Time To Man Up Brothers Featured

Tuesday, 15 January 2013 07:05
TimeTo Man Up Brothers
For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about investing in our Christianity in such a way as to ensure that what we have built lasts longer than just our lifetime. That in fact, we are able to embrace a vision of not only our children but also our own grandchildren and even beyond receiving a faith handed down from us to them.

Today I was out on a very long run and sometimes when I run I get lost in my own thoughts...well that happened to me this morning. The thought that kept coming over me was this: If the brothers don’t rise up and demonstrate faithful, courageous leadership we will cripple the church from moving forward as God would have it. If the Brothers of the Chicago Church don’t get into the adventure of what lies ahead in this great work God has given us then we will simply be a ‘nice’ group of people that tip the hormonal scales toward estrogen. Though I absolutely adore all of my sisters in Christ (two of those sisters are in my own household) and am so grateful for what the women bring to the spirit and vitality of the Church, unless the men step up, we will not hand off a very bright future to our children.

The Grit From Which You Came—

In Genesis 2:7 the Bible reads, “…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground…” I have been thinking about this passage a lot lately. First of all I love the fact that God is ‘hands on’ in the ‘formation’ of his ministry. Second, I love that God is willing to get His hands dirty to create something He has envisioned. Third, I love the concept of us men being made originally from dirt. That explains a lot to me.

A cursory glance at dirt shows it to be simple, not attractive, lifeless, useless, and well…dirty. But a farmer would tell you that ‘dirt’ provides the foundation and feeding for life in our world. Is it possible that God expects the men to be that same thing for His people? Dirt, water and air are three crucial components to life on our planet. Think about how you, as a man, fit into this picture. What I really like about dirt is its grittiness.

I don’t want to read more into the text than we should, but we came from grit and we should have some grit in us as men of God. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth…salt also has some grit to it. The apostle Paul used some gritty language and also demonstrated grittiness as he was spreading the Word and building the Church. In one scene in Acts he is stoned and dragged out of a city, thought to be dead, only to come back to consciousness and to go right back into the city. What would you have done? In another place Paul is getting fed up with people pushing the disciples to get circumcised to be right with God…at the end of Galatians (and in a moment of intensity) Paul just says why don’t they just go emasculate themselves…in other words if you want cut just part of it off cut the whole thing off. This is a gritty man.

Play Your Man Card (or have it confiscated)—

My brother Marc is a disciple up here in the North. He and I have an amazing friendship and have long embraced the right to challenge each other’s manhood if the time or the occasion calls for it. Of course as brothers growing up we did many of the normal boyhood things involving sports, bikes, dirt, blood, sticks, fists, etc…and as we aged we began to get serious about the things we were passionate about. As a matter of fact Marc and I competed together on the same wrestling team in both high school and college. Now our passion is linked to our families and our collective desire for building God’s Kingdom. Nonetheless, throughout all of our times together there has existed this principle known as the “Man Card Law”.

There are some general rules to being a card-carrying member of the Man-Card Club. Here are some that you may want to consider:

· You are the spiritual leader of your household—If our wives or kids seem to be leading us or blowing us out of the water spiritually…turn in your man card.

· With the rising up of online social sites (facebook, etc…) you are never allowed to ‘tap’ or ‘poke’ another man. You are allowed one ‘mistake’ in your lifetime or you will have to …turn in your man card.

· If you are not currently serving within the church in some capacity because you ‘just don’t feel like it’…turn in your man card.

· If you ever skip out on Sunday worship because you are “just too tired”…turn in your man card.

· (This one applied more in our twenties and is being amended to be more age appropriate) If you schedule to see a doctor for a hurt foot, toe or finger not involving blood or broken bones…we can at least question your right to a man card. (By the way…having ever been diagnosed with a serious illness and staying faithful through it makes you a permanent Man-Card carrying member.)

· If you are given an evangelistic challenge from another brother but you back down because the ‘situation just didn’t seem right’…turn in your man card.

· If you decide to leave the church and no longer be a disciple for any reason at all…turn in your man card. (There are other agreed upon rules several of us have embraced in regard to this rule that I will not go into here.)

· There are many others I could list, but maybe some of you can come up with your own and let us all know…

Glimpses of Grit—

I will be writing thoughts about men’s topics for the next couple of weeks. I hope to be gritty without being too gritty if you know what I mean. But I believe it is time for the brothers of all ages to start “manning up”.

This past weekend we saw a whole lot of brothers gather from all over the church for our annual softball tournament. It was a great time and though we (the North) were field fodder for the Southland we had a decent game, in a losing effort, to the Central. But, I saw grit in many of the brothers on the field that day and it gives me hope. Old guys were sprinting and diving, falling down and swinging for the fences. There were times when calls were questioned and though there were other disputes and controversy involving rules, bats, etc…there was passion! As they say, where there is smoke there is fire. When we can see the spark of passion on the softball field, imagine if we really got passionate about the adventure that is our faith in Christ!

There is grit in the Chicago Church. Even though I am aging more rapidly than ever, I feel the grit within me. In the intensity of the spiritual fight let the gritty men of Chicago rise up and become the leaders God is calling us to be. In this way we will truly inspire our neighbors, co-workers, our sons to follow us as we follow Christ. Amen!

AT Arneson

Lead Evangelist


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