Steve Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Mike Yorkey have done a great job helping men pursue godliness. Their book, Every Man, God’s Man is, as the title page says, “every man’s guide to courageous faith and daily integrity.” The men’s discipleship ministry at our church has used several of the study guides taken from this book and gotten a great deal of mileage out of them. I highly recommend them.
Here are a few of the key ideas from the Introduction and first chapter of the book…
Underneath all of your horrible habits or terrible treatment of others, you will find muscles of character. That character has been covered up by things of this world.
Author Dallas Willard got it right: What’s needed is a renovation of the heart before a renovation of lifestyle.
If you reach a man, then you reach every relationship he has.
…far too many men do not give themselves fully to being God’s man.
I want to make a quick comment about the quote from Dallas Willard because I think he’s exactly right. Too often churches want to give men stuff to do and, as Pat Morley puts it, make workers instead of disciples. Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with men serving in their local church and community. Indeed, we’re called to do so. However, if we fail to heed Jesus’ words in John 15 about his words abiding in us and us abiding in him, we will create withering branches that cease to do anyone any good because there's no life-giving nutrients running through them.
Let’s encourage men to first build and strengthen their relationship with God and God’s people and then let the Spirit call and lead each man according to the gifts and graces given him. After all, we want men who will bear much good and lasting fruit… not men who wither on the vine.
Grace and Truth,
Well, I did it. For better or worse, I wrote a book (I'm not much of a marketer). It comes out of years of working with and discipling men.
And, according to my mother, who is a godly woman, it is an easy read. I'm pretty sure she meant that as a compliment. Here's a little bit about it...
Before men can live godly lives and go into all the world to make disciples for Christ, they must first have a firm foundation.
The foundation all men need is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only when a man becomes a new creature in Christ can he grow in Christlikeness.
This godly man will then follow his Lord into every sphere of his life, making a difference in his home, church, workplace, community, culture, and world. He does not pursue such godliness in isolation, but in the fellowship of other godly men. This is how God’s Kingdom transforms the world. But it must start with the Gospel.
Foundations for Godly Manhood encourages men to pursue all God created, redeemed, and calls them to be by building their lives upon the firm foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his life-giving, life-transforming truth revealed in Holy Scripture.
Share this with men you're witnessing to. It works for one-on-one discipleship, small groups, or read it devotionally for yourself.
You can click here to order it.
Since I first wrote this post, I put together a great page of links to websites and blogs for ministering to men. You can click here to check it out. However, the ones below are still fantastic and I encourage you to visit them when you're able.
For this Top Ten I wanted to share some of the websites that have blessed me regarding ministry to men. However, because I’ve come across so many helpful websites on this subject, carving this down to ten is, I’m sure, an injustice to others that ought to be included.
Part of my criteria for choosing which websites make my Top Ten list is that the website has to be useful. In other words, the ministry that a website represents may be phenomenal and doing great things for the Kingdom. However, if the website itself doesn’t do much more than tell me a few interesting things about the ministry, then it’s not very useful as an online resource. Thus, the websites I like most are the ones that provide articles, devotionals, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media connections, newsletters, etc. That’s how I decided which ones to include on this and every Top Ten list.
PS – The following websites are focused more on ministering to men “in general.” I’ll include Top Ten lists later that will focus on top websites for fathers, husbands, etc.
This list is in no particular order… except for the first one, because I believe it is far and away the best.
1.) 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 download and listen to 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 holds or purchase some fantastic resources online. Great website that goes well with an incredible ministry to men.
2.) Every Man Ministries with Kenny Luck
3.) Top Gun Men’s Ministries
4.) Men’s Stuff at CrossWalk.com
5.) New Man Magazine
6.) Men’s Ministry at Bible.org
7.) Church for Men
8.) Live Bold
9.) Christian Businessmen Connection
10.) Men’s Ministry Catalyst
Grace and Truth,
The world offers a lot of competition to setting our hearts on things above and setting our minds on Christ and the things of Christ.
Pat Morley, in his book, “The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems that Men
Face,” talks about the difference between what he calls Cultural Christians and Biblical Christians. He says the mark of a Cultural Christian man is that he loves this life more than the next. And again, by “Biblical Christian,” he doesn’t mean someone who’s just waiting to go to heaven. He’s talking about the same thing that Paul’s talking about in our text… a man who deeply loves the things of God and is pursuing an eternal perspective in every sphere of his life.
Morley says that the Cultural Christian man…
Brothers, that’s just the opposite of what Paul is teaching us in our Scripture this morning. Instead, the Biblical Christian man is one who, because he’s been raised with Christ, sets his heart on things above, where Christ is seated and who sets his mind on things above, and not on earthly things.
Jesus tells us a parable about the difference between Cultural Christian men and Biblical Christian men. This is from Matthew 13…
Matthew 13:1-9 – That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  He who has ears, let him hear.”
Then he tells us what all this means…
Matthew 13:18-23 – “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.  The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.  But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Which one are you?
Which one best describes you?
Well, let me give you some bad news and some good news.
The bad news is that, left to ourselves, we’re all Cultural Christians who fall short of where God wants us. Left to ourselves, we can’t please God and will not even want to. Left to ourselves we’ll have no desire for God or the things of God.
But here’s the good news…
Because of what happened yesterday (Good Friday – Christ’s death on our behalf)… and what happens tomorrow (Easter Sunday – the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ)…
We’ve died with Christ and have been raised with him. And the same Holy Spirit that raised him from the dead lives in us. Can you dare to believe that. The same Holy Spirit! His Spirit ministers to us by living in us, empowering us, guiding us, encouraging us, convicting us, teaching us, and on and on and on.
That’s why Paul says in Galatians 2:20…
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
In our Scripture Paul tells us that Christ is our life. He desires to live his life in and through us. But we must set our hearts and minds on things above, where Christ is.
Through all of that and more, we’re better able, through the power of God’s Spirit and grace, to more and more set our hearts and minds on the things of God and become more like the Christian men that our Lord has called us to be.
May this be the pursuit of all of us gathered here this morning.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Christ is Risen!
How can we live the risen life, according to Paul?
1.) The first thing you do, according to Paul, is to
“set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (v. 1b)
What does that mean? Well, the actual phrase, “set your hearts on things above,” could be interpreted as, “keep seeking the things above.” This language communicates to us a continuous action. It’s not something we try once and then we’re done. In other words, it needs to be a habitual pattern in our lives as followers of Christ. We should strive to look more and more like Jesus with every passing day.
Paul is basically telling us to be passionately consumed with the things of God… the things of heaven. We
need to continually pursue an eternal perspective in everything we say, do and think. We need to pursue the beliefs, values, and practices that characterize the Lord Jesus.
There’s an old saying that goes like this: “Don’t be so heavenly-minded that you’re no earthly good.” It seems that some folks think about heaven so much that they sort of opt out of living here on earth. They don’t engage this life. They don’t try. They’re sort of just waiting to die so they can go to heaven.
But Paul reverses that idea. To paraphrase Paul, we should be so heavenly-minded that we can’t help but be of earthly good. Who was more earthly good than the Lord Jesus himself? He doesn’t just talk about eternal life after we die, but abundant life that begins now.
Paul follows that command with these words in verse 2…
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Now, that may sound like a contradiction of what I just said, but it’s not. Paul is not saying that we should ignore living here on earth. Instead, the “earthly things” he’s referring to are the broken, fallen, and sinful patterns of living that the world practices and embraces. It’s the values the world holds dear. That’s NOT the sort of stuff we’re to think about. Instead, Paul tells us to “set our minds on things above.” I can’t summarize what he means here any better than John MacArthur. Listen to this…
“Set your mind”… could simply be translated, ‘think,’ or more thoroughly, ‘have this inner disposition.’ …the tense indicates continuous action. … ‘You must not only seek haven, you must also think heaven.’ …The believer’s whole disposition should orient itself toward heaven, where Christ is, just as a compass needle orients itself toward the north.”
“Such heavenly values dominating the mind produce godly behavior.” (MacArthur, Commentary on Colossians and Philemon, p. 129)
That’s what we’re call to continuously pursue and think about. But it’s hard to live that sort of life and to think that way all the time, isn’t it?
Next time we’ll look at the differences between the Biblical Christian that Paul is describing in our text versus what’s been described as a Cultural Christian.
Colossians 3:1-4 - Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Since I asked if I could deliver this morning’s message, I’ve obviously been praying and thinking about what I might share with you men this morning. Since this is Holy Saturday, we’re sort of “wedged in” between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And so, it shouldn’t surprise you that one theme that kept coming to me over and over was the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The other idea that kept coming to mind was how to connect the resurrection of Christ with living the Christian life. And on this point, there’s no shortage of Scripture.
I believe that our Scripture this morning is the perfect combination of both. We could, as one author suggested, call this message, “Living the Risen Life.”
So let’s get started…
First of all, Paul says this in verse 1…
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
Right off the bat he tells us that we have been raised with Christ. He’s writing to the Church in Colossae, so he assumes that they’re already Christians. If you’ve trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then something miraculous has happened. The Bible teaches us that just as Christ was raised from the dead, you also have been raised from the dead.
Before trusting in Christ and the work that he did on Good Friday, we were all dead in sin. That’s part of what it means to be fallen or sinful people.
Ephesians 2:1 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
But something extraordinary happened when we trusted in Christ. Since he was our representative or substitute on the Cross, we died with him. That’s one of the things that baptism represents. If you picture the baptism of a person when they go into the water, that’s not just a symbol that they’re being cleansed of sin. It’s also a picture of them dying with Christ. And then, when they come out of the water, it’s a picture of them rising with Christ to new life.
And that’s exactly what Paul means here. He’s telling us that we are new creatures in Christ. We have new life. We aren’t the same. We too are risen to new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Galatians 2:20a – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Well… so what? Why did Paul tell us that we are raised with Christ?
Well, here’s why. Paul tells us that because we’re raised with Christ, we therefore need to live a certain way. We need to “live the risen life.”
So, how do you do that?
That’s what we’ll take a look at next time.
Grace and Truth,
(This comes from a message I shared at my church’s Men’s Easter Breakfast, on Saturday, April 3, 2010.)
James 1:8 says,
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
Let me ask you a few questions that relate to this issue of being double-minded…
Are you the same guy at home with your family as you are at church?
Those are some pretty tough questions. And while none of us probably moves from sphere to sphere – from group to group – with perfect consistency, we still need to ask the question: How wide are the gaps?
Part – perhaps most – of that consistency will come from how “integrated” our lives are regarding our relationship with God. Now obviously, the words “integrated” and “integrity” come from the same root word. One of the dictionary’s definitions for integrity that I thought was quite helpful for our discussion was this:
“the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.”
The double-minded man, however, is not a man known for his integrity, but his duplicity. Duplicity means…
“deceitfulness in speech or conduct; speaking or acting in two different ways concerning the same matter with intent to deceive.”
The duplicitous man does not have integrity. He is not whole, entire, or undiminished. He has no unifying factor that keeps him whole.
But the Christian man, the man of God, does have such a unifying factor. The question is: Does he make use of it? Is he related or connected to it? This unifying factor isn’t an “it” at all. I’m talking about God. You see, we’re called to be God-centered men who are living God-centered lives. Such a man will not speak, think, and act differently and deceptively with different people and in different settings.
Why? Because the man of God will be vitally connected to the same God in every sphere of his life. God doesn’t change. And because this man’s life will have God as his unifying center, he won’t change either…at least not for the wrong reasons. God-centeredness makes and keeps men whole – not men who are fragmented and compartmentalized.
Think for a minute about what the Great Commandment is. Jesus says in Mark 12:30 that we are commanded to…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
That’s all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. In other words, with all that we are. Our whole being. Every sphere of our lives.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31…
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
You’re not glorifying God in the big details or small details of your life if you’re double-minded. By the way, that’s a good way to check yourself out. Ask yourself: Am I glorifying God right now? Does this thought, word, or deed bring God glory?
A couple of Old Testament texts that really hit home are…
1 Chronicles 29:17a – I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. (idea of being whole-hearted)
That’s pretty clear. God expects us to walk with integrity before him and others.
This is an investigation to check out our…
How are you doing in those spheres of your life? I don’t know about you but I want to be the same man in every sphere of my life:
I want to be the same guy regardless of whom I’m with… and regardless of where I go. So brothers, let’s pray that God will form and shape us into the God-centered men of integrity that he’s called us to be.
Grace and Truth,