Phrases like that are repeated on American Idol ad nauseam.

And when I say ad nauseam, I really mean it sickens me.

There should be memorable moments in each person’s life – wedding, birth of a child, salvation.

But the culture seems to be obsessed with instant fame and glory. Is American Idol a product of this culture or its strongest proponent? Yes, a lot of what is said / done on AI is for television. But when someone says that advancing to Hollywood week is the best day of their life, it seems they have small goals.

Small goals in that they want the instant fame and glory of going from hometown normal to the next American Idol.
Small goals in that they could be sent home the next week.
Small goals as in what happened to hard work, good reputation, building a legacy.

Being in Men’s Fraternity has instilled in me higher goals. –
Resisting Passivity
Accepting Responsibility
Leading Courageously
Expecting a Greater Reward – God’s Reward

This definition has helped propel my work ethic, caused me to try to better myself everyday, and geared me to set long-term goals.

I’ve approached each day by knowing I can do my best. That each day can be the Best Day of my Life.

How would you live your life if you lived expecting each day to be the best day of your life?

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This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

– part of the ‘St Crispin’s Day Speech‘ from Shakespeare’s Henry V

The ‘band of brothers’ concept has been memorialized in popular culture over the years. And weeks 9 & 10 of Men’s Fraternity deal w/ the the loneliness of man and the need for male companionship.

The All Alone Wound – a social, emotional, and spiritual loss caused by the lack of healthy male comradeship that results in
loneliness

And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
– 1 Samuel 20:17

discouragement

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
– Proverbs 17:17

foolish behavior

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
– Hebrews 10:24

blind spots

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
– Proverbs 27:17

short-sighted masculinity

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
– Proverbs 14:12

The scriptures tell men that they cannot live a successful life in isolation. Isolation creates a lack of accountability for a man. There becomes a progression of lack of opportunities for transparency, self-deceit, loose living, and loss of motivation for the noble things in life. A man learns to convince himself that things are OK, he learns to create exceptions for his mistakes, he learns to accept his mistakes as his life, he learns to live for less.

Men need to be careful to not fall into this isolation trap.

A band of brothers is there to examine one-another and challenge each man to better himself.

Besides a band of brothers, a man should enter into a mentor / prote’ge’ relationship for more specialized guidance.

To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Paul

A mentor is there for encouragement and support, not for competition and criticism.

The relationship between mentor and protege is close. They cant keep anything from each other. The mentor knows when to listen and when to talk.

A mentor knows the faults of his prote’ge’, but the mentor uses this constructively; protecting the protege from costly mistakes. The mentor draws on his own experience too to save his prote’ge’ from making the same mistakes.

A mentor is known and respected of other men. He has a wide range of resources from which to gather advice.

The prote’ge’ knows the mentor cheers for him, is willing to take risks on his behalf. The prote’ge’ needs what the mentor has.

Be wary of the trap of isolation.

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Find a few men you can sharpen your life with.

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

Seek out a mentor to encourage you in your walk.

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

Here’s a few sermons I’ve heard lately talking directly to men.

Marriage and Men from Mars Hill Church – Pastor Mark Driscoll uses strong language dealing w/ men and the sins they commit against the daughters of God.

You’re Willing To Be A Man from NewSpring Church – part of their ‘Don’t Get Married Until…’ series. Good general precepts for men in marriage.

The Gift of Marriage from Rock Harbor – reminds men what a gift marriage is and how to take care of it.

week 7 of Men’s Fraternity

Maybe a harder break-up than a girlfriend is breaking-up w/ your mom. Moms like to take of us, love us, and have a hard time letting go. The journey from boy to man involves breaking the relationship w/ Mom and ‘doing your own laundry’.

Some men find this difficult.

Some men still feel the tug of the apron strings.

Some men are overly-bonded w/ Mom.

There was a lot of information in this session. Robert Lewis listed causes and effects of the Overly-Bonded w/ Mother Wound. He also listed types of Mothers this often occurs w/. And how this manifests itself in adult-hood. Plain, a lot of stuff to reflect on and talk about. It seemed difficult to nail-down a definite ‘Yes, I have this wound.’ I think that’s partly b/c of the nature of the wound, and partly b/c of men’s ego. But we’ll get into that later. First…

Let’s start by looking at his definition –

an unhealthy emotional relationship with Mother that causes a son to either be threatened by the influence of women later on in life or to over-identify and become submissive to that influence.

The definition gives the cause and effect relationship of the wound. It shows that a man w/ the wound will lean too harsh on or be too easily influenced by women later in his life. The tricky part to identify is the ‘unhealthy emotional relationship’.

The Bible addresses the separation that must take place in Genesis 2:24

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I was wondering why this wound is harder to admit to than the ‘Absent Father’ wound. I realized that the Absent Father wound is something that a someone else didn’t do, but the Overly-Bonded w/ Mother wound is partly a lack of responsibility on the part of the man. The man doesn’t break w/ his mother how/when he should.

The outcome are usually:
Men become dominant and controlling toward women.
rebel against mom transferred to rebel/rage against women
Men become passive and submissive toward woman.
wants a mother-wife

Be mindful of either of these characteristics in your life.
Men need to find the balance in relating to women.

next week, making a healthy break w/ mom

week 6

this week was full of encouragement to step-up and seek out any of the missing relationship needs you missed from your Father. it was about responsibly taking steps to address your Father Wound.

seek reconciliation – call or set-up a visit w/ your dad.

risk asking for your Dad’s blessing and love – be direct. be tactful. be forgiving.

forgive your Dad – its a tough choice sometimes.

most of the time Dad was trying to do his best. we all need to remember Dad was just a man; a man w/ faults. we all wanted him to be our hero, but he was just a man.

week 5 of Mens Fraternity

to address the Absent Father wound, first we need to look back at our relationship w/ our Dad.

dad

Some men have great memories of growing up w/ Dad. There were fishing trips, ballgames, talks about girls.

But more and more boys are growing up in fatherless (physically and emotionally) households.

Less and less have dad available to pick them up, put them on their shoulders, and show them the World.

Less and less are receiving the needed guidance to turn boys into men.

How do you remember your Dad?

What kind of relationship did you have?

What did he teach you?

What good / bad moments were there?

Dad Inventory –

As we look at the five primary things every son wants & needs from his Father and the negative repercussions that happen when these aren’t fulfilled, take a Dad inventory for yourself. Grade your Dad on each of the five things by listing specific memories / examples of each from your life. This will help you remember your relationship w/ your Dad, help prevent assumptions you may have, and help you identify potential problem areas in your life.

Things sons need

Time Together – fills sons w/ memories. creates a steady foundation for life.
i.e. playing catch, fishing, working on the car

Life Skills – giving you know-how for the minutia that makes up daily life
i.e. shaving, driving, reading, filing out a job application,

Directions w/ solid ‘why’ answers – answering the big questions
i.e.

Convictions thru modeling – showing how-to live correctly
i.e. daily devotions, work ethic, commitment to friends

Dad’s heart – positive reinforcement
Son’s need to know they are loved, accepted, and achieving.

All this subset of requirements from Dad’s Heart are stated specifically in
‘I love you. I’m proud of you. You are good at…’

How did your dad handle these responsibilities? If there are missing pieces, lets take a look at the usual repercussions.

Negative results of the Absent Father Wound
Anger – expresses pain
Addictive / Obsessive behavior – suppresses pain
Inner sense of lostness / incompleteness – no direction
Homosexuality – dysfunctional misdirected attempt to capture a love, never obtained from dad, from a male figure

If you identify any of these negative elements in your life, we will examine how to overcome, next week.

*all items in bold are directly from Mens Fraternity workbook*

weeks 3 & 4 of Men’s Fraternity

a big emphasis in Men’s Fraternity is planning. Men usually plan in business, vacations, even tailgating, but don’t seem to plan in their lives. As members of Men’s Fraternity, we are expected to write a Manhood Plan to share with our brother in the group. The plan helps you analyze your life and has you create action steps to resolve any issues.

The first step in creating the Manhood Plan is looking back at your past.

Our past is very important to who we have become. If we look at our lives carefully, each of us has used moments in our lives to define who we are. We have either purposefully emulated or opposed characteristics of people in our lives.

Looking back must include “Unpacking” the suitcase of wounds most men carry around.

The Five Wound men must deal w/ (bold items directly from Men’s Fraternity workbook)

The Absent Father Wound
physically and emotionally

The Overly Bonded with Mother Wound
sees the shadow of his mother in all women in his life. becomes scared or controlled my women.

The All Alone Wound
won’t deal w/ circumstances. hides emotionally

The Lack of a Manhood Vision Wound

The Heart Wound
the innate desire to not do what we should, and to do what we shouldn’t

We must look back and “unpack” before we can analyze where we are now and see where want to go w/ our lives.

in week 2 of Men’s Fraternity, we discovered the 4 Faces of Manhood. Men need to strengthen each face, but also learn how to balance them together. Each face also has 2 alternate identities, that appear if that face is too weak or strong in the life of a man.

the KingRighteous Energy
Proverbs 4:18 & Proverbs 20:7

the King is characterized by Strong Convictions, Courageous Moral Choices, and Righteous Leadership.

He chooses right over convenience. He cultivates his morality. His choices affect the strength and weakness of the other faces.

Each bad decision though weakens the strength of the King. His decision making ability is deteriorated by repeated bad moral choices. With each bad choice, he is less trusted and less eager to make the right choice.

the King’s alternate identities:
too weak – Abdicator
too strong – Tyrant

the WarriorConquering Energy
I Timothy 6:11-12

the Warrior is characterized by Initiative, Persevering, and Fighting.

He is a starter and finisher; a go-getter. He is idolized in movies and culture such as Gladiator, Sam Walton, & James Bond.

He steps on and over people to get to the top. His work-aholic attitude leaves his friends and family aside.

the Warrior’s alternate identities:
too weak – Wimp
too strong – Destroyer

the LoverRomantic Energy
Ephesians 5:25

the Lover is characterized by Tenderness, Sacrificial Care, and Physical Affection.

He knows how to identify with his spouse. He grows closer to his spouse each day. He learns her and desires her.

If he lets his guard down, his romantic energy is misdirected.

the Lover’s alternate identities:
too weak – Cold
too strong – Critical

the FriendConnecting Energy
Proverbs 17:17 & Proverbs 27:17

the Friend is characterized by Loyalty, Accountability, & Fun.

He tells it like it is to save other men. A Friend will assist other men in cultivating their King.

Culture enforces the myth that men don’t need friends. The ultimate loner, the cowboy, thinks he can survive by himself, but he has no one to watch his back.

the Friend’s alternate identities:
too weak – Loner
too strong – User

You can find many examples in the Bible of men taking charge, fighting battles, and being great servants. Being men we all wish we could be.

But society has distorted the definition of a man. The view one finds on television and movies is men are only good for watching television, blowing things up, and oogling females.

Growing up in a society that has weakened what it is to be man, did you have a definition of becoming a man? What rite of passage was it for you?

…first paycheck, becoming a father, becoming a Christian, drinking your first beer, joining the Varsity squad, cell phone, drivers license…

I attended my first Men’s Fraternity meeting on Tuesday.

Men’s Fraternity provides men with an encouraging process that teaches them how to live lives of authentic manhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God.

The next few sessions will concentrate on defining manhood by discussing Genesis 1-3.

During Men’s Fraternity, we will define manhood in general, define our own manhood, and write a manhood plan for our lives. We will learn how and why God created men to be the head of the house. We will discuss our issues and find our we are not alone. We will bond, learn, and encourage each other in the fraternity of men!

My group meets @6A every Tuesday at Calvary Assembly of God.
Consider joining us on the quest for authentic manhood!

Perry Noble, the lead pastor NewSpring Church, talked about Gideon recently. Check out his messages Stuck – You Want Me To Do What?

Do you feel stuck?