I was recently able to spend time with one of my favorite people. Well that is really putting it lightly, hero or rock seem to fit a little better. My grandfather, Harold Swords has played many roles in many peoples lives, mainly his family. You will not find one person in our family that does not adore him and vice versa. Like most people he comes in contact with, when we get together it is full of wise cracks, jokes and plain silliness at times. He is the one to blame if I have ever pestered you or shot my mouth off with a wise crack towards you. He is the leader of the pack.
During our few hours together grandpa was telling me about his recent road trip to Arizona where he took my grandma to see her sister. My uncle, Harold jr. drove them across the 5 states from Tennessee. Grandpa was telling me about how fast uncle Harold was driving. He said " I told him that this was a little car and I don't want to push it, set the cruise at 68 mph and leave it". He added " the car slowed down for a few minutes and before long it was back up to 75 mph, so I said forget it". This was not the first time I have heard him talk about going 68 or even 65 mph. I can remember not long after I got my license I rode to Ohio with my grandparents and on the way home they let my sister and myself drive. Grandpa again said those same words "set it at 68 and keep it on the road".
I have thought about this statement the rest of the week and it has lead me to writing this blog. It got me thinking about how in a world where everyone is obsessed with going fast, getting it fast, doing it fast, being faster in every which way can a man have the patience to slow it down. I began to think about the benefits of slowing down when driving. To name a few, you save on fuel mileage, you increase your safety factor (as long as you don't go too slow), you save wear and tear on your vehicle. Remember I am just talking about driving a car. Think about what it would do to your life! Undoubtedly it would decrease your stress level, open your eyes to new possibilities, enjoy life a little better. Slowing down does not mean decreasing activity but rather being more open to new activities that you have never thought of or always wanted to try. Taking a breath and allowing yourself to smile while gaining inner peace that only comes from God.
Slowing down for each person may be different. For some it may be decreased work time to spend with family, others may be getting away from the full time mom role for regular date nights or spa days or getting a job to be more active and build self esteem and get the "needed" feeling back. Maybe it is taking the time to spend a few hours with your grandpa or someone else you admire. Most important all of us need to slow down and spend our time with God each day. This is a struggle for the majority. Life happens and time with the Lord seems to get pushed to the back of the line, if it is in the line at all.
This blog is just a simple reminder to enjoy life, love God and slow down to give the most of both.
I recently have had conversations with two of the closest people to me about the same subject. One was questioning me the other was questioning themselves, but they both consisted of the same content. I wanted to take a few moments to address this with you also. You, the person reading this blog has a purpose from God, for God. Choosing to seek and fulfill that purpose is up to you.
My wife came to me about my calling to preach the other day. She addressed her thoughts of what she thought I would be doing when I told her about my calling when we started dating two years ago. She said "I thought you were going to be on stage all the time, or teaching classes". Now when she said this my pride kicked into action and wanted to say a few things but i was able to control my tongue, well, that time anyway. The more I thought about that the more it stung. I think it is most preachers desire to preach to the masses and lead souls to God through the pulpit or maybe to have a class each week where people are hungry for the word. But the truth is, most don't.
If you were called to ministry and nothing seems to be going the way you thought it would, hold on! Don't give up! Don't throw in the towel just yet. I started to pray and think about this in my life throughout the week. The more you look into it the better you may feel about your calling and understand that you are still called, but its not your time just yet. With that said, just because it may not be your time does not mean that you do not have work to do. Preparation during this time is the greatest and most effective key to success during this time.
I began to look at Jesus ministry. He began public ministry at the age of thirty. Why did He wait so long? Was Jesus, the Son of God unable to, or unprepared to minister before that? Sometimes it is easy to forget that Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. we see examples of this through the gospels. In Matthew 4:2 it says "after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry". Jesus needed food like we do. He ached, and hurt like you and I. When He stubbed His toe on the coffee table I believe He did a special one legged dance like any grown man does. Matthew 26:39 I believe Jesus shows His fully man side more than ever. He is crying out to His Father in heaven asking "if possible, let this cup pass from me". Jesus is saying if there is any other way, please, do that. Jesus knew what He had to do and He knew that was the will of the Father so he added "not my will, but your will be done".
Jesus as fully man had to prepare for His time when it came. You must prepare for your time as well. I told my wife just this. My time has not come yet but it will and at that time I will be ready.
If you are like me or any other person, at times you make bad choices. I feel that some of these choices can slow your progress into ministry. Some may be such bad choices that you may have to spend some years recovering from the decisions. I am an honest man and I like to be transparent with people. Without going into great detail I will tell you I am divorced. I divorced within biblical grounds. Even though I had good reason I still have to go through a season of recovery, reflection, and growth. You may be in the same position. Maybe, you are in a worse position and made some other bad choices. I just wanted to use myself as an example. Time must be taken and used constructively to move forward in ministry. It stinks, its not fun most of the time, but it is necessary. Please do not take that lightly. I encourage you to get with your pastor or a counselor and let them help you through that critical time.
My best friend called me yesterday with feelings of "there has to be more to life than this". My friend whom I look up to as a spiritual leader that has taught me many lessons over the years caught me off guard with his statement. But then I thought about all he has been through the past few years as he hit a few snags in life and had to take a few curve balls along the way. As well as some great but life changing events as in marriage, having children, changing jobs ect. I quickly realized that he was not at a dead end in life but rather just in a construction zone. At times we will find ourselves in these dreaded but needed construction zones in life. It slows us down, makes us late, irritated and makes us want to stop driving that direction. Could you imagine what the road would be like if we never had construction on them? If you are like me and you are from the north it is almost a reality already. But imagine never patching them holes that make the ride a little smoother. or have to deal with the major road replacement construction that keeps our cars from being tore apart by pot holes and cracks. Construction on the road and in our life is a must to not have to detour. Stay the course, its not over, its just necessary construction, do your part during this time. Recognize and remember the day you were called, the day God confirmed to you the call to minister. prepare for it. Get ready, yout time is coming.
Just so you know this blog post is for males. Women are welcome to read it to hopefully learn what a good, Godly man is. But it will be directed to males. I don't want to say men because in today's society the word men is being thrown around to loosely. Just because you are a male does not make you a man. Just because you are strong, or fast or good at basketball, does not make you a man. You may think your a man because you have respect from a group of people. You may think you are a man because you have a good job and pay the bills and put food on the table. Some of these things are important but none of them alone define you as a man. This blog is the short story version of what God says a male is to be to be called a man.
1. The Head (1Corinthians 13:3). You may have heard this before and you may think you know what it is to be the head. Let me take a moment to define this for people who do not know. First let me tell you what the head is not. The head is not the boss, the master, the king, the chosen one. If males really knew what the head was and how hard it is to be the head and the responsibility it takes to be the head there are many of them that would not even consider taking on that role. They think because they know how to have sex and they found a women willing to defile the act that God made for married men and women, that they are a man. They think because they had sex on prom night that automatically morphed them into man hood. But by the unmistakable biblical definition of what sex is and who it is for, we see that sex does not by any means make you more of a man, you are still just a male. Some males think because they are able to over power a women that it makes them a man. Others think a man is defined by how much possessions they have or how "successful" they are. But again, by biblical definition these things only prove how much of a man they are not.
In writing this i am not trying to play as if I am perfect and I do not make mistakes. One, that would be wrong and a lie, it would also make me a male and not a man. I am fully convinced that there is only one thing that can turn a male into a man, and a man into the head. The Holy Spirit! The only way a male can come to be a real man, he must confess he needs help. He must humble himself and come to a understanding that he needs a savior and he is unable to do things on his own. Step one: Confess Jesus and ask God into your heart. To lead you and guide you in every aspect of life. Step 2: Submit yourself to the Holy Spirit of God. He is our guide and our path maker. To fully hear and understand The Holy Spirit you must spend time with Him and get to know His voice. If you fail to do this, you will soon fall to that trap of "God doesn't never answer me". I have heard it so many times, but with a few questions about that persons prayer life you can quickly find out that they don't know who God is so they do not know when he is speaking. God is not some magician that pulls out tricks to entertain people and never tells them how He did it. Christians who say they talk to God and He talks back are not crazy and "hear voices". They are just in tune with God and you will never understand this fully until you get in tune with Him yourself.
This is part one of Male 2 Man.