“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” – Hebrews 10:24-25
It’s no secret; the church is slowly losing its grip on men in this country. What gives? Why are we all leaving? Perhaps a better question would be, why do we stay? I mean, what really keeps us glued to church? What is the “stuff” that drives us to come back. How would I answer that question? Why do I need the church family?
I think if we asked the majority of men, they probably don’t know why they need church. After all, church is just that thing that Christians do on Sundays. And for those who do go, “church” always seems to focus on the things that men aren’t really in to: emotional appeals and talking about stuff.
But here’s the deal. No football team voluntary goes on to the field with only a few players – it puts them at a distinct disadvantage. They can’t pull off with a few players what they can with a whole team. In the same way, God designed the Church to do His work in the world – a work too big for any one person.
The problem I think is that few of us are really on mission with God to the point where we actually need others to help us. We tend to focus on our strengths and the places where we are competent so that we don’t have to ask for help. No wonder we don’t feel the need for the church.
What if we started dreaming bigger? What if we started doing things that required other brothers in Christ? What if we as men were so on mission for God that we couldn’t operate without the church?
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord – Luke 2:11
It cannot be improved upon. God’s greatest gift to us all.
It was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. Then the black sky exploded with brightness. Trees that had been shadows jumped into clarity. Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was dead asleep, the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an angel!
The night was ordinary no more. The angel came in the night because it’s when lights are best seen and when they are most needed. It all happened in a most remarkable moment—a moment like no other. God became a man. Divinity arrived. Heaven opened and placed her most precious one in a human womb. God had come near!
In the mystery of Christmas, we find its majesty. The mystery of how God became flesh, why he chose to come at all, and how much he must love his people!
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:13)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Star Wars – the Last Jedi was released last week. It has been one of the most anticipated events in the last 20 years. People were camping out dressed as their favorite character. Advertisers have been using the movie to sell their products. Endless interviews with the actors. Glitzy Hollywood style movie premieres everywhere you went. Hect…there were even Star Wars themed marriages while people were waiting in line.
Contrast that with the birth of Jesus Christ. A baby born in a barn. It was quiet and simple. It was humble and down to earth. Why?
It’s God we are talking about. It could have been very easy to arrange a huge premiere. Angels singing. People gathered. A five-star Bethlehem inn. Food and wine.
It didn’t happen that way.
Do you live in that world of glitz and glamour? I don’t. We have bills to pay, jobs to work, and grass to cut. Our faces won’t grace any magazine covers, and we aren’t expecting a call from the White House or Barbara Walters.
Jesus entered the world in the same way we entered the world to live the way we did. It allows God to enter the world through people like us and to come on days like today. A simple and humble way to show His love for us.
In the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. — Luke 2:8
There are extraordinary days in the Christian life, but most of our walks of faith are filled with ordinary moments and ordinary days. But, it was under ordinary circumstances that Jesus was born. Common days can bring that most glorious moments. God can “show up” any place and any time!
The prophet Ezekiel gives us the words of the Lord in Ezekiel 22: 30
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
Although this verse deals with the sins of Jerusalem, I believe that we can apply it directly to our lives. It is a sad verse because Jerusalem was in a bad and horrible state and the Lord was saying through the prophet Ezekiel that He was searching for someone who would intercede for Jerusalem and do what was necessary for her salvation. When He looked He found no one who would intercede for the nation and the city.
There are times when we know people that are struggling. Because of circumstances in their lives….we need to prayer for others. We need to hold them up and encourage them. They might not be able to pray for themselves because of their situation. That is when I believe God calls Christians to especially pray on behalf of others. This kind of praying requires commitment on the part of the person doing the praying. It is not just a quick one time prayer, but rather a request that is brought before the Lord many times until the person being prayed for sees results.
I consider it an honor and a duty to be able to stand in the gap for those who are unable, for whatever reason, to pray for themselves. It is my hope that you will take very seriously the honor that you have of standing in the gap and praying for other people. Stand in the gap for your wife, for your children and for others.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.