Monday, February 27, 2012

MM: Complete the Work

I’m sure about this: the one who has started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of 
Jesus Christ.
>>Philippians 1:6<<

How refreshing is it to hear that God completes his work in us? For me, personally, this is a powerful verse to end the Maintenance Man Series. I have had to build a few buildings in my time of construction. Some buildings that are only a few stories high and some that are much higher. Starting out the projects is usually not too bad, there are definitely some issues along the way of the building process, but the end is always the hardest. All you want to do is get away from the project and finish it, but problems just keep coming and coming. In the construction world, we call this a punch list. This includes a list of all the items that still remain to be completed. It is the hardest and most painful part of the project, but it is absolutely essential and eventually very rewarding. I believe this is the same idea in our Christian walk. We will have to jump some hurdles along the way, but we have to remain faithful that God will help us finish the punch list, the race.

Have you ever felt the power of God working in you? Have you ever been sent on a mission from God? Have you ever been assigned a task or a job from God?

For most Christians, I think the answer to the above questions would be yes. Shortly after my wife and I dedicated our marriage to Christ, we could feel the push to go to work for him. We were asked to lead a small group at Church that would be directed to young married couples. We had never done this before, but it absolutely felt like the right thing to do. God had called us to a place we had never been before, a place we never imagined we would journey to. It was uncharted territory for us, but we followed God’s lead and ended up leading the class for two semesters!

We prayed, God directed, we performed and God finished.

I have also seen God place particular men in my life to assist and walk with. These men could be family, friends or someone from work. We honestly don’t know who God will send our way or when He will send someone our way, but we have to be ready. We have to stay in close relationship with Him and watch out for these specific ‘job placements’. An important thing to remember when God places these jobs in our life is that God is in control of the timing. He is the one who calls the shots; we just have to remember that He is faithful to complete the work. God is Faithful!

The Maintenance Man Series has been a great way to explore the work of Jesus Christ in my life and in other people’s lives. I hope you have been challenged in some ways and learned some helpful tips in other ways. I pray that all men can become a Maintenance Man for Christ in one way or another. Stay consistent. Stay challenged. Stay alert. And stay motivated in your walk with Christ!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

MM: The Way of Quality

I had no intention of making the ideas of Quality, a blog post with two parts, but I guess God had other plans. This part of our Christian walk is so important and is also such a challenge. I am always looking for new ways to get closer and take my relationship with Christ further. Of course, the enemy knows this about myself and increases his fight against my quality walk everyday. Well this is a battle he is not going to win and here are some of the ways I have found helpful in keeping a quality walk with Christ.

Just like the example I talked about in the first post about quality, I believe the more experience you have in your walk with Christ the more you will love Him. Again, this could be the opposite effect and experience can take you down a path of decaying desire and loss of interest. But God never stops working, even if we stop. Over the course of my walk with Christ, He has continued to show me Himself in many situations and events. He has shown me His power and love in my marriage, my friendships, my family and just people in general. In my opinion, the more you experience Christ and his work in your life, the more you will pursue Him and you walk will maintain a higher level of quality.

Believe it or not, before Christ got a hold of my life I was not one to read or write. I had no desire to read a book or write for that matter. But over the course of the last year, the processes of reading and writing have become one of my most powerful tools in having a higher quality Christian walk. You would never see me taking notes in Church; you would never see me caught with a book in my hands. I think I can honestly say though that this is the new norm for me. As though it is some kind of weakness to be caught dead with a book or known for writing. These men have a completely wrong idea of true weakness and strength. I have learned so much and have a powerful back log of keeping a journal from the Sunday sermons. I keep a section in the back of my journal specifically for Manturity blog ideas. I use these tools of reading and writing to learn more, to understand more and to have a the highest quality of understanding possible. These things have worked for me immensely and I would highly recommend all men considering these tools while they excel in their walk with Christ.

In a recent blog post titled “The Job”; I talked about maintaining an accountability partner. Someone who knows what you have been through and someone you can talk about anything with. The idea of accountability in this instance is ways to keep you accountable. I have a reminder set on my phone at the end of each month titled “Battle Plan Check”. It reminds me about my past and the way things were. It reminds me to stay faithful and don’t turn back to my old ways. I try to stay involved in reading a new book or following up on a really good classic. I am always trying to come up with new ideas for the Manturity blog. I try to spend some time in prayer each day. These are just a few ways I keep myself accountable. These things help me from turning back to my old habits and ways. They also help me maintain a high level of quality!

For men, Desire is a constant issue. We are so susceptible to the false desires of this world. The sex, the drugs, the music, the fame, the “image” and more. I have done a series on Desire in the past because it was one of the main topics when I started my walk with Christ. Psalm 37:4, is one of my favorite verses and it says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires or your heart.” Going back to the example in the first post about quality, a man can either maintain his desire for Christ or he can lose his desire over time. Knowing this idea, I have to always be mindful of where my hearts desire is and make sure it is in line with the desires of Christ. A great way to look at desire is to not ask God what YOU desire, but rather what would God have you desire. This is not a normal way of thinking, but it is the correct way of thinking, Pray for God to show you the desires of your heart and it will change your life. Take some time to research more about desire, live it out in your life each day and watch your life change.

These are just a few ideas of how to maintain a quality walk with Christ, I’m sure I could go more in depth and talk about many more ideas, but I would love to hear your ideas instead. Can you relate with these ideas or not? What is your experience as a new or old Christian? What has helped you have a high quality walk with Christ?

Monday, February 20, 2012

MM: The Quality of the Work

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
~Hebrews 6:10~

Having the ability, having the tools and being given the job does not say anything about the work that you can actually do. There is a difference between being new at a job and having done the work for some time. The man who has recently started working in a new career taking on a new project has some mercy. There is an understanding that it will take some time for the beginner to learn the new trade and get use to the tools he is using. I remember when I first started working in construction; there is freshness to it and a desire to want to learn it. I wanted to get better at the type of work and prove myself to everyone that I was capable of the job given to me. It was as though I was extra driven to do a really good job and show everyone. But no matter how hard I could try at the beginning it was very difficult to match the quality of someone who had done the same type of work for years and years. This takes me to my next point about the man who had done the work for years and become comfortable with the work and the final product produced. This type of experience can go one or two ways. The first way is that the man still has a great drive to produce a quality product and is excited to see things completed. This man has found a way to overcome the “comfortableness” of the job and ultimately has not gotten bored with the work. This man truly enjoys what he does and it shows with high quality work. The second man is the man who has done the work for years, but has lost the quality of the work over time. He has become comfortable with producing an “alright” product and ultimately has lost the drive to move forward. He knows the work, he knows what it takes, but he has no real desire left to produce and produce well. So I have to ask, what does this have to do with our walk with Christ? What does this scenario have to do with our relationship with Him that could last years and years?

I remember when I first really felt the power of the Holy Spirit come upon me. It was the most powerful and life-changing thing I have ever felt in my life. It felt as though I was losing everything, but in reality I was gaining everything. Sound familiar “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24. These are powerful, powerful words that were spoken by Christ himself and they are so true. After that point I had a passion for Christ like I had never had before in my life. I was like the new worker that was learning a new trade, I wanted to learn as much as I could and I wanted everyone to know about my results. The fire was intense and everyone around me could see it and feel it. My pursuit for Christ was of great quality and included reading the Bible, attending Church classes and talking about the subject with friends. This was a time of changing my habits to get more in line with Christ and getting out of my old ways. It included finding desires that God would have for me rather than what the world would have for me. And finally, adjusting the dial on what I allowed to influence me and how much I let it affect me. It was truly a time of high quality pursuit for Christ.

How do I maintain this walk?
How do I keep things interesting and inviting?
How do I maintain my walk with Christ at this level?
How do I become a Maintenance Man?!

I had to ask myself these questions and more. How could I keep myself from becoming the man that had done the work for years and years and lost the desire for it? I know for myself and for a lot of men, this is one of the biggest challenges. I am still young in the faith myself, so in reality I will face this “quality” issue for years to come. I will face the challenges of the Enemy, the temptations of the world and whatever life tries to throw at me.


Christ has showed me some amazing ways to stay faithful and the ‘Maintenance Man’ series will continue with in depth ideas in the next post.

Share some ways you maintain a quality walk with Christ.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MM: The Job

Jesus said "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." John 6:27

I have a good job; one that I have to go to everyday and put in my time. I get paid by salary, so it really doesn't matter if I work 40 or 60 hours, it is going to pay the same. My job keeps me busy and puts money in my pocket. If I had a way to not have a job, I would jump on it. We make our lives work around our jobs, because for most of us we really don't have a choice. 
The job I want to talk about in this post is about our work for the Lord. The opening verse is pretty clear in saying that we are to work for food that brings life, not spoils. How often do we work all week only to buy something we don't need? I am reminded of a line from 'Fight Club' that goes like this 'We work jobs we hate to buy stuff we don't need'. This is so true for so many people. This is so true for me sometimes. I forget about the everlasting gift that God offers us when we truly go to work for Him. Being a Maintenance Man means being more than just a 40 hour a week work man. It means going above and beyond that and searching for that food that won't spoil. It means working hard for the Lord whenever the opportunity is there and available. I came up with a few "jobs" that I think are very important when you are walking with Christ and helping others walk with Christ.

Fighting for Hearts!
We live in a world that is in a constant state of battle. There are so many distractions and so many things to do, that it does not take much to get us off our course. The enemy is always at work and trying to figure out ways to make us fall. He doesn't care if it's a new way or a proven old way, He wants your heart. As men we have to be aware of this. We have to be ready for this fight, not only in our own heart, but the hearts of others. In my opinion this is part of the job, this is something you absolutely sign up for and must learn to be ready for. I have local brothers that check in with me and I have men that I check in with. It should not be a question of why, it should become a mandatory thing for you. We are in a battle and its part of our job as Men of Christ to serve and protect.

Setting an Example
Each day we are a witness for Christ. Each day we have a new job, a new opportunity to be more than just an average man. We have the opportunity to be an example of what a man is supposes to act like, talk like and like. This is not a job that we should take lightly. It could be an example to a younger man looking up to us, it could be an example to another man our age who needs affirmation or it could be an example to an older man who respects what you are doing. Christ is our ultimate example and what a strong example he portrays for us, each and everyday. Being an example doesn't mean sitting back and watching everyone else, it means standing up for what is right and fighting for it. Pray each day that God would show you how to be a better, stronger example to the world.

Accountability Partner
We are not in this walk alone. First of all, Christ is always there for us. And second of all there are always other brothers in Christ out there. Walking with God means that we are able to walk this path with other men. My local group of men takes the job of accountability partner seriously. In my opinion, it is a crucial part of our walk. My brothers know what makes me fall and they are available to help me if I ever feel I am leading down that path. It could just be small prayer for strength, it could be a long conversation over the phone, or it could be a 'get in the car and pick me up' moment. Whatever it is, wherever it is, whenever it is a brother is available. Take the time to pray and ask God for a solid set of local men to help and guide you along your walk. Check out an older post titled "Locking Shields" for more on this subject!

Jesus knew the power of fighting for hearts, setting an example and having brothers. He and His disciples are a great example of how this system works and works really well. I encourage you to get in the word and ready the stories. I also encourage you to start making your own stories with your brothers. Take this job seriously and learn to do it well. We'll discuss more ways of how this work can be done well and be done with a high level of quality next.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. Colossians 3:23