The Role of Your Heart in Discipleship

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Matthew 19:21-22

Discipleship demands a whole-life commitment. 

It requires you to give up the things you love more than God. Discipleship calls us to seek a right relationship with God and to seek His kingdom above all else. 

Discipleship doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give away all your possessions in order to follow Him. But in the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus understood the man’s strong attachment to his own wealth. Keeping the commandments wasn’t enough to make the young man complete. Though he was doing everything right on the outside, not everything was right on the inside

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

The Bible teaches us that we must pay attention to the condition of our hearts: not the muscle that pumps blood through our bodies, but the center of our being. In short, the heart is a reflection of the things we value. 

“... For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” 

Matthew 12:34-35

The men of Junto Tribe understand our fallen nature, and we’ve battled against it for years. In some cases, we’ve devoted our hearts to the wrong things, and we have exchanged the freedom that God offers us for the comfort of certainty. In our efforts to escape the chaos of this world, we’ve willingly accepted a life of decay and even forms of slavery. 

But today we’re striving for true freedom. We are growing in the image of God and working to bring heaven to earth. 

Join us on the journey. Exchange predictability and control for growth and life. God created you for discipleship and He has a mission that you are perfectly suited to carry out. 

Go forth. You are a disciple. 


Men Must Recognize Their Own Role in Society's Ills

If you’re like me, the latest mass shootings we’ve experienced in this country have really been on my mind. I’ve listened to the news reports and listened to podcasts. I’ve heard the opinions of others, I’ve searched my own heart, and I’ve asked myself plenty of questions in the hope of making sense of it all. Not only that, I’ve ruminated much on the state of our country, and like many of you, I’m sick to see where we are.   

I’m also extremely tired of hearing our leaders in Washington blame those across the aisle. I’m tired of hearing about toxic masculinity and how it’s ruining our communities. I’m tired of those that blame blacks, whites, cops, the economy, and mental health.

But, more than that, I’m tired of men not being men.

I’m also disappointed. I’m also disappointed in myself and the men around me.  When’s the last time we stopped blaming someone else and looked in the mirror? You don’t like how things are going today? What are you doing about it?  Maybe we’re the ones to blame.

Last week I sat with my mentor (yes, my mentor – something we should all have) and good friend over coffee. We discussed the issues and concerns we see going on in our society and he said, “It seems we keep looking to the end of the river to see where it went off-course instead of going back to the beginning to find the problem.”

I believe he is correct. To shed more light on this, please bear with me as I tell a story. 

I remember the day I received my Nebraska Hunter’s Safety Certification as a kid. I remember when they gave me the orange patch that would be a symbol of my graduation from the class. I also remember how I promptly gave it to my mom to sew onto my hunting jacket. This patch proved that I had completed a course that made me a safe hunter. 

But it was so much more than that.

I also remember the men who taught me the class. I remember the beards, the hunter’s hats, the flannel shirts, the manliness; a manliness that was not toxic but rather incredibly empowering to my young mind and spirit. They taught me the importance of respecting the power of a gun and what the outcomes would look like if I disrespected or took that power for granted.  I remember learning that it was a  tool that would help me feed my family and protect it if needed as a last resort.

More than that, I remember how these men accepted me as a part of the tribe.  They taught me something about being a man.  Earning that patch was a rite of passage into the tribe. Most importantly, I also remember the first time I walked into the woods with no one and nothing but my shotgun and dog. I had become a man. 

Earlier, I expressed how disappointed I am in us.  I’m disappointed because we’ve allowed our boys to lose the ability to recognize what a real man filled with God’s truth is.

We complain that our kids won’t go outside to play because all they want to do is play video games. But where were we when our schools began taking PE out of school? Coaches punish their kids with exercise and can’t figure out why they won’t work hard in practice. Could it be we’re teaching them that hard work is punishment? 

When is the last time you physically pushed yourself? We tell our kids to work hard in school but never pick up a book ourselves. We can’t figure out why kids have no creativity, but we have never taught them to swing a hammer and build something with their own hands.  Why did we allow the Ten Commandments to be taken out of the school?  Furthermore, in our quest for making our kids safer, are we only trying to control them more, build walls and fences around them, and take away their rights and liberties?   

We complain about the boys our daughters are interested in but we’ve never taught nor modeled how a man should treat a woman. We spend more time and energy leading at work than we do in our own families. We’re proud of the vision statements and mission statements we instilled in our workplace, but we have never taken the time to do it in our own homes. Do our kids even know what a value is?      

Men! It’s not guns, drugs, government, video games, or social media. Those are the byproducts of the absence of men who are fathers to the younger generation. We are the solution to these issues.

The truth is, toxic masculinity is real.  However, it manifests itself when good men choose not to lead from a place of ultimate truth.  It’s not about us.  It’s about God’s Kingdom and His sons and daughters.    

  

“Be strong, and show yourself a man.” 

1 Kings 2:2 (ESV)

Why Men Must Choose Platforms Over Stages

“Satan and his forces have a plan to terrorize your soul, to render you impotent as a believer, to make you worthless to the cause of Christ, and to make your life one of misery and spiritual defeat.”

The Invisible War, Chip Ingram

 No one needs to convince you that men struggle in life.

We lack purpose and direction and identity. We misunderstand our strength and our desire for challenge and adventure. We’ve lost sight of the fact that God has a mission for our lives.

And it is this mission that makes us an important target for the enemy.

If, after all, we understood the important work that God created us for, and if we understood the power of God that is available to us, we would be world-changers. Instead, we’ve fallen prey to “...sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”

Satan lurks behind all of the issues we struggle with. He terrorizes us with the temptations of this world, and we allow ourselves to be drawn in. Pride gets the best of us. We convince ourselves that we can overcome our problems on our own, and we separate ourselves from God and the community of believers. We isolate ourselves from those who could bolster us against the struggle.

In order to find freedom, we must ask ourselves a single question as we move through our activities and commitments: Am I doing these things to be a conduit of God’s message? 

Think of it this way. We can operate from a stage or from a platform. When we speak from a stage, we speak for our own glory, and for our own benefit. When we speak from a platform, we speak for God’s glory, and our efforts serve His people. We share His message with people who need to hear it, and we align ourselves with Him instead of distancing ourselves.

The men of Junto Tribe have traded our stages for platforms. We recognize the enemy’s campaign of terror and we’re protecting ourselves against his weapons. But we aren’t stopping there. We’re sharing the message with others who need to recognize his methods. We’re coming alongside others who have fallen victim to his tactics.

If each of us lives according to this question, and if we encourage others to do the same, we will neutralize the enemy’s tactics. We’ll honor God, and we’ll bring others along on the journey as well. We’ll change the momentum in the invisible war, and we’ll begin the work of changing the world.

 Will you choose a stage or a platform?

 

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

Why Consuming God's Word Isn't Enough

Uncertainty.  Dissension.  Confusion.  Chaos.

Sometimes it feels like this world is simply governed by mayhem. And that is stressful. 

We look around us and see families falling apart. Our communities seem disjointed and disconnected.  Hatred and anger is so easily roused up from its sleep. There’s a loss of real truth. What’s good for me is good for all.  It’s no longer about the greater good. It seems that oppression is hidden in what many call tolerance.

It’s easy to push blame on to others. We blame the younger generations. We blame society. And what is wrong with Washington? Where do we find good leaders these days? It’s frightening. We point fingers and sit quietly in our cocoon of comfort and hide from the darkness.

But this is not what men of God were called to do. We were not called to notice the problem, admire it, and let it fester.  We were not given a spirit of timidity. We were given a spirit of great power that has the ability to overcome and destroy the works of the devil. 

If you’ve said yes to Jesus, you must understand that the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. 

This is a call for men of Christ to stop being consumers of God’s Word – to stop being men with timid spirits – and accept the truth of Christ in your very being. 

If you find yourself standing back and complaining about the issues of the world without taking one step to make a change, it’s time you ask yourself a question. What am I doing today to accomplish what God asked me to do? What can I do to take back the land that was stolen by the works of the enemy?

The men of Junto Tribe understand that God has a plan for each of our lives and that He has called us to impact our families and our communities. We’re working together to build tribes that can accomplish that together.

Complaining and fear are not how we take back the land. They originate from a spirit of timidity. You have the power of Jesus in you. What are you going to do with it?

 

 

 

 

 

You Have a Spirit That Must Be Nourished

Your physical body craves nourishment. It needs food and water in order to grow strong, and if you fill it full of the wrong things, it won’t function properly. 

Your spiritual body operates the same way. If you nourish it with good things, it will grow strong. Fill it full of the wrong things and you’ll suffer the effects of sin and decay. 

This isn’t only true for those who believe in the spiritual body, either. It’s an inescapable truth that we are body, mind, and spirit. And like our bodies, our spirits are influenced by the things we allow inside. 

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

Gal 5:19-21

When we engage in the activities related to death and depravity, we deprive the spirit of the things it needs to grow and flourish. But there’s more. We separate ourselves from the life-giving Spirit that God sent to be our helper. By saying “no” to Jesus and the example He set, we choose death and decay instead of life and freedom. We subject ourselves to a present form of hell, or separation from God, even before we leave this earth. 

When we double-down on bad choices because things are going badly in our lives, we separate ourselves from God. The Israelites did it, too, and the consequence was 40 years of wandering in the desert. 

But Jesus came here to bring heaven to earth. He came to bring life and freedom and forgiveness to those who say “yes” to Him. 

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Gal 5:16-18 

And when we choose to live the kind of life Jesus calls us to, we find the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that Jesus promises. 

The men of Junto Tribe are moving away from the choices that oppress us and moving toward the freedom and life that Jesus offers. We’re building tribes of men who will bolster and challenge each other on the journey.

Whether you’re new to Christianity or you’ve followed Jesus for years, you need a tribe to do the same for you. Ask God to connect you with other men who can help you strive for life change rather than simply for behavior modification. 

The world around us is desperately in need of manhood and its strength and protection. We must accept the responsibility and engage with the people around us to point them from death to life. 

Before we can do that, we must feed our own spirits the good things they need. We must choose freedom, and then share it with others. 


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Using Your Unique Talents To Bring Heaven To Earth

I routinely attend meetings with CEOs, leaders, special operators, and experts from a number of different industries. These accomplished men lead successful professional lives, but many of them struggle to know their life’s purpose. They fail to understand God’s plan for their lives. 

In large part, it’s because they’ve assumed that their mission on earth and their occupations are one and the same. They’ve accepted that God’s purpose for their lives is limited to the work they do. 

The truth is that, if we have Christ in us, our purpose here should be the same as His: to bring Heaven to earth. When we say “yes” to Jesus, we must say “yes” to the plans He has for our lives. 

That begins when we recognize three things:

  • That we were born in the image of the Creator (Gen. 1:27)

  • That He knit us together, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)

  • That He gives us each specific gifts, talents, and resources according to His will. (1 Cor. 12:4-11)

So why would He do this? Why would He intentionally create each of us with a unique set of abilities?

Because we were created to subdue and take dominion

“God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen. 1:28

We were created to share God’s love with all of the people we come in contact with; to make earth look more like heaven. God intends to change our hearts to more closely reflect His own, but He isn’t interested in behavior modification. He wants us to grow daily, and to operate out of love. He calls us to do good in the world; to work with Him instead of for Him. 

The men of Junto Tribe are working to find the purpose God sent us here for. We’re working to understand what it means to subdue and take dominion of the world around us. We endeavor to do good because God calls us to do it rather than because it benefits us. And we seek to work with God instead of working for God. 

Each of us needs fellow travelers to join us on the journey; travelers who will challenge us to be better and do better. And we welcome the opportunity to do the same for them. 

Begin today by recognizing that your gifts, talents, and resources are precise and intentional, and they perfectly suit a purpose God has designed for you. Be willing to look outside your occupation to find the mission God has for your life because your identity extends far beyond your work. 

There’s a tribe of men somewhere who needs your help. 


https://pixabay.com/photos/craft-forge-work-village-smithy-1423803/


Lost Diligence & How Men Can Rediscover It In Jesus

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

G.K. Chesterton

All of us were diligent at some point in our lives. 

As budding toddlers, that diligence prompted us to take step after clumsy step on our way to learning how to walk. We fell. We faltered. And we got back up. We never got embarrassed by our inability to walk the first time we tried. We never expected to master walking on the first day. We persisted at learning to walk and tie our shoes and write our names because it was never an option to stop trying.

Somewhere along the way, though, many of us lost our diligence. Life pushed back against us too many times, and we accepted the lie that things were simply too hard. We accepted the lie that leading our families was too hard; that sacrificing our time to help a neighbor in need was too hard; or that making it to church on Sunday was too hard. 

We’ve lost sight of the fact that everything Jesus demands of us is impossible without Him: 

  • loving our enemies

  • overcoming our sin

  • turning the other cheek

  • reading the Bible 

  • submitting to God’s authority

Surprisingly, we seem to understand that our physical bodies only grow when they are stretched beyond comfort. We accept that pain and discomfort are necessary for our physical growth, but we reject the notion that the same is true in our spiritual lives. 

We’ve allowed the enemy to take us out of the fight by prompting us to believe that we don’t have what it takes to prevail. But nothing could be further from the truth. 

We’re hard-wired by God with a warrior spirit that first emerges when we pretend to be cowboys, soldiers, and superheroes. As adults, that same warrior spirit sparks our interest in knives, action movies, and video games that depict battle. But because we’re disconnected from our Creator, we buy into the notion that Jesus was meek and timid. We turn a blind eye to the battle around us because the world tells us our aggression is toxic

Furthermore, we’ve forgotten the value of persistence and perseverance in life because we seek our identities in the wrong places. Instead of operating as sons of God, we live life as CEOs and special operators and investment bankers. We live life according to the world’s priorities instead of according to God’s because we’re listening to the wrong voices

“But the precious possession of a man is diligence.”

Proverbs 12:27

The men of Junto Tribe have recognized our tendency to believe the enemy instead of God, and we’re seeking to re-establish our true north. We’re walking together because when one of us falters, there’s a crowd of men to remind him to keep trying. 

Just as the disciples bolstered each other, we’re seeking the kind of diligence in our Christian walk that will change our own lives, our families, and our communities. We invite you to join us on the journey. 

But we challenge you to recognize that this isn’t a solo journey. It’s a trek that demands fellow travelers who will sustain and challenge and encourage you. 

Begin by identifying a single man who could join you in the journey. If you can’t readily think of one, start by asking God to reveal one to you. Your decision to do so will positively impact everyone around you, and will glorify God. 

Remember, too, that your fellow traveler needs you just as much as you need him. 


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Jesus Freed You To Follow God's Plan For Your Life

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” 

Gal 5:1

Adam briefly knew true freedom in the Garden of Eden. He was free to move about the garden and eat from it. He freely enjoyed the company of God and he had a woman to love and important work to do. God gave him authority over the garden and tasked him with caring for it.

But instead of adhering to God’s plan, Adam gave in to his flesh and ate from the only tree in the garden that he was forbidden to enjoy. He chose his flesh over his freedom and he placed himself in bondage to the enemy.

It’s a mistake that many of us make on a daily basis.

Freedom for Christians isn’t a reference to personal independence, or the ability to make our own life decisions. Jesus didn’t set us free so we could do whatever we want whenever we want. Jesus freed us to do the things God created us for. He freed us to obey God and follow the plans He establishes for us.

We are created to serve. Just as Paul referred to himself as a bond-servant of Christ Jesus in Romans 1:1, we are designed to live as servants of Christ.

God created us to prioritize others and put their needs before our own.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

Philippians 2:3-7

The men of Junto Tribe are seeking this kind of freedom in our lives. We are seeking the freedom that comes from living according to the Spirit.

Our goal is to live as Jesus did. We’re taking our cues about manhood from Jesus, who was free from the fear of pleasing others. He gave generously. He served others. He championed strength and vulnerability.

Instead of struggling in bondage to the enemy, the men of Junto Tribe are chasing God’s truth, which frees us to restore life-giving order to God’s creation.

Join us. Begin your own journey to freedom by finding a mentor who will point you to truth; a fellow tribesman who will challenge you and walk alongside you. Then build a tribe of like-minded men that will serve the community and love people the way Jesus did.

Make this Independence Day the beginning of your journey to true freedom in Christ. Celebrate the life-changing freedom that comes from living according to the Spirit.  

Let this be an Independence Day to remember.

 

 

 

 

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Build a Tribe That Can Change the World

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’”

Genesis 2:18

God created us for relationship. He designed us to be in relationship with Him and in relationship with each other. He did not create us to be so fiercely independent that we don’t need anyone else.

And truthfully, most of us don’t consider ourselves disconnected. In fact, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been in history. We can connect with friends and strangers anywhere in the world, around the clock. But our relationships are often superficial and we’re losing the ability to effectively engage in face-to-face interactions.

We typically go to work and we go home. We might show up at the ballpark for a little league game or attend church on Sundays, but we don’t truly connect with people there. We exchange pleasantries; we engage in surface-level discussion; and then we go home to our isolated homes. We don’t typically engage in meaningful conversations there. We check the block and go home.

Which is not at all what Jesus calls us to.

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

Jesus invested in a group of 12 men from a wide range of backgrounds. He taught them. Led them. Shared His life with them. And He encouraged them.

They shared their struggles and their fears, and they learned from one another. These fishermen and tax collectors grew in their faith, and then they shared what they knew with others.

The men of Junto Tribe are working to follow suit. We’re building tribes of men who walk through life together; men who challenge and encourage each other. We’re striving to become men who build each other up and who rise to the lives that God has called us to.

We’re seeking authentic relationships with men whose histories differ from ours. Since each of us impacts a different circle of people, together, we’ll reach the world for Jesus.

There’s a tribe that needs your gifts and your influence. Perhaps it already exists, or maybe you’re called to create it. The world needs men who understand that God has something more for them to accomplish than simply alternating between work and home.

Begin today. Nurture your vertical relationship with God. Then ask Him to identify the people you’ll build community with. Move beyond your routine and engage with those around you. Choose real connections over superficial ones.

Who will you connect with today?


Photo by James Baldwin on Unsplash

Why Many Men Have a Flawed Concept of God

 “The history of a man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out, takes him on a journey and gives him his true name. Most of us have thought it was the story of how God sits on His throne waiting to whack a man broadside when he steps out of line. Not so. He created Adam for adventure, battle, and beauty; He created us for a unique place in His story and He is committed to bringing us back to the original design.” 

John Eldredge

For many of us, our picture of God originates with our earthly fathers. Whatever weaknesses we saw in our own fathers, we transfer them to our heavenly One. Instead of understanding God as a loving, intimate Father, many of us have lost touch with His true character as a source of wisdom, truth, and love.

Our understanding of our heavenly Father has been tainted by our own broken or imperfect relationships, and it has impacted who we are as men and fathers.

Just as we have failed to understand God’s true character, we often fail to understand the vital role we play in our own stories. We have overlooked the truth that we are irreplaceable as fathers. In the fallout, we risk impacting our kids in lasting ways that God never intended.

We are sometimes so busy with our own lives that we miss opportunities to be part of theirs. We mistakenly believe that our identities are tied to the work we do and we lose touch with our roles as husbands and fathers. We’ve accepted the lie that this is as good as life will ever get, and we learn to simply “get by” in life. We may even scoff at the notion that God has more for us.

And whether we intend it or not, the people around us are internalizing these lessons as well, so that another generation stands poised to adopt the same broken belief system.

But today is a new day. Whatever we have believed before and whatever mistakes we have made, ours is a God of second chances.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 

2 Peter 3:9

Whatever mistakes you have made, whatever lies you have believed, whatever choices you have made, God can redeem them. He can change the trajectory of your life by guiding you to the adventure He has called you to. Though he does not undo the consequences of our sin, He forgives our sin when we submit our lives to Him, and He leads us in wisdom and truth.

The men of Junto Tribe have recognized that we can simply look to the fruit of our own lives to understand whether we’re living according to truth or lies. We can look to our communities, our families, and ourselves to determine whether we’ve believed what God says about us, or whether we’ve accepted what the enemy says.

Let’s make today the day we return to God. Like the compassionate father who welcomes home the prodigal son, our Father will celebrate our return to Him. He has written an adventure that includes us, but He won’t force us to step into it.

This Father’s Day provides an opportunity to reset our lives and return to our Father; a chance to seek the identities He has created for us, beyond our jobs and our to-do lists. We can begin to produce different, better fruit as we walk with Him into the adventure He has written.

It won’t be easy, but nothing about this life is.

What story will we tell the next time Father’s Day comes around?       

 

https://pixabay.com/photos/girl-father-portrait-eyes-people-1641215/ 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Legacy of Craftsmanship

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” 

Michelangelo

I learned the art of craftsmanship from my father. He built things out of wood, metal, and brick, and he seemed to have an innate ability to design and build to his own exacting specifications.

He taught me that I could work with my hands; that I could use the hammer, the wrench, and the saw to design and create.

And I did just that when I bought a shiny black 1931 Ford Roadster, in perfect working condition. I took it completely apart despite the fact that I had no real experience in metal work or engine repair. I pushed the fear to the back of my mind, shoved down the doubts, and began the work of shaping the car into a reflection of my own personality.

I uncovered the rust and dents that were covered with filler and paint. I revealed the scars from years of use and abuse.

In my mind, I was uncovering the true character of the car. I was releasing the angel from the marble, and along the way I freed the angel inside my own heart. I learned something about myself that I never knew existed.

I was a craftsman, too. Like my father, I had innate creative potential lurking within me, and I discovered that it was important to the evolution of my soul. It was my connection to our Creator and Savior Jesus, the craftsman who frees us from the marble that traps our souls.

God created the universe, and His authority governs it. He has a plan that maintains, directs, and sustains the world, and that plan includes you.   

“In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will … “ 

Ephesians 1:4-5

The men of Junto Tribe acknowledge that Jesus came to earth and became one of us. Instead of raising Himself above the Father, Jesus came here to walk among us. He became the Last Adam to bring light to the darkness and restore what was lost to sin.

The craftsman created the universe, and then stepped into creation and became part of His greatest masterpiece. Then, just as Jesus humbled Himself with His heavenly Father, He became a craftsman as an apprentice to His earthly father, Joseph.

We are craftsmen created in His image. We learn about ourselves when we create, and our creative works of art demonstrate beauty to a world that is starving for it.

Join us on the journey. Ask God to help you discover, or rediscover, your craftsmanship. Pick up the tools you’ve been given and create something useful or beautiful. Bring joy to your community, your coworkers, your family, and yourself.

What can you begin crafting for the world today?

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/Odwarific-407178/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=429757">Brian Odwar</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=429757">Pixabay</a>

 

Find Tribesmen Who Will Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder With You

Last summer, several tribesmen and I ventured out on a Saturday to paddleboard across a 3.5-mile stretch of open water. The winds were high, we had forgotten the leashes for our paddleboards, and storm warnings were in effect for our area.

Recounting it now, the trip had the potential to be disastrous. It was a trip that left us feeling closer to God, but not for the reasons we imagined.

We overrode our better judgment, and as soon as we got far enough from land to feel the full effects of the wind, our focus shifted to simply staying on top of the boards.  The rough waters separated us into two groups of two, but we pressed on.

A short time later, my buddy went into the water and he was forced to pursue his board to keep it from escaping. As he swam toward the board, I worked to push it back toward him. When my buddy finally made his way out of the water, we mutually agreed to sit or kneel on our boards for the rest of the trip to improve our stability.

And until the end of the trip when my confidence got the best of me, that’s exactly what we did.

But about 300 yards from shore, I was full of adrenaline and proud of myself for surviving this challenge at all. I stood up on my board to cross the finish line the same way I started the trip, when a crosswind hit me from the side. I lost my balance and fell in the water. As I had previously done for him, my paddle buddy chased down my board while I worked to keep my panic at bay.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was back on the board, exhausted, elated, and headed for land. I realized in the aftermath of the trip that there were parallels between the trip on the angry waters and the lives we live here on earth.

The whole experience taught me that storms will come, and the world will be turbulent. We must train mentally, physically, and spiritually every day. We must also surround ourselves with friends and family who stand shoulder to shoulder with us, and we must rely on God to guide us through the difficult times.

We should also stay humble. When we’re tempted to believe that we’ve got it all figured out and that we’re self-sufficient, life has a way of knocking us down a few notches. If things are going well, be thankful, but prepare for the approaching storm.

The men of Junto Tribe understand the importance of tribesmen to come alongside one another in moments of struggle and strife. We work every day to rely fully on God for guidance, direction, and purpose.

Join the discussion. Engage with the men in your own community and begin the work of building your own tribe. Not only will you benefit from the tribe, but your family will and the families of every man who engages with your tribe will be strengthened as well.

Photo by Anandu Vinod on Unsplash

Remembering the Warriors Who Taught Me To Train the Whole Man

In remembrance of those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country:

I had been hired to train tactical athletes for the U.S. military special operations, and I was challenged by the idea of preparing warriors for the fight of their lives. I trained them to be faster, stronger, and more resilient than their adversaries. Instead of competing for fun and glory, these athletes would train to protect their country and each other.

Although it was intimidating to walk away from the familiarity and comfort of a career in college athletics to work with SEALs, I loved the idea of using my talents to serve those who had given so much to my way of life.

Little did I know that soon I would be part of the greatest win of my career when they scored a major victory in combat, and I was humbled because I had never been a part of such a significant victory. I had used my unique gifts and talents and resources to prepare them for combat, and I had trained them to win. And they did.

But a few months later, an entire troop of Navy SEALs were killed in an attack that gave the men I worked with no chance to defend themselves. These friends and husbands and fathers and sons and brothers died in service to this nation, and they opened my eyes to the absolute necessity of training the whole man.

These warriors, leaders, and servants launched me into a journey to discover the true nature and purpose of manhood. It wasn’t enough to be better, faster, and stronger. Each of us was designed by God with a distinct purpose and identity. He created us to serve Him with our gifts and talents, and He designed us to be in relationship with Him.

He designed each of us to be a servant, a warrior, an explorer, a craftsman, a scholar, a leader, and a disciple. Regardless of the work we do, our experience, or our careers, God created men to use our abilities to improve the world around us.

The men of Junto Tribe honor the memory of all who have died in service to this nation by carrying on the tradition of service and leadership. We are grateful for their sacrifice and humbled by their selflessness, and we’re inspired to live our lives the same way they did.

Join us on the journey. Make a difference. The work is demanding and the workers are few.

Your duty as a disciple of Jesus is to spread truth and make more disciples. 

Go into the world and share your gifts.  

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said ‘Here am I. Send me.’”

 Isaiah 6:8

  

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

Discovering What Quiet Sounds Like

What does quiet sound like? 

Many of us would probably say that quiet is…you know…quiet. That is, there’s an absence of sound. But quiet is much more than that. 

The quiet I’m speaking of is the quiet of our minds. It’s peace of mind that is free from tumult and disturbance. And it’s extremely powerful if we learn how to harness the practice for daily growth and development.

The world constantly assaults our senses with billboards, TVs, computers, and phones that put more technology in the palm of our hands than the Apollo Spacecraft. We are allowing reality stars and actors to teach us how our lives should be run. Is this what a sophisticated society is headed for?

If that’s progress, then why are we more and more stressed out?  Why are we running ragged?  Why are we feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and tired? We survive off of energy drinks and hormone treatments because we’ve lost our way. We don’t know ourselves and have no clue of what’s really important. Society has taught us the wrong things about what truly matters. 

And there’s another great question. What truly matters? What matters to you in your life? Is it stuff? Is it climbing the ladder of success? What’s your ladder of success? Is your job where you find the ladder? Do you find the ladder at home with your family? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Have you thought about these things? If not, why? Quiet your mind and think. The answers are there but we must slow down and find peace. 

The success of life is not found in the quagmire of busyness. It’s found in the quiet. The peace. The place we go and find true life. Intensity is the killer of all that is awesome in life. Creativity. Love. Living. Connection. Growth. Development. They all suffer in the craziness we choose, but they can thrive like a flower in the spring when we find peace. 

So, where do we find peace? We won’t find it in a car or in our wisdom. We won’t find it in a house, in money, in a job, or in books. We won’t find it through our own strength. I tried finding it through all those things as well and all I found was frustration, confusion and anger.

“For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.”

-Ecclesiastes 2:21

Please, don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with achievement. We should want to achieve, but we must understand why we want to achieve. We must have a reason for our drive and passion. And if we can find the reason for our existence, we can find peace; true, enduring, powerful peace that passes all understanding. 

The men of Junto Tribe understand that we find this peace when we allow the Prince of Peace into our hearts.  Jesus is His name and He is the answer. I can’t explain the power He brings but I can tell you it’s real. If we can just let go and let Him in fully, we will see how our lives can change.  All we have to lose is the burden we’ve been carrying our entire lives. We must drop it! Let it go!  We must accept Him into our hearts.    

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what will you eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes…Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…” 

-Matthew 6:25, 27, 33-34

Photo by ROBERT ALEXANDER WILSON on Unsplash

How Finding Your Brothers-In-Arms Can Make You More Successful

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

-Ecclesiastes 4:12

Some time back, I was speaking to a buddy who has spent many years in the military. He has plenty of experience working in some of the world’s most volatile regions of the world under the most extreme circumstances. He said something to me that I will always remember.

“I’ve seen just about everything our military has available to it as far as human capability and I can tell you there is no such thing as a super soldier.  It doesn’t exist.  I can tell you, however, that there are super teams and that’s what wins on the battlefield.”

I’ve been part of many teams during the 16 years of training sport and tactical athletes, some of which were hugely successful and some that weren’t.  And, as you can imagine, I’ve been around some very driven people who are committed to finding success in whatever endeavor they choose.  Whether it is athletics, military, business, or community, we will always be part of teams, so it would behoove us all to learn how to better work in that environment. 

In my own experience over the years, these are the ingredients that truly made winning, successful teams:    

·      Clear, concise, attainable vision, goals, and mission by all team members

·      Good leadership

·      Hard work and dedication to the mission

·      Talented people

·      Team members understanding their role

·      Vision and mission of team decided on with integrity, character, and honor

I understand that this is not an exhaustive list but I do believe these points are some of the most important aspects to team success. With that said, I did leave out one extremely important aspect on purpose because I wanted to focus on it right now. 

A successful team understands that what it is working toward is bigger and more important than any one individual in the group. The team members know they need each other in order to be as successful as possible. If we combine the aforementioned list with the last statement, you’ll have a team that is almost unstoppable.  

And even if that team doesn’t achieve all the goals it set forth, I would argue that the work they do would still become something special.

In my conversations with other men, I hear their frustration at not being able to really open up to other men about the struggles and triumphs they encounter.  It seems that many of us are pushing hard simply to get ahead of the other guy.  We push, work, and manipulate things to put us above the heap and many times it doesn’t matter who we step on to get what we want. 

We have forgotten the mission of helping others, forgotten that what we do is bigger and more important than us.  We’ve forgotten what true success really looks like.  As soon as we start believing that this is all for us, things become complicated, murky, and relationships become strained and break.  This leads to a stressful environment and in-fighting, and any hope of moving forward becomes slowed and even stymied.  

As I get older and wiser, I realize that having close friends and colleagues you can trust is more important than almost anything else when trying to accomplish a goal or work toward something special.  Without total commitment to the cause – the mission, and a total belief in the man next to you, you will always hamper growth. 

The men of Junto Tribe are seeking our brothers-in-arms. We’re working to align ourselves with men that invite us to be honest about our struggles. We want to build a team of men who value the mission of helping others.

I encourage you seek out those brothers-in-arms that you can stand next to. The ones who challenge you to bring about positive change.  And secondly, be sure to be trustworthy yourself so that you too can be considered a brother-in-arms.    

To my brothers-in-arms, and you know who you are, thank you.  With you, we can achieve so much more.  You can believe I will stand by your side no matter what.

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash 

 

 

Flex Your Creative Muscle to Discover More About Yourself and God

Someone somewhere has evidence of your creativity.

Tucked in an attic somewhere. Stashed in a photo album. Sitting on a bookshelf. Parked in a garage.

Before responsibilities and commitments commandeered your life, creativity came easily. You colored and glued and built and painted and designed. You imagined and pretended and dreamed.

Even if you don’t recognize that part of your life, the God of the universe created you in His own image. He is the designer, the craftsman, and the sovereign power that maintains, directs, and sustains the universe.

He has created you to tell the story of Jesus in a way that no one else can. No one else has been all the same places, done all the same things, learned all the same lessons, faced all the same struggles, or met all the same people.

God calls you to be the light of the world. You have been given life to bring light to a broken, hurting world. To share the light of Jesus with those who are connected to you. Just as Jesus’ death on the cross glorified the Father, your life on earth should do the same.

Spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have the gift of creativity. You are a craftsman born in the image of God. Your creative work has the potential to show the light of Jesus to the world.

The men of Junto Tribe are learning to view our work as craftsmanship instead of viewing it as a grind. We are seeking to create something beautiful and true for the benefit of our families, our communities, and ourselves. We want you to join us on the journey.

Create things that others can use; things they find joy in; things that benefit them.

As you build your creative muscle, you’ll learn more about yourself and your Creator. You’ll discover the man God created you to be and you’ll bless those whose lives connect with yours.

Start small to rediscover your creativity. Color a picture with your kids. Take on the role of the villain in their stories of make-believe. Dance or paint or sing or build. Find creative ways to invest in your family and share Jesus with them.

They’re the most accepting audience you’ll ever find. What do you have to lose?  

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Rediscover Your Inner Craftsman

Children embrace creativity.

LEGO® reports on its website that the world’s children spend 5 billion hours a year building with the company’s blocks. The LEGO website reports that its mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; it says that play promotes growth and creative expression in later adult life.

The odds are good that even you built with LEGO blocks at some point in your life.

So where did all that creativity go? Why does the creativity of our childhood elude us as adults?

The advancement of technology has led us to choose our computers and phones over our hammers and chisels. When we aren’t using our computers for work, we use different systems to play video games. We have round-the-clock access to electronic devices, and it robs us of countless other possibilities.

But we were created to be craftsmen. Whether it’s the occupation we’re paid to do, the hobbies we pursue in our free time, or the skill we use to serve others, we were designed to build and create.

Just as our Father created the heavens and the earth, he designed us to do the same. God had a plan for everything He creates, and He has a plan for you as part of that design.

He creates us with a unique design, and then He provides all that we need to fulfill our purpose. When our Father gives us an assignment, He backs it up with the resources we need.

What gifts have you been given? What talents and abilities do you have? Even if you haven’t used them in years, what unique skills has God created in you that will bless the world and God’s people even as the work of your hands blesses you?

I have been surprised to discover through my own journey that the more I create, the more I learn about myself. The more I learn about myself, the better I can create. As we create, we inspire others to do the same, and we learn more about the nature of the God who created us.

The men of Junto Tribe want to learn from the craftsmen of old and build our creative muscle. We seek to craft masterpieces and find joy in the work of our hands.

Join us on the journey. Build a fence. Rebuild a car. Paint a picture. Write a song. Use your hands to create something that will bring joy to others.

If that feels daunting, drag out the LEGO blocks and build something with your kids. Reconnect with that piece of you that once loved to build and create.

Then pick up the tools of your trade and inject good into the world.

 

 Photo by Jon Kline on Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

 

Engaging In the Struggle God Created You For

Something in the world around you won’t let you go.

Practically speaking, there’s something in the world that you cannot tolerate the idea of. Homelessness. Broken families. Child abuse. Hunger. Racism. It’s different for each of us.

Whatever it is, thatis the struggle that God created you to engage with. It’s the battleground God has called you to. It’s the challenge that will allow you to glorify God and point people to the transforming life that Jesus offers. 

We have been given life to bring light to a broken, hurting world. To share the light of Jesus with those who are connected to us. 

And while we’re working to accomplish that, we’re called to raise up more leaders along the way. Leaders with a different battle to fight and different communities to serve. 

Just as Jesus’ death on the cross glorified the Father, our lives on earth should do the same. The resurrection should change the way we live and the way we lead. 

We are a long-dormant army whose general is calling us into battle. God has equipped us to fight and He has a plan to tackle the struggles that break our hearts. He’s waging war against an enemy whose tactics are destroying our communities and families.

He’s calling us to defend our piece of the battlefield and to stand together with the men who are defending theirs.

The men of Junto Tribe are on a journey to discover the plans God has for our lives and to help others discover the same for themselves. Our journey, like yours, is full of obstacles and missteps, but we’re traveling together so that we can encourage and support one another.

You are no doubt surrounded by men like you who could use the same kind of encouragement. Ask God to reveal them to you and begin the work of building a tribe of your own. Then drop us a note and tell us about your tribe so we can pray for you as you move forward.

God built you for this exact struggle in this exact time.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31

 

Your True Identity Won't Be Found In the World

We face a daily choice about our identity.

We will either embrace the true identity that God designed for each of us, or we will settle for the lesser version that the enemy routinely works to saddle us with.  

If we choose God’s design, we will have to actively work to internalize it, because the world at-large will suggest otherwise. It will tell us that we’re weak. We’re not good enough. That we’re irreparably broken and that we’re unworthy of love and acceptance.

If we choose God’s design, we must accept that we aren’t defined by what we do but rather by who we are. Our purpose is found in His purpose, so our identity is found in Him.

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

(Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)

As Christian men, we must choose God’s design, because it helps us understand God’s purpose for our lives.

Jesus, fully man and fully God, provides a picture of what true human identity looks like. He aligned every part of His life with the Father’s purposes, and He lived with clarity and decisiveness. He knew what to agree to, and what to decline.

We have access to that kind of clarity for our own lives if we seek to understand who God created us to be. We are sons of God the Father, and in Christ, you are loved, forgiven, favored, righteous, chosen, and empowered.

God wants you to know your identity because it’s connected to your mission here on earth. He designed you to help others discover their own identities, but you must first understand your own.

Ask God to help you remember the things He has shown you about your identity and purpose. Write down the things He shows you through scripture, through other believers, through dreams, and through the “still small voice” in your own heart.

The men of Junto Tribe are working to take off the clothing of the old man and lean into the truths of God. We’ve asked Him to heal our fractured hearts and make them whole again. We invite you to join us on the journey.

Pray about building your own tribe of men who will travel this journey together. Men of God who clearly understand their mission and purpose have the potential to impact the world by helping others do the same.

Given the choice in identities, which one are you embracing?

https://pixabay.com/photos/boat-teamwork-training-exercise-606187/

Legacy, Light, & How Men Can Transform the World

God created you to be a light. To bring heaven to earth and light to darkness.

Just as Jesus came to earth to restore all that was lost in the Garden of Eden, you are to share that message with a lost, hurting world. Jesus stripped the devil of his stolen authority, and now you and I are charged with telling others the good news.

The world desperately needs the light of Jesus.

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16

Begin by considering the kind of legacy you’d most like to leave behind. When your life on earth is complete, how do you want to be remembered? Consider these questions in the context of your family, your community, your colleagues, and the world.

Honestly assess the struggles you’ve faced and consider that someone else has faced or is facing the very same issues. How have your struggles transformed you into a better, stronger, more resilient person?

Finally, how can you use your talents, gifts, interests, resources, and passions to share this message with the people who most need encouragement in this area?

Practically speaking, that means that I’ve translated my own desire for self-mastery into a mission to help other men achieve the same thing. More than just a physical mastery, I want to help men achieve mental and spiritual mastery as well. In my role as a human performance coach, I’m working to help men achieve their fullest potential.

The men of Junto Tribe are following the world’s only authentic man, Jesus, in our efforts to realize our God-given mission. We’re using our own platforms to minister to men who are searching for true identity.

We’re working to inspire others to build their own smaller tribe of men who will encourage, challenge, and grow one another. We’re asking you to join our movement.

Subscribe to the blog today and share it with someone else who needs encouragement. Strengthen your inner light as you connect with other men seeking to do the same.

Jesus built a tribe of 12 men who carried His story into the world long after His death, and it’s impossible to quantify the impact of their work. You and I are poised to do the same.

What kind of legacy will you build?

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash