With Whom Do You Gather?

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

With Whom Do You Gather?

For where two or three are gathered . . .
there am I among them—Matthew 18:20

We men often find it hard to gather with other men in Christian community. Calendars are full: “I just don’t have time for one more thing.” Pride is high: “I’m good . . . I’m doing fine on my own.” Aversion to vulnerability is strong: “Oh, man . . . I’m just not that good at opening up.” If we are followers of our King, Jesus Christ, though, we must gather—“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25).

But . . . why? Why is community so important for men? Well, a couple reasons. “Two are better than one,” Scripture tells us—we are stronger, less vulnerable,together (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Even more important, though, Jesus tells us that he is uniquely present when we gather in his name (Matthew 18:20). You see, God the Holy Spirit dwells within each follower of Jesus. (John 14:17) Therefore, when we gather, the power of the Spirit flows from one to another and back. When we gather, the work of God is done: confessions are made; sins are repented; love and compassion are expressed; hearts are healed; encouragement is given; lives are transformed. Men are lifted up, up out of sin and rebellion, into life and identity and calling. Work is done that just cannot be done in isolation.

Light It Up . . . Right Where You Are

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Light It Up . . . Right Where You Are

You are the light of the world—Matthew 5:14

The strongest evidence that we are where God wants us—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities—is simply that we’re there. God Almighty knows where we are. He sees us (Luke 12:6-7). He is with us (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is a plan. King David sang to God, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). So, where we are—right now—is no accident. And until further notice (which may come), we’ve got to assume that where we are is where he wants us to be . . . for specific reasons, for his specific purposes.

High on that list of God’s purposes is that we’re his light in our existing regions of influence and impact (Matthew 5:14). Jesus tells us to not hide the light that radiates from us when we follow him: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our lights dim, however, when we get too comfortable with the cultures of the places where we find ourselves—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities. We must, therefore, resist adoption, whether conscious or subconscious, of the prevailing beliefs, codes, or values of those places. We follow Christ. We believe him. That’s our code. Our values are his values.

Refocusing the Drive

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Refocusing the Drive

greatest among you become as the youngest
. . . leader as one who serves—Luke 22:26

We men devote so much of our mental attention and hard work to our own greatness. We plan for advancement; strategize next moves; put our heads down and grind. Deep in our inner machinery there’s something that drives us on toward securing greatness . . . of some kind or another . . . for ourselves. Maybe it’s on a small scale. Maybe on a large scale. Maybe in our work, maybe in our communities, maybe even in our faith. The drive is just there.

The twelve Apostles—men, human men—had this drive. In the upper room, a dispute “arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). But Jesus stopped them and taught them (and us) that this drive must be refocused. “But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). That’s our blueprint. His life is the blueprint for our lives. We must follow it and no other. We must reject all blueprints drawn by our pride, or envy, or selfishness.

Refocusing this drive, away from lifting ourselves and toward lifting those around us, is one of the most important things we can do, as men. It moves us into true masculinity—where we lend our strength to others, who need it, rather than use it solely for our own gain. We must trust that this is a better way to live . . . better for God, better for us, and better for those we are to love and serve.

Embrace the Fear

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Embrace the Fear

. . . for man shall not see me and live—Exodus 33:20

We’re made for fear. We’re made to live with fear, not without it, as we’d like. It’s just, as so often happens, we get preoccupied with things we can see and hear and touch. But these aren’t what we’re supposed to fear—not people, nor circumstances. About such things, our King, Jesus Christ says, “do not fear” (Luke 12:4-5, 22-24). No, we’re meant to fear a fearsome God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

But what does it mean to fear God? Well, mostly it means keeping our thinking straight. It means seeing God, in all his power, in proper relation and proportion to the people and problems in this world. Though we sometimes act as if he were, God isn’t smaller than financial hardship, difficult work situations, difficulties with children. He’s not equal to them. He’s so much bigger, so much more powerful, even comparing doesn’t make sense. He’s alpha and omega. He’s the beginning and the end of everything.

What’s astonishing is this fearsome God, for some reason, chooses to love each of us with a fierce love—a love that’s good and will never relent. So, to him, we mustn’t respond as we’ve been conditioned to respond to fear—control, minimize, avoid, numb. We must respond by recognizing, every day, every moment, that he’s the most important, most powerful force in our lives, and that we’re his favored sons.

May the Force . . . Be You

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May the Force . . . Be You

. . . what I want mostly is for men to pray—1 Timothy 2:8-10

There are many forces at work in this world—forces colliding, reacting to each other, influencing one another. And you, brother, are one of them. Each of us is. The question is, though, what kind? Are we forces for goodness and generosity? I mean, is this broken, evil world better because of us? Or are we forces that are simply neutral? Or are we forces for ‘me’—for selfishness, for stockpiling, for negativity, or depravity even?

These questions matter to God (Galatians 5:13-26). They should matter to us. And if we want to change our kind—or just intensify the positive force we already are—here’s a place to start: intercessory prayer. “Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 MSG).

God certainly wants us to use our hands to help people in need, and he wants us to use our voices to reach people who’re lost. But, since “prayer is at the bottom of all this,” wrote the Apostle Paul, what we mostly need to do is pray (1 Timothy 2:2-10 MSG). You see, intercessory prayer—praying on behalf of other people—is the most powerful thing we can do (James 5:16-18). When we do it, we lay aside our own meager strength and call upon the awesome strength of Almighty God. When we do it, we call forth the most powerful force in the universe and focus its goodness and generosity right onto other people and right into their circumstances.

Going Through Hell

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Going Through Hell

. . . fear not, for I am with you—Isaiah 41:10

You know when you’re in the thick of it—facing tough financial circumstances, or maybe a problem with work or a relationship, or a health issue or an addiction? You know that “I just don’t know what to do” feeling? Most of us do, maybe all of us. The thing is, we actually do know what to do—we know exactly what to do. It’s just hard, in those moments, to remember . . . and to trust.

But we must remember and trust our Father God. He sees and he knows . . . and sometimes he allows. We must not be “surprised at the fiery trial,” therefore, “as though something strange were happening” (1 Peter 4:12). When he allows hardship, though, it’s always for good—even if that’s not, at first, very obvious (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-11; Romans 8:28).

And we must remember and trust our King, Jesus Christ. He is truth. He teaches us what to do in any ordeal. He knows like no other. “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).

And we must remember and trust our God the Holy Spirit. He’s always with us, in every moment (John 14:16). And he can help and strengthen us, whatever the hardship. The “Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead” exists within us, and can certainly bring new life to our circumstances too (Romans 8:11).

Gearing Up for Work

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Gearing Up for Work

. . . you have put off the old self
. . . and have put on the new self—Colossians 3:9-10

At work, we serve. We serve the users of products and services that we and our companies produce and sell. But what about the people working alongside us? What about the people with whom we spend so much time—our bosses, our teams, our peers, our rivals, our friends? What about those who inspire and teach us, or who frustrate and annoy us? Well, each one was designed and built by our Creator God. Each was found worthy of the great sacrifice of our King, Jesus Christ. And each was put into our lives for a reason. So our responsibility is clear: we must love them (Matthew 22:36-40). We must love (and serve and lead and influence) all the people with whom we work.

Now, this kind of thing is undertaken best with action—not “in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). It’s done by doing. It’s done by treating people with care; doing our work with care; doing the hard things, when the hard things are the right things. It’s done by allowing ourselves to become the people we’re meant to become. It’s done, actually, by simply becoming ourselves—our new selves. For that, though, we must first put on the proper gear:

“. . . dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love” (Colossians 3:12-14 MSG).

I promise, it’s worth it . . .

? Rush podcast – get closer to God

Hey there,

I wanted to be sure you knew our exciting news! Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched! Consider this your personal invitation to listen to the trailer, our first six episodes, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, so you can be one of the first to hear new episodes when they drop each Tuesday and Friday.

Plus, we have a brand new website where you can subscribe to the podcast directly. We’d love to hear what you think about it all, so drop us a line! (And, if you use an Android device, you can find the podcast on Google Play and Stitcher, too!)

With much joy and anticipation,

Justin

Now Available on Android: ? Rush podcast

Rush podcast is now on Google Play, Stitcher, and soon, Spotify

Good news, Android users!

Rush Podcast is also available on Google Play and Stitcher! In a few days, it will also be available on Spotify. If you’re an iPhone user, you can also find Rush on Apple Podcasts.

We are grateful that you are listening with us!

With excitement and gratitude,

Justin

 Introducing Rush podcast: Holy Spirit in Modern Life ? 

Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched!

Hey there,

Today is the day! Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched! Consider this your personal invitation to listen to the trailer, our first five episodes, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, so you can be one of the first to hear new episodes when they drop each Tuesday and Friday.

Plus, we have a brand new website where you can subscribe to the podcast directly. We’d love to hear what you think about it all, so drop us a line!

With much joy and anticipation,

Justin