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

REAL Men RoCK

R
ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 

Men 

R
ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to 2011

Many people make new year resolutions and almost all fail to even begin to achieve them. What happens is people get discouraged because their goal is SO LARGE.

I want to encourage you not to make some grand goal and then find yourself at the end of next week embarrassed that you even made it. I instead encourage you to make weekly goals that are achievable each week. Expand them each week building on the week before. By the end of 2011 I believe you will have achieved a lot more than you would have setting many goals at the beginning of the year.

My goal next week is to finish one chapter of the book I am writing. If I follow that plan I should have the book completed in twelve weeks and ready to hand to my editor. Then hopefully by March 2011 it will be ready to head for publication.

What is your goal next week?

Happy New Year


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 in Review

2010 in Review

I want to encourage each of you to sit down and think about the last year. I have and it has been encouraging.

2010 began for me with disappointment and failure. I became disappointed with someone and then I failed to give grace when it was called for. Not only had I failed but I began to question whether God had actually called me to be where I was. I began to doubt that He wanted me to be a pastor and I was beginning to look at my dreams as being mine not having come from Him.

I spent six months not seeking or accepting any leadership roles waiting for God to show me what He wanted. After six months I got nothing.

Then on the seventh month, September 3, as I hit a low point God had me read about my great, great grandfather, the Rev. Seth Gold Clark. Not only did God revive my dreams but He showed me that even my failures can be used in making me a better follower of Jesus. He also showed me that he actually did call me to the place I had been, He showed me that although I was 50% of the problem I was learning what my part was and that I was willing to admit it.

So a year that began with disappointment and failure is now ending with victory and joy.

What about your year? You still have nine days to make corrections in the course this year has gone. You still have time to apologize, repent, forgive and reconcile. But it will mean that you must let your pride go.

Being a follower of Jesus requires that we lay our pride down before He can actively be involved in our lives.

May you find peace and joy at the end of 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You Called to be a Missionary?


What do you think of when you hear the word Missions?

For most of us it brings up visions of a person or group of people taking ten days off of work and heading to a region of the earth foreign to them. People from the United States heading to Africa or South America and lending a helping hand to a children's home or providing medical care that normally is not available. 

But is that all there is to missions?

In Matthew 28 we get our commission to share the gospel.

 16-17 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. 

 18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

From this one verse I get that our mission is not only to those areas like Africa and South America but it could be as close as the person in the apartment or house next to you.

What I want to do with this post is to provide some ideas for where you could find people who are foreign to you and to the gospel of Jesus.

Here are a few places that you could find people who are in need of the gospel:

Nursing homes, bars, night clubs, children homes, jails, prisons, hospitals, shopping centers, your next door neighbor, coffee houses, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, your child's coach or teacher or the employee break room at work.

You see the mission field is not limited to some distant land it is as close as a few steps from where you are right now as you read this.

Right now you might be saying well I am not one of the ones called to share the gospel and it might be true that you are not called to travel into the inner city, under the bridges where the homeless live, or to some foreign land. But to really answer that question let's look at one more scripture.

I am not going to list the entire scripture here but I will focus on what I feel is the most important words. Matthew 25: 31-46  

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Friends our mission field is any place that people are hungry both physically and spiritually. It is where people are suffering, sick, in prison or in need. Your neighbor may be in need just as badly as the person in Africa. The co-worker who feel he or she needs to drink their blues away is as needy as the one in South America who is steeped in strange religious practices. 

God may not have called you to be a missionary to some foreign country but He has called you to be a missionary to those foreign to Him.

Now how exactly does someone who is not trained to be a missionary be a missionary? Simple share your life with someone else. After all your life is something you know better than anyone else. As you get to know your neighbor share with them where you have been in your life and where you are now and where you believe God is taking you. Share with them the Good News that God has done in your life. Then give them hope that He wants to do the same in their life. 

Finally, be patient as God works in their life. Although Salvation is granted instantly, life long habits are not always instantly changed. Most of the time God uses the process of developing a relationship with the person in the changing of life controlling habits.

I hope that by now you see that God has called you to missions. More likely it is to be a Home Missionary not a Foreign Missionary. In my view both are equally important to increasing the Kingdom of God.

God is calling all followers of Jesus to take the Gospel into ALL of the world.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Possibly Some Good Will Result

Preface

September 3, 2010 began just like any other day. Little did I know the strange turn of events that would soon to unfold. I poured the strong brew into my favorite coffee cup, one that I purchased for my dad while I was serving in the Navy fighting the war in Vietnam. As I poured the second cup, it dawned on me that this was the same date and about the same time that I received a devastating phone call 38 years earlier from one of my uncles. I remember it as clearly as if it occurred yesterday. My uncle told me that my dad was in serious condition and they were rushing him to the hospital. He said I should make plans to come home. Tears began to stream down my face as I stumbled into the bedroom, where my wife, and son were laying in bed talking. I explained to her what the call was about. Just as I was finishing, the phone rang again. My uncle informed me that my dad had died. Now stunned I knew that I would have to make the long drive home and face the fact my hero had died.

 Unable to stop the tears flowing from these memories, my thoughts turned to what a disaster the previous year had been. Now the tears of memories of that day were mixing with tears resulting from the shame I felt because I failed to give grace to a pastor and friend during a heated disagreement. It destroyed our relationship. The questions about whether God really intended for me to work as a pastor. The doubts that the passions I had were really from God. Heart broken and overwhelmed by it all, I could feel myself slip into the beginning stages of discouragement. I was feeling the old pulls of wanting to flee to those things that I have used to medicate my pain.

As I finished my coffee, a random thought regarding my family history moved through the nerve cells of my brain. I put my cup down, opened one of the drawers of my desk and pulled out a stack of papers a cousin sent me several years before. One document detailed my family tree. I followed back through the Clark family and saw that it originated with my great, great grandfather, Seth Gold Clark.

 My interest perked and since I had six hours before I needed to be at work, I decided to do some research and see what I could find out about this man. I turned to my computer and did an Internet search on his name. After perusing many of the sites that came up in the results, I clicked on one that referred to a book called, “The Church at home and abroad, Volume 24 By Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.” What I discovered would change everything.

Have you ever had one of those moments that you knew without a shadow-of-a-doubt that God divinely directed you to do something? It is interesting that I would feel this because I had been asking for a divine appointment with someone who would impact my life in a positive way and for God’s glory. For me, this was one of those moments and the appointment I had asked for. I knew without a doubt God wanted me to read what was written in this book about the Reverend Seth Gold Clark. The words would renew the dream God placed in my heart and give me hope that all of my experiences in life so far happened to prepare me for (OR “for such a time as this”) this very moment in time.”

Until I read this passage about my great, great, grandfather, I had no idea of the legacy handed down to me through the generations. I was inspired by Seth Clark's tenacity and ingenuity in ministry and his passion to grow the church and further God's Kingdom. It made me realize that my passion to pastor, though thwarted for the most part by life's circumstances, was from God, handed down to me through generations by the unsung hero, Seth Clark. My role may not be as a pastor to a physical church, but possibly a pastor of sorts through telling Seth Clark's' story and sharing how it relates to each of us as members of the Body of Christ. Whether we realize it, as Christians, we are participants and role-models in living out what has been coined as "the greatest story ever told"-- the life of Jesus Christ.

What follows is about the life of my great, great grandfather and the seeds of greatness he planted. This is about what God revealed at this moment in time to lift each reader up and to move them forward toward accomplishing their God given dreams. This a book about a legacy that was left by a man who, according to his own words, “lived a very busy, checkered life; possibly some good may result.” One hundred and twelve years later that “good” could be the fulfillment of hundreds or even thousands of dreams, which would not have been achieved without God revealing this story to those dreamers. 

Merriam-Webster offers two main definitions for pastor. The one that I perceive relates to most of us is as follows: * a spiritual overseer; a layperson having spiritual charge over a person or group

You may not pastor a church, lead a home group or hold a tangible leadership role in the church or in secular society. You are, however, a living testimony of the Kingdom of God. As Christians, we are God's testimony of Jesus Christ and His Saving Grace. How is this "testimony" revealed in and through us? One of our mandates and goals as Christians is to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15).

We are to "lead" people to Christ through example and through our words. You are a leader. You became one when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior. So how do YOU lead people to Christ, you may ask? Seth Clark did it through example in living out his everyday life and through his ministry by furthering the Kingdom through church plants -- many that continue to flourish today. 

You, too, can leave a legacy. Commit time to pray, attend and get involved in a local church and read your Bible to enable you to assimilate the Word of God into your life. Your behavior will change over time and people will stand up and take notice. If you are not comfortable in sharing the Gospel with others verbally, start with preaching to your dog or cat. Confidence is something that comes with experience. As you share the Gospel, even if it's only to the neighborhood squirrels and birds, you will gain confidence that will eventually translate into sharing the Good News with people. 

One way I was able to gain confidence in sharing the Gospel was to share how I use to be, how I am now and what I believe God wants me to be. In some way I try to get the other person to share about their life. Most often it is not a pretty picture but I always try to encourage them by sharing that I believe God is more interested in what we can be than what we have been or are now. I share that He does not like sin but that He knows His creation does not change instantly and that He will provide the people in our lives to walk with us. 

I believe Seth Clark was that type of man and he went into "all the world" in which God directed him to go. His world encompassed the boundaries of Western Missouri from Holden in the north to Lamar in the south. Later his mission was Eastern Kansas ranging from Highland in the north to Baxter Springs in the south and as far west as Liberal. He was restricted by time and geography due to his limited mode of transportation – at first a good strong horse and then a team of horses pulling a wagon. Today, our boundaries are limitless due to the advent of technology.

You could be the next Seth Clark of your household, neighborhood, nation or the world. Will you accept the challenge to allow God to use you as a testimony of God's goodness and grace?

Chapter One

What Started It All
A Home-Mission Enthusiast
“The Church at home and abroad, 
Volume 24 By Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.”

The Rev. Seth Gold Clark, who died at his home in Appleton City, Mo., on Friday, April 22, 1898, was one of the most enthusiastic and indefatigable home mission pioneers in the central West. For over fifty years incessantly active in the work he loved, he was one of the best examples of a missionary type now fast disappearing.


He was born in Delaware county, N. Y., August 13, 1817, and, after a boyhood spent on farms in New York and Ohio, graduated at Western Reserve College in 1843 and Western Reserve Seminary in 1846. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Cleveland, October 7, 1845, and began at once supplying three little mission churches in Ohio. From there he went to Bainbridge, O., where he was ordained in May, 1847, and remained two years. During his next pastorate, at Aurora, Ohio, his health failed. Then followed eleven years' service as district secretary of the A. B. C. F. M., and three as chaplain of the 10th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, from 1862 to 1865. Ten days before Atlanta was taken, he was captured and held at Andersonville Military Prison, but was soon released as a noncombatant. The twenty days' furlough he was then given to visit his family he " spent in helping reelect Lincoln." The mayor of Cleveland telegraphed the President to keep him in Ohio till after election, which he did. Unable on his return to the army to reach his regiment, then on its march to the sea, he was assigned by Gen. Thomas to the work of raising funds for the Sanitary Commission. In August, 1865, he became chaplain of the House of Correction in Detroit and of the Seamen's Friend Society. This he kept but a short time until, on January 2, 1866, he left his home to take up the work in which he was to become most successful, and for which he is best known.

At the close of the war, western Missouri, which had been repeatedly ravaged by both armies, retained but few of its former inhabitants and scarcely any churches. At the request of Dr. Henry Kendall, Mr. Clark came to Missouri to assist in reorganizing Presbyterian work. Of his beginnings here he once wrote: " The Board, by my request, made full provision for my salary the first year. I told them that if I went to such a burned-over country I did not want to intimate to any man, woman or child that a missionary needed anything to eat, drink or wear. I did not say money for a year, except when I paid my bills. The people were just as modest as I was—they never said money to me. I obtained a hardy mustang pony, and went in all directions, preaching the gospel wherever I found an opening." Does that seem a haphazard method, not to be reasonably expected to produce good results? In less than three years he organized churches at Holden in Johnson county: Greenwood in Jackson county; Harrisonville and Austin in Cass county; Butler, Lone Oak and Papinsville in Bates county; Hudson (now Appleton City) in 8t. Clair county, and Lamar in Barton county. Each of these churches he supplied until they were able to obtain regular services otherwise. Some years later two of these towns, unable to obtain expected railroads, died a natural death, as did their churches. Two other churches were outstripped by later organizations by other Presbyterian denominations. There remain today five good churches organized before 1870 by that one missionary " settled on horseback."

From 1871-76 Mr. Clark was financial agent for Highland University. The last two summers of that time were spent with a missionary tent outfit, furnished by Sunday schools in the East. He traveled through northern Kansas and southern Nebraska, preaching daily to congregations averaging 100 on weeknights and from 150 to 300 on Sundays. This was strictly pioneer work in regions beyond ministers and churches. He was everywhere gladly welcomed. This tent work he was accustomed to regard as the most successful work of his life. During 1877-78 he supplied the churches of Iola and Carlyle, Kans.; 1879-80, Baxter Springs, Galena and Empire, Kans.; 1881-5, Rich Hill, Rockville and Hume, Mo., all three of which he organized. He then spent ten years in southwestern Kansas, where he found nine counties adjoining, in neither of which was an organized church. During those years he organized eight churches, seven of which, in spite of drought and consequent depopulation of large districts, are still on our " Minutes." The year 1895 was spent with the Church of Raymore, Mo., which under his labors was much revived, and built a beautiful house of worship.

At last, when nearly eighty, with mind and voice unimpaired, he was forced by physical infirmities to give up his active ministry. It was an affecting scene, when by vote of Presbytery he was " honorably retired," and recommended to the Board of Relief. All knew of his active life, and realized that it was not boastfulness, which led him to rise and say that, able as he then supposed to preach better than ever before, he would gladly sacrifice his right arm rather than go onto the Board, if only he were physically able to continue in the ministry. No service did he ever shirk as too hard, no field as too unattractive. Always and everywhere he loved to proclaim salvation to the uttermost through Jesus Christ. Like every other true missionary, he recognized no bounds of race or clime, but worked and prayed for the universal spread of the gospel. No wonder Miss Mary Clark, the daughter of such a home missionary, should be found today a foreign missionary in distant Persia.

Mr. Clark was twice married; in 1866 to Miss Lucy Peck, who died in 1873, leaving five children; and, in 1875, to Miss Emma Perry, who survives him.

What a record! It will never be fully written on earth. His mission work in at least five states, the organization of 31 churches, most of which during the time of his ministry erected houses of worship, his army chaplaincy, his evangelistic work in prisons, battle fields, mining camps, frontier settlements, and in well-established communities east and west, his vigorous advocacy of education at home and abroad—these are a few reasons why he will be long held in grateful remembrance. A few months ago he modestly wrote of himself that his had been “a very busy, checkered life; possibly some good may result.”
Other Notes: 
To support what I found in the above book I found this in “The Ministerial directory: of the ministers in the Presbyterian Church in the United States” By Edgar Sutton Robinson

Seth G. Clark, born 1816 in Masonville, NY, B.A. 1843, M.A. 1846, Lic. 1845, Ord. 1847 by Presbyterian Church of Cleveland, Pastor Bainbridge, OH 1846-49, Pastor Aurora, IN 1849-50, 
Vesper Presbyterian History Lincoln Center, KS

There is a tradition that Father Morrison, of Salina, preached the first Presbyterian sermon in our county. He was a good old man and usually took his text from some place in Revelation.

Next came Rev. Seth Clark, with Elder Taylor. They ran what the boys called a "Presbyterian circus." They used a very large tent for preaching services. Seth Clark was an eloquent preacher. Elder Taylor helped by selling and distributing tracts, books and Bibles. They thought the prospects for a Presbyterian church at Lincoln Center very poor. This was in July 1873.

 
http://www.ozarkscivilwar.org/archives/83
The average family relocating to the Ozarks of the 1840s and 1850s very well found adversity at every turn. Disease, social isolation, economic want, political divisiveness, familial dissent, weather, cultural challenges, homesickness and unfulfilled self-determination all conspired to break down the ties families and communities held. The emergence of urban centers in the decade before the Civil war created commerce, a spiritual community, and educational opportunities for the scattered families, and provided a natural draw for modern life, as it were, with a tangible possibility for the future Ozarks.

In the chapters that follow I will describe what I gleamed from this information and show you how to apply it to your life. I once heard Michael Savage; a conservative talk-show host says that people 100 or 1,000 years ago are no different than people today. We have the same human nature today that Adam and Eve had when they were driven from the Garden of Eden. The lessons we can learn from how Pastor Clark successfully planted churches in an era when many had been hurt by a bloody civil war. That is what this book is about and I hope it encourages you to discover the dream God has planted in your heart and then begin the process to move forward in accomplishing it. 

So what is your story? What was your past? What is your life like now? What is it God wants you to become? 
These are important questions and as I write this book they are questions I intend to answer for myself and I hope as you read the book you will answer them for yourself.
When the book is done and you have read the last page I hope that you will get the sense that God loves you as you are but He wants you to be so much more. God is willing to walk with you and move on your behalf as you open your life up to His involvement.
Most of all I want you to find hope and encouragement as you read the next chapters of this book. 
Possibly Some Good Will Result.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kansas City and Lawrence Area

I am considering starting a new group or groups for men in 2011.

If there are any men in the Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas area interested in meeting together as a group to discuss those things we men face that keep us from achieving the dreams and goals we set contact me via my email.

Although I am a Christian I will not push Jesus on you but I will share why I am a follower of His.

lnclark1950@gmail.com or hit the contact me button on the right side of the front page.

Read the post I did before this one for details about what I believe is necessary for a group to be successful.

Larry Clark

Why REAL Men RoCK

REAL Men RoCK is a website that approaches the various life situations and habits that often men face. It covers these events with honesty but without being judgemental. I have faced these events myself and I know that approaching men who are struggling with life controlling habits or who have suffered some form of trauma do not need to be preached at.

What men need is for a man or men to rally around them and give them encouragement and support. They do not need it forced on them but to know that they have someone available when they are ready to talk.

REAL Men RoCK = R ighteous E ncouraging A ccountable L oving Men R ely on C hrist's
K indness

Here is what that means:
1. No one and I mean no one can be righteous on their own. If any person, including pastors, tell you they are righteous they are wrong! Righteousness comes from a friendship with God.
2. Men need other men who encourage them even when they mess up.
3. All men, even pastors, need to have someone who will hold them accountable. Accountable to their dreams, their goals, to battling their problems and even sins. That by the way is done through encouragement not condemnation.
4. Men need to know it is okay to be loving and to love other men.
5. Men need to be allowed to be men.
6. Men need to know they can rely on other men but most of all they need to know they can rely on Jesus who is the Christ.
7. Men need to know that it is not by their efforts that they achieve these things it is a direct result of the kindness of Jesus.

REAL Men RoCK is not only a Blog but a small group where men can be themselves but are Moving Forward to become the men God wants them to be. Some will move faster than others but all will move without being forced or condemned. For some RMR is a stepping stone to a group that holds a stronger view. For some men they need to move in steps.

God rarely does things instantly but usually works through that dreaded thing called relationships.

If you would like more information or need prayer check out the older articles I have written and leave an Anonymous post on the one that speaks to you.

Keep in mind I do not have all of the answers but I will take the time to find you an answer from research he does in the Bible or at other websites. I will be honest, frank but I will not through bull shit at you. One of the things I will not do is let you deny you have a problem. Some of the biggest deniers are called pastors. When they deny they have problems they are trying not to be brought off of the pedestal that we have placed them on.
I have been guility of using things such as pornography, pot to medicate my pain and I have battled depression along with discouragement. I have had feelings of unworthiness and fear. I still find myself battling these desires and feelings but they are struggles now instead of defeats. I am no different than you.

It is not easy to talk to someone you do not know and it is not easy to build new relationships. Trust is built not just given.

If you want to know more about Larry visit http://larry-n-clark.blogspot.com/

I hope that you will come back to RMR and read more articles and that Jesus will use one to speak to you. I do not track people who visit and never contact anyone unless they request me to.

Best regards

Larry Clark

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For Christmas 2010 Do An Act of Kindness

Last year the way we celebrated Christmas with our grandkids was to give each of them one gift. Then we took the money we would have spent on them and we purchased gifts for two young girls who would not have gotten much. The looks on our grandkids' faces and the girls who received the gifts were the best gifts we could have received.

What we are planning to do this year is make up 8 boxes filled with new gloves, socks, various personal supplies and food that we will give to the homeless in downtown Kansas City.

No one can prove that Jesus was born on December 25th but that does not mean we cannot prove He lived. The example of giving at this time of year was provided by the men who visited Jesus sometime after He was born see Matthew 2:1-12. Now granted they were bringing gifts to the King of kings but the example is we give to others out of honor of that King.

Pinning down exactly when Jesus was born is not as important as having the heart of the Magi and of the child who grew to be the Messiah. We celebrate His birth because without that having taken place His death on the cross would not have meant what it did.

In 15 days we will celebrate Christmas and we will gather with friends and family to exchange gifts. I want to encourage you to take the time to find just one person who you can give something to that they would not have had unless you had given it to them.

I can promise you two things will happen: 1. The person will be blessed and 2. You will be blessed by what you do. Every time I have helped with Angel Tree or have given to another person and most of the time I do so anonymously God has blessed me.

I would like to hear about the times you have blessed others or when others have blessed you. By doing so you will be acting in Jesus place in the life of another and it would not be wrong to share with them why you are doing what you are doing.