Oct 29, 2020
The Dirty (Half) Dozen Imperatives to Honor God
I was recently given a Husqvarna chainsaw from my Mom’s man friend, Kelly “Chainsaw” Dodge. I nicknamed him “Chainsaw” because he loves refurbishing old “Husky” chainsaws into better than new condition. To him, owning any other saw makes you less of an American. My chainsaw gift taught me a great lesson on honoring God from 1 Peter 1:13-18 that every man should know about.
1 Peter 1:13-18 (NASB)
Subtitles of this section vary based on your translation (NASB offers no subtitle). New International Version subtitles it, “Be Holy”, “Called to Be Holy” in the English Standard Version, and “Living Before God our Father” according to the New King James Version.
If I were to subtitle this section, it would have gone with none of the above, opting instead for, “The Life that Honors God”. Sadly, all of the above implies a tragic truth of Christendom, that there many “Christians” who do not honor God with their lives. The hope is that you will assess which category you fall under after you read through what I call the Dirty (Half) Dozen Imperatives for the man who honors God.
Here is the passage:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.”
Oct 23, 2020
4 Game-Changing Tips from a Major League Pitcher
Traveling Sports: A Horror Story
From my experience, boys baseball and girls volleyball parents are the worst, with soccer and basketball parents coming in close second even though they are often the same parents.
I don’t know if it’s their grandiose expectation that Junior will be a D1 athlete or the extreme amounts of time and money invested that causes them to lose all bodily function, but anyone who has been around traveling sports team knows exactly what I’m talking about.
I was once carrying on a pleasant conversation on the third-base line with one parent when the next thing I knew he ran screaming to the opposing team’s first base coach because he rebuked his son for purposely plowing into the first baseman. It was mayhem. Ironically, both men attended the same church!
Go for the Gold
Last week we had Pat Combs on the Men in the Arena Podcast to discuss his book More than the Score, writes, “The problem is when we parents buy into a lie. We’ve let youth sports systems have way too much control over our children’s lives.”
And Pat should know. He was an All-American and Academic All-American at Baylor University, where he was later inducted into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame. He spent 8 years playing professional baseball and as a collegiate athlete and represented his country in baseball for Team USA where they won the gold medal at the 1998 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Pat is now a behavioral analytics consultant for numerous professional athletes, MLB, and NFL teams.
Here are the top four game-changers I took away from his book.
Oct 16, 2020
Seven Points of Valor
Short Answers, Long Explanations
The short answer is, “No, courage and valor are not the same.” Though used synonymously the slight differences in the two words are noteworthy. According to Google Dictionary Courage, “Is the ability to do something that frightens one.” We send 37,000 words explaining courage in my newest book, Guts and Manhood: Four Irrefutable Attributes of Courage that you can down for free until the end of the month. In it, I use my twenty years of Bible study on the topic to dissect certain truths about courage.
Valor, on the other hand, is slight yet profoundly different in nature. Google Dictionary defines it as, “Great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.”
Courage, according to Google, confronts one’s fears where valor, is exhibiting great courage in the face of clear and present danger—especially war.
Titles Versus Courage
Braveheart is the popular 1995 film about Scottish knight and revolutionary William Wallace, who led the Scots in theFirst War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. My favorite line in the movie is a short dialogue between Wallace and the future King of Scots (1306-1329) Robert the Bruce. With fire in his eye, Wallace rebuts Bruce’s disclaimers about men and titles with, “But men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”
In context, Wallace is talking about war, so we are back to square one. Are you confused? The bottom line is this: Courage and valor are slightly different by definition but often used interchangeably, which is what we experienced recently on the Men in the Arena Podcast.
Oct 9, 2020
What To Do When Temptation Comes My Way
Josh Cowger’s electrician business consumes massive amounts of time, which is why he longs for fall, bow hunting elk in the Pacific Northwest, and reacquainting with his soul. 2020 will be remembered by Josh not only for COVID-19 and race riots, but as the year he survived a mountain lion attack.
Josh was hunting alone, and as the mid-morning sun warmed his back he decided to take advantage of this time away from his busy job to take a much-deserved nap. He was startled awake by a low growl, opening his eyes to a crouching lion, who attacked once its position had been compromised.
Josh tried to back up from his lying position with no success, and as the lion leapt upon him Josh went into full defense mode and kicked at the air. By chance (or was it?) his boot struck the shocked lion in the neck, turning it in mid-air. Stunned, the cat turned and retreated into the wilderness!
Oct 2, 2020
Four Ways to a Clear Conscience
Not-So-Average GI Joe
Several times a year we strategically invite the “Average Joe” on the Men in the Arena Podcast. They have never written a book. They do not travel the country public speaking. They do not have a huge social media following.
But they are heroes. They are what every man should aspire to when we read about the qualifications of leadership in the Pastoral Epistles that Gene Getz so brilliantly wrote about in his classic, The Measure of a Man. They have stepped out of the anonymous bleachers and into the Arena.
Rick Aldred (31) is one of those men. Rick in 2010, received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. He spent the next eight years on active duty, deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as numerous training exercises in Europe. During his time in Europe, he committed adultery with numerous women against his precious wife Emily (adultery is a violation of the marriage covenant and an act against your spouse).
His conscience condemning him, he made the radical decision to confess everything to his wife, which is rare. Usually, adulterers only confess enough to get by and slowly confess as more lies are exposed. This began a long road of recovery and reconciliation, and, through it all, Rick discovered his passion to help others through his own brokenness. Romans 8:28 in action! He graduates with his M.A. in Counseling in 2021.
Branding is a marketing term describing the searing of your business brand on the minds of customers. For a 501(C)3 like Men in the Arena this is wildly important. As I continue journaling through the Pastoral Epistles verse by verse, my world was rocked by 1 Timothy 4:2, which reads, “Through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.”
I burned my arm while grilling this week. Seared skin is dead skin. Dead skin has no feeling after being obliterated by fire. It is the same with the human conscience. If we indulge in sin often enough and long enough, we will eventually become hardened and unaffected by it (Matthew 13:13-15). We will become comfy with deadly sin!
I was compelled to ask myself, “What sins are being seared on my conscience to the point where they are a normal and numb part of my life? What sins have I surrendered to?”
A man recently shared some heartbreaking news to me: “I no longer have to deal with the guilt and shame of Christianity. I do what I want, when I want, to whoever I want.”
Conscience seared. Next victim, please.
Here are four things you can do now to make sure your conscience remains clear always.