Before I get into this I have stop here to say that what you are about to read is important, it is something that God has put on my heart like a burning bus bursting through the wall into a quiet library. You just can’t keep turning pages after that happens.
I pray that God moves through this, and that more men will take up the call to become the bad ass men that we are called to be.
Yeah, I said bad ass. Wait, before you run screaming, let me explain.
Outside a donkey screeched that braying-screaming-dying noise that Ethiopian donkeys often make, the one that sounds like they are trying to break out of their skin and hurt somebody.
Inside every seat in the room was full and all eyes were on me.
“We want to know why you, as a father brought your family all the way to Ethiopia to help orphans, what made you do it?” Jackie asked and then sat back and waited for my reply.
“Well”… I said, clearing my throat while I found words to paint a picture of the fire in my I felt raging in my heart.
“Our family does this because there is a need here, and all of us Christians are called to step up and help when we see a need”
“Yeah, but we all see need all the time, and well…” A young man who looked to be about 18 years old spoke up from the back of the room. “What I want to know is what gave you the courage to go out and do this for kids who you did not even know”
Everyone here had traveled from Montana to spend two weeks putting on a vacation bible school for the 54 kids who are part of our families at Bring Love In. This was their last day and they were processing the time they had had spent getting to know the beautiful children that make up our families, children who were once forgotten, left, ignored, who were now part of families, loved, revered and cared for. Children who now have a future. I can’t say enough about how thankful we are for this team and the selfless love the showed our children.
I understand that from where they sat, seeing all of this incredible beauty God has brought into these former orphans lives and how they might be tempted to look at my wife and I and try to idealize us as incredible people who have done this great thing.
But the truth is, we are just normal people who are trying our best to take on the responsibilities that crossed our paths.
I wanted to try to minimize who they saw us as, to bring their expectations back down to size and tell them whole truth about how we struggle, and fight all sorts of battles in our lives, but something else was going on. Instead I felt God tugging on my heart in the same way that he has been for the past several months, he was showing me that to be a Christian man comes with a certain amount of responsibility, and that I need to walk tall on the foundation of His truth in my life, struggles and all.
It was time for me to put a challenge out there, to tell this room of people who had flown half way around the world to serve and to give of themselves, about the calling God has on my life and theirs as well.
“The truth is, we as Christian men are called to be bad ass men, not wimps who sit by and watch the world pass us by” I said, letting the words hang in the air like a shot ringing out in the room.
Men, we are here for a reason, a purpose, and the way God set this world up is so that we men should stand as the pillars underneath the structure. We are called to be fathers, leaders, strong men, helpful men, faithful men, mentors, kind and loving men. We are called to be more than just passive observers in this world who are overtaken with our own selfish desires. We are called to lead, and to build.
“If you take an empty pickup truck and drive it on an icy road during a Montana winter, it will slide all over the road, slipping this way and that, but if you load that truck up it will drive straight and true, right down the middle of the road.” I said, as I searched the eyes of the people in the room with me for some sort of tell that this was sinking in.
“Men are the same way, we were built to carry a load.” I added as the passion rose inside me for what I felt God wanted me to say.
One of the most common sins that we as men are guilty of has nothing to do with actual acts we commit, but instead with the things we fail to do, responsibilities that cross our path that we don’t pick up and put on our shoulders.
As a father I see this in my relationship with my kids. It is easier to just go to sleep at night and not spend the time to connect with them, or to allow immorality to enter our home because I am enjoying the TV show, and don’t bother to change the channel.
Sins of omission are a vicious beast.
It is so easy to focus on fathers who are absent, calling them out as failures, yet the ones who stay home are many times just as guilty by not standing up against evil.
All men (father or not), bear the same responsibility, we are called to lead, to take on a load, and carry it well.
Screw the handlebar mustaches and leather jackets, I am not here to talk about wimpy men who need to pretend that they are tough, I am talking about real men who will give of themselves to help others. Real fathers who will stop at nothing to protect their children, real leaders who accept the call to speak truth into the lives of those around them, real men who will fight injustice no matter the wounds they will get in the battle.
To a real man every day is an opportunity to take more responsibility, be it business, ministry, or just taking on the needs of your neighbor.
The most effective strategy that Satan uses against us in this area is to take the sins and failures of our past and to tattoo them on our foreheads. Because he knows that once we see our sin we easily accept the lie that we will never be able to stand up for anything.
All of us are sinners, and all sin is the same to God: Forgiven
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4, 5 ESV)
God is perfect, and by our association with Him we get to stand tall as though we were perfect as well. What God offers isn’t dependent on what we bring, it is something He provides when we come.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
Life is a war, and the question for men is; Will you fight, or sit back and be a wimp?
NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND TALL, ROOT OUR FEET IN THE FOUNDATION THAT IS CHRIST, AND FIGHT!
Yes, I am screaming right now, if this is not worth yelling over than nothing in this earth is.
To come into this world without standing on the foundation of God is like bringing a straw to a gun fight. You can’t win! And when men loose the battle, we all loose the war.
I wish I could say this was a matter of men simply finding faith in Christ, but the truth is many Christian men are straight up wimps, somehow we think because we know the truth, we don’t have to fight for it.
STAND UP MEN!
Is it hard? Good, that means you are on the right track. You were made for hard.
A few days ago I spoke with my three daughters about the role I have in their lives as their father. Even though they are young today, I want them to understand that I am committed to be by their side through all of life’s trials.
“What do you think it means when I tell you that I love you?” I asked.
“Love is the same as like only bigger” one said,
“Love is where you can kiss someone on the lips” my four year old chimed in with a broad toothy smile spread across her face.
That is sweet” I said. “but let me tell you what I mean when I say you that I love you”
“I love you means,
You are valuable to me
You are worth more than anything in the whole world
I will protect you
I will lay down my life for you
I care deeply about your soul
I will stop at nothing to keep you safe
I will teach you the truth, and will guide you on how to grow up and live in it
When some punk turns up and wants to win your heart and is not the absolute best man in the world for you, I will say something, I will stand up for you, and I won’t step aside and allow you to get hurt
I am dangerous to anyone who does not respect you. DANGEROUS
If someone wants to be in your life, they are going to have to get through me first
You are valuable and I care about your soul
I am the shield around you while you learn about this world you live in
I am the first man you will ever love, and I will be worthy of that love so that when you do meet a man you will know what it is like to be truly loved, and you will know how to spot the trash that is going to come your way.”
My hands were shaking as I spoke, as I proclaimed to three young girls about the depth of my heart for them.
“Girls” I said “That is what I mean when I say that I love you”
I looked over and saw that my nine year old daughter had tears streaming down her face, and she reached out to grab my hand. “Thank you” She tried to say, but only the shape of the words would come out.
I lied when I said there were six easy steps to find out if you are a bad ass, the truth is there is only one, Are you going to step up and do this or you are not, it is that simple. Yes, or no.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
(Proverbs 24:5-6 ESV)
Are you a bad ass?