The Importance of Men (A Biblical Theology of Men’s Ministry)

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 15:45

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We believe God loves the world. He created it, and with it, us. But the world is far from His design and intention. It is full of sin and all its friends: death, destruction, and dysfunction, on personal, relational, and social levels. 

The events of last week in Parkland, FL only go to show this to be true. Sadly, it seems that we are not even that shocked anymore that such a tragedy could happen, seeing as it hits our collective radars fairly frequently these days.

Comedian Michael Ian Black provided what I think is an insightful commentary on not just the horrible event in Florida, but one of the underlying issues that help make these tragedies reoccur.

In this thread of tweets, Michael Ian Black has identified that men generally speaking do not know what it means to be a man, what role or purpose we are to have in society, or how to express our masculinity in life-giving and affirming ways.

He’s right.

We don’t.

Not only do we have a problem that we all feel as men, but we can’t even have the conversation! What hope is there?

But it was this statement that grabbed my attention (and the attention of Twitterverse as a whole). He is absolutely correct in identifying the source of the problem.

“Boys are broken.” Yes.

But not just boys.

Everything is broken!

Death. Destruction. Dysfunction. These are normal ways of describing life as we experience it now. And not only is it killing us, we hate it.

We all experience life this way. But what happened? Why did things get this way for us, our relationships, and our world?

It is this way because of a man.

Adam

Adam, the first man, chose to reject living under God’s Word back in the Garden of Eden and in this way he rebelled against his Creator. All of creation was bound together with Adam, so as he fell from his position of grace, all things and everyone descending from him fell with him.

And yet, God’s heart, His love for His world never changed. He still loved the world He created, even though it fails to love and honor Him in return.

What does God do about this love for a world that is far from Him in every way?

He sends a man.

Jesus

He sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to become a man, so that man can finally and fully be redeemed out of sin and into righteousness (the state of being right, approved).

He became a man, so that man can be restored out of brokenness and into the image and likeness of God Himself (the state of being who we were meant to be originally).

He became man, so that man can be renewed out of guilt, shame, and bondage to sin and all it’s friends (death, destruction, dysfunction), and walk instead in new life as new creations (the state of becoming more like Christ, living a resurrected life in all of life).

He became the man when God His Father vindicated His sacrificial death and perfect life by raising Him up from the dead and seating Him at His right hand, reigning and ruling over all things, and leading His people to be agents of His new creation world in the present.

And now that man, that perfect man who is redeeming, restoring, and renewing all things to Himself sends out men to live as redeemed people, restored sinners, and renewed saints for the sake of the world around them. 

Disciples

Men continue to be the method God uses to reach the world and make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

The church will succeed in its mission when men are redeemed by Christ, restored to His fellowship, and renewed in His image, and live out His life for the sake of others – every man, woman, and child, starting at home and moving out to the rest of the world.

Men live in and out strength when they live for the sake of others.

It is true of Jesus.

And it’s no less true for men today.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

 Growing as Men at Christ Church

On Saturday, March 10, we will be launching our Men’s Leadership Training at Christ Church Mansfield for any and every man who wants and commits to growing in the gospel and live for the sake of others.

We will work through what it means to be children of God, loved by our Father, saved by His Son, and empowered by His Spirit to grow in grace and strength in service to others.

For details and to save your spot email me: chris@christchurchmansfield.com 

 

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Manhood as Cheap, Grownup Adolescence

This YouTube clip disturbed me this morning.  It may be old news to you guys, but I just stumbled upon it.  I’m all for being a fan of certain things, or teams, or people, but this is excessive to the point that it alarms and frightens me more than entertains or informs how we should act as men.

When our love for a team eclipses our love for our children, or spouse, we have held our manhood cheap.  Instead of being a man, we are infantile boys with the rights to drink, drive, marry, vote and own a gun – none of which we are mature enough to handle.

I wish this Dad would man-up, love his family more than the Red Sox, repent to his younger son and honor his older son who was more of a man than the child nearly 10x his age on the other side of the counter.

Full link and story here: http://www.sportsgrid.com/mlb/father-threatens-to-disown-crying-son-for-yankees-fandom/

Blog on Biblical Masculinity and MMA

Scott Knight is blogging over at the Resurgence site, and dedicating his blog posts to the concept of biblical masculinity.  In his first post, he talks about the sin of King David and then goes in to challenge men who have abandoned their responsibility in fulfilling God’s mission. I’ll give you his concluding quote, but you should go check it out and subscribe to it if this is your thing.

This means that most men in the church today need to get off their blessed assurance and follow God into battle! To that end, I will be using this blog in the future to help train men in the biblical fight principles that Paul outlines in his epistles and we will be using real fighters and real fighting to help illustrate these. But first, I want to talk about the young men in this country who are conspicuously absent from our churches and how we can follow God into the battle for these men’s souls.

Where Are All the Brothers? A Review

I recently read a book intended to be given to men giving them legitimate answers concerning typical reasons why they are not present in N. American churches.  It’s called Where Are All the Brothers? by Eric Redmond.

The book is written as a series of short answers to 9 common barriers, or questions, men have that serve as the basic motivations for not being part of a local church. Here is the full Table of Contents:

Introduction: What You Will Gain if You Give Me Ten Minutes of Your Life for Each of the Next Nine Days

1. Isn’t the Church Full of Hypocrites?
2. Wasn’t the Bible Written by Men?
3. Isn’t the Church Geared toward Women?
4. Isn’t the Preacher Just a Man?
5. Doesn’t Islam Offer More for Black Men?
6. Aren’t Some Churches Just After Your Money?
7. Is Organized Religion Necessary?
8. Jesus Never Claimed to Be God, Did He?
9. What to Look for to Find a Good Church

Appendix A: The Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophesies about Christ in the New Testament
Appendix B: The Church Does Not Welcome Homosexuals

Audience:  While the book is written almost like a tract – something to give to someone to convince them of something – I found it worthwhile to read as a future pastor who will have to wrestle with the  diminishing number of “Y” chromosomes in the church.  Redmond has given me, and all of us, some very good, solid, reasoned answers to a number of questions that can keep men from fully engaging in our churches, or even  just showing up.

Good:  I found this book not only informative and challenging, but extremely easy to read.  Redmond begins with a basic plea for readers to give just 10 minutes a day for 9 days, and that is an adequate amount of time to cover this book.  If you were to give it to somebody you were trying to persuade to come to church, any church, then that is a reasonable request, and could easily get through the book.  If that is your reason for reading the book, make sure you follow it up with some good conversations regarding each chapter.

Not-so-Good:  While I don’t want to be nit-picky, I am not a big fan of reading books that overly dialogical.  However, I think for what Redmond was trying to do, I don’t know how you could have written it any other way.  Its meant to be used as a resource to give to men you have friendships with over concerns regarding church involvement.  The dialogical nature works for this purpose.

Highlights: By far, Redmond does a great job all around.  I think his chapters dealing with the allure of Islam for men, and the all time favorite, “Doesn’t the church just want my money?” are his most insightful contributions to the issue.

Recommendation: I would say that if this is a concern for you, either in current church praxis or because of friendships you have where this is an issue, then Redmond’s book is a great resource, well worth having.  If your interest level is more on the intellectual, sociological plane, then this may be a book worth checking out, though it will not give you the detailed background and academic breadth you’re probably searching for.

Also check out CJ Mahaney’s comments about this book, and a couple of others worth checking out here (Sovereign Grace Blog).

Be a Man!

I love and need to be continually challenged to be the man I believe and know God has created me to be. Here’s a really good article on what it means to be a man today.  Here’s a great quote:

“Our culture is infatuated with youth and encourages you not to grow up.  After all, it says, the glory is in the youth.  If you would be men you must reject this siren song and swim against the tide.  You must diligently seek to throw off immaturity and to grow up.”   

Click here for the whole thing.For some more good resources on this, check out the following:A Church Based Hope for “Adultolescents” (from John Piper, Desiring God blog) Finding Reliable Men: Leaders at Home (from purechurch blog)