Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Men's Fraternity Week 1

At our church there is a men’s group that gets together at 6am on Wednesday mornings. They have it every year beginning in the fall and going through to the following spring. It was something I had thought about off and on. I couldn’t do it while I was blind of course, and even since I got my sight back I still couldn’t do it because I can’t drive in the dark. This year, however, Pastor Mike announced a few weeks ago that there would be a second men’s fraternity group meeting on Tuesdays at noon. “Well, no more excuses.” thought I, “I’ll just have to do it.”

And so I did. Our first meeting was yesterday and I thought it might be interesting to share the notes here on my blog. I thought this would be a good way for me to go back over what we talked about and hopefully make it stick in my brain a little more, but also for others who might find the information useful. Oh, I guess I didn’t mention that the goal of the men’s fraternity group is to learn what it means to be a man from the biblical perspective.

Men’s Fraternity: The Reality of Manhood in America
Session #1

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Ephesians 5:14-17 Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Question: After introductions around your table, discuss what brought you here this morning and what do you want to see change or be refined in your life as you attend Men’s Fraternity?

· The world is in need of men that are willing to be a standard bearer for Christ.

1. Where are we and how did we get here?

· Men are confused as to what it means to be a man. – Here I jotted down the scripture 1 Corinthians 1:33 but I just discovered there is no such verse so I wrote it down wrong.

· Men are experiencing deep disappointment with life. Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

· Men are experiencing a pain that is hard to express. Psalm 32:3-4 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

· Men are experiencing loneliness in their journey. 2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.

· Men have no internal vision for life. Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

· Men without vision turn to many kinds of escapes. Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. -- I starred this point in my notes as it struck a particular chord with me. I’ve always tried to isolate myself from others, i.e. not joining groups at church etc.

· Men without vision create serious problems. Proverbs 18:2-5 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. 3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace. 4 The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. 5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.

· Men without vision settle for mediocrity, or worse in life. Numbers 32:5 And they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.” -- Here Pastor Brian referenced the bible passages that talk about God leading his people to the Promised Land. When they were almost there, all they had to do was cross the Jordan, some of Moses’ people balked and said they would rather stay where they were than cross the river. They settled for something that seemed okay rather than go all the way to where God wanted them, ultimately denying themselves of God’s richest blessings.

Here I jotted down “God created me for a purpose.”

2. What is God’s call on my life?

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

· Reject passivity.

Luke 6:6-11 6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

· Accept responsibility.

Here, Pastor Brian mentioned a story he had heard about a man who worked at a Dairy Queen. A blind man came in to order something and while he was digging in his pocket a twenty dollar bill fell to the floor. The worker behind the counter watched a the lady behind the blind man picked up the bill and put it in her purse. Rather than just stand by, the employee confronted the woman and asked her to return the money. When she refused he asked to leave the store stating that he would not serve her. Going even one step further, he took twenty dollars of his own money and repaid the blind man. This is a true story, read more about it at USA

Luke 9:51 When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem Jesus accepted the responsibility that was laid out for him.

Luke 9:23-26 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

· Lead courageously.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

· Wait for the greater reward, God’s reward.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3. What Next?

· Keep showing up.

· You need other men in your life to sharpen you.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

· Remember that following Jesus is long obedience in the same direction. – Here one of the men at my table said he had always thought of following Jesus as a marathon, not a sprint.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.

· Obedience precedes blessing.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not se life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Group Questions:

1. In section 1 we talked about what men struggle with most. Which most resonated with you? How do you need the team of men at your table to be praying for you concerning that issue?

2. When you hear that following Jesus is “long obedience in the same direction,” do you agree or have a better definition? Why or why not?

3. Have you ever thought that there was a higher calling on your life? What has kept you from stepping out in faith to be the man that God has called you to be?

1 comment:

  1. My prayers for you are that you gain from this all that God wants you to be!
    Not what *I* want or anyone else wants but what God wants from you.
    May you hear and be open to His call.