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.
Posts Tagged ‘men’
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).
Used this book in our men’s discipleship group a couple of years ago. Great book, great price for a limited time only!
“There is a crying need in the church today for men to be men. Richard Phillips believes the problem and the inadequate solutions being put forward demand sound exegesis of biblical passages relating to masculinity. The Bible alone has the answer to what men are to be in the eyes of their Creator. In The Masculine Mandate, Richard Phillips provides this essential exegesis.”
See what others are saying about it here.
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.
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. . . .
Our men’s group is currently reading The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips. A few days ago we discussed the truth about how God designed us to reflect the image of God. One way Phillips argues that we do this is simply by loving the truth of the gospel and loving other people. He talks about an ordinary man named Lawrence Dow who served in his church in simple ways and was eager to share the gospel with others. At Dow’s funeral, the church was packed, and person after person gave testimony of Lawrence’s impact in their lives–including several pastors. So Phillips writes:
So what does this mean for the average Christian guy? It means that you need to get into the game–not a sports game on television, but the true and real contest for souls that is going on all around you. It means you should devote yourself to strengthening you own faith and drawing near to God so you can be used to strengthen others. It means you should be involved in your church by using whatever gifts the Lord has given you. It means you should be ready and open to be a spiritual blessing to people whom God will bring into your life. It means that when you meet someone who is down, you should encourage him or her with truth from God’s Word. It means that when you find someone who is confused, you should start noticing not just where people stand in the pecking order, but what is going on with them as individuals, and then minister gospel truth and Christ-like love to them as those in need of grace. . . .
Every Christian man is called to get involved in God’s work in some way. I like to think of it as going into “the family business.” When the world was first created, God called Adam to enter into his labor, making the original garden more fruitful and spreading its bounty in the world. In our day, God’s work in this world is the work of His gospel, the spreading of His saving grace in the lives of lost sinners” (pp. 36-37).
So, men, how is God calling you to use your spiritual abilities in the context of the local church? How are you loving the gospel and loving others?
The Atlantic magazine is musing this month about the possibility of “The End of Men.“ I’m linking to this article as an example of how a worldview shift starts out often very small and unnoticeable (usually in academia) and then spreads out over time as groups push their agenda and decades later it dominates cultures and people groups. For example,
Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs. The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions. Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.
The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male. In fact, the opposite may be true. Women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than men to meet the demands of new global call centers. Women own more than 40 percent of private businesses in China, where a red Ferrari is the new status symbol for female entrepreneurs. Last year, Iceland elected Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, the world’s first openly lesbian head of state, who campaigned explicitly against the male elite she claimed had destroyed the nation’s banking system, and who vowed to end the “age of testosterone.”
Here’s the whole article.
There is only one way to play football — 110% effort every play, all the way to the end of the fourth quarter. You lay it all down on that field. Then you crawl off the field after the final gun with nothing left to give. Football must be played with wholehearted abandon. It’s the nature of the game. It prepares us for life.
If I could change the Bible, all I would do is add “play high school football” to the qualifications for elders. Men who have experienced such intense effort, hurling themselves into every play, especially as a team sport — such men understand what ministry demands and how good it feels to give their all for a cause greater than self.
Of course, there are other ways God provides for men to punch through to the experience of total abandon. Football is not the only way. But every man needs some kind of experience like this, to become the warrior God wants him to be.
There is only one way to serve Christ — all-out passion. Passive men don’t understand, men who are afraid they might get knocked down or hurt. Christianity must be lived with wholehearted abandon. It’s the nature of the faith. It prepares us for eternity.
Men with a whole heart — joy awaits them!
“Blessed are those who seek Him with their whole heart.” Psalm 119:2
–This was a post by Ray Ortlund!