How to Make Lasting Change

We are often perplexed on why we make commitments to change yet fall miserably short of success. One essential start is to make your life based on the Bible:

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” (John 8:31b NASB)

One cannot stress enough how important it is to make a commitment to reading the Bible regularly. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31b NASB). It’s a long-term commitment to learn from Jesus and his Word that makes us his disciples.

How do you continue in the Word and stay connected with Jesus through his Word for the long-term?

1. Make the decision. It starts with your commitment to actually do it. Don’t wait for a better time to make God’s Word a regular part of your life. Start your commitment today.

2. Make a declaration. Announce your intentions to others. Hold yourself accountable and allow yourself to be held accountable by others. If you keep your commitment to God a secret, it’s easier to slip up.

3. Make a determination. Don’t allow anything to knock you off your commitment. Absolute determination can make this a permanent habit in your life, particularly in the early months. If you start skipping days, it will be much harder to stay committed to God’s Word.

4. Double up. Get a spiritual partner to come alongside you for support and encouragement. This is someone with whom you can share what you learn in your quiet times. It could be someone in your small group, a friend, or a family member. The Bible says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT).

[print_link] [email_link] [Based on a devotion by Rick Warren]

A Man’s Foundation

The Men of Steel are getting back together after a long Summer off… well, the summer turned out to include fall and winter… but we’re back. This time we will look at the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper. I know that the Promise Keeper movement is a bit old, and we don’t hear much if anything about it, but the teaching and challenge is right on target. So, strap yourself in for a great series.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus ends his teaching with a foundational challenge: those who heard his words and acted upon them was like a man who built his house upon the rock, so that when the winds and water came, it did not fall, because it’s foundation was on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). One thing in life is sure, storms will come. We cannot avoid them, but we can survive them, and prepare for them.

One day a hurting wife came to see a pastoral counselor on the same day as the horrific earthquake on the other side of the world. The two separate events that have one thing in common, the same root cause: negligence in building standards. Lousy foundations make for temporary homes.

Many men today believe in God but have no pattern whatsoever for worshiping him. He might show up because his wife and children beg him. Perhaps for special occasions. Certainly if it is expected or convenient. But his predominant feeling is that he can worship God wherever he wants, not just in uncomfortable clothes sitting in a stuffy old sanctuary at church. So he heads to the beach, the mountains or the golf course because his theology tells him that God is everywhere, but he is missing the point of worshiping. This man will refuse to admit that he is shallow, and that his goal is not engage in sincere worship, but to avoid commitment.

Who, what and how a man worships determines everything about him in life. The first step toward becoming a man of steel is to be honest with God. We must know that we cannot come to God on our own terms, but only on HIS terms. We must worship in accordance with HIS ways of worship, rather than with flimsy human reason, pride and arrogance. We become a life built with nothing at the center, and nothing underneath; homes without foundations and relationships without roots.

Men need worship that brings:

  • Substance, poured into him
  • Strength at his foundations
  • Stability in his marriage
  • Steadfastness into his relationships
  • Trustworthiness into his work and business practices

The answer is found by beginning where God always starts with men… at worship. So what is authentic biblical worship?

Read Romans 12:1-2: This passage contains all the elements of true worship.

The motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to praise him with thanksgiving—in other words, worship!

The manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our humanness; our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar.

The method of our worship: How do we do this? The Bible says, “by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God. We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows and so do the emotions. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how the worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things completely misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.

Next time we will look at several ways or areas of worship.

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The Seven Promises

I’ve been thinking about what we should study during our Men of Steel gatherings on Saturdays, so here is what I would like propose:

Perhaps you have heard of the Promise Keepers: It might be old for some of you or totally brand new concept for others, but I love what they stand for. The core beliefs of the Promise Keepers, outlined in the Seven Promises, consist of the following:

  1. A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  2. A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.
  3. A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical and sexual purity.
  4. A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and Biblical values.
  5. A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor and by actively giving his time and resources.
  6. A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of Biblical unity.
  7. A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

The outline for our getting together includes these topics:

  1. A man and his God
    1. Setting a foundation – worship
    2. Prayer
    3. God’s Word
  2. A man and his mentors
    1. The mandate
    2. The relationships
  3. A man and his integrity
    1. Spiritual purity
    2. Living in a gray world
    3. Sexual purity
  4. A man and his family
    1. Secrets of a happy marriage
    2. Priorities of fathering
  5. A man and his church
    1. Honoring your pastor
    2. The man God’s seeks
  6. A man and his brothers
    1. Call to unity
    2. Talking next steps
  7. A man and his world
    1. The greatest power ever known
    2. The Great Commission

Join me for fresh coffee, new friends, renewed commitment, and information to help you become a better man, husband and father, this Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 in the church Welcome Center.

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Being a Man of God

We ask our young children all the time, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Then we often expect a reply in terms of career choices.  In Paul’s letter to his protégé, he didn’t instruct Timothy to become a power pastor of a megs-church; rather he reminded him of who he was; that he was a “man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 3:17).

Interestingly, as far as I can tell, there’s only one person in the New Testament who’s called “a man of God,” and that’s Timothy. This term is frequently used in the Old Testament. In fact, it’s used about 70 times and always in reference to a spokesman for God—someone whose duty and responsibility is to speak the words of God.

Here in 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Paul points out four characteristics that mark a man of God:

  1. He flees: “Run” (1 Timothy 6:11). This is the Greek verb fuagay from which we get the word fugitive. In other words, the man of God is a man on the run. He’s constantly fleeing the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10), ungodly behavior (1 Timothy 6:20), lust, and sin (2 Timothy 2:22).
  2. He follows: The man of God pursues “righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). These are worthy goals.
  3. He fights: Not with his wife or others, but using the truth, the man of God is engaged in daily warfare against the kingdom of darkness. He’s not coasting toward the gates of heaven (1 Timothy 6:12).
  4. He is faithful: The man of God “holds tightly to the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12). He views faithful Christian living and service as his necessary responsibility to God (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

If someone asks you, “What would you like to be?” would “I want to be a man of God” be your response? That type of man personally belongs to God, proclaims His Word accurately, and lives his life as an example to others.

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Being a Spiritual Leader

Men, we often don’t lead our families as we should. I sense that most wives are aching for their husbands to be the spiritual driver in the home. Most of the time we drift and outsource that leadership somewhere else.

The Courageous movie will challenge each husband and father to make a resolution… to be resolved… that they will be an active force for God on this earth and in their family.

I once heard Kenny Luck, men’s ministry leader at Saddleback, as he  encourages you on how to be the spiritual leader of your home.

Kenny tells us to:

  1. Own it – own our spiritual lives, don’t outsource that to anyone else.
  2. Show it – demonstrate outwardly what God is doing on the inside.
  3. Lead her and the marriage – not lording over her, but providing leadership.
  4. Lead by serving them – leadership is service, not position.
  5. Love them – love is an active word, not a feeling.

Taking Responsibility

During the course of life, situations will not always go as planned or expected. Some events will be insignificant when compared to others that will have an effect on the lives of people. When faced with situations like these, a leader can react in a number of different ways.

  1. Like congress, they can kick the can down the road.
  2. They can run away from the issue.
  3. They can attempt to place the blame on others.
  4. Or they can stand up and admit responsibility for their actions or decisions.

A successful leader will take the latter option.

King David had such a situation arise while he was leading the people of Israel. In Chronicles 21:1, we read that Satan put into David’s mind the desire to take a census. The problem with implementing such a plan involved David’s pride, because the census was meant to determine the size and strength of Israel’s army. David’s commander Joab objected to the idea (1 Chronicles 21:3), but the king’s decision prevailed (1 Chronicles 21:4). God knew that the census wasn’t a good idea and was not happy with David because of it (1 Chronicles 21:7). At this point, David had a choice to make as the leader of the people.

  1. Would he blame Satan for his decision?
  2. Would Joab be accused of wrongdoing?
  3. Would David distance himself from the issue?

Actually, David took none of these actions. Instead, he told God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing” (1 Chronicles 21:8). His admission of doing wrong was costly in terms of human lives, but by standing up and accepting responsibility, he prevented a worse fate.

Men, David’s example offers a good, though costly, lesson. When a situation turns out badly, when you are wrong, don’t run away or blame someone else. Instead, ask God for strength and admit your fault. Realize that others may suffer because of your mistake, but man up and accept the consequences. It’s the responsible thing to do.

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Promotion for a Men’s Conference

I saw this video online and laughed out loud. I am a fan of ministry for and to men; there is such a great need to develop men to strengthen marriages and families. Check out the Men of Steel page above (that does not mean “abs of steel” like you see on the video). I would love to find creative people who can come up with promotion ideas like this. btw, God, that is a request to bring people to King’s Grant.