EMM Main Blog
Like soldiers returning from battle, all of us bring injuries, memories and enemies back to our relationships that can sabotage our lives. We are walking wounded with battle scars, broken hearts, and snake-bitten minds. Unfortunately, these wounds are not badges of honor either. When the right buttons are pushed, a cascade of emotions, conflicts and behaviors are ejected onto our relationships, homes and our work.
The arch-enemy, Satan, wants us to dwell on these wounds, relive and recycle them driving us to drink, or some other self-medicating distraction. The longer we live without healing, the longer the enemy can strangle our futures, hopes and dreams as well as destroy our ability to realize God’s abundant life in the present.
Mercer beating Duke. Frasier over Ali. Yang out-stroking Tiger. Valvano’s Wolfpack taking down The Dream’s Houston Cougars in ’83. Namath’s Jets shocking the Colts. Buster Douglas knocking out Tyson. And, perhaps the greatest sports upset of all time … the 1980 “miracle on ice” US Olympic Hockey Team beating the high-powered Soviet Union.
But there’s another upset that tops ‘em all. Imagine facing a perennial No. 1 warrior, 9-foot tall monster of a man with a menacing reputation and master of psychological and physical warfare, covered head to toe in armor and carrying weapons with physical power never before seen by a man on earth?
We all love the Cinderella story. But when you’re facing a giant like this, courage alone can only get you to the battlefield. To win, you’ve got to have something extra.
- Mon Mar 31, 2014
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Drinking is intertwined in our culture with almost every event in life, whether it’s a wedding or a funeral. But it’s hardly new. The Bible records several stories and suggestions about alcohol. Heck, even Jesus turned water into wine, so surely there’s a place for alcohol in society, right? I bet that tasted good.
For many of us it’s a welcomed ritual with benefits. The soothing chill slips by your lips, rolling down into your stomach and releases its relaxing presence. Drinking alcohol is pleasurable at the moment, lifting spirits and lowering defenses. Sipping champagne is synonymous with celebrations, while beer may be synonymous with sports, wine with romance, and vodka martinis - shaken, not stirred -- synonymous with James Bond-like cool. It’s part of our culture at most every level.
- Mon Mar 24, 2014
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We men are often guilty of putting too much time, effort and energy into building our image. Some are thrill-seeking men, military men, sports-fan men, muscle men, celebrity men, men of style, men of wealth, power brokers or womanizers. So often, though, our image that we project is just a default identity crisis.
Ever wonder about the over-enthusiastic-father-sports coach-man? He jumps, whoops, hollers and does touchdown dances whenever his children score a goal. He needs to see his kids achieve to prove to himself that he is ok. This type of projection onto our children reveals a very weak sense of identity. In fact, when it’s time for the child to move out of the house, his identity can get lost.
Spiritual independence is an oxymoron. The key word here is moron
“My relationship with God is personal,” is a common refrain. I hear this from men who either don’t have the spine to accept responsibility or to admit a fault, or both. As a men’s pastor it is the verbal equivalent of a skunk facing south with its tail raised: it’s code for “Get out of my space, or else.” There are lots of reasons men respond this way. Shame, selfishness, ignorance, wounds, and defects produced by a sinful nature are the major culprits. But for the man who has experienced the slimy pits of self sufficiency, been broken by his sin, awakened by grace and tasted God’s goodness, this reaction is more than counterproductive. It invites God’s discipline.