This is a little long, because it’s crucial, and something most men today miss.
Too often we shrink our dreams to match our resources. For 2019, you need to understand that the most important resource you have is friends. Someone you know has the key you need for every vision you have. Scripture tells us to honor all men, love the brotherhood.
“Honor all men.
Love the brotherhood.
Respect the king.”
1 Peter 2:17
One of the notable marking points of the life of Jesus Christ was his close friendships. He lived in a brotherhood. Friends are life’s greatest shock absorbers. The Bible says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17).
Every man gets knocked down. The stalwart man gets back up. Most often, it’s a brother that reaches out a hand to help him.
At any moment in his normal day, a man is faced with choices. For most men the decisions are made within the context of circumstances: adversity, failure, trauma, opportunity, success, pain, pressure and the like. The results of his decisions will either control, crush or compound the pain, will build up or tear down his life, will enlarge or diminish his life.
And, these choices keep coming. Every day. All day. Every week. This is why we’re spending weeks at the start of 2019 to get healthy, work out spiritually, physically, mentally—so we can be ready for every opportunity or adversity. First, we prepare ourselves.
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame (Isaiah 50:7).
The Apostle Paul added this:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified (1 Cor 9:27).
Jesus encouraged us this way:
I have told you these things so that in me, you will be unshakable. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
This is how I restate all that to myself:
As though it has been chiseled into granite, into the rock, I have made a commitment with all my heart to fully follow Christ—and I know he will never betray me. I work to become a stalwart man—loyal, reliable, and hardworking; dependable, steadfast, unwavering. I train myself in every area of my life to be resilient, so that when life knocks me down, I get back up. And, I help my brother back to his feet, too.
This is built, modeled, disciplined, trained, chiseled into my heart as a man.
In 1943 a psychologist developed a pattern of basic need and motivation. It was food, shelter, warmth and so on. I believe there is a basic motivation and need for a man of God. Here’s my list:
1. THE SPIRIT OF GOD. God’s breath/our identity.
2. A MISSION. Our core purpose.
3. THE BROTHERHOOD. The spirit of belonging to a band of brothers.
If a man doesn’t have a mission, he doesn’t need shelter or warmth or brothers. If a man is identified with Christ, he has a mission…and he needs brothers.
A mission defines a man, and our mission is Jesus. Jesus is our mission at work, at home, while hunting or doing our taxes or shoveling snow. Jesus on every street, Jesus in every heart. Every man, every nation. One hundred million fathers raised up around the world who follow Jesus. This is our mandate, our purpose, our mission. WE ARE CMN.
Jesus tells us:
You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name (John 15:16).
Sometimes you choose the mission, sometimes the mission chooses you. We’ve been chosen to be men with a mission. And after we’ve worked on ourselves, accepted our mission, and launch into the new year—we must recognize that we are a brotherhood. We need friends.
I have a friend whose wife suddenly passed away just recently. He didn’t need meals or child care or house cleaning—he just needed friends to be there. So, we sat on his back porch. Sat. Together. Brothers. CMN leader Doug Stringer calls it, “the ministry of presence.” That’s brotherhood.
In the recent massive flooding of Houston, hundreds of men from churches across the city helped in the rescue and clean-up. Months later, the Houston brotherhood is still at work rebuilding. That’s brotherhood.
Recently a commissioned man who had earned his sword through CMN passed away. At the funeral, CMN men brought their swords to honor his memory. That’s brotherhood.
A.A. Milne captured friendship so well in his stories of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. In particular one day when Eeyore was feeling discouraged and Pooh and Piglet went over to his house, they just sat with him. It’s a take on the best of Job’s friends.
Eeyore looked at them in surprise. "What are you doing?"
"We're sitting here with you," said Pooh, "because we are your friends.”
You and I know that those who surround us produce the context of our lives. We become like the friends we keep close. In 2019, get out and make a friend. And choose him wisely.
At CMN, we study the same things, get in agreement with each other, pray for each other, and reach out to men all around us either for help, or to help them. The discipling of men is the biblically mandated core ministry of the church and pastor. Mature men make a strong church. A strong church makes a strong community. Strong communities make the nation strong.
Christian Men’s Network speaks with a prophetic voice to the men of this generation and is commissioned with a ministry majoring in men to declare a standard for manhood and that standard is “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.”
In its fifth decade, CMN is focused on building strong men, strong families, and strong churches in over 100 nations and more than 20 languages. CMN builds men of honor. Men who are faithful, courageous, relentless and fully committed to Christ.
We can have great crowds with great sermons, but we will never change a nation until we disciple a man.
As men of CMN, we join hearts and arms as a band of brothers—men who are committed to Christ, committed to our families and committed to each other. We are men on a mission and that mission is Christ. We are men who do the hard work. We are men who show up. We are men who get knocked down but get back up. We are men who help others get back up. We are men fully committed to truth. We strive to be the faithful men of 2 Timothy 2:2, "Commit these words to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also."
Here is the bottom line in your personal mission:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
And here is the bottom line in brotherhood:
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17).Need a friend? Go out and be a friend to someone else and you’ll have friends. Text two people each day. Expand your reach. Pray for other men around you. Make a new friend in 2019.
This is who we are—this is what we do. We’re CMN. We’re brothers.