Thursday, May 14, 2009

Galatians Wrap Up

If I could encapsulate the message of Galatians, compress in into two minutes, throw some war paint on it, with a Scottish accent it would look like this (please note that this clip contains the Scottish word "arse" in it.



What will you do without freedom?

Will you fight or will you die?

They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!

Come this Sunday as we wrap up this great study and who knows....you just may get some donuts or something.


Why are so many men bored with church? Part 2 - Real men don't read


Why are so many men bored with church? This is the question I asked in my previous article [link]. Here are several reasons I listed noting that this is not an exhaustive list but a list I believe covers some if not most of the reasons why the church is missing manly men who love their Bibles, love to humbly serve, and love the church of Jesus.

1. They have a distorted view of God.
2. They have a distorted view of the church.
3. They have a secret sin or secret sins in their life.
4. They don't enjoy reading.
5. They don't communicate and operate naturally in large settings.
6. They like action over words.
7. They aren't saved.
8. Some churches no longer rightly preach God's word connecting everything back to Jesus.

When I wrote the last article I put together the above list in no particular order but want to address these points in what would make logical sense so it should look like this...

Here are several reasons why I believe many men are either bored with church or who don't see any value in attending church.

1. Most men don't read or don't enjoy reading.
2. Their Theology is whack....they have a distorted view of God.
3. Their Ecclesiology is whack....they have a distorted view of the church.
4. Their Christology is whack....some churches no longer rightly preach God's word connecting everything back to Jesus.
5. They aren't saved.
6. They have a secret sin or secret sins in their life.
7. Men are mono syllabic....we don't naturally communicate and operate well in group settings.
8. Men like action over words.

Let's deal with number 1 first....Most men don't read or don't enjoy reading.

Let's face it...men our lives are hectic. We get up early, we go to work, we deal with complex issues during the day, we are taxed with responsibilities of job, family, and bills and when we get home most of the time all we want to do is to turn on sports center and quietly slip into a comma and or "vegg out".

Generally speaking vegging out does not include large books with lots of words and no pictures. The goal for most men each day is to make it through the day, go completely mind numb at the end of the day so as to achieve some amount of peace and relaxation before going to bed and having to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

To be completely honest and blunt most men want to disengage from the thinking process not kick it up a notch by reading.

Most guys I know will say that the last book they read was in high school 10, 20 plus years ago and if pressed hard enough they will eventually admit that even then they did not read the book but instead watched the video.
So what? Who cares? Why does this matter at all?

The problem with this is that most men do not read books which includes the greatest book of all...the Bible.

If we aren't grounded daily in the word of God then where will we get our information about God? How to live our lives? How to be a good husband? How to overcome temptation? How to handle our finances? How to be a good dad? How to be a good employee? How to obtain salvation?

Right now some of you reading this are thinking...."this is weak...I don't need anyone or anything telling me any of this...I know how to do all of these things and my life is just fine..."

Really? How is that working out for you?

If we do not get our information from the Bible, God's words, then we will get our information from the examples around us, from our dads, from other men, from the culture...which is scary because I am not sure I want to be getting any advice from Paris Hilton or Bradd Pitt on how to raise my family.

The reality is that each of us are created to worship and we will either worship God in truth and spirit taken from the reading of God's word or we will worship someone or something in place of God based on being spoon fed lies by the culture which is not worship but is in fact idolatry and false worship.

The very fact that few men read their Bibles at all has given birth to an entire generation of men who don't know the truth, don't know how to handle complex questions about morality, ethics, and religion, don't have a right view of who God is, what God's church is, who Jesus is, how to overcome secret sin, and for some how to be saved.

How do approach this?

This is a challenge for all Christian men who love their Bibles, love Jesus, and love His church. We have to be in the word daily, we need to be accountable to each other, and we need to encourage each other to be diligent students of God's word. We need to be leaders and teachers of God's word in our homes, and we need to be bold in our witness about both in word and lifestyle so that the truth of God's word can be testified to glorifying God and drawing men to Him.

We need to put aside any notion that reading is somehow anti-man, we have to realize that we have been born into a world at war against us, against our families, and against God.

We we need to man up and not be afraid to pick up the sword of of the Spirit to do battle (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17) for the sake of our hearts and minds and the hearts and minds of our loved ones.

Practical helps

1. Don't like to read? Purchase an audio Bible on CD to listen to on your way to work or better yet download a free version on iTunes and put it on your iPod. Don't have an iPod? Repent, go buy one and sin no more.

2. Can't understand what you are reading? Purchase a translation of the Bible you can read, enjoy, and understand. I like the ESV, NIV, and the NKJV. The Message is a great translation for general reading as well.

3. Pray - Ask God to give you a hunger for His word. Ask God to help you understand His word.

4. Just do it! Make time, schedule time, and do it. It won't happen if you don't.

A weak knowledge of the Bible leads to distorted views of who God is, what the church is, and who Jesus is which we will look at in part 3.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why are so many men bored with church? Part 1


Why are so many men bored with church?

Is it me or is our culture seriously lacking manly men who love Jesus, love their Bibles, and love God's church? Why is it that most men are dragged to church as little boys, abandon the church as young men either to never return or to be reluctantly dragged back by a nagging wife?

There seems to be a disconnect between those men who profess Jesus as Lord and savior with their mouths and their lives which bear little to any witness to following Christ, reading His word, and loving His church.

There is quite a bit of data available backing this up. For example, read the following statistics taken from an article written by David Marrow at CBN.com

"More than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church."

It is not just my imagination leading me to believe that there is a lack of passion in men when it comes to church attendance, love of the church, and participation in God's church, the bride of Christ. I have had the privilege of being in several volunteer ministry positions over the years and have noticed the following patterns:

1. Men are less consistent in their church attendance than their wives.
2. Men are less likely to serve in the church than their wives.
3. Men are less likely to volunteer to lead a small group or facilitate a discussion than their wives.
4. Some men attend only to appease their wives and to stop the nagging.

Here are some staggering numbers to think about.



• The typical U.S. Congregation draws an adult crowd that’s 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories.

• On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America’s churches.

• This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.

• Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.

• The majority of church employees are women (except for ordained clergy, who are overwhelmingly male).

• Over 70 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it during their teens and twenties. Many of these boys will never return.

• More than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church.


• Churches overseas report gender gaps of up to 9 women for every adult man in attendance.

• Christian universities are becoming convents. The typical Christian college in the U.S. enrolls almost 2 women for every 1 man.

• Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry.


information cited from www.churchformen.com

While we love women who love Jesus and we love women who love the church my question is....where are all the men and why are they so bored and disconnected from the church of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

Aren't men suppose to be the head of their households (Ephesians 5:23)? The pastor dads in their homes? The spiritual leaders for their wives and children (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)?

Won't we men stand before Jesus on the last day and give an account for all that was given to us as men to care for on behalf of God to include our money, time, possessions, and the people God surrounded us with including the spiritual health and welfare of our family (Romans 14:11-12)?

Here are several reasons why I believe many men are either bored with church or who don't see any value in attending church.

1. They have a distorted view of God.
2. They have a distorted view of the church.
3. They have a secret sin or secret sins in their life.
4. They don't enjoy reading.
5. They don't communicate and operate naturally in large settings.
6. They like action over words.
7. They aren't saved.
8. Some churches no longer rightly preach God's word connecting everything back to Jesus.

Over the next few articles I will address each of these points as we look together at why most men are bored with the church.

Please note that the above list is by no means an exhaustive list as there are many more contributing reasons as to why men are bored with the church...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Galatians - Week 9 Has the Church gone too far?

In your opinion has the church gone too far into the culture trying to reach people?


If so, how?

"Be ye in the world but not of the world."

Most of us are familiar with this scripture and the church has struggled with this for two-thousand years asking questions like:

"How far can we go into the culture?"
"What can and can't we do?"
"What is and isn't permissible?"

In and effort to remain pure, untainted, and separate from the world and culture in general we have withdrawn, removed ourselves, and it manifests itself in the following ways:

"I don't go to those places, watch those movies, listen to that music, wear those clothes, live in that location, or play in that area..."

In our efforts to set ourselves apart to be "salt and light" we not only remove ourselves from culture but end up isolating ourselves from culture. We now have whole groups of people buying up large tracts of land, churning their own butter, and who doesn't like home churned butter?, home schooling their 15 kids, and stocking up on ammo and ramen noodles waiting for the rapture.

This isn't just isolation any longer as it moves more to marginalization as Christians become less and less of an influential power that creates and makes culture with a Biblical, gospel centered world view and what once was a desire to remain in the world but not of the world becomes total avoidance with the culture, certain people, certain technology. In our retreat, in our absence this void is filled with a godless, unbiblical, demonic, self-centered, world view and the church, the gospel, and Christians are all marginalized and seen as just another fanatical group....at best to be tolerated and at word to be harassed, arrested, tortured, and executed.

The problem with the command..."Be ye in the world but not of the world" is that it is not a command! You will not find this in scripture, in fact we find just the opposite and I could give many examples (In the gospel of John alone Jesus tells us at least thirty-nine times that He was “sent” by the Father) but will give one directly from Jesus.

Mark 16:15 "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

Galatians 4:12

Paul was masterful at getting into the culture, connecting with people right where they were and sharing the gospel with them. 1 Corinthians 9:22 "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." Galatians 4:12 Paul says, "I beg you to become like me as I became like you." Please put away your "I'm holy" attitude, your self imposed separation, your "I don't go there, do that, associate with those types" mentality.

In doing so we ourselves become stumbling blocks for those who would otherwise come to Christ. Our outward attempts at holiness can lead us and others to believe that they must meet some moral code or checklist before coming to church, before hanging out with us, and before coming to Christ.

#1 - You and I are to use every means within the context of the culture in which we live to share the gospel.

Foreign missions would not be successful if they did not learn the language, dress, and work themselves into the culture and if they did not connect with people right where they are. Missions exist because worship and knowledge of Jesus do not and each of us live within the context of our own cultures within which there are many sub-cultures, each with their own language and dress.

1. Be informed about the culture in which you live.
2. Work yourself into that culture.
3. Connect with people right where they are to then connect them to Jesus.
4. Use the arts, media, and technology all to advance the gospel.

Example: 24 - watch an episode - redeem 24 for Jesus (Jack Bauer is a messiah figure, one man who alone can save the entire world)
Technology, blogs, facebook, twitter, MySpace, the Internet, texting, all can be used to advance the gospel.

Galatians 4:12 "Become like me....I became like you."
Don't be an obstacle, don't be self-righteous, and don’t force others to some "higher level of morality" before coming to Jesus. Instead use every means within the context of the culture in which you live to share the gospel.

Galatians 4:13-14
The funny thing is that Paul was not planning on stopping in Galatia, wasn't planning on preaching to these people or planting churches in Galatia. Yet because of a "bodily ailment" Paul was forced to stop.

Have you ever asked the question? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Here was Paul who had given his life to Jesus, denounced his old life, left his old ways, was preaching, teaching, planting churches and it is clear that God's hand was upon him. Paul was certainly filled with God's Holy Spirit as he wrote a majority of our New Testament Bible. You would think that out of all people Paul would have had some extra protection right? Yet time and time again Paul's life was struck with illness, near death, trials, persecution, hardships...why?

Wasn't Paul good? Why did God allow bad things to happen to Paul? Better yet...why does God allow bad things to happen to you? To me?

There are two ways we can look at God.
1. Through a microscope
2. Through a telescope

Both of these magnify but both in very different ways.

The microscope takes teeny tiny things and blows them up making them look bigger than they actually are where as the telescope takes large things very far away and brings them into focus so we can see them.

If you and I magnify God in a microscope we will see our life as the most important, see our problems as the most important and always ask the question....why me?

If you and I magnify God through a telescope we will see God and His glory as the most important, see our problems as they are, but instead of asking why me? You and I will ask for what purpose God?

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
There is no perfect time to share the gospel. In God's great sovereignty and in His mighty plans He allows things to happen, illness, tragedy, hurt, pain, suffering, even death that in the microscopic level grieve us and Him greatly. Yet in the scheme of eternity bring about His good will and glory.

How can you say this? How can you write this? I will give you just one example...Jesus.

Jesus, God's only son, perfect in every way, without sin...arrested, beaten, falsely accused, mocked, spit upon, the flesh ripped from His back as He was beaten, crucified, His blood poured out on a disgusting Roman cross, taking upon Himself our sins, dying in our place.

Don't you think that at that moment and at that time that all of heaven was horrified at what they saw? That God was grieved? That Jesus was desperate and alone? He cried out...Father, Abba, Daddy! Why have you forsaken me?"

Yet in the telescope this was not a mistake, not an accident, not an isolated event, but part of God's plan, a plan to redeem man to God, a plan to lift the curse off all creation, a plan to conquer sin, hell, and death for all eternity, and a plan to glorify God!

Romans 8:28 "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him..."

#2 We are to utilize every event in our lives, the good, the bad, and the ugly as a means to share the gospel and to glorify God.

Galatians 4:15-18 Paul says being zealous is a good thing as long as it is for the right purpose and it is true. The problem is that there were some in the church who are worse than someone who just started a new diet (Galatians 4:17). Have you ever known someone who just started a new diet? Don't you just hate those people? The very night before they were partying like it was 1999, just chowing down at the Chinese buffet trying to eat their body weight in egg noodles and now? They are the Dr. Gupta of nutrition. You go to lunch with them and they kindly begin to point out to you how many calories/carbs/fat grams are in each bite you take while they happily munch on air and water.

They aren't concerned about your health! They want someone to suffer with them, to validate their decision and they want others to follow them...they really want control.

Paul is saying "These guys don't love you...aren't' concerned about you...they don't care where you spend eternity...if you know, worship, and serve God...all they care about is the here and now. These guys are fundamentalist which is a lie because they are no fun at all! All they want from you is for you to be religious, miserable, and to serve them. The truth be known they can't stand it that you have freedom in Jesus while they are still stuck in their religious prisons!"

Galatians 4:18-20

#3 Understand bringing someone to Christ often requires an investment of our lives.

Paul compares this to childbirth. Anyone ever witness the miracle of childbirth live or watch a video in health class? I would call it more like the "bloody, messy, fluid filled, screaming at your husband childbirth." The real miracle is that the wife ever wants to have more children and that the husband lives to see another day.

Paul says..."I have loved you from the day I heard about you, cared about you for months, worried over you, protected you, prayed over you, put your welfare above my own, put you above myself, your needs before my needs, undergone terrible pain, discomfort, hardships for you just to see you born into the kingdom of God."

Paul is comparing what the Galatians are doing to a pregnant mother, carrying her baby for nine months, undergoing all the pains of childbirth, without an epidural, delivering, getting to see the baby for a brief moment and then being told by the doctor she will have to begin the process all over again.

You and I must understand that our relationships are an investment and very often can take months, even years before seeing any real life change for both believers and unbelievers.

God has placed us in this place at this time for His purposes.

1. Use every means with the context of the culture of which you live to share the gospel.
2. Utilize every event in your life as a means to share the gospel and to glorify God.
3. Understand that very often bringing someone to Christ requires an investment of our lives.