Muddy Water, Meteorology and Perfection

mi_meteorologyI once heard an older, much wiser man than me say that, “in order to get muddy water clear, leave it alone.” I must say that I readily agree with this premise. I remember a time in my life when it seemed as if every way I turned, my world was a complete and utter mess. The harder I tried to “fix” the situations in one compartment of my life, the more it would seemingly have a negative impact on not only that area, but other areas as well. I worked hard at trying to figure out the problem and then to prepare a strategy to attack and correct the issues, but it was a futile attempt at a solution. The only thing I accomplished was to end up exhausted, frustrated and confused.

Then I began to question that which I KNEW to be truth…

How could God let this happen to me?

Why are other, less-spiritually-devoted men, successful and have it all together?

Why have You forgotten about me?

Why are You not keeping Your word?

The bible tells us in Matthew chapter 5 that “he…sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” Here is what I know…

Life is going to come at you and come hard.

Sometimes the more we do to try to correct – the worse situations become.

He is faithful to His word and will see you through!

One of my favorite scriptures is found in James chapter 1 verse 4. It reads, “Now let patience have her perfect work that you might be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

I have learned that through the process of being a child of our Father, storms will come and storms will go. I have learned to stand steadfast in the middle of the battles of life because one prognostication every weather person in the world can get right, is that the storm will pass!

Praise the Lord – during this Easter season – stand strong in the process, be patient, perfect maturity and completion is coming!

Tim Cook
TJM Leadership Team

What Are You Asking For?

question

John 14:12-14 (NIV)

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

I have been thinking about the passage above for a while.  We usually think about this passage in context with all the miracles that Jesus did and thereby we should be doing them also.  If we boil Jesus’s life and impact down to just the miracles he did we miss a part of who he is.  Step back look at his life.  The greatest “works” that he did was how he interacted and treated people.  God in flesh talked with them loved them and lived with them in the messiness of their lives with some miracles sprinkled in.  Could some of his works have been in the casual conversation he has with a women at the well, or spending time with kids that His disciples wanted to send away or in meaningful conversations with disciples around a fire or teaching people around a meal.  I guess what I have been wondering is that by this verse, I haven’t been doing much based upon the number of miracles that God has been doing through my asking.  But could you see evidence of my asking and trusting in Christ living in me based upon the way I interacted with people.  I hope so, but I have been wondering if I should be asking more.

Mark Carpenter
TJM Leadership Team

Permission to Be a Man

We live in a society that does a really good job at emasculating men.  I mean just look at the TV shows that depict families.  Usually the father is a bumbling idiot who is being led by his wife or can’t do anything right unless his wife sets him straight.  Look at our public schools (I can go there…I teach in them), we have told kids that to be a good student you must sit in your desk, be really still and quiet, and be compliant without question.  Now, I’m all for order and discipline, but this is like torture for boys, especially in elementary and middle school.  The sad thing is, when the boys don’t act this way (bc it’s near impossible for them) we want to slap a label on them and give them medicine so they’ll conform.  What is the message we’re teaching them?  Walk in most churches and you’ll find a very similar situation.  Men are expected to conform to the rules and expectations of the organization.  If you stand up and question something or challenge those around you, you’ll probably be asked to temper your passion.  I could go on and on, but you get the point.

The bottom line is that it can be extremely hard to be the man you were created to be in today’s world.  God designed us to be strong, courageous, passionate, alive, and free, but is that how most men are living?  For whatever reason, and there are many, men are living well below God’s intention for them.  Whether it be that life is simply beating you down or that this world keeps giving you a warped definition of what it means to be a man, know that God is giving you permission to be a man.  He created you with a masculine heart and fully expects you to live this out.  This is not some macho image or rebellious spirit I’m referring to, but authentic masculinity that comes through for others when necessary, that stands up for what is right regardless of the consequences, that leads with strength and courage, and speaks up even when it’s not popular.  So, be the man you were created to be…you have permission.

If this resonates with you, then I want to challenge you to be at our Freedom Weekend May 1-3.  If we do nothing else, we give men permission to men.  We do a lot of other stuff, but I will guarantee that you will leave the weekend better than you came, knowing how to better navigate your world as the man you’ve been called to be.  Check it out and register at http://www.thejourneyministries.com.

Jason Carter
TJM Leadership Team