THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO LIFE’S CHALLENGES
Are you an authentic man?
Fatherhood not Robinhood
ASK Magazine is a christian publication that targets men ages 18 and older with the good news of the gospel and the way it should be applied to their lives to gain maximum effectiveness in their marriages, family, home, business, office and social interaction with others.
4 Are You an Authentic Man
Fatherhood or Robinhood 08
ASK is an acronym from Luke 11:9 which says Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and you shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. The intent of this publication is to provide help to all men whether here in Barbados or abroad with a vehicle that answers the hard questions of life and also provide a forum for discussion about their walk with Christ amidst life’s storms. It’s also designed to help encourage men to be, and return to their rightful place in this world as having dominion over all that God made whether physical or spiritual. We will cater for the whole man, his physical needs, intellectual endeavours, his emotional state and his social activities all within the framework of developing a model that honours God, finding self and creating a role model for the next generation.
Also in this issue: MEN Count 06 Difference between men and women 07 Warrior or Poser 11 7 Habits of Effective men 13 As a Man Thinks 14
To deliver the gospel, the good news as it was originally intended that Jesus the Christ came to reestablish communion between God and man through demonstration of his power. By this same gospel we intend to build the church, where Jesus is the head and we are all members, by engaging all men in their marital, family, business and social responsibilities and in so doing, to love all unconditionally without prejudice or condemnation.
ASK for Men is a FREE publication that can be copied and or distributed with permission.
editorial note ASK
FOR MEN caters to the male man in our society and is the christianâ€™s response to some of the issues facing men and declaring that the ONLY answer is Jesus - the head of the church. God has given man dominion yet again through Christ Jesus our Lord but in order to live and reign successfully as kings, man must know what are his responsibilities, the character and nature he must adopt and the enemy that he fights. ASK, an acronym for: Ask - and it shall be given, Seek - and you will find and Knock - and it shall be open to you, is not just merely asking as the first glance at the name may suggest but we are seeking and knocking to open doors which never were opened or previous closed for whatever reason. Change is inevitable and can only take place in our men if the intended reader purpose to weigh the information presented and make a conscious decision and ask, if what he has now is working in light of the challenges at present and can it sustain him in the even more difficult ones ahead. Secondly, will his family that he is leading benefit from such a change and finally will society be transformed by such an act. Let us therefore allow God to transform our way of thinking through the sanctifying work of His Spirit through Jesus, the Christ. Amen
So how about itâ€”are you an authentic man? Really? When did that happen? When did you decide that you were a man? Who told you, and who gave you the rite of passage to manhood? Many cultures have clearly defined rites of passage to manhood. A ritual is observedâ€” a celebration with the community, a mark on the forehead, or the fulfillment of a challenge confirms him.
In Western culture when a boy becomes a man, we mark small rites, such as when a boy gets a driverâ€™s license, or is old enough to purchase alcohol, but we do not have spiritual rites of passage into manhood. Marriage is considered by some to be the closest recognition of movement into manhood. The definition of manhood in our time is confused. When do we recognize a male as a man?
Our sons step into manhood without fanfare or celebration. We don’t define it. We don’t have set principles that govern what authentic manhood is. “When the purpose is unknown, abuse “Never remove a fence until you know is inevitable.” why it was put up.” —Unknown —Dr. Myles Monroe We are witnessing the inevitable abuse Boundaries are important. The founof manhood. The last forty years has dation of manhood is being redefined. wreaked havoc on Unless we know why the authentic manhood. male is a man, or what man The feminization of The feminization is assigned to do or become, men is displayed in we will live abusive lives. We of men is a constant barrage may abuse our own bodies of media imagery. displayed in a with addictions such as alcoAlmost every male hol, drugs, or food. We may represented on tele- constant barrage abuse ourselves sexually and vision is either a met- of media imagery experience the degradation ro-sexual pretty boy of our bodies through STDs or a slovenly buffoon. or AIDS. The frustrations Every reality show has to have its token of unknown purpose may cause us to effeminate male. It’s embarrassing. abuse our wives and misunderstand the true value of the male/female relationThis assault on authentic masculinity ship. has a very broad impact. I won’t go through the barrage of statistics that “For every mile of road there are two support my claims; suffice it to say that miles of ditch.” —Anonymous the destruction of authentic manhood is having enormous repercussions on Extremes take over. We will either besociety. Some subcultures are already come obsessive chauvinists or emascureeling from the loss of authentic man. lated weaklings. Fatherless children are being raised with the insecurities that come from But to discover purpose, you simply the loss of identity. Women are being need to look at original intent. Why left defenseless against the enmity that did God create man? exists against them. The economic decline caused by the loss of male integ- This article is an excerpt from the book Fivestarman—The Five Passions of Authentic Manhood by rity is immeasurable. Neil Kennedy.
STATISTICS: The Facts on Father Absence THE FATHER FACTOR Data on the Consequences of Father Absence according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America -- one out of three -- live in biological father-absent homes.
2. A study of 2,921 mothers revealed that single mothers were twice as likely as married mothers to experience a bout of depression in the prior year. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support.
A - Father Factor in Poverty 1. Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4 percent of children in female-householder families.
Source: Cairney, John and Michael Boyle et al. “Stress, Social Support and Depression in Single and Married Mothers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 38 (August 2003): 442-449.
. Children who live apart from their fa-
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P200547, Table C8. Washington D.C.: GPO, 2003.
thers are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and experience an asthma-related emergency even after taking into account demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Unmarried, cohabiting parents and unmarried parents living apart are 1.76 and 2.61 times, respectively, more likely to have their child diagnosed with asthma. Marital disruption after birth is associated with a 6-fold increase in the likelihood that children will require an emergency room visit and 5-fold increase of an asthma-related emergency.
B - Father Factor in Maternal and Infant Health 1. Based on birth and death data for 217,798 children born in Georgia in 1989 and 1990, infants without a father’s name on their birth certificate (17.9 percent of the total) were 2.3 times more likely to die in the first year of life compared to infants with a father’s name on their birth certificate. Source: Gaudino, Jr., James A., Bill Jenkins, and Foger W. Rochat. “No Fathers’ Names: A Risk Factor for Infant Mortality in the State of Georgia, USA.” Social Science and Medicine 48 (1999): 253-265.
Source: Harknett, Kristin. Children’s Elevated Risk of Asthma in Unmarried Families: Underlying Structural and Behavioral Mechanisms. Working Paper #200501-FF. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Well-being, 2005: 19-27
The Difference Between Men and Women
Within every man is a spirit of adventure. You
home is a paycheck. The family doesn’t celewere made out of the dirt, molded from the clay, brate dad’s victories anymore. Celebration has and that’s also where you are called to return. become expectation. The family feels cheated It’s where you relate—the field of contest— if the money isn’t there when they want the latwhether it’s a football field, a baseball field, a est cultural phenomenon. The husband/father golf course, or even a battlefield. It’s on the no longer receives honor for being the provider. field of contest that man clashes with other men The dignity of vocation no longer commands resharpening his skills and strengthening his re- spect. solve. “ADVENTURE, WITH ALL ITS REQUISITE DANGER AND WILDNESS, IS A DEEPLY SPIRITUAL LONGING WRITTEN INTO THE SOUL OF MAN.” —JOHN ELDREDGE
Women relate face-to-face sharing feelings; men relate shoulder-to-shoulder facing challenges. A woman tells you what she feels; a man tells you what he thinks. The Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron, a man sharpens another man.” Iron does not sharpen with a caress but with a clash. You become a better man by the competition. The struggle strengthens you.
The adventurous spirit slowly dies when a man has to live his whole life refined in designer clothes. Sometimes a man needs to get back out into the dirt and play as he did when he was a child.
So how about it, men? What do you do to get Do you always win? your “fingers in the dirt” and reclaim the advenNo, but you become a better man. The compe- turous spirit? tition conditions you. The field of contest has always been in the heart of a man. Early man left the home to hunt in the field, to kill a wild beast, and to bring it home as a prize for his family. The family celebrated his victory by cooking and feasting on his conquest. At dinner, he was served first, because he was “The Man!” Even though we still leave the house to enter the field of contest and return with provisions, something seems lost in translation when all we bring 7
ing supply. These are in the form of love, discipline, patience, compassion and respect. One psychologist summed it up like this - we see things not as they are but as we are, another advised not only teach the ABC’s but also the P’s and Q’s. Such qualities listed are available to every father and must not only be communicated but lived because more information is transferred by the way we live than what we say.
his is usually the time of the year when all that we have worked for so hard, the putting up with the boss and the constant late hours culminates into a Christmas bonus. But this year may be a little different due to the global financial crisis and it may find some employers not paying or giving very little bonus. For some, this may be the last time you go into your office because you may be severed or made redundant for Christmas. Hence this season of joy and happiness and gift giving is certainly dependent on your financial stewardship, exploits and or means. Is fatherhood just about gift giving and is it dependent on life’s ‘curve balls’?
Leaders Not Merrymen God has placed within each man the ability to lead, it is written in your DNA but lots of men use this gift to lead gangs, mastermind crimes, promote immorality, instead of making a meaningful contribution to their families, they are leaders in consuming alcohol, leaders in pornography, leaders in gambling, leaders in womanizing and drug abuse. Men in general have been following the morals and values communicated from nearby metropolitan countries. Some fathers have abandoned their responsibilities and their authority to mothers who must then assume both rolls which in practicality is harmful to children. So what should a father’s response be?
Certainly most fathers may tend to think that they must play Robinhood in order to provide for their children but fatherhood stretches pass and really has nothing to do with money, although, having money may be advantageous at times but not necessary. Being a father goes past the initial birth and ‘cutie pie’ years of buying pampers, milk and Gerber meals in a bottle. So what are few of the common pitfalls.
Don’t Be An Out Law!
Be A King Not A Joker!
Robbing society and your children under the guise of providing is certainly not the way to be a dad. To provide in its basic sense according to the bible is operating within one’s means, therefore, if you have a lot you can give much but if you have little then little you give. But, there are some things that fathers have access to that are in never end-
The family desires a man who is present everyday in the lives of his children, whether you live at the child’s place of residence
Stop wearing tights and hanging out in the forest
or not. It is the small things like concern for the childâ€™s academic, social and spiritual behaviour and performance, communicating and listening to the interest of your child, spending time with them. Not playing Santa Claus and competing for the love of your child, but be sensible in your gift giving, making everyone count. Genuine expressions of love through hugging, kissing, reaffirming and encouraging to aim higher boost your childâ€™s self confidence. A king has a kingdom and he should make sure that those in his domain feel safe and protected. Fathers must become responsible for the behaviour and attitudes of their charges, so that our society can advance in the right direction and be the firm craftsmen of our fate. In conclusion fatherhood is a lifelong assignment that calls for a made- up mind that, against the odds or in unbearable conditions or even distance cannot and will not stop you from being the type of father that God has called you to be. Using every resource available in your personal arsenal to transmit to the next generation all that they need to overcome this deteriorating world with itâ€™s loose morals and insatiable appetite for money, so that our nation could be a beacon for the world.
We see things not as they are, but as we are. 9
Strike Your Arrows! We often see an athlete, who despite his incredible ability, conditioning, and preparation, seems to have zoned out and doesnʼt perform to expectations. It can happen in life as well. A man starts out in life, energized and excited about making his mark, yet over time grows weary and tired of the daily grind. His dreams become faded memories. The thrill of life is dulled by routine. As men, we must stay engaged in the ﬁght. What ﬁght? The ﬁght of life. The ﬁght to make it. The ﬁght for our family, our ﬁtness, our ﬁnances, and maybe our faith.
routine and pressing toward a complete victory. The Apostle Paul told his young protege, Timothy, that God has not given us “a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Donʼt be passive or timid toward your pursuit of life. Donʼt give up. Donʼt check out. Donʼt become weary in well doing.
There is a story in the Bible about a great prophet, Elisha, was about to die and the King of Israel, Joash, whimpered emotionally over the dying prophet. Yet, even in his dying state, the prophet was a ﬁghting man. He instructs the king to take arrows in his hand and strike the ground. The king picked up the ﬁst full of arrows and struck the ground three times. Furious at his passivity, the prophet exclaimed, if you would have struck it many times, ﬁve or six times, then you would have completely defeated your enemy, but now you will only have three victories. The point of the story is to ﬁght to the ﬁnish, to not let up, to press on toward complete victory.
You may be battling boredom in your marriage. Seemingly, the thrill of the romance is gone. My suggestion is to reengage your relationship. Actively pursue her. Consider that most men do not commit adultery for the relationship but for the risk and the thrill. Allowing your marriage to become boring is a dangerous thing. Your health and ﬁtness may have become weak and fattened. Get up early and get after it. Fight the bulge. Donʼt just get on the tread mill and slow-pace it. Make it hard. Do something that gets you out of passivity.Get up and get your ﬁght back!
I have noticed that a lot of men want an excellent life with about 80 percent effort. However, if weʼre going to win and win big, we must stay engaged, ﬁghting hard against the resistance of
I am ﬁghting the 50ʼs! I want to be in the best shape possible so that I can fulﬁll my purpose. I donʼt want to be satisﬁed striking my arrows in my teens, twenties, and thirties. No, I want to strike my arrows in my ﬁfties and sixties, and I wonʼt stop there! What about you? Are you going to strike those arrows? How many times?
o to any fitness center and you will see the poser—the guy who can’t walk by a mirror without flexing his “guns.” He grunts loud when lifting, then dramatically drops the weights to the floor. He waddles back and forth to the water fountain convinced everyone in the room is impressed with his muscles. Yet all this guy does is train. He’s not training for a purpose. He’s not conditioning himself for longevity. He’s not disciplining his body for a determined outcome. He wants to look like he could do something.
when faced with financial shrinkage is to overcome the tendency to withdraw and hide out. Don’t allow yourself to dig a hole and climb in. Don’t succumb to the pressure. You can’t afford to go into seclusion.
In biblical times, a recession was called a famine because the economy primarily relied upon seasonal crops. If weather conditions were not favorable the crops would not yield its harvest leading to an economic collapse. Isaac, the son of Abraham, expeUnfortunately, there are a lot of posers rienced a terrible famine. in life. Men who strut and pose through The wisdom of the day life thinking their look alone will earn a place in the victor’s circle. They soon discover that’s not how life works. Life, business, family, even our spiritual walk is a challenge. If we’re going to win, we need to be conditioned for it. We need to be strong. Yet this is the time to step up. To face the challenge head on. We don’t need to shrink back and quit. We can’t waste our time reflecting on the ‘good ol’ days.’ Nostalgia is an obsession for an unattainable past. We can’t go back. We need to press forward. One of the greatest challenges we have 11
was to relocate to where there was plenty of food. Yet, God spoke to Isaac specifically to not go but to plant crops instead. Rather than withdrawing and holding on, trusting in false hope that things would simply change, Isaac planted seed in dry ground. He reaped an extremely bountiful crop that year! It may not make sense to the crowd but when God gives you specific instruction concerning your business, your finances, or your family’s wellbeing, go for it. Move ahead. The lesson here is this: You’re not conditioning yourself just to look good. You’re preparing for the challenge. You are strengthening yourself so when crisis occurs—and it will—you are prepared. One last warning. When facing challenges don’t attempt to draw your strength from your wife and kids. It’s not their job to strengthen you. Go to God and let Him strengthen you so that you can turn to your family and say, “It’s ok, we’re going to get through this. Follow me. We’ll make it.” Don’t shrink back in times of trouble. Be a man and be prepared.
Seven Habits of Effective Men 5. Effective men pray. The greatest habit of a man is to embrace the isolation of prayer. God relates to men in the daily commute. As you’re going to work, pray about the challenges that you are facing—the finances, the sales, your productivity. As you leave work, pray about your home, 2. Effective men are constant learners. for your wife, and over your children. The greatest habit I ever developed in my life is reading one chapter of Prov- 6. Effective men exercise. erbs each day. I learned this from the The physical body is a machine—a revery effective Zig Zigler. He valued it so markable machine—that houses who much that he created an audio version we are. We must invest in it. We must care for it. It won’t last forever but it is for us. vital for now. I continue to resist the effects that travel and a busy schedule 3. Effective men speak positively. The science of positive attitudes and have on my body. speech confirms that it has incredible results in our health, wealth, and lon- 7. Effective men rest. gevity. Jesus actually is a great example God established it, even commanded of this when he said, “These words you it. It is as vital for your effectiveness as hear are not my own; they belong to the breathing—it is called rest. Fatigue is the greatest threat to your future. When Father who sent me.” you are tired you let your guard down in decision making. When you are tired 4. Effective men focus on details. Small things matter and small things you are not focused on details, you do overlooked are often the destroyer of not control your words and may say greater things. Focusing on the details things you will regret. When you are makes all of the difference. You cannot tired you are not creative. Never make a expect an excellent life with 80% effort. permanent decision when you are tired. 1. Effective men steward their time. Most effective men start their work at the same time each day. Most have a reflexive system of managing their routine. For example, Nick Saban, the very effective football coach has mastered the proficient use of his time.
or every mile of road there are two miles of ditch. Extremes are exaggerations or over-emphasis of a truth. You can be in error simply by emphasis. I have noticed some men either are overly confident, even arrogant, or they are insecure, not thinking enough of themselves at all. In both cases, the extremes cause the error.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” -Henry Ford
Paul gives some good advice, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Notice the emphasis on the self-assessment is based on sober judgment. To think soberly means to have sound judgment, to be in agreement, to be harmonious, or have the same mind. What are you to be in agreement with? Paul says, “In accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” In other words, to have a sober assessment 14
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought of one’s self is to be in harmony or in agreement with God’s Word for you. When your child has fallen short on a task, do you emphasize that failure every day for the rest of his or her life? Of course not, you build them up, focusing on their strengths. It would be unhealthy to constantly remind them of their shortcomings. The same is true for you, if you fall short or make a mistake, don’t rehearse the failure over and over — get over it and move on — change your thinking.
There is a great story in the Old Testament when Jonathan says to his armorbearer, “Let’s go fight our enemy. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord, no matter how many they have.” The armor-bearer’s response is awesome. He says, “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
I’ve seen grown men act the same way— constantly regurgitating their experi- That’s the kind of statement we need to make if we’re going into battle, if we’re ences rather than their expectations. going to lead a company to new levels Listen men, we cannot win with a los- of success, if we’re going to raise up our ing strategy. We’re in the game of life children to have confidence. and we need to win! The scores we earn have a real effect on us and our attitude matters immensely.
Stop talking defeat. Stop discussing your fears, doubts, and unbeliefs. And just as importantly, stop THINKING defeat and doubt. 15
What patterns of poor thinking do you need to change or overcome?
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