Monthly Archives: November 2005

Forward, March!

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!” (Exodus 14:15, TLB)

I hear a lot of messages to Christians that say, “Wait on God”, or “Let God take care of things” rather than try something under your own power. That’s good advice, of course, but study of the Bible reveals that we are also called to act. The book of James is a good one to study concerning works to go with your faith.

An example examined here is about Moses leading the Israelites at the Red Sea. As described in the 14th chapter of Exodus, Moses and the Israelites were up against it so to speak. The Red Sea, that is. So here they were trapped at the shore while the Egyptian army closed in for the kill. The people of Israel were terrified and lashed out at Moses saying they would rather be live slaves in Egypt that to be dead in the wilderness.

Moses (verses 13 & 14) basically told them not to be afraid because God would take care of the Egyptian army and the people of Israel would not have to raise a finger. Isn’t that great when we boldly proclaim that God will squash our enemies while we sit back and watch? Yeah, its nice work if you can get it.

Perhaps there are times God does such while we sit back, but in this case God was very direct with Moses letting him know it was time to quit talking and start doing. God’s orders were, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!” That throws a little cold water on the “Sit-back-and-let-God-handle-it” theology I hear so often. Another similar misused quote we all hear is this one, “God is in control”. There is some fallacy in believing that totally, because the fact is that God has given you and me the choice to make some mighty important decisions — we are in control at that point.

Because of my strong convictions about what I believe to be true, I often think of our children and their training when the Scriptures speak out to me, so here’s my take on this one. We Christians do a lot of complaining about the cultural decline in America. There is plenty of blame to go around if you wish to analyze things, but things are serious enough now that we need to quit analyzing and do something besides complain. Our children are being destroyed. Will we cry out to God like the people of Israel? Do we prefer to wait on God? Do we prefer slavery in Egypt to walking toward the sea? Will we perish? Are we afraid to march forward because we have no direction to do so?

I’m talking here about training our children and I don’t mean Sunday School. I mean Sunday through Saturday school, every day of the week, preferably by parents. If the family needs help, then the church is next in line for responsibility. While a worthwhile endeavor, praying over children before you put them on a school bus would not seem to be “Forward, march!” to me. Translation; We, and our children, and our grandchildren should not continue to be slaves to the Egyptians (government schools). Right now, Christians in America prefer slavery to “Forward, march!” How do I know? Most of America’s children are in Egypt, aren’t they? You know the excuses; can’t train my child, can’t afford Christian school, my child needs the socialization; I want my kid to play sports. Okay, so much for the parents’ responsibilities. What about the clergy? Unfortunately most clergy use the same excuses. But there is one more important aspect of the “Red Sea Forward march!” story.

Don’t miss it; this last part of the story of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea just may be the most important point made here. Right after God chastised Moses and told him to get marching he said, “Use your rod–hold it out over the water, and the sea will open up a path before you, and all the people of Israel shall walk trough on dry ground! (Exodus 14:16 TLB) Leadership! We need leaders to point the way! We need men who hear from God, have no fear of the warring enemies, and have no fear of drowning in the sea. Until church leaders point to the Red Sea, the people will remain in the wilderness and the roar of the hoof beats of the approaching army will become deafening. Pastors who believe in divine healing, for example, but don’t believe God can help parents get their children out of public schools are basically men of little faith and/or men without listening ears. Crying out to God with the sea on one side and the enemy on the other is not the best option; listening to God and marching forward is. Pastors, point the way!

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Why Church is a Spectator Sport for Most Men

…When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1Co 14:26, NIV)

Let’s face it, attending a church service is definitely a spectator sport for most men. This happens because men sitting in pews listening to a sermon are simply participating in a system that has been in place (and flawed for that matter) for 1700 years. I submit that it is more a fault of the system and than a fault of the pew-sitting men.

Spectator sport? How so? Well, there are always more men sitting in pews listening to teaching and preaching than those standing up front talking. I’ve heard many a preacher say his job is to equip the saints; but for what, an eternity of sitting in pews listening to someone talk? According to 1Co 14:26 when Christians come together, “everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” With 500 or perhaps 5000 spectators, suppose half of them have a word of instruction. That would be 2500 in the larger flock. Are they all going to speak? It’s not gonna happen. Notice the last part of 1Co. 14:26 says, “All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” Could the failure to follow such a biblical mandate explain why the churches in America seem to have such little affect on our culture, because the church has not been strengthened?

I spent about 20 years on college campuses. That equated into a lot of time in classrooms either as a student or a teacher. A few “professional” students, as they were called, spent extra years going to school just because they loved learning and/or didn’t have the self-disipline to finish and go get a job. I often think church-goers are like those professional students, except rather than a few extra years, they spend decades in the pew listening to someone talk. I realize God’s Word is eternal, and one should never finish studying the Bible, but the perpetual pew-sitting, non participating, supposedly being prepared for works of ministry by religious ceremony has been enough to keep millions of men out of church buildings.

There is definitely something wrong with this picture, the non-paticipatory type of church service. It’s not biblical! You cannot not find instructions in the Bible that support the idea that people sit in a large room and watch and listen to one talented speaker speak and a few talented singers sing…it ain’t in the Bible. And guess what, the very guys doing all the preaching and teaching should know what the Bible does and does not say about church meetings. Maybe you have already guessed why they don’t offer up sermons outlining proper orderly church meetings; they would show the pew-sitters that there is no clear Biblical justification for their salaried job as a pastor. Shepherd or hireling?

As for those who are spectators, the Bible says you need to do more than sit and listen. I often say people in the pews will go where they are lead. Men in the pews are not the primary problem, it is the men who lead the men in the pews who have the larger responsibility. Someone needs to lead men into church services where all who have a hymn or a word of instruction can do so according to the Scriptures. This would mean most would need to turn to the house church just as Christians did for the first 300 years. Do that, and men will participate.

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Sit, Be Quiet & Grow Up To Be A Girlie-Man

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.” Deut. 22:5

Boys will be boys. At least that was a common statement when I was growing up in these West Virginia hills. We did the bold Halloween pranks, hunted ground hogs and squirrels, worked in the hay fields when every bale had to be manhandled about four times to get it stored in the barn. We built tree houses, dammed up the creek to make a swimming hole, hunted bull frogs with a flash light and a quick hand, and then brought ’em home and ate ’em. We went tent camping in a pasture field with the companionship of my Border Collie dog and we explored caves on three farms within walking distance of home. We still had some time to play high school sports and really felt like we had done something when we beat a team from a school with larger enrollment. Now days I guess you could say that some boys will be boys and others will be girls if the conditions so often thrust upon them in our current culture win out over the natural God given traits of males.

Women are nest builders and men are hunters. Women (we are excluding the dysfunction feminists here) are content to spend a lot of time around the nest, tidying up the place and taking care of the young members of the family. Men (we are excluding the sexually disoriented types here), on the other hand, are hunters. They do some serious thinking as they plan for the hunt; they love to stalk the game and then cherish the moment when they can squeeze the trigger. Triumph and bragging go hand in hand. Just drawing blood doesn’t count. You have to have the game in hand. Okay, so most men don’t really hunt, but they have that same mentality in a pickup game of basketball, or while cheering their football team on TV. Men are competitive. They like the challenge. They don’t like contests that end in loss or a draw; they want to win.

It is no secret than the American male has been feminized during the past 30 years or so. Individuality is out; group think is in. Heterosexuality is boring; homosexuality, lesbianism, and other perverted forms of sexuality are even becoming a part of classroom instruction. Kids are encouraged to have sexual experiences with members of the same sex to determine if they might be gay. How sick!

Butt kickin’ is out; sensitivity is in. (i.e. We must be sensitive to other cultures. Let’s not call the men who crashed planes into buildings in New York City and Washington, D.C. on 9/11/01 Islamic terrorists. We must understand their culture). How warped is that attitude? I say blast away and ask questions later if you still think it is necessary.

This writing is not meant to dwell on all the politically correct madness in our culture. Most readers are aware of that, but we should be aware of the circumstances that preceded this cultural decay and the feminizing of our boys. Glenn Sacks, who discusses men’s and father’s issues through his writing and radio broadcasts cited some interesting information about how boys and girls related differently to the elementary classroom. The boys tend to have more behavioral problems and are “four times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls.” Ritalin has been in the news for many years and the consensus among sane people is that kids, mostly boys, are being drugged to modify their behavior. I think Glenn Sacks was correct when he stated that “Success in school is tightly correlated with the ability to sit still, be quiet and complete work.”

I have read a lot about the history of schooling in America, and I have also sought information about the history of the Church. I think there is a disturbing similarity in the way each is conducted. For many generations people where taught by parents, mentors, and private tutors. There were no special buildings for teaching the young and no large classrooms. The public school system started a little more than 150 years ago. Church buildings have been around longer, but Christianity was about 300 years old before special meeting places were constructed. Today, large consolidated schools and mega-churches are commonplace.

Here’s my point; the “sit down and be quiet” mode amidst a large group doesn’t go over any bigger with men in church pews than it does with young boys in the school classroom. I speak from experience when I say that Christianity has to be more than sitting with a large number of people listening to one man talk, and then coming back again next week to hear the same man talk again. Men are doer’s, red meat eaters. Lets hunt, let’s burn some energy, let’s battle, let’s conquer; enough of just listening to somebody talk. Let’s go do something for crying out loud! Its no wonder pastors find it difficult to get men to provide leadership in the church. Men want to do something besides teach Sunday school and rearrange the tables and chairs in the fellowship hall. Those are honorable duties, but it’s akin to cuttin’ bait. Enough already, lets go fishing!

I must digress to prove a point. It’s Saturday afternoon and my wife Glenda just returned from the hair dresser and by the time I got up from this desk to go greet her she already had a vacuum cleaner in her hand. Tidy hair, tidy house, she’s the tidy wife. Me? I want to finish writing this piece and pray that others will get mad enough to join the fight to make some changes that will benefit our children and grandchildren!

Life is not about sitting still and being quiet. The school and Church make that same mistake. After a couple generations of training boys to be passive, we arrive at the point where we have grown girlie-men; men who have been told to be tolerant and sensitive to perverted cultures and perverted individuals. Some of these girlie-men are entertainers, politicians and news people (70% of the editors at The New York Times are homosexuals). Why read that girlie-men rag? I don’t mean to imply that all girlie-men are homosexual, but in some respects they have a feminine mindset, a timidness toward adventure into uncharted territory. Christian men are told to be bold, but rarely shown how by Christian leaders. By contrast, during the Revolution War pastors preached but they also fought. Look at this example:

“In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight.” That’s how a Lutheran pastor by the name of John Peter Muhlenburg finished one of his sermons. He then removed his clerical robes to reveal his Continental Army uniform. After church service, 300 men of his congregation mounted their horses and rode off with him to join General Washington’s troops.

Today, things are different; our idea of being bold is driving around town with a Jesus bumper sticker on our car. Where were the pastors and other Christian leaders when prayer was taken from schools, when killing babies was legalized, when perverted sexual behavior became government sanctioned, and the Ten Commandments Monument removed from the courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama? Maybe they were getting a trim and their nails done at the local salon. Maybe golfing. Maybe attending a preacher church growth conference. It’s time some of those clergy men rip off those girlie-robes and reveal the whole armor of God!

If I’m right about boys and men, then how can we change things? First, we must get a grip on how we got here. Next we should abandon public schools. Our state run schools are not Christ centered, and that should be adequate reason for bold, God-fearing Christian leaders. After educating yourself about how we got to the girlie-man stage, and have removed the kids from public schools you are ready for the third step. Do something different. If you don’t know what to do, start something! And I mean start something worthwhile like helping the neighbor in need. While colleges and government agencies are holding classes and seminars on cultural diversity, anger management and sensitivity training why not take your son hunting and kill something you can skin and cook. Throw the sissified Game Boys in the trash can, put some work boots on that boy and go tackle a job that would rip his sneakers to shreds. Above all else, read and study the Bible and try to understand how men can be conquerors when they put their trust in Jesus Christ.

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