Rallying Cries

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong—1 Corinthians 16:13

When we men gather, our gatherings should be about something. Without a something, brotherhood doesn’t last. There are, of course, plenty of possible such somethings: we gather to watch sports, play sports, talk sports, talk politics, discuss philosophy, drink coffee, drink wine, drink beer, hunt, fish, golf, bike, hike, and many other things. Some of us, though, believe there’s one something that stands well above the rest—a great cause—to follow our King, Jesus Christ, which includes fighting for ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, and engaging an enemy that “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

It’s an honor that we’ve been called to such a cause. But, just as men are apt to allow their attention to drift and to lose focus over time, so are groups of men. We must, therefore, be intentional about maintaining purpose, about maintaining alignment with one another, and about maintaining morale and increasing mettle toward opposition and hardship. One approach is to borrow an ancient technique: the rallying cry. It requires we simply consecrate, and then adopt, a few well-chosen words that capture what we stand for, words that reflect our agreed upon priorities, and that rally us always back to God’s (and now our) great cause.
Okay, so what do we do?

Decide today what you and your brothers are about . . . decide your something. Ask yourselves, what brought us together? What’s our purpose in being together? What are our priorities toward one another? What do we care about? What makes us unique? If you’ve never thought about these things, now’s the time, brother. Keep it fun. Set aside some time to pray together and to listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then collaborate and iterate and formulate your group’s rallying cry.

One Word to Start Over

. . . for by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned—Matthew 12:37

Men sin. We all do. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Fortunately, it’s not our sin that keeps us from God’s forgiveness. It’s our unwillingness to recognize it, to deal with it, which does that. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We must, therefore, confess . . . and regularly.

That is easier to say, of course, than to live. Confession is hard. Giving voice to words describing our sin is hard. We often think that just saying them, naming our sin, will somehow make it more real. We think naming our sin will put more of its taint upon us. Brother, it’s real. Its full taint is upon us already. And there’s no path to forgiveness and taint removal, except first through confession. But it’s not actually confession if we never say the words—if we obfuscate or talk around the sin. Naming it, simply and plainly, pulls it up and out of the tangle of denial and confusion. It places our sin in the open, where we can see it, where we can paint a target on it, where we can finally bring the power of the Holy Spirit and community against it.

Okay, so what do we do?

Reduce your struggle with sin to one word: Pride. Self-centeredness. Hard-heartedness. Indifference. Resentment. Rage. Greed. Dishonesty. Lust. You choose your word. Be honest. Once you have it, say it aloud. Gather some brothers. Pray for courage, then go around, each man saying only their one word. Pray again, this time againstthe words spoken. When the time is right, go deeper and explain the meanings behind the words.

Trust No One

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts—Psalm 28:7

The Apostle Paul set a challenge before us: “having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). No small thing, that one. We men have such a hard time with transparency, with vulnerability. “I don’t know you guys that well.” “I have a hard time trusting other people.” “I don’t know everyone here.” These and objections like them surface naturally in men facing the prospect of being transparent and vulnerable with brothers in community. We’ve all said them, in some version or another. But, this approach, of hesitating and waiting to open up, waiting to tell our brothers what’s really going on, what we’re afraid of, what we’re struggling with, until we have complete trust of the men we’re opening up to, is foolish and based upon misplaced trust.

You see, we can trust no man completely. All “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So, waiting for complete trust means waiting for something that’ll never happen. We’re all broken, capable of wickedness even toward those we love most. God, however . . . God is not. So, in him and in him only, brother, should we put our trust (Psalm 118:8). He calls us to be transparent, vulnerable with others, so we must. Now, it might not always go well (at least from our perspectives). That’s okay. It’ll go well from God’s perspective—our obedience to him always does. And, he knows better than we.

Okay, so what do we do?

Next time you meet with a brother or two or three, look around. Which of them do you trust more than God? In that moment, tell yourself: “I trust God. So, I know what I must do” No more lies. No more pretending. No more posturing.

Emerging from Isolation

 

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them—Matthew 18:20

Imagine, for a moment, a man ever isolated, living alone in the mountains, perhaps. Imagine him living a vigorous, adventurous, spiritual life, but lacking community. The knowledge this man would have of God, the knowledge he’d have of himself, would be modest compared to the knowledge he’d have of both, were he to have full access to relationships, friendships, brotherhood.

You see, the isolated man may know about God. But, no matter how much he might read and study, he cannot know God. That takes community. We get to know God by seeing his Holy Spirit moving in others. We encounter God, we experience him, we understand him when he works through the love and sacrifice of other people. In brotherhood, we get to show God to one another. And, the more we’re in community with brothers, the deeper our understanding becomes.

The isolated man may also know about himself—his talents, his likes, his dislikes. But, he cannot know himself. He cannot know the man God intends him to become. That too takes community. It takes others around him, who know his story, who spend time with him, who watch him, to discern and affirm and call forth things true and eternal in him, things God longs for to emerge. It takes brotherhood to call forth the true man.

Okay, so what do we do?

Though we live in cities and towns, many of us are yet like the man isolated in the mountains. We know about God, but we don’t knowhim. We know the men we’d like to be, but we don’t know the men he created us to be. This message, right now, is another call for brotherhood. It’s a call for you, brother, to get into community with other men. Find some brothers; find your place.

Words of Honor

 

Outdo one another in showing honor—Romans 12:10
To honor someone is to build them up, to give them a sense of their worth. Prevailing culture teaches us our worth is weighed by worldly measures. And so, “honoring” becomes hero worship—elevating those good at projecting worldly success and marginalizing those of us with flawed lives, with failures in our past, or who are simply unable or unwilling to devote enough effort to convincing the world of our success. This type of “honoring” is not what God intends. We lead each other astray when we engage in it, because the focus is so wrong.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

To honor someone as God intends is to build them up and give them a sense of their true worth. It’s trying to see them as God sees them. It’s pushing right through the confusion of worldly measures—successes, failures, talents, faults, wealth, poverty, titles, appearances—looking for evidence of what God has done in and through them, and what he’s doing currently. And, finally, most importantly, it’s telling them what we see. Our edifying, encouraging words to one another are gifts from God. He allows us to give them to one another . . . and we must.
Okay, so what do we do?

Ask God to help you see those around you as he sees them. Look for how he’s working in and through them. And . . . then . . . tell . . . them. Tell them what you see. We men tend to struggle with the telling. We can be married for years, or in community with other men for years, and never simply tell those closest to us what we see in them. So, pick someone this week and tell them what you see. Honor them with a glimpse of his/her true worth.

If these words impacted you today, send them on!

Gotta Get Humble

I got this from a Daily Devotional that I read.

It is called WiRE. Check it out….Not signed up for WiRE? Get started todaytwice-a-week, totally free.

. . . count others more significant
than yourselves—Philippians 2:3

Let’s first get straight on what “getting humble” is not. It’s not trying to think poorly of ourselves or denigrating ourselves or anything like that. It actually involves taking the focus off ourselves. Getting humble is checking our tendency to think ourselves better than others, or more important, valuable, worthy of time or mind share or respect. Getting humble is shutting down our tendency to “size people up” and position them on some scale—based on money, title, education, geography, whatever. Getting humble is recognizing all people as the careful works of God, equally worthy of love and sacrifice.

Getting humble is counterintuitive, and it moves against prevailing culture. You see, we men want to feel successful, important—and have others consider us so. Culture trains us, therefore, to promote ourselves; to be strategic with our time and attention; to let positions determine our treatment of others. This training is foolish. It misses the sense and strength of humbleness.

Imagine someone humble. They’re often fearless, able to act on convictions, rather than trying to impress. Their decision-making is often sound, unclouded by insecurity or prejudice. They listen and welcome honest differences. They abide critics, crushed not by their criticism. They’re often magnetic, treating all people with respect. They engender loyalty, camaraderie. King Solomon wrote, “with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). We want to work with humble people. We want to work for them and have them work for us. We want them as spouses, friends. But, mostly, we should want to get humble ourselves.

Okay, so what do we do?

Practice getting humble. Choose something this week: initiate a conversation and listen more than you talk; serve in a way that’s mundane or difficult (unpleasant, even); help someone anonymously; give someone the credit they deserve (even if you deserve some too).

 

Want Some Courage?

I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus—Philippians 3:14

In some respects, we know the men we’d like to become. For one, we’d like to be courageous for God, not simply surviving these lives, but living boldly in them. Well, we absolutely can (Romans 8:31-39). The thing is . . . it’s hard. We’re easily distracted—by our drives for achievement and advancement and accumulation. And we’re easily made afraid—that we’ll be embarrassed if we act boldly for God; that were not qualified to stand with him; or just that we’ve never done it before and don’t know how to start. Yes, it’s difficult becoming courageous and, actually, it’s meant to be.

God didn’t create two types of men—some cowardly and some courageous. No, he leaves the cowardice/courage decisions to us. That said, we cannot simply choose for courage and instantly become courageous any more than we can instantly become . . . say . . . orators or outdoorsmen. If we want to become either of those, we must practice. We must start small and fail and succeed; we must work and learn. So it is with courage. We become courageous men by practicing courage, by accumulating experiences, small at first, of actually being courageous.

So, there are two types of men, but it’s those willing to practice and those not, resigned instead to lives of safety. The good news, brother, is that becoming the former doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time or a major lifestyle change. It just takes a bit of resolve.

Okay, so what do we do?

Practice. Do something. Don’t overreach (and set yourself up for failure); but don’t reach too short either (and render your efforts pointless). Choose in the middle—something intimidating, but not overly. Here are some suggestions: face a phobia; spend time with someone the rest of the world avoids; serve in a way you’ve never served before.

The 80 – 20 Rule

Communication is the basis of all my posts to my blog. Having said that if there is an issue with your wife of significant other the best thing to do would be to have a conversation with that person. Talking with one of your boy’s or a friend will just not do. Your friends cannot speak to the problem that you are having with you wife to other. You have to bring that conversation to them. If you do not, then you run the risk of what so many people in the world have done and that is throwing away something great for something right now.

I never thought that the 80 – 20 rule was in the Bible, that was an eye opener to me. I had seen movies about it “Why did I Get Married”, “Jumping the Broom”, etc…

Wife.                                                Side Chick.

Supportive                            Right now relationship

Loving                                  Passion
Schedule time                      Stealing time

Girl/Woman of dreams.      Looks good from outside
Etc….                                    Etc…

Most people don’t hash things out like that in a moment of flight, men you had better; not only are there loneliness implications involved in not thinking before acting, there are others as well. We can all grasp which ones follow after the one I listed above. Don’t get stuck with 20% of a person when you almost all 80% of your spouse.

This has been,

Post

Elzathion (Pet) Lomick

What I remember of you is strength. You and grandmother used to pick up Leslie and I to spend the weekends with you guys. The first few times were a little hard for me because you were in my eyes not approachable very stand-offish, as time went on I noticed that you spoke a different language. One that didn’t consist of a lot of words or great performances; they weren’t needed. Writing this and thinking about how you shaped me for life is tough. We talked only when necessary yet I learned so much in those few conversations. It wasn’t a strange relationship that we had it was a great one, one where you gave me the space to become the man I needed to be. The man you knew I could be and eventually would be. You did that for all of your grand kids and children alike. Your Strength is something that you have an abundance of and have passed that throughout our family with ease. Seeing you each time would fill me up to carry on the next adventure till I saw you next. The 4th of July will have to be the day when you filled my strength tank and the others for the rest of our life’s journey’s. You are now are now physically out of our reach and we will have to carry on from here. I know we as Lomick’s, Earl’s, McKnight’s and Poston’s along with a large community of relatives that loved you will be fine. We will all carry on the strength that you passed out to us. I love you Grandpa

Strength Honor and Grace

Arthur George

Celebrities forgiven real men scorned

It is great when any type of person bares their heart to their loved one that is in the foxhole of life with them and asks for forgiveness for a transgression. What is unrealistic is that a celebrity partner can publicly come out and admit something to their spouse or significant other and the public forgives them. Social media condemns and forgives quicker than real life. It is the world and just how it goes. How does the person who has been lied to, cheated on, etc… handle it? The social media public is everywhere. Everyone has at least one follower to something that they have posted on some website, or social media application.

Just because the followers say the person should be forgiven doesn’t mean that it actually happens any differently for the other person than a regular everyday person living life. The public couple will conduct life just as everyone else, it will just be public for all to see. There will be side-eye, there will be follow-ups, there will be constantly apologies. All this will still take place in their home just like yours until the trust is restored or the relationship or marriage is trashed. So just like you can log on to a website and add your comment to a celebrity’s business or public figures life. It would be nice for you to remember the next time when your relationship comes into play, in a manner similar that which you forgave the TV personality online earlier but can’t forgive your real flesh and blood lover. The world is not in your life you have to live it everyday. People are people the difference is the amount of money that they have. Piece of mind is a lot more important though, if you can’t trust the person who is lying next to you at night and you can’t get back to that level where what they did earlier to make you see them as special is hard to do now because of the mistake or mistakes. It makes the choices to move forward harder and now everything has to be stripped down like taking a car to the metal and re painting it. Sure it may be the same color but now you know each piece that was put on that body to make it look that way. If the apology is real and heartfelt why not listen, it may save your heart and life a lot of pain. Sure it will be hard but so is life.

Till next post, this has been Post.