- Mon May 20, 2013
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Fantasy affects our relationship with God. It desensitizes, disappoints and disconnects us from God AND the people we love.
Not only does our darkened understanding separate us from God, but when we separate ourselves from God to pursue fantasy, a natural by-product is that our relationships with people start tanking too.
Not only do I become DESENSITIZED to God, but also to people. Fantasy creates callousness toward people because it is selfish. When you are selfish, you are looking out for yourself. When you are looking out for you, others don’t matter so much, do they?
Deliverance. We all want it. We all need it.
Deliverance is the source of everything good in your life.
Think about your deliverance. Think about the man that you are right now, or maybe you want to become a delivered man? A strong and tender God has delivered you, you who are an alien in this world. When I get that, when I truly own that, I reproduce it. God reproduces that in your life. That’s what God is looking for!
We see deliverance when God commissions us to deliver aliens, just as he did with Moses and the people stuck in Egypt. You see it in Deuteronomy 10:19: “And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.”
God is telling us to love aliens, love people stuck in their own Egypt, whether it’s human trafficking, an addiction or whatever. We too have been may be in our own Egypt. We’re directed to love those people and deliver them in the same way God delivers us.
Men become what they worship.
- Mon May 13, 2013
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I want us to look at the first relationship that fantasy impacts: your relationship with God.
If you have a Bible available on your phone, tablet or shelf, I want you to turn to Isaiah 65. As you are heading there, I want to remind us all how we are supposed to love God. Jesus says: “You shall love your God with all your heart, with all your soul and your entire mind.”
God talks about the inner workings of your mind and how that impacts your relationship with Him in here Isaiah 65.
Let’s look at Isaiah 65:2. God is talking to His people and says this:
“All day long, I have held out my hands to an obstinate people who walk in ways not good pursuing their own imaginations.”
Do you see what God is saying there?
Isaiah 5:7 says, “The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of His delight. And He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed for righteousness, but heard cries for distress.”
What we see is a Father tracking his sons to see if His character is being reproduced by in them. We see this idea of God’s character: a just God, a compassionate God, a merciful God, a loving God, a delivering God, and how he wants those parts of Himself passed into your character, and then moved out from you into a waiting world.
Welcome back to Fantasy Island.
Let’s start here: fantasy is ultimately about maturity and intimacy. Men will chase intimacy at some level to get their needs met. That’s true of everyone, not just men. When there are conflicts that impact real intimacy, our desire for intimacy doesn’t just go away.
We can’t talk about fantasy without talking about maturity and intimacy. A pursuit of fantasy reveals where we are in life with these things. These are the two vacuums in life that draw us into fantasy.
When you think back on your life, how many of you had visions of being a superhero who brought justice?
I know that 90 percent of you had some form of superhero paraphernalia: underwear, pajamas, a cape, masks or a Halloween costume. There is something in us at a very young age that wants to be a few things: we want to be good, we want to be dangerous, we want to have special power, and we want to deliver justice.
Now why is that? Why is it universal across the globe? Why is it universal across cultures?
We want to be on the right side of good, but then as we age our vision goes from the ideal to what is really born into us, to something else, usually because we’re subjected to life here on Earth. There are losses. We get hurt.
- Mon Apr 29, 2013
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Just about everyone has experience with an encounter of some kind, whether it’s women or men, young or old. I want you to see the reality behind fantasy
There is a huge, epic battle for your connection with fantasy. It goes to how you deal with reality.
Mary Eagan, a writer for the Boston Herald, wrote this, “A couple of years ago this very smart, fun, very pretty 22-year old woman told me that she had been with men her age at least twice who could not have sex with her because she did not look like — or do in bed — what they had seen in pornography.”
How depressing is that!
- Mon Apr 29, 2013
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Are you born of God? Are you a son of God? Can you step into the masculinity that you were born for an endless quest for sonship, or… If you are God’s man, are you dabbling in culture, and playing with worldly versions of sonship?
Men, we need to return to God in the same way that God said to the men of Israel. Circumcise your hearts. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord. Become a passionate son.
This is what happens to the man who receives the Son of God: reception, spiritual inception, and new obligations.
We read about it in Romans 8. How does it all work? If I say yes to Jesus, how does that change me? Who do I become?
- Mon Apr 22, 2013
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Boys often run from problems. As a man, it’s never God’s will for you to run from your problems. He’s there in them. Guys , that’s the difference. If God is in my problems, and He’s going to use my problems and develop me into something that is more valuable and stronger after the process, I have to hang in for the process.
What is in process for you right now? What’s testing or tempting you?
You are under the coaching of one of two entities: God or Satan. Those coaches have separate goals in mind. God uses testing to move you forward. Satan uses temptation to get you of track. God uses testing to develop. Satan uses tempting to destroy. God uses pressure as a stepping-stone. Satan uses it as a stumbling block.
We’ve been taking a look at Jeremiah 4. You know He’s talking to men when He’s talking about renewal and revival, and He says in Jeremiah 4:1: “Circumcise yourself to the Lord.” You don’t say that to woman.
Remember too that they are adults. Adult circumcision would be painful, but do you know what He is really saying? I want to cut your heart. Circumcise your hearts.
He’s talking about an inner transformation. You return to me, or you go on with your cultural expression of masculinity and validation, and then I’ll have to break out the wrath. It breaks out like a fire with no one to quench it.
- Mon Apr 15, 2013
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Let’s dive right back into Luke 4:1-11. Here’s Jesus in the garden. I want to read through verse 11. “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the River Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert where for 40 days, He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end, He was hungry.”
So there’s a physical pressure: “The devil said to Him, if you’re the Son of God, tell the stone to become bread.” Jesus answered: “It is written that man does not live by bread alone.”
There’s the first temptation. Indulge in the flesh.
Let’s go get God’s mind on this topic we are calling uprising. If you have a Bible, I want you to turn to Jeremiah 3:19, and then we are going to go through Jeremiah 4:4. It’s the heart of God’s Word towards men.
We are going to see a decision by men when it comes to sonship. We are also going to see the consequences of that choice. We are going to see that there is a chance for a second decision to be made.
I want to go to a deeper issue we have to examine. The next part of fantasy we need to look at is the emotional component. What are the emotional forces that drive men to fantasy?
Emotional maturity and emotional intimacy are the forces in play that drive us into fantasy. If pressure reveals gaps in our emotional maturity, then the key to our maturity is our perspective on pressure.
Do you see the connection? If you want to grow, you have to have a way of thinking about pressure because it’s not a matter of if pressure is coming on your life. It’s a matter of when it comes. You can’t escape pressure.
Would you agree that people are looking for champions today?
The world needs champions for life, champions for good, champions for justice...
You know that Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The purpose of God’s Spirit coming on God’s men was to be the champion of those who have not, of those who know not, and of those who are put down a lot.
- Tue Apr 2, 2013
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Welcome to “Fantasy Island.”
Fantasy is big business, however it’s not all bad. It’s not wrong to have dreams or aspirations, or to say: “Man, I wish I could do that.” But when it crosses the line over into destruction, that’s when we have to stop and pause.
You know this as well as I do. You don’t have to find it — it will find you. If you are a man, you will have a relationship with fantasy. That doesn’t make you bad, it just depends on what kind of fantasy it is.
One of the top search terms on EveryManMinistries.com is porn. I’m encouraged by that. Guys know they are struggling with sexual fantasy. How could we not be within our sexualized culture? We’re finding that guys are taking on that battle, and that is encouraging for the future of our families and our culture.
Here’s what an uprising looks and feels like: deeply felt issues and injustices produce pain, creating emotion and energy. It cooks and simmers over a period of time. That time could be months. It could be years or centuries. Then, just as with a dormant volcano or roadside bomb, there is a trigger. There is a flashpoint. That flashpoint happened, and corporately the people say it ends here.
Uprisings are powerful. They are recognized by the power that they threaten. Those who are threatened need it to be crushed immediately. Think about our Jewish heritage. I am thinking about Masada, when the Romans crushed a revolt. Think about China: Tiananmen Square.
Uprisings are often crushed immediately because if allowed to thrive and be fueled by emotion and energy, they could change the course of history. Historically, we’ve seen these uprisings. Some were crushed while others succeeded like the French and American Revolutions.
The theme of 1 Thessalonians 4 is living to please God. Let me raise the value of what I am about to read. This is God’s word for you. What you do with it is up to you. My job is to share it and let his Spirit bring application to you.
This is what God says: “Finally brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living, now we ask you, urge you, to do this more and more for you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.”
I want to stop there and have you say something with me. Say “In the Lord Jesus.” This message is for people who are in the Lord Jesus. If you are in the Lord Jesus, then it is under this authority that Paul says, “for you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” Of the Lord Jesus for those in the Lord Jesus: that’s important.
What are you sacrificing today in your life? What’s the pain that you are enduring to know Christ?
Let me boil that down. If you love your wife and you want to honor God in your marriage, you’ll suffer counseling to win intimacy. That’s the kind of pain I’m talking about. If you love Christ and you want to be one with Him and you struggle with lust, porn and fantasy, you will suffer the pain of confessing that to a brother who will help you win that battle. If there is a habit that you have that is not in alignment with God’s will, it hurts you and your relationships with other people.
- Mon Mar 18, 2013
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Because I speak everywhere to men, it’s so funny whenever a guy starts off a conversation with me by saying: “What if a person, what if a friend of mine contacted his old girlfriend on Facebook?” "You contacted your old girlfriend on Facebook, I reply, and you are all conflicted because you have a gold ring around your finger". They look at me like I’m Yoda. It is truly an epidemic.
As I have talked about many times with many men’s groups, when you don’t have the character to meet the reality of your current relationship, and you are not connecting physically in that relationship, then you are wide open to the danger of connecting with someone who doesn’t demand any character from you in order to connect with them mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
- Mon Mar 18, 2013
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Mark 9:43-47 says “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…”
Is Jesus literally saying to cut off your body parts? No.
What He is saying is to take dramatic action. Some of you are pussyfooting around with sin in your life. You’re assigning a threat level to it that is like green verses red. You aren’t saying it’s cancer to my journey. You aren’t acknowledging that this is the dragon I need to slay. You are shaking hands with sin and saying: You know what, this particular thing is not a big deal.
- Mon Mar 11, 2013
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When we look at Romans 8:29, I want you to see that God’s preplanned journey for every person is to become like Christ. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
His plan is not to accessorize your life. It’s not for you to become wiser. It is for you to become like Jesus. That’s the definition of every God’s man. Let’s get that really, really clear.
Say that out loud: “To become like Christ.”
I had an 84-year old seminary professor that I asked: “When does a man stop enjoying sex?”
He said, well Kenny, I don’t know, but it’s sometime after 84. I thought, dude, you are my hero!
If you have been married a long time and settled into an emotional existence with your spouse, or if you have settled with your sexual life, don’t write yourself a hall pass out of this. God has created us as sexual beings. It’s such a powerful tool for us, and no matter how old we are, it can be a force for good.
Welcome to Part One of a four part series we’re calling “Slaying the Dragon.”
Let’s begin this series with a universal truth in the world of men. I think you will agree with me that men, in general, do not like being hindered or blocked on the way to a destination. For me, it doesn’t matter if I’m tripping over my wife’s shoe on the way to hang up a shirt in the closet or unexpected traffic on the freeway — right? You think you’re going to get to your destination and then all of a sudden you see all the brake lights and then you kind of feel let down. You may be going to get your coffee on the way to work and think it’s going to be an-in-and-out thing, and then you see that there is a line twenty people deep at Starbucks, so you say forget this.
You see before you a three-year old toddler in the tub. He’s taking a bubble bath. His mom is tenderly watching over him. In the course of his bath, he moves some bubbles away. There’s something there. He discovers his testicles. He looks up at his mom, then looks down and says: “Mom are these my brains?”
She says, after taking a very deep breath: “Not yet son.”
In part three of “The Mantle” series we are going to look at the family. What are the words or expression of the family to one another and to other people? We are going to look at the core, connections, character, contribution, and communication of the family.
Jesus says watch over your heart with all diligence for it is the wellspring of life. Good things come out of the good man because of the good that is stored up in him. Evil things come out of the evil man because of the evil stored up in him.
The solution to that conundrum and helping your own family is to love God and love people. We learned about that in catechism, in first grade and at Sunday school: love God and love people.
Parable of the Rich Fool
Jesus splendidly illustrated this spiritual truth in the parable of the rich fool, which is found in Luke 12: 15-21. Jesus talks about this rich man who is going through life sort of casually, unconcerned about what’s really important in life, and only thinking only about himself. He’s really committed himself to the purpose of self-preservation. You know, of taking care of number one, amassing stuff, making life predictable, presuming that he has tomorrow.
In Luke, Jesus says: “Beware! Guard against every kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then Jesus told them this parable.
Every man carries “The Mantle” of leadership for his family. When it comes to your family, you are “The Mantle” of leadership. It’s your job — your duty — to surround and cover your wife and your children with love, affection, caring and spiritual leadership. God teaches us these Biblical truths in Timothy, Proverbs and Matthew. Let’s look at what the Bible says about how we — God’s men — should live our lives today with “The Mantle” of leadership.
In part two of “The Mantle” series we are going to look at the connections, the relationships in a family, and the character or integrity of the family.
What is mixed into your life? What is your heart full of? Is it full of business information? Is it trivia? Is it sports? Is it success or status? Is it politics?
The second way that God teaches us, or instructs us to number our days, is that he trains us through trauma. In other words, God teaches us through traumatic events in our lives.
The Psalmist in the Bible talks about this in Psalm 119, verses: 71 and 72. It says: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees.” Verse 72 reads: “The Law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
Pain jolts us into turning to God and to turning to His word. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God goes on forever. In this scripture, David needed to seek God’s will through His words, through His laws, and through His decrees. David needed to see God’s priorities, God’s values, God’s commands, God’s perspectives... But it took trauma, and trauma was good. The trauma clarified. I think a lot of us can identify.
Have you ever heard the expression: “He carried the mantle of leadership well.” I’ve always wondered, “What is a mantle?”
Maybe it’s a male candle? Is it a masculine baton you receive, carry, and then hand off? Who gives this to a man? My wife says it’s that shelf over the fireplace.
A mantle, I discovered, is nothing more than something that covers or surrounds something else. The fuzz covering the horns of a male deer, for example, is called the deer’s “mantle” because it completely encapsulates the actual horn until it wears off.
All of us have heard this expression: “You only live once!”
Usually, we use this phrase to convince ourselves to do something that is a little out of the box, or to seize the moment, or to take advantage of an experience that we might not otherwise have if we don’t do it now. There’s this sort of compressed urgency that we only have one life to live, and it’s not a soap opera. When you have that inkling and you take advantage of it, usually there is a reward on the other end and you’re glad that you did it.
When men leave culture, come to Christ, and start acting counter-culturally, it inspires awe. It creates an “Uprising.”
We see this vividly in Acts 2:44 which says…
“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had in common. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together in the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.”
Fantasy is an island. It separates you from reality. It disconnects you from God’s glory. It detaches you emotionally from the real world. It severs you from reality. It creates depression. It accelerates relational dysfunction. Fantasy places a wall between you and your girlfriend, your wife, your daughter, your grandchildren, your niece, and so on.
Today, we see men being publically exposed for living fantasy lives everyday. Consider golfer Tiger Woods. He had everything: a beautiful wife, a lucrative career, multiple houses, fancy cars, and more. But Tiger lived a double life. In his private life, he was a loving husband and a doting father. In his public life, however, he lived a fantasy life, a double life. He was Tiger; the superstar golfer. He also had a secret life, with multiple mistresses, who destroyed his marriage and derailed his career. He didn’t cope with his reality so he drifted to the island of fantasy and it destroyed him.
We are witnessing a variety of global uprisings, but there is something more: a spiritual uprising is uniting men around the world. Men everywhere are rejecting the broken male culture: seeking new hearts, seeking truth, seeking righteousness, seeking God.
God’s men want to be transformed. They are seeking the power of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ. Our spiritual Dad loves us. He cares for us. He’s waiting for us. Now is the time to embrace Him, to love Him and to do His will!
Women want to love men who act their own age. That is, they are looking for 20 year old men who act like they are 20 years old. Women are searching for 30 year old men who act like they are 30 years old, and for men who are 40, 50 and 60 years old and act like it.
The problem is that women can’t find mature men. In the crudest analysis, that means men who are grounded in responsibility, respect, commitment and sacrifice because men worldwide are diving into fantasy. It appears that men young and old are more interested in the “product” versus the necessary process required to make a good product. More specifically, men of faith are bypassing God’s process, “growing up” quickly instead of letting God mature them by using their circumstances to cultivate them and teach them discipline, patience and how to connect with women in a loving and caring way.
- Mon Jan 21, 2013
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After doing men’s ministry for the last 25 years, I discovered some interesting things.
Men are searching for spirituality. They are asking: What’s my role in the world?
Men – both here in America and globally — are asking questions with growing frequency and urgency because of the gnawing anxiety that stems from undo suffering in the world caused by broken male culture. They know something is wrong. And they want to get involved and do something positive to change things — both at home in their families and in the global arena.
As men, everyday our character is tested. The pressure of life, the conflict, the chaos - all test our character. We have two options: We can face reality head-on as adult men and manage the tension and pressure of reality, or we can escape the pressure of commitment, responsibility and sacrifice that that go with reality and become guests on what we are calling “Fantasy Island.”
One of the most popular TV shows of back in the 1970s was “Fantasy Island,” staring Ricardo Montalban playing the role of Mr. Roarke, a suave, tuxedo-clad host who, along with his sidekick, Tattoo, greeted his visitors by proclaiming: “Welcome, welcome to Fantasy Island.” Let’s talk about Fantasy Island.
- Mon Jan 7, 2013
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This is the first in a series we are calling “Uprising,” where God’s men seek to reject the material world and embrace God’s world. What does the future hold for us? What does the Bible say about the future of God’s men? This article — and the others that follow — take us on a journey into the broken male culture, where the men of God need to seek revival in God’s words, God’s laws and God’s desires for us to submit to His will. This series will help you understand, through the lens of Scripture, what God expects from his sons.
What is an uprising? When we study historical movements, we find that uprisings
Men don’t give birth but, make no mistake, we are pregnant. Instead of sperm and egg, masculine conception occurs when deep aspirations of being someone great...