Here’s a Little Heresy

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Here’s a Little Heresy

. . . what will it profit a man
if he gains the whole world?—Matthew 16:26

“Life’s not all about success.” Those are fairly heretical words for most of us men—men trying to ascend—men for whom success in careers, success in raising kids, or success in just looking successful have become so important. Planning for success, working for it, worrying about it—they dominate our everyday lives. And, I mean, look around. How could life not be all about success? Well, brother, it’s not. Our King, Jesus Christ, teaches us that it’s not.

“Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot”
(Luke 12:15 MSG).

Now, make no mistake, life is partially about success—we’ve got to spend our lives for something, and we should do that something as well as we can. So, we mustn’t forget success entirely. We just can’t make it an ultimate thing. “If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live,” wrote Thomas Merton. When we focus all, or even most, of our lives on achieving success, we fall short of the full life Jesus promises in John 10:10. We miss those parts of life we’re meant to devote to the success of others.

How many of us sacrifice huge portions of the lives we’re meant to live—loving wives; spending time with kids; eating meals with families; hanging out with friends; helping people in need—spending too much time on our own success? How many of us are unavailable to those who need us most, whose lives are enriched by us—and who’ll enrich ours, right back?

You’re Built for Opposition

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You’re Built for Opposition

The one who conquers, I will grant him
to sit with me on my throne—Revelation 3:21

Ever been in the middle of something tough, prayed for rescue, and heard . . . nothing? Ever questioned God, in frustration, “Why won’t you answer?”

Could it be that God doesn’t always answer because, sometimes, he wants us to stay right where we are and learn, there, how to fight? Could it be that God sometimes allows trouble and pain to train us, to build our maturity, to make us more reliable conduits of his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? We often consider trouble and pain as unnecessary, to be avoided, hindrances to ease and happiness. Might it make more sense to consider trouble and pain as opposition, as a mountaineer views the pitch and the altitude, or as a linebacker views the block and the fake?

We aren’t meant to be men who avoid opposition, numb it or deny it. We aren’t meant to run from battles, to hide and to let others fight. We’re built for opposition. Truthfully, we’d probably wither without it. We must see it, though, for what it is: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Our struggle is against being lured into selfishness, indifference, impatience, rage, resignation, or sin in the face of problems at work, or in our finances or relationships or families. These are epic struggles—battles worthy of any man.

Who Are Your Enemies?

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Who Are Your Enemies?

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you—Luke 6:27-28

Who are your enemies? Do you have any? Who hates you? Anyone? Most of us would probably answer, no. We might even conclude that these words, spoken so long ago, have become a little irrelevant in our present, everyday lives. And we might try to just move on to the next set of instructions. But, should we? Can we? The answer is, absolutely not. These particular instructions are as relevant to us, right now, as they are challenging—and as they are important. Our King, Jesus Christ, is simply calling on us to love even those who are hardest to love. And we know people like that.

Who’s mistreated you? Who’s let you down? Who’s taken advantage of you? Maybe someone at work? A family member? A friend? A neighbor? Someone you barely know? “Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst” (Luke 6:27-30 MSG).

We must treat well those who’ve treated us badly (Luke 6:27-29). We must help those who will never help us back (Luke 6:31-34). We must be generous to those who are anything but (Luke 6:29-30). And we must be merciful to them all (Matthew 6:14-15). But, not only that, we must be merciful again and again and again (Matthew 18:21-22). You see, what Jesus is teaching us—what we must grasp and embrace—is that we don’t fight evil with yet more evil; we fight evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Where’s Home?

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Where’s Home?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest—Matthew 11:28

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:2-3). How does God restore your soul, brother? Where do you find rest? How are you most able to forget, even for a few moments, the pressures of this life? Where do you get reset and realigned? How do you connect with God most easily? Where are you most able to hear his voice or feel his guidance?

Is it in praying at your breakfast table in the early morning, before anyone else wakes? Or in reading Scripture on the treadmill or in your car over the lunch hour? Is it in a few minutes of stillness and solitude in the evening? Or in boisterous community around a table, with brothers or with family? Is it in walking or running or biking through streets or through hills? Is it in listening to music? Or in making your own music, singing in church perhaps? Or in something else entirely?

Recognize that God designed you, uniquely, to have ways—even amid the busyness—to find him, to find rest and restoration through him. You were designed to, every so often, just come home. So open your eyes. Search your heart. He has, no doubt, already shown you how.

Ready for an Upgrade?

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Ready for an Upgrade?

. . . the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,
full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere—James 3:17

A lot of men—not every man—but a lot of us struggle to hold back a harsh and judgmental attitude toward the world around us, sometimes even toward those we love the most. In the rush and charge of life, with the volatility of family, the pressure of work, the friction of the world, we too often give in to snap impulses to anger and criticism. They feel right in the moment, but they never are (Proverbs 14:17). More considered, gentler approaches are always better—less destructive, more effective, more powerful (Proverbs 19:11, 29:11; James 3:13-18).

These impulses also reveal something deeper: our pride. If we’re honest, they come from thinking too highly of ourselves, trusting ourselves too much, trusting our wisdom, our capabilities, and our “ways” too much . . . and thinking too little of those of the people around us. But, “God opposes the proud,” as pride leads only to hurt and separation (James 4:6; Proverbs 16:18).

So, we must take ground in this struggle. We mustn’t let another day, another year, another decade slip by, doing nothing. These impulses are too hard on others. We must allow our guide, God the Holy Spirit, to train us in humility, to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Current vs. Legend

Basketball, and sports in general are debatable; in barbershops, gyms, cookouts, bars, etc. What I know is this in the Jordan vs. LeBron conversation is this. There would not have been a day where Jordan would have minded the competition of a 6’8″ guy and showing that he was the one that was it. He did it with Dominique Wilkins. The analyst want to make it seem as if they are just hypothetically speaking of now vs. then. They have made their choices.

My opinion isn’t based on numbers; it is based on the assassin’s mentality. LeBron doesn’t have it and it has shown repeatedly. Had those two matched up back then r place Jordan in this era he would still dominate the league. Today with the rules as they are he would be unstoppable.

Let the conversations begin.

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Want Impact?

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Want Impact?

If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed—Luke 17:6

We want our lives to matter. We want these few days we spend here to mean something. We want some sort of impact. Well, brother, if we really want impact, we’ve got to allow the amplifying power of the Holy Spirit to work through us—by being willing to act in faith. When we act alone (as we so often do), we do so with our own strength. But when we act in faith, our actions are amplified by the strength of a great and powerful God. Men and women acting in faith have “stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Hebrews 11:33-34).

The surprising thing about acting in faith is that—unlike when we act alone—it’s not our skill, nor our cleverness, that determines the magnitude of impact. When the Apostle Paul worked to start the church in Corinth, he spoke “in weakness and in fear,” lacking “plausible words of wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4). He must have doubted whether he’d had any impact at all. But the church was established nonetheless. “God’s Spirit and God’s power did it,” through Paul’s seemingly unimpressive actions, taken in faith (1 Corinthians 2:3-5 MSG).