Wild Hogs and Living the Adventure

Adventur“Women are often attracted to the wilder side of a man, but once having caught him they settle down to the task of domesticating him. Ironically, if he gives in he’ll resent her for it, and she in turn will wonder where the passion has gone. Most marriages wind up there. A weary and lonely woman asked me the other day, “How do I get my husband to come alive?” “Invite him to be dangerous,” I said. “You mean, I should let him get the motorcycle, right?” “Yep.” She shrank back, disappointment on her face. “I know you’re right, but I hate the idea. I’ve made him tame for years.” Wild at HeartJohn Eldredge

Every Man Needs an Adventure to Live, a Battle to fight and a Beauty to rescue – John Eldredge

I don’t include the above quotes because my wife made me tame.  I did! — I lived out of duty and responsibility – because that’s what I thought good godly men did.  I have come to realize that I need adventure to make my heart come fully alive and live as the man God has called me to be.  The adventures that I enjoyed as a young man have been calling me back.  Things like hunting, fishing hiking have all begun to make my heart come alive.

I recently went wild hog hunting with a knife.  Not a gun but a knife!  A good friend of mine and I went to Chappy’s Outfitters in Moore Haven Florida for an adventure that I will be telling my grandchildren about.  We got four wild hogs that day, two each.  The third hog was in a dense Florida thicket which was so dense I could not see through.  I could hear six dogs barking and the hog grunting and squealing.  My friend could see through the thicket and what was going on.  He said “quick find a tree to hide behind he may be coming our way”.  My adrenalin and heart were pumping but thank God my pants stayed dry.  The adventure of that day made be feel alive.

Is this enough?  If the only way I can live the adventure is chasing wild hogs – me and the hogs are in trouble.  I could live the rest of my days and never chase a hog and be ok.  The adventure that I could not live without is the journey that I walk with people each day into the thicket of their lives.  Entering into lies the enemy has planted helping them understand who they are in Christ. Hearing the pain of how the enemy has tried to distort truth and love and leading them to freedom that can be found in the unconditional love of Christ.  My role in the Kingdom is to help people find a new path, a new place, to live in wholeness.  This is the adventure that I would get up early and stay up late for.

To find our role in the Kingdom and live it fully alive as his beloved children – this is the adventure that I think God wants for us.  We have to be willing to risk and be inconvenienced.  You can’t play it safe.  The adventures that I have come to enjoy in the woods again have opened my heart to more.  I want to live fully alive.  I want to live a life that makes people ask questions about a God that is fully alive and present in my life.

How about you….are you longing for more or just playing it safe?

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

Do you trust Him with your heart?

A couple of days ago I was doing my bible study and ran into the passage below.  The passage comes from Psalm 33 and I couldn’t help but think that if it resonated with me, then others would probably relate, especially other men.  I’m not excluding you ladies, it’s just that I’m a man and would never claim to understand how a woman thinks/feels.  That’s a blog entry for another day…actually, I just think I’ll leave that one alone.  Ok, back to the topic at hand.

Most of us men desire to be strong and come through, whether it be a trial we’re facing or a need that needs to be met.  The problem is that much of the time we rely on our own strength, skill set, ambition, effort, or you fill in the blank.  I don’t know about you, but for me this usually leads to headaches, frustration, anger, falling short, and a myriad of other things.  The bottom line is that on our own, we will always miss the mark.  Even on those rare occasions that a situation seems to turn out pretty good, there is still something missing.  I can’t help but wonder what all we must be missing out on by not inviting God into our struggle or predicament.  After all, the passage does state that “He’s ready to come to our rescue”.

This leads me to a crucial question: Do you really trust Him with your heart?  You’re probably saying to yourself, “well, of course I do”, but do you live that way?  When you’re faced with a difficult, or possibly overwhelming, situation what is your response?  Do you kick into high gear, racking your brain for a solution?  Do you immediately begin to panic and worry about it?  Does anger rise up in you?  Or does your prayer life suddenly get better as you plead with God to fix the problem?  (Sadly, I’ve done every one of these….still do at times.)  I’m convinced that most of us believe that God comes through for others, but we’re not so sure if that’s true for us.  When truly tested, our faith really wanes.  I’m not talking about our words or our demeanor or even our actions, but down deep in that place we’d rather no one see, we wonder if He’ll show up.  That’s why we work really hard to fix the issue or whine and complain about it or treat God like a genie in a bottle.

What if we walked this passage out everyday?  The end of the passage says,  “Love us, God, with all you’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on.”  Do you know what that would look like?  I’ll be honest, I don’t!  To let go of stuff and simply put it in His hands and trust that it’ll all work out is scary to me.  I like to be able to fix it, or at least see the path and where it leads.  But what I’m learning more everyday is that the Father only shows us the part of the journey we need to see for that moment.  Otherwise, it would cease to be faith wouldn’t it?  So, I challenge you to jump on this crazy journey of TRULY trusting the Father (believing things you don’t see) and allowing Him to love you with all He’s got because that’s really all we need!

Jason Carter
TJM Leadership Team

Psalm 33 (Msg)

16-17 No king succeeds with a big army alone,
no warrior wins by brute strength.
Horsepower is not the answer;
no one gets by on muscle alone.

18-19 Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him,
the ones who are looking for his love.
He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times;
in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

20-22 We’re depending on God;
he’s everything we need.
What’s more, our hearts brim with joy
since we’ve taken for our own his holy name.
Love us, God, with all you’ve got—
that’s what we’re depending on.