When I was asked to start writing a monthly(ish) column for the IronMen Ministries website, I was honored to have
been asked to contribute, thrilled with the opportunity to have my thoughts published in a public forum for anyone
to read, humbled at the prospect of reaching men whom I respect with my take on God's word … and
completely lost because I was given the responsibility of coming up with my own topics! “Write about whatever you
want,” they told me, “so long as it's geared towards men.”
I can do that.
I have no idea how many men actually read my columns, and judging from the low number of “shares” they get, and the fact that not one of you men has commented about any of them, I can only assume that they aren't, necessarily, well received. I can understand that, because I pull no punches. If I have something to say, I say it and move on, and if this makes any men uncomfortable … well … tough. We are men! We are a men's ministry! I write to men and I write about things that may hit some men outside of their comfort zone. I write about the truth, about how we can affect all the people around us in a real way, and about transparency.
At least I thought I did.
This past weekend, I attended FBC Centerville's biennial (only because it is punctuated every other year by the Awakening Men's Conference) men's retreat at Rock Eagle Conference Center. Pastor Troy Wynn of Freedom Church in Warner Robins was our presenter and … well … let me put it this way, we needed seatbelts! Talk about real? Pastor Wynn put it in our faces, to put it mildly. The entire event, at least what I took away from it, was centered around transparency, getting real, being honest with ourselves and others, breaking down walls and getting into POSITION!
The theme of the weekend was I AM ONE. One family, one truth, one purpose, one heart, one mission, one love, etc. As Christian men, we have enough in our daily lives to knock us out of POSITION. That is to say, to cause us to stumble in our walk with Christ. Between bills, mortgages, car payments, doctors' appointments, flat tires, broken HVAC systems, sickness and countless other distractions, we don't need to add absolutely idiotic things like prejudice towards others because of their looks, religious “flavor”, size, shape, etc. That's just stupid! We are Christian men! We are meant to emulate Jesus in all that we do, and Jesus was not prejudice in any way, shape, form or fashion! In fact, He went where the so-called religious scholars of His day feared to tread. We are meant to look past the outside, past the shell of a body that we've been given to house our eternal souls for this “life” experience, past the flaws that we see in others. To see beyond the obvious and find, in each other, that which is real! To lift up, not tear down! To care and provide for, not ignore and fear!
“'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. ‘As the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
As Christian men, we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We are to be God's example, not one of the worlds sheep, taken in by Satan's lies! We are here to unite, not divide! We are here to provide others with the Gospel, not withhold it using selfish, evil excuses! Satan will fill the heart of believers with lies in order to divide us! He wants us to marginalize those whom we may not understand. He will use any means to keep us apart, and if all it takes is to emphasize the fact that others are white, black, yellow, brown, red, orange, purple or sky-blue-pink, well then, he doesn't have to put much effort into it, does he?
Are we, the chosen children of the Almighty God, going to allow ourselves to be used in such a manner? Are we really that weak in our convictions that we will allow our differences to divide us? Are we that stupid that we hold that which others have no more control over than we have over ourselves, against them to estrange us from Jesus Christ?
“'As the rain and the snow come down from Heaven, and do not return to it without watering the Earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.'” Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
That's what we're here to do, men! Make it rain!
GET INTO POSITION!
We have a responsibility to get ourselves into position! How do we do that? By getting into the word daily, by having fellowship with other Christian men, by holding other Christian men accountable without being judgmental and having the courage to allow other Christian men to hold us accountable in those times when we fall short … when we get out of POSITION. And yes, no matter how long you have walked the path, you will blunder, and when you do, people will notice. Let go of pride, be humble, admit your mistakes and move forward, always forward!
Did you go to the retreat? Did you get something different out of it? Let me hear about it. Leave a comment, and don't be shy, I have a thick skin.
The battle is on!
Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.