Filmed at Grace Church Ministries Chester IL.
In a society where men are chalked up to nothing less than a donor to make children, this is an important article and it ranked #1 overall in our poll (not just in the quarter).
I know you’ve heard of this saying before. “He is a Man’s Man”, generally referring to a more than macho version of any of us. But what really makes up a “Man’s Man”? Do they have to be as tough as the Brawny Man? His main task in life is geared around housework, so he’s out. What about these WWF wrestlers? They’re full of testosterone and steroids, but they also wear tights and shiny red boots, so they’re out. Oh I know, bikers. Harley riding, leather wearing, hardcore bikers. But even as tough as they are is this what a Man’s man is measured by?
I bring this up because these days there are all sorts of men out there. I can just look within my own circle of friends and find vast differences in each individual person. For instance, I have friends that are as strong as an ox, and then there’s me. I have friends who are daredevil firefighters, and then I have some who analyze reports all day. I have friends who work on massive electric generators that can power a small city, and then I have friends who can move millions of dollars with the stroke of their pen. We are all different but at the end of the day we are all still men. So this begs to ask the question, is there a Man’s man in existence today?
One of my friends owns a successful landscape company. He works all hours of the day in the Memphis 100 degree heat. He is toiling the ground, uprooting trees, and doing everything by the sweat of his brow. Look at me. I am in an air conditioned office surrounded by bottled water, an LED TV, and am wearing a suit and tie. Am I less of a man than my friend because my line of work is not as rugged as his, or his line of work is not as comfortable as mine? Absolutely not!
According to the Childress Dictionary a “Man” is defined as one who lives to serve God, accepts his responsibilities, takes care of his family even if it means sacrificing his own needs before theirs, being a spiritual leader for their family, loving their wives unconditionally, setting an example to his children on how a husband and wife should treat each other, never giving up, and probably the most important next to being a spiritual leader, spending quality time with your children and spouse. These are essential qualifications for being a man and it has nothing to do with your job or whether if your hands have calluses or paper cuts, it’s how you live your life that defines you.
So I ask the question again, What makes up a Man’s Man? You do.
The first time I heard this saying was from my pastor of 30 years Bro. Ray Newcomb. This particular remark couldn’t have come at a better time because God was convicting me to start changing my tithe from 10% of our net to 10% of our gross income. I struggled for quite a while with this conviction because there is a far cry difference from net and gross. That difference includes items like taxes taken out, 401K taken out, mandatory corporate charities like United Way taken out, and other nickel and dime deductions. Once one adds it up the difference was a huge additional sacrifice when you tack on 10% of that figure. So like most, I negotiated my actions. “God I’m being obedient in giving my 10% of my net, that’s better than what others are giving right?” Or my favorite, God let’s get through the holidays and we’ll start fresh in the upcoming year…I promise”! I actually thought I could negotiate with God.
I opened the bible and searched for every scripture about tithe from the Old Testament to the New Testament looking for an out. One would’ve thought I was a lawyer trying to prove my case in front of a judge and jury. The Old Testament did mention several references about giving of the 10% of your BEST fruits and offerings, and strangely enough the New Testament really did not cover much ground on tithing except for stories Jesus told like the mite and the widow. Then there are the passages surrounding the opposing camp of “Give on to Caesar’s what is Caesars and give unto God what is God’s”. I read through that multiple times trying to justify if this would fit into my particular case. However every time I turned a corner and thought that I had proven my point the conviction was still there. So I finally took the matter to my pastor. His remarks were simple and straight forward as most of his remarks have always been. “Would you rather God bless you on 10% of your net or 10% of your gross”?
The answer is obvious. Any person would rather be blessed on their gross opposed to their net but that in itself begged two questions. The first question regards the additional sacrifice that one would have to make to give of their gross. The second that struck me was should I feel right in giving to God to expect an equal and greater return? To me that seemed in a way very selfish on my part to expect a blessing from my giving. God had reminded me of several verses in the bible about sacrificial giving and will we have enough at the end of each month to live on. There was Matthew 6:26 Where Jesus said “Look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in their barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they”? If my family and I are sacrificially giving with a grateful heart then Yes My God will provide for my every need. Malachi 3:10 answered the question on receiving blessings in exchange for obedient tithing. Malachi said “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food for my house. Test me in this, “says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it”. God openly blesses us and provides for us.
After much research, questioning, running, and avoiding my pastor’s words came back to me “Delayed Obedience is still Disobedience”. Scriptures will back my conclusions but it was GOD who convicted me to give. It wasn’t by pastor, or friends but the conviction from the Holy Spirit that said “Steve, test Me with your tithe. Trust me with your finances and your family’s needs; I am God I will provide”.
By postponing God’s demand I was still being disobedient because I was too busy looking for an out. God can convict anyone one of us to go be a missionary in Zimbabwe wearing a monkey on our head, and if we delay this conviction because the world will think we’re nuts, then you are still being disobedient. God taught me that very day that when He calls or convicts, to seriously consider it. Walk blindly with Faith and obey His commands. That very moment I bowed my head, asked for forgiveness for putting this off for so long, and my wife and I immediately started giving 10% of our gross. Does this make me a better person than the one who throws a $20 in the plate when passed? No. Am I much richer today than when we started obeying three years ago? Not significantly, but I have seen His hand pull me out of some pretty impossible situations. Have I missed a meal, or has my family gone without clothing since I followed Him in obedience? No. If God is convicting you today to do something that makes absolutely no sense at all in your eyes or the worlds eyes, consider trusting Him. Otherwise we’re just going thru the motions living our mundane lives, and missing out on all of the blessings God could be giving us if we had only chosen to Obey.
As I continue on with the series “How to Stand when your World is Turned Upside Down” I would like to talk about a family whose story is centered around tragedy with a message of Hope. As a musician, we have many mentors and people we admire. There is one who stands out in my mind that I have always put on a pedestal above all other musicians. When I was 15 my mom and dad gave me my first CD player accompanied by the latest Amy Grant CD and some long haired guy named Steven Curtis Chapman. Amy Grant wasn’t really my taste of music so I tried the other guy. This wonderful orchestral music filled the room in CD Quality sound and followed immediately by “The Great Adventure” and I was hooked.
It was Steven Curtis Chapman who inspired me to learn to play the guitar even though I’d never met the guy. Funny how that is, huh? I knew then that his style of Christian Music was identical to my style so like every dreamy eyed teenager with a guitar I would mimic his every song. Once I learned to somewhat fake, I mean play the guitar I started leading praise and worship for my youth group and many other venues. My then church leader (later I would call my father-n-law) always joked and called me Steven Curtis Childress, which might offend some people to be called someone they are not, but I took with immense pride. That $13.99 CD I received that Christmas was one of the greatest physical gifts I had ever received, because it started me down a path I still pursue today.
Steven is married to wife Marybeth Chapman and they have three children of their own, Emily, Caleb, and Will Franklin. Steven and his wife visited China in early 2000, 01′ where they fell in love with a little girl, and after much prayer, adopted Shoahannah. This experience touched the Chapman’s so much that they felt the need to start Shoahannah’s Hope, an adoption foundation to alleviate the financial burden for adopting families. Shoahannah’s Hope has helped hundreds of families since with their adoptions. Over the years the Chapman’s added two more adoptions to their family, Stevie Joy, and Maria Sue.
May 21st, 2008 was a busy day in the Chapman household. Daughter Emily had just announced her engagement and was preparing for an October wedding, son Caleb was preparing for graduation in a few days, and the family had much to be thankful for. That afternoon son Will Franklin was returning home in Franklin TN. , and had pulled around in the drive. Youngest daughter Maria ran towards Will as he pulled in. Not knowing she was running towards him Maria was struck. Maria Sue Chapman went to be with her heavenly Father that very afternoon.
In moments such as this a family can be divided, loose their faith in an instant, or grow stronger than ever. My heart was crushed as if the Chapman’s were some of our very best friends, and still I’d have never met a one of them.
The Chapman’s were approached by several people in the media to tell their story. The last thing they wanted was to use Maria’s death as publicity. They agreed to a few interviews with the determination to use Maria’s death as a testimony of Hope. After watching these interviews my respect for Steven and his family became one to benchmark. Now that I am a dad and have a family of my own I can’t help but think if Shannon and I were in that situation. The way the Chapman’s have surrounded each other in support and love is how I would like to say the Childeress’ would do. What a great example of a Godly family. A family that through tragedy comes questions, pain, healing, but ultimate Hope. The Hope that God is God and we are not, and that ALL things work towards His Glory and Plan. The Chapman’s realize this and know that one day they will see their daughter Maria Sue again.
The piece of this story that I think touched me the most was the question “see”. I don’t “see” how God can do this, I can’t “see” Will Franklin ever being the same again, “All I could “see” was Maria’s broken body on the ground. The day after her death the Chapman’s came home to gather a few things for the memorial service. On the kitchen table was a single drawing of a flower with six peddles, one colored in whole, and the word “see”. Maria had drawn this picture the morning of her death. The Chapman’s had said that they had never seen her write the word “see”, but there it was in plain English. The flower had six peddles, the Chapman’s had six children, one peddle was colored in whole. The Chapman’s took this drawing and showed it at the memorial service. Steven, through his tears, said “See” I am made whole and I will “see” you all soon once your peddles are colored in and you will be whole just like me.
Take a moment and check out the interview:
If any of you personally know me, you know that I am a huge WWII history guy. No I did not grow up in that era, I am simply a 33 year old guy who understands the sacrifice the men & women of WWII gave, and why those sacrifices should still be respected to the greatest degree today. The WWII vets will tell you in an instance that they are a veteran of this Great War. You can spot them anywhere because most display their act of valor on their ball caps or bumper stickers on their cars. But do you truly understand where our world would be today, if our forefathers failed in the attempt to prevent the axis powers from world domination?
We can watch movies like Saving Private Ryan and get an idea of what it was like to storm the beaches of Normandy. Or watch, my favorite series, Band of Brothers, and see young men thrown into monumental leadership positions as their best friends are slain all in the attempt to save the world. You get a brutal idea of how war was handled then, face to face, bayonet to bayonet, and pistols verse tanks. These movies can create an illusion, whether how true to life they are or not, but in the end we simply brush it aside and move on with our lives. We tend to forget the sacrifice these men and women gave.
Tom Brokaw wrote a book called the “Greatest Generation” where he discussed in great detail why this particular generation earned such a name. These are people who were born into the Great Depression. They literally went with-out on a consistent basis. There were no credit cards, social security & unemployment benefits were not established until 1935 and even then it wasn’t meant for the payouts that people receive today, and people were not working because work was so scarce. This generation had to get by on what they had, and on a prayer. Yet they survived through disciplining each other and the Grace of God. Later Germany invaded Poland, and soon other neighboring countries, with its sights fixed on all of Europe. This generation, fresh out of the depression, was rebuilding its own economy when the US was forced into the war after Germany’s ally Japan bombed US soil in Pearl Harbor. America fought alongside England, France, and other ally countries in Europe and the Pacific islands to defeat this axis that was prompting to rule the world. Heroically this generation succeeded and put these threatening powers to rest. We in our current society, would look on this as a victory for the US of A but it really doesn’t take effect until we learned later after the war, that if the axis had succeeded, those from the Rockies to the west coast would be speaking Japanese today, and those from the Rockies to the east coast would be speaking German. This, in my personal opinion, truly was the “Greatest Generation”.
WWII was not the only war that we recognize on Memorial Day. The Korean conflict, where the North Koreans invaded the South Koreans and again the US stood their ground and said “No More”. And again, we in our current society will look at this as another US victory. I did, until I learned that my grandfather stepped outside his barracks in Korea to use the latrine, just as a North Korean missile took out his barracks killing every man inside. Life is that fragile and yet they fought.
Similar to Korea, Vietnam, as controversial as it was, was another test of feats to our US soldiers. Some did not see the reason in this war, and although the US was not directly affected by this conflict the US soldier fought until the conflict had settled.
The US solider has continued to show its strength against world dictators in Dessert Storm as yet another defenseless country like Kuwait comes under terrene. Whether if you think this war was over oil or not, the US soldier fought on behalf of a country that otherwise would’ve ended in genocide and never thought of again.
And as the US falls under yet another brutal attack on our home soil on 9/11 the US Soldier goes into harm’s way to defend its country and its freedom. In efforts to defeat world terrene, the US soldier is not promised a tomorrow but still they fight for you and me. They fight so that I can write this very blog, and that I can worship my God freely, and that I can raise my kids by mine and the bible’s standards. So before you write off this coming Monday as a “holiday” remember why we have this holiday and who we have to thank for it.
From April 15th, 2014, we revisit a post from the Smart Money, Smart Kids posts which became a great hit with Godly Daddy.
When Dave and Rachel touched on this topic in the book, I was hooked. We currently are battling this with our girls. It seems that no matter what you do, someone is unhappy. I laugh because it is no different from you and me with God. I am going through this right now. I know you all are perfect and holy, however, I still have to work this thing every day. It’s not that I am not grateful for what God has done. But I struggle with being happy where I am because I have a dream for our family. Then I went and read this book which spoke to me on how I could combat that.
With the typical Davism, Dave says to “show the enemy no mercy.” Discontentment is a disease that we should consider the enemy. It gets into the very core of a person and causes them to become unhappy and bitter. How do you get rid of it? “Surgically remove it”, Dave says. “Remind your kids that owning stuff is fine, but when your stuff owns you, when you define yourself by a purchase or an amount of money, you are on the road to becoming a disgusting human being.” Okay, so that sounds a little harsh but what he’s getting at is that it is toxic.
Don’t Join the Enemy
It’s real easy for you or me to get sucked into the media of the “I want” bug. However, if you allow it to happen, you will become exactly what you don’t want to. Paul talks about that in Romans 7:15 by saying, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.“
Something that I am learning, as a parent, is that life is full of teachable moments. For an example, Maleah just earned the ability to buy something that she has wanted for a long time. Instead of buying it on her behalf, which would have been easier, we sought out the moment.This great couple decided to help us with that when they sold the item. We met at a place to pick it up and the woman explained everything to Maleah that she was going to sell her. She then gave Maleah the option to buy or to pass. Of course, she’s 5 so she bought it, but it was a teachable moment. When you save money, you get to buy something with it. At the same time, we are showing our children the art of giving. It breaks the chains of discontentment…well, almost. We are still working on that one.
Change Their Perspective
This is an important one. Rachel talks about this regarding a trip that she took to Peru. She talked about a time when she gave some stickers to a little girl who just lit up her world. It was something simple, but it was something that left an impact on her life. Use opportunities and teaching moments to change their perspective. Maleah is slowly catching onto this one. I heard her say about a situation the other day, “it could always be worse.” It kind of caught me off guard and no one else really noticed it but I sure did.
The rest of the chapter, you are going to have to read on your own because it will challenge you to help your children get out of this disconentment.
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