Tag Archives: trust

In Jesus we get the attitude we need. Then it’s up to us.

It really is about attitude. Sure people with bad attitudes succeed, but you also know that they will never be content, they will never know trust, promise, they will always be insecure. They know that even if their lives appear to be a “success”‘, that they will never have peace. Peace doesn’t necessarily mean complacency. In fact it seems when the Holy Spirit gives me peace is when I get excited and driven to take on the next challenge. Too often I just really don’t “see” it and can’t get motivated.

This leads me to a bit more of a mundane subject. “in a landmark 1967 study. Australian psychologist Alan Richardson chose three random groups of students. One group practiced basketball free throws daily for twenty days. Two other groups shot only on the first and last days. But one of the no shooting groups spent twenty minutes per day carefully visualizing foul shots. At the end, the non-practicers hadn’t improved at all. No surprise. The hands-on practicers improved 24%. And the visualizers? They improved 23 percent… ”

“…mental training will boost performance. Psychologist Steve Ungerleider recommends regularly sitting in a quiet, comfortable space and spending 20 minutes mentally walking through ever step of your upcoming bike, run, or ski before race day.” – Outside Magazine. P 66 January 2015.

There are times when I am kind of wondering about what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do. Too often what’s anyone’s response? Fight or flight? You either just plunge right in or you pull a Jonah and head west. Seems to me most of the time we need to spend time being guided by the Holy Spirit in how we should do what we are being guided to do. Certainly it will take away a lot of your anxiety, it’s just not going to be as bad as you think. “If I go and talk about Jesus to that person what will happen, how is God helping me to visualize that?” Sure they could just brush me off, but now that I’m visualizing it, it’s really not that bad. But if I keep thinking about hitting those free throws, seeing some genuine trust, hope and promise in the person I’m talking to, wow! Won’t that be so incredible? Win the game, see the Holy Spirit bringing someone to salvation. “jje

Spend some time on what the Holy Spirit wants you to do and how that would look. No, it’s not always going to be what we think we want. The results may not always be enough, at least to our standards. But knowing that it is the Holy Spirit moving, seeing that, mentally and then being there seeing Him work, these are things that we are way to quick to throw cold water on. Spend some time to see it the way the Holy Spirit wants it and follow through.

Faithful discipleship and not going through the motions

It’s one of those cliches that Christians fall into, “God gave us the best in Jesus, we should give Him our best.” OK, you can’t argue with that, but it’s that sort of platitude that gets “ya-ya’d” and then pretty much left as a platitude. To be sure God has given us His best, He continues to do so and not only that is looking for our faithfulness, our growth, our trust in Him and our honest attempts to serve Him. I get it, that is not always going to be our “best”. No doubt, when we are doing things that are new, things that God is pushing us into, that are intimidating, that make us challenge our boundaries we are going to shrink back a little. To be sure, we’re not always going to produce our best, but what God wants is for us to rely on the faith that He’s given us in order to push us to do the things that He wants us to grow in. Anytime, there’s something new, something that is kind of towering over you, it does kind of freeze you up. So that’s the point, that’s what God is doing with so many in the Bible, making them go beyond what they thought they were capable of.

God gave us His best, Jesus picked up from the glory of Heaven, His place in the Godhead next to God the Father. He became a man in order to live the perfect life and therefore the spotless sacrifice, payment for all of our sins and restore the relationship in salvation with God the Father. As the Blackabys point out: “…He reliinquished the glory of His heavenly existence in order to become a man. He was born n a cattle shed; he slept in a feeding trough. His life was spent preparing for the day when He would suffer an excruciating execution…” (Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day p 362) Jesus was He who all creation came into being and yet He is in a shed, in a humble place in Israel, which is itself a humble backwater to the rest of the world.

So having said all that, and realizing that we aren’t going to be “all that and a bag of chips”, but it seems that when we are pushed, we don’t even think about excellence, we think that we throw some crumbs, go through the motions and then we should be good with God. We need God to be great, perfect, Holy, almighty, sovereign Lord, we will never come close to being even a speck to the God who has created all and that’s good, we have a God that is Lord of all. Having said that and understanding that He does understand that we can never be anywhere near enough, that we have human limitations, we still expect that He’s supposed to lower His standards to ours. I get that a lot as a pastor, talk to me on my level, heck the church has been doing that since you and I were in Sunday school. It’s really not an attempt to help people to grow, to push themselves to new levels of Christian maturity, it’s the same old story. Pat us on the head, make everything nice and easy and everyone will be happy. We want God to come down to our level, but we still want Him to do all the great, magnificent things when we want them.

OK, God comes down to our level, but what does that even mean? Whose level of mediocrity should He lower Himself to, mine? Yours? The take-away is this. God sets the standard that we should all strive for and we should strive for God’s best. That’s not what saves us, we are saved simply and solely through Jesus who died as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. We cannot earn our way into salvation, nothing we will ever do will ever be enough to save us in our sin. Jesus is the only One who could save us and is all there is, nothing we could ever come close to.

But instead of always offering our mediocre efforts, our gifts of crumbs and indifference, expecting that it should be “our way”, as if God is going to do billions of people individual ways. Instead let’s really trust in God’s leading, if He’s pushing you to trust more, to do something that seems out of your reach, to learn and to lead beyond what you think you can, then trust His leading. We have to get out of our mediocre, hum-drum ruts that’s so typical of the world and really strive for what the Holy Spirit is pushing us to. Are there new groups at church to help you learn and apply what you learn and are led to do? Are there ministries that are crying out to be established? Are there people, maybe even just one who could use attention, guidance, mentoring?

Our church service is not in terms of some pompous, “ya, always the best rah-rah”. It’s I’m here to be led to where the Holy Spirit is moving me, it’s not always going to be the best, the most successful, the most effective. It’s going to be in terms of the faithfulness that He gives us and lose the attitude of just going through the motions, throwing some crumbs and then moving on to “fun”. Ya, which is usually being a slug, that it’s all about you and don’t make me really make an effort. God gives us the faith, the talent, the ability, and when needed lifts us up past our ability and helps us to achieve to His glory. Let’s glorify God, focus on His will and not our weaknesses, get out of our mediocre ruts and really know His will and what He can do through us and then do it as well as we can.

Tough love, ya even Christians need to show tough love, but with the love of Jesus

I really think this article in Inc Magazine is very pertinent for everyone, but should be readily understandable by managers who are Christians. We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, but Issie Lapowsky points out that maybe we should be aware that there should be a balance between tough and love: “…research shows that tough love can be an effective form of leadership provided one strikes the proper balance between “tough” and “love”.  (Feb 2014 pp 46-47)

Lapowsky points out what we as Christians should be striving for: “The challenge is to set high demands while still being supportive. ‘When you build a relationship on trust, then the majority of people are OK with tough love,’ says Christine Porath, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. ‘They’ll rise to the occasion; some thrive on it.’

Frank Poore the founder of CommerceHub,… talks about how he will push his employees, but wants them to push back, he challenges them and wants them to defend their positions. But he also points out that he never makes it about them personally.

I agree, I want people to take a position, I want to find where people are. Ya, I guess it’s not playing into the kissy-kissy type of mindset that we have in society, but I think relationships grow with candor. I’m not trying to challenge, so much as I’m trying to engage, show how much I’m interested, because I’m pretty much always interested. In addition to challenging, anyone in leadership should be curious about pretty much everything. I don’t want to pry, but I do want people to feel comfortable confiding, I do want people to think that I’m someone who is interested and a good listener.

Too often I’ve seen managers/supervisors belittling a subordinate. OK, if necessary, you go back into a private space and candidly, but again not personally discuss what the problems are. If someone takes that personally, well, can’t do much with that. Frankly there are too many people who think that anything short of unqualified praise is a personal attack. Those people are going to have bigger problems than anything I’m going to be able to deal with, other than in a pastoral context. Even then too many people think of pastors as feel-good generators, sometimes you should even when they are wrong, but tough-love is as valid for pastors then anyone.

We all, ya pastors included, don’t like rudeness, respond to it poorly and are much less productive. That should be pretty obvious, but to too many people it’s not. Are we being critical because we are truly concerned, because we want to help? Or are we being critical just to benefit our ego? Jesus pushed on those around Him to strive to be best and often He had to show tough love, let’s learn from Him and try to emulate Him in the workplace and in every part of our life.

We still take some time during the workweek at the Green Bean Coffee shop corner of Beaver St and W King St Wednesday 10am, park right behind the church 140 W King. Look forward to meeting you or hearing from you. God bless.

Integrity in the workplace in faith in Christ

Father Nkwasibwe raises a point which I think deserves a lot of consideration in terms of organizational management. “Only a leader who has undergone a personal path of conversion and lived with an interior attitude of conversion and humility can be an example of the effort to downgrade workplace religious bias, prejudice and discrimination and other sinful inequalities. Such a leader enjoys the moral courage of freedom, responsibility and participation in social, cultural and religious interchange and promotion of the common good.”

Ya, ya, I can hear the clenching from here. The contemporary wisdom goes something like this, you have to hire someone who is completely unbiased, unattached, uncommitted, just “un” everything. I have to wonder if that is someone you can really trust. One of the main reasons for this blog is to champion the concept of living one’s faith life out in the workplace. Now, I will grant you that many see their faith life as converting the heathen. And I’m certainly not saying that given the opportunity in the workplace that I wouldn’t witness to Christ. I have, but when I do/did, it was with integrity. I’m there to present Christ, to tell people what He’s done in my life. What the Lordship of Christ in my life means, and what eternal life means. Now to be truly faithful to that, my witness has to be one that is with integrity, doing my job in a way that glorifies Christ. Not getting into holy wars, not picking on people, not discriminating etc. Always remembering that part of living my life in Christ in the workplace is to do my job with integrity and not using it as a way to abuse my position in favor of those who agree with me. Is that easy? No.

On the flip side, that person who has no scruples in terms of their life regarding “God”, however they see that, that’s better? No, it just isn’t. This is a person who’s decided that they know best, they trust only in their own judgment, or the judgment of other people. That is the continued downfall of secularism. We continue to try and impose individual, unguided, uncritical, frankly mostly about how I can do things to enhance me, and then expect that person to make principled, unbiased judgments. That’s a ridiculous expectation. This person is, bottom line, all about him or her. If anything they will discriminate against people of faith, like the college professor who picks out Christian students and decides that for a variety of reasons, they just don’t have it, tries to bully them into denying their Christian convictions. Come on, are there more Ken Lay’s and Bernie Madoff’s in the business world, or more David Green’s (owner of Hobby Lobby)? Ya right, who would I trust more? Come on! Who could I expect to hold accountable and who would think that they are a law unto themselves?

I’m not saying that Christians are always the most humble or the most principled. But I can go to David Green and if he’s not acting according to Christian principles I can hold him accountable. Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff et al, the only thing they are accountable for is the bottom line, investor value anything else, they will do as they judge and that’s what will get the secular man or woman in trouble every time.

“Self leadership, which is an offshoot of conversion, is that leadership that spurs others through moral values and exemplary skilled practices because nemo dat quod non habet. …Latin … “nobody gives what he or she does not have’. No matter what, this cannot be bypassed if effectiveness and righteousness are to be realized… Undergoing a path of conversion involves sustaining on-going renewal and connotes persevering in holiness, true friendship and altruistic service. … a journey of discovery, spiritual progress or soul’s journey toward God…”

“…it is also when conversion occurs that the leader can develop courage to lead the workplace community to ascend from the disrepute to which unethical practices and religious rivalry and confrontations have drawn most business actions.”

A man of faith is going to be a lot more likely to step up and take the heat and trust God’s providence as compared to the just cowardly, infantile, pathetic actions of people like Lay, Madoff and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco. Just squirrely little weenies. I know, not very charitable, but it is what it is. (Quick note, I had to Google Tyco. You know what the first reference was “tyco scandal”. Ya, just how you want to be remembered.)

Popular media likes to try to portray people of religion as bigots, narrow-minded, abusive. But the reality completely contradicts the popular fiction. I’d rather work for Hobby Lobby or Chick Fil A before I worked for Dennis Kozlowski.

Our group meets for discussion on Wednesday 10am, coffeehouse at the corner of  W King and Beaver Sts. Parking is behind the church 140 W King St, about a 50 yard walk from there. No charge, no committment, I will even buy your first cup of coffee. We are still in Gene Veith’s book, “God at Work”. See you then and God bless you.

 

God’s will is what drives us, not the timid little souls.

One of the knocks against Christians, especially those in the workplace, in any kind of “competitive” environment is that they lack a “killer” instinct, they let scruples, principles somehow interfere with attaining the goal, achieving the ends. A Christian is, to the best of their ability, guided by the Holy Spirit, will do their best to strive as a Christian, to conduct their life as Christ would. Most people would find themselves much more successful and in a lot less trouble if they followed God’s leading and not their own misguided motivations.

But this goofy idea that Jesus was some kind of cream puff, almost some kind of masochist, rolling over and giving in to defeat is just silly. Jesus confronted the powerful leaders of His country to hold them accountable to God’s will, for them to stop abusing their position and truly follow God’s leading. He went to the Cross, but have no doubt if He in His divine providence decided to call down a legion of angels to absolutely destroy His enemies, He certainly could. But what was the ultimate goal here, to defeat Satan, to take away Satan’s power, undermine him in the world by the innocent suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus did the most manly thing any of us could do, sacrifice Himself so that we would live. How could Satan overcome that? He lost the world because of Jesus’ sacrifice, all he could do at this point, with his fangs effectively pulled, is to try and individually undermine our life, if we let him. We have no excuse to lose our eternal reward to Satan, except for ourselves, because of what Jesus did. So let’s get over this goofy idea that Jesus was some sort of weak, weenie, candy. He won the ultimate victory for us in the most manly way possible. Glory to you, oh Christ.

Chris McCormack has become one of the all-time greats of triathlon. Macca has won the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon twice, two world championships and other lesser Ironman’s, over 200 triathlon victories. Now Macca’s not arguing from a Christian point of view, but he wonders why others would undermine themselves: “This word ‘ego is tossed around nowadays with such a negative spin on it. It annoys me to think that by believing in yourself and pursuing your goals and ambitions with conviction you can be ridiculed.” (Triathlete Mag Aug 2013 p 42).

There are a lot of people in the world today who because of their own mediocrity make it a point to try and drag down others. If others around them excel, work hard to achieve great dreams, they are somehow pretentious, uppity, they don’t know their place, they are presumptuous. They would never say things like that, but there are many who just feel that those around  them all have to maintain the same level of mediocrity. I think we see that way too much in the inner city, high schools are almost ruled by those mediocre students who have no intention to allow anyone to excel unscathed. The only exception to that is in athletics and even in that there seems to be an underlying current of mediocrity. But in academics even if you are gifted, you are expected to stay in your place and not let anyone know that you are academically gifted.

I think that Macca is incorrectly describing the argument, but I understand what he’s saying: “The issue with ego is it is up to that athlete to develop this self-belief. It is up to the athlete to accept his fears and weaknesses and implement strategies to strengthen his character in accepting them and holding true to his dream. This is difficult to do and for this reason it’s often neglected. Believing in something takes courage. And it’s not easy learning how to find new courage.”

Let me give you the Christian translation: God has put you where you are, He has given you the gifts that you have. Why would you undermine what God is leading you to do? Many have gone out and done the impossible led by God. Does it make sense to fail to do what God has gifted you with, the plan He has for your life? The Bible describes many situations where people have pushed back against God, have told God they are not capable, they cannot do what God has given them to do. They are right, it’s not going to be through their strength, it’s always going to be through the gifts God has given you, and the Holy Spirit working through you, absolutely, no doubt. But does that mean we should allow ourselves to fail, to simply give up when the Holy Spirit continues to push on us, continues to cut the path for you, gives you what you need to finish.\? Paul tells us in many ways to run the race, to win the prize, there is nothing arrogant about that, just acknowledge that it’s through God’s gifts and leadings. Not because you are somehow special and that is where humility certainly comes in, you readily acknowledge you are no more special then anyone else, but it is because in God’s divine wisdom, in the mystery of God’s sovereignty He chose you to achieve what you’ve achieved. You do it to His glory in the most principled and scrupulous manner possible. Image

“Stop hiding behind your fears. Embrace your ego – mold it, change it and utilize it to take you where you want to go. I have never said or done anything within the realm of this sport that I regret. I have been labeled brash, confident, cocky. At times I wondered if my desire to achieve my personal dreams was too much for people to accept, so labeling me was the easiest way to pigeonhole this drive.” Again let me give the Christian translation. Enhance your relationship with God, trust Him, trust what He’s leading you to do in your life in order to get where He’s leading you to go. Do so with humility, even meekness, but with the utmost confidence, trust and faith that God has given you. Don’t let other people who lead cold, frightened, mediocre little lives deter you from what God is doing in your life. You want a better world? Strive for what God is doing in your life, quit your fears, your pride, your dignity, your petty/weenie little scaries and be a true man or woman of God. Jim Elliot was told that he was crazy to do mission to the Auca Indians. There is no question that God was leading him to do it, and Elliot paid for it with his life. He strived to follow God’s leading, God gave Elliot the faith and courage to do what he did. The result was that the Auca were led to Christ that in heaven, in the New Jerusalem Jim Elliot’s reward would be great, 60 years later he is remembered and held in great esteem as a hero of the faith. I am not suggesting you be cocky and obnoxious and I’ve never really known Chris McCormack to be obnoxious, but no doubt there is ego, for a Christian that means faith, trust, following God’s leading. It’s difficult I’ve even seen fellow Christians try to tear down someone who feels the leading of the Holy Spirit, it might perceived as ego, as brash, but God does great things in all our lives, they may appear humble to others but to those we affect, they are great things and we trust God to do His will in our lives. Image

“[Macca] But what I’ve come to learn is that it is not who we think we are that holds us back; it is who we think we’re not . Remember, great things happen to those who make great things happen…” Christian translation, God is going to do great things through us. It’s not up to us to keep God from working His will. “I’m not worthy. I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough.” St Paul tells us: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 ESV) Stop listening to those timid, weak in faith, who are trying to douse the Father’s will in your life. They don’t know, they aren’t even trusting what God is trying to do in their life, why would you even give them the time of day in your life. Be an example to them, to those God has led you to disciple, to a world that likes to make Christians out to be powder puffs. Our Savior was the most courageous and sacrificing man in history, would those He gave His life for, His children, strive to live up to the example of their Lord and Savior?

 

 

Faith is the basis that we function in all aspects of our life.

I want to thank Fr Frederick Nkwasibwe for his great insights in his book Business Courage. As I’ve probably noted he is a Roman Catholic priest who received his undergraduate degree in divinity, but his thesis for his MBA is the basis for this book. He really did a lot of work (the book is over 400 pages) and he really dug into the history of the church to uncover this insight from a church father, St Cyril of Jerusalem who lived from 315 to 386. “…in his famous Jerusalem Catechesis. From this foundational research, Foley and McCloskey quote thus:”

“It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true, but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith.”

One can certainly make the case that the breakdown in the economy in 2008 was sparked by a lot of activity that violated the faith of a lot of people. Bernie Madoff, was only a blip, but he has become the most visible icon of that era. There were so many who were involved in the deceptions of the mortgage meltdown, including banks, mortgage originators, FANNIE MAE, government policy at the federal, state and local level, that we will be unwinding these violations of trust and faith for more years to come. 

One could certainly make the case that faithlessness in many ways has undermined the institution of marriage, expedience is the rule of our day, faith is a quaint, outdated ideal and the consideration today is I want what I want now. Darwinian philosophy is the rule of the day “Survival of the Fittest”. I want money, I want power, I want someone at home who is all about me, I want prestige, I want the right marriage. Is there little doubt that there is not a Biblical understanding of marriage anymore, that is mutual serving, but is in reality mutual using? Marrying into the right family to help improve my status, increase my opportunity to be in the right company, to marry a spouse who has a good career and will contribute substantially to an improved lifestyle, of course sexual satisfaction, the idea that I will be able to control my spouse in order to achieve my own goals and desires. I’m not saying that romantic love, as it were, is the ideal either, it has only been within the last three – four generations that marriage has really been about romantic love, economics has certainly played a role. But up until the last three – four generations, marriage was still biblically based.

Successful businesses today have begun to grasp that concept. That business partnerships have to be of mutual service and benefit to not only the partners, the customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders. The synergistic effect of these relationships has driven very successful, mutually profitable joint ventures. That was what the mortgage industry was about. I did a stint of mortgage originating for Fleet National Bank. The bank was very demanding in terms of not just production, but in assuring that it was a quality investment. We had to do a lot of selling to prospective customers, and also to our in-house underwriters. Documentation had to be of “pin point” quality. The mortgage industry fell into an attitude of expedience, shoddy or no documentation, very low quality investment, and a total breakdown in integrity and faith. It’s a breakdown that we see rippling through society, we have not learned the lessons that have been taught since at least the 1980s, Michael Milken, Worldcom, Enron – Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, all examples of a lack of integrity and faith that seems to be accelerating instead of examples that we can learn from and understand that we have to return to a time where we could trust in the integrity of those we do business and faith is the watchword of commerce, as it has been well before St Cyril. If our ancestors going back thousands of years could function and flourish while still maintaining their faith and integrity, why is it that we who are supposed to be so much more enlightened and intelligent, have to sink to the level of lying and cheating?

There is no doubt in my mind that those who are part of this group and read this blog are striving for the highest ideals and have put a great deal of faith into not just commerce, but our whole society. When we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, it is not just as “fire insurance” for our salvation, or a way to leverage church to more success, we do it because we live our lives in faith in Christ and trust that in all the parts of our lives we live according to His guidance and Lordship, we trust the results to Him. In the meantime we faithfully go out and make our best efforts, put in lots of hard work, and in true faith leave the results to Him who is ever faithful to us. It is always the understanding of what Christ does in and through us. If He is an all knowing, all loving God who only wants what is best for His adopted children, how can we go wrong? We may not end of being Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, that is “successful” according to the world, but I have no doubt that our lives will be fulfilling and as He promises in the Lord’s prayer that we will have our daily bread. In my own life, I have seen God do some things that I would have never planned and He ‘s done it in a way that has made life more challenging and accomplished. We go into eternity, which is what really matters, having lived a life that is complete in Christ, not in eventual failure in us.

U.S. suicide rates rise sharply article by Tara Parker-Pope New York Times May 2, 2013 as quoted in Leadership Journal Summer 2013

This article really hit home with me because what of suicide means to me as a Christian and especially in terms of the fact that the group most affected, is becoming most likely to commit suicide are men in their 50s, like me.

So what’s the difference? Clearly as a Christian, as a pastor, I see suicide as the final act of those who are hopeless, who see nothing else left to live for and so chose to stop.

Why men in their 50’s? Parker-Pope points out factors such as economic, availability of prescription painkillers. That might accelerate the process, but, in my opinion, that’s not the core issue. As a Christian my faith is in the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ, my hope is in Him only, not in the economy, my expectations, what other people think etc. She does go on to point out that “…it hinted that deeper issues like failed expectations and a loss of hope might be a root cause.” She quotes “Dr Julie Philips, a researcher from Rutgers: ‘The boomers had great expectations for what their life would look like, but … It hasn’t turned out that way.'” She goes on to say that future generations will be facing the same situation.

I can certainly speak as being part of that demographic and can relate. Twenty five years ago I finally finished my business degree working for Motorola and there was no doubt in my mind that I was finally on my way to at least being a CFO for, at least, a mid-cap company. If you had told me that I would be a Lutheran pastor in York, Pa., I would probably have suggested that they might cut out smoking, drinking whatever was messing with their mind.

Middle aged men today have become all about their job, achievements, their house, their car, well you get it. That’s it, their total investment is in how they amass money/ things. I hear it constantly from men “oh yeah, I don’t need church, blah, blah,” and they will spout some inane nonsense about how they know it all, don’t need none of that, again blah, blah. The more they talk, the more obvious they don’t know what they’re talking about. But hey I will concede that the church has gone out of it’s way to make itself less relevant to men. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s all about the job, making money etc.

In addition to not needing church, don’t need government, because they’re all crooks, doesn’t make a difference, again blah, blah. Men aren’t getting educations because it doesn’t make a difference, the only thing that makes a difference is how much money, the quality of their possessions. Men in their 50’s are statistically supposed to be at the peak of their earning, on their way to having a nice easy retirement etc, etc. The reality is that most are finding that is not going to be the case, that they haven’t achieved what they thought they were supposed to and everything that they’ve pinned their hope on is simply not going to happen. Their hope is gone, the supposed promise of the American Dream is simply not going to happen.

Let’s cut to the chase, yes of course each of us is responsible for running our life, but we need to realize that it’s not about what we ultimately do, it’s what God guides us to do. I had a certain set of expectations, but I was clearly led by God to be where I am now and there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s much more to come. It may be where I’m at, or something entirely new, but when I look back on my life I have no doubt as to who was guiding it. I’m not saying that I’m somehow “chosen” I’m not saying that I’m any kind of special case at all. I am saying that if more people, not just men, trusted in what God was doing and quit trying to live by their own expectations, they would find life to be a more of an adventure, a lot more fulfilling, more authentic and in the end? Maybe not the big bank account, big house etc. But knowing that they have lived according to God’s will, they’ve lived the life that God guided them in and in terms of living their true life, in the resurrection, they will be blessed and yes, the building treasure in heaven that Jesus makes many references to.

Space and inclination don’t permit me to get into a discussion of suicide, but it’s God who gives us life and it’s His decision what happens and when He decides to call us home, suicide is never the solution in any respect. Pride, anger, disappointment are not acceptable, but in a society where we have this idea that it’s all about us and we can do what we want, when we want, well God is simply not going to bless that.

It’s way past time for us all to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and trust in the hope and promises of the Bible, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are responsible for the conduct of our life, but that responsibility is realized when we trust in what God is doing in our life and not our own desires and expectations.