I was struck in my reading of Mark’s gospel over the last few weeks that “For all the strong protestations of loyalty by the men (14:31) at the end it was the women who saw it through”. Ouch! William Booth who founded the Salvation army once said that his best men are the women.
Peter, one of my heroes, was a guy with foot in mouth disease. In Mark 14, Jesus predicts the guys will scarper and Peter as ever opens his mouth “Even though they fall away, I will not.” Jesus tells him he will deny three times before the cock crows twice. Peter answers again “If I must die with you, I will not deny you”. But in the end Peter does as Jesus predicts!
Why is that so many men talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Why is that the women are more active in the mission of the church than the average man? Perhaps the church is too chick-ified! Mark Driscoll in typically blunt fashion writes “There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity.” That’s the kind of quote that will upset people, I’m not sure I like it too much, but the sentiment that Jesus is a man’s man as well as being God is important.
Peter turned out all right in the end. He was the man most likely to stick his foot in it, he did run away and then swear that he didn’t know Jesus to a little girl by the fire, but he found grace, the power of the Spirit and a mission to die for.
Here’s 5 things for the guys to get manned up and get stuck in…
1) Receive the grace of God and don’t dwell in the past
Jesus poured out grace and forgiveness on Peter after the resurrection (John 21:15-19). Peter had blown it but Jesus forgave him, restore him and gave him a job to do. Receive the grace of God daily and forget the past, pressing on heavenwards. Thinking about past mistakes, hurts and failure will do you no good at all. In Christ you are forgiven. Start to think God’s thought – what He says in His word about you and you’ll be like Homer Simpson “Every time I learn something new the old stuff falls out”.
2)Don’t worry about whether the other guys are doing better than you.
In John 21:20f Peter turned and saw the disicple whom Jesus loved following them… he said to Jesus, “Lord what about this man?”. Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me?”
Peter wanted to know was going to happen with John – and Jesus’s answer was “What is that to you? You follow me?”. Don’t worry about how other men are doing and whether they are more successful than you. It won’t do you any good. Someone once prophecied over me that I was ploughing and field and don’t look left and right at the other ploughers, look ahead to Jesus. You turn where you are looking, so taking your eyes of Jesus and what He wants you to do, to compare with others, takes your eyes of what you are meant to be doing.
3) Be filled with the Spirit
Getting filled with the Spirit and staying filled was the game changer for Peter. Overnight he went from wally to world changer (Thanks Pete Cornford for that sermon in the 11-12s at stoneleigh!).
4) Lead yourself, your family and get active in your church
i) Lead yourself – Bill Hybels in Courageous Leadership reckons the hardest person to lead is yourself – he’s right. I reread 3 books to review how I am doing in the area of self leadership The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, Ordering your private world and Courageous Leadership.
ii) Lead your family – that’s our second most important leadership job for those who are married- building a strong marriage on good communication, servanthood, romance, fun and sex. Nurturing your kids if you have them – encouraging them, praying for them, switching off from work and gadgets and the TV to be with them.
iii) Get active in the local church. The church is not a footie match where 22,000 people in dire need of exercise watch 22 men in dire need of a rest. It is the hope the world and exists for the benefit who are not part of it. Stop being crictical and gossiping about it and get stuck in!
5) Be a word and spirit guy. When was the last time your kids caught you praying or studying Scripture? I’ve recently gone through CWR’s recent freebie “Getting the Best from the Bible” on the art of biblical meditation – I’ve got an A4 page of the next verses I want to learn so I can ponder them in the car, on the loo and out for a walk/cycle (or you never know) a jog!
Guys – let’s be like the post Pentecost Peter – man up and get stuck in!