Archive | July, 2013

Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “Z” Is For “Zany”

30 Jul

old-english-lettering-9Men take life way too seriously.

Our jobs. Our lawns. Our sports. Our cars. Our religion. Pick your poison, dudes, but I bet there’s something in your life you could be accused of “taking too seriously.”

Well, I’m here to remind you that life’s too darn short to take seriously.

In the end, it’s just a job. In the end, it’s just a lawn. In the end it’s just a game and a car and a contrived set of rules and customs.

In this final installment of the Alphabet of Manly Virtues, I propose to you that Z is for zany. Let me explain.

What a fun word, zany. It means amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic. And ain’t that our God to a T?

Certainly, the world is full of serious things: War. Famine. Disease. Slavery. Malnutrition. Politicians.

But let us not match the seriousness of the world with in-kind seriousness.

Rather, let us respond with the zaniness of God.

Let us be goofy and silly and absolutely joy-filled.

Let us go into the world with love and whimsy.

Far too often we believe the only way to deal with serious things is with more seriousness. We put on faces of such reverence, such dour constitution, that we miss the beauty and zest of the life in front of us. Continue reading

Book Review: “Clean”

29 Jul

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“Every Christian man is born into a sexual war. The enemy attacks the young, hoping to scar them permanently and leave them ruined. But your past is not enough to keep you from the enduringly clean life you want and deserve. Clean is a priceless, no-nonsense resource for every husband, father, brother, son, friend, pastor, and Christian leader on the front lines of this war. It is a soldier’s handbook for those ready to reclaim their homes, churches, and nations for the God who has built them to succeed.”

Dr. Douglass Weiss is the author of more than 20 books, executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, president of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy (AASAT), and has been “clean” for more than 25 years… in other words, he knows more than the average guy about the dangers of pornography, masturbation, lust, and adultery!

The essential premise of Dr. Weiss’s Clean is that whether or not we would like to admit it, the church is in the middle of a war for purity and at present we are losing. Continue reading

Manly Quote Mondays: Thermometer Or Thermostat?

29 Jul

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed.

In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man.

Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.

 

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Are You Waiting To Start?

26 Jul

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Look at this picture. I took it at my church. See that blue thing? It’s a ball.  Trapped in the middle of a thorny bush.  I saw this and thought, “Man, that’s a sermon illustration right there!” Then I thought about the 2011 version of the NIV and thought, “Person, that’s a sermon illustration right there!” I’m guessing what happened is someone threw a ball wrong and it landed in the middle.

They couldn’t reach in because of the thorns.

But if just a little bit of effort would have been exerted, someone could’ve gotten a broom handle or something to just pop it up and out.  The thorns have actually grown around, and perhaps into, the ball.  So to get it now would require a much greater level of effort than if it would’ve been done immediately.  Surely there’s some Biblical analogy we can make, right? A “in this world but not of it” somehow.  Or maybe we could namedrop the Essenes, how it’s good to not stay in the bad environment.

Notice what else is in the picture?  Snow.  And even though we had a May 1st blizzard up here in Minnesota this year, this picture was
actually taken on February 17th. I was thinking about it that long. Before MoreThanABeard.com was even started.  I was originally going to
write it for my blog, but then I was going to write it here.

Eventually. Continue reading

Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “Y” Is For “Yearning”

25 Jul

EDITOR’S NOTE: We decided to skip the letter “X” in our series… after all, what character qualities start with “X”? If you can think of any, write up a post and we’ll share it! -DW

ySplagchnizomai”

So, I heard this word in a message a few months back and I have become fascinated with the word. Since then, I have been searching for a way to use this word. Our pastor explained the meaning during the message, but I am including it here.

  • to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity).
  • It is yearning, being filled with compassion and love for your fellow man.

In all my time trying to figure out how I can use this word in writing, I think I have forgotten the point of it. To be moved with compassion. To yearn for more. To be better than I am right now.

I have to tell you, I struggle with that. When I really think about what kind of witness I am becoming, I know that it is far from where I want to be. When I am in church, I feel a little inadequate. I haven’t been on my walk nearly as long as some others have, and I really want to be immersed the way that they are. Sometimes I can be moved to tears during worship and other times feel lost and wandering away from Him. Continue reading

Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “W” Is For “Will”

23 Jul

(“The Alphabet of Manly Virtues” is a 26 post series examining various character traits of godly men. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for new posts! To view other entries in the series, click here.)

w“The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

That’s what is engraved on a little metal ship on my book shelf right now. It serves as a daily reminder to be faithful to where God has led me, because as long as God wants me there, he will sustain me.

You know, a lot of times it can be difficult to know what God is leading you to do. There are so many options, and sometimes it feels overwhelming. “Will I make the right choice? What if I’m wrong? Can I even go somewhere that God doesn’t want me to go? What if I make a choice that has terrible repercussions? How can I really know what I need to do?”

It can be terrifying, right!? We can freeze and not even know how to make a decision! So many variables, so many choices, so many possible ways to fail!

When my wife and I were in our final stages of deciding whether or not to move 4 hours north from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, ND., it was a huge life stage decision. We were moving to enable me to officially take a pastoral position that would change our lives…big time. Carica (my wife) would have to change schools in her senior year of college, she would have to find a job and internship, I would have to change to distance education rather than traditional day school for seminary, we would have to move far away from family, far away from all our closest friends…

So we got counseling from one of my long-time mentors, Pastor Abe Cardosa. Carica and I met with Pastor Abe and poured out our hearts and concerns. Almost without hesitation, he grabbed that shiny ship off his bookshelf and thrust it into my hands.

“The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you,” he said.

That’s what was engraved on the ship, and now that’s what is engraved on my heart. Continue reading

Manly Quote Mondays: “If”

22 Jul

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

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