Are Your Eyes Dry?

This week I am studying Psalm 51 in preparation for the class I teach on SundayPsalm 51 mornings.  If you read your Bible you will recognize this is a prayer for restoration.  A prayer that King David uttered to God after the prophet Nathan confronted him with his adulterous sin with Bathsheba and his murderous plot regarding her husband Uriah.

Though we may not have committed adultery or murdered someone, we all can say at some point in our lives we have had lustful thoughts and thoughts of anger.  Jesus told us that if we have lust in our hearts then it was as good as adultery (Matt. 5:27-28) and if we spoke and acted in anger toward someone, we have as good as murdered them (Matt. 5: 21-22).

This psalm should be a reminder to all of us that we need to  pray the prayer of Psalm 51 from time to time.  Asking God to have abundant compassion on us.  To blot out our rebellion and completely wash our guilt away and cleanse us from our sin.  Though those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ who gave himself to die on the cross for our sins; who rose on the third day and has now ascended into the heavens and is sitting on the right hand of God; have been washed in the blood of the lamb and He, God the Father, will remember our sins not more; we still need to remind ourselves of our wickedness and that we need God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For as the scripture teach us, none of us is good nor are we righteous (Rom. 3:10).  We need God to wash us clean, whiter than snow, to create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit.  For no matter who we are we will from time to time lose our way and need to be drawn back into the presence of our God.  We need to have the joy of our salvation restored.

This week I did something I have not done in many years.

Keith Green
Click on the picture to listen to My Eyes Are Dry

I pulled out my guitar to fiddle with a little and I came across a song I use to sing when I was younger.  It was written by Keith Green, considered one of the early founders of the contemporary Christian music movement.  The song’s title is My Eyes Are Dry.  The lyrics to the song is written below and you can click on his picture to listen to the song on YouTube.

It is a song of restoration and a song that has ministered to me many times when I was younger and did today has I remembered the song and sung it.

Sometimes my eyes become dry as I lose my compassion for people who are hurting.  My heart becomes hard and I need it to be softened.  Sometimes my prayers become cold as we go though the motions and repeat the same old prayer day in and day out and we do not allow God to speak directly into our lives.  We need the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as God speaks to us through His Word.  Our eyes need to be wet from the tears as we feel compassion to those who are suffering.  We need our hearts to be soften.  We need are prayers to become alive in conversation to the Father.  We need to be washed anew in the wine of the blood of Christ.  We need God to create in us a clean heart, a steadfast spirit, restoring the joy of our salvation.  We need God to open our mouths so we can declare his praise, to sacrifice to Him a broken spirit for He will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

I ask you to examine yourself.  This is biblical as Lamentations 3:40 tell us;

Examine and probe our ways, and turn back to the Lord.

You may find yourself in a place that you need to say this prayer of Psalm 51, sing this song My Eyes Are Dry as you worship and praise God.  I pray that God will capture your heart once again if you have allowed your eyes to become dry, your faith to become old, your heart to become hard, or if your prayers have become cold.  Let yourself be washed anew in the wine of His blood.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Lyrics to My Eyes Are Dry.

My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to you and dead to me
But what can be done for an old heart like mine
Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You
Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew in the wine of your blood.

 

 

Ministering to Men is More Than Having Events.

If you are having events for your men just to be having events – Stop It!

men-playingThat probably got someone’s attention.  Now let me explain.  I am not suggesting for you to not have events for your men, in fact I would encourage it.  But don’t have events just to be having events.  Use those events to help your men to take the next right step in their spiritual growth.  Use it to promote a deeper study into the Word of God, to join a small group with other men to share what you are learning from your reading of the Word.  Maybe even use it to encourage men to join couples classes many churches have to encourage growth in God as a couple.

In an earlier post I stated that a life verse of mine is 1 Thessalonians 2:8;

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us (CSB).

Discipleship GroupThat is what ministering to men is all about, sharing the gospel and your own life with other men.  It is discipling men into a intimate and intentional relationship with Jesus Christ.

Use the events to allow men who are in a small group or a discipleship group to share how this has benefited them in their spiritual growth.  Maybe have a time when you can let men experience a sample of what that is like by arranging men to gather in groups of three to four and praying together or sharing their thoughts on a topic that may have been discussed by a speaker.  Then do something I was taught and that is to have a prayer huddle.  2013-09-07-08-28-20What a great feeling that is as men gather together with their arms around each others shoulders much like we did when we played sports and spend time in prayer.  Use your events wisely.  Use them to speak into the man’s life – encouraging him.

I have developed an attitude that when I hear a team planning a men’s event, I always ask what are you going to do to help the men take the next right step.  Understand that all of the men will not take the step but no one will if you do not

Have your events, do some fun stuff but remember the goal is to share the gospel and to pour your life into those men.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Are you Reaching the Young Men in Your Church?

lightstock_262190_small_krisIn my lifetime Ministering to Men have changed greatly.  In my early years as an adult most churches men’s ministry was about getting together and doing service work and having a social.  Today, as you look around those attending a men’s ministry event whether it is some type of spiritual gathering or a social gathering it is generally composed of older men.  Churches are having a hard time in reaching across generational boundaries.

Kris Dolberry, who leads Ministry to Men at LifeWay and serves as Executive Editor of Stand Firm, a daily devotional magazine for men, wrote an article called 5 Questions Your Church Must Answer To Reach Young Men.  

The article is very insightful and will help you to evaluate what your church may be doing to reach across those generational boundaries.  I encourage to read his article and share it with your team.  Click here or the title of his article above to read.

I’m not going to speak anymore about this in this post but allow Kris and his experience share his thoughts through his writings.  I would be very interested to hear what you thought as you read his article and what churches could do to reach all across generational boundaries.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

 

 

Men’s Ministry: Program or Ministry

When a church has a formalized Men’s Ministry is it really a ministry or is it just a program in the church?  Do you look at your Men’s Ministry as a program or a ministry?  How can you tell the difference?

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This is something I struggled with when I first started working in men’s ministry: which by the way, I like to refer to it these days as ministry to men.  Early in my ministry, men’s ministry to me was centered around events such as men conferences, golf outings, fishing trips, trips to sporting events, etc.  I saw it as a time for men to get together just to fellowship and have a good time without all the amenities the world thinks you must have for a good time.

As I continued to immerse myself in books about ministering to men while developing a network with other men who have a passion – a burden – for men, I began to realize there was more to ministering to men than just coordinating events.  I realized that by just having events, technically you only have a program.  A coordinator with possibly help from others to plan and carry-out a fun time.  In reality, a social club.

Now let me make it perfectly clear, there is nothing wrong with having events – in fact, I encourage them.  Events have their place in ministering to men.  They do help to develop relationships and for men to connect with other men in the church.  However, to have a ministry there has to be more.

Jesus told us to “Go… and make disciples” (Matt. 20:19).  Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.”   Proverbs 27:17, the scripture verse that many men’s ministries use, states that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.”  But the scripture we need to make as a part of our life to impact other men is 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

praying-with-menI realized that to really have a ministry to men you must pour your life into other men and encourage men to do the same with the men in their lives.  To have a ministry you need to develop a discipling ministry that focuses on the men.  Teaching them how to be the men that God has called them to be.  Teaching them to be the husbands, dads, a co-worker, or a friend that God expects them to be.  Helping them to dive into the Word of God, getting to know God – His attitude and characteristics – in an intentional and intimate manner.

You see, if you are just planning events without giving the men an opportunity to take the next right step to develop a deeper relationship with God, then you just have a program.  If you are giving them that next right step to grow spiritually and teaching them how to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1) then you have a ministry.

I pray that your ministry to men is just that – a ministry and not a program or social club.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Men Gatherings – Something to Think About

Men like to get together and fellowship.  Often it can be at some meal, or it can be during a planned fishing or hunting trip.  Maybe get together to attend a local or regional sporting event.  Generally we get together just to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.  Swap stories about the big one that got away or when one of our children made the big play.  We just enjoy telling stories about our adventures.  I get together with a few men each month just to fellowship; laugh at each other and learn about each others lives.  It is a great time and I thoroughly enjoy the times we have.

But I was wondering; how many times have Discipleship Groupwe done that and not realize the great opportunity we have in these gatherings.  Not just the one I attend but all those that are held each month – each week – by men everywhere.  Opportunities for us to share life with someone who needs encouragement and support.  Maybe someone who doesn’t know Christ.  What do I mean?

Well, ever thought about inviting someone to to attend one of those gatherings that may have a similar interest; such as, hunting, fishing, sports, or just a meal gathering.  Ever thought that you could use that time to get to know someone and possibly share the gospel with them through your life.  I don’t mean to preach – I mean just living your life and maybe if the opportunity presents itself to share what God has done in your life.  Let them see God through you and in you.

Maybe the next time you have a group of men gathering for a meal you invite someone to attend with you.  Or buy an extra ticket to a sporting event and invite another man to attend with you.  Next time you head out to fish or hunt, think of someone who enjoys the activity and invite them along.

Who knows… maybe God will use those opportunities to reach into someone’s life and change them forever.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

Does Your Church Target the Men?

Is your church targeting the men attending.  If not, Why not?  I often hear pastors talk about we value our men but yet they never speak into the lives of men from the pulpit.  Their churches never plan events centered around men.  They say our men will not come.  But yet they expect the men to come to Sunday School and discipleship group meetings.  Some will come to Sunday School and even fewer will attend a discipleship group; but most men will stay away.

Being a man who works in men’s ministry and one who

MenFishing
Men’s Ministry Fishing Trip

worked with youth in the early years of my life, I can see a lot of similarities.  Our wives sometimes describe us as a child in a grown-up body and in some cases she is probably not far from the truth.  Just like with the youth we plan events and activities to gather the youth so you can pour your life into them and share the gospel message.  You basically have to do the same with men.  Yet instead of going to the beach (unless it is to fish), amusement parks, or lock-ins; you plan fishing trips, golf scrambles, trips to the big game or NASCAR, wild game nights, etc.  You encourage the men to attend these events to develop relationships

Men Golfing
Men’s Ministry Golf Outing

and then encourage them to attend bible studies or discipleship groups; giving them the next right step.  Theses events allow  men not attending Sunday Schools or home study groups or discipleship groups to possibly hear from men who are attending and it just might create an interest for them to attend.

The ministries of most churches rarely if ever have events that are centered around men.  I have even heard of a church that stated we don’t need a ‘formalize’ ministry to men.  Maybe so.  The interesting thing is, rather they have a formalized ministry to men or not; they have one – they just don’t realize it.  The ministry will either tell the men they are valuable and they care about them or it will tell them they are not valuable.

Some churches will intentionally target the men because they know that as the man goes so goes the family and so goes the church body.  One such church is Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC whose senior pastor, Dr.  James Emery White, lists Targeting Men as one of their Eight Strategic Decisions.  He states that these eight decisions have proven to be strategic in serving their mission as a church.

In their description of their Eight Strategic Decisions the church states;

At Meck we unashamedly target men in our outreach, in our messages, in our… well, almost everything. We have become convinced through years of experience that if you get the man, you get everyone else within his orbit – specifically, his wife and his children.

What does it mean to target men? It means you think about male sensibilities in terms of music and message, vocabulary and style. One of the most frequent things we hear from women is: “My husband loves this church. I could never get him to church before. But now he comes here even when I don’t!” And she will go where he wants to go. Get him, you get her. Get him and her, you get the family. It’s as simple as that.

It appears that Dr. White and The Meck gets it.  If you want to reach the complete family you need to intentionally target the men.  Churches historically have ministries that speak into children, youth, ladies, even families as a whole; but they rarely have ministries that speak directly into the hearts and minds of the individual men.

I encourage you to examine what are you doing to 2013-09-07 08.28.45reach the man that is connected with your church but maybe on the fringes; the man who appears to be there regularly but is not involved in any kind of discipling relationships; the man who is just going through the motions.

You know, because most churches don’t intentionally target the men, I wonder if that contributes to most men thinking that church is just for the women and children?  Something to think about.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike.

More BLA Information

This week one of my posts encouraged men cropped-2013-09-07-08-28-20.jpgministry leaders to develop a BLA (Barnabas Luncheon Appointment) Ministry.  My mentor that I mentioned in the post picked it up and added some additional information on his Facebook page, Coach K’s Chronicle.

Jeff stated on his page;

“For others who may be interested in adopting this simple, but effective 1-1 strategy with men, here is an overview of the process…”

Click Here to go to the link he provided for you to understand how to conduct a BLA with your men.  It is on the Man in the Mirror Blog page at maninthemirror.org.

I would also encourage you to check out Coach K’s Facebook page as he is often providing encouragement and insights as men continue on their spiritual journey.

Click here to view his page:  Coack K’s Facebook page.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

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