Men, here are some study and fellowship opportunities coming up at Southside this Fall.
Seeking God’s Will
Monday Nights (7-8:30pm)
Family Life Center
Men, do you know God’s will – his purpose – for your life? If so, have you aligned your life with God’s will and are you seeking to live according to it – in your private life, at home, at work, etc.? In this study we’ll seek to discover the ways in which God reveals his will to us, why it matters, and how we can faithfully follow it through the various details and circumstances of our lives. (8 Lessons)
Leading Your Family
Wednesday Mornings (6:30-7:30am)
Family Life Center
What does it mean for a man to lead his family? What does it look like in practice? This study will make practical this vital responsibility – loving and serving your family as a shepherd. From taking ownership of this calling, to developing relationships with your family, to discipling those who mean the most to you in the whole world, this study will both equip and encourage you to be the man at home that God has called you to be. (8 Lessons)
Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood
Wednesday Evenings (6-7pm)
Family Life Center
Are you happy and content with the images portrayed in popular culture regarding what it means to be a man? Or, is there something more to it? Something deeper. Something vastly more significant. In this study, we’ll learn what it means to be a man (as God intended) and how to develop a vision of what that means in the various spheres of your life – your “alone” time, at home, work, community, and so on. (10 Lessons)
Marketplace Ambassador Training
One-On-One (Once a month. We’ll meet according to your schedule)
Perhaps you’ve wondered what it means to faithfully represent Christ at work but are unsure of what it would look like or how to go about it. This study focuses on encouraging and equipping you to serve our Lord faithfully at one of the places in your life that gets most of your time and energy – your workplace.
There are two ways to be a part of this: One way is to meet face-to-face, in person, (once a month) to discuss the lesson and to talk and pray together. The other option is to meet online, face-to-face, to discuss the lesson, talk and pray. I know not every man can meet each week in a study at church. Therefore, my hope for this study-opportunity is to make it convenient for those who have tight schedules, or who travel regularly, to still have an opportunity to grow as faithful disciples of Christ. (10 Lessons)
For further information about any of these studies, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Brother in Christ,
The following contains notes from a Father's Day sermon I preached several years ago on the power of men who study God's Word together. Again, these are just notes from my sermon, not an article, so it may be a bit choppy and aggravating in that respect. However, I hope there might be some words of encouragement for you.
Men + Bible = Strength
2 Timothy 3:14-17
June 15, 2013
When we first began our 52 Promises we had several sessions where we attempted to identify things we wanted to focus on.
The title of this sermon came out of one of those brainstorming sessions. And yet the title and focus of this sermon could just as easily be…
Women + Bible = Strength ·
Youth + Bible = Strength ·
Children + Bible = Strength
And they would all be just as true.
However, It’s Father’s Day and our PROMISE this week relates to our Men’s Discipleship ministry. So that’s the reason for the title and focus of the sermon this morning.
Here are a few facts about our men's ministry here at Southside...
12 ½ years ago ·
6 or 7 men… my house ·
Saw need for men to be in Scripture with other men… sharing things they wouldn’t share in co-ed studies or even with men in other settings.
(Even JOHN WESLEY had men-only and women-only studies and small groups, which he called BANDS)
Within just a few months… we had 18 men crammed into my living room. The men were inviting other men… on their own. A need was being met.
Finally, we had to move to the Family Life Center.
About a year later we added the Monday night men’s group.
There are different kinds of men’s groups. Some have only 3-4 men and provide a safe place for men to share with each other… confess struggles, hold each other accountable, etc.
Our men's ministry has plenty of prayer and concern for one another. (What John Wesley called “Watching over one another in love.”)
But the main emphasis in our ministry, from the beginning, has been STUDYING God’s Word TOGETHER. Men + Bible = Strength
Now, as I often say, we don’t study the Bible just so we can just learn a lot of Bible information and win Jeff Foxworthy’s Bible Trivia TV show. We learn the information for transformation.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2…
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
A paraphrase of this verse is: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
If men are going to prevent being squeezed into the world’s mold, to be conformed to the world around us, then we have to renew our minds. And Paul says this mind-renewal will help to transform our lives into the likeness of Christ.
The King James Version of the Bible quotes Proverbs 23:7 as saying, “As a man thinks, so is he.” In other words, our “DOING” usually follows our “THINKING.”
So we’re encouraged to renew our minds. But how? With what? Well, the “What”… is God’s Word. And an important part of the “HOW” is… with other men.
Proverbs 27:17 says,
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
I can’t tell you how much wisdom flows on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings as men sharpen one another through study, encouragement, challenging one another, etc. I have learned so much from our men.
But we’re not just meeting together to share our own wisdom. We’re there to hear a Word from God. To get God’s perspective on whatever topic we’re talking about.
Our Scripture this morning tells us why that’s so important.
Let’s look at our text again (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Scripture makes us wise for salvation through Christ Jesus (verse 15) ·
Scripture is God-breathed (verse 16) ·
Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us in righteousness (verse 16) ·
Scripture equips the man of God thoroughly for every good work. (verse 17) Ephesians 2:10 says we’re created to do good works. Bible equips us.
That’s why we don’t just sit around and share our own opinions. We study God’s Word on our own… and then come together to hear from one another about what God taught us. And in the process, God takes that collective synergy and gives us even greater wisdom and understanding as his Spirit moves leads our discussion of his Word. To be sure, this takes humility and a teachable spirit, but we think it’s worth it.
What if there was a practical way a group of men could grow closer with God and become more and more the men God created, redeemed, and called them to be… in every sphere of their lives (Baxter)…
* In their private lives when no one else was looking
* At home with their families ·
* At work ·
* At church ·
* In the community
What could a man look like if his mind was renewed each week with a group of men who opened God’s Word together?
Men, we would love to have you come and join us… on MONDAY nights or WEDNESDAY mornings.
Our greatest desire is for you to know Christ and become all that God wants you to be, in every sphere of your lives.
We think our men's ministry here at Southside can be a great instrument in the hands of God to help make that happen.
Lots of Versions Out There
Trying to find a good Bible storybook to read to your young children is often a challenge. Some aren’t much more than “Jesus loves you” messages – page after page – with a few baby cherub pictures thrown in. And children, as well as adults, need to hear that message. Then there’s a variety of other versions that add value in other ways. And, of course, it’s hard to beat simply reading a regular version of the Bible to your child. However, I believe a good children’s Bible storybook can shepherd you children in very helpful ways.
A few years ago I came across a set of Bible stories I have read to my children ever since. These stories come in a ten volume set, entitled, The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. You can learn more about the book and the author by clicking here.
The series covers the entire Bible. No story, (I’m pretty sure), has been left out. Because the purpose of God’s Word is not always to give us every detail of a person’s life (example: Jesus’ childhood), the author respectfully (and, I think, faithfully) “speculates” about such things. He never makes up things a Bible character said or did. And if he’s just exercising a little “imaginative wonder,” he clearly communicates that.
The pictures are fantastic. Very colorful. My kids love the pictures as well as the stories. We bounce back and forth between an Old Testament volume and then a New Testament volume.
One of the things I like most about the series is that it was written in the 1950s. I know there is no golden era of the Christian faith, however, I really like the fact that this is not yet another children’s book trying more to be “relevant” to the child than faithful to the text. Who needs that? The author gives a faithful rendering of the story (with many bits and pieces of the actual biblical text interspersed throughout the story). His winsomeness has given my children a real love for the stories and a deep desire to hear them again and again. You can’t beat that.
Here’s the link again to the website that sells this series:
The Bible Story
More than four hundred stories in ten volumes covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation
by Arthur S. Maxwell
I encourage you to buy this series at once and begin reading the stories to your children. You won’t regret it. It’s an impacting and fun way to shepherd your children. And as I said earlier, you just can’t beat that.
Caveat: The author is a Seventh Day Adventist and his view of the Sabbath is apparent to the discerning reader. But those who do not share his view can take the time to explain why they celebrate the Lord's Day on a Sunday instead of a Saturday.
Finally, let me add a children's catechism would be a good addition to begin shaping your child's theology.
Grace and Truth,
Several years ago our men's Bible study took a look at how to pursue godliness in the face of temptation. It was a very helpful study and certainly hit us where we all live. The "relevance" factor was high.
To be sure there are many temptations men face every single day. But certainly sexual temptation, (in our thought-life as well our actions), seems to be most "in our face" in the culture in which we live. It seems everywhere you turn you are met with temptations in this area of life. As a mentor of mine once said, “Our culture does not cultivate Christian character.” That is the understatement of the century.
To kick off our study we watched a video by John Maxwell speaking on the subject of integrity. It was a great message with a much insight. Below is part of the outline from his message. By the way, if you’re interested in using the study we used, it was entitled, “Being God’s Man in the Face of Temptation,” (and it was a great one). You can learn more about it by clicking here.
Grace and Truth,
John Maxwell’s ten guidelines for handling sexual temptation
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
2.) Accept responsibility
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Every time we choose righteousness, we not only become closer to God, but stronger in our ability to resist temptation.
3.) Be accountable: Dr. John Maxwell’s list of accountability questions:
* Are you spending time alone with God?
* Are you in studying the Bible?
* Are you praying?
* Is your thought life pure?
* Have you seen something you shouldn’t see (movies, magazines, Internet)?
* Are you misusing your power on the job? At home?
* Are you walking in total obedience to God? (Remember, partial obedience is disobedience.)
* Have you lied about any of the previous questions?
4.) Listen to your wife
5.) Be on guard. Try John Maxwell’s practical steps:
* Seldom travel alone.
* When you have to travel, call your wife every night.
* Talk positively about your wife to others.
* Choose friends wisely. “Bad company corrupts good character.” ( Corinthians 15:33)
6.) Determine to live a pure life today.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
7.) Realize that sexual sin assaults the lordship of Jesus Christ in your life.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!” (1 Corinthians 6:15)
8.) Recognize the consequences of sexual sin.
“But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” (Proverbs 6:32)
“For the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.” (Proverbs 6:26)
9.) Think about your children.
10.) Get a new definition of success.
John Maxwell’s definition: Success is having those who are the closest to me love and respect me the most.
A few years I read Gordon MacDonald’s book, Rebuilding Your Broken World. After reading only the first chapter I knew I would love it. What compelled me to start reading it was the day-in and day-out observations of ministry. To quote Thoreau, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” So many folks I know are seemingly hanging on by a thread but just can’t bring themselves to share their desperation with another person. Men are especially vulnerable to this sort of thinking. The consequence, at least one, is that their world is crumbling and they’re trying to handle it alone.
MacDonald’s book is a word of hope and encouragement to folks who find themselves in such a place. We all have broken worlds of one sort or another. MacDonald’s focus is the brokenness that comes from our own doing… or the doing of someone close to us. A broken marriage, family, lost job, etc. This book is written to “broken-world people” by a “broken-world person” who has traveled that road and learned how to rebuild his world. He offers hope to those who desire to do the same.
I heartily recommend this book and encourage you to mark it up with a pen, meditate upon it, and pray over it.
by Richard Baxter
Take God in Christ for your only rest, and fix your heart upon him above all. May the living God, who is the portion and rest of his saints, make our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him and delighting in him may be the work of our lives; and that neither I nor you may ever be turned from this path of life… The saint’s rest is the most happy state of a Christian. It is the perfect endless enjoyment of God by the perfected saints…
Everyone Is A Theologian
Godly men know that, for good or ill, everyone is a theologian. We each think thoughts and imagine ideas about God, even if those thoughts and ideas are that God does not exist. Some have plumbed the depths of theology while others have only skimmed along the surface. Regardless of one's efforts or abilities, thinking theologically is unavoidable.
Far from being dry, boring, and stale, theology ought to be spirit-renewing, soul-forming, and life-transforming. It isn't (or, shouldn't) be merely for academic and intellectual pursuits, but instead, to draw us closer to God and conform us more to his likeness. Thinking more intentionally about God should lead us to know him better and love him more. Indeed, the more we learn of God's magnificence, the more worship, joy, and gratitude ought to break out among us. In fact, it will become impossible to contain our pleasure brought forth from our discoveries of the person and work of God.
Soli Deo Gloria
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks:
"What is the chief end of man?"
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
To increasingly know ("about" and "relationally") and love God leads men pursuing godliness to seek their Lord's glory in all aspects of their lives. They shift from self-centered to God-centered lives in which every sphere is integrated because each is connected to and empowered by God, who is at the center. And each part exists to bring God the glory due his name.
Studying textbooks about God alone won't accomplish all of this. But pursuing God more intentionally will move us in the right direction of knowing, loving, following, and trusting God, as well as seeking and submitting to his will. This is theology at its best.
Brothers, is God your chief pursuit and greatest desire?
Soli Deo Gloria,
I update this post about once a year to reflect many of the great new websites and ministries for Christian men. I also have a page of links to other men's websites, ministries, organizations, etc., that you may not find on this post, but that I still think add a great deal of value to men who are seeking to follow Christ in every sphere of life. Some aren't necessarily Christian in their purpose but still have some helpful content (You'll have to use your discernment while on those websites.)
Part of my criteria for choosing which websites I have included is they have to be useful. In other words, there are many men's ministries out there that are doing a wonderful job for the Kingdom, yet their websites aren't designed to do much more than give some information about their ministries. So, they're not necessarily great online resources to minister to men. The websites I have included provide articles, devotionals, podcasts, YouTube videos, training material, social media connections, newsletters, and more.
Grace and Truth,
1. The Fellowship of Ailbe. T.M. Moore, who is the principal of the Fellowship is a dear brother in Christ and has been mentoring/discipling me for the last couple of years. His website is a treasure trove of very helpful articles and other resources. You can register to take courses on various topics and more. Make sure to sign up to have some of the content emailed to you daily or weekly. It's more than worth it. This is a website and ministry that I engage with on a daily basis.
2. Ken Boa.org - Ken mentored and discipled me during my three years of seminary in Atlanta (and through his written, audio, and video materials ever since). While his website is not exclusively for men, much of it is aimed at men. His weekly teaching videos are worth the price of admission. (His Wednesday morning class, which is a men's study, is phenomenal.) Lots of great things in the archives.
3. Man in the Mirror Ministries with Pat Morley. Morley and company are the premier thinkers in the world of ministering to men. Their website is super user-friendly. You can read countless articles on men's ministry, men's issues, etc. You can also download and listen to the men's Bible studies taught by Morley or watch them online. You can also sign up for a number of training events that Man in the Mirror puts on or purchase some fantastic resources
4. Every Man Ministries with Kenny Luck. This website and ministry is growing by leaps and bounds. Great stuff.
5. No Regrets Men's Ministries - (used to be Top Gun Ministries) - Steve Sonderman has written two fantastic books on getting ministry to men off the ground. He's done some great work at the church he serves.
6. Christian Businessman's Connection - Loaded with great resources to help men become ambassadors for Christ in the workplace.
6. New Men Magazine
7. The Men's Page at Bible.org
8. Church for Men
9. Men's Ministry Catalyst
10. Iron Sharpens Iron - These folks mostly put on training events for men, but they do have some resources. But I included them because their events are worth going to.
What did I miss? Please feel free to contact me to let me know. Or, again, check out the page of manhood links to see if your suggestion can be found there.
Grace and Truth,
Surely, for a life of growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing can take the place of reading God’s Word and spending time in original, heartfelt prayer. Let me go on record as having said that right at the beginning. And I believe that with all my heart.
But following closely, at least for me, are the prayers, reflections, sermons, meditations, and other writings of saints who have walked oft and closely with the Lord…those who were saturated in his Word and who practiced his presence each day – all day – in every sphere of their lives. Such people minister to my soul in deep and profound ways.
Therefore, I unapologetically sponge off of others during my devotional time each morning and evening. This doesn’t mean I don’t read Scripture for myself. I do. And this doesn’t mean I don’t lift to the Lord my own prayers. I do that as well. But I have found my Scripture-reading and prayer life greatly blessed and enhanced by reading the God-centered, Scripture-directed thoughts, reflections, meditations, and prayers of others.
My prayer and thought-life are expanded well beyond my personal limitations when I read such devotional resources. In fact, I often find myself stopping in mid-sentence of someone else’s prayer…so I may lift my own prayer to the Lord. So too, sometimes when I read a verse or two of Scripture in a meditation, I can’t help but pause and pray that text back to God. Such is how the Holy Spirit uses these resources in my life.
It would be the height of arrogance and folly not to take advantage of other pilgrims of the Way – wiser and godlier saints – those who have gone before us as well as those who travel with us today. I know I have been immeasurably edified by the Holy Spirit through their written testimonies of God’s power and grace.
For example, if I hadn’t used other devotional resources this morning, I would have missed out on the following…
“…Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“…Jesus Christ said, ‘When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth.’ O God, grant that what I give may be given without self-congratulation, and without thought of praise or reward.”
“…Jesus Christ said, ‘What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ O God, give me grace so to live this day that, whatever else I lose, I may not lose my soul.”
“…Every morning I vow to love thee more fervently, to serve thee more sincerely, to be more devoted in my life, to be wholly thine; Yet I soon stumble, backslide, and have to soon confess my weakness, misery and sin. But I bless thee that the finished work of Jesus needs no addition from my doings, that his oblation is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.”
These thoughts, (and many others), have lifted my soul and led me to think and pray about quite a few things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise thought and prayed about. Such resources help move me from the tunnel-vision of my own limited, self-centered short-sightedness. They help me stay away from an exclusively "laundry-list prayer life" (i.e., a superficial “give-me-this-and-give-me-that” prayer list).
The last thing I would mention is that using such resources keeps my devotional time fresh. Without such tools, my prayer life could quickly grow stale, rote, and lifeless. But in and through his Word and prayer, as well as these other resources, God draws me closer to himself and enables me to become more like the man he created, redeemed, and called me to be. And that’s worth everything.
On that note, I post a "prayer journal" on Monday mornings to help you in your own prayer life. You can take a look at previous ones here. I've also recently started working on another devotional resource, which you can check out here.
Grace and Truth,
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
by Edward Reynolds (1662)