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Posts Tagged ‘John eldredge’

There are core desires planted deep in the heart of every man. From the Amazon to Parliament, from the academy to the factory, these desires are universal, true for every man. And they are essential in order to live life as a man; they provide the power for his life. Misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, they do not go away; they go underground and surface later in anger, addiction, compulsion. You pay a high price when you neglect these desires.

A Battle to Fight

Every boy knows he is made for battle, and he longs to be the mighty hero. Give him a cape, a sword, a light saber and he comes alive in a world of Jedi knights, superheroes, snowball fights, and “what can we blow up next?” But of course—man is made in the image of a Warrior God: “The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name” (Exodus 15:3). God himself is a warrior. And we are made to be like him. Thus every man needs a battle to fight. But in order to fight for his life, his dreams, his integrity, a man must get his heart back as a warrior.

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An Adventure to Live

Ask men about the greatest moments in their lives—moments they felt truly alive. They will always tell stories of adventure. That motorcycle trip to Burma, rafting the Colorado, a night on the open sea. That’s why the heart of a man slowly dies when chained to a desk, an assembly line, or a cell phone. And that’s also why every time God gets hold of a man in the biblical record, he takes him into high stakes adventure. Abraham, Moses, David; Peter, Matthew, Paul—all swept up into great adventures by the wild design of God. Christianity is not an invitation to be a really nice guy; it is an invitation into a Larger Story in which you play a decisive role.

A Beauty to Rescue

Part of the adventure and battle that men have is to search for the beautiful. In the wild this means the beauty of the wide open spaces, the high majestic mountains, the frosty valley floor with the raging river bringing life, or the grandest canyon. These are beautiful places, but they point to something even more beautiful, even more open, majestic, life giving and grand. They point to the Creator – God. The ultimate and eternal beautiful. One of the things that has been stolen from us is the beautiful and what it represents. Learning to fight for beauty and what it represents is not only one of man’s core passions, it is one of life’s greatest purposes.

May you this week realise that your heart is good and that God has placed eternity it for a reason. Your job is to find out the desires God has also placed there and, with God’s help, activate them. This is true for men and women.

Wild at Heart

Wild the adventure
True to the man
Large is the story
Of oceans and lands

Battle to fight
True to the man
The war is not his
God holds the plan

Beauty to rescue
In nature behold
The tapestry of life
As it slowly unfolds

The heart of man
Good the design
Eternal the hope
In the fullness of time

Content adapted from John Eldredge

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We lose the Story every day. It is continually being stolen from us by the Evil one – the ultimate desconstructionist. He twists and spins and pulls apart the truth until the fragments we have left are unrecognizable. Or we lose it ourselves in the marketplace of Vanity Fair. Bombarded by thousands of messages each day, every one of them marked urgent, we leave behind the truly important things, the only refuge for our hearts.

We must be more intentional about holding on to the truth. The spiritual pilgrims who aligned themselves with St. Benedict took this task seriously—far more seriously than we do, I’m afraid. A typical day in the lives of Benedictine monks began in the middle of the night, when they arose for the Night Office. No less than twelve psalms would be said, together with three Scripture readings, several hymns, and prayers. Sunrise brought the Morning Office, followed by six other breaks during the labors of the day for remembering: Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline in the evening. Seven times a day set aside for prayer and the recitation of psalms. Together with their night vigil, more than twenty-nine psalms would be said, not to mention numerous lessons, verses, prayers, and hymns.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we all adopt the Rule of Benedict. But think about this: these men left the distractions of the world to focus entirely on God. They lived in an environment designed to keep them standing before God, and what did they discover? That they needed reminders every hour of the day and night! Do we, who live in the hostile chaos of the world, think we can do with an occasional visit?

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The greater story is epic. It is greater than us, greater than our community, and greater than our planet. In comparison to the greater story, our earth is really just a pale blue dot.

May you this week believe and choose to live in the greater story, change your perspective, and see that every encounter, every meeting, every word is spiritual and has meaning far beyond what we could imagine or hope for. May you be captivated by this great story, because it is your story.

The Pale Blue Dot

On a pale blue dot
In a sunbeam of light,
Our tiny earth
Spins day into night.

Our dot is so small
In a universe so vast,
We think we’re immortal
Forever we’ll last.

We live and we die
In peace and through war,
We all exist on this dot
But do we love any more?

So who made this dot
And moved space through time,
To make the earth spin
On no more than a dime?

It’s so easy to forget
To remember it seems,
Our mote of dust
Suspended in a sunbeam.

Some content adapted from John Eldredge

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Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is a bit like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, and random things.

Jesus has been described by John Eldredge as a Beautiful Outlaw. In his book by the same name, Eldredge removes the religious varnish to help readers discover stunning new insights into the humanity of Jesus. He was accused of breaking the law, keeping bad company, heavy drinking. Of being the devil himself. He was so compelling and dangerous they had to kill him. But others loved him passionately. He had a sense of humor. His generosity was scandalous. His anger made enemies tremble. He’d say the most outrageous things. He was definitely not the Jesus of the stained glass.

In the author’s winsome, narrative approach, he breaks Jesus out of the typical stereotypes, just as he set masculinity free in his book, Wild at Heart. By uncovering the real Jesus, readers are welcomed into the rich emotional life of Christ. All of the remarkable qualities of Jesus burst like fireworks with color and brilliance because of his humanity.

Eldredge goes on to show readers how they can experience this Jesus in their lives every day. If you get a chance read his book.

For me, Jesus is many things, if I had to describe Him in a couple of words I would probably use friend, and brother. Jesus longs to relate to us, to have a relationship with us. He waits for us.

This week may you come to know how Jesus waits for you, longs for you to come back to Him. In your waiting may you know that Jesus waits with you and for you. Will you spend sometime waiting with Jesus this week. What might you learn? What will be different? What will you be able to share?

Where I Wait20130529-200909.jpg

You asked where I went
As if you already knew
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

You felt abandoned
Like you had no clue
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

You thought I left
As fast as the morning dew
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

Come sit here beside me
I can make all things new
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

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In the previous two posts we have looked at The Poser, and The Healed Wound. This post discusses the new name that God has given us to discover.

We need to fight for our name, to discover it, and then discover the purpose attached to this name. Most of the material in this post comes from John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart.

The history of a man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out, takes him on a journey, and gives him his true name. Most of us have thought it was the story of how God sits on his throne waiting to whack a man broadside when he steps out of line. Not so. He created Adam for adventure, battle, and beauty; he created us for a unique place in his story and he is committed to bringing us back to the original design. So God calls Abram out from Ur of the Chaldeas to a land he has never seen, to the frontier, and along the way Abram gets a new name. He becomes Abraham. God takes Jacob off into Mesopotamia somewhere to learn things he has to learn and cannot learn at his mother’s side. When he rides back into town, he has a limp and a new name as well.

Even if your father did his job, he can only take you partway. There comes a time when you have to leave all that is familiar and go on into the unknown with God.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name,
you are mine.
~ Isaiah 43:1-3

Saul was a guy who really thought he understood the story and very much liked the part he had written for himself. He was the hero of his own little miniseries, Saul the Avenger. After that little matter on the Damascus road he becomes Paul; and rather than heading back into all of the old and familiar ways, he is led out into Arabia for three years to learn directly from God. Jesus shows us that initiation can happen even when we’ve lost our father or grandfather. He’s the carpenter’s son, which means Joseph was able to help him in the early days of his journey. But when we meet the young man Jesus, Joseph is out of the picture. Jesus has a new teacher-his true Father — and it is from him he must learn who he really is and what he’s really made of.

This mission, this purpose, and this name come from God, it can come from nowhere else; yet first we must be broken. We must first have a false persona shattered, we must first be made to see the truth. When our self fails, God comes through: “The true test of a man, the beginning of his redemption, actually starts when he can no longer rely on what he’s used all his life. The real journey begins when the false self fails… God thwarts us to save us.”

May you come to realise the name that God has called you. May you seek this for yourself, and find in this name your purpose that God has called you to. May you realise your posing, your wound, and your new name. Pray and know that God hasn’t finished with you yet. Your journey has just begun.

Lionheart

Heart of my own heart
I’ve called you be name
Open your eyes20130508-205349.jpg
See how you’ve changed

Seeker of hearts
In men young and old
Find them you will
As their stories unfold

Defender of hearts
And collector of tears
Speak to their souls
And release them from fear

Fathered by God
Your wounds I will heal
Through my own Son
In his hour of zeal

So be strong and courageous
In the strength you impart
I’ve called you by name
Brave Lionheart

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Today’s slightly longer post follows on from last weeks reflection on The Poser. Most of the material for this comes from the book, Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. A great read.

Am I Good Enough?

John Eldredge, author of Wild at Heart, suggests that two questions that most men seek answers to are, “Am I good enough?”, and “Do I have what it takes?”. The answers to these can generally only come from their father who provides the places and moments to answer these questions.

A boy’s passage into manhood involves many of those moments. The father’s role is to arrange for them, invite his boy into them, keep his eye out for the moment the question arises and then speak into his son’s heart yes, you are. You have what it takes. And that is why the deepest wound is always given by the father.

The Wound

The wound is inevitable, necessary and the wound hurts. Some fathers give a wound, merely by their silence; they are present, yet at the very same time, absent to their sons. The silence is deafening.

Imagine how Jesus, felt at that moment on the Cross when God, the Father, was silent.

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice ‘Eloi, Eloi, lamasabachthani?’ — which means, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:45-46 NIV)

Even Jesus received a wound from His Father — and felt the pain of what it was like to be without the Father at a critical moment. Even with what Jesus felt and experienced, the bible reminds us of what was done for us, as sinners – by the sacrifice of a man taking on the wounds.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV)

As men, created in the image of God — we are subject to the wounds which we receive and, paradoxically, can only be healed by the sacrifice of what Jesus did in taking the wounds — our wounds, my wounds, all the wounds.

The assault wounds are like a shotgun blast to the chest, Eldredge says. This can get unspeakably evil when it involves physical, sexual, or verbal abuse carried on for years. Without some kind of help, many men never recover. One thing about assault wounds — they are obvious. The passive wounds are not; they are pernicious, like a cancer. Because they are subtle, they often go unrecognized as wounds and therefore are actually more difficult to heal.

And so it has gone, men to men, fathers to sons — the wounds are given, and the wounds are received.

The Wound’s Effect

So, as a man, what can I do with the wound?

All men carry a wound. Most know it’s there but don’t know what to do about it. Some ignore it, acting out of its pain across their entire lives. Others discover the wound, name it, and go forth towards a path of healing.

So there is no crossing through this country, of the landscape between being a boy and becoming a man, without taking a wound. And every wound, whether it’s assaultive or passive, delivers a message. The messages feels final and true, absolutely true, because it is delivered with such force. Our reaction to it shapes our personality in very significant ways. From that flows the false self. Most of the men you meet are living out a false self, a pose, which is directly related to his wound.

We have a choice as men — either overcompensate and become driven or violent, or shrink and become passive or retreating in our masculinity. It’s because of the wound — not because of being a man. But Eldredge warns us, “The wound comes, and with it a message. From that place a boy makes a vow, chooses a way of life that gives rise to the false self. At the core of it all is a deep uncertainty. The man doesn’t live from a center. So many men feel stuck — either paralyzed and unable to move, or unable to stop.

Take a moment as a man and ask yourself: “Do I have what it takes? Am I powerful? If you can’t — or won’t — answer these questions, it is time to ask yourself this one:

“Am I ready to go into battle to win the war for my heart?”

The wound will be in your way. But there is a way through

Healing

A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept is a wound that cannot heal.
~ John Eldredge

Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, “Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.” There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we’ve been using are often quite true about us, but we’ve used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.

May you discover the wound that holds you back from the life that God has for you. May you know the One who was wounded for you – to heal your wounds and your heart. All it takes is a prayer. Will you dare to go to this place and seek healing?

Walking Wounded

By my wound consumed with zeal20130430-202740.jpg
By your wounds I am healed

Abandoned by the world today
Rejected in all I do and say

My wound trails me like a shadow
As it hunts me with its bow and arrow

Beauty and affliction haunt me still
Shot through my heart, but by your will

Enter my wound and set me free
Heal my heart, while I face my fear

Through my wound, set me free
From your wounds upon that tree

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The Poser

In his book Wild at Heart author John Eldredge gives us a glimpse at Adam, the first man. Adam is hiding.

‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ (Gen. 3:10)

Eldredge says, “You don’t need a course in psychology to understand men…We are hiding, every last one of us. Well aware that we, too, are not what we are meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not, we have run off into the bushes…Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a facade, an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise.” (p. 52)

So what about men? What are you hiding from?

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Ask yourself this: “What words would I use to describe myself as a man? Are words like strong, passionate or dangerous words you would use? Would the description be more like, passive, quiet, hides behind his newspaper or iPad?

We men all have our heroes don’t we? The ones who we long to be like, the star rugby player, the successful businessman. We want to be the hero in the movie, we want to be Maximus in Gladiator, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, or Aragon from The Lord of the Rings.

There is a poser in each of us as men, that brilliant disguise, that “fig leaf,” is always in the way of the authentic masculinity that God hardwired into each of us.

The job of the poser is to take away something essential to the nature of being a man. It’s a mask, it’s a defence mechanism, it gets in the way of men discovering their true heart and the desires of their heart.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

So what’s your pose?

May you this week reflect and discover the masks that you wear. May you become aware of why you wear these. Ask God to expose your true self, and begin or continue to work with you to find your desires, the ones he has placed in your heart.

The Poser

How have I been hiding?
Where is it that I go?
Do you see me falling
Show me – I need to know

What is my role – my mission?
Give me eyes to see
Because those that I love to serve
Are right in front of me

Expose the lies I tell myself
That only serve to bind
Help me lower the masks
The ones I hide behind

And as we name these thick places
That have me trapped inside
Help me not to find more places
Where I’ll only run and hide

Jesus, only you can do this
I can’t do this on my own
Free, and save me from myself
Help me unlearn what I have known

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Last weekend I did something way out of my comfort zone and attended a men’s retreat at Ted’s Place, a farm in the Hawkes Bay. This retreat, run by Brand New Heart Ministries wasn’t just another men’s event. It was, in a word – Epic!

The reason most messages and retreats for men ultimately fail is simple: They ignore what is deep and true to a man’s heart, and try to shape him up through various forms of pressure.

Last weekend was an honest, no @#!*% journey into the deep passions and desires of a man’s heart, into the healing of the wounds taken in this battle, into the realm of Fatherhood, God and calling – life as it was meant to be lived.

The glory of God is man fully alive
~ St Irenaues

Through the sessions, the times of quiet reflection, the movie clips, the shared adventures and the free time, we discovered something profound about the heart of God and the heart he gave us as men.

It was an incredible blessed and powerful time. God showed up to fill our hearts and bring us his words of love over us.

It was a confronting weekend for me. I learned a lot and have some things to work on as a result of the weekend. It struck me after I left that I had spent the weekend not just with 11 other men after Gods heart, but in the company of kings.

This week’s reflection is a poem written by one of the men that captures the essence of the weekend. Thank you my friend for sharing your heart.

Company of Kings

Clothed by a garmentjesus-and-freedom-300x225
Purchased at great cost
Put on for battle
But given in love

More jealously sought than a coat of many colours
Pure white over wretched nakedness
Tightly woven threads
Impervious to stain

The wearer now in the company of kings
A garment of praise

~ Cam Porter

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