Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood. I chose the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I believe we are at a crossroads as Christians today. Too many signs are pointing to what seems to be God beginning to gather His people. It’s time to stop warming benches, and get in the trenches. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” We need to start walking in the “good way.” George Barna wrote in Revolution, “You either stand for Jesus, or you stand for all that He died to repudiate.”
You say, ‘well sure I believe in Jesus.’ That’s not enough. You believe that there is one God? “Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” (James 2:19) You say you attend church regularly, pay your tithe, and serve on the usher team. That’s good. But are you walking with God? Or are you “holding to a form of godliness, although you have denied it’s power?” (II Timothy 3:5)
The road to righteous Godliness is less traveled. Jesus said, “For the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14) The bottom line is, you have to make a choice. There is no middle ground. Barna wrote, “All are combatants who declare their side in the conflict through their words and actions. No gray area exists: you are either aligned with God, the champion of holiness and freedom, or Satan, the challenger promoting evil and enslavement.” There’s a line in an old Rush song called “Freewill,” that says, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” If you don’t pick up your sword and shield and march into this life in the Kingdom, then the enemy wins by default. If the Spirit of the Lord is not in you, and not leading your life, you’re a sitting duck. And worse, you’re of no use to the Kingdom at the moment. Jesus said, “so because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
That’s a pretty hard line isn’t it? Maybe. The point is this, I believe a season of God is moving upon the Church like we’ve not seen in a long time. And it is possible to sit there and miss the whole thing. True, God is tremendously patient with us. Paul said, “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience.” (I Timothy 1:16) But what a joy it is to be free in Christ, now. Really free! Freedom from all the garbage. And that is a joy and freedom you can have, now. But you have to choose. You have to decide to pick up your mat and walk. I rather like this narrow road. Tough, yes. But it’s an adventure. And it’s pretty darn exciting when you get right down to it. And it has made all the difference in my life.
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I see it over and over again.
Men wanting to live an authentic life. Waiting. And waiting.
Wanting the life they hear about, read about; life to the full … but it eludes them. Life seems more about managing and maintaining.
Jesus came to “heal the broken hearted,” he said. Restore and liberate. So let him.
The Heavenly life is available. Now.
The difficulty is that we don’t appreciate the fact that it takes a process.
A potentially long process.
Oswald Chambers says, “The curse with most of us is that we won’t.” It just feels too overwhelming. And where would we start anyway?
We’ve spent a lifetime getting to this place … it’s just going to take a while getting out of this place. One prayer doesn’t fix it. Neither does a bunch of religious activity.
Jesus invites us on a journey; a lifelong journey. One that takes us within our own soul, to the core of our life, our desires, our authenticity; our hearts.
His central mission as publicly stated in Luke 4:18 was to “… heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, (and) to set at liberty them that are bruised.” And He offers this to us.
He calls us to a journey into our own souls where we must enter the cavern of our lives with all it’s dark and scary places … all it’s wounds, fears, demons, and monsters … and asks us to open the lock we guard so tightly around our heart so He can come in and restore it. We must do it. He knocks at the door, but we must open it.
Imagine yourself as Indiana Jones – on a quest to the bowels of your own soul … “for behold,” Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you.” Journey there with Him – for you hold the keys. Take Him there and let Him in. Let Him do His work. Surrender. Surrender to His healing, delivering, sight restoring, liberating work. Go get your freedom. Loose the Kingdom inside. From there you can begin to live; live the authentic life. Healed, delivered, restored, and free.
Greg Tutwiler, www.ChristianCoachingForMen.com
The Masculine Journey Trail Guide
Release date; tentative late Fall 2014
Shoulda, coulda, woulda … I hate that saying. There’s nothing positive about it, at all. I think it should be listed as the definition of the word regret. What rings in your mind when you rattle those words?
Okay, so here’s the good part. It doesn’t have to end that way. Not yet. Don’t let shoulda, coulda, woulda become your epitaph. Seriously. Make a list right now. What are the things you’re thinking you should have done, could have done, or would have done? Perhaps it is too late for a few of them, but not all. As long as there’s breath, there’s hope. If you should have said you’re sorry, maybe you still can. If you could have taken your child to that movie, maybe you still can. If you would have … (fill in the blank).
Shoulda, coulda, woulda is past tense living. What can you do differently today? Choose the now, not yesterday. And realize that tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Make it your goal to arrive at your final days with those three cruddy words nowhere in site.
As men, our default mode when we get backed into a corner is to figure our own way out, right? Don’t we like to say, “I got this.” And sure, there’s a part of masculinity that affords us that confidence. But how often do we find ourselves not really knowing what to do about a situation? Usually it’s something delicate like a difficult conversation with our children, or our spouse – or navigating a job loss, or the implosion of our safety or comfort zones. But we dive in anyway, because we’re fixers, and often muck things up. Then we’re really in a pickle.
Yet, Jesus makes this statement; “… you of little faith? … seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:30)
Our first line of defense should be to seek counsel from the Holy Spirit; first. Not as an afterthought, but the first thing.
It adjusts our attitude towards the situation.
It sets the tone for the journey out of the situation.
And it calls Heaven into action on our behalf.
Plus, it will save you a lot of heart ache to do it God’s way, first.
Greg Tutwiler, CCLC/BCPC Christian Coaching For Men
I was reading in Ezekiel today about the Valley of Dry Bones. Boy… did I ever identify with it! Not on a physical level but at a much deeper, spiritual level.
This world has a way of wearing us (me) down, so much so that we get pressed into some shape we were never intended for; like those wind-blown trees you see at the beach, bending over as if the wind is at their back even when there is no wind. They have been battered by it for so long they assumed the shape. It’s not their nature to grow that way; it’s just that, over time, they fell victim to their circumstances.
Sometimes my brain feels the way those trees look. With the intensity of a hurricane there’s just too much of everything coming at me; too much news, too much sports, too much to worry about, too much to think about, too much to do and too much that I can’t control.
We’re bombarded with commercials, sales calls, time shares, “hash tag” this and “Facebook” that; texting, messaging, e-mailing, iPhone, smart phone, iPad, Think Pad, butt dials, LOL, OMG… good grief! What’s happening to us?
I see people all the time who are so addicted to their phones that they merge into 70 & 80 mile an hour traffic on the interstate while texting. On TV I see people behind home plate at major league baseball games (some really expensive seats) not watching the game but with faces and fingers glued to their smart phones. It makes me wonder just how smart this all really is.
It would seem that the war on our minds has taken on a new shape and with an amazing level of intensity.
I sound like I’m whining… but that it is not my purpose in writing this. My purpose is to remind us all that we need to live intentionally. By that I mean we have to take control of our lives and push out of the Matrix from time to time, and if for no other reason than to just reorient.
So, if you ever wonder why EveryManAlve is so intent on having our get-togethers around a fire-pit with a fine cigar and libations, this is why. Sometimes you just need to slow down, get off with some brothers and remember that we have a Father who loves us deeply. In the noise, this can be easily taken for granted or forgotten all together. But in the rich, deep draw of a dark leafed maduro cigar; preferably from the Dominican Republic, we are brought back to an even keel and for a little while all is right with the world.
If you ever find yourself too tired to join us, well… that is quite likely the time you should be there; sitting beneath a cloud of smoke that smells of leather, chocolate and coffee and sipping a glass of The Balvenie (no ice please).
These are the times where we are reminded of who we are, who our Father is and who our King is. It is where our strength is renewed. Revelation tells us that in the last days men will overcome the evil one and this rotten & broken world by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. That’s what this is about, enjoying each other’s company and relishing in the unity we have in the Spirit.
So join us, we will all be better men for having had the experience. We’ll be looking for you.
Stay strong and fight well; after all… we win!