Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Manturity is Moving to Wordpress

First off, I just want to thank all of the people that have decided to follow the Manturity blog on Blogger for the last two years. I have enjoyed your company, your comments and your overall interest in the Blog.

For the last two years the Manturity Blog has been broken up into two websites, the Blogger site and the .com website. All of the material on the Manturity.com site would just be a link to my manturity.blogspot.com site. With the Blog continuing to grow, I felt I needed to change both sites over to one site. Here are some of the reasons I decided to make the switch.

-Easier for readers to navigate
-No more jumping from site to site
-Easier to track data and views
-Better overall SEO
-The power to make a more user friendly and better looking website

As a final choice for my new site, I decided to use Wordpress and build my site off the Studio Press/ Genesis Platform, using the Metro Theme as my child theme. This process took me months to make a final decision on and another couple months to build the site. I really think the new site came out looking great and would love for you to continue to follow and support.

Please feel free to visit the new site HERE and subscribe via email at the bottom of the Home Page.

Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns.

I look forward to connecting with you all in the future on the new Manturity.com.

Thank you and God Bless!

Bryan

Friday, August 2, 2013

Manturity Spiritual Maturity Quotes Vol. 3


What is spiritual maturity and what are some ways to find it in our everyday life? One of the best ways to learn or teach yourself about something is to break it down into quotes. Volume 3 of original Manturity quotes is all about the topic of spiritual maturity. Take a few minutes to review them all and share one of your own in the comments at the end!

"The man climbing the ranks of spiritual maturity is the man who has realized he can't do life on his own. He needs God."

"Spiritual maturity is first a lifestyle and last a destination." 


"The spiritually mature man has an obvious deep respect and solid relationship with his father, our King!" 


"Spiritual maturity can be recognized when the man you are on Sunday morning is the same man Saturday night."


"Growing in spiritual maturity is accomplished by continued growth in the Spirit of God!"


"Spiritual maturity is not a race or a marathon. It is a journey that will take us to our final and eternal destination."


"Spiritual maturity starts with the demolition of old habits and the construction of new ones."


"Spiritual maturity teaches a man to never justify his decisions based on other peoples actions, instead he should test all things before God."


"Struggles will always be a part a part of life and a good test of our spiritual maturity. It is in those times that we must earnestly seek and trust God, not blame Him."


"The spiritually immature man is inconsistent in what and why he believes. Maturity will establish the spirit of consistency, the desire to gain knowledge and a real relationship with Christ!"


Share your own quote in the comments or which one was your favorite. Share on your social media and check out Volume 1 and 2!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wake Up and LIVE!


This is a feature Guest Post by Bob Evenhouse. If you are interested in writing a guest post for the Manturity Blog, please visit the Manturity Contact page.

I am thirty, but I am much older. In fact, I am older than God per a quote by GK Chesterton that I will share in a moment. My life consists of much of the same day in and day out. I am married, have wonderful children, a stable job, a house that is not falling apart, lots of friends, and I just finished a novel. I am blessed but I find at times that spiritual progress is lacking. Life, if not lived, can grow stale, unexciting, and make me feel, well old. Wonder and joy have been sapped and replaced by the weighty fatigue that can accompany being a responsible adult. I need to renew and I know it. I need to pray and believe that God can wake me up, raise me from my drowsiness, and bring me life; a rich full life.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you experienced the weight of life, the desire for wonder and excitement again? It comes and goes for me. I believe, like many things, admitting this desire aloud and especially in prayer can bring about an inner revival that can change the course of your day, week, month, year, and life. But do you believe it? Do you believe that God can change you? That he can call you from the self imposed slumber and do something amazing for His Kingdom?

Let’ have a look at the nation of Israel. Please open the scriptures to the book of Malachi chapter 3 verse 10.

If you’ve read the Old Testament you know how much promise came with Israel. They were given everything and yet did not live to the potential God called them. Even the great kings like Solomon, the wisest man in the history of the world and David, the man after God’s own heart, did not listen to prophets and committed horrendous acts.

These horrendous acts may have been moments of passion. But my guess is they happened slowly. David was supposed to be at war with his men, not at home spying on women. For him, it started as any other day and ended with adultery and later the murder of the woman’s husband, an honorable man.

In Malachi chapter 3, Israel has turned away yet again, either through conscious decisions or lackadaisical faith. God asks them to be a giving people once more and says:

“Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it” (Malachi 3:10b, NIV translation). In this context God says do not worry about the food that you horde! Don’t keep it to yourselves because I will provide for you. In fact he says he will throw open the floodgates of Heaven to do so!

If you believe what the scriptures say of Heaven, stop and imagine that. Imagine cleaning up the area of your life that needs attention. Live life with purpose and obedience and He will pour open the floodgates of Heaven? If you believe this, pray it. Open your lips right now.

My response – “Really Lord? I’m in.”

Now does not mean God will let you win the lottery, find a spouse, stop you from sinning again and again, land that job, or make that sale? Maybe, but probably not. This is a call to wake up and live. To live every moment with purpose and obedience because this is what we have been asked. The Author of life has made life simple: to obey.

Now, obedience may seem plain, dull or boring, but consider this. Obedience might mean moving across the country or to another one. It might mean starting that ministry you’ve considered for some time or leaving your high paying job so that you can spend more time raising your kids. It might mean volunteering or speaking or simply having that conversation you have rehearsed a thousand times with that person you need to share your faith with.

If you find waking up hard and still struggle with the monotony of life, consider this quote by GK Chesterton who was a spiritual father to C.S. Lewis:

“…perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we are. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere reoccurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.” (Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 44-45).

So reader, where does this find you? Where are you today? Are you living every moment of the day as fully as you can? Have you struggled with obedience or the monotony of the every day? 

Kneel down. Stop what you are doing and pray. Pray for direction and stop to listen. It may not come right away, but God is speaking to you. God is seeking you. Listen to what He is saying and believe He will move you.

If you feel led or inspired please share below. Both stories of coming alive in Him or how you know you need to do so.

Thank you for reading and live well today.

God Bless.

 ______________________________

About the author:

Bob Evenhouse is a freelance writer in Grand Rapids MI. He is married to Cindy and has two beautiful daughters and a son due any day. You can follow him and read posts about writing at http://parttimenovel.wordpress.com. He is currently shopping a manuscript for a young adult novel.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Manturity Marriage Quotes Vol. 2



I love being married and God has blessed me with a beautiful wife. Through this union, I have now been blessed with strong son. So what do you like or enjoy about marriage? What are some ways your life has benefited from your marriage? Feel free to share some of your thoughts in the comments at the end. In the meantime, here are 10 original Manturity Quotes on the topic of marriage. Read them, share them and live them.

"Base your marriage of a God who designed it; rather than a world who corrupts it."

"The immature husband will convince himself that a life separated from his wife and kids will be more beneficial than his God given role to lead them." 

"The strong Christian husband stands apart from other men because he is leading his family with honesty and is also being led by God faithfully and daily."

"If your communication with your wife is struggling, better check your communication with God too."

"A man that decides to get married is a man that chooses, better yet VOWS, to be the protector, the provider and the spiritual leader."

"A strong, mature marriage will communicate in a way that is genuine, loving and Christ like."

"A common failure I see in married men is that they treat people they hardly know with more respect then they give their own wife. This is absolutely wrong, DO NOT be this man."

"You do not gain respect by demanding it from your wife; you gain respect by serving your wife."

"You can tell how much a husband loves his wife by the way he talks about her when she's not around."

"Whether a man be dating or married or neither, his first priority relationship must be of his and Christ."

"A husbands love for his wife should not be based on how much his wife loves him; rather he should love her diligently each day, love her through any situation or conflict and love her as Christ loves the Church."


Be sure to share your thoughts or your favorite. Also, check out Manturity Quotes Volume 1.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Every Man Sets His Own Standards


Are you in control of your choices each day or is somebody else?

Over the years I have ran into many men who quote something like the following, "I don't believe in Christianity because my father never believed" or "I don't believe in that kind of stuff because of what 'they' say." Who are 'they' and why are they saying these things, I ask? I tend to get frustrated when I hear these type of responses, because quite frankly, they are not responses they are excuses. This is a man who is not in control of his beliefs and he has allowed the influence of others who may have not known the truth to set the standard for his life.

How long will a man choose to live according to these lies or excuses before he decides to take matters into his own hands? 

How much longer till he matures and decides to search out the real truth himself?

Before the days of Manturity, I lived my life according to the standards of others. I chose to base my beliefs off of things I had simply heard and grew up learning. I used the excuses I mentioned above every time I was approached by someone who actually knew the truth and was essentially trying to help me. I found a strange comfort in this lie I was living when I was in the moment, but I also felt empty afterwards. I didn't know what to do until my life started to fall apart piece by piece.

I was quick to anger, I was quick to use sarcasm as a means of protection and I was quick to defend my "standards" even though I knew I had none at all. I was irritable in my marriage, I was unloving to my wife and went down a destructive personal path that almost destroyed my marriage. A good Christian friend of mine finally got a hold of me and challenged my standards. He could see though my false protection measures and told me to step up and find out the truth myself. It was time.

Even a man without standards should be smart enough to recognize a man that has standards and his life is living proof of it. As shallow as it sounds, this played a major role in choosing to stop living according to the standards of "them" or "they" and find out the truth for myself. Note that this should be an example for all of us men that the way we act and are seen by others can be enough to cause another man to change his life. This was over two years ago now and I am still learning, growing and striving to be the best man of God I can possibly be each and every day. Let's choose to let Jesus be our standard!

So who is setting the standards in your life?

Are you living to please others or are you living to please God?

SHARE some of your personal experiences in the comments below.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Manturity Original Quotes Vol. 1



If you have read my recent post "5 Daily Challenges for Men", you will know that one of my daily challenges is to write an original quote. I have found this process to be a very powerful way to keep myself thinking about positive things and on Christ. Since these quotes are mainly shared on my social media sites, I thought I would start publishing them in volumes of 10. Quotes from famous people are great, but they take no effort. Step it up men and challenge yourself by coming up with your own original quotes!


"Maturity is the ability to act and speak with self control"

"Men, true spiritual maturity is more than just the Sunday service head nod and the occasional men's breakfast. Instead it is striving daily to set HIS example, it is seeking communication with HIM daily and it is being thankful for HIS daily blessings."

"When building, the right tools can make all the difference. God has provided us with many tools like prayer and His Word. We must use these often!"

"Always remain a man that is teachable and willing to learn."

"For some men, the process of spiritual maturity begins when they realize their physical strength is not as important as their spiritual strength."

"You can't pick and choose which parts of Christ you'll accept; you have to be ALL in!"

"The immature actions of men are direct insights into their weaknesses. On the opposite hand, the mature actions of men show their strengths and adherence to discipline."

"No one ever said the journey would be easy and sometimes it may not seem worth it, but it is in those times that we MUST learn to lean and depend on the power of Jesus!"

"Spiritual maturity will teach a young man that the broken relationship with his earthly father can be healed by his heavenly Father."

"Spiritual maturity is not an overnight occurrence; it must be diligently sought after in your DAILY thoughts, actions and prayers."


I would love to hear your thoughts on these quotes. Be sure to get involved in the comments below and feel free to share these quotes on your own social media sites!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

How To Make Your Marriage Last



It has been my experience that Satan will do anything he can do to destroy the sanctity of marriage, which was created by God. Satan is there to seek and destroy what is meant to be beautiful. (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10) Marriage can feel like an inescapable trap for some… that is where I was about 4 years into my marriage… hopeless, helpless and miserable. I didn’t see any way out. I began to contemplate the ‘D’ word. It was at that time that I began to realize that marriage was not meant to be this way. Marriage, according to God, is meant to be a wonderful, comforting, loving thing. For those who have discovered the secret it is just that. Right now you are probably wondering what this big secret is. I’ll tell you, I promise… But you must promise to listen very carefully.

It is altogether simple and devastatingly difficultHere it is:


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

5 Ways Self Control Builds Maturity


Attaining and maintaining a high level of maturity may be one of the hardest things we ever experience in our lives. Two years ago, I had no idea what real maturity in life and in Christ meant, but with a name given to me from God like Manturity, I knew the truth would soon be revealed to me.

I've recently been re-reading through most of the New Testament. This time I'm heading through it, well, backwards; so much for self control. Don't ask me why I chose to do it this way, but regardless; I have been able to pull out some powerful information. As many of us know, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews lead the way with the teachings on the topic of maturity. There inspiration, of course, is the life and example of Jesus. They don't really use the actual word "mature" to often, but if you have a heart to hear the many teachings, then all of that seems to come out it is the idea of maturity in our Christian life. So without rambling too much, here are "5 Ways Self Control Builds Maturity" in a man. 


1) Our Enemy is ready, are you?

1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." I have used this verse in the past and will continue to use it because it is TRUE and it is POWERFUL. Peter is giving the elders and the young men instructions on how to live our lives. Peter quickly goes over the elders training and jumps right into the training of young men. The teaching of self control in this verse is relevant today, because it is very obvious that there is an enemy lurking and waiting to attack. The enemy loves to attack when you are most vulnerable; tired, angry, sick, emotional, frustrated, etc. The enemy knows where you are weak and will attack at the first signs of weakness. Stand Firm!

2) Learn how to tame your tongue!

Titus 2:6, "Similarly, Encourage the young men to be self controlled." Paul is giving Titus specific instructions on how to teach the various groups. When Paul speaks about the young men, the first thing he talks about is self control. His more direct teaching after this verse deals with speaking with integrity, showing seriousness and soundness in speech. Paul's reasoning for this good speech was so that anyone who heard Titus would leave him and not condemn him, they would have nothing bad to say about him. We must also pursue this type of sound speech as we learn and grow in our walk with Christ. This must be when we are at work, with friends, with our family and to our wives! Speak Firmly!

3) Wake up! It's time to fight!

1 Thessalonians 5:8, "Let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet." Do you know why the breastplate was so important? The breastplate was worn to protect a soldier's vital organs and without it he was as good as dead! The same can be said for us, unless we are wearing our breastplate of righteousness, we leave ourselves open for attack and fatal injury. Guard your heart! The helmet also plays a major role in keeping a soldier safe and does the same for us by keeping the enemy out of our head. A well built helmet of salvation must be worn to keep out the evil thoughts and the false feelings of this world! Wear your armor daily!

4) Learn to live with maturity!

2 Peter 1:5-7, "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." Paul gives a wonderful example of godly living in these verses. Self control falls right in the middle of all of these qualities. I can agree that there is a learning curve that comes before understanding self control and there are apparently many things to come after self control. Paul goes on to teach us that if we can live according to these things, we will be effective and produce great works for Christ. Make every effort and be eager gentlemen!

5) Be self controlled, no matter what!

Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." This was the only verse I chose without the actual words "self controlled", but I thought it brought the entire post home. Paul is writing to the people of Philippi while still in chains. His hope was that whether he was able to see them again or not, they would stand firm in their walk with Christ. This verse does not leave any room for excuses. In all things and in all situations gentlemen, we are to present an attitude and manner worthy of Christ. I think we all need to pray for strength on this one. It starts with prayer and consistency!


We must learn to be men, who not only talk with maturity,
but learn to walk with maturity.

Share how God has taught or shown you maturity in your life in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Reasons to Write Your Wife a Love Letter


Men, I have been writing my wife a weekly love letter for more than a year. That’s not a sentence I would have ever expected to write about myself. I am not a man of outward sentimentality, and I very rarely make my emotions known. Most people would call me calm and hard to read.

But, men, what I learned is this: as good as it can be for me to remain solid and calm in the storms of life, my wife needs something more. My wife needs to be loved, and she wants to be romanced. I learned after a year of marriage that it wasn’t enough to just show up, and I couldn’t stop with just providing a paycheck. I needed to do more to show my wife how much I love her.

And I don’t think I am alone. I bet that your wives also want to be loved and hear from your heart. They want to know just how deeply you love them.

I am not going to push you all to start writing a weekly blog to your wife. Instead, I want to encourage you to start small. All I want you to do is this: I want you to write a short, handwritten letter to your wife today, right now. Think of one thing about her or one thing she does that makes you thankful to have married her. Write it down and give her that note. Let her know you love and appreciate her.

In case you aren’t already convinced about writing that love note, let me offer you
Five Reasons why you should be writing love notes to your wife.


1) You will fan the flames of love in your marriage.

Gary Chapman famously explained the concept of LoveLanguages, and the first language he describes in book is Words of Affirmation. For many women, they feel most loved when they are spoken to kindly, when they are praised, and when they are otherwise wooed with your words. Your wife will know she is loved when she reads that short note from you.

Go ahead and write a short love note now. Just put down two sentences about one thing you like about your wife. Now leave the note on your wife’s bedside table. Just trust me on this one.

2) The smartest man in the world gave his wife love notes.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strength in a Husband's Love


Love is a sign of weakness and also a sign of vulnerability. According to whom you might ask? My answer would be culture and the world's views. How can you show your strength in your marriage by simply loving? How can you effectively lead your wife if you are perceived as weak and powerless? I get it men because I was there and I lived in my marriage according to this mindset and all it did was fail. In fact, I almost failed it twice.

Do you recall when you first felt love for your wife? The moment may have come after your first kiss or maybe after realizing you couldn't live without her for another day. The words came out of your mouth, I Love You, and something like a fire was born inside of you. A desire and passion was now alive in your heart and all you wanted was more of this love. But as time passed, the passion may have faded or the feeling of being weak in this love arose inside of you. Why? I finally realized that my personal problem was my sources and, quite frankly, you could also have the same source problem.

Since the culture and this world couldn't give me that answers I needed, I decided that I must look for answers in other places. My new source became a source I had known for my entire life, but I had never given him an honest chance. The name of this source is Jesus.

Men, please don't click off this page or doubt my words, you must remember at this point that all other options have been exhausted as they were for me, that maybe you are not happy in your marriage or you just want to make your marriage stronger.


Where is your Bible? Find it and start with the Book of Ephesians. Ephesians 5:25 states, "husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it". Ephesians 5:28 states, "so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife, loves himself". Jesus Christ showed us the ultimate example of love when he sacrificed his own body for us. He was willing to put aside his pride, to set aside his doubt and fear, and allow God to do as needed with him. Are you willing to do this in your marriage?

How often do we put our pride in the way of our marriage or our love for our wives? How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to show her the love she needs? How many times have we embarrassed our wives in order to make us or our friends look good? How can we continue to do this men? We must rely on the proper source.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 4-7)

Men, I pray that whatever stage your marriage is in or is headed that you keep the emotion of Love alive! Love almost always requires us to do things that are out of our "normal" nature, but in the end we will come away stronger and a better man and husband. You may not believe me now, but if you're man enough to give Christ a chance, I know you will not regret it. Do not wait another day to love your wife differently, to engage her faithfully and to seek God daily for guidance and direction. You can do it.


As I am a young man on the topic of love, please feel free to share your thoughts or actual events that have confirmed the strength of love in your marriage!

Monday, June 17, 2013

10 Things I Have Learned from Fatherhood


As a new father of only 5 months, I have already come to learn the value and necessity of having a son in my life. Before he was born I thought that I had life all figured out. I was told by some of my close friends that life would change, but not having gone though it yet, I thought they were just trying to scare me. I was wrong.

At first it appeared life had changed for the worse; walking up in the middle of the night over and over again, a crying baby that I had no idea how to help and a sometimes frustrated wife that didn't want my help. I thought to myself, "What did I get myself into?". As time passed, my wife and I continued to work together and we were soon lean, mean, baby problem solving machines. Well, maybe not quite that...

In the aftermath of my wonderful first Father's Day, I came up with my top 10 things I have learned from Fatherhood, or top 10 things I have improved on in my life. Word it however you like.

1) Love My parents taught me about love, my wife showed me how to love, but my son has taught me about the strong bond of love. When it took months for me to realize I loved my wife, it took "first sight" to love my son. My love continues to grow for him each day and I pray daily that God would help me maintain that love for him and my wife. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

2) Value of Time  I can't count the times people have asked if the baby was sleeping well or if we've slept at all in the last week. I also wonder what my wife and I did with our time before we had our little guy. From late nights, to early mornings, to staying at home a lot more, I have learned that my time is passing and I want to spend it loving my wife and son to the best of my ability. It's a daily prayer to make sure I am not overly distracted.

3) Necessity of Patience  I really like to think that I was a patient man before our little guy, but after about a month of frustrating occurrences and small battles with my wife, I had to dig real deep and pray for more patience. God is always good and has helped me to become a more patient man. And don't think this is just at home, this patience shines in all that I do now. (Galatians 5:22-23)

4) Great Communication with my Wife  My wife and I were fortunate to be blessed with over 5 years of marriage before our son arrived. Through many ups and downs we were able to establish a strong sense of communication with each other. We discussed many times before our son was born that we were going to have to take this to the next level and we have. My wife is a wonderful mother to our son and we pray daily that God would help us be the very best parents we can be for our son.
(Ephesians 5:22-25)

5) Strong Protector  Being the protector of my family already fell into my role when I became married to my beautiful wife, but with a son, it has become an even stronger trait that I try to possess. From making sure he stays safe and comfortable at home, to making sure he is properly fed and spending quality time with him when I am home. I want my wife and him to know that they are in safe hands and that I will do everything to protect them. I pray daily, especially when I leave them alone, that God would protect our family. (Philippians 4:13)

6) Selflessness  Everyone one of us can admit that we were selfish and self indulged before a child came into our life. The weekends revolved around the wife and I, the dogs were no trouble when thrown in the kennel and we did what we pleased with our time. These days our schedule revolves around our little guy, and because of our deep love for him, this is not a problem and we are glad to it. This might be one that I need to pray about more. (James 4:6)

7) I am Blessed  Knowing that I have a great wife and a happy son, I am fully aware that I am blessed. As I seek prayer in each of the areas listed in this top 10, I make sure that I let God know how thankful I am for what he has blessed me with in my life. I have to stay aware that all of this could change at any moment and that I must continue to seek and rely on my God.

8) Teamwork (wife, family, friends)  As the time approached to have our baby, we knew we were going to need the support of friends and family. God has blessed us with some amazing people from our Church in our life and they were more than willing to help us out. I suppose through this, I learned to put a bigger value on their friendship and do a better job at making myself available and honor the relationship more consistently.

9) Fatherly Maturity  The story of Manturity continues to progress as I add the role of fatherhood to my life resume. The last few years have taught me the value and strength of having God in my life and maintaining a strong and healthy marriage, but fatherhood makes me want to know more about maturity. I firmly believe every man must mature and the path is very similar for all men. I pray that I can be the mature father my son needs me to be. (Proverbs 22:6)

10) God's Love  Our Church recently ran a series about God's love and I think it came at the perfect time in my life. As I could feel that I loved my wife and son more, I still wanted to know more about God's love and what it meant in my life. The verse at the end says that God is love and we must love as well if we are to know God. I can't say everything about this verse now, but knowing that God commands us to love makes me want to be a better man, greater husband and stronger father! (1 John 4:8)

Gents, I have only been at this for 5 months!

I would love to hear what fatherhood has taught you over your years. Share in the comments below!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Men Need Accountability



I have come to learn that accountability among men is a two way street. On the one side, we need to have accountability as individuals or for ourselves and on the other side we need to be an accountability partner to other men. Although these roles are very different, they are both very much needed in our lives.

When we break it down, accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. When carefully read, we can see that accountability is something that you are willing to do or you feel obligated to do. After a couple years of having accountability partners in my life, I can honestly say it is much easier to be willing to do this then to feel obligated. Obligation will always make you hold back some of your stronger feelings and your time will be wasted in the end. Men must become willing to be held accountable and accept full responsibility for their actions. 


Why is it important to be held accountable?

From my own experience, I have found accountability in my life to be a blessing rather then a curse. When you are able to open up and be honest with another man of God, you will learn that he understands you or has gone through similar problems in his life. God teaches us an effective lesson in the book of 1 Peter that says, "Resist Him (the enemy), standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." -1 Peter 5:9 

This verse always gives me hope, but also makes me want to work harder in my walk with Christ. It allows me to remove signs of selfishness and, again, be more open to sharing my heart, fears and struggles with other men.

Why is it important to hold other men accountable?


Shortly after I found a man to hold me accountable, God showed me a struggling young man in my life that also needed accountability through me. At the time I didn't understand why God was doing this, but I have now learned and come to understand the value it had and still has in my life. It is clear in our culture that men are dying, spiritually, and a lot of it has to do with the pressures of this world. Most men are not willing to talk or share their feelings and that is why we must have a heart to pursue these men. We must learn to love them the way Christ showed love to his disciples. When reading through Hebrews we get a good idea of what holding other men accountable should look like; "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - all the more as you can see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25

Be strong. Be responsible. Be accountable.

So do you think men need accountability in their lives? 


Why or why not?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 Daily Challenges for Men


I know what you're thinking, but it's not what you think. Most of us already feel like we have enough on our daily plate so why would we want to be challenged even more? The answer is simple, among all of the chaos of work and family during each day, we must find a way to be challenged in our walk with Christ. Although Sunday service is a great experience and necessary in our Christian walk, we must pursue our walk with Christ the rest of the days of the week.

I have come to believe that this process of being challenged in Christ has to become a desire. It has to become something you almost crave each day, and if you miss any challenges, you feel like you have suffered a loss and not done your proper duties. If it is made a desire in your life, you WILL find the time.

Here are five of my personal challenges that I make myself face each day. Do I have to do these? No, but I do them because I want to be respected among my peers, disciplined in my walk with Christ and because I do not want to allow work and chaos to control my life.


1) Discussion With God. This process can also be called prayer but I like to refer to it as discussion. This could be turning off the radio show on the way to work and talking to him, it could be after a frustrating talk with a co-worker or anytime you have a moment. This time does not have to be fancy, but it must be pursued and must be intentional.

2) Personal Quote. This has become one of my favorite things to do throughout the day. For any of you who follow the Manturity Facebook or Twitter, you will see many of my personal quotes. These are simply born out of situations throughout the day, after discussions with God on subjects or whatever is on my heart. Keep a journal of your thoughts and quotes or post them on your social media as well. This simple, but effective process will make you think on a deeper level and test your knowledge.

3) Attitude of Love and Respect. The first two challenges can happen at any time, but this one really requires a man to take things to the next level. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in hurtful conversations, don't encourage wrong doings and don't allow the negative influences around you bring you down. Your center, your core should be built on Christ and your daily attitude should reflect it whether you are at work or home.

4) Uplift Someone. An unselfish man of God should be able to recognize when someone is in need. Take those opportunities to show the love of Christ and give them some words of encouragement. Maybe you work with someone who does a great job day in and day out? Make it a point to thank them for there diligence and service. You might be surprised what will happen after you take that initiative.

5) Take A Quiet Break. It's not hard to believe that in this busy world one of the hardest things for a man to do is to just take a break. The best ways I have found to do this is to take a walk by myself at lunch, find a bench at lunch and relax or find some alone time when you get home. Even if it's a half an hour or fifteen minutes, this time can be very fruitful to a busy man. Think about Jesus and all the times he would disappear from the disciples or the crowds and just pray. This was no mistake and we should follow his example. Forget about work and the daily struggles and just relax.


This is by no means a complete list. Share some ways or some things that you like to challenge yourself with everyday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Every Man's Problem with Prayer


We’ve all heard it before: pray more, pray better, and pray continually. What does it mean to pray? Should prayers be verbalized? Does it matter? What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? With all the demands of a 21st century man of God, how do you even start the monumental task of attempting to pray continually?

Certainly there are times throughout scripture where prayers are aloud and in front of a multitude of people: Solomon in 1 Kings 8 (2 Chronicles 6), the priests and Levites in 2 Chronicles 30, Job in front of his three friends, Isaiah’s allusion to aloud prayer in Isaiah 26:16, the apostles together in Acts 4:24, and Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17. According to my research, it is inconclusive as to the expression of prayer through vocal cords for any other prayer in the Bible. Even though it’s written down in verbatim form, surely the Spirit of God that inspired our scriptures knows what each and every prayer said regardless of verbalization.

There are also other times when aloud prayers are discouraged because they can draw undue attention to the prayer issuer rather than the message or intent of the prayer. Such instances Jesus addressed in Matthew 6:5 (Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47) while he was denouncing the teachers of the law who basically were praying just to satisfy the need of themselves or their constituents to hear a prayer. Apparently, the apostles were so confused as to the method of prayer that they directly asked Jesus to teach them how to pray in Luke 11. Even the most pious of the fathers of our Church were clueless when confronted with the example of Jesus contrasted with their societal knowledge of prayer.

There are certainly examples where individuals make known their private prayers to the many for the encouragement of the many: Paul repeatedly informed the churches and various individuals of his personal prayers in every one of his epistles. Surely praying together with the same intent helps in times where we need someone to agree with us in prayer (Matthew 18:19) and for the mutual bearing of burdens with your Christian brothers. As men, we don’t like letting other men in to our personal problems or desires - but there’s nothing wrong with it; in fact, it is right and true and good. And then we’re confronted with the command to pray continually in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. By definition, we physically cannot continually pray aloud since God created us with the need to sleep, eat, and socialize. Therefore, there has to be an underlying coordination with the Spirit of God who prays for you and issues prayers, while coordinating with your soul, when even your mind may not be aware (Romans 8:26).

Praying, by definition, is a communication with your creator - the one who knows you on the level of intent and desires. He knows you past all the external walls we put up as men. He knows what we are really praying for, regardless of any words we may actually be saying, at all times. His Spirit is inside us constantly searching us, discovering our hearts’ desire, and detecting how we respond to various crises of ourselves, loved ones or community.

Jesus repeatedly went off in the wilderness or somewhere else by himself to pray and commune with his Father. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when he was raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11:41, one of the few times he prayed aloud in the Bible, that he directly told his apostles and disciples that he was praying only so they could hear him. Jesus also indicated that praying by yourself while behind closed doors is acceptable and encouraged in Matthew 6:6. Jesus was leading by example when he went off alone for prayers and fellowship and he actually taught that praying and fellowshipping alone with the Father is pleasing to the Father.

Since Jesus was the firstborn of many brothers (Romans 8:29/Colossians 1:18), we should expectantly follow his example and instruction in order to become the men of prayer that God expects of us. After Jesus, and after we accept him as Lord, the Spirit of God makes his home in us and he continually ushers us into Truth and Goodness.

As we increase and grow regarding maturity in the Lord and spiritual maturity, we are gifted with an exponential increase in ability to engage in successful praying. As we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus, the intents and desires of our hearts are molded to the intents and desires of the will of God. As the Spirit of God groans and intercedes for us when our intents and desires are congruent with the will of God, we issue effective prayers - whether or not we are actually verbalizing them through the linguistic approximations of our minds.

In conclusion, I believe that every man has two choices: to want to be like God or to want to live life your own way. One way leads to becoming mature in the Spirit where you can effectively pray continually and the other leads to becoming further from the character of Jesus where your prayers are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 28:9). Therefore, whichever path you choose, even on a daily basis, depends on whether or not you can effectively pray - let alone pray continually.

_________________________


Men, each day you must make a choice that today you want to be a little more like God, that you trust him to mold you into the image of Jesus, and that you allow him to highlight times/people/places where you need to be. If our intents and desires are truly congruent with being like God, becoming perfect even as he is perfect, then our hearts will immediately commune with the Spirit of God to call forth a pleasing spiritual prayer to the Father. When the Spirit of God groans and prays with you, assuredly you should know that you’re partnering with God and that it pleases him.

Then and only then may we rest assured of the promises of Jesus in Matthew 21:22 and Mark 11:24, where we are promised that whatever we shall receive the desires of our hearts. Practically, this means that a little more God comes into our lives or circumstances and results in a little less suffering and pain.

Each day, every morning, make a conscious decision to trust God, to be like him, and to want to become more like Jesus. If you do that, your desires will increasingly be in accordance with the Father’s will, your prayers will increasingly become more effective, and you will see the power of God in your life. Are you ready to become an effective man of prayer?


____________________________________________
This is a Guest Post by a great friend of mine, Ryan E.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Ways A Man Builds Discipline


Discipline is training to act in accordance with a certain set of rules. Young men either know or find out that it takes a certain amount of discipline to finish High School or graduate College. Older men also either know or learn the hard way that a strong sense of discipline is a requirement in order to be successful in the workplace. And finally a man that is in the position of also being a husband must learn quickly that discipline is needed to maintain a strong marriage and to raise children up effectively.

In all honesty, discipline is a trait that every man must come to grips with at some point in his life.

So if discipline is needed so much in our culture, why is it not taught more to young men coming up through the ranks? Why does this culture have such a hard time raising effective and mature leaders? Why are men struggling in marriages and not growing up? The answer lies in the source. Who or what is your source? Who are you allowing yourself to be mentored by or be disciplined by?  As I was reading through the Book of Hebrews I found a solid section of verses in chapter 12 that shows clearly how God raises up men of discipline.

Here are 5 Ways A Man Builds Discipline.
Hebrews 12:1-13

1) Earthly Father
Hebrews 12:10 "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." When speaking about training and discipline, I have to revert back to my earthly father. This was when I first experienced what discipline was and how it impacted my life. I understand that some men may not have had this opportunity to experience an earthly father, but maybe you had a mentor or close friend that helped you learn along the way. Either way, God first teaches us discipline by our earthly father but then goes to say that God will discipline us for good or after we leave our earthly father. Once we leave the nest, we must continue to seek God and allow Him to discipline and influence us.

2) Submission

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What is Reality?


What is real? What is reality? When did it start and why? 
Are there different levels of reality?

I think about concepts like this all the time. I believe that everyone who has any understanding of the philosophy behind these concepts has already arrived at what they believe to be a concrete ideal of reality. Consider the differences between the religious, atheistic, and the various new age concepts: each is so different than the others and the consequences to our earthly lives are tremendous.


The atheist believes in nothing that they can't physically measure or scientifically experience. Therefore, their reality is merely material. The last analysis of atheism is that whatever is deemed acceptable by the individual or societal mores is permissible and encouraged if it is logically necessary. As such, abortion, eugenics, and strength ought to be encouraged and celebrated to increase the potency of human materialism. You're out of luck if you're not smart, strong and beautiful by human standards... Either relegated to subjugation or mercilessly dismissed of human value.

The last analysis of the new age is that, as a collective, we are god. Our collective consciousness creates reality and changes the material by first creating the pattern of the spiritual. As such, they must rely on their cumulative wisdom in order to create reality. Considering that the addition of imperfect wisdom cannot create infinite, perfect wisdom, their best reality will always fall short of an ideal reality. They cannot hope for an end of suffering, imperfection and fear.

The last analysis of the religionist contains a perfect reality. We recognize that the material is a shadow of the spiritual and that the temporal is nothing compared to the infinite. This material reality is upheld and manifested by an infinite being who is independent of time and matter; this being is absolute and perfect and never changes. This being owns and creates every level of potential reality, the things seen and unseen, the experiential and unfathomable, the beginnings and the ends.

So why is there a material reality? Can anyone know?

I believe the material reality was/is only manifested to allow the infinite being to ever experience anything without knowing the outcome beforehand. By giving us, as material creatures, a free will and by then giving us a portion of his perfect potential (in the form of his indwelling spirit) he can remove himself from timelessness and absolute reality and experience a reality of imperfection through an imperfect being.

So what would that mean to us?

I think it means:  He knows and understand us. He had given us all the tools to fulfill his call to be perfect. He has given us a peace knowing that our perception of reality doesn't have to create destiny for ourselves or our brethren. He has joy when we chose the leading's of his spirit rather than a logical analysis of or material perception. He allows us to experience, in a minute manner, the true spiritual reality in the midst of our current shadow reality.

Even better is that the fullness of this infinite being was made human in Jesus. He both showed us the nature of the infinite's character and revealed the way a human who truly decides to follow God lives. He experienced every human temptation but was still without sin or iniquity.

Jesus was the firstborn of the new man. He reiterated that we partner with God for the benefit of all creation. We call down, and pray for, the true reality to be manifested in this shadow reality when we say "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Rest easy today. There is so much more that you can't know or see. It's all exciting and refreshing to know that our God is unfailingly loving, truly faithful, and the provider of every necessary tool to become the men he wants us to be.


______________________________________________________________
This is a Guest Post by a great friend of mine, Ryan E.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Road to Redemption


Standing there at the pew Sunday morning,
My hands firmly grasping the seat in front of me.
The Pastor calls an alter call;
I knew he was speaking to me.
I knew God was calling me.


My mind was angry from my recent sins.
My recent self inflicted complacency.
Images arose in me of lust,
Extreme judgments and selfishness.
I knew this call was required.
I knew this was what my heart needed.
I needed to seek forgiveness,
To be redeemed.


Minutes pass and my grip increases.
I must go up front, I must.
With my knuckles looking white;
I finally released my grip and took the first step.
Down the row and into the aisle,
My steps felt long and heavy.
My mind said everyone was staring at me.
A lie said everyone was judging me.
This was my own reflection;
My very own guilt.


At the front and at the alter,
At my greatest moment,
My knees began to shake.
They bent as I fell to the ground.
My back felt heavy,
It, as well, went down to the ground.
All the mistakes and all the pain;
I find myself here.
Now what?


Tears.
Brokenness.
Redemption.
I began to seek God,
To ask for His forgiveness.
Ask for his hand of direction.
I felt hands being placed on me;
I felt the prayers of others.
As I continued to pray,
People understood.
People cared.
God forgave.
I AM REDEEMED!
Are you?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

3 Maturity Lessons for Young Men


"Think Different". This was a wonderful slogan used by my wife's favorite technology maker, Apple. The great thing about this phrase is how relevant it is in our culture today. "Think Different" is exactly what the young men of this culture need to do and MUST do starting NOW. What are you waiting for? How about some guidelines?

As Christian men we must think different and I found the Apostle Peter to be a good example for us. No he did not have the technology we have today or the influence that comes along with all of it, but he did face many hardships and persecutions that we can relate to such as pride, lust, drinking and more.  

Towards the end of 1 Peter, we get a solid glimpse of what it means to be a mature young man and how we are suppose to carry ourselves. Follow along as we break down 1 Peter 5: 5-10.


BE SUBMISSIVE
Verse 5: "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you clothe yourselves in humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the Proud but gives grace to the Humble.'" Peter is specifically targeting the young men in this section and his first verse deals with submissiveness. Would you agree that young men think they are on top of the world? That they can conquer anything and that they know everything? I can agree that this is not every man, but this is certainly a large percentage of them. Peter directs us young men to stay submissive because God opposes the proud. In other words, cut out the pride and willingly submit to those above you.

A few other words associated with submissive would be patient, respectful, servant and compliant. As young men we are going to have to earn our stripes. We are going to have to keep our mouth shut when we don't want to and we are going to have to learn things by experience.

Pray that God would show and teach you how to be submissive to those in authority above you.


BE HUMBLE
Verses 6 & 7: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." It appears that out of the three, humility is at the top of the list. Peter builds up this word three times over the span of these few verses. Peter is saying to stay humble under the protection and guidance of God and that after awhile and when you are ready, he will lift you up and make you a strong disciple. We must humble ourselves first and be open to his teaching before we can be released to do his work. 

Being humble also means we are not being proud or arrogant. We do not allow ourselves to be put on a pedestal of any type. We have an understanding that we are lower in rank or "second" to Christ and we, again, are courteous and respectful to those around us at all times. 

Pray daily that God would teach and show you how to maintain humility in your life.


BE SELF-CONTROLLED & ALERT
Verse: 8 & 9: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around you like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." So we are to be submissive, humble and self controlled? Who teaches this kind of stuff anymore? I think we can all agree that no one is really teaching this to young men these days, but it is EXACTLY what they need to hear and it is EXACTLY how they need to act. Peter paints a wonderful picture of what the enemy is doing around us and how the enemy is just waiting. Waiting for us to make a mistake and give into sin. We must pull together as Peter says at the end of the verse and work together to defeat this enemy. Stay in contact with your friends in Christ, stay accountable and stay in prayer as we are all going through troubles. 

Pray that God would help you stay self-controlled and alert everyday! Pray for open eyes and an open heart!


And finally in verse 10, Peter says after we have had to suffer through the lessons mentioned above, God will restore us, make us strong and steadfast. It is our reward for being young men that truly "think different".


Stand Up and Think Different this week!

What other lessons can you add to this list?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

10 Ways to Handle Social Media in Your Marriage



1) Never Get Defensive
If you need to defend, your probably in the wrong. Don't defend a virtual friend you never see over your spouse!

2) Unfriend Old Girl/Boyfriends 
Sure they might be your "EX", but you now have access to their every move. Do you really need to know what they are up to? Do you really need to see pictures of them in bikini's men? Don't ask your spouse if "it's cool" if you can be friends with them either.


3) Relationship Status
If your married, you better have it marked that your married. Another cool way to make it known is in your pictures that you post and you can write something good about your spouse or marriage once and awhile. This should help keep the "lookers" away.


4) Be cool with a page review
If your spouse has feelings of distrust and wants to look through your social media, let it happen. Don't lose or break the trust in your marriage over something as meaningless as your status updates.


5) Don't do it at all
I know a lot of couples that don't use social media at all and they have great marriages. Of course, we wont say anything about their overall tech knowledge, but again, this is your marriage and it should be very important to you! Talk it over with your spouse and find out if this would be the best thing to do.


6) Share Happy Photos
Have a great photo of the two of you? Put it up on your wall or keep it as your cover. Have a picture of your child or children? Throw that up on you wall every now and then. You should want to put out a positive message to the people that see you and follow you.


7) No Messaging with the opposite sex
Early in my marriage, I started catching up with some women I knew from years ago. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time until my wife started asking what I was doing. It was a big deal to her and it should be a big deal to you! Again, don't unnecessarily put yourself in bad situations. Keep the private messages for your spouse.


8) Combine Your Pages
I can't say I have done this personally with my spouse, but this might be a great way to stay connected with friends and family and not have to worry about who or what your doing. This would also send a positive message about your marriage!


9) Don't share issues!
What do I mean? Don't share issues that you are having in your marriage on your social media and then let your spouse find out. Marriage is all about great communication skills and with our growing culture of texting and updates, we are losing the one on one deep talks. Go to your spouse FIRST and work out whatever issues you are having. Don't seek your buddies advice that you haven't seen in 10 years...


10) Share Funny things with each other
I love to send my wife a funny pic, interesting message or new story on her wall. Not only does this show everyone that the two of you have great connecting skills, but it shows others that your marriage is strong and happy!



And that was only 10 ways! 

Share some ways you and your 
spouse handle the social media world.


Monday, May 6, 2013

A Letter To A Young Man


Dear Young Man,

I've seen you in Church a few times and thought you looked like someone new. I've also seen you at the entrance to the Church, making your way through the crowd and heading to your safe seat location or the other times I would see you throwing out some handshakes to a few men. All of those times you have been alone. With never taking the chance to speak to you, I felt compelled or almost called from the Lord to write you a letter. Trust me when I say this is not my normal pattern, but I've learned to listen when God speaks.

From my occasional glances around the Church crowd, I could tell that you were a man interested in what the preacher was speaking about each day. Clearly much younger than me, I can't help but think of myself when I was younger. To be honest, I probably would not have come to Church and I know I would not have looked as interested. If I was there, I was only there in the physical as my heart was never really in the whole Church thing.

OK, before I lose you and you start wondering why some dude has been watching you, I wanted to challenge you with a few things. I have been through those late teens and early twenties and can remember my cold and hard mind set. I tried to come across strong and confident, but could be broken easily. I was able to fight through many battles to get to where I am today, so hear me out.

My Question: Why do you come come to Church?
In my younger days I mainly went to Church because I simply had to. My earlier years consisted of my parents making me go, my times after that were related to my girlfriend going and the other times I would go out of guilt or a bad conscience. More recently after my marriage, I would go out of duty to my wife. Rarely did I ever go on my own, and those are times and years that I dearly regret. So I ask again, why do you go?

After years of knowing about Christ, the Church and his teachings; it took a thorough beating to get me to truly believe. It took years of struggle to finally believe in the old Bible stories, the amazing people and of course the life of Jesus Christ. I suppose my path in life let me get to this point, but I can't help wonder if things would have been better or different if I would have received a letter like this or if a man of maturity and respect would have grabbed me and shared his life story with me. I like to think I would have listened to him,  but I was very capable of putting on the "good show" without truly living the right life. Confidence is good, but life experience is hard to beat or deny. Again, why do you go?

My Opinion: Why go?
We are all traveling on a path; some paths are easier and some are harder. My suggestion is to stop wondering if Christ is there for you and ACCEPT that he is real and he is there for you. Church is a place of worship, of prayer, of relationship and so much more. Don't just go because you have to or feel guilty. Go because you want to learn! Go because you want to grow spiritually! Say a prayer while you're there for God to speak to you in amazing ways. Take the initiative now and get involved with other wonderful people from the Church. Meet someone new each time you are there.

You'll meet people that are kind and loving.
You'll meet brothers that are going through similar issues.
You could meet the woman of your dreams.
You could meet a best friend.
You could meet Christ and live a fulfilling life, for the rest of your life.

My friend, I pray that this letter meets you with a good heart. All of us together make a family and make the Church. For this reason, I hope to call you my brother some day. What you do with the letter from here is up to you. There is no pressure. Write me back, say hello or just keep living. Keep living for Him!

It will be worth it. I promise.
Your Brother in Christ...
__________________________________________________

Do you know a man that might need a letter like this?
Have you ever taken the initiative 
with a brother you had not met before?
Share your thoughts or experience in the comments!