to be forgotten and left in a nursing home. They sit alone in their world waiting for someone to come and touch them. They long for someone to acknowledge that they exist.

Don't let opportunities, to say "Hello In There", pass you by.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Fun Sunday Outing

The alarm was suppose to go off at 6:30am, but our cats, Figgy and Kickin, woke us at 6:00am playing with a plastic bag.  I got up and put the cats in the living room with the bag and went back to bed.  The alarm went off and I slipped out of bed and made a pot of coffee.  I took a shower, shaved and then had a nice strong cup of coffee.  

Our plan today was to drive to see our grandson with his scout troop 324 at Camp Bartle.  As we got into the car Flash and KA-BOOM it began to rain.  I just knew we would end up standing at the camp with it raining.  We drove to Camp Bartle which is located just outside of Osceola, MO and as we drove into the Reservation the rain stopped.  The grounds were wet and muddy but the visit turned out to be a great time.

Our grandson, Spencer, seemed to be one of the most popular boys in the troop and the scout leaders said he was fully into what was going on at camp.  He was working hard to earn his badges and complete the tasks assigned to him.
My wife, Kat, and I left soon after lunch and left Spencer to show his mom, dad, and brother and sisters around the camp.  We headed towards home but made a couple of stops on the way.  We stopped in Clinton, MO and went to a couple of Antique and Flea Malls.  Kat found some things she wanted and at our final stop we found our other grandson, Kia, a birthday present.  
As I was walking through the last Antique store I turned and there it was.  The perfect gift for a 4 year old.   Imagine the fun he will have wearing this around the house or to pre-school.  We are sure his mom is going to be thrilled with another great gift idea from papa.

Rasin Oatmeal Cookies

I pulled up to work the other day and saw the blue tent type awning in front of the store.  As I approached the front door I recognized the group that was there.  It was "Food For Life Supreme" which is an inner city organization that teachs young inner city kids how to become chefs who create great, healthy food!  I whipped out my wallet and handed the young pre-teen boy a $10 bill and asked him for a package of "Rasin Oatmeal" Cookies.  
I enjoy purchasing these cookies from this organization for two reasons: 
1. The cookies taste YUMMY!
2. More importantly the organization behind the cookies are teaching young people to believe in themselves and to reach for their dreams.  
I encourage you to go to their website and read about the organization.  Food For Life Supreme
Food For Life Supreme commitment
God wants us to help others to reach for their potential and to serve them as they move in that direction.  I am glad to promote this organization to you my readers.  
Now I am going to go and have another rasin oatmeal cookie.  mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What is God doing in my life?

This is a letter I shared with some friends.
About 11 years ago my wife, Kat, and I began to search for a new church. The first Sunday that Kat and I attended services at the Vineyard in Overland Park, KS was Mark Flora-Swick’s first Sunday as the Interim Pastor. I was a beaten and wounded Christian who had just left a cultish church. I was a man who was controlled by his wounds and using life controlling habits to medicate them. The Holy Spirit through the love and care of the pastors and people of Vineyard transformed my life. I found healing at the Vineyard for my wounds and God poured many blessings into my life. I became very comfortable at the Vineyard.

I enrolled in VLI in 2004 and also moved to Louisburg, KS. In 2006 I graduated from VLI and I knew that God was calling me to be a full-time pastor. In 2007 my friend, Doug Walton, and I felt called to begin the process of planting a church. We felt it was to be a Vineyard with a different flavor. We felt it was to be either in the heart of Kansas City or at the Lake of the Ozarks and in either case be a church that reached out to the addicted and those who had been hurt by church and rejected religion. When Doug died in 2008 that dream faded.

Over the past five years God kept creating opportunities for me to run into a young pastor here in Louisburg. His name is Erik Kingsley and he pastors New Life Church. We developed a friendship and we would occassionally meet for coffee and talk about growing the church spiritually and physically. New Life has about 80 members but has had attendances on Easter and Christmas of 150. The potential is great for New Life to become the church in Louisburg that ministers to the missing and the hurting in big ways. Out of all of the churches in Louisburg it is the most like Vineyard. The worship is similar, the leadership is similar, and the preaching is biblically sound. The DNA of New Life is very much like the Vineyard.

About 5 weeks ago Erik and I had one of those coffees and he point blanked challenged me to come help him build New Life. In the past when he suggested I should begin to attend a church locally I would gently tell him that God had called me to the Vineyard and it would be God who called me to another church. I did not give it any thought because I was comfortable at the Vineyard and I love that church (the body). This time however I felt God say, “Well at least pray and ask Kat about it”. Asking Kat about it felt pretty safe since she and I had just had a conversation about how much we loved attending the OP Vineyard. When I arrived home from this meeting I told Kat about what we had talked about. She did not hesitate to say, “I would be comfortable attending a church in Louisburg as long as it was New Life”. That was not the reply I thought I would get from her so I was kind of shocked because now I really had to pray about what God wanted since He often speaks to me through her. After spending some time praying about what God wanted I got the impression that I should spend the next few months and attend a service at New Life and then a service at the Vineyard. I felt I was to do this until I got a clear understanding of what God wanted me to do. Five weeks later I have not been back to a service at Vineyard and Erik has placed me on the leadership team. Sunday mornings I do announcements and sometimes the offering (both of which Erik has never had anyone else do before).

Erik has asked me to help build small groups at New Life and help with the care pasturing. His goal is to get me on staff full-time but not until the church grows to regular attendance of 150 with at least 70 giving families.

I am reading a book called, “The Blessed Life” by Robert Morris. It is about tithing, giving offerings above the tithe and giving extravagantly. I am not a believer of the “Health and Wealth” theology nor do I believe in giving to get. I do believe that God blesses those who tithe and He can cause resources to be available when we give extravagantly. I believe that God blesses those who tithe, those who give abundantly and those who give cheerfully.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you to pray with me for the following:

1. Those members of New Life who do not tithe will begin to tithe.
2. That I can train leaders for three small groups and have them in place by September 1st, 2009.
3. That New Life will receive the financial resources for me to join the pastoral team on either a part-time or full-time basis.
4. That New Life will begin to touch the lives of the 51% of the population in the Miami County and Louisburg who do not claim an identity with any church.
5. That I will become an extravagant giver.

I do not want this to sound like boasting but I believe God has given me a servant’s heart and a desire to work full-time as a pastor. I feel most alive when I lead our men’s group, or the small group in Louisburg and or when helping to lead the church. I want to have the opportunity to use the gifts and talents God has given me through the Holy Spirit to touch the lives of hurting and discouraged people. I have a desire to shepherd people and move them forward in their walk with Jesus. I want to pour out into the lives of others what God has poured out into my life while I was at the Vineyard.

Finally, let me share what it would take for New Life to hire me full-time. I currently work as the Asset Protection Associate at the Wal-Mart at 15700 Metcalf and make about $400 per week. Kat and I, have a car payment and a small amount of credit card debt (about $1,000). Our house is paid for and we do not spend a lot of money on things. That is why for the past four years I have been able to work for half the salary I use to make. We have calculated that we can survive on me receiving a salary at New Life of about $350-$400 per week. I have submitted a plan for New Life to supply half of my needed salary and for me generate the rest by working part-time. By doing so I could build small groups and hopefully help add people who do not attend church and increase giving at New Life so that a full-time salary can be supplied.

I believe this is what God is calling me to do. For me it has been a hard few weeks because I am torn by my love for OP Vineyard and my desire to be a shepherding pastor. In my talks with Mark Warner he has encouraged me to do what my heart and the Holy Spirit are leading me to do. The bottom line is God poured into my life at the Vineyard and He does not expect me to be comfortable sitting on what He has done through the Vineyard. New Life is not the Vineyard but it is what I believe God wants me to do and where He had my next blessing.

I believe someone will find this post encouraging and an inspiration to take action on what God is telling them to do right now.  If you are stirred to pursue your dream, give in an extravagant way, or to give thanks to God for what He has done for you then please share it with me.  Part of my giving is writing this blog and serving others and it is encouraging to me when someone shares that what God inspired me to write has blessed them. 
You can leave a comment or email me at lnclark1950@gmail.com.  I look forward to hearing your God story.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Seed and Weeds

This morning I went for a 15 mile bike ride through the country side near our small town of Louisburg, KS.  As I rode by Corn and Hay fields I noticed that every now and then instead of Corn or Hay I saw a Weed growing.  Have you ever wondered why a farmer doesn't go out and pluck each weed that he sees?

The answer is found in one of Jesus' parables.  Matthew 13: 24-30 

24-26 He told another story. "God's kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. 

 27 "The farmhands came to the farmer and said, 'Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn't it? Where did these thistles come from?' 

 28 "He answered, 'Some enemy did this.' 

  "The farmhands asked, 'Should we weed out the thistles?' 

 29-30 "He said, 'No, if you weed the thistles, you'll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I'll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.'"

The Kingdom currently is found in the church (the body of Christ) which is a body of people who are imperfect and flawed just like everyone else.  Sometimes it is necessary to pluck up a weed that is choking a plant and the same is true in the church.  On the most part the church should be a place for sinners to come and find people and pastors (shepherds) who will lead them out of their sin.  Leading is not condemning them for their sin but guiding them through discipleship out of their sin.  Now and then it is necessary to pluck an unrepentant person because he or she will influence the whole body.  When this is done it must be done through much prayer and with a hope of repentance not with condemnation.

So the church is like the farmer's fields that I rode by this morning.  Most of the people are like the good plants the farmer planted but others are like the weeds that have grown up within the field.  We have to remember one day we were a weed but God used us being planted among good plants to change our DNA.  At the end of the age and the harvest comes the weeds will be gathered by Jesus and separated from the good plants. Matthew 25: 31-46

As a pastor I am not to tolerate sin but I am to guide a sinner out of it.  Driving a sinner out of the church without attempting to guide him or her would not be fulfilling what God has called me to do.  

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Happy Birthday United States of America

The men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that at the moment they put the pen to that document they were signing their death warrant.  They were willing to put everything on the line for the most important words since the first century AD.  The entire document is important but these words stand out:

"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."

Over 2000 years ago Jesus also made a declaration but it was a declaration of dependance.  He said in John 8: 32 that the truth would set you free.  The concept of being free was God's idea not man's.  

All men are truly created equal in the eyes of God and none are better than the other.  That is what God said through Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that is what the men who signed the Declaration of Independence believed. 

The problem is unless we are guided by and yielded to God's Holy Spirit treating each other equally is very difficult to do.

Today in America we celebrate freedom and each Sunday we should also celebrate our freedom found in Christ.

Let Freedom Ring.  It is not grant by men but given to man by God.  What man grants he can remove but what God gives never is taken away.

If you are looking for freedom leave me a comment and I will go deeper in how you can have the true freedom found only in Jesus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Common, Faulty Men called for an Uncommon Mission

Tonight at our Men's Small Group we looked at the 12 Apostles by reading scriptures about how Jesus called them or interacted with them.  Among those scriptures we looked at:

Matthew 4: 18-20 Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.

Mark 2: 13-14 Then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. Again a crowd came to him, and he taught them. Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, "Come along with me." He came.

Luke 6:  12-16 At about that same time he climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God. The next day he summoned his disciples; from them he selected twelve he designated as apostles: 

  Simon, whom he named Peter, 
  Andrew, his brother, 
  James, son of Alphaeus, 
  Simon, called the Zealot, 
  Judas, son of James, 
  Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Acts 1: 12-13 So they left the mountain called Olives and returned to Jerusalem. It was a little over half a mile. They went to the upper room they had been using as a meeting place: 

 Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus,  Simon the Zealot, Judas, son of James.

Acts 2:  1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

The questions we looked at concerning these scriptures were:

1. How did Jesus select these men?

2. What strikes you about these men?

3. What do we have in common with them?

We talked about how Jesus called these men as they did their everyday activities.  That these men had hang-ups and faults but Jesus called them for a purpose any way. That these men were no different than we are.  These men received the power to heal the sick, speak into the lives of others and to serve in an uncommon way through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

At the end of the meeting I gave the men a challenge: "Look for that one moment when God can use a common person like us to touch the life of another person."  

To read more about each of the 12 Apostles click this link The Twelve Apostles. Like the 12 Apostles you are a Faulty, Common, Person who God is calling to do an Uncommon Mission. With the Holy Spirit living in and through you, you can call upon God to heal the sick, bring healing to the wounded heart and to speak truth into the life of another person. I encourage you to join us as we go through this next week looking for an opportunity to practice what the Jesus and the 12 Apostle did and touch the life of one person with the positive, healing power of Jesus that you have received through the Holy Spirit.