Wives Submit!

In more than 35 years of pastoral ministry I haven’t met a man, married or unmarried, who couldn’t quote this biblical phrase from Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, Submit!” Oh, they may even be un-churched, unsaved, but they knew women are “supposed” to submit to men.

I heard a nationally known preacher once say, “Women, accept it, you are inferior to men.” Of course, in 2015 he would be taken out “behind the wood shed” BY WOMEN!

Why does the Bible say things like this? Isn’t this one of the reasons people say the Bible is so outdated? Could God have been thinking about this century or was he even aware culture would change and we would need a Book that can change with the times? Let me address this last set of questions first.

Truth is truth no matter the age or century.
We know mathematical truth is true throughout eons of time. The laws of physics remain untouched. The Bible is timeless truth written by men who were inspired by the Hoy Spirit.

The Bible is a Divine/human document. Both the words and writers are inspired by God THEREFORE the Bible is “God’s infallible Word”. That settled; let’s now answer this question, “Did God really say, ‘Wives Submit’?”

Tweet: That settled; let’s now answer this question, “Did God really say, ‘Wives Submit’?”

Let’s read the passage in its context: Ephesians 5:21 – 24 NIV 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

In this passage we discover, YES, He said women are to “submit to their own husbands in EVERYTHING.” We probably need to start with a working definition of “submit”.

The word means to “yield the right of way”. Have you ever gone to an intersection and seen a YIELD sign. We learn this means let the other person go first then it’s your turn. Great you say, “then I get to choose whatever the family gets to do and everyone can take their turn after me”.

Like in the old days when baths were on Saturdays and the whole family took a bath on the back porch in THE SAME #2 washtub. They started with Mom & Dad then from the oldest to the youngest ALL IN THE SAME water.

That’s where the saying came, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. (Poor Baby, and poor family where men think this is how submission is interpreted, “I get to go first”).

There are THREE key truths in this passage that inform us on how to implement biblical truth in modern society:

#1Submission is mutual, “21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Yielding the right of way is for both men and women. Actually, it is for the whole family but it isn’t likely self-absorbed children or teenagers will gravitate to this quality too early in life. But it is a truth based upon the golden rule, “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you” or the Law of Love. Christ modeled this submission for us by being willing to die for our best interest. Out of reverence for Him we follow His lead.

#2Women are equal to men. The passage above says, “wives, submit to your own husbands”. It doesn’t say, “Women submit to men”. There is role clarification for the dynamics between a husband and wife. In the beginning God created humankind in his image and He made them,   “Male and Female”… both are in His image. “Great”, you say, “she still has to give to me first”. Well, read on.

#3She is to submit to her husband “AS SHE DOES TO THE LORD”. The truth is He continues in verses 25 – 31… seven verses for the husband; three verses for the wife. Now ask yourself the question, ”What am I asking my wife and my family to yield to?” Is it self-centered or Christ-centered ideals. The Christian man, because he has surrendered to Someone else to be in charge of His life MUST yield the right of way to Christ. Women love Christ, they love to follow Him, and they devote their lives to serving Him. Are you like Christ? This is where true submission is realized.

The biblical principle for a glorious marriage may not be easy but it’s simple: “wives treat your husband like you treat Christ; MEN act like Christ”. Be willing to die for the salvation of your family, Become the savior (little “s”) of the family and be willing to sacrifice for their good. Ask them simply to follow you as you follow the Lord.

As you surrender to Christ’s Headship, you will see others follow you as the head of the family. As you “yield the right of way” you will witness the family follow suit. Even your teenagers are begging for a role model. They are looking all around for one. You can be the one who models Christ character, someone they can submit too. Let’s be true men of God and love our families as Christ loves them. Then we’ll reap the benefits of our family’s submission.

Tweet: “wives treat your husband like you treat Christ; MEN act like Christ”. – Mike Harrison @MultiplyingMen

Mike Harrison
Senior Pastor of Church 212

My Facebook-Perfect Life!

What if we plastered all of our garbage on Facebook? What if instead of just posting all the perfect moments of our lives, we displayed the dirty dark secrets that most everyone doesn’t see? Well, I have a lot of those moments. Where I have been increasingly hating my weaknesses, I’ve actually started to learn to like them.

Due to my insecurities, weaknesses, and sinful failures, I have spent the last few days sulking; even though I am confident in God’s grace for my life I feel like I’ve been running. It’s the usual valley that lies just passed the previous mountaintop. But despite my bleak hatred for these recurrences, I have been seeing the good in them. And I’d like to hit the like button on that. Here’s what I’m learning.

Weakness should be welcomed with gladness. Like Paul says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30) Now, boasting in the things that expose our weakness is contrary to culture and just sounds ridiculous. Instead, we are trying to look good in front of everyone–at work, to friends, on social media! Go look at my Facebook page everyone– or go to Heather’s–we look so perfect. Ha!

God forbid we ever display our shortcomings in front of others. It’s called Self-preservation; this is something I deal with. Growing up in the shadows of my amazing parents, people have automatically viewed me in the light they do my parents (or so I think). If it’s not that, it’s the image portrayed week after week for years as people see me lead worship and preach sermons. Without transparency and humanizing mechanisms, picture-perfect images of me are created. Operating in my shinny gifts can creep in a subtle fear that people are going to discover the real me, whereby the image anyone had is SUDDENLY smashed.

Recently, I have dealt with certain weaknesses that I DON’T want to have. I hate them and I wish they would vanish. But surprisingly, amid the dark grief, I find a welcomed contentment.

Why I love my weaknesses.
Honestly, if I had everything together all the time, I wouldn’t need to rely on God for ANYTHING. My self-happiness and self-sufficiency would be plenty enough to satisfy me. Why would I need God for anything when I have myself? I find it very interesting that Paul, the writer of most the New Testament, makes sufferings seem like gifts from God.

“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (anyone relate?) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But (pay attention) that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9

God doesn’t cause our sufferings but he does use them to teach us lessons. He does use them to discipline us. He uses them to make us stronger. And he most certainly uses them to keep our reliance on him. So in a way, they are a blessing to us.

Tweet: In a way our sufferings are a blessing to us; they cause us to rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. @DanielsWorship.

I often get discouraged when I don’t measure up to the HIGH EXPECTATIONS I place on my self. But the Lord has been teaching me lately that it’s OK to be weak. Exposed weakness does not comprise manliness, it doesn’t ruin leadership, nor does it disappoint people. It actually helps others dealing with the same issues to find hope.

In reality, I hope I remain weak. Because I know that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; he uses the weak to shame the strong. He uses the low and despised things of the world to bring to nothing those who think they are something! (1 Corinthians 1:27)

To be honest with you, I have felt just like Paul who pleaded with God. He said, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this (thorn in my flesh), that it should leave me. But Jesus said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly (as he did) of my weaknesses, so that the “power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Tweet: The more weakness I have, the more of Christ’s power I have. But the more I sustain myself by my own power, the less I need his. @DanielsWorship

So, what am I learning? I am learning to stop running when my weaknesses thrash me. Instead, I’m learning to be glad. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to grow in my reliance on God. In fact, I think God is using these things to test, teach, and graduate me to new levels of perseverance, character, and hope. (Romans 5:4)

I heard a gentleman say recently after being honest about one of his weaknesses, “I hate this, it makes me feel weak.” Hearing this was perfect timing for me because I have been experiencing the same thing. But I refuse to be a prisoner of Self-preservation and I hope the Lord continues to help me out of it.

I opened up the bible today and knelt to read. It felt good to turn to the Lord. Even though I have been confident in God’s grace toward me, it still felt good to stop running.

And that’s the best kind of recurrence.

Daniel Harrison
Church 212

This post is also live at DanielsWorship.com

The Most Stable Force Ever (by Stephanie Harrison)

The following blog is written by Stephanie Harrison:

Early in 1980’s my marriage, ministry and melancholy self was failing. It had a serious hold on me. I had everything to be happy about–a home, health, and a husband that loved me. I found myself in the pit of despair. Hating the world, all types of people groups and especially females with jazz, attraction or talent. I became a Black Widow spinning my web to hold my husband captive at my will.

Controlling, jealous, bitter and envious of others, I decide to destroy all special relationships my husband held at bay. Locking our selves in our home for years , no friends, family, TV, newspapers, or books. Allowing one thing that was not intrusive, the Bible. Obsession of Mike was continually preoccupying or intruding my thoughts. Fear of losing the love of my life put me in a place of destroying not only my life but destroying his. Mike couldn’t go to the store without me, watch TV, visit his Mother, speak to anyone nor have a friend. When he stepped out of the web so graciously spun, the poison of my mouth and heart accelerated by actions of rage trapped him again. He became paranoid of my next moves. Would I put my fist through another window, another shotgun to my head, jump out of the car into traffic or make a fool of him in public by an outburst of anger?

Hanging on to the one good book in our home and crying out to God in despair, the only hope of deliverance. Reading the word and wanting to be free of the gloomiest spirits, black bile and violent outbreaks of anger. Doing the things I hated and not doing the things I wanted became a constant struggle of impulses of anxiety, guilt, fear and hating my self. Linking all my dark morose emotional offenders including excessive grief, loneliness and alienation from the trauma of my childhood experiences was my Parent’s divorce, a car accident which left facial scars then the rejection to follow with childhood stabs and growing up without either parent.

My husband was controlled, manipulated, abused, and bound by the web of my fears, he never gave up on me and decided to be the Christ I needed. He took me in his arms and said, “I’m going to love the little girl in you until you get healed”. The first sign of a pivotal change from “Unbelief”. Wanting to believe he truly loved me and would be the one to bring healing to my broken unbelieving heart. I decided to give him a chance to love me. He worked with me daily using the tool of God’s unconditional love. 1 John 4: 16. “We have known and believe in the Love God has for us”. I knew God loved me, I didn’t believe he loved me, I knew my Mike loved me, I didn’t believe he loved me. I didn’t believe I was lovable. Mike helped me believe, my believer was restored.

My husband, Mike Harrison, the most stable force ever in my life, a man like Christ, resistant to opposition or ill condition, was not easily moved or disturbed by my extreme emotional disorder, yet planted his feet in a stable foundation of his belief in God’s transforming love. He was enduring in the storm, a permanent fixture, consistent, dependable, not showing or marked by erratic or volatile emotions or behavior. Having no mode of decay; indefinitely long-lived love broke through my melancholy blue funk, dark hole of my destructive path. I am forever grateful.

Tweet: So men, “Love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” Ephesians 5:25 – Stephanie Harrison

You will be astonished at your remarkable results.

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Stephanie Harrison
Executive Pastor
Church 212

Healthy Christians Grow; our stress, dread, unease, suffering, disquiet…

Healthy Christians Grow;
 (part 2)

4:30am brought a jittery conviction today to get busy. I had this eagerness like fever to start my day. But being a pastor I am forced to evaluate: is this feeling an authentic zeal for the great commission; or do I just love to work? I reasoned my way to a resolve; God put man in the garden to work, it’s not really “work” if you do what you love, and I love Jesus. But this morning he wasn’t put first. Work was.

Why is it so hard to stop, wait, listen, and pray—as the normal Christian does? It seems as though peace is waiting to be had by those willing to take it. Like the sound waves of phone calls, text messages, software updates, and routine noise, God’s voice is floating above our heads. All we have to do is look up and pull it down. But we are too busy.

In light of this realization I compelled myself to look for my bible and grab a short read. When I couldn’t find it I almost reasoned, “guess I can’t read my bible this morning. I’ll do some work.” But amusingly, the Lord changed my thoughts. Then I said, “I know some scripture. I’ll just sit down and quote it.” What a refreshing moment to recite and remember that Jesus is my daily bread.

Subsequent to last week’s post, here is the imposing problem: busyness is the disease of spiritual health; we don’t need to be told; our stress, concern, anxiety, dread, unease, suffering, suspense, fidgets, fuss, worrisome, and disquiet speak loud enough. The problem is to stop the loudness and remove the traffic. Then re-fill the new found space with growth opportunity.

Few people realize their level of spiritual aliveness. They have failed to see the murkiness that has crept into their vision and clouded their discernment. As a result we experience the emotions above. Our relief lies only in the unmerited and available grace given through Christ Jesus. But we must evaluate first and acknowledge our need. Then take steps toward growth.

A galaxy of God-breathed information is collecting dust on many American shelves. But we would be wise to take his word and let it bring transformation. This wisdom will be evidenced in our speech, character, knowledge of the bible, and of course the mending of relationships.

The point is that healthy Christians grow. As we previously covered, “If we live years without experiencing developments in our faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.”

Tweet: “If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.” @MultiplyingMen @DanielsWorship

So what?
This 2-part series has deliberately taken us to this moment–to view this passage of scripture and be reminded of the intentional forward progression that Christians make. Let’s approach this passage with two questions in mind:

1. What truths are in the text?
2. What disciplines can I practice?

As an example on how to study in this way, I have highlighted my truths in red. Talking to Timothy, Paul praises the Macedonians for their working faith whose anxiety is the craving of spiritual fervorness. We should emulate such Christians.

But read slowly, carefully, thoughtfully, prayerfully, humbly, contextually, practically, and repetitively.

2 Corinthians 8:1-11 ESV

1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (The Christian’s response to “severe trials and extreme poverty” is a spill over of joy and giving) 3 “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.” (The Christian should give abundantly and willfully) 4 “begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— ” (These Christians literally begged to participate in ministry. Serving the church should be a desired and favorable opportunity) 5 “And this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (A sinner gives himself first to Lord. Then he gives himself to the authority of the church. Such spiritual submission is the will of God.) 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” (In addition to one’s overflowing joy, rich generosity, unceasing giving, and eagerness for ministry, the Christian unquestionably excels in his or her faith, speech, and knowledge.) 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 “And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.” (A Christian’s faith works, not just for the sake of doing it or from obligation, but because he or she eagerly desires to do it) 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. (The work spoken of in this text is not the work humanity gives themselves; it’s the work given by God)

Evaluate the measure of your faith. Are you finding incremental changes in speech, character, and knowledge of the bible? If not, a desire issue has either fiddled it’s way in, or you’ve been competing against time. Reexamine every hour of your day. Is every hour doing useful work? Can any moment be handled with more proficiency? Create space and start a bible reading plan. Never be afraid to push out the urgent to make room for the important. You. Will. Grow.

Daniel Harrison
Assistant Pastor Church 212

This post is also available at MultiplyingMen.com

Healthy Christians Grow; Simple Truths part 1

It was one year at bible school when it clicked. It just dawned on me with sudden awe—the message I had professed to believe all these years earlier finally made sense. Ironically, my whole “believing” life, I actually didn’t know what I believed. I don’t think I could have given someone an adequate reason for the hope I had in Christ—my dad told me? That’s what a fellow employee told me when I was fifteen. He said, “you only believe what you believe because your parents raised you that way.” Made sense. Especially sense I had nothing to say back to him. Up until my first year in bible school, I hadn’t yet been smashed with the reality of my sin, the depth of Jesus’ grace, his death on the cross, & Easter for that matter.

I guess I’ve had selective hearing. No hearing maybe? The big picture of it all was greater than my ability to obtain it.

I have observed this is pretty normal for anybody—it attests to the truth that the Lord opens our eyes when he is ready for us to see. After all, darkness never created light. But “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Nonetheless, two decades with limited understanding to the faith I proclaim–the faith that opened my eyes and saved me for eternity–seems a bit embarrassing itself. That’s kinda like the kid who spends 13 years at a Christian school and doesn’t know how to find Jesus in the bible.

There’s a truth here I’ve come to realize. I’ve learned it from myself, the lives of others, and of course the principles of Scripture. The simple (biblical) fact is—Christians were designed to grow. Yes. Simple. Christians grow—and in many aspects of the word. If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in our faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.

Tweet: “If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.” @MultiplyingMen @DanielsWorship

If we don’t see even a glimpse of change or increase in these things, there’s a problem. If our faith isn’t being tested and strengthened there’s a problem. If our speech hasn’t changed to glorify God, there’s a problem. If we have had little or no character developments in our lives and influencing those around us, there’s a problem. Basically, if 5 years from now, 10 years from now, we are in the exact same place that we are presently,… you get the idea.

It is all too common for us to get swallowed up in the business of our own planned lives, that we can easily forget the Christian life that God planned for us. It is all to normal for us to go about neglecting all the basic elementary disciplines of scripture and it is evidenced in the way we talk, act, and lead our lives.

I would like to encourage us to be an early Macedonian kind of people that we see in 2 Corinthians 8. Beware, it will seem a bit counter-cultural as we read this passage but it’s time our lives are evidenced by these simple truths.

Let’s break down 2 Corinthians 8:3-10 and see for ourselves a simple reality—the easily overlooked truths & disciplines of a simple Christian.

To maintain that simplicity, we are only identifying simple truths and practical observations as we read them in the text. Don’t rush. Ready carefully. You’re not reading this blog for my words anyway:

But I’ll post Part 2 next Monday… so see ya then. Or you can subscribe at the right and it will arrive in your inbox!

(To be continued…)

This post is also live at my personal blog page, DanielsWorship.com.
Stop by and say hi anytime.

Daniel Harrison

It’s Time to Grow Up: Part 1 (Anderson)

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by Frank Anderson on growing spiritually.

It’s time to grow up.

When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.                        (1 Corinthians 13:11)

In this installment, I want to make some observations about the maturity of some within the community of faith.

I notice that all creatures, while infants, rightly focus on their own needs – it’s a matter of survival. If they could articulate their thoughts and feelings, they would go something like this:

  • Feed me
  • I’m content
  • I’m frustrated
  • Change me
  • Hold me
  • Comfort me
  • I’m sick
  • I’m too cold
  • I’m too hot
  • I’m tired
  • I’m bored
  • I’m frightened
  • Entertain me

At birth, one’s circle of interest is strictly confined to self. Shortly, however, the circle of interest begins to include those that can meet the needs (mom and dad). Later, it can include siblings and other family members. In my case, the most painful lesson that I learned when my brother came along is that the universe does not revolve Frank Anderson. This was driven home again and again as I went to kindergarten and Sunday school.

Acting like a child is completely appropriate – for a child. As time passes, to continue to act like a child is an aberration, and is generally not tolerated, unless there is something wrong, and growth is arrested.

As one matures, we expect that the roles and actions change so that the cared-for becomes the care giver. Here are some of the hallmarks of a mature adult parent:

  • Focus is on others
  • Nurtures
  • Loves
  • Provides shelter
  • Provides food
  • Provides comfort
  • Provides medical care
  • Provides protection from harm
  • Provides education and training
  • Mentors
  • Provides discipline (structure)
  • Provides correction

Tweet: “As men, I believe we are to practice and model these behaviors to our spouses and our children.” @frankwanderson @multiplyingmen

The writer of the Book of Hebrews (my money is on Apollos) takes it to another level when he writes, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity…. and this we shall do, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:1, 3)

So, what does spiritual maturity look like for the Christian believer? Before we consider that, let’s look at some of the hallmarks of an immature Christian believer. Here is a brief list of some of the attitudes that many very new believers possess:

  • Heal me
  • Help me
  • Bless me
  • Teach me
  • Give me money
  • Give me a car
  • Give me a husband/wife
  • Change my husband/wife
  • Give me a job
  • Give me a better job
  • Get me out of trouble

Just like the infant, the immature believer is very self-centered. This is not bad. Just like the normal infant, in the course of time, there is normal growth, and one’s circle of interest begins to increase. As one matures, his focus turns away from himself and he begins to see and address the needs of others.

Sometimes, however, there is arrested development, and a believer remains self-centered. This can lead to being double-minded and susceptible to being tossed about by “every wind of doctrine”. Even more tragic, a self-centered believer can become manipulative in order to get his own needs met, and thus, toxic to the community of faith. Furthermore, this is simply a rotten example to the rest of humanity.

So, what are some of the hallmarks of a mature Christian believer? Here is a short list of some of the traits I have observed among mature believers:

  • Prays for the sick
  • Helps those in need
  • Blesses others
  • Gives tithes and offerings
  • Gives time and energy
  • Submits to authority
  • Possesses integrity
  • Above reproach (e.g. obeys vehicle code)
  • Faithful to his spouse (i.e. even with his eyes)
  • Temperate
  • Prudent
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable (e.g. loves company)
  • Able and willing to teach
  • Even tempered
  • Gentle in word and deed
  • Uncontentious
  • Free from the love of money
  • Possesses a good reputation

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Frank Anderson
CFO of Church 212
Executive Director of Agape International

Map From Above

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by Jeremy Carroll on finding direction in our lives.

To get more blogs from Jeremy and other writers in our community, please subscribe to the right and they will arrive straight to your inbox every Monday–men talking manhood.

Also, you can follow our podcast channel here.

Map From Above

I hate being lost! Being unsure of where I should turn next is one of the things in life that drives me crazy. I need to have direction behind the wheel. If you are anything like me there may have been a time or two in your life, where you felt like you had no direction. Now as you and I both know, as men being lost is not something that is supposed to happen to us, and it’s a problem that we are definitely not supposed to stop to ask anyone about. But honestly I have been there. I have found myself at a place in my life where I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to go. Now what?

Well just like most of you, I used the two most common things to help me find where I needed to go next: others and myself. But more often than not I have found that when those are the only two places I look to help me get back on track or find my next move, I end up more lost and more confused. So what is the answer? Who should we pull over for to ask directions from?

Look at what the Bible says in Proverbs 8:10-11  “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Hearing from God about where you and I should go next and what we should do when we get there, is worth more to us than that next great stock tip from a buddy. God wants to give us direction, wants to show us on the map of life what the next turn should be. The question is, “will we ask by going to His Word?” Now I can hear some of you now, “I have tried to go to the Bible, but half the time I can’t understand what it’s saying and half the time it doesn’t speak to the situation that I am in.” Well I have a verse for you. Luke 24:45 says, Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” This verse is speaking about what Jesus had to do to get His own disciples to understand what they were reading in God’s Word and if Jesus had to open the minds of the guys that hung out with Him everyday for three years, how much more should you and I go to Him and prayer and ask the same thing for our own minds! We need to pray and ask Him for understanding and wisdom. The Bible talks about our heavenly Father being one that wants to give good gifts to His kids, and that if we go to Him to ask for wisdom, He will give it to us liberally and without reproach.

So we prayed for understanding and we’ve gone to God’s Word and received the direction and wisdom that we needed, what’s next? James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) I don’t like being lied to and I definitely don’t want to lie to myself. But that is exactly what the Bible says we are doing if we hear (or read) God’s Word and then choose not to do it. That would be like suffering through the frustration of being lost while driving. Finally making the decision to swallow our pride and pull over for directions, receiving the correct turn that we are suppose to make, and then deciding to purposefully keep driving the wrong way (only to get more lost) just doesn’t make sense. Once we receive the direction we have been looking for it’s up to us to choose to make the correct turn. It’s up to us to choose to do what God tells us to do.

Tweet: The great thing is that unlike Siri who still occasionally makes mistakes, if we choose to take the direction that God gives, we will never get lost.

 Jeremy Carroll
Church 212 Family Pastor
@212Kids @JCarroll212


The Man-cave: a place to rejuvenate or the Devil’s workshop?

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by senior pastor of Church 212, Mike Harrison.

To get more blogs from Pastor Mike and other writers in our community,  subscribe to the right and they will arrive straight to your inbox every Monday–men talking manhood.

Also, you can follow our podcast channel here.

The Man-cave: a place to rejuvenate or the Devil’s workshop?

Many men like to hide away in their man-cave. Maybe to have peace and quiet, time to spend time on a hobby, a place to pray and study, or just a place to chill. All of us need time to rejuvenate. However, we need to make sure we do not let the idle mind become the Devil’s workshop. There are too many men who have succumbed to the temptation to pornography, godless entertainment, and even infidelity. Christian men are not exempt from the temptations of the enemy. A sure fire way to guard against these attacks is Christian Community.

Christian Community means we make spending time with other Christian men a priority. Oh, we can have unsaved friends too, but we need to make it a priority to balance our lives with brothers who will be praying for us and with us and to whom we can make ourselves accountable. Here are a few things you can implement to safe-guard your spiritual life as a Christian Man:

    1. Attend a church that prioritizes biblical teaching so you can maintain a strong spiritual life:  “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24, 25 New Living Translation). We need regular connections to a local church that feeds us spiritually, and provides a place to serve with other Christen families.
    2. Join a small group; either a Multiplying Men small group or another small group which can includes your spouse: Our church believes small groups are the best way we can provide pastoral care. In the context of a small group we forge close relationships with other believers which whom we “do life together”. A minister friend of mine said, “everyone needs care at some time in their lives, the question is where will you get it?” Your small group is people you come to trust who care for your well-being and will be there when you need help. Tweet This: Your small group is people you come to trust who care for your well-being and will be there when you need help.
    3. Plan fun events with other Christian men. It’s football season so invite a few friends over to share in your favorite past-time. Last year, I invited Christian friends to watch college football playoffs where No. 1 Alabama was playing. This included Oregon fans, Oklahoma fans AND Ohio State fans – oops☺! You can plan outings with other families who have children close to the same age as your family. Play golf with a Christian friend (of course you’ll probably have to pray a little harder to keep from throwing your clubs in the water or cursing☺). Add Christian influences in whatever events you may participate with to help encourage your decision to be a faithful follower of Christ.

The main point is clear: do not allow your natural tendency to seek solitude set you up for spiritual failure. Get up off that couch, exit the man-cave, find a church family and join a small group. Have a blast in Christian Community as you enjoy lots of fun with good company. No hangovers or other unwanted consequences either☺!

You can do what one of our very own small group hosts is doing! He’s inviting guys to his home for Monday night football–but putting side time to pray together, study God’s word together, and enjoy our Fall men’s study, the Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart.

If you’re in the area, come to our men’s event this Friday.

Life is better in Christian community.

Mike Harrison
Senior Pastor of Church 212

Woman, Get Me a Beer!

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by Church 212 member and follower of Christ, Rob Hopfer.

To get more blogs from Rob and other writers in our community, please subscribe to the right and they will arrive straight to your inbox every Monday–men talking manhood.

Also, you can follow our podcast channel here.

“Woman, get me a beer! While you’re there, make me a sandwich.”
While these statements are obviously misogynistic stereotype statements, they exaggerate a real thought process that men in the world (and many in the church community) hold toward being the ‘man of the house.’ I have to admit that I was looking forward to being the head of the house and reaping all of the benefits that my dominant position held. I mean, who doesn’t want to be placed in a position of honor, respect and power, right?

So here I am a newly married man of God. Perfect in every way possible of course and trying to deal with my ohh so imperfect wife. (Life can be so trying when others need to get their stuff straight can’t it?) Here I am a newly married man crying out (complaining) daily to God concerning my wife’s inability to be as godly as I am when all of a sudden I hear a voice speaking to my spirit as clear as day tell me, “I DON’T CARE!” My first thought of course was, “Get behind me Satan.” Of course this couldn’t be from God. God would never speak like this, especially not to a godly man like me. Clearing my throat, I immediately return to my most holy attempt to intercede for my wife to ensure that she maintains her salvation and again I hear, “I DON’T CARE!” I pause for a moment and listen. As I do the voice continues. “I’m not worried about what your wife is doing. I have called you to love your wife like I loved the Church. I came to serve and to die for the church. When you begin to love your wife like I love the church; when you begin to serve her and put her before yourself, then she will trust you enough to follow you. At that point she will come beside you and be your helpmate and you will not have to worry about the things you feel like you are missing from her.”

It seems that Ephesians 5:25 says exactly that; “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Here I sit, blown away with the revelation that being the head of the household means giving everything of myself and placing my family’s needs before my own. Not exactly what I had in mind when I entered into the sacred bond of marriage.

Tweet This:
“I would love to say that I immediately set down all of my needs and desires and never walked in the flesh when dealing with my wife again but that isn’t the way things really work, at least not with me.” – Rob Hopfer @MultiplyingMen

The truth is that it took many more nights and days struggling and fighting with my wife simply because I refused to move in the word of God and trust that He was going to intercede on my behalf by giving us peace in our marriage. As He always does, God came to me in my brokenness. I can relate it to the statement from Jesus to Saul; ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ It’s in those moments that I understand the love of God the most. In those times of correction there are no accusation, no judgment; just a father coming to the aid of his son, giving him wisdom and direction in love. Trust Me son. Look at everything I’ve done. I’ve created the heavens and the earth. Look how far I’ve brought you. Remember who I am. Remember what I’ve sacrificed for you already.

OK Lord! I surrender.
It amazes me how it’s never anything I do but what Christ does through me that changes who I am. In the infancy of my walking out this verse I began to witness firsthand the word of God change a heart……mine. Every time I made a decision to seek God instead of voice my displeasure in a situation He changed my heart and my character a bit more. Each time I believed I was wronged and decided to forgive and not push the issue He added to me self control. The times when I placed one of my needs behind one of my wife’s, my needs were taken care in a manner greater than I had asked for. Click to Tweet: “I think most importantly, in those times that I admitted I had hurt her and I was wrong instead of trying to be right, he restored trust and love in my wife.” – Rob Hopfer @MultiplyingMen

See, serving isn’t about a beer or a sandwich. It’s about a heart and a motive. The most important things that you can serve your wife and everyone you come into contact for that matter are the fruits of the Spirit.

As men of God we need to place Him first and trust that His word will never return void. We only have to look at Jesus to understand what He was serving up; love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He served up the truth and in doing so spread faith, hope and love.

That’s what being a man of God is about. Tweet This:
“That’s what ‘Multiplying Men’ is all about. It’s about serving others in love so that as we sow and water, God will come in, bless it and give the increase.” 
I’m looking forward to serving with each one of you men of God. God bless.

And I leave you with these words, “…but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20″26-28

Rob Hopfer
Member of Church 212

Rob and Kids

Why Not to Bank on Love: A Woman’s Perspective

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers:

We can’t forget how helpful it is to hear the wisdom of our other halves. Below is a message from Heather Marie Harrison, wife of Daniel Harrison posted on her personal blogging page regarding some personal tips for marriage.

To get more blogs from Heather and other writers in our community, please subscribe to the right and they will arrive straight to your inbox every Monday–men talking manhood.

Also, you can follow our podcast channel here.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful… -Jesus Christ, Luke 6:32-36

I wasn’t thrilled that this night’s lesson on Spiritual Growth was on the subject of “love.” Which is typically contrary to my nature, but this confession reflects the state my heart was in. I attended class dutifully, but with a muted and unengaged mind– cloaked with disenchantment, bitterness, and pride. I had once described this rut I was in to a confidant as being “exhausted” in walking “in love.”

Three and a half years of marriage and a foundational, grueling nearly 1-year-long engagement to my spouse had cultivated a sickened heart full of “hope deferred” (Prov 13:12). Although my husband and I were confident the Lord had set us apart to be one another’s, we were infantile in effectively knowing how to love and care for one another. I was swayed to and fro by any wind of “doctrine” or belief concerning my husband based on the circumstances of our love. My justice-geared mind was plagued with assessments:

I’m his wife; he needs to love me; he’s not loving me;

he is loving me, now; he’s not again;

he’s not being Christ-like;

he’s so good to me; he’s horrible!

For so long, I had been calculating the hurt my husband had caused me and, unknowingly, tallied a debt in my heart toward him. Tweet This: So much so that when my husband would display a genuine act of love, my gluttonous heart devoured it as payment toward the debt he owed me. It was impossible for me to appreciate the gift of love for what it truly was.

And through the balm of this Scripture, if there were any way possible to hear the condition of one’s heart, you would hear a groaning sound as a piece of my hardened-heart turned upon hardened-heart relaxing into a beating muscle. Through this verse, the Lord revealed the entitlement I carried.

Why do you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount” (verse 34).

Jesus showed me I had been lending my love to my husband in order to “get back the same amount.” I had become an entitled wife. Through the truth of Scripture, I had to humbly come to the conclusion that this “lending” formula did not work. With my entitlement addressed, the Lord gently and lovingly led me to steady ground: Heather, your ability to love is not affected by anyone else’s inability to love you. He further would ask the question He would ask me time and again (to which I would abandon the pursuit of change), if I never changed the person you invest your love into, would you be at peace to still love them? He challenged me to turn my “lending” love into “giving” love. And at the completion of the Scripture that struck my heart, the Lord addressed my innate sense of (high) justice.

“[God] is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (verse 36).

He completely disarmed me. Every defense that I had raised in order to protect my beliefs, my rights, my needs, (my, my, my…), God called me to lay down every one that had been stunting my ability to walk in Christ’s love. The Lord brought me back to the covenant I had made to my husband and showed me that the covenant was a promise that I would love my spouse for his lifetime; based on my role in this promise, the covenant that I had entered was not about a promise for me to be loved for my lifetime.

I can gratefully say that this building block became a part of my life… and unexpectedly, by the grace of God, became adopted by husband. It wasn’t the tainted aim of the reformation of my love, but it became a result of what the Lord had done in our life.

Tweet This:
“The Lord demolished our old way of loving one another and led us away from banking on love– away from lending love into the promise of giving love.” @212LadyBug @MultiplyingMen


Heather Harrison
More from heather @ heathermarieharrison.wordpress.com

Serving the vision of Church 212, Multiplying Men is a community of men exploring the design of biblical manhood and multiplication. We host both large group events and small group gatherings. Join the community!