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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hope Rising

My wife, Kat, has shared a book called "Hope Rising" with me that I want to recommend to you. It is about the stories of the pain and victory of the children and horses who visit the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.

The back cover says it all: "Where Wounded Spirits Run Free"

Follow a horse where no one else can tread, through the minefield of pain that surrounds a broken child's soul. From mistreated horse to an emotionally starved child and back again, a torrent of love revives their barren places.

In the presence of unconditional love, a mute girl speaks for the first time. A defiant teenager teaches a horse to trust again...and opens his heart to love. A rescued horse gives a dying man his last wish. A battered girl finds love and protection in the friendship of a battered horse.

Come visit a place where the impossible flourishes, where dreams survive the inferno of reality...a place where hope rises.

As I read the stories found in the pages of this book tears swell to my eyes. Tears being brought by the story of how one teen's determination saves four abused horses.  Tears being brought because of how an abused horse and an abused child find peace and trust in each other.

Tears brought because this is what the body of Christ, the Church, should be doing. Let me challenge you to move beyond the four walls of your building and get your hands dirty with the lives of the wounded. I want to encourage you to be more than a Sunday morning Christian that goes to church each week to pay the premium on your hell insurance.

God wants to add your story to the book of Acts but in order to do so you must get out of the pew, get off the couch and act. You need to discover, develop and use your Spiritual Gifts in order to not be like the person talked about in the "Parable of the Talents" found in Matthew 25: 14-30 who hid the talent given to him. Unless you take the talent (Spiritual Gifts) the Holy Spirit has emparted to you and use them in service to others you are hiding it and it gains nothing for the Master. You are wasting the pages of the book of Acts that could have been added.

In 2010 become a person who is being the Church not doing Church. I suggest you purchase "Hope Rising" and let God stir in you the compassion found in the hearts of these children who have found hope. I want to read about your story as God adds it to the book of Acts. He can do great things through a person with a compassionate heart.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What is Your Number One Goal for 2010?

posted at A Community Chaplain blog

Many people start each new year out making several resolutions. They set everything from Losing Weight to Making More Money as goals but usually within a few weeks they end up giving up on reaching their goals. I want to encourage you to spend the next few days considering what my friend, Doug Walton, would call the "One Thing" that you would want to accomplish. Don't make it a small goal but a BIG one because a small one will be given up on much easier than a BIG one. Besides God made you for BIG accomplishments.

If we look back over the postings on this blog we will find I shared several goals with you:
1. Sunday service every six weeks at a local Nursing Home.
2. Organizing a Louisburg Christian Fest.
3. Organize a local chapter of "Watchdogs".
4. Hold a weekly prayer service for men.
5. Become an Angel Tree Coodrinator for Louisburg.
6. Lead two small groups for men.
7. Help with the Fall Harvest Fest.

Those are all good things to get involved with but is that using the gift that I have been given by the Holy Spirit to it's fullest? Probably not. I believe what I would be better using my gift focusing on finding the folks who have the heart for those ministries and equip, empower and release them to doing those things.

The Holy Spirit places many ideas in my mind and being the person I am I immediately begin to think how I can accomplish them when I should be thinking about who has God gifted for that ministry. In my Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) training my first reaction is that of a Shepherd and the second is the reaction of a Rancher. A Shepherd sees a problem and immediately runs to take care of it. A Rancher sees a problem and he immediate considers who has the gift and heart to take care of it and thereby grows a new shepherd. The Shepherd is involved in everything even the things he has deligated to others but the Rancher allows the new shepherd to grow through the experience. Both are needed in the Church but one results in ministry being done by a few and the other results in ministry being done by the Church.

Let me make the difference even more clear by sharing a true story. Soon after having what we called a VLI Intensive Weekend, which was an all day Saturday and half a day Sunday study fest, I had a friend come up to me and suggest something for the men's ministry. He shared with me how he believed we needed to do John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" series with men at the Vineyard. I asked him what we needed to do that and he told me the "Wild at Heart" dvd and a leader. Normally I would have taken this idea and run with it by getting the necessary supplies, the room and then advertising it to the men. As I left church that day I began to think how we could make this event happen and what it would take for me, yes I said me, to do it. Here is what I realized: 1. I did not have nor could I get the funds to purchase the dvds. 2. Without the dvds I could not do the event. 3. My heart was not fully into the event.

The next day I went to work as usual and when I got home I picked up our mail. There was one letter that was unexpected and a check for $150. As I looked at the check I immediately thought about going to ChristianBook.com and finding out the price of the dvd series.  I logged on and found it special priced at $99 and placed the order. Within a few days the package came and as I opened it my friends word came back to mind about the two things that kept us from doing the series. I believe that the unexpected check was a God thing and what I did the next Sunday was also a movement of the Holy Spirit.

Just before services the next week I saw my friend across the room and with package in hand I approached him. I asked him what was keeping us from having the "Wild at Heart" series for the men and when he replied that we did not have the dvds I handed them to him. He looked at them and then said, "We don't have a leader for the group". At that moment the Holy Spirit put these words in my mouth, "The leader is holding the box". That was my first experience being a Rancher and not a Shepherd. When he responded that he could not do it by himself I told him I would find another guy to help him.

What were the result of these two guys working together? When they kicked the series off they had over 50 men show up for the event. In comparison our typical men's event at the Vineyard usually drew 25 men. These two men have grown into leaders, one travels helping to give "Marked Men for Christ" events and the other is now Pastor of a Vineyard in Raytown, MO. These two men have achieved far more than I have but it may not have happened if I would have reacted like a Shepherd and not a Rancher. When I handed the project off to the guys I totally backed out being involved because in the VLI training it stressed how just because you have deligated something does not mean you have released it unless you are willing to let go of the reins.

Now back to the point of this post. In looking back over the past year I realize I have gotten off track some and began to focus again on those things the Holy Spirit is stirring in my mind. All of the things on the list above can be done better than me by someone who has the gift and heart to do them. A friend once told me I had the gift of "Enabling" and what he meant by that is I help people discover and use their gifts in ministry. My number one goal is to begin to focus on being a Rancher in 2010.

A secondary goal is to spend one night each week at a local bar and play a game of pool with some men there. The goal there is to begin developing some relationships with men who do not attend church and in a non-threantening way share the Gospel of Jesus with them.

Take the next few days considering what your talents and gifts are. Then pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you in how to put those talents and gifts into practice in the lives of others. Narrow your focus down to one main goal and one secondary goal. One final thing make sure both of these goals are things you have a heart to do and not based on what someone else thinks you should do.

By doing this I believe you will experience the joy of achieving more in 2010 than you ever dreamed you could. May the Creator God bless you as you plan out bringing Him glory through the talents and gifts He has given to you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joy to the World

Over the next few days I will share with you songs from Chris Tomlin's Christmas album.The last post from this album will be Christmas day. May the Lord speak to you through the coming days.

Living the Dream

posted at A Community Chaplain

On Thanksgiving day our daughter, Missy, and her children, Spencer, Dakota, Cierra and Kia and their dad, Brandon, came over for dinner. After we had eaten a nice meal we sat down and I presented an idea to them. I suggested that this year for Christmas that we not give gifts to each other but instead find a family to bless. Everyone was in a greement and the kids were excited for the opportunity. Cierra immediately said, "We get so many gifts at Christmas from other people I think it would be nice to give to someone in need." I must say I have the neatest grandkids.

Here are the gifts we are giving.

I have been blessed to be able to do the dream that God has placed in my heart. Making a child's dream come true is just a small way I am allowed to touch the lives of hurting people who God cares for.

Beginning in January I will be meeting with some men at the TimberCreek Bar and playing pool and sharing our hopes, our dreams and our life struggles. We will visit the bar and invite other guys to join us and as we build some relationships I will share the hope that Jesus brings.

I share these two things with you not to toot my horn but to encourage you to get in touch with your dream and then do it. Turn off the television, or the computer or the stereo and get off your rear and do something at least one day a week that will touch the life of someone less fortunate than you. Sharing what Jesus has done for you with someone else does not have to be threatening or boring. If you go where the missing are you might find that the excitement is already there but it is wrapped in a worldly package. Go ahead and take the risk to explore your dream and what God has waiting for you.

If you live in or close to Louisburg come join us at the TimberCreek Bar on Thursdays beginning in January.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Equip, Empower and Release the Body to Ministry

For many years my wife, Kat, and I were involved in a legalistic church. We kept the Sabbath, Saturday, and the Holy Days listed in the Old Testament. We did so legalistically. After 17 years of trying to keep the law I found that I had not changed except that people could see by my actions that I could do those things. Inside I was still the same.

When Kat and I left that church we began to go to a church where freedom was taught and practiced. Freedom to become what God wanted us to be not freedom to sin. We were encouraged and trained to use our Spiritual Gifts and without restraints except to do so in a Biblical way. We did not have to have the pastoral staff giving us the okay to minister to others nor did they have to be involved. The results was growth in our physical, emotional and spiritual lives.

During my pastoral training I was tuaght my job as a pastor is to help people discover their gift(s), equip them and then empower them to do ministry. Part of equipping was to work along side of them first teaching, then showing and then letting them do ministry. Once that cycle was complete and they exhibited sound Biblical approaches to ministry we were taught to get out of their way and let them minister.

Most church models is designed around the senior pastor either doing everything or controlling everything. From my experience this produces a climiate of people who will go around those who have been given the office of ministry and directly to the senior pastor. They will report to the senior pastor everything taking place and the result is a lack of ministry because people will become fearful that they are not performing according to church rules.

When Kat and I were in the Worldwide Church of God we were restricted by pastors in what we could do and with whom we could do it.  When we left the WCG and started attending the other church we were trained for ministry and then released to total freedom to minister.
The question is not organization but of restriction. Sometimes pastors do not trust their people to minister freely and some fear giving too much power away. Some pastors have been trained in a church model that has all ministry flowing from the pastors and then through a selected group of members. None of these are necessarily sinful models but each restricts what the body can do. I have experienced a model of total restriction and one that reflects a model similar to the beginning church. The apostles commissioned the body to ministry and allowed them to minister. If you read acts and the following letters it sometimes resulted in some abuses but more often than not it led to church growth.

My question for you is what type of church do you attend?  Pastors what type of leader are you?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Qualifies Me To Minister?

For the past five years I have been happily living in a small town in the Midwest part of the United States. I graduated from Vineyard Leadership Institute and was ordained in the Association of Vineyard Churches in 2006.

Soon after being ordained I attended our small town's Minister's Alliance lunch and presented an idea to the group of pastors. Because of my life experiences and the gifts I have been given by the Holy Spirit I have a heart for helping men find healing for the wounds of life. As I presented my ideas I could see  agreement in the eyes of some of the pastors and when I was done with my presentation the pastor who invited me made a statement that questioned my qualifications to minister to other men. He wanted to know if I had a masters in Theology or Counseling because he would not send men to any program that was not led by a qualified person.

Two years later I still feel God is calling me to be involved in helping men and women find healing for their wounds. I do not have a masters or a bachelors degree but I do have a PHD (Personal History Degree) in life and I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me and that more than makes up for my lack of education. I have met many educated people who did not have a clue how to relate to people who were hurting.

To gain a master degree one has to write a thesis or dissertation within their field of study. He or she has to know their subject well and be able to write a paper explaining their position on a particular part of it. Following is sort of my paper on why I am qualified to minister to hurting men and women.

When I was three my mom ran off with another man while our dad was out of town on business leaving me, my 6 month old sister in the care of my 7 year old brother. He cared for us by himself for about four days before anyone discovered what had happened. I did not realize how this affected me until about 10 years ago when I discovered that although I am a faithful man I did not know how to express love for my wife. Not only that but I always lived in fear of being abandoned. The results of not knowing how to express love and living in fear of abandonment was experiencing two divorces which only reinforced my fear of being abandoned. I understand fully why men turn to drugs, alcohol or pornography to medicate their fears and why they find it hard to show love apart from sexual intercourse.

Right in that one paragraph are all of the life experiences needed for ministry yet there is more. When I was eighteen and heading off to Vietnam I had a lay over in California and an Air Force Staff Sergeant acted as though he was going to befriend me and show me a fun night on the town but instead sexually molested me. For the next 30 years I avoided male friendships fearing that it would lead to similar actions. When I discovered my son was living a homosexual life I disowned him and have lived in regret every since.

What qualifies me to minister to men? I have experienced almost every sin they can get involved in and by the Grace of God He delivered me from them. He did that through men and women who have experienced similar events in their life. Men and women who the Holy Spirit are operating in and who are surrendered to His guidance. Men and women who allow God to use them to be instruments of healing in the lives of hurting, wounded people.

What qualifies me to make the statement I am a Community Chaplain? My PHD in life and the power of the Holy Spirit working through me. No school, college, university or church has called me to work with the addicted, the rejected and the dejected. God has and that is the most important qualification I need.

What I do need are people who support what God is calling me to do. I need people with skills and gifts that I do not have to come along side of me. I need to step back and let them use their gifts without trying to control them. I need to submit daily to God and to rely on His power to minister to hurting people who want to find healing for the wounds of life.

Being a Community Chaplain is not my vision but the vision God has placed in my heart. It is a ministry that can help our community to be a better community and it can work in cooperation with the local churches without being in competition with them. The Kingdom of God is not a denomination or an organization it is made up of people who have come to accept Jesus as their Lord and their Savior. The job of the Church and pastors is to make the journey to healing one that is more attractive than staying in their woundedness and addictions.

As always I am interested in your comments about how this post hit you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Are You Known For?

The following is a post from my other blog A Community Chaplain.

I had a wonderful time this morning interviewing Jay Preston the Director of My Father's House in Paola, KS. Over the next few posts I will include the things we chatted about. I believe that the first thing I would like to share is probably the most important.

One of the questions I was going to ask Jay was, "What do you want people to remember about you?" I never asked that question directly because he answered it several times while answering other questions. I believe I can safely say Jay wants to be remembered as a guy who took the risk to do what God wanted him to do no matter what the cost.

What is so important about that statement? Consider the men and women written about in the Bible. Many were ordinary folks that God used in extra-ordinary ways. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Esther, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and the disciples are all people who were not much different than you and me. The only difference might be is that they took the risk to do what God planted in their hearts.

Jay is one of those people. Seven years ago God planted a dream in his heart of helping the rejected, the dejected and the addicted. The people who most churches will help but at an arms distance. From his life experiences Jay could have said there is no way I want to get involved with that type of thing. Instead he moved forward past his doubts and answered God's call. I will write more about Jay in future posts.

Here is what I want to stir in you today, "What is God calling you to do?" Whatever it might be I am here to tell you that people will oppose what you are being called to do. They will misunderstand, disagree with, or just plain fight you about it. You might hear things like, "Why are you planning to do that?", "You aren't talented enough or smart enough to do that.", "Don't you understand that the people you are thinking of serving are losers?". I am also here to tell you that if it is really God calling you to do it none of that matters. Dexter Yeager, a Diamond in the Amway multilevel marketing business once said, "If the Dream is big enough, the facts don't count." God is so much bigger than any fact that you might face. He is bigger than the group of people who will scoff at your dream. He is bigger than a lack of money, a lack of supporters and you!

You do not have to be known for the mistakes you have made, for the failures in your life or for your lack of talent. When you accepted Jesus as your savior God through His Holy Spirit gave you gift(s) that can be used despite you.

Here is my challenge to you today: 1. Take the time over the next few days to ask our Father what is it He wants you to do.  2. Journal about it during the week. 3. Ask at least three people to pray about it with you. 4. If God confirms what was placed on your heart begin the process of pursuing it.

One last thing that Jay sort of said, "It is all about Grace, Grace, Grace, not you." Whatever God has placed on your heart is not about you but about sharing the Grace and Mercy that God has given to you.

As always I am interested in hearing about what God is stirring in you. Please leave a comment and give me the opportunity to pray with you about your dream.