Archives For Men of Christ

The Marks of Faith

April 11, 2013

tumblr_m9bvba6Otn1rpac06o1_500I want to tell the story of two men of faith.  Both named Mark.  The Marks of Faith.  Both are incredibly strong believers and both are in a literal fight for their lives.  Please keep both of these men in your prayers and pass their stories to your prayer warrior friends.  The more people praying for them the better.

Mark #1 - I have known Mark for a very long time, probably over 20 years.  He has two sons and one daughter and an incredible wife.  A couple of months ago Mark was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.  Some people when they are told they have cancer they naturally get upset and wonder how they were chosen to be the recipient of this terrible disease.  I know if told I had cancer that is how I would react.  But not Mark.  Mark’s reaction was “Well God has allowed me to have this disease and I trust him with the outcome.”

Mark has not had one “oh whoa is me” moment.  Instead he has kept a very positive attitude and has trusted God.  He has endured 8 weeks of radiation and 8 hours of surgery so far.  The great news is today after the surgery and after the pathological report came back, the doctor declared Mark cancer free. He still has a long road ahead.  Mark faces recovery from his current surgery, one more surgery in 12 weeks and then 6 months of chemo.

Mark is the king of puns and calls himself “Chemo-sabe”.  My favorite memories of Mark are the pop bottle rocket fights we had with his kids in a field outside of Denver.  Yes it was not very smart but I assure you it was fun.  I still have a shirt with burn holes in it!  He is a good man and Jesus loves him and I do too.

Mark #2 – I have just started getting to know Mark and Sara Bender over the last couple of weeks.  Mark has an incredible story.  About 6 weeks ago Mark and Sara were in Hawaii celebrating their anniversary when tragedy hit literally out of nowhere.  Mark was body surfing when a rogue wave came up and flipped him over the front of his board and snapped his neck leaving Mark paralyzed.

Mark and Sara are from the Seattle area but now find themselves in Hawaii and instead of going home, are now having to spend several months at Craig Hospital in Denver.  The company Mark works for, HTC, generously allowed his family to fly from Hawaii to Denver in their corporate jet and have told him to not worry about his job.  Mark will have one waiting for him when he gets better.

I met Mark with a friend of mine at church on Palm Sunday at the hospital.  I will be honest I wasn’t sure what Mark would be like when I went into the hospital.  The person I met was smiling and welcomed Brad and I like he had known us a long time even though this was the first time we met him.  We spent some time talking about his injury and then with his family, Brad and I prayed and prayed with tears running down our cheeks asking God to heal Mark and give strength and courage to his family.

The doctors say that the prognosis for Mark to walk again is slim but Mark has faith in a very, very big and powerful God.  At that first meeting he was not really able to use his hands and now he has excellent motion with his arms and the doctors are amazed at the improvement  his hands and fingers have shown.

My wife and I went to see Mark and Sara last night and asked him how his faith had changed after the accident.  Mark said he has never been closer to Jesus.  He admits that he had taken a lot of things for granted before.  Don’t we all?  But now he is taking everything to the Lord and seeing and feeling him work.  Mark said he has never been closer to Jesus.

Mark and Sara are very active people who love the outdoors and taking in all of God’s creation.  Mark was training competitively for track cycling hoping to compete in the national championships.  That is still a goal he keeps in front of him as he endures hours of grueling rehab.  The Bender family has a faith not found in many people.  God has big plans for them during and after this journey.  I am so glad I got to meet them and become friends.  They are an inspiration to me.

Here is a link to the Bender support Facebook page.  They welcome any prayer support we can give.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-for-the-Benders/319325408170717

Both of these “Marks of Faith” live out Hebrews 11:1 in their lives everyday.  Their strong faith make me think about how I live my life.  How many things do I take for granted?  How many things do I complain about?  I am not sure I would handle the challenges they face with the same grace, humility and faith the “Marks of Faith” have shown.

 

Read this whole pamphlet.  I cannot even believe it is true.  This is an outrage to everyone who believes in the Most High God and holds His Word as truth in their lives.

People who call themselves “Clergy for Choice” are actually spending 40 days giving thanks to God for abortion and abortion providers and facilities.  Unbelievable!  Who can anyone who calls themselves a servant of God even think God will honor these prayers?

Exodus 20:13 says this is many different versions.  I am not sure how it could be more clear:

New International Version (©1984) 
You shall not murder.

New Living Translation (©2007)
You must not murder.

English Standard Version (©2001)
You shall not murder.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
You shall not murder.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Thou shalt not kill.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Never murder.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
You shall not kill.

American King James Version
You shall not kill.

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not kill.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt not kill.

Darby Bible Translation
Thou shalt not kill.

English Revised Version
Thou shalt do no murder.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Thou shalt not kill.

World English Bible
“You shall not murder.

Young’s Literal Translation
Thou dost not murder.

Seems clear to me so where do they see in the Bible that it is ok to murder children?  Of course they would say that it is a fetus and not a child but let’s look at Psalm 139:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Please join with me and pray that God will show the “Clergy for Choice” the truth that His word shares.  We must contend for the faith as Jude told us.  Yet we are to love our enemies and pray for them.  We can be sure God will hear our prayer and He will not hear their prayer.  It is important for us as Jesus’ light for the world to hold on tight to the truth and not be deceived and allow God to do His work through us.  This is one example of how God’s word can be twisted by Satan to deceive and attempt to interfere with God’s plan.

The best part is, I read the last page and God wins!

Men of Christ Love Your Kids

February 24, 2012

In my previous two articles I said that if you want to be the spiritual leader of your family you must first have an active growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  Secondly you need to love your wife like Jesus instructed you in the Bible, passionately, respectfully and unconditionally.  Just as Jesus loves you.  In this edition I want to talking about loving and raising your children in the ways of the Lord.his is the most difficult part of this process for me to write about.  If you read my testimony on the link My Story you will see that I didn’t do a very good job of this with my own kids during their most formative years.  I write this so that you will not make the same mistakes I did.  The good news is my kids are starting to show the signs of wanting a relationship with Jesus so I am encouraged by that.  I don’t write pointing my finger at you telling you that you need to do these things or else.  No I write this pointing my finger back at myself saying this is what I should have done.  Our kids are important to us and the most important job we have, no matter what our career title is, is Father.

The first things as fathers we need to know to be effective spiritual leaders of our kids is to know what a relationship with God the Father looks like from a Biblical perspective.  Some of us have had a difficult relationship with our earthly fathers that has skewed what our view of God the Father and what He thinks of us.  This misconception can make it difficult for us to have a good, healthy relationship with our Heavenly Father and so we have no idea how to impart a correct Biblical relationship to our kids.   

My beautiful girls!

 Genesis 1:24-27 tells us we were made in God’s image. No other creature mention in the creation account was mentioned with that distinction.  God created you out of His own hands by gathering dust together and breathing life into you.  Psalm 139:13-18 gives a wonderful explanation of this:
 
 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.  
 
God loves you and so does Jesus.  John 17:24 records Jesus praying for us right before he went to the cross:
 
  24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
 
It is important that you see that God loves you unconditionally so you can love your children the same way.  God loved us first before we loved Him.  So how do we show our kids the proper view of God through us? First by loving them and telling them how much we love them.  Everyday when my kids were small I tried to tell them I love them.  Just as I say it to my wife.  You can never tell them too often you love them.  When you discipline your kids never belittle them and cut them down with what you say.  Never!  Our kids need to be disciplined and taught right from wrong but they also need to know we are in their corner just as Jesus is for us in spite of our sins.
 
Pray with your kids.  When they come to you with a problem, what do you do?  Always make time for them when they need to talk and teach them by praying with them that we can take our issues and problems to God.  Also help them to learn the Bible is God’s truth.  Read your Bible when they are present so they can see you practicing what you are teaching them.  Being consistent is important so our kids will know that we really believe what we tell them to be true.
 
The most important thing is show them that you love them by righteous discipline and modeling a relationship with God in your own life that teaches them by your own actions.  They watch and listen to everything we say and do.  A good spiritual leader has knees that are worn out from being on them in prayer for their kids and their kids future spouses.
 
 

 

 

 

 

Men of Christ Love your Wives

February 20, 2012

In the first part of this series, I said if you want a role as the spiritual leader of your family, you must have an active thriving relationship with Jesus first.  In this edition I am going to talk about loving your wife. This is so important to you our role as leaders. One of my best friends once told me, “Scott if you want people to follow you and what you believe, you need to model it.”

Loving your wife seems so basic and if you are in a happy marriage its a no brainer.  But from a biblical point of view what does it look like?  Colossians 3:19 in the New Living Translation (NLT) says:

19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Ephesians 5:25-31 in the NLT says:

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30And we are members of his body.

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

As you can see we are never to be harsh with our wives but instead be patient and caring.  And we are also supposed to love our wives unconditionally as we would love ourselves.  As the Bible says, we are one flesh with our wives.  Unified for one purpose, to love God and sacrificially live for Him and His glory.

Perfect Triangular Relationship

Check out the picture on the left.  As the man and woman move up the legs of the triangle, they each become closer to God and closer to each other. The further down the legs of the triangle they are, the further they are from God and each other.  Notice that if one person is moving up the leg of the triangle toward God and the other does not, you are even further apart. What does your marriage look like?  Are you both moving closer to each other by moving closer to God?  Men if you want the role of the spiritual leader of your family, you need to lead by example and nurture your wife so she will come along with you as you move closer to God. You can accomplish this by spending more time in prayer with her and sharing scripture together.  Please do not think this means pointing your finger and saying, “You need to get your act together with God because I am the leader and I say so!”  I don’t think you will get too far up the legs of the triangle with that approach.

My wife and I started out our marriage really excited about our walk with Jesus.  We were united and talked about him all the time. We did all we could to serve Jesus and share his love with others.  Our 2 kids were young at the time and they regularly tagged along with us where ever we went.  Then something happened.  Our faith got derailed and we started moving back down the sides of the triangle.  We grew further apart from God and each other.  The faith of our children suffered during this time in our lives and never really understood what a relationship with Jesus looked like as the grew up.  I certainly wasn’t a good model.  The good news is that my wife and I are back on track and our kids are showing signs of desiring a relationship with Jesus.  My point is I am speaking from experience.

All of us want our kids to pick spouses who will love them and be devoted to them.  Whether you know it or not, they are watching you and your wife and how you interact with each other.  Do your kids hear you tell your wife how much you love her?  Do they hear you tell her how beautiful she is?  Do they see you pray with her?  What picture of marriage do they see from you?  If it isn’t a picture of you and your wife moving up the legs of the triangle together toward God, there is time to turn it around.  In front of your kids, take your wife by her hands and look into her eyes and tell her how much you love her.  Pray with her that you will take your place as her husband to protect and nurture her.  And then follow through.  It must be more than words, action is required.

If you really want the role of the spiritual leader then model it.  Your kids are watching.

 

Men of Christ Rise Up!

February 19, 2012

I received the idea for the Men of Christ Rise Up! series from a friend of mine at our weekly men’s Bible study.  He said, “Everyone tells me I need to be the spiritual leader of my family, but what does that mean exactly?  I want to be the leader but I don’t know what that looks like.”

There have been many attempts by many ministries to answer this question and I am not going to say I have the definitive answer.  My observations over the years have shown that men have generally given up their role of leadership in the families and the church to women.  I really don’t have an answer as to why that is.  Maybe it is because men are not as emotional as women and don’t feel the bond with Jesus that women do.  It might have been because more men are working longer hours and traveling spending much more time away from home and are worn out when they get home.  But that doesn’t seem to fly since more and more women have been working longer hours, traveling and still holding the home and church together.

So why it then that men have handed over the reigns of leadership?  I don’t want women who might read this series think  I am saying they are not doing a great job, they are.  And I am not saying that women do not have a voice, they do.  But what I am saying is that men need to step up and take our place as leaders to help women and to fulfil the biblical model Jesus established for the family and the church.

What makes me qualified to write on this subject?  Well its my blog for one.  I have been a lay leader in a church for 20 years or so.  I have been involved in all aspects of the church from elder to children’s ministry teacher.  I also ran a men’s ministry for several years at a church.  So I have seen a lot of men and talked to a lot of men on this subject over the years.  I am not portraying myself as an expert but I am someone who has an interest in this subject.

In this post I want to look at the first and the most import aspect of a spiritual leader.  A man’s personal relationship with Jesus.  Do you have one?  Is it active?  Are you on speaking terms?  When was the last time you read a Bible?  In order to be an effective spiritual leader, a man must have a relationship with God through Jesus.  If it has been awhile since you spoke to God in prayer or read about Him by reading a Bible, it’s never too late to start.  One thing about men is that we have a lot of pride.  We are taught to be strong emotionally and physically.  We can do it ALL BY OURSELVES! That is a great big lie.  Just to get it out there, the Bible does not say God helps those who help themselves.  To be perfectly honest, the Bible teaches the complete opposite.  It teaches that God helps those who CANNOT help themselves.

Here is what the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:15-17

Therefore I am content with 16  weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties 17  for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

When I was a new Christian I had a hard time dealing with this issue.  I was raised to be strong and in control.  But just to clear that control was in no way abusive in nature toward women or anything.  I was brought up to have respect for women and to treat them in a loving manner.  So when my pastor would talk about how I was supposed to give up control to Jesus and trust only in Him for everything, I sometimes would get angry.  I didn’t know how to do that.  I didn’t want to be a weak man.  Then I started to read Paul’s letters in the Bible and came across 2 Corinthians 12:15-17 and it finally made sense.  By giving up control I would not be weak,  no Jesus would make me even stronger!

Men the first thing we need to do is recognize that we are not in control anyway so stop trying.  Give it all to Jesus.  Mathew 11:28-30 says:

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke 52  on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.

How do we do that?  Take our issues and problems to him in prayer.  Prayer is not magic and doesn’t require special words to be heard by Jesus.  It is an open conversation with Jesus.  He hears you and knows everything you are going through so you won’t catch him by surprise.  Just start talking.  And listen by reading the Bible regularly.  Start reading in 1 John or Proverbs.  Then move to the Book of John.  Then see where God moves your heart.  If you want to know Jesus and be a spiritual leader in your family, then chase after Jesus with the same relentless pursuit you did your wife.  Jesus said if you seek him you will find.  He will never leave you or forsake you no matter how long it has been since you last talked.