EMM Main Blog
I broke the rules. I asked overly self-conscious Orange County men and women to stand in the middle of a church service if they had never heard the words “I love you” or “I am proud of you” from their father. A good ten seconds passed before one brave man stood and then several more women and men joined him. The keyboard player began to play some comforting chords which infused this moment of freedom and healing with a gentle and safe spirit. Like a breaker rolling onto the Laguna Beach shoreline it came from the back to the front. A wave of people began to rise up out of their seats. Some were weeping, some were holding their spouse’s hand, and others stood alone. The pure shock and awe of people letting their defenses down and making themselves vulnerable, in a public way, was powerful.
Holiday cheer can be hard to muster when there’s chaos in the air; with more tasks and less time, ‘tis the season that puts a squeeze on our emotions, priorities and finances. Some men paint on a grin and roll through the routine with low expectations. Others face demons from the past, broken families, pressures and circumstances that bring up pain. For many, it’s not survival of the fittest; it’s just a matter of survival. Holidays can be so much more. Allow me to tweak your perspective this year, starting with T-Day. Typically, we go into Thanksgiving with hunger in mind, an appetite for turkey, stuffing, all the fix-ins and a football game, all in the name of gratefulness -- just like the pilgrims celebrated the harvest, right? Wrong. Did you know Thanksgiving was the original men’s “meat-up” dinner that started with a prayer? Thanksgiving was actually evangelism in action, introducing other men -- in the Pilgrim’s case, Native Americans -- to God. It was a gathering of men to thank God for the harvest. Not just a time to be thankful. It was a time to address the person behind the provision, not randomly recite positive thoughts.
Married men have gargantuan responsibility to provide, protect, lead, love, be available for the kids, shepherd the family faith and most importantly wear the pressure that accompanies these responsibilities and burdens. In the midst of the battle, we also have the daunting assignment of cultivating and protecting that most mysterious marital commodity called – I-N-T-I-M-A-C-Y. You know – that unspoken, life-giving connection with your wife that feels like Christmas morning. When it comes to the issue of connection between husbands and wives I am reminded of the cell phone commercial that asked: How many bars do you have?” Everyone gets it. The more bars you see displayed on your screen the better your connection. Now ask the same question measuring your connection level with your wife. Full bars? Two bars? No service?
Summertime means fun time. For kids, school’s out, free time is in. For families, special memories, trips and other adventures will be made. For men, the juggling act continues keeping the balls at work in the air, while mixing in some time away from the office for some time with the family. For Satan, summer breaks provide ample opportunity to ramp up temptation, distraction, flirtation, and ultimately destruction. For many churches, regular meetings press the pause button and men’s groups take a summer break…Wait… They WHAT?
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. In Jeremiah 3:19, God says: “I myself said how gladly I would treat you like sons.” I want to stop right there. Whether you are a believer or you’re not; God wants you as a son.