Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Consistent Man


One of my first thoughts I had after I really gave my life to Christ was 'I need to be consistent'. If I was going to be a true Man of God, I would need to maintain my walk with Him. My main two ideas were consistency and discipline. These are two traits that most people need for their job, their marriage, their kids and so on. But I knew I had to apply it to my walk with God. I had to come up with a way to make it daily and serious. I needed to find a way to separate from the False desires of this world and pursue God. It took a few months of reading books and praying for consistency, when God brought up the idea of Manturity. He presented this to me in such an easy way that it just made too much sense. He provided all the tools and showed me the opportunity for true consistency.

For me, Manturity is my way of reaching out to God everyday. I make it a point to post to Facebook and Twitter everyday, even if it's only one time a day. A few months after I started Manturity, I signed up on Digg and started reading and promoting articles about other Christian men and more. This has become a great learning tool and another way to reach people and spread the good news of how God is working in other peoples lives and around the world. Although I have not been as consistent with Google+, I have found and met a lot of great people on there and they post a wealth of information. I love to see new followers, comments and interaction on the blog and hope to take things to the next level in the new year.

Manturity has been a way to keep my mind on positive things and away from the garbage of society. As much as I hope it helps other people, it is truly a tool that has helped me refocus daily. It has pushed me to find my real desire and write multiple posts about it. God showed has shown me ways to adjust my influence and find my true identity. He continually is providing me with new information and ideas to a point that I have had to start keeping Evernotes so that I do not forget them. As I run into the new year and chase new opportunities and new ideas, I can't wait to see what God has planned. Truly the most important part of all of this consistency is my walk with Him. I know that He is always consistent with me, but the real challenge and goal is to keep Him first and allow Him to Father me.

With a new website planned, an ebook in the works and many new topics. I pray that you have a wonderful new year and are consistent in all that God gives to you.

Happy New Years!

Are you more likely to Love or to Judge? Check out the new post on the Manturity  TWEET THIS!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Resolution Battle

A new year means new beginnings. Right? Whether you have publicly stated your resolution for the new year or have kept it private, only you know your resolution. Only you know the truth about it and what it really means. It might be a few of the following; to loose a few pounds, to be a better friend, to be a stronger husband, to get more involved with your Church, to spend more time with your family or kids, or pursue a stronger and more real relationship with Christ. Whatever it may be, you have come to realize that you have a goal in mind. From there you have to decide when are you trying to accomplish this goal? Is there a specific time frame you are setting yourself up for or this a year long activity that will take you to your next resolution? Figure our your resolution and apply a time frame to it. Even if it is just a few months to get you started, you have to have a goal that you are working towards. 

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 
2 Chronicles 15:7

Figuring out the resolution and coming up with a timeframe or goal in mind, in my opinion, are some of the easier steps in the process. The resolution is most likely something you have been thinking of for awhile and you are ready to attack it head on. The timeframe is set as a goal or a target. The real challenge is the daily battle or what I like to call 'The Resolution Battle'. This is the part of the resolution that you have to face everyday. What does it mean or even look like to accomplish your resolution? What sacrifices are you going to have to make to ultimately achieve success? What habits are you going to have to change? What relationships are going to change? What will be your driving force? I had to ask myself these same questions last year and will continue to ask these questions each year. I had to come to a place where my resolution was not just mere words that I spoke, but would become a daily way of life. This type of situation separates the men from the boys, the immature from the mature and, I believe, someone that is serious about growing up in life. Here are a few ways that can help you beat the daily battle of your resolutions. Try them out, follow them, change them, adjust them, but do not forsake any of them. You have to stay true to yourself during this process, you have to find real perseverance and you have to see the victory in the end.

1) Set up Reminders! One of the best things to do when you come up with your resolution is to define the terms. Write down and figure out the daily things it will take to accomplish your goals. If you have a smart phone, set up a reminder to come up a the end of each month. If you use another type of calendar, go through it and mark reminders for every month of the year. Incorporate your terms of the resolution and why you chose to do it at the time of decision. Remind yourself about the why!

2) Tell a Friend! This could be your wife, your buddy, your parent, sister or brother. Let someone know the conditions of your resolution and have them hold you accountable. Offer them the same option if they also have a resolution. Work together on this process and you will be that much more willing to fight for the resolutions! Make them a part of your monthly reminders!

3) Pray! "You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary." Revelation 2:3. The most powerful thing you can do is pray. Pray that God would help you in your resolution. Pray for a clear direction for your resolution. He may have another course set out for you, but it requires perseverance in other things first. Know that He has a plan for you and pursue Him. Make His presence in your life a daily, living thing.

4) Repeat! Do these things and then do them again. The courage and perseverance it will take to accomplish your resolution will not come easy, but the rewards will great. 

I wish you the best for your resolutions this year and pray that you will succeed in whatever goal you set your mind too. Please share your ideas, thoughts and tips on resolutions!


The seed has been planted, now it's up to you to make it grow!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Unlikely Candidate

Well it has been a very, very busy month and it has not left me much time to write. My most recent post I have been trying to write is titled 'A Consistent Man'. It is kind of an ironic title considering this month has been my most inconsistent month since I first started Manturity. Anyway....

Today is Christmas! Ever since I have been married, my wife and I will come home for the holidays and stay at her parents house. The week leading up to Christmas always means busy days shopping for those last minute gifts, visiting extended family and getting all of those wonderful grandparent gifts, and of course a candle light service at Church. This year was a great service. We attended my wife's families church which is 'Grace Church' in Erie, Pa. You can find the .blogspot blog from the Pastor right here. God spoke a great message to him this year about 'who or what do we magnify in our lives'. His parallel story was of course the Christmas story in the book of Luke, with an extra emphasis on Mary. He went into her story and about her powerful faith in God for the journey that she was about to encounter. Although Mary was an unlikely candidate for the task set before her, she trusted God with all her heart and knew that she had to be faithful. The same is true with us, we all feel like we are an unlikely candidate for the task Christ has before us. It doesn't matter what we look like or what we have done, if we are rich or poor, God wants us for Him. He wants us to magnify Him with all of our heart.

The Christmas season is a time of giving and sharing. Christ gave Himself for us and is gracious enough to share is unconditional love for us. Magnify Christ today for His wonderful birth and magnify Him every other day for His unfailing love. 

How do you magnify Christ during Christmas? Traditions?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'The Way of the Wild Heart' Book Review



God is a God of process. One of the best examples of His process is how a boy becomes a man. Author, John Eldredge explores this idea in the fantastic book titled 'The Way of the Wild Heart '. This book is a follow up to the best seller titled 'Wild at Heart '. John breaks down the masculine journey into six stages; boy, cowboy, warrior, lover, king and sage. Each step has is a new and crucial part to the development of a man. One of my favorite quotes comes from early in the book that says this, 'If you want a man, you must begin with the boy'. This statement is so simple, but so very true. The culture today seems to have a bunch of boys in men's bodies. Boys growing up without fathers, fathers that existed only in the physical aspect, and an overall culture that puts men in a lower position than they should be.

Let's take a closer look a the journey. A boy is full of energy and ready to explore. It is a time of true affirmation. It is also a time that he looks to his father and wonders if 'He has what it takes'. From there the boy becomes a cowboy. He has learned a thing or two about life now and takes his game to the next level. He learns to throw a curve ball, drive a car and catch the eye of a young woman. From there he takes on the stage of the warrior. This is when a man finally starts to see his purpose. He may get his college degree, join the military or find the woman of his dreams. He faces the battles of real life, learns discipline and some of the hardships and glories of life. In this time period he also finds the stage of the Lover. This is a time when the warrior is still fully alive, but under more control. He may put a ring on that beautiful woman's finger, he may find a good cause to support or he may take up reading or teaching. These two stages set up the man for one of the most important stages. This is the stage of the King. The time of being a King will be one of the most difficult and most gratifying stages of them all. This is the time of raising a family, coaching a sports team, being on the board at Church and being strong and humble during the process. The King will be tested and challenged thoroughly. And at the end of the stages we get to the Sage. This is not the time to give up on life, but rather a time to minister to the warriors, lovers and especially the Kings. To offer guidance, offer encouragement and remind them of his own path in life. To lead by experience.

This is a very short glimpse of the stages and what they look like. The book goes into great detail and would be a great read for any man or woman. I would highly recommend! You can also check out 'The Way of the Wild Heart' manual that goes along with the book!



What are some ways you have experienced the Masculine Journey?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Right Connection

One thing that always comes along with the Holidays is decorating. I can honestly say that 'decorating' is really not my thing, but my wonderful wife enjoys it so I do my best to help out. One of my jobs this season was the outside Christmas lights. It doesn't sound like a hard project, but I always seem to mess it up. I take them all out of the box and look them over each year. I have learned from the past that it is a good, no great, practice to plug them all in first to make sure they are all still ticking and I proceed to lay them out. This is always the tricky part for me; I try to make sure that the plugs at the end of each light strand are in the right spot so that I can make The Right Connection. I really felt like I had it figured out so I proceeded to hang around the front of my house and thought they were looking great. When it was all said and done, the hanging process that is; I grabbed the extension cord and went for the power shot. It was at this point that I figured out that my calculations were, well wrong. Let's just say all ends coming together will not work. I had no plug, no prongs. I went through it a few times just to make sure and sure enough, I was out of luck.

Isn't that how it goes sometimes? We think we have gone through all the right steps, only to find out that they were the wrong steps or we didn't properly check before we started in our direction. I ended up taking all the lights down and reworking them correctly. It took me a few minutes, but the payoff is lights, that work. I don't think the lights get the full effect any other way....

How many times a day, a week or throughout the entire year do we try to do something without The Right Connection? Or should I say, how many times do we not include God in our decisions? I use to think that I could only go to God for the big stuff or the hard stuff, but the truth is He wants us to go to Him for each and everything. I came to the point of trying to just have a conversation with God throughout my day. I wanted to make sure I was connected and that what I was doing was being considered properly.  I can think of so many past times that, if I had only asked, things would have turned out differently. God wants to stay in close connection to us. He desires for us to keep a close connection to Him. It's about relationship. Just like the cords could not connect, even after all the work up to that point, we can not connect to God unless we stay in prayer.

Make the right choice, make the right connection and it will help considerably!

Do you agree?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Character of 'Captain America'

I was finally able to watch the story about 'The First Avenger'. This movie was never really high on my list of movies to go watch, but I had some time one night and gave it a chance. One of my social networking buddies also gave me a nice short review of the movie after he saw it and helped convince me.

Right from the start, it is obvious that Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) is not your typical superhero. He is by no means physically strong or very appealing. He is always getting tossed around and made fun of by other men his age. He wants to serve his country, but keeps getting denied. There is a catch about Mr. Rogers though, his character.

Steve faced challenge after challenge, but he never gave up. He pursued what he wanted to do with all of his heart. When he finally was allowed to join the military, it was not because of his physical strength but rather his mental strength. He trained with all of the other men, but showed courage in hard times and displayed knowledge when everyone else was fighting. But his training was for something else, something more. A chance to take the mental courage and combine it with the physical strength. A secret project to make a super human or superhero!

If you have seen the movie, you know the rest of the story. But if you have not, I would highly recommend taking some time to watch this movie. As men, we can learn a lot from this example. It is not always the best looking guy that gets the girl and it's not always most physically fit that is most appealing. What really matters is character and the condition of your heart. Captain America showed courage before he even fully understood it. He thought it was just the right thing to do, so he did it. When he became 'super', he was able to stay humble which only made him stronger throughout the rest of the movie.

Hollywood is Hollywood, but in my opinion this was one of the better movies released this year. It shows us that there is always hope and always a way. If you believe in yourself and can stay grounded in the truth, other people will see it, appreciate it and admire it. This story reminds me of the life of Jesus. He was not a glorified super human and He certainly did not have flashy clothes. But he spoke the truth and He spoke from the heart. His character was what people saw and believed in. As He grew older, His miracles made Him a superhero, but as we all know, there are consequences for such actions. There will always be people against you in one way or another, but we have to stay strong. We have to stay firmly rooted in Christ and follow the example that He has given us. It may not always appear to be the best way, but it will be His way.


  Did you get to see the movie? Post a comment and share your thoughts below.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful for the Small Things

Thanksgiving = food, family, friends, parades and more food!

Life these days seems to be so busy that we don't always appreciate the small things in life. I would say most of us say 'Thank you' each day, but todays a great day to be more specific. Spending time with family and friends is great, so take advantage of that time, be thankful for it and let everyone know what you are thankful for. Today is a great day to point out those small things that someone did for you, or be thankful again for something bigger that happened.

I want to say 'Thank You' to everyone that has liked, followed or checked out Manturity! I really appreciate the comments, feedback, encouragement and questions. I hope I can keep writing great blog posts for everyone to enjoy and be challenged by. Thank you for all of your posts and ideas also, they have been a great inspiration to me as I write and find my direction.

Be thankful for what God has blessed you with, for we are owed nothing and we never know when it could all go away.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

'Love and War' Book Review

My wife and I have had the pleasure of reading and teaching from a wonderful marriage book titled 'Love and War'. The authors of the book are John and Stasi Eldredge. John is well known for his popular book titled 'Wild at Heart' and for his new book 'Beautiful Outlaw'.

'Love and War' is a very real and down to earth marriage book. The Eldredge's have been married for a long time and have had some hard times over the years. But through it all, they have come away with some great insight for all other marriages. They speak from experience and from the heart in this book.

Right away the book gets into the idea of Desire. In order to have a great marriage or re-gain control of our marriages, we have to have desire, desire to want the best for each other, a desire to always love each other and know that this marriage is for the long haul. The next chapters get into what they like to call the 'perfect storms', this more or less talks about opposites and how they attract. The opposite part in our spouse is a way that God uses the differences in your partner to make your marriage stronger and make you a better person. One of my favorite chapters is titled 'Sharing an Adventure'. It is so important for couples to not just be married partners, but friends. Get out once and awhile, go crazy and take some dancing classes (I think this is coming up on the schedule for us). Schedule a great vacation and be intentional about it. Take a walk once a week together and enjoy the wonderful nature that God has created. This is essential. The Eldredge's bring a very real portrait into the book when they talk about our marriage having an enemy, and it is not our spouse, seriously. Marriage is one of the unions that the Enemy is out to destroy. We see it all over our culture today and it seems to only be getting worse. If we can hear and talk to God, than we have to take the other monologue into play. The enemy will step in at the most opportune times and say definitives like "She is never going to change" or "He will always be like that". Definitives or agreements are marriage killers and we have to protect ourselves and our marriage from those type of words and thoughts.

On top of just having some great material in the book to read about, the Eldredge's have made a few items that go along with the book for small groups at Church or Home. My wife and I have actually facilitated a few group classes on the 'Love and War' material and have had a great response. Here are some easy links to some of the great tools that go along with this powerful book.

- 8 week DVD series  Watch a video each week in your group.
- Love and War Participant's Guide  Use this to stir some great conversation!
- Love and War Devotional for couples  This takes five minutes! It's a great tool for your marriage.

Overall, this is a fantastic book. I would highly recommend reading this book with your spouse. Take the initiative also to see if your Church has the 'Love and War' small group or facilitate a class by yourself or with your spouse!

 

Have you read? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pier Pressure

Everyday we have to wake up and face the challenges of the day. Amongst the many topics discussed in the Manturity series of Influence, the challenge to stand up to and face other men is inevitable, at least for me. I work in construction, building commercial buildings, and for the most part men are the workers. These are a unique set of men and personalities that I have to deal with on a day to day basis, it's part of earning that paycheck. If there is one thing I learned about a year ago, it's that I do not have to take on their identity. I do not have involve myself in their immature, senseless and revolving conversations or influence. I can make the choice to walk away or stay and be "part of the group". I know that I can not change these men, but I can be mature in my decisions around them.
I like to think of this as the work pier. Work piers were made to for one reason. To get the men and the material to the ship. They were not built for pleasure, they were not build to look pretty, but they were made to get the job done. They were designed for work. And like most of us, we have to walk that work pier everyday. Is it something we want to do? Probably not, but it is something most of us have to do and do the best we can.

2 Chronicles 15:7 'Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak; for your work shall be rewarded.


When I am not at work, I get to enjoy the company of good friends and work colleagues. This is a different group of men that I more less choose to be around. They are friends from Church or friends that are my age at work and men of true strength. This is also a unique set of men. We still have to be careful how our friends  influence us, but hopefully that is happening in a positive way. The conversations are generally more interesting, exciting, funny and clean. I know these men on a deeper level and is a sense, know their heart.
Proverbs 15:13 says 'A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. These are the men that you can share your high and low points with. These are the men that you put your trust into and depend on, these are men of resolution.
This is what I call the pleasure pier. Pleasure piers are made pretty much the same way the work piers are made, but they are built for comfort, enjoyment and rest. This type of pier might get built in a scenic area or might get built for fishing. Either way they are a shelter, a vacation, a getaway from the craziness of life. After a long day, it's nice to get off the work pier and enjoy some time on the pleasure pier.

Proverbs 18:24 says 'A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. 


Some of us are forced to walk the work pier everyday, but don't forget to walk the pleasure pier also. Jesus is such an amazing example of a good friend and fellow brother amongst His disciples. If we are pursuing to be like Christ everyday, than our friends, attitude and life will show it.

How do you find a balance between the work and pleasure pier?


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Way through the Fog




I have woke up the last few mornings and found the weather, well, foggy. It's still dark, I jump in my car and head off to work. The fog brings a different attitude than just the typical chilly morning. It requires me to be more aware, more alert of what is going on around. The visibility levels are much lower and the chances for an accident are increased. As I head down the highway, I look up into the tall road lights and there nothing but a distant blur. The closer I get to them, the more clear they become, but just like that they are gone. The fog gets even worse as I near the city, this is mainly because of the river that runs through it. It reminds of living in the country when I was younger. The night would be foggy, but when an opening or a clear in the woods arrived, the fog became really heavy. But beyond the effects of actual fog, I can't help but think of the fog we can get stuck in.

How often in life do we find ourselves in a fog? Caught up at work and no time for family. A couple small lies spiral into a large lie. Fighting in your marriage and can't find a way out. When the fog is heavy, we are more likely to hit the deer. How can we fight through the fog in our life and stay on the straight and clear path? I have a few ideas and would love to hear yours!

1) Turn on your lights! Just like we do when we first get into the car when the fog is heavy, we have to keep our lights on. We have to be careful to not get stuck in the darkness. The Enemy lives in the dark and is impatiently waiting for his prey, us.

2) Stay Alert! I am usually pretty alert when I am driving, but the fog makes me extra alert. I know that people are still anxious get to where they are going and not paying attention. It's important to always be on alert when we go throughout our day. We can so easily get caught up with the drama of coworkers, family and friends. The drama in their life does not need to be the verdict on ours!

3) Take it slow! Driving through the fog usually means going at a slower speed. Don't get so caught up in your day that you forget to breathe. I will sometimes read a chapter of my current book at lunch, or go for a short walk. Maybe text my wife to see how her day is going. Sometimes it is just good to stop and put things into perspective.

4) Have Faith! Navigating through the fog is hard, but keeping the above ideas in check will make the journey to your destination easier. Keeping grounded in faith is so important in life. We're going to face trouble and there are going to be patches of fog here and there, but we must remain faithful. There is always a higher power and plan at work and we must believe it, even in The Fog.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Like Flakes


Like flakes of snow that fall imperceptibly upon the earth, the seeming unimportant events of life succeed one another. As the snowflakes gather, so our habits are formed. No single flake that is added to the pile produces a sensible change. No single action creates, however it may exhibit, a man's character. But as the tempest hurls the avalanche down the mountain and overwhelms the inhabitant and his habitation, so passion, acting on the elements of mischief which pernicious habits have brought together, may overthrow the edifice of truth and virtue.  -Bentham


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Check Your Roots!


"He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." -Jeremiah 17:8


This verse is so simple yet packs a powerful message. Where is your seed planted, where are your roots headed and what type of fruit are you bearing?

It took me a long time to discover where I had planted my seed. I thought I was near the stream and I thought the the roots were being fed by a good source, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I grew up hearing about the stream. I went to a Chrisitan school, attended church and tried to keep to a value system. It's not that I didn't believe in God, I just never really knew Him. My seed had been planted in false soil. The world shows us different types of soil to plant our seed in, but doesn't guarantee the type of fruit it will produce. It's a risk we don't  have to take, but many people do. We all remember the first story about fruit.

So let's say we step into the worldly journey of risk. There is no guarantee for anything good to come of it, but it looks like good soil so we jump in. Planting our seed in the soil of Christ also comes with risks, though what grows will never fail to bear good and useful fruit. Once planted in the false soil, the path of the roots are questionable at best. The direction can come from friends, family, work, money, love, sports or anything really. This is exactly the problem, there is no clear direction. This allows for fear to come in, the droughts can become long and hard and the fruit can get real bitter.

Bitter fruit does not sound good to me! The bad fruit is the result of the seed in imitation soils, and the roots not near a stream. The verse is so clear to the willing mind. In order to bear good and healthy fruit we need to be centered, we need to be rooted in something solid, we need to be rooted in Christ. Planting your seed in the soil of Christ is the best place possible. Your will grow strong, you will stay humble and it will tear down your selfishness. By having your roots spread towards the stream of Christ, you can be assured many seasons of growing. No fear of coming droughts or seasons of intense heat. And finally the fruit, the fruit that Christ can bring into our lives is more filling and more delicious than anything else we can ever experience. So I say dig deep, real deep and find out where you are truly rooted and ask your self why.


Root yourself in Christ.
Check your roots!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Man Like Christ


This year has been nothing short of a process. From struggling with who I was and almost having my marriage fall apart, to realizing the my own black selfishness. I had to go down to the bottom of a deep, dark pit in order the see the pure light of Christ. I know, now, that He put me down in that pit for a reason and that the reasons would reveal themselves over time. Christ showed me a way out of the pit and asked me to walk along with Him and just listen. Over the course of this year, I can look back and see the path He has taken me on. And like Christ, the journey has been anything but ordinary.

We are to be like Christ, but what is it to be like Christ? I didn't realize, at first, that this was the question I have been asking ever since He first took me by my heart. The earlier months of the year went something like this. Desire. I kept hearing the word desire and I had no idea why. But, everyday the word just kept coming and it only got louder. If you have been following Manturity for a little while now you will know about my series on Desire. I came to realize that because I started walking with Christ, I had actually started to 'delight' in Him. (Psalm37:4). I came to realize that life wasn't about my own selfish desires, but rather it was about asking God what I desired. I went from praying 'what do I desire God?' to 'what would You have me desire God?'. That shift made a massive difference in my view on desire. It put desire in perspective and made me less interested in the meaningless things and more interested in the meaningful things. I also began to realize that I wanted to be a true Man of God, or a Man Like Christ.

In continuing my desire to be a man more like Christ, I moved my focus to 'influence'. I really didn't understand this shift at first, but I went with it anyway. I began to think about the ways things influenced my life, behavior, emotions and so on. I wrote about music, friends and work. But God was saying more, He wanted me to take the idea of influence and persuasion further. I didn't understand what He meant by 'further' till more recently. See, Jesus had a style that he did life different than anyone that has ever lived. Jesus never said the "normal" thing and never responded in a general way. He always had a reason behind His motivation. He had a way of making people think and challenged people to do the right thing by their own means. He could be in the toughest of situations where there seemed to be no way out and He would simply surprise everybody. His style of influence is enchanting to say the least.

If I truly desire to be more like Christ, than I need to know his personality. John Eldredge's newest book, Beautiful Outlaw, couldn't come at a better time. This book gets into the wild personality of the risen Christ. I also started reading another book called 'Split Second Persuasion'. This is not a Christian author, but it gets into the origins of persuasion and influence. I am only a few chapters into each book, but they go together in a great way. Lessons from Jesus Christ himself and a hard look at how God designed influence in us since birth.

When I saw the path in the distance, God pointed to the path of desire. And in going down that path I have seen the fruits along the way of making Him my desire. But God demands more of us. As the path of desire is conquered, I can see in the distance the path of influence. The path to the deeper understanding of how to lead and speak like Christ. The path of desire was made of soft grass with only a few hills. But I have already started on the rocky, more rugged path of the personality of Christ. This is what it takes to be a Man Like Christ. To continue to seek more, to continue to work harder no matter the challenge set before you.

Our God is a God of Process.....


Friday, November 4, 2011

Strength Over Time

We can never have more than we can bear. The present hour we are always able to endure. As our day, so is our strength. If the trials of many years were gathered into one, they would overwhelm us; therefore, in pity to our little strength, He first sends one, and then another, then removes both, and the third, heavier, perhaps, then either; but all is so wisely measured to our strength that the bruised reed is never broken. We do not enough look at our trials in this continuous and successive view. Each one is sent to teach us something, and altogether they have a lesson which is beyond the power of any to teach alone.  -H.E. Manning


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Culture says "Man Up"?

It's one thing for the culture to notice that there is a problem with men these days, but it's another thing to leave it up to culture to "try" to fix the problem...

I recently started watching a couple new shows on TV that were suppose to portray a "manlier" image. The first show that came to the chopping block was 'Last Man Standing'. I have to say that out of the newer shows this is one of the better ones, but still not overly "manly". The father, Tim Allen, is surrounded by his wife, three daughters and his oldest daughters baby boy. The concept is to show men that they can still be manly amongst all those women. He also wants to show his grandson that he is in charge and that the true man is still alive..
The other show that came out recently is titled 'Man Up'. In my opinion, this show did not hit the bar at all. I don't think it even realized there was a bar to aim for... The show is loaded with immature men in their forties who are trying to grow up. Really? So the show is not about mature men doing the responsible things in life, but rather doing the irresponsible things and trying to learn from them. The show starts with the main characters playing video games and ends with them playing video games. I don't think this is hardly any example of men that are making an attempt to 'Man Up'. The networks know that a manlier image is needed back on television, but who is running the networks? I can't answer this question, but maybe someone could enlighten me with the answer.

I also find it interesting that these shows have come out while a new movie is out in theaters called 'Courageous'. Men that are struggling in life, but come to a Resolution to fix their issues. This is a true example of men becoming responsible men! Television shows are more easily accessible, but they still require an audience that wants dumb people cracking the same old jokes and making no real point. The new shows mentioned above do have some very subtle and sometimes very quick examples of men doing the right, responsible and mature thing, but the majority of the shows are fill and fluff.

So the idea is simple. The world, our family, our friends, our workplace need to see men 'Man Up'. But how that happens and where the influence comes from needs to be managed properly and responsibly. Sure, these shows can be funny and have their moments, but being a man is more than that. It's about growing in maturity, becoming a man of integrity, making the hard decisions and raising kids that know who is in charge and why. Man is ultimately responsible to God. It is the way we were designed from the very beginning. If a man can stay true to his roots, his Father, than his path will be straight and long.


So in short, Man Up! And do it carefully and according to the design God intended.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Disconnected


It’s amazing how disconnected I can be in such a “connected” world.

As my wife and I drove through the mountains of northern Georgia this past weekend, we couldn’t help the feeling of being disconnected. I’d think of something to tweet or want to check my email only to find no connection and see the “Searching” word in my top bar of my phone. After this happens a few times frustration starts to set in and I tell myself I can try again in a few minutes. It’s also at this point that I realize how dependent I am on being connected to meaningless things and how disconnected I am to God.

I take my phone and set it aside. Instead of having my mind flooded with ideas, updates, and other small dramas. I sit back and connect to God’s beautiful creation. The leaves are turning wonderful colors of orange, red and yellow. The mountains were all around us and went on for as far as I could see. I turn to my wife and see her smile and I smile back. Now, I am truly connected to what matters.



Make time to disconnect from the craziness of this world and connect to the beauty that God has waiting for you. It’s all around us, just look!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: 'The Resolution for Men'

Up for a real challenge? One that could change you for the rest of your life? Are you sure...?

The Resolution for Men is a new book that corresponds to the powerful movie 'Courageous'. Courageous can now be found on Blu Ray and DVD! In the movie, the men come together at the end to sign a Resolution. The Resolution is document in the film that outlines how a man is going to live his life from that point forward. Check out the document here. All of the men come together in a ceremony, agree and sign the Resolution. It is a way of life, an act of courage and a statement to everyone around you that you are different. And if you sign the Resolution with other men, they are your brothers that keep you accountable ( a way of Locking Shields ).

The Resolution for Men takes the document to the next level. There is a chapter for each point, corresponding verses and a challenge at the end of each chapter. The book starts off in true Kendrick brothers form by saying it is not for the weak. It goes on to say that you will be challenged; you will be brought out of your comfort zone and that sacrifices are going to have to be made. On the other side of that it says that the rewards will be great; the impact will be radical and it will be worth it all.

The book continues from there and gets into "why" we need a resolution. The need to get Fathers back and the priceless value they have in their children's lives. One of my favorite chapters early in the book talks about being a "chain breaker". This was a powerful message for me, as I had to make the courageous decision in my family line to break the chains of my past fathers. The way they had done it for years was just not working for me. I didn't feel fulfilled in life, in work and especially in my marriage. It just wasn't working. I finally gave over the chains to God and the weights of all the past mistakes from myself and before were lifted. From there it's a matter of consistency and discipline. It's a matter of figuring out how to live out the life of Christ and do it as a man should. This is where the Resolution plays a crucial role in a mans life. It's not just about saying you want to live a life for Christ, it's about truly living it out everyday! This will take more courage and strength than you have ever experienced, but this time around God is with you.

A quick over view of the chapters goes something like this: Resolve to lead your family, to love your wife, to bless your children, to live with honor, to demonstrate love, to reconcile with your past, to be faithful and to leave a legacy. The Resolution for Men is a powerful challenge for any man to embark upon, but it might just be the most rewarding experience you will ever have. 



I encourage every man to read this book 
and become a Man of Resolution!




Thursday, October 20, 2011

THE HERO!



A warrior of special strength, courage or ability!


Ask someone who a hero is and you will probably get a variety of answers. The most obvious answers might come in the form of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc. These are of course all fictional characters that perform superhuman acts via computer technology. Some of them have super strength, they fear nothing and nobody and their abilities surpass comprehension. Many of us go to the theaters and watch these “hero’s” perform and amaze us. I don’t know about you, but I leave those movies feeling more like a zero than a hero. (bad line, sorry).

So the question is ‘What does the real hero look like and what are some qualities that make up the form of a hero?” The movies influence us in a way that is unrealistic. The actors on these movies perform acts that we would never be able to do in real life. As a young man, living in a confused culture, I want to be the hero. I want to be a man of real strength, real courage and have special abilities. But what do those look like in a realistic way? How can we define the ‘True Hero’ living in the world today? Here is my opinion. I hope to hear what yours are also.

>Special Strength: Strength is defined as moral power, firmness and courage. Moral power? I thought this was a great definition. Another way to look at moral power is maturity or the ability to allow you’re self to mature. It is so easy to fall into the false influences of this world, but it takes strength to overcome and rise above them. Strength knows what love is and what it takes to maintain. It’s keeping your cool in tough situations at work. It’s spending time with your kids rather than the television.

>Firm: True strength is being firm. Firmness in what you believe and say. I believe the examples of strength portrayed in the Bible are the best examples to still follow today. The world does not think this way, though they will try to influence us with the new ways. We have to hold firm, we have to be strong. We need to continue to keep the values that have made life worth living. Examples: Although my company might have a value system, the workers may not. We must set the example and be the bigger man when we are faced with immoral decisions. We must maintain integrity and demand it from everyone else. We must teach our children discipline and be consistent.

>Ability: Unlike the super hero moves in the theaters, we have the ability to be a true hero. This starts with a choice; a choice to be intentional in our leadership and decisions. A great way to hold this ability is to ask God for assistance. He has helped so many real heroes in the past and is just waiting to help make us a hero. Our spouse wants us to step up and be the confident hero, our kids look to us as giants coming home to save the day and people around us need a real man, a real hero. This process will not be easy and will take time, patience and prayer.

Its time for men to be ‘The Hero’.
Comment about your hero or what a hero is to you!
photo from: http://www.getnewlife.org/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Locking Shields!


Achilles stood at the front of his small ship. His small team of strong and courageous warriors worked together to paddle back and forth. His desire and determination had put them well in front of the other thousand ships. Achilles had his eyes set on the sandy shores of Troy. The shore was littered with men ready for battle. They had their weapons ready to fire, they had their fortress protected and strong, they were ready for the attack. Achilles and his men came upon shore and the war began. All of the men jumped out of the ship as fast as they could and hurried to get into a tight group. At this point, they were banded together. Their shields were up and locked together. Achilles gave the signal and they slowly moved forward towards the enemy. Arrows were being shot at them, spears were being thrown, but they continued to move forward. The locking of the shields and tightness of the group kept them protected and strong. Upon the call of Achilles the men dispersed and went into full attack mode on the enemy.


The example above is a great illustration for how we can stay strong and protected in our walk with Christ. Psalms 28:7 says ‘The Lord is my Strength and my Shield.’ Let’s take a look at the main points and break them down for today’s world.

1) Courageous: This was not a group of a thousand men; this was very small group of men that had great strength and courage. We do not need a huge group of men to make a difference in this culture, we need a small group of men that are ready to stand up and fight. Men that are ready to face the influences of culture straight on and say no!

2) Locking Shields: As the men gathered on the shore, they used their shields to protect them (the group) from the enemy. We can use the same tactics today to stand firm in our faith and using the Shield of the Lord to protect us. Brother to brother, man to man, we must put our shields together and the attacks of the enemy will not be able to penetrate.

3) Pressing Forward, Together: With shields locked, the men slowly moved forward towards the enemy and upon the signal dispersed! Whether we are in a group of brothers or off on our own, we must keep our Shield up. This will take true grit and strength, but our life depends on it. Any lowering of the shield during battle could result in a direct blow from the enemy. We know he is waiting and preparing to devour..

Having brothers that also carry the Shield can help a man conquer the negative influences of our culture. It’s not a matter of if the enemy will attack; it’s a matter of when he will attack. Be Battle Ready!

Have you Locked Shields with fellow brothers? 
Can you relate to these main points?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Courageous' Movie Review


Action packed, funny moments, awkward moments, tears of joy and sadness. No, I'm not talking about the new "Steel" movie, I'm talking about the latest movie from Sherwood Pictures, Courageous!

I had the pleasure of watching a pre-screening of this movie with a local Men's Group called 'Noble Warriors'. This group is a powerful men's resource for our area that prepares and engages men in our community. There was a great variety of men in the theater differing in age and race. We were all there for the same reason. And the reason is this 'We want to be courageous men!' The movie starts out with an intense scene and gets your blood pumping right from the get go. As a matter of fact, check out the video below. This is the opening scene!


Intense right! As the movie continues, you get a glimpse into the lives of four men, Policemen, and their families. Each man is at a different stage in his life and struggling to fight his own battles. An incident occurs about half way through the film that will make the lead character, Adam Mitchell, make some drastic changes in his life. After reviewing and studying the scriptures on how to be a better father, he develops an idea called 'The Resolution '. The Resolution is a like a contract, it states very specific guidelines on how a man is going to live the rest of his life. Each man in the movie signs The Resolution and they hold each other accountable thereafter. Here is an example of one of them.

'I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.'

Overall this is a powerful movie. And just like the book 'The Resolution for Men' , it is not for the faint of heart or the weak. It is meant to wake men up and challenge them in every area of their life! Click the image below to get it today!


Are you a man of Courage? 
Are you ready to take on The Resolution?
It will take courage, but it will be worth it! 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Music and it's Influence

The impact of music is everywhere in this culture. The age of just settling for what the radio played is long gone. The time of waiting for an artist’s new ‘compact disc’ might be remembered, but is quickly fading. The rise of MP3 music files, and many more file types, has made music accessible with great ease. And of course the inventions of the iPods and iPhones have revolutionized the whole process (rest in peace Steve Jobs). The industry has become wildly more popular and shows no signs of slowing down.

Because this is such a huge industry, it has a giant influence on people. Artists are full blown stars, popular songs top the radio charts, and some gain a cult like following. We are influenced by the singers, by the beats and especially by the words.

For example, have you ever had a bad day and put on a song that helps you get through that bad day? I use to like new alternative rock music. It seemed to fit my style and I always liked the beats. What I came to find out was that I liked the words and the singers also. Ever find it interesting how easy it is to memorize the words to a song. Now just imagine reading those same words, do you think they would have the same influence? Interesting….  The more I listened to this type of music, the more I realized the power it had over me. I had to hear certain songs after a long day, I had to hear certain songs when I was feeling down and I had to hear them as quickly as possible. The sooner I could listen, the quicker I would feel better. Strange?

Don’t get me wrong, I love music and listen to it everyday. But I have changed who I listen to and why I listen to it. For the most part I play music that has no words, otherwise known as Electronic or classical. I have found this music to still have a great beat, but I don’t have to worry about the words or the message trying to be expressed. I can have my own agenda in my head and work out my own thoughts. I still listen to music with words on occasion, but it is certainly not my first option.

Control your music, don’t let it control you!
Have you found this to be true? What are your thoughts on the influence of music?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Under the Influence



Music, Media, Television, Culture, Peers, Family, Church, Past, Relationships

What do all of these things have in common? They are the things that influence our lives, our personality, our money, our faith and more. We are constantly ‘Under the Influence’. If we are not aware of these influences and how they are affecting us, they can start to control us. They can dominate us to a point that they begin to shape a new identity in us.


The last series of posts talked about desire. This next series is based on the influences that fight for our desires everyday. God will give us the desires of our heart, but culture will give us the desires of this world. The more you let the small desires of this world influence you, the more you become of the world. Don’t forget, we are to be in the world, but not of the world. I know some things are unavoidable in this culture. If we, as Christians, are to connect with the world, we have to put ourselves into the influences. We have to be aware of the popular music, we have to know what media and society are now saying is “ok” and we have to be alert to what the enemy is up to. This, of course, leaves us wide open for temptation. But we have to be strong and stand up to these forces. Amongst all of the worldly influences, we have to allow Christ to influence us. We have to be intentional with our time, at all times. Careful to not allow the influence of culture today suck us down with it.

Let’s explore the ways we are all influenced.

So what are some ways you are influenced? Good or Bad?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mighty Men!


You can't be mighty,
 if you don't have something great to overcome!

Refer to 2 Samuel 23


Have you ever heard of David's 'Mighty Men'? The 23rd chapter of 2nd Samuel gives three examples of very strong, brave and faithful men. Each man faced a different challenge, but through faith, was able to overcome their enemies. Let's take a look at each man, and see who we can identify with.

Mighty Man 1: In verse 8 we hear about a man named Josheb. He was a man who raised his spear against eight hundred men, and he killed all of them in one encounter. This was a man who faced overwhelming odds and was able to overcome.

Mighty Man 2: In verse 9 we hear about a man named Eleazar. As everyone else in his army was starting to retreat, Eleazar stood his ground. He fought and fought until his hand froze to the sword. This was a man who faced the limit of his strength and continued to fight.

Mighty Man 3: In verse 11 we hear about a man named Shammah. The Philistines started to band together in the middle of the field, and the troops from Israel fled. Shammah took his stand, though, in the middle of the field, defended himself and won a great victory for the Lord. This was a man who was not in the best position to win, but had great courage. He was vulnerable, but kept his faith.

All of these men faced great odds, each in a different way. After reading each story I had to ask myself which story related to me the most. I had to choose Shammah. It took me becoming completely vulnerable before I could ask the Lord for strength and direction. Although everything felt wrong about it, it was the best position I could ever put myself in.

So the question is simple. 
Which man most relates to you and why?

Monday, October 3, 2011

'Beautiful Outlaw'



Have you ever considered the personality of Jesus?





Author, John Eldredge, explores this wonderful idea in his new upcoming book titled
 'Beautiful Outlaw'You might recognize John Eldredge from his popular men's
 book titled 'Wild at Heart'. 'Wild at Heart' started quite the buzz in world of men's ministry about 10 years ago. He has written several books since then that I have read and highly recommend. 



Eldredge said the following about his new book:



 "Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, undecipherable things".


"John Eldredge removes the religious varnish to help readers discover stunning new insights into the humanity of Jesus. He was accused of breaking the law, keeping bad company, heavy drinking. Of being the devil himself. He was so compelling and dangerous they had to kill him. But others loved him passionately. He had a sense of humor. His generosity was scandalous. His anger made enemies tremble. He'd say the most outrageous things. He was definitely not the Jesus of the stained glass". 

This book will help us understand Jesus in a new way and make our relationship with Him more powerful than ever before. Check it out!




Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Resolution for Desire


It's time for resolution! A Resolution for Desire..

September has been a month of researching and discovering more about the word desire. What the word means to us, how to understand it, the pressure of it and its place in relationships. In so many parts of our lives, we can attach the word desire.

But I want to maintain a true desire in all parts of my life. I want to make a resolution to keep my desire in line with God’s plan. So what is a resolution or what does the word mean?

Resolution or Resolve:
- to find an answer to
- to make clear or understandable
- to reach a firm decision about

Psalm 37:4 gives a clear definition on how to find your true desire. How? We must “Delight ourselves in the Lord”. In going back to the definitions, I would say that this is a good answer on how to find desire. The last part of the verse makes things clearer or more understandable by saying “And He (God) will give you the desires of your heart”. So this one verse has helped me find the resolution to desire. And finally, I am able to make a firm decision about my resolution of desire, because God has clearly shown me.

We need to do better than just understanding the word desire; we need to make a resolution to live it out in our lives according to God’s word and design. It’s easy to talk about desire, once you have a better understanding, but we are called to live it out. What an opportunity! The false desires of this world can be so loud sometimes. The enemy knows our hearts and tempts us with things that are passing away. But God has revealed to us our true desires. It’s time to take a step of faith, a leap of courage, and get our desires in line!

Resolve to be a man of true and Godly desire.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Desire in Marriage

As a man, I want to love her, but do I really know how to love her? Especially when times are difficult?

Before we get married, we are one separate being. We do things our own way and we desire the things in life that are pleasing and helping to ourselves. Before I said, 'I do', all I was use to saying was 'I want'. What I mean by this is that I did what I wanted. I didn't have to "do" too many things against my nature. When my wife and I were dating, the times together were free and very forgiving. We were able to look past the little quirks, the little things that actually annoyed us a lot. The only thing we wanted was to be together, but does anyone ever really know what their asking for when they take this step? Truth be told, God does and its all part of His plan. All these differences we find in our partner are actually things that will help us, as individuals, become a stronger and better person.

When we tied the knot, we said 'I do'. I DO promise to love you, I DO promise to take care of you, I DO promise to stay with you through the good and bad. I DO promise to desire you. The way we desired that person before is not going to be enough to make the marriage work and last. God has put the desire in us to find this special someone, but we ultimately don't know why. As we find out the different things about each other, we start to take a step back. What is that anger about? I never did things like that growing up! Who are you? The simple desires that brought us together have started to fade into the fog. We get caught up in the storms of life and we start to lose hope. In other words we lose our desire for that person.

The bottom line is we have to think about the desires that brought us together. We have to focus on the desires that keep us together now. And finally the desire to move forward together and get past the little issues. As John and Stasi Eldredge  write in their book 'Love & War'. "Because marriage is hard, the first great battle it to not lose heart. We must recover and maintain desire. Let desire return and remind you of all that you wanted, all that you were created for. "

How have you maintained desire in your marriage?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Understanding Desire

In previous posts, we discussed some of the false desires of the world. We talked about how we can discover desire and the pressure the world puts on our desires. Believe it or not, things like movies, shows, commercials, cars and more are all made to capture our desire. Advertisers understand the word and quietly build it into their branding.

If you have started to truly understand desire from God’s point of view. You will start to feel a shift in what you desire in the world. In a sense, the “desires” of this world will start to lose their luster. What you once thought was so amazing, has now been downgraded. For example; theme parks, certain hobbies, habits. Why is this? Because God is starting to reveal to you your true desires. (Psalm 37:4) You are now in a position with God that He is able to reveal your desires to you. You are trustworthy enough. As you make this shift, the desires of this world will no longer have a stronghold on you. I like to refer to bible verse for this which says ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh’, Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV). Because you have delighted yourself in the Lord, he has given you a new perspective. A new outlook on the way you see and do life. And it’s good!

As I started to understand desire and realize the true desires of my heart. The meaningless things of this world started to really become meaningless (Ecclesiastes 12:8). I still enjoy going to theme parks, racing and building things for people (I do carpentry for fun). But the thing that matters most now is the people I am there with; whether its building relationships with family, making friends that enjoy similar hobbies, or seeing someone smile from a finished product. Another desire that becomes stronger is your marriage. Culture says it’s fine to look at other women and it’s alright to “search the internet”. But the truth is we are to desire our wife more than any other woman. She deserves our attention and our love. My marriage has been fundamentally transformed by God. When we allowed Him in, He revealed our desire for each other. Since then our marriage hasn't been the same and we never want to go back to the old ways. It's just that good.  Finally, your desire is focused on what God would have you desire. You are no longer attached to what the enemy tries to make you desire, although he will still tempt you. Pray for God to reveal to you the desires He has for you. Pray that your desire would never stray again!

Have you experienced true desire? Have you been given a new heart and Spirit?