Who is a “real” man

8 01 2019

 

Several years ago a good friend gave me a t-shirt printed with the graphic “Man up”. The inference is that men need to be confident, tough, courageous, true warriors for good. Efforts are made through Christian teaching to help “weak” men become who they should be using Christ as the model.

But in his letter to the believers in Corinth Paul gives us another understanding of what makes a real man. In addressing the issues that had developed in this fellowship he makes the interesting claim that he “could not speak to them as spiritual people”… Instead, he calls them “carnal”, “babes in Christ”(1 Cor. 3:1). Rather than acting like the “sanctified”, “saints” “enriched”, gifted, Christ associates they really were (1:2-7) they were displaying “envy, strife”, and divisiveness. They were acting like “mere men”.

Who is a “mere” man? Read the rest of this entry »





Jesus has become me?

4 07 2018

adult attractive contemplating face

 

Have I become like Jesus or has He become like me?

For most of my life it was my desire to become like Jesus. I was told that this should be my greatest desire. Countless discipleship programs have been written (including writing my own) to help fulfill this ambition.

I discovered, shockingly, that my intention was nothing short of practicing Old Testament Law. It was based on my effort, my own pursuit of Him. I was excited to learn the full truth of the Gospel that Jesus has instead, become like me. The Law says “ try to be”. The grace of Christ says, “I already am”. God doesn’t say, “Try to be like Christ”. He says that I already am “perfect in Christ”, that “Christ is my life”, “to live is Christ”, “I have no other life”. (1)

How did that happen? How can it be true considering that I am just a human with weak flesh? Read the rest of this entry »





Another Reformation

17 09 2017

500 years ago, on October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, angered by the abuses and corruption of the Holy Roman Church, nailed a 95 point summary of his “protests” on the door of his church in Wittenburg, Germany. His actions were a part of a great “reformation” of Christianity that was sweeping not only Germany but the rest of Europe as well.

Castle ChurchToday, another reformation is occurring in Christianity. Again, it is a shift from a strict adherence to the conformity environments and abuses of organized Christianity to the freedom of living in Christ. The Spirit is moving upon people resulting in their seeking not a thing but Christ. It is no longer about the best preaching, pastors, or programs but seeking to live authentically as a vessel of Christ.

Nowhere in the Bible do we see Jesus setting up an organization or a set day for a meeting. Nowhere do we see Him authorizing leadership or styles of ministry. We only see Jesus calling men and women to a life of living in communion with Him. He would be our ultimate teacher, shepherd, and guide, the “fullness” of our lives (Eph. 3:17-20). Even as the Spirit spoke through the missionary statesman Paul, the emphasis was not about the organization but about living freely in and as Christ. The “church” or its leadership was not the focus, but rather the fulfillment of God’s plan in conforming people to Christ’s image (Rom.8:28,29).

Little did Luther realize how significant his “protest” would be in releasing the believer from the unscriptural control of the organized church and putting individual faith at the heart of our relationship with Christ. the DoorStanding in front of the replicated door to his “Castle Church” 500 years later you can sense what it took for believers in that day to stand for the truth that God was revealing to them concerning authentic faith in Him. It has always been God’s desire to see people released into the fullness of His life where He is our “all in all” (Col. 3:11). The organized church and even the Bible are tools that may help in this journey but they are not the end only the means to living fully as Christ’s image.

Be a part of this next great reformation. Let God draw you into a simple yet profound union with Him and let Him alone conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus.





Followers or Be-ers?

4 07 2017

Jesus-DiscipleshipFor years men have been challenged to be “followers” of Christ. That imperative is generally taken from the “Great Commission” found in Matt. 28:18-20. But, the total truth of the Gospel is that there is more to the Christian life than just a being a Jesus follower.

When Jesus used the term “follow me” He was speaking to His admirers before His crucifixion and Pentecost. You won’t find the command in the New Testament after Pentecost. Following someone around the Judean landscape was typically what people did when they liked a certain rabbi or teacher. Even after the teacher died they would still practice the teacher’s precepts and principles. Today, many Christians are still doing the same thing, following the teachings of Jesus as though He were a dead person. It’s not unlike any other religion.

The full truth of the Gospel is that, of course, Jesus is not a dead guy! He rose again and now after coming in the Spirit lives in every believer who has received Him. They are not just followers of His external teachings or commands but are living by the internal, spiritual expressions of Christ Himself. They are not trying to be like Jesus, or do things like He would have (WWJD), they are the very vessels of His life and glory. Plus, in view of the fact that all have died with Him on the cross, we exist or live not as our old selves but as Him (Gal.2:20).

Jesus never intended that people would just be His followers but be His temples, containers, and branches through which He would live out His life. This is the mystery of the Gospel, Christ IN us, not apart from us (Col. 1:27). We are no longer just followers of Jesus, we are “be-ers” of Him, living His life as He expresses Himself through us.

Be Jesus, not just His follower.





The Problem with trying to be Christlike

2 11 2016

men's ministrySince its beginning, the central theme of the Christian men’s ministry movement has been to spur men to become more like Christ. Countless curricula have been written as  guidelines for this process in which men are taught to move through sequential steps or spiritual disciplines in order to achieve this goal.

One of the primary scriptures that form the basis of this teaching is Romans 8:29 where Paul writes that God “predestined (man) to be conformed to the image of His Son..” The English Revised Version states it as to “be like Christ”. So men are challenged to demonstrate a resemblance to Christ in everything that they are and do.  Men’s accountability groups, discipleship studies and conferences are the usual  environments provided to enable this process.

But there are a couple of problems (among several) with this thinking and teaching. Read the rest of this entry »





The Seven Needs of Men #4

19 07 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men. (see previous posts, Category: Men Today)

No. 4 – Men need to know the right life. Ps. 23:3b

Jesus-Discipleship

When the Psalmist wrote that “He leads me in the paths of righteousness..” he was affirming that God would guide him to always be on the right path. As long as he stayed on that path God would be pleased. That was the pattern for those who lived under the “old covenant” (Old Testament). Being right with God meant obedience to the right way (the Law).

Thankfully, that old way of trying to be right has been superseded with God’s better plan, the “new covenant” (New Testament). Read the rest of this entry »





Men grow in Christ best shoulder to shoulder

15 06 2015

Brent Clemmer says it well – get out and Do something with a brother in Christ.

http://patrickmorley.com/blog/2015/6/2/shoulder-to-shoulder-the-

manly-way-to-do-discipleship

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