Worship of Will

From Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline pages 5 – 6:

Our ordinary method of dealing with ingrained sin is to launch a frontal attack. We rely on our willpower and determination. Whatever may be the issue for us — anger, fear, bitterness, gluttony, pride, lust, substance abuse — we determine never to do it again; we pray against it, fight against it, set our will against it. But the struggle is all in vain, and we find ourselves once again morally bankrupt or, worse yet, so proud of our external righteousness that “whitened sepulchers” is a mild description of our condition.

In Colossians Paul lists some of the outward forms that people use to control sin: “touch not, taste not, handle not.” He then adds that these things “have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship” (Col 2:20-23 KJV). “Will worship” — what a telling phrase, and how descriptive of so much of our lives! The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshiping the will. Isn’t it ironic that paul looks at our most strenuous efforts in the spiritual  walk and calls them idolatry, “will worship”.

The will has the same deficiency as the law — it can deal only with externals. It is incapable of bringing about the necessary transformation of the inner spirit.

When we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and determination, we are open to a wonderful new realization: inner righteousness is a gift from God to be graciously received. The needed change within us is God’s work not ours. The demand is for an inside job, and only God can work from the inside. We cannot attain or earn this righteousness of the kingdom of God; it is a grace that is given.

Romans 5:17 “… those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness [shall] reign in life through  the one man Jesus Christ.”

Guard Your Heart

From Michael Hyatt’s Blog: Three reasons to guard your heart:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Because your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. I take my garbage to the street every Wednesday night. It is picked up on Thursday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless.

Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.

Just like your physical body, if your heart—your spiritual heart—dies, your leadership dies. This is why Solomon says, “Above all else.” He doesn’t say, “If you get around to it” or “It would be nice if.” No, he says, make it your top priority.

Because your heart is the source of everything you do. King Solomon says it is the “wellspring of life.” In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts, words, and actions.

In Tennessee, where I live, we have thousands and thousands of natural springs, where water flows to the surface of the earth from deep under the ground. It then accumulates in pools or runs off into creeks and streams.

If you plug up the spring, you stop the flow of water. If you poison the water, the flow becomes toxic. In either situation, you threaten life downstream. Everything depends on the condition of the spring.
Likewise, if your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and, indeed, your legacy. It is, therefore, imperative that you guard it.

Because your heart is under constant attack. When Solomon says to guard your heart, he implies that you are living in a combat zone—one in which there are casualties.
Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war. We have an enemy who is bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him—including us.


Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. 1 Peter 2:11 (MSG)

From Seth Barnes: When cozy is no longer normal.

The Secret Lives of Men

Via The Third Option Men

I know a few smokers.  I have condemned them for this chronic sin on multiple occasions.  Once, a long-time female smoker replied, “It must be nice to be able to hide all YOUR sin.”

Initially I took this as nothing more than an addict lashing out in a vain attempt to deflect responsibility.  Later I realized it was a wise Christian woman pointing out the obvious: I’m just as flawed and sinful as everyone else.

My sins have always been of the mind.  I have never smoked a cigarette.  Not a single experimental puff.  I have never been drunk.  I have never gotten a buzz.  Not even close – unless exhaust fumes count.  I’ve never been high.  Not a drag of weed, not a small green pill, nor a single punctured vein.  My battlefield has never been the outward but the inward.  Deep within my brain, and within the dark expanses of my soul, lingers my secret life.

There I am free to harshly judge everyone I come into contact with.  There I replay illicit scenarios where I eviscerate them with my impressive vocabulary, and they wither and retreat from my overpowering awesomeness.  My lusts of the flesh are free to do as they please with whom they please, how they please.  I have lived a thousand different versions of my life.  I’ve been a powerful ruler of supplant minions.  I have traveled the cosmos in vast warships.  I have brutally murdered any who oppose my will.  I exist as a mere shadow of the Christian I am perceived to be.

As was earlier pointed out, my sins have always existed in the shadow of my mind, deep in the trenches, and rarely, if ever, surface.

The secrets will surface, though:

Read the rest at Third Option Men

Why daughters need daddies

I love this.

From Why A Daughter Needs A Dad: 100 Reasons by Gregory E. Lang

1. to show her that true love is unconditional
2. to teach her that her value as a person is more than the way she looks
3. to teach her that family is more important than work
4. to show her that a man can be trustworthy
5. to be the safe spot she can always turn to
6. to teach her that a man’s strength is not the force of his hands or his voice, but the kindness of his heart
7. to be the standard against which she will judge all men
8. to help her take risks that will build her confidence
9. to hold her when she cries
10. to teach her she is important by stopping what he is doing to watch her

via Resurgence

What Miracle Are You In The Middle Of?

From Mike Paschall’s Blog

I’m fighting like crazy here to keep from expounding on the gospel story of Peter jumping out of the boat. We’ve heard lots and lots about it, it’s all familiar and generally helpful, but from time to time we fall victim to the loss of focus. I read that story and I want to start screaming at the top of my lungs: “FOCUS dude, you are in the middle of a flipp’n miracle!”

When I read that my mind immediatly tries to apply it to my own life. What miracle am I in the middle of? What’s keeping me from focusing on my savior?

What miracle I’m in the midst of?
Us walking into God’s promise of a house, and our family being established.

What’s distracting me?
Lack of sleep, my own tiredness, exhaustion, and fear/doubt (are we really going to get it this time?/are we prepared?).

Isn’t it interesting how are situations are similar? Gotta keep this last paragraph in my head.

Peter later brought lots of solid teaching about focus. He had been to the school of trial and error. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This word is spiritual but it also applies for the everyday grind. Have the courage to make honest assessments, make the adjustments, make the changes and then dive in. It takes discipline to develop the strength to swim against the world’s current and the appetites of our flesh. Any ole dead thing can float down stream.

Read the whole thing here. http://everytribeinternational.org/2010/08/04/focus/

Men with a whole heart

From Ray Ortlund

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

Overcoming Fatherlessness With Alex Lyons


Alex Lyons tells his story of overcoming childhood challenges to strive toward a strong spiritual heritage.

via The Mentoring Project

btw: the picture in the header is a much younger me, my grandpa Shansky, and my Dad.


The Wounded Healer by Henri J. M. Nouwen

I am whom I am considered to be by one of my many fathers.

We could have predicted that the coming generation would reject this, since we have already accepted that a man’s worth is not dependent on what is given to him by fathers, but by what he makes of himself. We could have expected this, since we have said that faith is not the acceptance of centuries-old traditions but an attitude which grows from within. We could have anticipated this ever since we started saying that man is free to choose his own future, his own work, his own wife.

I would add to this, “that we could have expected discipleship to become a foreign concept to men, when we began rejecting others having authority over us, and instead set ourselves up as the authority in our life.”  For the last few days all I have been hearing about is the subject of authority (like Seth’s blog for example). So last night our mens group started doing the Under Cover series by John Bevere, and I think this quote really sums it up.

There is freedom in submission and bondage in rebellion.
– Lisa Bevere

To be a true disciple we need to be submitted to authority, spiritual fathers or mothers, a Godly someone (or more than one) who will train you up in the ways of God.