Words: Fail, Fool, Fake

Fail, Fool, or Fake


            I have been very interested in ministry to men for several decades.  However, my passion rejuvenated five years ago.  I began with a group called “Hungry Hunters” on Wednesday nights at church.  I realized how important men are in the church.  In fact, I believe, “As go the men, so goes the church.” I now disciple two groups of men and one home group composed of couples. That does NOT mean women are not important.  It does not mean women do not greatly contribute to the spiritual vitality and growth of a church.  It does express that I believe if men do not lead, the blessing God intends for a church and community will not be all that God desires.  Men have a key role and they have been passive since the Garden of Eden.

            In the Garden of Eden, while the Serpent was wooing the woman, Adam was standing near passively listening to the discussion.  When the woman took the fruit and ate it, the text says, So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Gen. 3:6)He should have been leading.  He should have been protecting the woman from being deceived.  He should have cried out to God if he didn’t know what to do.  Because Adam was passive and silent, we suffer today.  Because men are passive and silent today, we continue to suffer.  Why are men passive?

            Men are passive, because that is the alternative to doing the wrong thing.  What?  Yes, men want to do the right thing.  Men want to lead, but they have not been discipled.  Men want to make a difference in life, but it is easier to do nothing than risk doing the wrong action. 

            If men do the wrong action, what happens?  They will:

·         Know they did the wrong thing and people will let them know it.
·         Look like a fool in front of other people.
·         Be found out as a fake.  Men want others to respect them and they want others to think that they have their act together.  If they do the wrong thing, they will either be shown a fake or someone will accuse them of being a fake.

Obviously, most of that is perception.  But the reality is that is a man’s reality.  And he has a fear of those things.  Let me explain. There are three key things men do not want.

            Men do not want to fail.  Jesus prayed for the disciples before going to the cross, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32)  To fail is to fail God for most men. Somehow it is wired into most men that we want to succeed, to win, to overcome, to complete the task and hence, triumph.  You can see that in every aspect of life.  Men want to succeed up the corporate ladder, win the big game, overcome the adversity or challenge, complete the project at home or work and hence have satisfaction of the triumph. Men do not want to fail in their marriages, their families, or their church, let alone their work. But men have not been discipled.

            Men do not want to look like a fool.  Men know from Scripture that a fool is the opposite of the wise one, “the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. (Pro. 11:29)  Men like to joke around and banter back and forth among trusted friends.  However, make a man look like a fool and he is gone.  He will not come back unless he knows it might be safe.  Make fun of him around people he does not know, especially women and he will avoid you like certain politicians avoid answering the truth.  A man who looks foolish will remain quiet and uninvolved, until he can work up the courage to risk that last step again.  Even then, he’ll be very cautious.

            Men do not want to be found out as a fake.  Men want people to respect them. The Lord respected Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s (Gen. 4:4,5).  Jesus told the same parable in each of the three synoptic gospels regarding the expectation that the Son should be respected by the vinedressers (Matt. 21:37; Mark 12:6; Luke 20:13). Respect is a big deal to men. That’s why God tells women to “respect their husbands” (Eph. 5:33). When, or if, a man does not know or live in a way that he should be respected, he would rather retreat to his man-cave.  So rather than saying or doing the wrong thing, it is easier for him not to do anything, than risk being found out a spiritual or otherwise fake. 

            These three – fail, fool, fake – result from fear.  Men do NOT want to claim to struggle from fear, so it is easier to be passive, silent and uninvolved.  Even Scripture identifies this as a possible approach, “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” (Pro. 17:28) A man wants to look wise, so it is easier to be passive, silent and uninvolved than take the risk of revealing fear.  Fear is abominable to a man.  He is supposed to be a leader!  But when the flesh controls, he plays the fool and fear gets the best of him.  What is the solution?

            The solution is to disciple men.  That was the purpose of “Hungry Hunters.”  We took the Message Based Discussion Questions and went through them each week.  The purpose was to engender confidence in the men and restore true masculinity to lead in their marriages, homes and the church.  Men are hunters and providers.  Hungry men are those who seek after God’s righteousness.  The goal is to stay with a man, until he is ready to disciple other men.  The key is “as go the men, so goes the church (marriage, family).” 

Men: Raising Men (3)

Men: Raising Men (3)

As go the men, so goes the church.  There is not a verse in Scripture for that, but there are many allusions to the importance of men in raising men.  Men have a tough role of providing for their family and leading them spiritually.  It’s easy to relegate spiritual responsibility to the mother, especially if she is not working.  The man works hard all day and is tired when he comes home.  He’s looking for ways to make life easier.  Patience and perseverance in raising children in godly ways is not easy.
It happened almost two hundred years ago that Sunday Schools were founded.  Prior to that, family spiritual growth depended on parents and the pastor, as children sat with their parents in church.  But in the early 1800s, a great assist was founded for helping families and it was structured within the church.
“Whereas in 1820 Protestants had thought about children’s religious experiences primarily in terms of family and church, by 1880 it was impossible to conceive of them without reference to the Sunday school. During the nineteenth century, this new institution became the primary locale – outside of the family – for religious indoctrination of Protestant youth. In the annals of church history the saga of Sunday school was unique, involving…the creation of a new institution to fulfill functions previous entrusted to parents and pastors…” – Ann Boylan (provided by Jeremy Thomas) 

While Sunday school is a good thing, man and parents, generally speaking, transferred spiritual development to Sunday School over a period of 60 years.  There was nothing intentional or evil in the initiation of Sunday School.  It was a great blessing to many parents, especially parents who were not discipled by their own parents.  Yet, slowly, families became dependent on Sunday School in the church and less spiritual training was accomplished in the home.  After all, that way there was less conflict in the home and parents would support Sunday School teachers. 

            Furthermore, youth ministry has had an abundance of youth ministry aids, like youth pastors, magazines and music and while youth leaders are pouring their hearts into the youth, the expected results are not as visible.  Alvin Reid observes, 

 “It is obvious that youth ministry in America has not produced a generation of young people who are passionate about the church…the number of full time youth pastors has grown dramatically and a plethora of magazines, music, and ideas aimed at youth have been birthed along the way.  Meanwhile…the numbers of young people won to Christ dropped at about as fast a rate.” – Alvin Reid (provided by Jeremy Thomas)

It might look like the problem exists with the youth ministry.  In most cases not at all. Youth ministries are thinking of everything they can to help raise young people.  The problem rests with the family. Families are not raising up men and women that are hungering for truth and passionate about service.  There are many zealous youth, but not like the youth of 40 years ago. 

            We have to place responsibility where God places it.  Solomon exhorts his sons to listen and take heed to his teaching, 

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;
 2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.
 3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
 4 He also taught me, and said to me:  “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.
 5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. (Pro. 4:1-5) 

Fathers are responsible to exhort and be diligent to teach their children (Deut. 6:1-9).  Unfortunately, when children do not respond or worse, rebel, parents let their responsibility slide, because they do not want conflict and do not know how to raise children to the holiness of God.  As children become indifferent, fathers become indifferent to God’s mandates to raise up godly children,  

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4) 

When fathers become indifferent, they are in rebellion against God’s calling and God’s mandate.   

            I would never blame Sunday School for the state in which we are living now.  The responsibility rests solely with the family and specifically with us fathers.  Are you willing to teach Father greatness to your children?1 Are you willing to take your rightful position as head of your family and lead them to the throne of grace?   

            Let’s not blame anyone else for whether our children are following the Lord or not.  Let’s take personal responsibility and man-up to God’s calling.  If you have any questions or need mechanics, let me know. 

1See the message delivered on March 17 and posted on March 18, 2013, “Get a Grip on Father Greatness.”

Men: Raising Men (2)

Men: Raising Men (2)


What is the effect of fatherless homes?  One person wrote,

In reality the world is as full of bad mothers as it is of bad fathers, and it is not the motherless children who become delinquent but the fatherless ones. (Louis de Bernieres)

That may be a general statement with plenty of exceptions, but it does expose the importance of the father’s role in the life of children.   It is likely why James emphasizes the importance of ministry to orphans when he writes,

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (Jam. 1:27)

Orphans (and widows) are much more vulnerable, because there is not the one (the godly husband or the godly father) God designed to protect them.  God designed from the beginning that every child should have two parents – a man and a woman – in the home.  Children learn roles and responsibilities from both parents.  It is difficult to learn those roles if one of the parents is not present. The problem is the hearts of fathers and children are often separated by problems of sins.  In the last book of the Old Testament, God promises that one day He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children,

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Mal. 4:5-6)

After Malachi spoke, there was a period of 400 years of silence from God.  There was so much conflict and rebellion between people, including fathers and children, that God was silent. 

            We live in a day when more and more children are growing up in fatherless homes.  It’s interesting to note the influence of not having fathers in a home.  The National Center for Fathering records1,

Fatherless Homes Produce:
  • 90% of Runaway Children
  • 85% of Children With Behavior Problems
  • 71% of High School Drop Outs
  • 70% of Juvenile Detentions
  • 75% of Children Addicted to Drugs
  • 63% of Teenage Suicides
  • 80% of Rapists
  • 85% of Prison Inmates

Additionally the following sources provide interesting considerations2:

Educational Attainment. Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families. (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)

Confused Identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).

Aggression.In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.” (N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

Achievement.Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).

Delinquency.Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married. (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994).

Criminal Activity. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. Source: A. Anne Hill, June O’Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993

The need of fathers is clear both statistically, but primarily from God’s Word. Fortunately, God sends hope.  That hope is in Jesus Christ.  He is the solution to our problems and woes.  He is the solution to fatherless homes.  He is the solution to draw fathers to children.  Are you walking with Him?


1What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” The National Institute of Justice, 1998.



Men: Raising Men (1)

Men: Raising Men (1)

I recently read this quote from one of my favorite Presidents:

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

We often don’t do anything, because we want to do the right thing.  We often don’t do anything, because there are so many options that we can’t decide which one to choose.  We often don’t do anything, because we don’t understand our role as leaders and will let someone else lead.  Men have lived that pattern ever since Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden.

When Adam should have been leading and protecting, he stood on the sidelines and let Eve (as she would later be called) lead.  She was conversing with the serpent and Adam should have been protecting her, 

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said,`You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3“but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said,`You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:1-6)

That’s what happens when a man stands on the sideline and does nothing.

            There are also horrible things that happen in the home today when a man does not fulfill his role as a father. Note these statistics:

For every 10 men in the average church…

• 9 will have kids who leave the church

• 8 will not find their jobs satisfying

• 6 will pay monthly minimum on credit cards

• 5 have a major problem with pornography

• 4 will get divorced affecting 1,000,000 children each year

• Only 1 will have a biblical worldview

• All 10 will struggle to balance family & work: Because they really want to HAVE FUN!  (Provided by Pastor Bruce Einspahr)

We need to raise men to be men and understand the Father’s business: raising men to be true men.  Right now families are content if there is somecommunication.  God wants us to build into young men God the Father’s priorities and life.  That comes through 1) learning to love God with all of our heart, soul and strength; 2) hiding the Scriptures into our heart; and 3) being diligent to teach our children and the children around us to become disciples of Jesus Christ (Deut. 6:1-15).

            What is your part in the process?  Are you content standing on the side?  Are you content watching America go down the spiral of the immorality morass and the vacuum of emptiness?  Are you willing to step up to your God-given role of raising men to be godly men who will raise generation after generation of godly people?  Don’t wait.  Get going now.

Men: Men Leading Men (1)

Men: Men Leading Men (1)

There is a scarcity of men in spiritual leadership today.  It is really nothing new.  The scarcity began back in the Garden of Eden, when Adam stood near the woman (later called Eve) and watched the devil deceive her.  He did nothing to prevent the attacks on God’s character and God’s Word.  The devil challenged the woman and like most women, she was up for the challenge, but she came up short.  Why?  She came up short that is, because she failed to depend on the character and will of God, because her protector, Adam, did not lead. 

            Yes Adam was standing with her, because when she ate of the fruit she gave the fruit to Adam also.  Moses records the text in Genesis 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:6, emphasis mine)  He was right there, but he stood by and like many men today continue to stand by on the sidelines rather than entering into the battle of life. How do we turn this around?  We must reach men and disciple them to godliness.

            There are blatantly challenging statistics regarding our current culture.  Bruce Einspahr reported recently as a pastor’s conference about the profession of faith in several generations.  He cited from the Billy Graham Organization:

·         65% of those in the Builder generation have trusted Christ

·         35% of those in the Boomer generation have trusted Christ

·         15% of those in the Gen-X generation have trusted Christ

·         4% of the kids alive today will make a profession of faith. 

Those are significant statistics and may reveal why America is suffering spiritually and we see downward results in many other venues, like morality, social, economic and political arenas.  If we don’t reach each generation, the USA will become a second rate country, because it will lose its blessing God granted through the founding fathers.  It was the founding fathers who instilled biblical values in their families, but life happens and the values have changed.  In fact, the values are spirally down so quickly that only a revival will turn things around.  

            I’ll address this in the next article of Men Leading Men, especially as it relates to the father of the family influence.

Book Review: Day of War by Cliff Graham

”Day of War” by Cliff Graham is the first book of the “Lion of War Series” describing the mighty men of Israel during the time of David’s rise to rulership as king.  Cliff Graham is a chaplain in the US Army National Guard and has traveled to Israel in his study of history, geography, military tactics and culture.  It is an intensely well-written novel of heroic proportions.  Details are graphically laid out to engage the heart of any man who accepts the cost of gaining freedom for his people.

David is not the main character in this book, Benaiah is.  Benaiah, who is seeking to bury his troubled past, joins with the disgruntled warriors to fend off the Philistines and gain protection from King Saul’s insane jealousy.  Descriptions drip with vivid color and conversations project the heart of Benaiah seeking to gain battle status and accomplishment with David.

There are several books set out to grab the heart of men.  This book purposes to walk closely with Scripture to amplify the context of men seeking to honor the Lord and protect their women in King David’s day. This book, and likely the series, is destined to be made into an epic theater presentation.

Book Review: Porn Nation: Conquering America’s #1 Addiction

Porn Nation: Conquering America’s #1 Addiction by Michael Leahy

Michael Leahy was moving successfully through life, until someone with the same problem confronted him, even though he was not willing to admit the problem at first.  The cloud of sin had created such a calloused soul that he didn’t think he was affecting anyone else.  His double life was his double life, until the truth exposed his dark lie and his world came crashing down.

There is no question that Michael had a tough life growing up, although not greatly worse than many others.  His exposure to mild pornography as a young teen was the stimulus that created a desire for more.  The pornography that he fed grew to a huge gorilla in the room that he was not willing to admit until he was out of control and he destroyed his marriage and his relationship with his wonderful young boys.  This is a very sad story, but real enough that it will help many others who have fallen into (dove into) the bondage of pornography.

When Michael found porn on the internet, his valley became deeper than he could imagine and his callused soul was willing to do anything to keep feeding his desire.  This volume will help many who have succumbed to pornography, yet it doesn’t spend enough time giving biblical solutions.

He grew up in a Catholic home and it seems like he switched to another church, North Point Community Church and he references his pastor, Andy Stanley. I would have desired him to explain what he followed to break his life dominating sin, rather than just mention the 12 step program that he joined.  There was so much time spent on the sordid details of his life until the exposure of his sin and relatively little spent on a biblical solution.  I rejoice that he is in a growing marital relationship and that this volume will help many other men identify the potential crossing lines that get a man (or woman) into trouble.