Why men? A Manifesto of a Man surrounded by Women.

While I have yet to read it, “Why Not Women?” by Loren Cunningham instantly appealed to me when I heard about it. For starters, women in leadership had been a debate in the church I had been attending. And then the ultimate irony, my Discipleship Training School class consisted of about 5 men and 29 women. Growing up as an only child and then in about three days being put in a room with four other men, and a building with 29 women (not including leadership) …. It was nothing short of an interesting experiment/test.

But as I sit here tonight the question that is burning in me is this; Why Men? Why have men decided to go to sleep about serving God and decided that their life is their own? Now I’m not saying that all men have chosen to be apart of this tragedy, I was blessed with men leaders in my DTS who I value highly and have inspired me to continue in missions work. But when women are the fire starters and people making change happen, yet the debate still exists as to their significance in ministry, something seems wrong to me. The women of God who attended the school I did were not there by accident, surprise for some maybe, but God doesn’t ever say that our life purpose won’t be a surprise to us.

Even now while my faith in God has grown and deepened since the end of the school, who was it that helped plant the seeds of His word in me? None other than my mother, the woman who thankfully raised me and kept me from becoming quite a mess many times over. I write this tonight not as someone seeking reaction, but simply from a place of wonder and thankfulness.

“God, I thank you for raising up mighty women of God who will influence both men and women of all ages and nations. I ask you Lord to let this passion continue to grow across the earth in women of all ages and race. I also ask you Lord, to wake up the men of this earth. I ask your forgiveness Lord standing in place of my fellow man, for neglecting your instruction that has always been for our good. I’m sorry Lord for ignoring you so long, and thank you for giving me the one thousandth chance you did to help me surrender and get to where I have. Please forgive us Lord for not loving like you do, loving to the point of death for the church. While we can only love, on our own, to the extent of our human nature help us desire to know the deeper love only found in you God. I ask that you would inspire, challenge, and even interrupt both men and women’s lives that are ignoring that which you have prepared for them. For you are the best life coach anyone could have. In your holy name Lord, I love you. Amen.”

So I end this with an expression of thanks and the question I began with. Thank you to my mother and the women who I’ve encountered in my life and am blessed to know that are following and serving God; thank you for keeping strong in our Father despite the world’s lack of understanding. And finally, Why men? Why have you chosen to sleep instead of rise up in the place God has prepared for you?

“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:10-14

King of Brokeness

Amidst the masses, we hear the next command and prophecy.

AND ON THAT DAY YOU WILL KNOW THAT YOU WERE WRONG,

BOW DOWN OR PREPARE TO SEE YOUR END!

But wait a minute.

It plainly says that NO ONE will know the day or the hour,

The father alone will know when He will show even more of his power.

Leaders of great intelligence and popularity stand from their pedestals so high,

Yet we give no credit to our father who created them and gives them the breath they use to prophesy blasphemy.

It’s not for this purpose he’s given them breath, but sadly they have been fed false gospel and sour bread.

They eat with blood stained hands and are filthier than a sewer from the inside out.

20 days of life done normal, but on that 21st day mass chaos.

Worry, pressure intensified, and for what?

Some artwork that looks like a 3 year old got creative with some chalk.

No, I will not bow to a modern day lie and give up the only eternal walk.

I’d rather be bruised and broken, living eternally than an intelligent and popular fool with nothing but lies for a future.

Lord thank you for breaking me and putting me together again,

Thank you for helping me find a new beginning instead of the living end.

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“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

In my weakness, HE is strong.

Like the sons of Korah before me, “Why are you  in despair, O my soul And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the  help of His presence.”

While my soul was troubled, shaken from within me.

He reached out to me,wanting to lift me up.

I regretfully said no, I don’t deserve it, I can’t accept this even if it’s the best thing for me.

But when I was thirsty, even after I rejected you, you were the only one to offer your cup.

 

I lay broken from a night of “fun”,

Living my life the party way knowing the day by alcohol I drink.

As long as the bottles are full, I have more friends than I know how to have.

But when it’s all over, you’re the one helping me clean up and recover.

Why do you care about me?

This unloving disgrace of a shadow, filled and downcast in eternal sorrow?

 

I see pictures of you hanging from a tree,

Blood dripping down more than any eye should see.

The pain you experienced, I could try but probably not imagine at best.

But it seems you’d rather not have eternal rest.

For you walk beside me every day, holding me when I walk the streets, and standing with me in the storm.

We laugh together, cry together, and enjoy meals together like friends.

But something still kept me from wanting to have more.

 

Oh God! I’ve done it now, I’ve lost you and don’t know how.

Where have you gone, what did I do?

Your word said you’d never leave me,

But I can’t find you for once in my life, I can’t see you.

 

As the light shines before me, I finally come through.

Past the darkness, through the curtain, and into the open fields with YOU!

I’ve found you again, thank you for coming back to me.

Where have you been, why couldn’t I see?

This vision I have now, it’s not the same as before.

My eyes are open, but it’s my heart that’s seeing more.

You show me the importance of looking forward, while keeping my heart filled with vision.

This was what I feared, but when you gave me the new heart, it didn’t hurt as much I thought it would.

 

Yes I lost friends, material possessions, and opportunities that had come my way.

But what I’ve gained in you, increases and is more fulfilling every day.

Like the sons of Korah before me, “Why are you  in despair, O my soul And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the  help of His presence.”

 

 

 

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Love is the Greatest?

(Writer’s note obviously there is no such thing as The World’s Translation. This is more to just be a free, thought inspired misinterpretation of scripture)

1 Corinthians 13 TWT(The World’s Translation)

If can’t buy a way into your heart and sometimes more preferably your bed, but still tried to know you and love you, I would not find a relationship. If I was educated, well-dressed and well read, and still found time to care that your favorite color is green, I don’t know what love is. If instead of giving millions to charity I used it to build a twenty room home, but still went to all the Greenpeace meetings, I would know it though. Love is mine, love serves me, anytime. Love remembers not to hurt my feelings, but it’s okay when I hurt it’s feelings. Love cares about my needs only, injustice is rampant so why try to change it? As long as I have a bank account and my Armani suit, I have love! When I used to dream of romancing someone, knowing their heart as well if not more than my own, and thought that simply just enjoying a quiet day with them would be the most wonderful thing to do. Now that I see completely, I know I was wrong! Three things will last forever- pride, power, and me! And because of this I will always know love….

1 Corinthians 13 New Living Translation

 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

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As I sit here today, I was reflecting on some of my values. One of my values that I aim to hold towards those I’m close with, is that I want to know them. As a Hebraism, the word “know” means to have sexual intercourse with someone. There is a very personal, intimate bond that is made when two people have a relationship like this. Most preferably and best done in marriage, but unfortunately that is increasingly becoming uncommon. I want a personal bond with those close to me, no matter how much pain it causes, even if it means we disagree on various things. I want to know them for who they really are, not who I portray them to be. For those that read this, I ask if this has sparked thought for you, please reflect on what you value in relationship. Do you really want to know the inner details of someone, the good and bad? Their scars? Their joy? Or do you just want the surface level routine? You may think you know someone, but I ask you to please consider that you may not know as much as you think.

Value: What is it and Where do I put it?

It’s so funny that we call English our native language,

When definitions have been forgotten and changed throughout the ages.

There are many types of value even; monetary, societal, artistic, musical, etc.

But this, right now, is when it gets personal.

When you get to the point,

The point of NO RETURN.

“What is there for me, who even cares about me, why am I alive?!”

You have many choices, but the one way that is best can be sometimes the hardest as well.

It’s the difference between a private and personal or eternal life in hell.

As I laid in my bed, feeling unloved and dead on the inside, but writhing in anger and frustrated on the outside;

I decided I would find value in me, since no one else chose to.

But because I didn’t know where to start, I just made it tied to a talent.

A gift I knew was from God, but didn’t want to fully admit it.

It first started all about me, my millions of albums made, concerts played, and countries visited.

Homeless or not, fed or hungry, I just wanted to play music and knew that I was worth something….

ONLY if I kept playing and seeking a dream that would take a lot of hard work I wasn’t willing to do or aware of.

High school ends, victory of the beast has come to me.

Touring with bands around the world and doing what I love is the dream I see.

In reality though, I went on to music school to further my  career.

Then after only two weeks the only words I could muster were, “WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING HERE?”

This isn’t me and I hate this, I don’t understand this music and have lost all desire to learn or practice.

It’s not even that it’s hard to understand, it really isn’t.

This once beautifully tuned music piece, had turned into cacophony and dissonance.

So I left, fired the orchestra and conductor, sought out another direction.

Partly ashamed but knowing it was right because if I’d stayed any longer,

The hate I would have had for me and everything I did would have kept me from even wanting to see my own reflection.

I needed calm and redirection, but I wasn’t sure how to find it.

But He helped me see that I didn’t need to see my outer reflection, but my inner reflection.

This time and memories would lead me down the path into my real direction.

SERVANT, to the most humble king and all He loves.

But not without struggle and it wasn’t going to be gentle, or done wearing gloves.

You see, to serve and love as much as He, I had to first see how to value ME.

This is still a work in progress, no lie.

But what used to be the only way I’ve found value, thank God, has died.

I love music and it’s in my DNA, I don’t and won’t deny it.

But loving God, for God and his purpose in my life.

There is nothing better that I could do, and best of all He helped me see

That my true value isn’t in a hobby or anything of this world, even me.

It’s in Him, my father and creator who I know always loves me.

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As someone who has dreamt of being a professional musician for a while, particularly a drummer, I used to find value solely in the fact I played music and that was my identity. Not just to myself, but even to most people I’d meet. Yesterday I  put my drum set, that I’ve had since I was 17, for sale on Craigslist to continue fundraising for my next plans with YWAM Madison. I feel like this represents a victory in finally finding real value in myself, from God and not from a worldly material. I hope this encourages you to seek out time with God and come to know your eternal value that He has for you. 

A Key of Importance

Honesty is key with me,

Not just a thought or something I’d like/hope to see.

Embarrassing, hard, stressful, joyous, tear-jerking; I want it all.

Then again that doesn’t mean that it should be delivered angrily or insensitively.

There’s something to be said about timing,

It’s an art that we don’t always apply to our speech or the way we live.

BUT if we did, I think we’d save ourselves a lot of trouble.

I say this as someone who has not only messed up along the way, but is a professional at messing this up.

But while I deserved it more than He, My God who died and rose again 3 drank the cup of suffering for me.

For all of us, this sacrifice was made.

That we may be whole, provided for, and pure.

In humble surrender, I painfully come before the throne as a living sacrifice.

I give away my wants and lay them at his nail-pierced feet for my needs.

He tells me to remember that to die is gain and my sacrifice will never be in vain.

For what I had was emptiness and pain, but fulfillment and joy is what I will gain.

I proclaim Christ and his glory to you all,

For He picked me up, saving me from a deathly fall.

Save me from myself, I cried. Thank you God even though you died once,

YOU ARE ALIVE.

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“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” -John 12:24-26

“Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”- Philippians 2:16-18

Neither Old nor New Self – then who am I?

Wake up, get out of bed  and as I get dressed,

I suddenly feel this test.

A moment of arrested attention not to digress.

Who am I going to be today?

Sometimes when I look in the mirror,

It may as well be a stranger looking back at me.

Confusing and uncertain, isn’t the way this should be.

I could just ask my parents or peers,

Really I could ask anybody.

But not a thousand words, I only want one.

But even after all their word offerings, it doesn’t tell who really is me.

We are born with a name, given an I.D., but yet we question identity.

Often we look to a job description, a widely known material interest, or even a belief to be “me”

But if all we’re defined by is what we do, what we buy, or what we think where is the transparency?

While what we think is somewhat key to the things we value or the way we see, it is only a piece.

A piece in this puzzle to give true definition of the word, me.

One day even though He was the most secure being of his identity,

The blessed incarnation of the uncreated king even asked, who do YOU say I am?

Because of his real identity, as our Messiah, lover, and friend, why does it take so long for us to ask Him?

If today you wake up wondering who you are, why don’t you ask the man who defines life, who do you say I am?

But don’t ask without expectation or readiness to listen, for you may not hear because you aren’t ready.

Even more, you may find what this world has told you is a lie.

But be confident in this: If you come to Him asking who you are, be prepared for your time to be asked who do YOU say I am.

Be still, know it in your heart and mind, and know He is GOD.

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Psalm 139: 13- 16″You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”