Looking for a good read for men? C. J. continues his yearly tradition of suggesting some good reads (mostly non-Christian history or sport books) for men. Buy one for the man or men in your life.
Archive for the ‘Men’ Category
Men in the church don’t read well.
I don’t have statistics or studies to prove this. My conclusion draws from my experience, and from educated intuition. I recently discussed this conclusion with Albert Mohler, and he agreed, “It’s a very correct and perceptive intuition.” So that’s something.
Of course, not all Christian men struggle with reading. Many men in the pews are very competent readers, and the church is stronger for it.
But many Christian men do struggle with reading. Here are four reasons why:
- Men don’t read books because they don’t know where to begin. We live in a golden age of book publishing, which is great for the avid reader — but is overwhelming for many men.
- Men don’t read books because visual allurements are more appealing. Many men don’t read books for the simple fact that books cannot compete with visual and passive entertainment the world offers.
- Men don’t read books because they think it’s a waste of time. Many men don’t read books because they are unconvinced that the time spent in a book is going to “do anything” to enhance their lives.
- Men don’t read because they lack literary discipline. Reading may be a hobby, but it’s never less than a discipline. Reading well requires both focused attention and a time commitment.
These reasons overlap to some degree. So what can be done to combat these four hurdles in the lives of guys?
Why don’t you read? Keep reading this article to find one possible solution.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
Manliness has taken a beating in our modern world. It is often either denied or distorted. It’s difficult even mentioning manliness without turning it into a joke somehow.
But the gospel is so comfortable with God’s created order that manliness has a vital place. Paul takes all he has taught in 1 Corinthians — the humility of the gospel, sexual integrity, marriage and singleness, personal entitlements, how to take communion, spiritual gifts, the resurrection — he translates all that theology into this practical summary: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
Act like men? Yes. Calvin: “He encourages them to be manly and courageous.” And Paul gives this charge to the entire congregation in Corinth — men and women, boys and girls. I remember reading about a Scottish mother whose son had been taken prisoner of war. She didn’t go into hysterics. Her comment was, “God have mercy on the man who’s chained to our Davy!”
Like the valiant Jesus himself, “the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
Rick Thomas begins his article for angry dads:
Few things will send a child scurrying down the black hole of dysfunction more than the angry dad.
An angry dad in the home is the metaphorical equivalent of rolling a child’s heart through a mine field.
He lives between two worlds of striving to be perfect for his dad and exasperating disapproval from his dad.
The accumulative effect of this kind of tension is hard to overcome. In fact, most children never completely overcome it.
I have counseled scores of “50-year old” children who are still trying to please their fathers, even though some of their dads have been dead for many years.
The traumatic consequences of a dad’s anger is incalculable.
Dads, I would encourage you to read this article even if you think “I’m not really an angry dad!”
Jared has a timely word for all men, especially directed at young men!
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
– 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Young men, make war on your sin. You can analyze your feelings and circumstances for a long, long time, but repentance is always a cut to the chase. With the power of God’s love and the message of the cross, stiffen your back, hold your head up high, and take a machete to the sin that entangles.
An excerpt from my forthcoming book Gospel Wakefulness:
We don’t graduate from the gospel. We hold true to it. And it alone propels us out and empowers us to press on. Grace-driven effort is effort that flows from the joys and wonders of worship that flows from beholding the amazing gospel of God’s grace.
Were this true in you, the sin in you would become your enemy. Do you profess Christ? Have you received Christ? Then, as Ed Welch writes, “Don’t just avoid sin; hate it.” Be as intentional with your sin as Christ was. Carrying the banner of the gospel, which declares Christ’s conquering of sin and death, make bloodthirsty war with the sin in you. Watch for it, search it out, assassinate it with the word of God. Arm yourself with Spiritual armor, put on Christ, and spare no sin you find. Kill it, even as you trust the Spirit is killing it on your behalf. Because he is. And if he is, you should be too.
You won’t drift into holiness. The Spirit will take you there. But God uses means to achieve his ends, and his earthly means of Spiritually sanctifying you is your pursuit of the righteousness of Christ. That we are “being transformed” is a promise; that we should “be transformed” is a command. This Spiritual tension causes Walter Marshall to affirm in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, his classic work affirming that grace is not only the grounds of our justification but our sanctification as well, that the reader must “endeavour diligently to make right use of all means appointed in the word of God, for the obtaining and practising holiness.”
You’re a man. You mean business. Mighty men of God, let’s do work.
“I cannot imagine how any Christian man could allow his family to join or remain in a church that is weak in doctrine, much less one that teaches falsely. Doctrine must take precedence above all matters of aesthetics or personal preferences. The style of music, demographics, the meeting place or architecture, or the personality of the minister, for example, are simply not important as whether a church is preaching and teaching the Scriptures faithfully and accurately.”
Richard Phillips, The Masculine Mandate- p. 140
Who needs a morning cup of coffee to get jolted awake. CrossTalk Blog posts an excerpt from a message from Horatius Bonar.
“In the midst of the posing, effeminized, quasi-adolescent pastors who populate the “stages” of American seeker and emerging churches today, a sure blast from the trumpet from the godly pastors of old is a welcome sound. Horatius Bonar was one of those who issued a certain sound from God’s Word during his ministry. He didn’t pander to the unsaved, he didn’t try to cast himself as relevant, he didn’t take on the behavior and appearance of those on their way to hell. He stood like a man and delivered the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also took trouble to disciple those who were converted by teaching them from the Word of God. No whining about “context”, no talk of seismic spiritual shifts and new paradigms, no fog blowing, no calls for a “new kind of Christianity”, just the truth delivered to his listeners, straight between the eyes. Here’s a message he delivered in the 19th century which is a powerful and needful today as it was when it was first given. It is directed to men. How desperately we need godly men today who will stand in an hour of apostasy and compromise.”
Now read the trumpet blast. . . .