Manhood – Part Two
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things
As you recall, we are talking about the development of men of God, generally in four stages that were: boyhood, manhood, fatherhood, and the age of the patriarch.
No matter how great our earthly family may have been, we are now part of the royal family of God, training for reigning with Jesus!
As always, we begin and end with the Word of God!
Training and discipline can develop our soul, forge our will, but the Word of God has the power to change our very heart motives….
that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you
Fathers in the faith, pray, for us to grow up spiritually, to embrace our manhood, to rise up to honor and responsibility in this fight of faith in this generation.
and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus
We teach our children the Scriptures, but it is our life of honor that they watch!
Back in the days when I used to pastor, we used to do a ‘passage of rites’ ceremony with young men and women between the ages of 13-18. I took the idea from a book I read by an author named Craig Hill, where he teaches on the development of boys into men: http://www.promisekeepers.org.nz/bar_mitzvah.html
I agree with Craig, as I have endeavoured to learn protocol, the traditions and cultures of the host peoples of North America, North American Indians. In many tribes, a boy becomes a brave or warrior, only after their initiation ceremony, where acts of bravery needed to be exhibited. In some tribes, a young man had to ‘count coup’ riding up to an enemy with his ‘coup stick’ and touching him without being killed, and riding away in victory, having ‘counted coup.’ In other tribes, there were ‘rites of passage’ ceremonies that included running through tunnels of pain, where seasoned warriors beat them with sticks, or culturally required acts of bravery, where they had to complete a vision quest, or spend a night blindfolded in the forest over night.
From what I understand in the Jewish Bar Mitzva ceremony, boys were expected to go to work with their fathers after school, to learn responsibility, earn money and learn how to manage it, and become men.
What we used to do, is plan ahead, and get either the fathers, uncles, grandparents or older men in a young man’s life to write a declaration of honor, love and respect to be read over the young man. We would tape a line on the carpet, and all the men in the church would come forward to the front side of the line. The young teens would stand on the outer side of the tape. I would read a proclamation declaring that this day, they were forever leaving boyhood, to become strong men of honor, embracing the risks and responsibilities of manhood in their community, standing strong for their families, against evil in society, as men. I would present them with some token of manhood (usually a pocket knife, although some dads gave firearms etc), and then had the prepared proclamations of blessing read over each one by their elders. I would then have them leave childhood forever, by stepping across the line. All of us men would then lay hands upon them and pray and proclaim blessing over each participant.
Saw dramatic change in young peoples lives! Young gangsters would suddenly leave criminal lifestyles, and often join cadets, or get job to help at home. Shoulders would square up, and chests would swell with pride, as they embraced the call to be men!
This is so needed today! With a 50-60% divorce rate in America, boys are not taught to be men, and we, the church must rise to the challenge, and become fathers to the fatherless, accepting, affirming, challenging, exhorting, and discipling and calling forth warriors of righteousness for this generation!
Whether it was the Jewish Bar Mitzvah ceremony, or getting ‘jumped into’ a street gang, it is clearly part of the process for boys to become men, warriors, through initiation ceremony by the men of the community or tribe.
Seems this has been forgotten in many sectors of North American society, but the hunger in the heart of every man will be fulfilled in battle, or the essential part of him dies…
So much can be said here, but I will say this, after years in Promise Keepers, my childhood growing up on military bases as the son of a military officer, or in the various men’s ministries in which I have participated over the years, that boys must become men! Sure warriors get wounded in battle, but the church is the army of God! We have an infirmary, and there should be no man left behind, but make no mistake about it, we are an army, the army of God, called and commissioned to fight!
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Recognizing the huge hole in this culture by fatherless families, I built and co-owned a construction company for many years simply, primarily, to take boys, and make men out of them.
Read a quote by another author I respect:
From a sermon entitled: ‘Fathered by God, by John Eldredge’
“In the lesson, John touched on some topics that he covered in his bestselling book Wild At Heart, such as answering the question that plagues all men: “Do I have what it takes?” But he also introduced six new stages of initiation that he has taken his boys through that have proved to be great steps for Christian discipleship.
According to Eldredge, all men have to go through these steps to become whole and holy men. It begins with “Boyhood,” where a boy learns that he is the “Beloved Son” and entirely delighted in by his father. Then, it moves into “Cowboy,” where the young man must experience adventure and danger (think: David’s teenage years of battling lions and bears as a shepherd). Following that, the boy becomes a “Warrior,” often leaving home to pursue a cause or a mission.
At roughly the same time (but hopefully not before) the man is learning that life is a battle, the Warrior must learn to fight for his beloved and become a “Lover,” but still remaining a warrior for the rest of his life. Many years later, with the right humility and direction, the Warrior-Lover becomes a “King.” That is, the man steps into true leadership and responsibility, guiding and directing the lives of others. And lastly, he finishes his latter years as a “Sage,” sharing his wisdom with other men and women, guiding them in their journey.”
If you haven’t read John’s book: Wild at Heart, I highly recommend it. http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Heart-Discovering-Secret-Mans-ebook/dp/B00527N04O/ref=dp_kinw_strp_exp_1_1
In short, John calls his stages of manhood by different names, but the principals are the same.
Let’s talk about the transition from boyhood to manhood for a minute.
I’ve noticed that boys all go through what John calls the ‘cowboy’ stage, warriorhood.
I watch young men race cars, ride bulls, become soldiers, martial arts experts, hunters, adventurers, because I believe God created all men with this natural ‘wild side’.
Becoming a man is becoming a warrior, developing courage under control. I watch young men all making their mark in the world, joining the military, oil industry, rodeo, construction, or any other rough and ready world. Testosterone going somewhere to happen, working long brutal hours in the face of real danger to life and limb, to make their mark on this generation.
Like David before confronting Goliath: 1 Samuel 17:29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
Yes, there is a cause! Freedom has never been free, just pick your battlefield, enlist in God’s army, and fight!
Whether in prayer, preaching, missions, business, education, military, cival services, finance, or media, truth is a sword, and there are battles to be fought.
No matter what stage you are at in your life, there are injustices to be confronted, but like the wise mentor of Willam Wallace in the movie ‘Braveheart’, ‘First the mind, then the sword!’
Get educated, skilled, and choose your battles wisely, so that as you fight, you fight to win!
Seemed when I had my construction company, I would have to throw a rope on those often unbroken wild men, and teach them respect, responsibility, faithfulness, dependability, keeping your word, craftsmanship, and directed work ethic, without breaking their spirit, and still keeping the fire in them!
I am raising up men of honor, respectful, full of honesty, integrity, excellence, but when they look you in the eye, they look right through you, because there is still fire and steel there!
I’ve noticed this about myself: if I go too long simply keeping the schedule, making the deadlines, and punching the clock, I get to feeling like a hamster on a treadmill: running hard, but going no where.
There must be some mountain to climb, race to run, adrenaline pumping fast machine to drive, water-skiing, or some other impossible task or death defying deed in my schedule, or I quietly die inside. Gone through months of numbness, physically showing up, but not really alive!
Do something radical! Go on a mission trip to a different country, language, culture – confront the oppression, the poverty, the ignorance and fight for the oppressed!
Maybe you are called as a soldier or law enforcement agent, to literally take on crime and the ‘bad guys’ on the front lines. Everyone hates a bully – don’t be one, but be strong enough to dethrone any merchandizing the weak – the drug lords, the child sex traffickers, the pimps and religious bullies who beat women and children. Dad served 32 years in the navy and his counsel is still valid:
Real Men don’t hit women, they stand strong in defense of women and children.
Ok, enough sharing for a bit, if I go longer, you won’t take time to read it.
I’m pretty big on action so here’s some things you can do:
- If you have never been affirmed as a man, take this article to your pastor men’s group, and have them first of all affirm you, and pray that God complete you as a man, a warrior, and eventually as a husband, father, and responsible member of society.
- If you had a dad (what a concept!), and you have been through a ‘passage of rites’ type of ceremony, create one in your community. Deliberately reach out to teens and young men, and call them to excellence, warriorhood, responsibility, and honor. If your pastor is not interested, organize some sort of men’s advance (the army of God never retreats), and get in touch with me, and I will come preach and lead it.
- Not sure what the next men’s movement in America is going to look like. Promise Keepers in its day was a powerful force for good, full gospel businessman had a day in the sun too. Whatever it’s called, get involved, and get your business, family, and church on board too. Manhood means excellence, honor, holiness – Man up!Father, I come before you today with my brother. I ask You Father to do for me, what no man can do: put into me all the things a perfect father would have if he could have. Pour into me the courage, boldness, affirmation, strength, passion and fire I need to radically impact my world, and restore to me all the things I never got growing up. Cause me to walk in honor, free from profanity, bullying, cowardice, perversion, pornography, lying, and develop in me an excellent spirit, strong in You and the power of Your might. I ask Father, knowing I am heard and answered, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen!”
Father, I come before you today with my brother. I ask You Father to do for me, what no man can do: put into me all the things a perfect father would have if he could have. Pour into me the courage, boldness, affirmation, strength, passion and fire I need to radically impact my world, and restore to me all the things I never got growing up. Cause me to walk in honor, free from profanity, bullying, cowardice, perversion, pornography, lying, and develop in me an excellent spirit, strong in You and the power of Your might. I ask Father, knowing I am heard and answered, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen!”
If forever reason, you have not come to God on His terms yet, here’s what He expects:https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-gospel-the-power-of-god/
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Give in faith!
1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown [the seed of] spiritual good among you, [is it too] much if we reap from your material benefits?
1 Corinthians 9:14 [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel.
Paul goes on to say, that he did not use his position as a minister of the gospel to take up offerings, rather he worked, making tents, to support himself. You might notice here, that Paul was not married, nor did he have children. Family responsibilities take time, and just as you bust a move on your job to provide for your family, I work every bit as hard, doing this, faithful to the Lord in prayer and the ministry of His Word, to you.
I will never charge for this: it my responsibility to God, my calling. Freely I have been given, now, I freely give…
As you give, hear Holy Spirit what to give, and honestly expect God to reward you for your giving.
Matt 10: 41 He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward.
I have ‘see through’ faith for you, in this: Gal 3: 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
I believe I have a responsibility before God to be like Jesus, in every offering I receive. I receive it with thanksgiving, just like Jesus did the little boys lunch.
Then, because I walk and live by faith according to the blessing of Abraham, I believe that God will take your seed sown, and multiply it, according to what the blessing of Abraham promises:
Genesis 22:17 In blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed (Heir) will possess the gate of His enemies
It has been a joy to me, to see the hand of the living God act in the lives of those of you who have supported us this year!
Many have seen tremendous blessing come into your households, and for this we give thanks, and give Jesus all the glory!