With Whom Do You Gather?

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

With Whom Do You Gather?

For where two or three are gathered . . .
there am I among them—Matthew 18:20

We men often find it hard to gather with other men in Christian community. Calendars are full: “I just don’t have time for one more thing.” Pride is high: “I’m good . . . I’m doing fine on my own.” Aversion to vulnerability is strong: “Oh, man . . . I’m just not that good at opening up.” If we are followers of our King, Jesus Christ, though, we must gather—“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25).

But . . . why? Why is community so important for men? Well, a couple reasons. “Two are better than one,” Scripture tells us—we are stronger, less vulnerable,together (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Even more important, though, Jesus tells us that he is uniquely present when we gather in his name (Matthew 18:20). You see, God the Holy Spirit dwells within each follower of Jesus. (John 14:17) Therefore, when we gather, the power of the Spirit flows from one to another and back. When we gather, the work of God is done: confessions are made; sins are repented; love and compassion are expressed; hearts are healed; encouragement is given; lives are transformed. Men are lifted up, up out of sin and rebellion, into life and identity and calling. Work is done that just cannot be done in isolation.

Light It Up . . . Right Where You Are

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

Light It Up . . . Right Where You Are

You are the light of the world—Matthew 5:14

The strongest evidence that we are where God wants us—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities—is simply that we’re there. God Almighty knows where we are. He sees us (Luke 12:6-7). He is with us (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is a plan. King David sang to God, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). So, where we are—right now—is no accident. And until further notice (which may come), we’ve got to assume that where we are is where he wants us to be . . . for specific reasons, for his specific purposes.

High on that list of God’s purposes is that we’re his light in our existing regions of influence and impact (Matthew 5:14). Jesus tells us to not hide the light that radiates from us when we follow him: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our lights dim, however, when we get too comfortable with the cultures of the places where we find ourselves—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities. We must, therefore, resist adoption, whether conscious or subconscious, of the prevailing beliefs, codes, or values of those places. We follow Christ. We believe him. That’s our code. Our values are his values.

Refocusing the Drive

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Refocusing the Drive

greatest among you become as the youngest
. . . leader as one who serves—Luke 22:26

We men devote so much of our mental attention and hard work to our own greatness. We plan for advancement; strategize next moves; put our heads down and grind. Deep in our inner machinery there’s something that drives us on toward securing greatness . . . of some kind or another . . . for ourselves. Maybe it’s on a small scale. Maybe on a large scale. Maybe in our work, maybe in our communities, maybe even in our faith. The drive is just there.

The twelve Apostles—men, human men—had this drive. In the upper room, a dispute “arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). But Jesus stopped them and taught them (and us) that this drive must be refocused. “But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). That’s our blueprint. His life is the blueprint for our lives. We must follow it and no other. We must reject all blueprints drawn by our pride, or envy, or selfishness.

Refocusing this drive, away from lifting ourselves and toward lifting those around us, is one of the most important things we can do, as men. It moves us into true masculinity—where we lend our strength to others, who need it, rather than use it solely for our own gain. We must trust that this is a better way to live . . . better for God, better for us, and better for those we are to love and serve.

Embrace the Fear

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

Embrace the Fear

. . . for man shall not see me and live—Exodus 33:20

We’re made for fear. We’re made to live with fear, not without it, as we’d like. It’s just, as so often happens, we get preoccupied with things we can see and hear and touch. But these aren’t what we’re supposed to fear—not people, nor circumstances. About such things, our King, Jesus Christ says, “do not fear” (Luke 12:4-5, 22-24). No, we’re meant to fear a fearsome God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

But what does it mean to fear God? Well, mostly it means keeping our thinking straight. It means seeing God, in all his power, in proper relation and proportion to the people and problems in this world. Though we sometimes act as if he were, God isn’t smaller than financial hardship, difficult work situations, difficulties with children. He’s not equal to them. He’s so much bigger, so much more powerful, even comparing doesn’t make sense. He’s alpha and omega. He’s the beginning and the end of everything.

What’s astonishing is this fearsome God, for some reason, chooses to love each of us with a fierce love—a love that’s good and will never relent. So, to him, we mustn’t respond as we’ve been conditioned to respond to fear—control, minimize, avoid, numb. We must respond by recognizing, every day, every moment, that he’s the most important, most powerful force in our lives, and that we’re his favored sons.