2013 MAN IN THE MIRROR ANNUAL SUMMIT
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Table of Contents April/May/June 2013
q Investing in Men by Brett Clemmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 q How Are Men Doing? by David Delk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 q Is It Working? by Brett Clemmer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 q Accelerants for Men's Discipleship by Pete Alwinson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 q New for Easter! Is Christianity for You? by Patrick Morley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 q Go and Make Disciples! Meet John Williams and Jeff Kisiah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 q The Area Directors Speak Out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
q Equipping Your Men’s Small Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 q How to Use This Devotional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 q Resource Catalog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
q April 2013 Devotions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 q May 2013 Devotions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 q June 2013 Devotions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Special thanks to Dave and Rose Wertheim for writing the devotions on pages 34–36. Dave Wertheim is an author, consultant, pastor, and on the teaching faculty at Man in the Mirror and William Jessup University. His wife, Rose, is a frequent speaker at women’s retreats and an artist who creates Scripture inspired artwork. Dave and Rose have been happily married for thirty-five years and have three adult children. Follow the One-Year Bible reading plan by reading the daily Scripture at the end of each devotion. To see the complete reading plan, go to oneyearbibleonline.com. At the end of many of the devotionals you will find an abbreviation for a resource that expands on the devotional material. For more information about the Man in the Mirror Bible Study (MIMBS) go to maninthemirror. org/archives/categories. :MIMBS 1—A Man's Guide to the Bible :MIMBS 2—A Hot Head :MIMBS 3— Hanging Out With Jesus :MIMBS 4— Paul's Passion :MIMBS 5—Empowered by the Holy Spirit :MIMBS 6—Fierce Love of God
:MIMBS 7—Manhood like Gold :MIMBS 8—Make a Difference ALM 50—Solomon’s Secret ALM 86—A Theology & Philosophy of Men’s Ministry ALM 135—Disciple Making Church
Equipping the Man in the Mirror: April/May/June 2013, Vol. 8, No. 2 Publisher: Man in the Mirror, Inc. • CEO: Patrick Morley • Executive Editors: David Delk and Brett Clemmer Publication Manager: Lucy Blair • Art Director: Cathleen Kwas • Writers: Lucy Blair and Ruth Ford Office: 180 Wilshire Blvd., Casselberry, Florida 32707 Phone: 800-929-2536 • Fax: 407-331-7839 • Web site: maninthemirror.org Copyright © 2013 by Patrick Morley and Man in the Mirror, Inc. All rights reserved. Subscription Information: One year—$25. Two years—$43. For reprint requests or bulk subscriptions call 407-472-2100 or send an email to EQMIM@maninthemirror.org and ask for reprint permissions. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. SAll rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. Scripture marked nkjv taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Leaders, take your men on the Journey to Biblical Manhood, a flexible process that churches can customize to disciple all their men—not just the ones who will attend men’s-only activities. 3312 Challenges addressing key areas of a man’s life
33Based on the No Man Left Behind Model*
33Step-by-step instructions and timelines for leaders
33Subscription- and web-based for easy use by your leaders
33Free logos, graphics, promotional videos, and templates
33Based on Man in the Mirror’s 25+ years of experience with thousands of churches.
33Free coaching from Man in the Mirror 33Free resources and ideas to make each challenge “all-inclusive” 33Customizable assessments for your men
*Churches that have implemented the No Man Left Behind Model report that in an average of just two and a half years, they had 48% more men attending church, and 84% more men involved in discipleship activities.
Ready to start the Journey with your men? Go to journeytobiblicalmanhood.org.
Investing in Men
by Brett Clemmer, Vice President of Man in the Mirror
“The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense.” —A.W. Tozer Never has this seemed truer than today. The rhetoric of self-determination and moral deconstruction is all around us. Many in our culture are enamored with “enlightened” views that dismiss concepts like absolute truth, moral purity, and sacrificial love as quaint and out of touch. So, in light of this new “open-mindedness,” how are men doing? Frankly, the news isn’t good. By most measures—spiritual, educational, economic, and social—men are suffering. David Delk’s article, The State of Men in America, shows why it’s more important than ever that we invest in the lives of men. Everyone pays the consequences when men fail. How is Man in the Mirror addressing these turbulent times? By investing in the church—the best hope the world has of re-grasping the power and love of a benevolent God. The church is a hospital for men with broken wings, a training ground for those seeking truth, and an armory for those who would put on armor and battle for truth. There are three arrows in the “quiver” of tools that Man in the Mirror is providing to churches. First, since 2002, we’ve provided proven leadership training and principles through No Man Left Behind. The results? Churches trained and implementing the principles report an 84 percent increase in the number of men being discipled in just two and a half years. Next, the Journey to Biblical Manhood gives churches a flexible tool to implement the principles of No Man Left Behind by taking their men through 12 Challenges. One feature of the Journey is a built-in mechanism to measure the success of your efforts. Read about the Plan & Assess step in the article on page 7, Is It Working? Recognizing that most men’s discipleship leaders are men with families and jobs outside of the church that take the majority of their time, we’re enlisting 330 Area Directors around the country to act as coaches and consultants to local churches as they disciple men. Read more from and about these men in several articles this issue. We’re also excited to announce a brand new book from Patrick Morley, Is Christianity for You? You can get these books to give to church visitors and seekers you know through Books! by the Box. Read an excerpt from the book on page 9. Finally, as we celebrate the Accelerate Summit in late February, Pete Alwinson gives some practical advice on accelerating your ministry on page 8. And of course, you’ll find three months of powerful devotions written just for men. A great tool for personal study or small groups. With you in the Great Adventure,
How Are Men Doing?
The State of Men in America by David Delk
You probably know the story of Chicken Little, who felt an acorn land on his head and began to tell all the animals he saw, “The sky is falling.” Of course the sky wasn’t falling, and Chicken Little’s hysterics caused all sorts of mischief. But what if the sky is falling? How would you warn the other animals? In this article, I’m going to argue that in many ways, for men in America, the sky IS falling. But I’m not going to scream hysterically in all caps. Instead, I’m going to present some of the data and let you decide for yourself. I won’t present a lot of conclusions; I’m hoping we can work to find those together over the next few months. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant areas of a man’s life and see how we are doing.
Work How would you say men are doing in their work? Let’s look at the data. In 1948, 89 percent of men age 20 and over were in the workforce. In 2011, that dropped to 73 percent. What has happened to that 16 percent? Many of them are taking disability. In 1960, 0.65 percent of economically active 18to 64-year-olds received disability benefits. By 2010, it was up to 5.6 percent. And the trend is going the wrong way. Between 1996 and 2011, the private sector generated 8.8 million new jobs, and 4.1 million people entered the disability rolls. And now it’s getting even worse. Between January 2010 and December 2011, there were 1,730,000 new jobs, but 790,000 new people collecting disability. This is affecting young men in startling numbers. In 2011, 15 percent of disability recipients were in their 30s or early 40s.1 Young men are also finding it harder than ever to break ties and function on their own. Nearly 20 percent of men, age 25 to 34, live with their parents today, 5 percentage points more than in 2005.2
Marriage How would you rate men in America in the area of marriage? There’s actually mixed data when it comes to marriage in America. First, the good news. The divorce rate today—3.6 divorces per year per one thousand married couples— is at its lowest level since 1970. Sometime in the 1980s, the rate of divorces peaked and then started to decline, and it continues to decline today. 3
www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/12/03/men_find_careers_in_collecting_disability_116308.html money.cnn.com/2011/11/04/pf/young_adults/index.htm?iid=HP_LN 3 www.nber.org/digest/nov07/w12944.html 1 2
While sociologists and statisticians debate all the reasons for this decline, at least part of it seems attributable to the bad news: much fewer people are actually getting married today. Among all adult Americans age 18 and older, the percentage that are married dropped from 57 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2009. This is the lowest percentage since marital status was first collected more than a century ago.4 And this is affecting young people and the poor in disproportionate ways. In 1960, twothirds (68 percent) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26 percent were. In 1960, the gap in marriage rates between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less were just four percentage points (76 percent vs. 72 percent). By 2008, there was a 16 percentage point gap (64 percent vs. 48 percent). Why is it important for men to get married and stay married (unless called to singleness)? Because the ripple effects of not marrying are devastating. First, the share of babies born to unmarried women has risen from 5 percent in 1960 to 41 percent in 2008. Among black women giving birth in 2008, 72 percent were unmarried. This compares to 53 percent of Hispanic women and 29 percent of white women.5 So a lack of marriage gives rise to single parenting. The proportion of U.S. children who live in a single parent household has more than doubled since 1970, from approximately 12 percent to 28 percent.6 And single parenting puts children at risk. While it’s still true that most children of single parents turn out fine, “25 percent of youths from divorced families in comparison to 10 percent from non-divorced families did have serious social, emotional, or psychological problems." Other research suggests that the children of never-married single parents tend to do somewhat worse than children of divorced single parents.7 For example, boys raised in single-parent households were more than twice as likely to be incarcerated than boys raised in an intact, married home, even after controlling for differences in income, education, race, and ethnicity. The dropout rate for children in singlemother families is twice as high as the rate for children in two-parent families. They also have lower grades and poorer attendance at school. And as adults, they are less likely to graduate from college and more likely to become single parents themselves.8 The real issue is that when fathers and families fail to transmit values and beliefs, future generations pay the price (see Psalm 78).
Faith How would you say men in America are doing in the area of faith? In 1991, 42 percent of men attended a church service—other than an event such as a wedding or funeral—during the week prior to the survey. By 2009, the percentage was 36 percent. Volunteering at church during a typical week has also declined since 1991 from 24 percent to 18 percent. www.prb.org/Articles/2010/usmarriagedecline.aspx www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/11/18/the-decline-of-marriage-and-rise-of-new-families/ www.healthymarriageinfo.org/download.aspx?id=1799 7 www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/07/single_motherhood_worse_for_children_.html 8 www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199605/double-the-trouble 4 5 6
Continued on page 58
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Is It Working?
The Journey to Biblical Manhood Assessment Strategy Have you ever looked up a route on an online map? There are two critical pieces of information you need to chart the best path: your starting point and your destination. That’s why the first “stride” in any of the 12 Challenges in the Journey to Biblical Manhood is to Plan & Assess.
Directions To Here, Directions From Here The two components of this initial stage of a challenge let you define both of these important factors. The Faith & Life Objectives communicate to men the destination for the challenge. They answer the questions: What will I learn? What beliefs will we look at? What will I do? We’ll talk about the Faith & Life Objectives in a future piece. In this article, we will discuss the pre- and post-challenge Assessments. The pre-challenge Assessment helps you determine where the men of your church are spiritually and practically in the areas related to the challenge. What do men know and believe right now? What are they doing currently? Where are we right now? Knowing where your men are starting from is critical to determining the effectiveness of your efforts; you’ll conduct a post-challenge Assessment at the end to compare results. It can also help shape the way you implement the challenge itself, showing you needed areas of emphasis, for example.
How Does the Assessment Work? Subscribers to the Journey can download a suggested pre-Assessment form directly from the website. The questions on the form correspond to the suggested Faith & Life Objectives—or goals—for each challenge. You can edit both the Faith & Life Objectives and the Assessment to make it work for your church. As the saying goes, inspect what you expect. In other words, you want to make sure you are measuring the right knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. This means that, should you edit the Faith & Life Objectives, you need to also adjust the Assessment accordingly. Just as every man in the church should receive a Faith & Life Objectives card, every man in the church should fill out an Assessment form as well. The best strategy for getting guys to fill them out is to have them do it on the spot. Some ideas include distributing the forms during a worship service and collecting them in the offering plate; providing a box in the lobby; giving guys a gift for turning them in at a men’s table (like a book from the Books! by the Box program); collecting them in Sunday School classes and small groups; or collecting them on ministry teams. The goal is to get as many back as possible. Continued on page 29
Accelerants for Men’s Discipleship by Pete Alwinson
Accelerate: “to move more quickly.” In physics, increasing velocity. Apparently it wasn’t until the early 16th century that people in the western world began to think of moving faster because the Latin verb “accelerare” (ad=toward + celer=swift) didn’t come into usage until then. We’ve been going faster ever since. We want our discipleship ministries to men to pick up speed too. We want them to attract more men, influence more families, build stronger churches, break strongholds in our culture and glorify God. As the men of the church goes, so goes the church. A church will never grow past the quality level of its men. I live and breathe that mantra. Let’s get on with it! Speed, of course, is potentially dangerous. It has often gotten me into trouble because velocity of action diminishes listening and team building. In building a Men’s Ministry Leadership Team you can run off the thinkers, the planners, the quality assurance guys. Shoddy ministry doesn’t bring guys back the next time. Some of us can be so addicted to speed that we don’t bring the Lord or quality into our discipleship approaches to men. In praise of accelerating Men’s Discipleship in our churches however, I offer these accelerants to you for consideration:
44 Knowledge: “Watch the climate, don’t worry about the weather,”
someone said. What’s the climate of your church when it comes to men? What are our men really like? What is American culture really like right now at the beginning of the 21st century when it comes to men? Is Hanna Rosen right? Is this the era of the “End of Men and the Rise of Women”? Jesus knew His church (Rev. 1-3); Paul knew his churches (I Thess.1). When you know what your men are really like, then you can minister to the men you have, not the men you think you have.
44 Perspective: In antiquity Memento Mori art included pictures of skulls and skeletons to motivate people to live a good and meaningful and virtuous life. Those Latin words mean, “Remember that you will die.” Great perspective. Paul in Philippians had the same focus. He would rather depart and be with Christ but knew he had to stay on the planet for the spiritual welfare of his people. “Fruitful labor” he called it. It seems like just yesterday that I was 21. Today I’m…wiser. Perspective of the need to reach men plus the shortness of time is a ministry accelerant.
44 Identity: If you are called to men’s discipleship and you know it, and you know your worth is not in how effective you are but that you
Continued on page 29
Is Christianity for You?
by Dr. Patrick Morley Churches are often full on Easter Sunday. Man in the Mirror is releasing a new book just in time for churches to give to visitors and regular attenders on Easter. Is Christianity for You? is written to seekers and skeptics, people who have honest questions and doubts about Christianity. From the book:
New for Easter
A man [was] out for a hike on a cold winter day. He came to a river that appeared to be frozen over. But since he was unfamiliar with the area, he didn’t know how thick the ice was. Naturally, he was afraid that if he walked out he might fall through. So he got down on his stomach and slowly began to inch his way out onto the ice. When he had crawled near the middle of the river, the air began to tremble as he heard a rumbling sound draw closer and closer. Suddenly a wagon with four horses at a full gallop shot over the crest of the riverbank, thundered across the river, and then disappeared over the ridge on the other side. You can imagine how foolish he felt. It’s difficult to trust something we don’t know much about, isn’t it? The man lying on the ice had difficulty trusting the ice because he didn’t know much about the river. But it isn’t odd he felt that way. What would have been odd is if he had walked up to an unfamiliar frozen river and confidently stepped out on it.
It’s completely understandable that a lot of genuine, sincere people have honest doubts and questions about Christianity.
Frankly, a lot of people feel this same lack of confidence about what they believe— and they don’t like it one bit. It’s completely understandable that a lot of genuine, sincere people have honest doubts and questions about Christianity. You may be one of them.
The purpose of this book is to help you answer the questions, “Is Christianity for me?” and “Can I examine Christianity rationally and determine whether it is a belief system that is true?” I believe the answer to both of these questions is “Yes.” You will find nothing new or novel in these pages. Everything I’ll say comes directly out of the tradition of classic, historic, orthodox Christianity. It is intended to give you the feeling of a solid mass across which you can safely walk—not thin ice. Adapted from Is Christianity for You? by Dr. Patrick Morley Copyright ©2013 by Man in the Mirror Press. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this adaptation may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Is Christianity for You? is the first book ever released in the Books by the Box! program before you can get it in bookstsores! Plus, it's just $39 for 48 books! bythebox.org
Go and Make Disciples! Meet John Williams and Jeff Kisiah (Coach K)
The Man in the Mirror Summit is always a wonderful time with leaders, pastors and men from around the country who share the passion for discipling men. This year’s Summit held even more excitement. It was the first time our Area Directors would gather as a group and meet face-toface. Man in the Mirror now has over 50 Area Directors in 27 states! One of those Area Directors is John Williams. He is the Area Director for the Florida’s First Coast Coalition for Men’s Discipleship. He and his wife, Terry, Florida’s First live in Palm Coast, Coast Coalition Florida, close to all of their children and grandchildren. John retired from Lockheed Martin a few years ago where he was responsible for all business operations functions on various programs. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of South Florida. Following his retirement, John became the Spiritual Development Pastor at Parkview Baptist Church in Palm Coast, Florida. John finished raising the budget for his Coalition and came on full time on January 1.
In mid-February, Jeff Kisiah (Coach K) joined Man in the Mirror as the new National Director, overseeing all of the Area Directors. He’s a long-time friend, supporter and former board member of Man in the Mirror and a relentless warrior in the battle for men’s souls. Jeff and his wife, Candie, live in Charlotte, NC, and have two grown children and one granddaughter. Coach K just finished serving as Associate Pastor at Harvest Church in Charlotte, where he led multiple mission and service trips to Mexico, Serbia, Guatemala, and the Gulf Coast. While he is a Bible College graduate and has attended seminary, he approaches ministry from a “coaching grid,” which he has used with many churches he has helped implement the No Man Left Behind model. His coaching will be of tremendous value to all of our Area Directors. More than 50 other men are in the process of raising funds as Area Directors for Man in the Mirror, and we need more. If you are interested in a career in men’s discipleship, or know someone who might be, please visit areadirectors.org for more information to begin the process. Full- and part-time opportunities are available.
Equipping Your Men’s Small Group
Get all your men engaged in the regular study of God’s Word by using this magazine as a small group tool. At the end of each week’s devotions, you’ll see a box containing discussion questions and exercises. These can form the basis of your time together. These pages supplement those questions with additional steps. If you use this magazine with your men this quarter you will have:
has to say about a learn what God to le ib B e th d ie ✔✔Stud to you. subject of interest ery day of one in God’s Word ev e tim d en sp to Committed
week. en goal. to a new God-giv lf se ur yo d te ca ✔✔Dedi d asked God to ger in your life an an of es tim ed ✔✔Identifi r. help heal that ange one this tment with some in po ap ne vi di a r ✔✔Asked God fo week. days. ge Prayer for 21 ✔✔Prayed the Marria starts with r discipleship that fo n pla le tt ba a ✔✔Developed your group. derful grace of n of what the won tio rip sc de a en tt ✔✔Wri God means to you. e Holy Spirit the week that th of g in rn mo ch ✔✔Prayed ea d through you. would work in an imporremind you of the to 11 , 10 9: 11 ✔✔Memorized Psalm ng God’s Word. tance of memorizi u lessons about life who taught yo ur yo in e on me so ✔✔Honored od. being a man of G ward the goal of y to draw men to it tiv ac an d ne an ✔✔Pl discipleship. e, adoration and ng God the prais vi gi er ay pr in e ✔✔Spent tim . glory He deserves Continued on page 12
Small Group Guide continued from page 11
q 4/1-4/6: In this week’s devotions, you’ll focus on the importance of
making the Bible part of your daily life. SAS (Suggested Application Step): Pick a topic that you would like to learn more about in the Bible. Go to Biblegateway.com and type in that word or phrase in the topic section. Read some of the passages and see what God’s Word says about them.
q 4/7-4/13: These devotions teach you about the power and purpose of God’s Word. SAS: Romans 15:4 (NLT) says, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Commit at least 15 minutes, five days this week to reading His Word, listening to Him through it, and meditating on what you have read. Come back next week ready to share what you learned through that experience. q 4/14-4/20: In this week of devotions you’ll see that apart from God,
life has no meaning. SAS: What is one goal that you achieved in life? Was it a goal that came from God or some other source? What is a goal or dream that you’ve felt God has wanted you to achieve? In groups of two, share that goal with one another. Give some suggestions as to how you might go about pursuing that goal and close by praying for each other’s commitment toward that goal. From last week, what did your daily time in God’s Word mean to you?
q 4/21-4/27: Our devotional theme this week is the devastation that anger can have on your life and the lives of those around you. SAS: From the devotional on page 26, what is the difference between getting angry and being an angry man? Do you desire to deal with anger in a healthy way? Take note over the next week of the times when anger rises inside of you. Ask God to show you the heart issues beneath your anger and the path to repentance. q 4/28-5/5: This week your men will learn the difference between what you
may want or need and what God’s plan is for you. SAS: Part of God’s plan is to give you divine appointments (such as Pat described on page 33) for you. Does your daily life give you the time, energy and awareness for an interruption that God has planned? How can you be more prepared for those divine appointments? (Eating lunch at the park, riding the bus home or a little extra time at the gym.) Ask God for an opportunity to minister to someone this week.
q 5/6-5/12: These devotionals remind you of the components of a healthy and loving marriage relationship. SAS: The Marriage Prayer (by Patrick Morley and David Delk) suggests you pray the following for your wife for the next 21 days. Father, I said, “Til Death do I part” – I want to mean it. Help me love You more than her, and her more than anyone or anything else. Help me bring her into Your presence today. Make us one, like You are three in one. I want to hear her, support her and serve her—So she would love You more and we can bring You glory. Amen. Are you willing to do that? 12
q 5/13-5/19: This week you’ll look at the value of discipleship and the battle
to win men’s souls. SAS: Spend a few minutes discussing how your church is involved in discipleship. Now discuss the battle plan laid out on page ___. On a white board or large sheet of paper, begin to explore ways the group can engage in the battle for men’s souls. Take one concrete step to implement or support a discipleship effort with some men.
q 5/20 – 5/26: This week’s devotionals address the wonder of God’s grace.
SAS: Ephesians 3:8 reads, “Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” (NLT) This is Paul’s description of what grace meant to him. Write a description of who you were when Christ saved you and what grace means to you. Share those with the group.
q 5/27-6/2: These devotions remind you that the Holy Spirit is doing a powerful work in you and through you. SAS: Ask each man to describe a time when they have felt the “nudge” of the Holy Spirit. Discuss the common denominators of those stories. Spend a few minutes opening up your heart, schedule, family, work and relationships to the nudges of the Holy Spirit. Pray that same prayer each morning this week and ask Him work in and through you. q 6/3-6/9: This week you’ll see the importance of getting to know God through spending time with Him and hiding His Word in your heart. SAS: Over this next week, memorize these verses: “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:10, 11 nkjv. q 6/10-6/16: These devotions help you allow God to mold you into a true
man of God. SAS: As a group, discuss the characteristics of a man of God. Who has been that example of a man of God in your life? Take time this week to honor that man. Write a note, invite him to lunch, share the impact he had on your life with someone else who loves him.
q 6/17 – 6/23: This week you learn that God calls us to both evan-
gelism and disciple. SAS: God has called us to evangelize and discipleship. What activities have you been to that involved either evangelism or discipleship? What kind of activity could you host with a goal of discipleship? Discuss an activity for that purpose and what follow-up steps would have to be taken.
q 6/24-6/30: The theme of these devotions is to remind you of your ultimate
goal of giving glory to God. SAS: We often spend our prayer time with God intervening for others and asking Him to heal, change or fix a problem. God desires to hear all of those but giving Him glory is the ultimate goal. Let’s be intentional about that as a group and spend a few minutes in prayer giving God glory. Try to keep this time to just thanking Him and praising Him.
How to Use This Devotional To make the most of Equipping the Man in the Mirror, we have dissected a devotional so you donâ€™t miss any aspect of the magazine (see below).
One-year Bible daily reading
Discussion/ journal questions
Monday—April 1 • God's Enduring Word Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
Obviously the Bible was not originally written in a contemporary language like English or Spanish. Yet we read Bibles translated into the languages of our hearts and minds. This happened through a process of scholarship and discovery that provides an unbroken chain from the original manuscripts to our Scriptures today. The first Biblical translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, communicated in Greek the passages originally written in Hebrew. This was the Bible used at the time of Jesus and His disciples. Many translations followed, from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, which was the Bible of the Middle Ages, to Erasmus’ first printed Greek New Testament, to Luther’s
German translation of Scripture, and the King James Version, all the way up to the many translations available today. Today’s translations rely heavily on profoundly accurate texts. Scholars agree that we have recovered just about all the words of the original manuscripts. One scholar even said all the remaining concerns about accuracy would amount to about a half page in a 500-page Bible. You can read your Bible with a tremendous level of assurance that your text is reliable. MIMBS 1 Have you ever heard people challenge the reliability of the Bible? How does it help you to know that the Bible is so reliable? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 18:1–20:20, Luke 9:28–50, Psalm 73:1–28, Proverbs 12:10
Tuesday—April 2 • The Need for Translating the Bible But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” Genesis 11:5-7
Genesis 11 describes a time when everyone in the world spoke the same language. They got together and decided to build a huge tower to prove how great they were. God stopped them by confusing their language. And when they couldn’t communicate anymore, they scattered and stopped building the city. We have a term to describe that kind of scattering. We call it a diaspora. We apply that term, for instance, to the scattering of the Jewish nation that happened through 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, sending them to “be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth” (Acts
1:8). Just as the people of the world have dispersed and become separate peoples with separate languages, so Jesus sent His disciples out with instructions to teach people God’s Word. Because of the Great Commission, there needs to be great translation. MIMBS 1 How would your life be different if you did not have the Bible in language that you can understand and apply? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 21:1–22:30, Luke 9:51–10:12, Psalm 74:1–23, Proverbs 12:11
Wednesday—April 3 • Treasuring Your Bible The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8
I heard about a man in Kansas City who was badly injured by an explosion. His face was disfigured, and he went blind. Tragically, he lost his hands as well, so learning Braille seemed impossible. This man had recently become a Christian, and he missed reading Scripture. This man heard about a woman in England who learned to read Braille with her lips. He ordered a Braille Bible. With great anticipation, he pressed his lips to the pages, but because of his injuries, his lips had lost their sensitivity. He was tempted to despair, but he kept trying. One day he accidently touched the pages with his tongue,
and he found he could feel the raised dots of the Braille. This man missed his Bible so much, that he learned to read it with his tongue. When I first heard about him, he had used his tongue to read his Bible coverto-cover four times. I pray that I would love the Scriptures as much as this man MIMBS 1 How important is being able to read the Bible for you personally? Do you wish it was more important to you? Why? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 23:1–25:19, Luke 10:13–37, Psalm 75:1–10, Proverbs 12:12–14
Thursday—April 4 • Which Version is Right for You?
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 Translation makes God’s Word accessible so we can read it and intentionally cooperate with God’s plan. In contemporary English, many good versions are available. I use the King James Version, the New American Standard Version, the New International Version or the New Living Translation. In comparing passages, I’ve found they offer different ways to say the same thing. We are blessed with many translations of God’s Word. With websites like biblegateway.com, you can access many of them for free. We’ve all heard the illustration of a man who thought he was drowning. He was flailing around in the water near the shore, and a crowd was gathering. The people were
yelling, “Stand up!” They knew something the man didn’t know—the water was only four feet deep. A lot of people are flailing around in life. If they just had the perspective of God’s Word, they’d be able to stand. Find a good translation that you understand, and then read it. It will give you something solid to stand on. MIMBS 1 Have you found a version of Scripture that you can read with understanding? If so, why do you like it? If not, will you make a plan to try various versions until you find one God uses to speak to your heart? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1–27:26, Luke 10:38–11:13, Psalm 76:1–12, Proverbs 12:15–17
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—April 5, 6, 7 • Gaining Perspective I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death . . . Philippians 3:10 A few years ago, I met an out-of-town man for breakfast. He was of retirement age, unemployed, with first and second mortgages on two homes. He and his wife were constantly fighting. He said, “I have a twomillion dollar life insurance policy. I’ve decided to take my own life.” I asked him, “Why are you here?” He wasn’t sure. I said, “It’s pretty clear you’ve lost hope, and I think it’s because you have no plan.” I introduced him to Philippians 3:10 (see above). I explained that, from a Biblical perspective, his sufferings are a precious gift from God. They are God’s Word translated into the language of pain. Sometimes that type of communication will drive us to find God’s perspective, which we find in Scripture. I told that man I could not define God’s will for him, but I certainly could outline what I would do in the same situation. I laid out a plan for selling both homes and consolidating the resulting money to buy one townhome. I suggested that he get a job to
show his wife he was willing to work. Color returned to his face as he wrote down the plan. A few weeks later I received an email. That man was reading his Bible regularly, and he described some things he was learning and re-learning. Not only had his hope been restored, but he was already reaching out to others who seemed depressed! What changed him? He became confident that his Bible really was God’s Word to him. God’s Word was making him alive, and was re-creating him as an agent of Christ’s love. MIMBS 1 With some brothers, share some biblical lessons that have changed your perspective. Who do you know that could use a new perspective based on Biblical principles? How can you help them engage with God’s Word? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1–32:27, Luke 11:14–12:34, Psalm 77:1–78:55, Proverbs 12:18–23
For Your Small Group
❏❏ April 1–6: Make a list of what the Bible means to you (ex. God’s Word, Guide Book, Daily Devotional, history book, etc.). •• Are those ideas something that you were taught or did you learn them on your own? •• What is the most important thing you have learned from the Bible? •• How would you encourage someone else to make the Bible part of their daily life?
Monday—April 8 • A Recurring Theme When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. Psalm 106:7-8
Consider the Bible from God’s perspective. He created us, and He wanted to commune with us. Sin interfered with that relationship, but it didn’t dampen His desire to fellowship with us. God knew finite beings could not entirely comprehend His infinite nature. So He inspired many people to write a book. He wanted to incorporate within that book’s pages His invitation to return to relationship with Him. When people write books, they normally start with some sort of purpose statement, or a problem that they propose to solve. The verses from Psalm 106 above relate to a specific people in a specific place, yet they also communicate Scripture’s recurring
theme: they capture the essence of man’s rebellion and God’s loving response. From beginning to end, whether it’s recording history, prophesying the future, or providing a guide for the present, the Bible communicates God’s desire for relationship. MIMBS 1 Why do you think God is so intentional about repeating His desire for relationship throughout Scripture? How does that affect your view of God? For instance, does it make Him seem more personal? How have you responded? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 32:28–52, Luke 12:35–59, Psalm 78:56–64, Proverbs 12:24
Tuesday—April 9 • Inspired Answers God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. Exodus 6:2-5
The Bible is a collection of 66 books given by God to 40 human authors over thousands of years. God didn’t “dictate” Scripture verbatim, but He allowed each author to show his own personality, expressing God’s thoughts in words that addressed the needs of his own generation. Exodus 6 shows that God chose to reveal Himself to Moses in a different way than He did to Abraham. That doesn’t mean He was a different God, or He had changed in some way. It just means He was progressively revealing answers to issues being considered at specific times. Through the entirety of Scripture, God progressively revealed inspired answers to a handful of mysteries, replying to overarching questions like these: Who is God? Who is man? What is the nature of the relationship between God and man? Why is life so
hard? What happens when I die? But the Bible answers those questions by constantly repeating a few major themes. Scripture records the history, predicts the future, and guides the present of our relationship with God who is our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Sustainer. MIMBS 1 Do you really believe the Bible addresses life’s overarching questions? Does your desire to read the Bible demonstrate this? Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 33:1–29, Luke 13:1–21, Psalm 78:65–72, Proverbs 12:25
Wednesday—April 10 • The Bible’s Chronology
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4 The Bible records a chronology of God’s actions beginning with creation. After that comes the flood (Noah), the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc.), the period of Egyptian slavery, the exodus and the conquest of Canaan. After that you have the period of the Judges and then the kings, with Israel’s increasing wickedness, the Babylonian captivity and exile, and then the return to rebuild the temple. After 400 years of silence come the events recorded in the gospels with Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, the birth of the early church, and then the missions era with Paul and his team evangelizing and planting churches throughout the Roman empire. All that history was recorded over about 1400 years. Scripture also can be categorized by type of literature. The Bible includes historical data, prophetic information, books of
poetry and wisdom, and declaration or teaching. Here’s the amazing thing: over all that time, and through each type of literature, God’s purpose is to encourage us by repeating His desire to be in relationship with His people. MIMBS 1 Today’s passage says the purpose of Scripture is to teach us and encourage us to persevere. How does the overarching theme of God’s desire for relationship with you help you to do that? Share your thoughts with your group. Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 34:1–Joshua 2:24, Luke 13:22–14:6, Psalm 79:1:1–13, Proverbs 12:26
Thursday—April 11 • Overarching Theme The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15
The Bible repeatedly shows God as our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. Paul applies those descriptions to Jesus. He said that in Jesus: all things were created; all things hold together; and we have peace with God, because Jesus shed His blood on the cross. Paul goes on to explain that we all were alienated from God, but Christ’s physical death made us “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation . . . ” (Colossians 1:22). The Bible repeats themes in different ways so we can see how they apply to different people in different times and different
situations. When you really read the Bible, you see how all the pieces relate to each other. There is a sublime excellency to Scripture, because it is so fully integrated. The entire Bible teaches about the power of God’s name, and it releases His spiritual energy in our lives as we feed on His Word. MIMBS 1 Paul says Jesus is at the center of everything. Do you typically actively recognize this during your day? Why or why not? Daily Reading: Joshua 3:1–4:24, Luke 14:7–35, Psalm 80:1–19, Proverbs 12:27–28
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—April 12, 13, 14 • The Holy Spirit “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:25-26 When we read and study Scripture, we can trust the Holy Spirit to teach us how it applies to our daily lives. I heard about a pastor with an unusual accent, because he was from England and then lived in New Orleans. One day he saw a young, disheveled couple in a grocery store. He had been reading his Bible, and he felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to approach the man. The pastor took all the money from his wallet. He walked behind the man and said, “Please don’t turn around. Because God’s power is at work in my life, I’ve been prompted to give you a gift. I don’t know why, but I’m doing this in the name of Jesus.” He slipped the money into the man’s hand and walked away. That man never saw the pastor’s face. Years later, the pastor spoke at a New Orleans seminary. A man approached him saying, “You don’t know me, but I recognize your accent.” Fifteen years previously, he and his wife and infant child had come to an apparent impasse in life. They drove to New Orleans, intending to end their lives. As they prepared to jump from a bridge, the wife said, “I don’t want my daughter to
die with an empty stomach.” They drove to a grocery store to buy milk, and they encountered the pastor. “You put that gift into my hands,” the man said. “My wife and I decided it must be a sign.” They drove home and two or three years later they walked past a church and heard someone talking about Jesus. They gave their lives to Christ and eventually went to seminary, preparing for full-time ministry. That pastor studied God’s Word. As he stood in the grocery store, he recognized the Holy Spirit’s prompting. He confidently obeyed, and a miracle happened. If you spend time in God’s Word, you can have the same confidence in recognizing the Holy Spirit’s voice and being God’s instrument in specific situations. MIMBS 1 Describe a time when you have witnessed the powerful combination of God’s Word coupled with the Holy Spirit’s prompting, either in your life or in someone else’s. Share the experience with another man. Daily Reading: Joshua 5:1– 10:43, Luke 15:1–17:10, Psalm 81:1–83:18, Proverbs 13:1–4
For Your Small Group
❏❏ April 7–13: As a group, discuss the verses of Scripture that have helped, encouraged, motivated or comforted you. •• What is it about those words that speak to you? •• Do you think it is those particular words that were special at that time or was it the work of the Holy Spirit through those words that touched you? •• Have you ever used words of Scripture to comfort or encourage someone else? When and how?
Monday—April 15 • The Search for Significance What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:3, nkjv
It only took Kyle 28 years to figure out that his life was dull. “My wife and I deeply love each other,” he said. “We both work, we like our work, we’re making good money, and we have every material thing we want. My relationship with the Lord is good—I’ve been a Christian for seven years. But . . . it’s all so boring.” His daily routine—waking up, making the bed, going to work, coming home, making dinner, washing dishes, cleaning the house, relaxing a little, going to bed, then getting up and doing it all over again—had him asking himself, “What’s the point?” Elliot felt the same way. After working tirelessly to become the top salesman in his
company, he finally achieved his goal. His conclusion? “It just doesn’t satisfy,” he told me. “There is no purpose. It didn’t mean anything.” Kyle and Elliot shouldn’t feel too badly. Solomon, the wisest man other than Jesus to have ever lived, observed the same thing. “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). To find true meaning, we’ve got to stop looking laterally, and start looking vertically. ALM 50 Where are the men you know looking for meaning and purpose? Have they made the same discovery Solomon made? Daily Reading: Joshua 11:1–12:24, Luke 17:11–37, Psalm 84:1–12, Proverbs 13:5–6
Tuesday—April 16 • Elusive Satisfaction “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2, nkjv
Why doesn’t success satisfy? Why does failure hurt so badly? And where is God in all of this? I must confess that for 25 years, every time I read the words “all is vanity,” I assumed that Solomon was saying one thing but meant something else. “Surely there is some deeper, hidden meaning,” I thought. Guess what? To my utter amazement, after years of study, I concluded that that’s exactly what he meant! Everything is meaningless! The plot thickens. Solomon devoted himself to study all that is done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:13). He wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do during the few days of their lives. He wanted to know what a man gains for all his toil. Ecclesiastes chronicles his experimentation with wisdom, folly, pleasure, laughter, wine, great projects, wealth accumulation, sex, and hard work. What did he observe?
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (2:11). ALM 50 Have you ever blamed God for your failures? Talk to other men and explore the answer to this question: Where is God in all of this?
Daily Reading: Joshua 13:1–14:15, Luke 18:1–17, Psalm 85:1–13, Proverbs 13:7–8
Wednesday—April 17 • Why is Man Frustrated? For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20
When the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, was written, the translators chose Paul’s Greek word for “frustration” to render Solomon’s “meaningless.” Paul’s frustration and Solomon’s meaningless are one and the same! Paul continued, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it [God].” Remarkable! Paul and Solomon agree that God is the cause of vanity, meaninglessness, and frustration! Well, why would God do such a thing? “In hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God”
(Romans 8:20, 21). In other words, God does it for our own good, because He knows that if you and I could glean any meaning in any worldly pursuit apart from Him—we’d take it! Doesn’t your own history confirm it? Solomon is intent on demolishing even the possibility of finding any meaning apart from God. He wants us to see this: Apart from God, life has no meaning. ALM 50 How closely have your dreams and ambitions been linked to God? Daily Reading: Joshua 15:1–63, Luke 18:18–43, Psalm 86:1–17, Proverbs 13:9–10
Thursday—April 18 • The Sovereignty of God I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Ecclesiastes 3:14
Perhaps the biggest paradox of Christianity is this: How can God be sovereign and man have free will at the same time? It seems like a logical inconsistency. Here’s one of the biggest ideas of the entire Bible: God uses futility as His chief tool to draw us to Himself of our own free will. In other words, God makes us feel the weight of futility in every worldly pursuit— getting the big promotion, making the big bucks, living in the big house, or getting none of those things. He makes us so miserable through futility that we choose Him of our own will. He removes any possibility of meaning except in Him.
Here’s what Solomon says: “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will fear him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). How does God use futility? God will not force you to revere Him, but He will make it impossible to be happy unless you do. ALM 50 How has God made it impossible for you to be happy apart from Him? How do you see this in the lives of other men? Daily Reading: Joshua 16:1–18:28, Luke 19:1–27, Psalm 87:1–7, Proverbs 13:11
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—April 19, 20, 21 • Pursuing Happiness I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, “I believe the motive power of all our actions is personal happiness.” We each want to lead a happy life. But why is happiness so fleeting? So fickle? Here’s one way of answering that question. If you get exactly what you want you will still not be happy without God. In other words, God loves us so much that He makes life into misery when we leave Him out of it. Here’s the good news. God is not only the author of futility, He not only lays heavy burdens on the backs of men, but He is the author of satisfaction and enjoyment! As Solomon wrote, “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 nkjv). Consider these questions about your own life: •• Are you happy or not, and why? •• How have you been pursuing meaning and significance? •• Have you been thinking? “It’s all so boring. What’s the point? There is no purpose. What’s the use? Everything
seems meaningless and futile.” •• If so, how closely have your goals and ambitions been linked to God? Which of the following ideas strike a nerve? How should you respond? •• Apart from God, life has no meaning. •• If you get exactly what you want you will still not be happy without God. •• God will not force you to revere Him, but He will make it impossible for you to be happy unless you do. •• Futility is the chief tool which God uses to draw you to Himself of your own free will. •• Without God, and serving Him as an expression of gratitude, our lives will have no meaning. Our lives will not be happy. ALM 50 Explore the answers to the questions above with some of the men you know. Daily Reading: Joshua 19:1–23:16, Luke 19:28– 20:47, Psalm 88:1–89:37, Proverbs 13:12–19
For Your Small Group
❏❏ April 14–20: Read aloud to the group the devotional on this page, “Pursuing Happiness.” •• Are you happy? •• Are you pursuing meaning and significance? Are you bored with life? •• Have you been living towards goals you have set or goals set by God?
Monday—April 22 • Slow to Become Angry My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20
Several years ago, I enjoyed two incredible days of ministry in Montana, followed by a snowmobile trip through Yellowstone National Park. Then, on the way home, I found I could take an earlier plane from my layover point. Patsy said she could pick me up early, so I took advantage of the opportunity. I waited in the baggage claim area. Five minutes passed, then ten. I tried calling Patsy, but her phone was turned off. I waited some more and called again with no luck. I had just experienced a fabulous five-day trip, yet as I waited for my wife, I eventually started fuming. I phoned one more time and found Patsy had been waiting in a different place. When I finally found her, and
we started driving home, she asked, “What are you thinking?” Several hours later we both finally cooled down. Fortunately, we were able to navigate that situation so it did not indefinitely affect our relationship. We all face similar situations, perhaps even on a daily basis. When we develop a habit of giving in to anger, we risk the very blessings we hold most dear. MIMBS 2 Describe a time recently when you could have benefited from the advice in James 1:19-20. How would this advice have helped you? Daily Reading: Joshua 24:1–33, Luke 21:1–28, Psalm 89:38–52, Proverbs 13:20–23
Tuesday—April 23 • Risking a Lifetime of Good David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” 1 Samuel 25:32-34
In 1 Samuel 25 you’ll find a description of David’s encounter with a man named Nabal. David and his men had been protecting Nabal’s flocks and servants, even though Nabal didn’t request their service. David expected to be paid, but Nabal not only didn’t pay him, but he actually said negative things about David. In response, David got angry and told his men to pick up their weapons. He intended to kill every male in Nabal’s household, including all male animals. Immediately before this, God had spared David when King Saul wanted to commit an injustice against him. Yet, in a moment of
rage directed at Nabal, David actually would have committed murder over a relatively small offense. The story has a happy ending, because Nabal’s wife Abigail intervened, convincing David not to pursue his plan. Without Abigail’s mediation, David could very well have stood as a Scriptural example of someone who risked a lifetime of good by giving in to his anger. MIMBS 2 Read Matthew 19:23-30. What happened at the end of Jesus’ parable? How is that a warning about giving full vent to rage? Daily Reading: Judges 1:1–2:9, Luke 21:29– 22:13, Psalm 90:1–91:16, Proverbs 13:24–25
Wednesday—April 24 • Unrestrained Anger Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. Psalm 37:8
Several years ago, I heard the story of a young man who was visiting Stone Mountain in Georgia. Stone Mountain looks like a big, smooth-surfaced rock. This young man wasn’t really paying attention as he walked. He sauntered very far out on the rock surface. He didn’t notice an almost imperceptible curvature under his feet. Eventually he found that he had gone down a very steep face. He could not maneuver himself back up, and he started crying for help. A horrified crowd watched as he eventually slipped and hurtled toward the ground beneath. He had passed the point of no return. That’s what it can be like for a person
who gives full vent to anger. At some point, he will pass the point of no return, where no matter what he tries, he won’t be able to undo the results of his rage. That’s why James warns us to be “slow to speak and slow to become angry.” When we move past the point of return in our rage, the results can be devastating. MIMBS 2 How can you gage if you are creeping toward “the point of no return” in giving in to rage? If you are alert to those warning signs, how can that help you avoid the consequences of unrestrained anger? Daily Reading: Judges 2:10–3:31, Luke 22:14–34, Psalm 92:1–93:5, Proverbs 14:1–2
Thursday—April 25 • Have a Plan "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
A story is told about Arturo Toscanini, one of the most acclaimed musicians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He was intense and perfectionistic. Apparently he also had quite a temper. He often hurled whatever was at hand when he got angry. One day someone in his orchestra hit a sour note. The only thing Toscanini could lay his hands on that day was his very expensive watch. So he grabbed it and threw it to the ground, and it shattered. It was beyond repair. Despite his great anger, his musicians loved him. As a gift to him, they purchased two watches. One was an expensive timepiece to replace the one he had broken. The other was a very cheap watch that
had a note attached saying, “For rehearsals only.” When we foolishly give full vent to our anger, we risk every good thing we’ve gained. Toscanini’s musicians provided a semblance of a plan to keep him from repeating a costly mistake. We need to get to the roots of our anger, but we also need a plan. Having a plan for how we will respond in difficult situations can help us avoid the great consequences of unrestrained rage. MIMBS 2 What is your plan for dealing with situations that make you angry? How has that worked? Daily Reading: Judges 4:1–5:31, Luke 22:35– 53, Psalm 94:1–23, Proverbs 14:3–4
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—April 26, 27, 28 Developing Self Control Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Proverbs 29:20, 22
I see a great difference between angry men and men who get angry. Probably everyone gets angry sometimes, but it’s not our “default” in every situation. An angry man, on the other hand, is filled with rage that is just waiting for an opportunity to be released. If you’re an angry man, you need to do whatever is necessary to deal with that. The root of your anger is in your heart. You are looking to things other than Christ to make you happy and satisfied. You may need to seek counseling. And you need to understand that no one likes to be around an angry man. Here’s a great irony with anger: do you know where you are most likely to be provoked? At home. Whether it’s your children, your spouse or your parents, the people you live with are most likely to encounter your rage. When we give in to that, we literally risk every good thing we’ve ever done in relationship with them. We risk creating culverts in relationships that can never be mended. Let’s pray: Lord, some men who read this are struggling with anger in a major way, and others aren’t. For those who struggle, who have a tendency to be easily provoked, please show mercy.
Show them where they are not loving You with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then help them develop the self-control that is a fruit of your Holy Spirit working in our lives. Whatever is needed, Lord, I pray that you would work in our lives, so we would not be easily provoked to anger. The Bible says David was a man after Your own heart, yet we learned in an earlier devotional that he struggled with anger. You protected him. Protect us also, please. In Jesus name. Amen. MIMBS 2 Would you describe yourself as an angry man, or a man who gets angry? Explain your answer. Consider the last time you got angry. What do you think was the heart issue that led to this response? (For example, anger at family for being late to protect your reputation.) Daily Reading: Judges 6:1–9:21, Luke 22:54– 24:12, Psalm 95:1–99:9, Proverbs 14:5–10
For Your Small Group
❏❏ April 21–27: Make a list of men you know who are angry. Make another list of men that never seem to “lose their cool.” •• How do you feel when you are around an angry man? What does his anger do to those that have to work with him, live with him or love him? •• How do you feel around that man who seems to control his temper and never blows up?
Monday—April 29 • Jesus Can Meet Your Need
He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. Mark 3:10, nlv When he appeared on the live television program “American Idol Gives Back,” Brad Pitt walked on stage to make a presentation and proceeded to have problems with his microphone. A stage crew member quickly ran up to Mr. Pitt and exchanged his microphone. As she was doing it, she turned to the camera and quipped, “I did that on purpose just so I could touch him.” All the women in the audience screamed and went crazy. That’s how it is with celebrities today—people just want to touch them. There is something powerful about connecting through touch. People wanted to touch Jesus. As He was with crowds, those who were in need sought His touch. Perhaps you need to touch Him now. We all need the touch of Jesus in our lives. That’s why Jesus came. You need a touch, someone to mend your heart. Take
a moment and receive the touch of Christ today. MIMBS 3 Are you weary and burdened? Do you need to touch Jesus today?
Daily Reading: Judges 9:22–10:18, Luke 24:13–53, Psalm 100:1–5, Proverbs 14:11–12
Tuesday—April 30 • Basic Needs Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
What do men want? I’ve narrowed it down to three things: •• A Cause—something they can give their lives to that will make a difference. •• A Companion—someone to share the cause with. •• A Conviction—a system that explains why the first two things are so difficult. Everybody who came to see Jesus was looking for something to give their lives to. They were looking for love; someone to share their lives with. They were looking for a system, worldview, or a belief; some explanation for why it is so hard to find a cause and a companion and to make all of
that work. This is what people wanted back then, and it is what they want today. People come to Jesus because what they’re doing isn’t working. Because the system they are living by was perfectly designed to eventually produce misery instead of relief; sorrow instead of comfort. True life can only be found in Jesus Christ. MIMBS 3 Think about two or three men you rub shoulders with in terms of cause, companion and conviction. Are they getting what they want? How can you help? Daily Reading: Judges 11:1–12:15, John 1:1–28, Psalm 101:1–8, Proverbs 14:13–14
Wednesday—May 1 • Popularity Comes and Goes The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. Mark 3:8b, nlt
The life cycle of popularity (this is adapted from a Seth Godin blog) is as follows, with “X” representing just about any celebrity: •• Who is X? •• Get me X. •• Get me someone like X, only cheaper. •• Get me a newer version of X. •• Who is X? Popularity comes, popularity goes. Yet the popularity of Jesus has never waned. The Bible has always been a bestseller. Why? Jesus did what was really needed in response to the crowds of people that surrounded Him. He didn’t jump in
a stretch limo and drive away. He lingered, listened, and finally met their greatest need. He wants us to do the same thing. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. This is your mission. Do this by giving men what they need to become disciples in the context of what they want. Whatever is messed up in their cause, companion or conviction, we need to meet people at that need and show them the gospel. You and I are the ones He has asked to help. MIMBS 3 Who has God put into your life for you to make a disciple? What is their point of need that you can start from? Daily Reading: Judges 13:1– 14:20, John 1:29–51, Psalm 102:1–28, Proverbs 14:15–16
Thursday—May 2 • Needs vs. Wants Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4, nlt
We live on a lake, and I enjoy taking a chair down to eat lunch on our dock. It’s so calm and quiet. Last week I was having lunch and saw across the lake something that I only get to see about once a year: eagles. I was fascinated and started to pray, “Lord, it would be such an encouragement to me if You would send those eagles over here so I could enjoy them and give You glory and view Your creation.” A few minutes later a crow landed on the piling. Normally, you can’t get near crows; they are too skittish, but I could have reached out my arm and touched that crow, it was that close. We stared at each other for
about 20 seconds and he flew away. Then as I thought about my request, I started to laugh and said, “God, what I want and what I need are two really different things.” It is easy to get sidetracked by our own desires. We have to continually trust that God knows and provides our needs. MIMBS 3 When has there been a major difference between what you wanted or thought you needed and what God has given you? Talk about this with some other men. Daily Reading: Judges 15:1–16:31, John 2:1–25, Psalm 103:1–22, Proverbs 14:17–19
Is It Working? continued from page 7
Communication & Evaluation You can make the forms anonymous if you’d like. But collecting simple information like a guy’s name, phone and email address lets you compare the exact same group of people for impact later on. This also helps you build your contact list so that you can communicate with men effectively throughout the challenge. For instance, you may want to send a weekly email to engage men on a regular basis using the free articles and video Bible studies recommended and available from the Journey website. Now you’re including men at an all-inclusive level! In your final stride at the end of the challenge, you’ll assess your men again using the post-challenge Assessment. By comparing results, you can celebrate how God transformed the hearts and lives of the men in your church as they take the Journey to Biblical Manhood together. Are YOUR MEN on the Journey? Visit journeytobiblicalmanhood.org for information and to subscribe.
• Brett Clemmer
Brett Clemmer is Vice President of Leadership Development with Man in the Mirror. He is the co-author with Patrick Morley and David Delk of No Man Left Behind: How to Build and Sustain a Thriving Disciple-Making Ministry for Every Man in Your Church. Brett and his wife, Kimberly, live in Casselberry, Florida, and have two children, Cassidy and Jackson.
Accelerants for Men’s Discipleship continued from page 8 are loved in Christ, then you’ll be more aggressive and effective in reaching men (Matt. 10:34). You’ll risk more, speak more kindly and boldly, you’ll make more contacts with guys. You’ll be free to be dangerous in good ways. Worry about what others think of you and you’ll be anchored to the beach.
44 Sovereignty: Wait on God in passionate prayer (Isa. 40:27-31), abide in Christ
(John 15:1-11), depend on His strength (Philippians 4:13). This is the greatest accelerant to men’s ministry. Wait actively. Go after men and seek to disciple them, all the while knowing that your ace in the hole isn’t you, it’s God.
44 Visioneering: Reaching men is not about hocus pocus, it’s about focus. Jesus
was focused. Paul was focused. Paul had to keep Timothy focused. Cast the vision of reaching men and the whys and hows to all who will listen, and some who won’t. Men will start listening and your growing cadre of allies will lead to an acceleration of your ministry to men far beyond your imagination.
Start small, go deep, think big. The need is big, our God is bigger. You take that to heart!
• Pete Alwinson
Pete was the founding pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, Winter Springs, Florida, and now serves as Vice President of Leadership and Men’s Discipleship at Key Life Network. His passion is to leave no man left behind on the battlefield of life but to encourage all men to grow in Christ and in turn, reach other men. To get to know more about Pete’s ministry at Key Life, go to www.freedomsedge.org.
Man in the Mirror F
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q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—May 3, 4, 5 • God’s Appointment Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. Mark 3:7 I went to eat at a restaurant and the parking lot was full, so I parked in front of a nearby store. When I came back, I noticed a sign in the store window: “Store Closing. Up to 80% off rugs.” I jotted down the phone number, called a couple times on Friday and Saturday, but never reached anyone. By Monday, the phone had been disconnected. On my way to the gym Tuesday morning, I stopped and taped a note with my phone number to the door. The owner called me, and I went over. I thought I was looking for a rug (what I wanted), but that is not what the owner needed. As you might imagine, a man who had to close up shop is hurting. He had an accent, so I asked him where he was from; he was an immigrant. That made me proud of my country to give this man the opportunity to build a business and raise his family here. I asked, “Are you a spiritual man?” He told me how he explored all the different religions. One of his customers had even given him a Bible. He then began to talk about his financial needs and about how he was exploring different options. He wanted to find something that gave him meaning and purpose in life. We had a wonderful spiritual
conversation. Providentially, because of certain circumstances he needed to come by my house. When he came over I showed him where I had laid the rug. God is building a friendship. It is great when God reminds me that my plans are in His hands. I thought I was looking for a rug, but God had a human connection in mind for me. The rug was just a mechanism—and a fringe benefit. MIMBS 3 Are you ready for divine appointments? Consider this and pray about it, and then be on the lookout.
Daily Reading: Judges 17:1–Ruth 1:22, John 3:1–4:42, Psalm 104:1–105:15, Proverbs 14:20–25
For Your Small Group
❏❏ April 28–May 5: Read aloud Psalm 37:4 in several easy-to-understand versions or translations (New Living Translations, The Message, New King James Version) •• How would you define “your heart’s desire”? •• Does this mean that if you want to be an NBA star, drive a Ferrari and travel the world that God will give it to you? •• What is your heart’s desire?
Monday—May 6 • Biblical Answers for Your Marriage . . . I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10, nasb
How many of you have been tripped up by the trick question, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” If you’ve experienced this, you know that women are complicated. My wife, Rose, and I are sharing our experiences to help you live an abundant life in Christ through your marriage. I have bungled this question more than once and have learned that there’s a story behind the story. Rose knows exactly how she looks in an outfit. The question really is, “Am I still attractive to you?” We didn’t have strong role models of healthy marriage to learn from. Not surprisingly, we made a lot of mistakes. The good news is that your history does not
need to dictate your destiny. God transformed our hearts, we changed, and He has provided abundant joy. He can do the same for you! It’s been said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The Bible has the answers to living the abundant life and the power to transform your heart from the inside out. —Dave & Rose Wertheim What would your wife say is the one thing you could change that would most clearly demonstrate your desire to be a godly husband? Are you willing to do it? Daily Reading: Ruth 2:1–4:22, John 4:43–54, Psalm 105:16–36, Proverbs 14:26–27
Tuesday—May 7 • Listening and Understanding
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20 The ritual of sitting in the hot tub has been our special alone time together. One time, after Rose shared a difficult situation, I immediately began the solution consultation. She sadly looked at me and said, “I just wanted you to listen.” Like many men, problem solving is what I do for a living and doing it at home seemed natural. But that’s not what Rose wanted or needed at the time. What she needed was my attention, compassion, friendship, and support. Good communication involves listening to your spouse. Listening means wanting to understand what the other person is feeling and thinking. The goal is to discover how
your spouse perceives a situation and how she feels. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey states, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Words are a key to the other person’s heart. As God has transformed my heart I have a new model to follow, “Listen, don’t solve.” —Dave & Rose Wertheim How often have you appeared to be listening to your spouse and quickly devolved into solving rather than listening intently to understand? Share your thoughts with another man. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1–2:21, John 5:1–23, Psalm 105:37–45, Proverbs 14:28–29
Wednesday—May 8 • Conflict Management What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:1-2
It was our movie date night. I was eagerly anticipating the spy thriller with explosions and flying body parts but Rose announced her desire to see the new romantic comedy. We had a conflict. Disagreements and conflicts occur because we want control (or want things our way), take each other for granted, feel insecure, have unmet needs, and are stressed. Make it a priority to resolve conflicts because unresolved conflicts stand as a barrier to unity. We need to turn the selffocus into other-focus (Philippians 2:4). Always look for a win-win solution. Seek to see things from the other person’s point of view (Romans 12:18). Resolve conflicts without anger and without letting it fester
(Ephesians 4:26) and forgive each other as God forgives you (Matthew 6:14-15). While it may be difficult at times to resolve a conflict, not dealing with it can result in long lasting negative consequences. A happy and successful marriage is not the absence of conflict but rather the commitment to resolution. —Dave & Rose Wertheim Think of a recent conflict you have had with your spouse. What might you have done differently to resolve the conflict in a more godly way? Plan an approach that would help you accomplish that next time. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 2:22–4:22, John 5:24–47, Psalm 106:1–12, Proverbs 14:30–31
Thursday—May 9 • Improving Sexual Intimacy May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18-19
When you have a family, finding quality time for sexual intimacy can be a challenge. One evening we planned an intimate encounter. After watching Schindler’s List, I announced, “Ok honey, I’m ready for you.” Rose, bleary eyed after the movie, just stared at me. Ready for an intimate moment after the emotional wreck experiences of death and cruelty? We had time planned, but now? Really? Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is a reflection of a couple’s oneness, but God also created us differently and we need to understand and accept our differences. Women are relational, emotional, and need more words, touching, and affection. Men are physical, visual, quick to be excited, and don’t need to be “in the mood.” Try to out-please each other. Become a student of your spouse.
Remember the commitments you made to each other for an everlasting marriage. Many men complain that they are desirous of more frequent sexual intimacy than their spouse. While there are no guarantees, the best way to encourage one-ness and stimulate desire in your spouse is to court her, love her, appreciate her, and out-please her at every opportunity. This can help you develop a mutually agreed upon frequency. —Dave & Rose Wertheim What one thing could you do today for your wife that would demonstrate love, care, concern, and emotional connectedness? Are you willing to out-please your wife? Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 5:1–7:17, John 6:1–21, Psalm 106:13–31, Proverbs 14:32–33
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—May 10, 11, 12 Building a Thriving Marriage Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . Ephesians 5:25
You cannot choose your family of origin but you can choose what you do about it! Our parents’ dysfunctional marriages provided a vision of what we didn’t want for our future and created a yearning to have a biblical, Christ-centered marriage. While it didn’t happen instantaneously, consistent and persistent investment, focus, and prayer have produced a bountiful harvest. Our hope and prayer is that you will invest in improving your marriage. Believe that God wants your marriage to succeed (because He does), and do everything within your power to allow Christ to be the Lord of your marriage. Based on helping hundreds of couples, we’ve identified some key and proven practical tips: •• Pray. Pray together, pray The Marriage Prayer (by Patrick Morley and David Delk), and ask the Lord to transform you individually, your wife, and your marriage. •• Invest time together. Sadly, many men invest more time on their fantasy football teams than they do on improving their marriages. Identify common interests and spend time together (walking/ running, golfing, traveling, family outings, movies, games, etc.). What you do is less important than that you are doing it together and growing closer.
•• Serve and out-serve each other. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). •• Learn what your wife’s love language is (The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman) and demonstrate love in language that makes significant deposits. •• Communicate. Solicit feedback from each other and stay in touch and in sync. •• Get help. If/when you need help, get it. Whether you need a counselor, pastor, mentor, or friend, find someone who can help you with a biblical perspective to process areas that need addressing. Apply these principles when interacting with your spouse and you will be living out Ephesians 5:25 in tangible, practical ways and building a thriving marriage. —Dave & Rose Wertheim How does your current marriage (or past marriage) compare to your family of origin? Which of the practical tips resonated with you as something you could see yourself implementing today? Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 8:1–13:23, John 6:22–7:30, Psalm 106:32–108:13, Proverbs 14:34–15:4
For Your Small Group
❏❏ May 6–12: Which of the focus areas (communication, conflict management, or improving sexual intimacy) is currently the most challenging aspect of your marriage? •• What adjustments can you personally make to more closely follow the Biblical guidance discussed about marriage through the devotions this week? •• What would your marriage look like if it was truly transformed?
Monday—May 13 • Making Disciples They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. Romans 1:25
Every day at Man in the Mirror we are personally engaged with men who are in a battle for their souls. Some have never found their souls; they have never accepted Christ as their Savior. But many other men have found their souls and lost them. How? By exchanging the truth of God for a lie. The lie comes in many forms, but at its core is the kind of unbelief that says, “Jesus Christ alone is not enough to make me happy. I need something else.” That “something else” comes in many forms. Money. Sex. Power. Entertainment. Men are addicted to all these things and more. In the process, they take preeminence away from Jesus Christ, and rob themselves of their own souls. Today we’ve outlined the problem. Over the next few days we’ll talk about a strategic
plan to reach men—not merely with the message of salvation, but with a commitment to their sanctification. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” because He knew that to merely make converts was not enough. ALM 86 How committed are you to discipling men? Talk with other men to see what, if anything, you can do. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 14:1–52, John 7:31–53, Psalm 109:1–31, Proverbs 15:5–7
Tuesday—May 14 • Kingdom Impact Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. Matthew 28:19, nkjv
Someone has said, “I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.” The battle for men’s souls is just such a cause. Unfortunately, many churches have not been able to muster the ongoing will or comprehensive strategy to disciple men. Based on the actual allocation of funds and intellectual resources, it’s easy to see that discipleship hasn’t been a top priority in American churches—regardless of denomination. This presents us with a great strategic ministry opportunity. The discipling of men is an under-managed area that can offer a greater return on labor and capital than any other ministry.
We need to disciple men, because the church desperately needs what discipled men have to offer. Men who love and follow Jesus become leaders. They don’t divorce their wives, they don’t neglect their children; they donate more money, they volunteer for more service, and they make a bigger kingdom impact in the community. In short, reaching our men is a battle plan for success. ALM 86 Do you have a battle plan in place to reach the men of your church? Talk to a few other key people and pray about formulating one. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 15:1–16:23, John 8:1–20, Psalm 110:1–7, Proverbs 15:8–10
Wednesday—May 15 • Our Greatest Need “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19, nkjv
Hugh O. MacClellan, one of America’s leading Christian philanthropists, has said, “The greatest need we have in America is to reach our men.” When you consider that only one in 18 men are involved in discipleship, and that 66 million of the 108 million American men over the age of 15 make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it’s not hard to agree with MacClellan’s statement. Reach men, it has been said, and you’ll reach the nation. Our goal is to equip 100,000 church leaders who are serious about reaching men. We believe this will reach 10,000,000 new men for discipleship.
With proper funding, we have the organizational capacity to reach these goals. My question for you today is this: What can you do to facilitate this plan, and will you go out and do it? We want to reach no less than 100,000 men a year. What we’re talking about is corporate renewal, and it will only come about through collective resolve. ALM 86 Has God placed men in your life who need to be discipled? Open your eyes today to the opportunities that God places before you. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 17:1–18:4, John 8:21–30, Psalm 111:1–10, Proverbs 15:11
Thursday—May 16 • Noise of War “There is a noise of war in the camp.” Exodus 32:17, nkjv
As you consider why you should take part in the discipleship of men, perhaps you should heed the words of this pastor : “I’m pulled in way too many directions. My time is not my own. I have a steady flow of people from inside and outside my church who want me to adopt their idea or program. The thought of adding ‘one more thing’ is overwhelming. “My problem is not that I don’t work hard, but that I’m working too hard. I have difficulty distinguishing opportunity from distraction. I am too busy with second things. “If I could start over I would put men’s ministry at the top of my priority list. I
know this is the only long-term solution to the leadership deficit we have in our church, our families, and our community.” Jesus charged the church to be militant, but we’ve got the church staff planning our next bake sale. It’s time for a noise of war to be heard in our camp. We’re looking for a few good men to find a few more good men. Will you be one of them? ALM 86 In what ways is discipleship like a battle? Are you and the men in your group willing to fight it? Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 18:5–19:24, John 8:31–59, Psalm 112:1–10, Proverbs 15:12–14
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—May 17, 18 ,19 • The Battle Plan By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:8, nkjv In our efforts to help leaders reach 10 million new men, here is our five-point battle plan: Identify. We want to know who you are and how we can help you. Are you a pastor or leader whose calling and passion is to build the kingdom? Are you a soul-winner and a disciple-maker? Recruit. We want to help you understand how important discipling men really is. We want you to be able to share this with other men. We want to partner with you to reach every man in America with a credible offer of Jesus Christ and the resources to grow— one man at a time. Train. We want to share what we have learned from churches who are discipling men. We want to help you formulate a plan and process that can actually build a sustainable discipleship movement among the men of your church and community. Encourage. We want to be your friend. Leadership is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Enlist, and three or four times a month we’ll send you a Weekly Briefing filled with practical men’s ministry ideas, success stories, tips, and personal encouragement. We pledge ourselves to be your trusted friend and ally in
the long-term cause of battling for men’s souls. Resource. We want to further equip you to evangelize and disciple men. We want to educate you about the resources you will need to win this war. We will connect you with everything you need to create, capture, and sustain momentum among your men— from evangelistic tools to small-groups curricula to seminars—no matter what denomination, ministry, or leader who created it. This is a war we can win. Don’t worry about losing those whose highest ambition is to live in a gated community while the rest of the nation is going to hell. Let us be like Churchill. Let us sound a clarion call to war. Let us sound a call to revolution. We’re not interested in recruiting men to join some boy’s club. Let’s raise an army. Let’s march. Let’s take back territory. Together, we can—we must—win the battle for men’s souls. ALM 86 Get together with some of the men in your church and formulate a battle plan to reach the men around you. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 20:1–25:44, John 9:1–10:42, Psalm 113:1–116:19, Proverbs 15:15–21
For Your Small Group
❏❏ May 13–19: These devotions describe discipleship like a battle. Do you agree with that description? •• What makes it a battle? •• Have you been a part of the battle for discipleship? Why or Why not?
Monday—May 20 • Finishing the Race I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
For over four decades of ministry, I’ve watched men get all amped up about Jesus. They rush headlong into their newfound faith, and then they experience opposition. They are shocked at the sin that continues to trip them up. Men tell me they are frustrated that they cannot sustain their faith. At Man in the Mirror, we’ve recently been struggling with two major development issues. Both projects are fraught with challenges. Although I’ve walked with Jesus Christ for almost 40 years, when I face challenges, my strongest impulse is still to control events and live by my own strength rather than living by faith. If there were no resistance, then maybe we could live in the lovey-dovey bliss of gooey grace and eternal happiness. But every day, we face headwinds that try to knock us over. How can
a man sustain his faith in the face of such resistance?
The apostle Paul stands out as a man who responded to Jesus Christ with great passion, and maintained that passion throughout his life. I believe that happened because he truly understood God’s grace. MIMBS 4 What has challenged your faith in the last week, and were you successful in maintaining your passion for Jesus, despite that difficulty? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with another man. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 26:1–28:25, John 11:1–54, Psalm 117:1–2, Proverbs 15:22–23
Tuesday—May 21 • Paul’s Need for Grace All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:3-5
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained that we all deserve God’s wrath. I think Paul understood this better than anyone. You could say he was the Hitler of his era. Just as Hitler tried to exterminate Jewish people, Paul ruthlessly tried to exterminate Christians. Today we would put him in the category of crazy people who should be tried for heinous crimes against humanity. Then he met Jesus, and everything changed. Paul understood how much he had been forgiven. I’ve noticed a tendency among Christian men, including myself. As we grow in our relationship with Christ, our behavior really does get better, and we start thinking, “I’m not so bad after all.” We gloss over
the heinous ways we offend God. Let’s be frank—I can give a scintillating, powerful message based on Scripture, and then drive away from the auditorium and see a woman dressed provocatively, and just like that, I can falter and then become discouraged. Paul’s passionate faith endured, because he never lost sight of his need for grace. MIMBS 4 List three habits that would help you keep God’s grace at the forefront of your thinking today. Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 29:1–31:13, John 11:55–12:19, Psalm 118:1–18, Proverbs 15:24–26
Wednesday—May 22 • Building on the Right Foundation For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
About 14 years into my faith walk, I faced a monumental business crisis of my own making. Just before that, I had written in my Bible, “I want to live the rest of my earthly life for the will of God.” I guess I thought I was doing God a favor, as if He could accomplish so much more with me on His side. The Bible says no man can lay any foundation except Christ. I had the right foundation, but I had built on top of that with wood, hay and straw. In a spiritual sense, I thought I was signing up for remodeling or redecorating. In His mercy and grace, God sent a bulldozer to level me to the foundation. A couple of years
later, I was reminding God about how hard I was working to make Him first in my life. As I said “Amen,” these words formed in my mind: “Pat, nothing you do will ever make you good enough for Me to love you. I love you because I made you.” I finally began coming to terms with the true meaning of God’s grace. MIMBS 4 Describe a circumstance that God has allowed in your life to help you come to terms with the true meaning of grace. Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1–2:11, John 12:20–50, Psalm 118:19–29, Proverbs 15:27–28
Thursday—May 23 • Experiencing Grace
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. 1 Corinthians 15:10 Several years into my walk with God, my Grace really means that nothing you can experiential understanding of grace finally do will make you good enough to deserve began to “click.” For more than a decade, God’s love. You cannot work yourself into I had been trying to understand grace. His favor, nor can you work your way out of Intellectually I understood the concept, a difficulty that seems to be robbing you of and I had heard the popular definitions, His favor. Grace really is God’s gift. He loves like GRACE stands for “God’s Riches at us simply because He made us. Over many Christ’s Expense.” It’s a true statement, but years, the apostle Paul’s experiences with it still doesn’t fully capture the enormity of grace fueled an intense passion for God God’s grace. Even the popular definition, which didn’t weaken throughout his life“unmerited favor,” doesn’t really capture time. MIMBS 4 the fullness that happens when you actually experience God’s love. Grace cannot be Have you moved from intellectual definition of reduced to a bumper sticker slogan. Grace grace to experiential understanding? Why or is a perfect idea, and it takes many years why not? and experiences to plumb its depth and Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 2:12–3:39, John richness. 13:1–30, Psalm 119:1–16, Proverbs 15:29–30
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—May 24, 25, 26 • The Wonder of Grace Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17 If you read chronologically through Paul’s letters in the New Testament, you’ll find an interesting progression in his experiential understanding of God’s grace. About 55 AD, during his first missionary journey, Paul wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9). In the following verses, he explained that he was working hard to be an apostle, but he basically added, “It’s actually God’s grace working in me.” Fast forward a few years to Paul’s first imprisonment. During that period, he wrote, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ . . .” (Ephesians 3:8). Then fast forward again to a period later in Paul’s life, when he was probably in his mid-60s and had
been released from prison for a time. That’s when he wrote the passage quoted at the beginning of today’s devotional. In about a decade, he went from seeing himself as “least of the apostles” to identifying himself as “the least of all the Lord’s people,” and finally as “the worst of sinners.” Martin Luther once said, “If you only see yourself as a little sinner, then you only need a little Savior.” But once you see yourself as a big sinner, you open yourself up to experience a bigger portion of grace. The secret to sustaining your passion in your relationship with God is to never lose your wonder at the experience of His grace. MIMBS 4 How has your understanding of God’s grace grown as you’ve followed Him? Share your thoughts with your group. Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 4:1–11:27, John 13:31–15:27, Psalm 119:17–64, Proverbs 15:31–16:3
For Your Small Group
❏❏ May 20–26: Martin Luther once said, “If you only see yourself as a little sinner, then you only need a little Savior.” •• Do you see yourself as a “little sinner”? •• Do you compare your sins to the sins of those around you? Why do we do that? •• Do you believe God compares us to one another?
Monday—May 27 • Strong DNA He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere— in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7, 8, nlt
Spider-Man is a great movie. A little itsy, bitsy spider comes down and bites this boy. He’s a high school nerd who gets picked on. After the bite, they show a DNA strand with little broken pieces. Suddenly, because of this spider bite, something begins to happen inside the boy. Everything missing in this DNA strand is put in its proper place, and he becomes strong, and perfect, and whole. He goes on to become a super hero. It’s a great spiritual analogy for the work of the Holy Spirit. Bible heroes, men like John, Paul, Peter, Stephen—what do they have in common? One of the things that they have in common
is they are full of the Holy Spirit. They’ve been empowered by the Holy Spirit. All of their broken pieces came together and they became powerful instruments used by God in great ways. Just like those men, we all can be changed by the work of the Holy Spirit. MIMBS 5 Do you desire to be used by God in great ways? Talk with another man about how the Holy Spirit can change your “DNA” to make you a more powerful man. Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1–31, John 16:1–33, Psalm 119:65–80, Proverbs 16:4–5
Tuesday—May 28 • He’ll Never Leave
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16, 17, nkjv What does it mean to be a man filled with the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor.” Notice He says “another Counselor.” Jesus referred to Himself as a Counselor, too. Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit as a Counselor who would be with us forever. He also says that He will not leave us as orphans. Jesus was informing His followers that even through His death on the cross, He would be with them. He knew that when He was crucified and buried it would be very confusing for them. He wanted them to know that no matter what was coming
for the disciples they would not be alone. That message is for us as well. We have a counselor in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Whatever you are going through today, you are not alone! You have the presence of Jesus Christ and the comfort and counsel of the Holy Spirit. He never leaves us! MIMBS 5 Discuss with your small group what it means to have the counsel of the Holy Spirit. How can you help each other be attentive to that counsel? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 13:1–39, John 17:1–26, Psalm 119:81–96, Proverbs 16:6–7
Wednesday—May 29 • Priceless Gifts
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22, 23, nlt What if I were to tell you that you could have everything in this world you ever dreamed of, but in order to receive it you would never be able to experience any of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Would you be willing to do it? What if you could keep half of the fruit of the Spirit? Let’s say you could have love, joy, peace and patience, but you couldn’t have kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Would you be willing to do it? What if
you could have love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, but no peace, no joy? Just take any one of the fruits of the Spirit and think about it. Can you imagine what it would be like to have $1 million or unlimited income and never have any peace? Or love? Or kindness? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are priceless gifts that make life worthwhile. MIMBS 5 Spend a few minutes thanking God for the fruits of the Spirit. Which of these fruits do you need to allow God to cultivate in your life? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 14:1–15:22, John 18:1–24, Psalm 119:97–112, Proverbs 16:8–9
Thursday—May 30 • Filled Up?
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:17, nlt So, you have your quiet time in the morning and you are very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit, right? Then you start driving to work. What happens? You get cut off in traffic. You lose your temper. You get to work and your boss gives another person the recognition you deserve and you’re just really, really ticked off. You were aware of the Holy Spirit a minute ago and now, all of a sudden, you are leaking. There are two forces working in us all of the time. Even when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our human nature is there and leaks out from time to time. We can read our Bible, pray, serve others, love our
families, and teach Sunday school. We will still have failures and will still blow it. We can find comfort in the fact that even the apostle Paul struggled with the same two forces in himself. He says in Romans 7:15, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (nlt). MIMBS 5 How have you blown it this week? If you did, confess that to the Lord and ask for His grace and forgiveness. Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 15:23–16:23, John 18:25–19:22, Psalm 119:113–128, Proverbs 16:10–11
q Friday, Saturday, Sunday—May 31, June 1, 2 • Daily Choices Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” John 7:38, nlt There is a man who used to attend our Bible study. He and his wife became Christians through our ministry and he is now too old to attend. For whatever reason, I bonded with this man in a personal way, so on Friday mornings, when I leave the Bible study, I call him on the way home as kind of my reminder. He’s a shut-in, it’s encouraging to him, and it’s encouraging to me. But let me be honest with you. He’s been suffering from some confusion in recent months, and sometimes when I call him, it’s a task. Calling him is not a natural thing for me. I teach a Bible study because that’s one of my gifts, but mercy is not. So calling this man, although I enjoy it, has really become a burden. I am just doing it by faith. This morning I walked out of the house, and I was already in the driveway, the car had started moving, and I realized I didn’t have my cell phone. My gut reaction was to not go back and get it. I backed
the car out of the garage, and then I had a stronger impulse come over me and it said, “Go back and get your phone.” I believe that was the Holy Spirit directing me. My natural instinct was to forget about the phone and the call and go about my day. It would have been easy for me to keep the car going down the driveway. I had a choice. That day I listened and went back to get the phone and called this elderly man. We each will have those daily choices. We don’t always listen, but the Holy Spirit nudges us and gives us the opportunity to be used by Him. So listen up and let Him flow through you. MIMBS 5 Can you think of a time when you were nudged by the Spirit? Did you listen? How were used by Him? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 17:1–20:13 John 19:23–21:25, Psalm 119:129–120:7, Proverbs 16:12–17
For Your Small Group
❏❏ May 27–June 2: What are the two forces that are always working in you (from page 44)? •• What is the outcome of the work of our human nature? •• What is the outcome of the work of the Holy Spirit? •• Have you been aware of those two forces in your life?
Monday—June 3 • The Value of “the Story” Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:40-42
There is great value in inviting men to come with you, so they can hang out with Jesus. They won’t see God’s glory out in the world, but they’ll see it in you and in your life. They need to hear the story of Jesus—the story of what He has done and is doing in individual lives. In the 1920s, J. Gresham Machen wrote a book titled Christianity and Liberalism. In that book, he explained, “the strange thing about Christianity is that it adopted an entirely different method for communicating the message.” He noted that Greeks used preaching to get across the message. But Christianity transformed the lives of men, not by appealing to the human will through preaching, but by telling the story of Jesus—not by exhortation, but by
narration of an event. That event, of course, was Jesus’ death and resurrection, which continues to change people’s lives even 2000 years later. When the most eloquent exhortation fails, the simple story succeeds. Men’s lives are still transformed today by a piece of good news—Jesus died and rose again. Why is it worthwhile to invite men to come and hang out with Jesus? Because they get a chance to hear the story. MIMBS 6 Take a few minutes to write your “story”—how is Jesus death and resurrection still affecting you today? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 20:14–21:22, Acts 1:1–26, Psalm 121:1–8, Proverbs 16:18
Tuesday—June 4 • Firsthand Experience My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6
When Jesus showed up with the disciples after His resurrection, Scripture tells us they were afraid, because they thought He was a ghost. That was misinformation. But Jesus didn’t scold them. He simply stood in their midst and said, “Touch me and see” (Luke 24:39). Many people are making up their minds today about Jesus, and the only resource they have is secondhand knowledge from the media and other people who are not Christians themselves. That means nonbelievers are teaching nonbelievers what it means to be a Christian. What’s wrong with that picture? It breaks my heart to realize that millions of men have decided they don’t believe in God. And that decision has been based
on misinformation. It’s worthwhile to invite nonbelievers to hang out with Jesus, because that is where they will get a clear picture of who God is. That’s the only way to make a valid choice. Jesus knows that firsthand experience trumps secondhand knowledge. That’s why it’s worthwhile to invite men—even misinformed unbelievers– just to hang out with Jesus. MIMBS 6 Explain how hanging out with Jesus helped you in your decision to follow Him. What opportunities can you create for men at all stages of their spiritual journey to encounter Christ with you and your brothers? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 22:1–23:23, Acts 2:1–47, Psalm 122:1–9, Proverbs 16:19–20
Wednesday—June 5 • Despising Sin
I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:12-13 I remember a conversation with a Christian leader who was having a tremendous impact in our community. I watched him for a few years, and my respect grew. I found myself saying to him, “As you continue to be faithful in the work you are doing, I would not be surprised if God used you in a much larger leadership role.” He expressed appreciation. Then I found myself half kidding him, saying, “But it also would not surprise me if I were to get a call next week saying you had left your wife and run off with another woman.” He graciously laughed, but my teasing comment did hold a warning. I am astonished at how many men
have given every indication that they were walking with the Lord, and then suddenly I heard that they had done a stupid thing that made a shipwreck of their faith. Many men do not finish well, and I see a simple reason for that—we don’t fear sin. We must understand that fearing the Lord automatically requires that we despise sin and fear its consequences. MIMBS 6 Looking at the verse from Proverbs and examining your own life, do you hate evil and despise sin? Have you become complacent to sin and lost your fear of its consequences? Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 23:24– 24:25, Acts 3:1–26, Psalm 123:1–4, Proverbs 16:21–23
Thursday—June 6 • Hope of Victory Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1
Why would God’s Spirit compel Jesus to go into the wilderness with the intention of subjecting him to Satan’s temptation? To answer that question, you must consider that Jesus’ purpose was redemption. The world is a hostile place where men do what seems right in their own eyes. The end result of that is chaos and bondage. Jesus entered our world so He could free it from the stranglehold of sin. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much, even in its wasted condition, that He was motivated to give His only son. That’s a fierce love on God’s part. And His purpose was so that anyone who believed in Jesus would not be devoured, but would have everlasting life.
God’s fierce love motivated every part of Jesus’ earthly ministry, including this wilderness temptation. Jesus did it for you. As we study His experience, we will find comfort in his victory. But we also will find a strategy for our own wilderness experiences, when we must face temptation. Jesus’ example gives us the hope of victory. MIMBS 6 What comfort do you find in the fact that Jesus was tempted? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 1:1–53, Acts 4:1–37, Psalm 124:1–8, Proverbs 16:24
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—June 7, 8, 9 • Hiding God’s Word Jesus answered, “It is written: . . . ” Matthew 4:4 Knowing Jesus was hungry from fasting, Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread so He could eat them. When that didn’t work, Satan suggested that Jesus should throw Himself off a high pinnacle to prove He was God’s son. When that failed, Satan offered to give Jesus the world in exchange for His worship. All three times, Jesus resisted by answering him with God’s written Word. Jesus apparently had so filled Himself with Scripture; it was His most natural weapon for confronting temptation. One of our greatest comforts as Christians is that God loved us so much, He was willing to allow His son to be tortured so that we could be delivered from temptation. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” That one verse summarizes Jesus’ wilderness experience. He was tempted in every way. That means our Lord can sympathize with us when we go through all kinds of temptations, because He has walked in our shoes. Jesus’ example encourages us, because it means we also can overcome temptation and sin. Why? Because we have access to the same weapon that Jesus used. We have God’s Word. And God promised,
“My word . . . will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). It’s a powerful weapon, described in Hebrews 4:12: “. . . the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” But our ability to use that weapon depends on our familiarity with it. The Psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). That implies more than a casual familiarity. If I “hide” something in my heart, that implies that I have spent time with it, meditated on it, digested it, made it part of my life. Jesus proved the effectiveness of God’s Word in resisting temptation. We have access to that same weapon, but we must train ourselves to use it.MIMBS 6 Make a list of ways to “hide God’s Word in your heart.” Which is the most effective for you? Which do you need to incorporate in your life more effectively? How will you make that happen? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 2:1–6:38, Acts 5:1–7:29, Psalm 125:1–127:55, Proverbs 16:25–30
For Your Small Group
❏❏ June 3–9: From the questions on this page, what ways have you hidden God’s Word in your heart? •• Did you memorize Scripture verses as a child? Did someone read Bible stories to you in Sunday school? •• Have those verses influenced your life as an adult? How so? •• Why is hiding God’s Word in your heart so important?
Monday—June 10 • True Manhood The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. Proverbs 17:3
A few years ago, Man in the Mirror President David Delk planned an awesome celebration for his oldest son’s 16th birthday. Among other things, David gave his son a one-ounce gold coin to symbolize his incredible value and to commemorate God’s investment in the young man. Similarly, gold can symbolize the worth of true biblical manhood. This week we’ll explore that theme. There are two ways a person learns that something is truly precious: by having it, and by not having it. With gold, some learn its value by owning it and discovering all the ways it changes
their situation. Others learn its value by not having it, and having to live without. The same is true with the influence of a godly man in your life. You may have had a godly example in your life—a father or grandfather, a coach, a teacher, a neighbor. Or you may understand the value because of what was missing in your life. Either way, you know that a man who biblically defines his purpose and his value is priceless. MIMBS 7 Who has had the greatest influence on your life? Was it a godly influence? What kind of role model are you prepared to be for the men around you? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 7:1–51, Acts 7:30–50, Psalm 128:1–6, Proverbs 16:31–33
Tuesday—June 11 • Real Men are Rare Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13–14
Like other precious metals, gold is valuable, at least in part, because it is rare. Similarly, men who truly know Scripture and define themselves by biblical standards are vastly outnumbered by those who seek a broader road with fewer restrictions. But that makes them all the more valuable. In our culture, celebrity stories and political headlines usually reflect the antithesis of biblical standards. Yet, in that environment, a man who uses Scripture as a map for his life has tremendous opportunity to stand out in the crowd. I remember reading about an NFL linebacker who made headlines because he didn’t sleep around before
he was married, he courted his wife and married her, and then he made his family a top priority in his life. That was so extraordinary that it was covered more widely than his athletic exploits. A lifestyle that should be expected of any man was deemed worthy of a huge newspaper story. That kind of manhood is deemed valuable, partly because it is so rare. MIMBS 7 With some brothers, make a list of men who are public examples of godliness. How do these men set the example for you? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 8:1–66, Acts 7:51–8:13, Psalm 129:1–8, Proverbs 17:1
Wednesday—June 12 • Letting God Shape Us Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter. Isaiah 64:8
Scripture repeatedly calls us to be malleable in God’s hands; for instance, clay in the hands of a potter. Other images also support that idea. For instance, gold is extremely malleable—some say it is the most malleable of all known metals. In fact, a single ounce of gold can be hammered to create a sheet that is about 400 times thinner than a human hair, covering about 300 square feet! The Bible indicates that real men—men who seek to define themselves and their purpose biblically— will allow God to shape them.
A true man is willing to adjust his agenda when it doesn’t correspond with God’s. Anyone who is seeking God’s plan for his life must be willing to be hammered out and shaped by God. Scripture challenges us not to let the world hammer us into its mold. Instead, we are to be transformed by letting God renew our minds and change us from the inside out (see Romans 12:2). MIMBS 7 How has God been trying to shape you? How have you been cooperating or resisting His efforts? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 9:1–10:29, Acts 8:14–40, Psalm 130:1–8, Proverbs 17:2–3
Thursday —June 13 • Purified by Fire
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 Silver and gold and other precious metals are purified by exposing them to intense heat. As the metal melts, the impurities rise to the surface and can be scooped away, so all that is left behind is the pure metal. That’s a picture of how God uses circumstances to purify us as well. James opened his letter to Christians by exhorting them, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” He explains that trials test our faith, making it pure. That enables us to persevere, so we grow into maturity (James 1:2–4). God uses the afflictions of this world to test and refine us, like a metalsmith uses
fire to purify metals. We all can choose how we will respond to difficulties. Will we become harder, more obstinate, more bitter, and angrier? Or will we allow the process to make us softer in God’s hands, so He can more easily mold us into the men He wants us to be? MIMBS 7 Have your difficult situations left you harder and more bitter, or softer and more easily molded by God? How? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 11:1–12:19, Acts 9:1–25, Psalm 131:1–3, Proverbs 17:4–5
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—June 14,15,16 • Man of God For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life though the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
Gold is malleable, but it also endures. It doesn’t react with many other substances— not even most acids. You can wear a gold ring and be fairly confident that, while it might wear over time, it will not be affected by any chemicals you might get on your hands. That’s another way that godly men are like gold. They persevere. These men are valuable, rare, malleable, tested by fire, and have the quality of endurance. When we finish a list like that, some of us invariably feel overwhelmed. But the simple reality is, the Bible establishes a standard that no human being can reach, apart from Christ. In Romans 5, Paul shows the contrast between Adam and Jesus Christ. When we try to transform ourselves, we are living out Adam’s legacy. That’s the legacy that shaped many of us, because we were surrounded by people who did
not understand what it meant to be a godly man. But Paul tells us that Adam’s legacy leads to death. By contrast, Jesus is the ultimate man. He is truly “golden.” He is more valuable than anything else. He’s the one-of-a-kind Son of God. He has been tested through the furnace of adversity. And, of course, He endured, even when it meant facing the cross. Jesus is the man you have never been, and through Him, you can become the man He wants you to be. That’s the promise and the hope of the gospel. If you’ll turn to Him, you can experience what it means to be a real man. MIMBS 7 Read Romans 5:19–21 with some brothers. What does Christ’s obedience bring to us? What does this ultimately result in? How have you seen Christ help you become a real man? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 12:20–17:24, Acts 9:26–10:48, Psalm 132:1–134:3, Proverbs 17:6–11
For Your Small Group
❏❏ June 10–16: Read aloud this definition of purify—“to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates: to purify metals; to free from guilt or evil.” •• God uses the afflictions of this world to purify us. What circumstances has God used in your life to bring you closer to Him? •• Were you able to see and accept that during those circumstances?
Monday—June 17 • Pastoral Involvement He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15
To implement an effective disciple-making ministry requires both the support and involvement of the senior pastor. Support and involvement are not synonyms. Support can be offered from a distance. Involvement is up close and personal. Mark 3:13-15 (emphasis added) says, Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Jesus was “with” His disciples. That’s more than support; that’s involvement. So how did it work out? After Jesus returned to
heaven, Acts 4:13 (emphasis added) tells how religious leaders responded to Peter and John: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. The biblical model for making disciples of men is to be with them, not to merely support an effort to disciple them. ALM 135 What is the difference between support and involvement? If you are the senior pastor, how can you be involved like Jesus was involved? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 18:1–46, Acts 11:1–30, Psalm 135:1–21, Proverbs 17:12–13
Tuesday—June 18 • Personal Involvement “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
He was a private man, and in many ways, a lonely man. Unkempt and shabbily dressed, he came to men’s meetings but never spoke. A few of the other men made half-hearted attempts to get him to open up—to share his life experiences and talk about his struggles. He seemed disinterested; distant. After a few weeks, their efforts stopped. And after a few more, the man was gone. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” What He’s asking us to do is extend mercy and kindness, regardless of a person’s
appearance, status, or even willingness to participate. We can’t always stop men from dropping out, but we owe it to them to at least try to prevent it. We have no excuse to neglect anyone, and we cannot hand over this responsibility to someone else—not when they’re sitting right in front of us. Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others’ needs. It is one of the ways we imitate Christ in our daily lives. ALM 135 Is it easy or difficult for you to engage in other men’s lives? Why or why not? What would you like to change? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 19:1–21, Acts 12:1–23, Psalm 136:1–26, Proverbs 17:14–15
Wednesday—June 19 • Drop Outs
For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Matthew 13:21, nkjv Men often drop out of accountability groups without explanation. Sometimes they were ignored, but often just the opposite is true. We ask too much of them too soon, and the pressure to perform is too difficult to overcome. Evangelism is simply taking a man as far as he wants to go with Jesus. Take men as far as they are willing to go instead of as far as they need to go. Discipleship should be like an orthodontic brace—a little pressure consistently applied over a long time will eventually change the location of your teeth. In the same way, you can help alter a man’s beliefs. If men leave despite your best efforts,
don’t be surprised. The principle of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18-23) is always at work. You’ll never be surprised by the things you expect. And if the Bible is correct, you should expect high levels of attrition. On the other hand, we must also work to preserve the fruit we harvest. Learn how to capture and sustain the momentum you create. ALM 135 What is your church doing to create momentum among men? What is your church doing to capture and sustain that momentum? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 20:1–21:29, Acts 12:24–13:15, Psalm 137:1–9, Proverbs 17:16
Thursday—June 20 • Evangelism or Discipleship?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20 The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody once said, “I would rather wake a slumbering church than a slumbering world.” Bill Bright once told me it was a much better investment for the kingdom to help a Christian understand how to walk in the Spirit than help lead a non-Christian to faith. Of course, we don’t have to choose one over the other. However, when we think of the billions of dollars we spend to get people to “join” our organization (Christianity), let’s balance that out by spending what it takes to fully equip them to be good members.
If I don’t look after the health of the whole movement—evangelism and discipleship of men—I will eventually eliminate myself. As we continue to forge the Christian men’s movement into a sustainable part of local church life, think about what you have to offer for the greater good. As the saying goes, “A rising tide will raise all boats.” ALM 135 Would you rather evangelize a man or disciple a man? What does that tell you about the other kinds of men you need on your team? Daily Reading: 1 Kings 22:1–53, Acts 13:16–41, Psalm 138:1–8, Proverbs 17:17–18
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—June 21, 22, 23 Ministry to Men “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked [Jesus]. John 3:4 As we seek to maximize our effectiveness as leaders of men, one of the first things we need to do is find out what’s on their minds. Rheinhold Neibuhr once said, “There is no greater loss than the answer to a question no one is asking.” Find out what questions men are asking, because those are the ones we need to be answering first. Getting to know what makes men tick is a good starting point. But after that, what’s next? What exactly are we trying to accomplish? •• The Goal. The overarching goal of the Christian men’s movement is to restore discipleship as the central mission of the church. It is not enough to make better husbands, daddies, time managers, and workers. We must be careful not to merely seek to improve men’s behavior (better flesh). Instead, our calling must bring men to the foot of the cross where they negotiate the terms of a full surrender of their lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. •• How To Improve Your Ministry With Other Men. One of the best definitions of insanity is this: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting
different results. If you want a different outcome, you have to do different things. However, people don’t change until they become uncomfortable with something. Our job as leaders is to help men become uncomfortable with the way they live. Jesus comes with tension. If we declare the Scriptures in love, men will become uncomfortable. • Incremental Change vs. Quantum Leaps. Jewel, one of the most popular current pop artists, spent 15 years on the road, often living in her car, to be discovered overnight. Google, arguably the greatest product launch in history, took four years to go live online. It is a roll of the dice to plan and wait for quantum leaps because they are so unpredictable. Steady plodding, though, always adds up to something after awhile. ALM 135 Does your ministry with men need improvement and, if so, what needs to happen? How can you help your men become uncomfortable with lukewarm ways? Daily Reading: 2 Kings 1:1–5:27, Acts 13:42– 15:35, Psalm 139:1–141:10, Proverbs 17:19–23
For Your Small Group
❏❏ June 17–23: Dwight L. Moody once said, “I would rather wake a slumbering church than a slumbering world.” •• What is the difference between evangelism and discipleship? •• Is one better than the other? •• What is the long-term outcome of both?
Monday—June 24 • A Man’s Emptiness Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David . Romans 1:1-3
Bill has been out of work for over a year, and he’s having a tough time making ends meet. But he doesn’t want to jump into anything, because he believes God has made him to make a difference. He doesn’t want to “settle,” so he’s holding out for a job where he can feel like he’s fulfilling God’s destiny for him. By contrast, Steve is at the zenith of his career. He said, “I have a fantastic job, a beautiful wife, three excellent kids, and recently I deposited a check for $100,000 into my bank account. That night my wife and I had a drink to celebrate, but I found
I was downcast. My wife asked, ‘What’s the matter? What do you want?’” He explained, “I looked at her and said, “’I just don’t know.’” Whether you’re just trying to survive, or you are feeling the emptiness of mere “success,” every single one of us has been wired by God with a craving to know we are significant. God really does have a calling for you, and it’s as unique as your fingerprints. MIMBS 8 Today’s Scripture passage shows that Paul knew he was called to be Jesus’ servant and to be an apostle. How would you define your calling? Share your thoughts with your wife or another man. Daily Reading: 2 Kings 6:1–7:20, Acts 15:36– 16:15, Psalm 142:1–7, Proverbs 17:24–25
Tuesday—June 25 • A General Plan
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 God has a general plan for all men, and it’s summarized in Jesus’ words recorded in John 15:8. He calls us to turn our attention toward giving glory to God rather than to ourselves. When we start doing things for God’s glory, we begin to feel significant. A man will not feel significant or truly happy until he is doing exactly what God wants him to do. That doesn’t mean that God has ordained a performance-based culture where you have to do something to earn His favor. The apostle Paul clearly wrote that we are saved by grace rather than by works (see Ephesians 2:8-9). But you could say that we are saved for works (see Ephesians
2:10), because Jesus really did say that God intends for His followers to “bear much fruit.” That means He wants us to live productive lives by helping other people become His disciples as well. We are absolutely saved by faith, but we also are created to do good works, to bear much fruit, because it will bring glory to God. MIMBS 8 In what ways have you been focusing on God’s glory rather than your own? How does that affect the work that you do? Daily Reading: 2 Kings 8:1–9:13, Acts 16:16–40, Psalm 143:1–12, Proverbs 17:26
Wednesday—June 26 • A Specific Plan
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26-27 God created an incredible universe, and He stays intimately involved with its running. You can see from today’s passage that God is not a hands-off “clockmaker,” winding up the world and expecting it to run on its own while He naps. Scripture repeatedly shows God as a focused manager of all things in His universe, including you and me. You almost could say He’s a micromanager, interested in every detail of our lives. He created each of us in a unique time and place, with unique talents and perspectives. The plan He has for us is similarly specific. He supports that calling by giving spiritual gifts to help His follower fulfill the destiny He’s prepared for them. The apostle Paul explained, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). He is one God, giving unique gifts to His followers, because He has a specific plan for each of us. MIMBS 8 Look up 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, which lists several spiritual gifts given by God to His followers. Which of those gifts do you believe He has given to you? When you place that gift alongside your talents and abilities, what does it reveal about the specific plan God has for your life? Daily Reading: 2 Kings 9:14–10:31, Acts 17:1–34, Psalm 144:1–15, Proverbs 17:27–28
Thursday—June 27 • Give Glory to God at Work Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. 1 Corinthians 7:20
Some people assume that, if they really seek God’s plan for their lives, they’ll end up going into full-time ministry. In reality, any vocation that is not expressly forbidden by God can be used for His glory. God doesn’t view life in terms of “sacred” and “secular.” You can be God’s servant in any vocation. And your work is not just a platform for ministry, but it is ministry, eternally significant because it brings order and fulfillment in a world marred by sin. A young teacher came to our Bible study. Introducing himself, he explained, “All I ever wanted to do was teach high school math. Now I do, and I’ve found kids coming to class with problems that math can’t solve.
I found that Christian teachers in my school didn’t know each other. God has put in my heart a vision to try to address those two needs.” That young man said something I’ll never forget: “I’m an ordained math teacher.” Whatever your career or employment, if you seek God’s plan for your placement there, you are ordained to make a difference. MIMBS 8 What has God ordained you to do? In your current employment situation, how are you helping to “bring order and fulfillment in a world marred by sin”? Daily Reading: 2 Kings 10:32–12:21, Acts 18:1–22, Psalm 145:1–21, Proverbs 18:1
Friday, Saturday, Sunday—June 28, 29, 30 • Giving Glory to God Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 One of the table leaders at our weekly Man in the Mirror Bible study started teaching a young couples’ class, and it began growing. He said it was the most profound time of growth in his life, and his family benefitted greatly. Many were not surprised when he decided to go into full-time Christian service, and he came to work full-time at Man in the Mirror ministries. Pretty soon, he started hearing teaching that every vocation is holy to the Lord, and he started really missing the project management job he had before. He missed the excitement of meeting deadlines and guiding projects through to completion. He actually felt less significant and less alive working in a ministry than he did working in the general market. When he finally grasped this, he came and talked to me. He called his old employer, who welcomed him back with open arms. He eventually told me, “My personal growth took such a hit by going into full-time ministry, I’m just now starting to recover.” Today’s passage says our goal should be that “in all things God may be praised.”
Authentic significance isn’t necessarily found only in full-time ministry. It’s found in finding a place God has prepared for you, and then living in a way that brings Him glory. God really does have a specific plan for your life, and it’s as unique as your fingerprint. MIMBS 8 Today’s passage indicates our primary goal should be that “in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Rate yourself on a scale of 0-10, with 0 meaning you have no interest in that overall goal, and 10 meaning you are consumed by that overall goal. Are you satisfied with your answer? Why or why not? Daily Reading: 2 Kings 13:1–18:12, Acts 18:23– 20:38, Psalm 146:1148:14, Proverbs 18:2–7
For Your Small Group
❏❏ June 24–30: What does it look like to give glory to God? •• Can you give God glory in other places besides church? •• How have you given God glory at home, at work, on the golf course, in traffic, in the gym, and in other aspects of your life? •• In what areas of your life might you want more intentionally to give Him glory this week?
How Are Men Doing? continued from page 5 More importantly, 39 percent of all men have not attended a church event—other than something such as a wedding or funeral—in the past six months. This is 9 percent higher than 1991. And more men than women are disconnected from church; 56 percent of religiously unaffiliated people are men and 44 percent are women. So the men who should be leading their families to a deeper and longer lasting faith in Christ are instead sitting on the sidelines or barely engaged.
What Does This Mean? Men are in trouble. And we believe that if men are in trouble, then our culture is in trouble. Many churches have difficulty connecting with men and showing how the gospel can change them and the world around them. We need a renewed focus and sustained effort to reach and disciple our men.
Some Next Steps A few thoughts from the data: from lower economic strata and lower educational achievement are dispro1 Men portionately dropping away from Christ. This has devastating consequences for future generations. In an age where we tend to emphasize professional, educated orators, and tight worship bands, are most churches really equipped to reach this demographic? If not, what can we do differently? every measure from marriage to work to church involvement, young men 2 On are doing worse than the generation before. The world’s vision for a hedonistic, independent, carefree, and prolonged boyhood is winning. Our nation is filled with boys with beards. That’s no good for women, children, the church, or Christ. How can we give these young men a new sense of vision for true manhood and gospel sacrifice? time for intervention is now. It’s never too late with the power of God, but 3 The from a human perspective, systems reach a tipping point where the momentum is so strong that it is very difficult to bring them back. When will we reach that point with American men? We are committed to doing whatever it takes to see God bring about a revival of churches and men. We’ve launched the most audacious plan in our history—during a recession—to put 330 Area Directors on the ground to help churches disciple men. We believe God is at work. The Great Commission still stands, and it certainly applies to men. We have made our decision; by God’s grace we will continue the fight until every church disciples every man—by the power of Christ alone, and to glory of God alone. This is a battle we must win.
• David Delk
David is President of Man in the Mirror. He is the author or co-author of five books, including The Marriage Prayer, The Dad in the Mirror, and No Man Left Behind. He lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife, Ruthie, and three children.
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The Area Directors Speak Out: Limiting Factors in Men’s Discipleship and Their Solutions Each issue, we pose a question to our Area Directors about men’s discipleship in the local church. Here are some of their responses.
What are some limiting factors in men’s discipleship and what are solutions to those obstacles? Tony Lambert , Greater Kansas City Coalition for Men's Discipleship Limiting Factor: Not enough leaders and passionate men to build a leadership team. Solution: Prayer and patience (but that doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing). Five years ago our Men’s Pastor prayed, sought out and asked men for a commitment to serve the men of our church for nearly 8 months before putting together the leadership team that still currently leads our ministry to men.
Ronn Read , Northwest Chicagoland Coalition for Men’s Discipleship Limiting Factor: Our culture of “quick and simple.” We go for numbers and think we are not successful because we only have a few. Solution: Pour ourselves into those few, with the constant mindset that we are making disciples who make disciples -- the power of multiplication as opposed to addition goes to work! I have used the formula E=mc2 as my guide: effectiveness = maturing Christians making maturing Christians!
Dave Armstrong, Greater Philadelphia North Coalition for Men's Discipleship Limiting Factor: People’s use of time, often seen as overcommitment. We get so busy doing good things, we lose sight of doing eternal things. Solution: Discernment. We need to help men to identify those few key priorities that will direct them to being godly men and then continually challenge them to devote themselves to those priorities.
Bob Ryan, Northwest Arkansas Coalition for Men’s Discipleship Limiting Factor: Time/priorities in churches and people. Solution: Getting men into small groups. In my church, we have about 100 men meeting twice a month with a specific purpose of discipleship and I am hearing good things! This coaching is flexible, loose, and provides accountability/friendship.
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Published on Mar 26, 2013