Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Chosen Lifestyle, Part II

What’s the goal of Christian living?
Simple: To mature in our love for God and our love for others (Matthew 22:34-40)

We don’t get here over night.  This goal is a lifelong journey.

Designing a Framework for Life helps us in our walk with God.

So let’s look at the first part of the framework:

A Man’s Heart
Our heart represents the inner life, our character and central motivating factors.  In other words, our heart is what we really are when no one is looking. 

Think of the heart as the foundation for everything else in life. 

Here are some things to build toward:
  • An increased sensitivity and awareness of God’s presence
  • Familiarity with the character and power of God through Scripture
  • A confidence in who you are as a Christian
  • Experiencing divine strength, peace and joy
There are practices that help us tune into the life, presence and voice of God.  Such practices include prayer, reading Scripture, solitude, the study of Scripture and material related to the Christian life.

Two important notes:

First, try different Christian practices/disciplines until you discover what fits your design.  For instance, God connects with me when I’m alone and reading.  I know another brother who connects with God through praise and worship songs.

Second, focus on consistency throughout the week and don’t give up when you fall short.  Life is full of ups and downs and changes.  For instance, if you miss morning devotion then go to lunch by yourself and be with your God.  Don’t sulk.  Get back on track.  Seek your Father in secret and with all your heart.

Please remember that Jesus Christ is personally discipling you through the Holy Spirit.  We believe that the Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us the life of God.  The point is to get started on the journey to building up the area of your heart.

So please share:
  • What spiritual practices/disciplines have you enjoyed the most?
  • What has been the greatest challenge in cultivating your heart?
Please post your thoughts below.

Next time I’ll share concerning “A Man’s Strength.”

Your brother,

Minister Onorio 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Heart of a Hero

Who was your favorite hero growing up?

Was it just entertainment or something more?  Did you want to be Batman, Superman, or someone else?  Or maybe as you got older more realistic heroes dominated your imagination.

One of the major images or archetypes for men everywhere is the “hero.”

But how should we define a “hero”?

First, a hero leads the way.  It takes courage to be a hero.  Heroes usually have to lead themselves and accept personal responsibility; the buck stops with them.  Then a hero is someone willing to take responsibility for others in need.  Heroes have big ideas and visions that inspire others to follow.  A hero knows that he is setting the pace and an example for others to imitate.

Second, a hero saves the day.  A hero makes his mark through sacrifice.  A hero finds his reward in a job well done.  Heroes aren’t concerned with the spotlight but they do want to bring the best out in others.  Heroes lay down their lives for a cause and a people.  They die so that others can live.  A hero understands that his power is meant to serve and protect others.

Finally, a hero “gets the girl.”  There is a beauty to love in almost every heroic tale.  Why?  Well most men want a woman to love and most women want a man who will righteously lead the way and love sacrificially.   After accepting responsibility and learning to put the needs of others first, the hero can receive his love.  Vision and sacrifice precede the reward of a bride.

How do you define a “hero”?

Who are your favorite fictional heroes?

Who would you consider a hero today?

Let me know!  Please post your thoughts below.

Your brother,

Minister Onorio

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Staying the Course

The greatest challenge in our busy lives is consistency.

As men we know this to be true.  We are performance oriented and we want results.  Many men take a long time to make a commitment because they don’t want to fail.

I can’t encourage you enough to buy the book “The Blessing” by Trent and Smalley. 

But my last note concerning the final element of The Blessing is a personal plea.

My brothers, those of you who are fathers, stay the course

Active commitment is the last element of The Blessing and it is the foundation for everything else.
Farmers don't immediately see the fruit.
Farmers (like fathers) sow and labor by faith.
You can’t regain by sacrifice what you lose through disobedience.  How often do we hear of fathers trying to “buy” their child’s love or make-up for lost years? 

Meaningful touch only counts if we are consistent.  A spoken message will only be heard when it is consistent.  Consistency immediately speaks high value to our child.  You can’t help picture a special future for your child if you aren’t in his or her present reality. 

There are two major reasons why a father will fail to be consistent. 

The first reason is that a man’s own father never blessed him.  Look, get over it in the Name of your God and Savior Jesus Christ.  How dare you help bring a child into this world and continue to be so self-centered!  Walk in the blessing of your Heavenly Father and by blessing your children YOU will experience healing.  Period.

The second reason is that most men desire to see immediate results.  But fathering is like being a farmer.  You cultivate the soil, plant the seeds, water the earth, protect from creatures and wait by faith believing that God will bring the increase.

Remember that The Blessing is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.  So keep being a blessing no matter what you see or how your child responds!  You will reap a wonderful harvest if you faint not!

I encourage you to find other fathers, read The Blessing together, and form a brotherhood of blessing.

This is the heart of biblical patriarchy: A redeeming and sacrificial commitment to love.

Remember, it is never too late.  But the time is now so don’t waste it.

Your brother,

Minister Onorio 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Chosen Lifestyle, Part I

Designing Life’s Framework

How does a Christian man stay in step with God in a busy and noisy world?

Adopt the Rule of Life.  This is an ancient way to cultivate an “ever increasing relationship with the Master.”   The word for “rule” comes from the Greek word for trellis.  A trellis is a construction that helps plants, like grapevines, grow upward.  By getting the plant off the ground the trellis helps it bear more fruit.

The "Rule of Life" is more than a list of things to do.  The "Rule" is a guide or a framework for designing a Spirit-filled lifestyle.

In this framework, map or chart for your life, there are four key areas.

Think of your heart as the seat of your will.  Your heart is synonymous with your central motivating factors; why you think, believe and do what you do.

Our muscles don’t simply need to be flexed they need to be refreshed in Christ.

The quality of our relationships is a direct reflection on the quality of our relationship to God.

Our work is most meaningful and successful when we see it from God’s point of view.
Our Father has charged us from the beginning to "work" and to "keep."  This is the Masculine Mandate to cultivate productive lives and to protect from danger.  This framework helps us to see the landscape of our lives with Christ at the center.

In my next post I’ll connect each part of this framework with the practices that will:
  • Help us stand in Christ
  • Shape our character
  • Keep our lives purposeful and productive
What’s your framework?
Are you familiar with the “Rule of Life”?
How have you connected spiritual disciplines or practices with your relationships and your work?

Let me know your thoughts.  Post below. 

Your brother,

Minister Onorio

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Do You Say?

Strategic fathers who make “The Blessing” a study understand the power of a spoken message.

A father’s spoken message should:
  1. Attach high value
  2. Picture a special future
What does this mean?

Knowing Their Worth
A strategic father searches for the right words that will “attach high value” to his child.  Our children need to know that they have intrinsic value.  My daughter is always “my princess” even when she misbehaves.  My sons are always “champions” and “my warriors” even when they don’t win a game. 

The sin in our children, the seduction of the world and attacks of Satan seek to undermine a child’s self-worth.  So a father’s message should say, “you are born special” and then highlight that uniqueness by “naming.”

Seeing Their Future
The second element is incredibly important.  Helping a child picture a special future based on their intrinsic self worth, the uniqueness of their gender and their gifting.  A lot of parents send their kids to school and don’t intentionally discern a child’s gifts. 

I’m not talking about “forcing” a career or some unfulfilled dream on your child.  But at every phase of a child’s development we should be speaking life.  We should declare the wonders of our child’s gifts and suggest the different pathways available.  My son devours books and loves to draw so we talk about making movies.  My daughter is brilliant at mathematics so we talk about banking.  Oh and there is more because they’ve just started! 

However, be warned:
  1. Your actions need to match your words otherwise you are a liar
  2. Your actions should never jeopardize the special future that you picture for your child
Tell me:
  • How do your messages attach high value to your child? 
  • Does your child know that they are special?
  • How do you help your child picture a special future?

Please post your thoughts and questions below!

Your brother,

Minister Onorio 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

From Strangers to Brothers

Who do you call when you are in a jam?

Please don’t say Ghostbusters.  And please don’t say “my wife.”  And if you tell me “mommy” then you aren’t old enough to read this blog.

Sure our wives should be our best friends and confidants.  But you have an unhealthy Christian walk if you don’t have ONE other Christian man that you can call.

How do men become brothers?

First, men start out as acquaintances.  Our association is based on one thing: We respect each other.  But the relationship is still shallow.

Men become friends when we are encouraging each other.  What brings us to this stage is sharing a common enemy, obstacle or goal.  So men on a softball team are going to become friends because they learn to stand side by side.  Basically, we want the other man to do better.
But friendship is not brotherhood.  The camaraderie looks like brotherhood.  But there is a big difference.

We become brothers when we are willing to hold each other accountable.  Men become brothers when we are being transparent.  Accountability without relationship and trust is legalism or even cultish.  As brothers we meet face to face but work back to back.

Men don’t arrive here overnight.  Most men are raised to value autonomy, independence and strength.  We are raised to distrust other men.  We are afraid of being “kicked out of the club” for appearing weak.  Some men take years to peal away the layers of “masks” and lies we hide behind.

Brothers encourage each other to do well and invest in each other’s success.  And brothers hold each other accountable and offer correction when needed.  In brotherhood you can pull my collar and challenge me on my motivations and actions.

The tool of our spiritual enemy is to keep us isolated.  But the gift of God in Christ is the company of Christian brothers.  Because we don’t grow in isolation.  We grow in community.

But what kind of community?  A community with a vision for men’s ministry.
  • Men united around a common principle; that manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous
  • Men sharing a common purpose; to train and be trained
  • Men holding the same values; integrity, brotherhood, family and service
  • Men who are not about religion but grace and truth
Shout out to my brothers in ICB.  Ahoo!

Your brother,

Minister Onorio
P.S. This blog is based on a presentation from Brett Clemmer of Man in the Mirror Ministries 

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