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?       

 

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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?

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How Men Can Leave Their Mark In the World

Someday, the events of your life will be the stuff of history.

The choices you have made will be largely forgotten. The things you pursued will pass on. All signs of your existence will slip away as time advances.

This is nothing new, of course. It has been our reality since Adam and Eve broke favor with God in the Garden of Eden.

Perhaps it’s the reason early man left handprints in caves. Maybe it was an attempt to leave a lasting mark in the world. Proof of their time here on earth.

Many people struggle with the temporary nature of the world around us. If it’s all temporary, what difference does it make? What’s the point of it all?

Truthfully, if you find your value in the things the world treasures, there is no point.

If we’re listening to the world around us, our lives will be measured by calendar boxes and to-do lists. Every day will look the same and nothing will make sense.

We might find that we identify with the words of King Solomon, who fell out of favor with God when he stopped relying on God and instead trusted in his own knowledge and wisdom.

“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? … No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.

 Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 11

If, however, we listen for our Creator’s voice, and if we trust in His purposes and His provision, we will hear a much different message.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:17

During our time on earth, we have a mission to love and serve creation.

We are to live in relationship with God and seek His plans for our lives. In short, we are to keep Him in the middle of all of our pursuits. We are to listen for His guidance and remember Him in all that we do.

Jesus did this during His time on earth, and it’s a model for how our own lives should look.

He cared for the people around Him. He loved even those in society who were considered hard to love. He let go of His own desires and submitted to the will of the Father, even in the face of temptation from the enemy.

Jesus based His entire life around His relationship with God.

Everything He learned, everything He accomplished, and every challenge He faced pointed people back to the Father, and we’re called to do the same.

The men of Junto Tribe understand that our lives aren’t temporary when we live them according to God’s plan. Our “handprint” lives on in the people around us that we serve and love.

God has a mission for each of us that will have eternal implications for other people. When we follow His plan, He’ll use us to grow the body of believers, and it will absolutely matter that we did His work here on earth.

You have a unique story of the work Jesus has done in your life, and you have a network of connections that can benefit from it. In fact, when you decide to share your own journey with others, you’ll find that God will supernaturally pair you with the people who most need to hear it.

It will likely be a messy, sometimes painful story that you’re hesitant to share, but you’ll be amazed at the number of people who have walked the same road.

As you consider your story, imagine how different your own life might look if someone had come alongside you to assure you that you weren’t the only one struggling this way. 

Ask God to help you do that for someone in your circle. If you’re in the midst of your own struggle, read through our past blogs as a reminder that you aren’t alone. Connect with someone in your own circle and begin the work of building a tribe of men who will journey together through life.

You’re crafting more of your life’s story today. Whose agenda will you follow?

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God Created You To Conquer the Wilderness and Protect His People

It’s entirely possible that you’ve lost sight of who God designed you to be.

If you aren’t sure, consider this:

·      How long has it been since you did something totally spontaneous?

·      How long has it been since you literally got dirt on your hands?

·      When did you last do something that challenged you physically, to the point of exertion?

Regardless of the work you do for a living, God created you to be an explorer. He invites you to engage with the world He created and to marvel at its wonders, but many of us haven’t known wonder since we were boys.

Our sense of obligation has eclipsed our sense of adventure

We’ve lost sight of the boys who played soldier and ninja and cowboy and superhero. We’ve downplayed our strength and our power because the world misunderstands manhood.

We’ve forgotten that despite Eden’s beauty, it still demanded work and cultivation. It needed order and tending. Most importantly, an enemy existed there; an enemy intent on death and destruction.

Just as the world today isn’t a safe and easy place, the Garden of Eden wasn’t, either. It demanded a protector; a skilled warrior who would tame the wild and protect its inhabitants.

And just as the First Adam lost his way and broke relationship with his Creator, many of us have done the same. We’ve lost sight of who God created us to be because we’ve trusted the wrong voices. We stopped believing God’s promise that He would always be with us and started believing that we weren’t enough.

And when we stopped engaging with the world around us, it suffered.

Fortunately, the Last Adam brought restoration to the world. Jesus came to renew our relationship with God and to redeem our lives. God’s redemption plan restored the human soul and recaptured all that Adam first gave away.

In short, you are exactly what the world around you needs.

God created you to conquer the wilderness; to protect the people around you; to enjoy adventure. He designed you to confront challenges and to tackle struggles, and to serve His people and accomplish His purposes.

The men of Junto Tribe understand what it means to break faith with your Creator and lose your way. But we also understand the redeeming work that Jesus came to do.

Instead of believing the enemy’s lies, we’re listening for God’s truth. We’re modeling our own lives according to God’s design for manhood, and we’re sharing what we’ve learned with the men around us so they can share it with their own circles of influence.

God’s men desperately need this message because the people of the world desperately need God’s men.

Help us share it by following our blog, adding us on social media, and sharing our content with other men who are weary and burdened.

God loved us enough to sacrifice His Son on our behalf. Let’s love our fellow man enough to remind him of it.

 

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How Men Can Pursue Adventure and Escape a Legacy of Doubt and Fear

God built men for adventure.

He created us to test ourselves against the wildness of nature and the unknown mysteries of the universe.

We’re surrounded by lands to discover and explore, and we hunger for the challenge of adventure. The problem is that many of us are so far removed from that part of our inner spirit that we don’t recognize the desire anymore.

We’ve lost our sense of adventure to a world of schedules and responsibilities.

Although God created men to make the people around us feel safe in a danger-filled world, we find ourselves hemmed in by fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough. Fear that our current situation really is as good as it gets. Fear that we’re missing out on some greater purpose that we were intended for.

And that kind of fear is a normal part of this life in a fallen world. It’s the kind of fear that the enemy uses to remove us from the fight. He whispers in our ears and encourages us to doubt ourselves and to doubt God, because the enemy knows what we’re capable of. He cannot take the chance that you’ll accomplish what God sent you here to do.

Take note, though, that many of the men who loved God throughout history also experienced fear.

Elijah found himself in the crosshairs of Ahab and Jezebel, followers of the god Baal who had killed many of the Lord’s prophets. They were suffering under a drought, predicted by Elijah, that had left their kingdom in disarray, and they sought vengeance for it. As a result, they were desperate to find and kill Elijah.

At the Lord’s direction, Elijah challenged Ahab’s followers to a duel of sorts, pitting the power of Baal against the power of God. In a direct face-off, Baal’s followers were unable to call down fire from heaven, while Elijah called down fire that destroyed the altar and convinced the Israelites that He is the one true God.

And then, in the days that followed, the same man who called down fire from heaven fled from Jezebel and her efforts to kill him. He was so afraid, in fact, that he asked God to just take his life rather than dying at the hands of his enemies.

“And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life… and he requested for himself that he might die…”

1 Kings 19:3-4

Despite personally witnessing the power of God, fear overtook him and prompted him to give up hope.

The same kind of fear that plagues men like us every day.

The men of Junto Tribe understand this kind of fear because we wrestle with it daily. We experience doubt, despite the fact that we’ve also personally witnessed the power of God.

Like Elijah, we’re built for battle, but we sometimes allow our circumstances to get the best of us. To overcome the fear and doubt, we stand together and remind each other of the explorer nature that God created in us.

We invite you to rediscover the part of your nature that craves adventure. We challenge you to engage with the world around you. Rather than living as a spectator, seek God and the purposes He has designed for your life.  

Adventure awaits you today. Where will you let it take you?



Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Misunderstanding Manhood

It’s entirely possible that you’ve misunderstood manhood, because the world around you does, too. 

Our culture perceives manhood as a mix of domination, power, profit, and posturing.We could sum it up as a winner-takes-all mentality that celebrates the top dog and diminishes everyone else. 

For us, manhood and weakness cannot co-exist. To be a man means to win at all cost without regard to the people around you 

But we’ve got it wrong, and the people who lived during Jesus’ time on earth did, too. We equate manhood with strength and power, but in fact it’s so much more. 

Jesus redefined manhood to a world that misunderstood it.

Though Jesus was strong and powerful, He wasn’t preoccupied with whether others perceived Him that way. He was totally free from the fear of man and the desire to please man. 

He showed emotion. He gave generously. He showed affection. He welcomed people.

He also equated strength and vulnerability. 

In one of His final acts before going to the cross, Jesus took the position of the lowliest of servants by washing His disciples’ feet. 

And then, to demonstrate the real definition of strength, He submitted Himself to the will of the Father. Jesus endured public humiliation and execution at the hands of those He loved. 

And in that act, He demolished our shallow perceptions of manhood and demonstrated what it truly means to be a man.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

Philippians 2:3-8

Jesus valued others above Himself. He cared about their interests and their well-being, and it drove Him to serve them. 

He didn’t serve out of a sense of obligation but rather because His heart was full of love for the people around Him.

And He has called us to live the same lives He did: caring for others, submitting ourselves to serve others, and letting go of people’s perceptions of us.

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

John 13:15

Like you, the men of Junto Tribe are working to model our lives after Christ, but we must actively push back against the world’s perceptions of manhood. We do life as a tribe of men so we can remind each other daily of Jesus’ model of manhood. 

Join us on the journey. Sign up for the blog so we can share our journey and our discoveries with you. Pray that God will reveal other men in your circle of influence who can join your tribe. 

Ask God to free you from the need to impress other people. Then ask God to reveal the people around you who are struggling under the same pressure.

If you’ve never surrendered your life to Christ, today is the day. When you yield to His plan for your life, you’ll discover incredible power and strength in following Him.

Will you take a knee today and seek His plan?  

<a href="https://pixabay.com/photos/chess-strategy-chess-board-316658/">Image</a> by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/PublicDomainPictures-14/">PublicDomainPictures</a> on Pixabay

 

How Can Men Find Their Identity and Value?

In a world that is broken and confused, how can men find their identity and value?

From the beginning of creation, the enemy has worked to deceive God’s people. He distorts God’s word. He lies and falsely accuses God’s people. He intimidates us in an effort to create doubt about our identity.

Though the enemy has been stripped of his authority by Jesus, he has a single remaining weapon to use against us: his voice.

In a noisy world, we struggle to discern the enemy’s lies from God’s truth. The destructive voices far outnumber the voice of our Creator, and we often struggle to distinguish the voice of God from the voices of the world.

When did life get so hard?

The truth is that we have everything we need to distinguish God’s voice from the others.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world… They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God… By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:1-6

When the enemy took Jesus into the wilderness to tempt Him, Jesus didn’t dispute the devil’s claims. He didn’t try to match wits with the devil, and He didn’t respond in His own strength.

Instead, Jesus quoted God’s word. He returned to His Father’s truth, as if to say, “This is the voice I listen to.”

When the world whispers lies designed to break or confuse you, how will you respond? Will the lies cause the kind of fear and insecurity that will shape who you become?

Or will you protect yourself and discern the truth? Will you respond the way Jesus did when the enemy tempted Him with lies and deception?

Begin by recognizing that your value originates from only one place: your relationship to the Father. You aren’t valuable because you’re a good father or husband. You aren’t valuable because you’re a good employee, and your value doesn’t come from your earning potential.

Likewise, your past mistakes don’t diminish your value. Your failures and shortcomings don’t chip away at your worth or your importance to the Kingdom.

Imagine it this way: if a schoolyard bully tells your child she’s worthless, does her value diminish because someone simply claimed it was true? Is she less valuable because the other student claims that she is? Or is the other student’s opinion completely irrelevant to her worth?

The enemy is nothing more than a schoolyard bully, and we must recognize him as such. His claims about our value and our worth are meaningless, unless we choose to believe them.

The men of Junto Tribe understand the struggle, and we’ve fallen victim to the enemy’s lies before. We’ve discovered along the way that we’re much stronger together, because we can remind each other who we are and whose we are.

As more men join us on this journey, our reach and our influence will increase, and we’ll be better equipped to lead the people around us on their own search for identity.

We’ll be so profoundly connected to the source of our identity that we’ll recognize the enemy’s lies and deceptions and we’ll be less inclined to entertain them.

Who does God say that you are?

 

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People Are Watching to See What You Do

Someone is watching you.

 Someone at work. Someone at home. Someone at church. Someone in your community.

The people around you are watching to see what you do.

As a man who loves Jesus, you’ve been tasked by God to lead His people. You’re making choices that impact the people around you every day, and you’re shaping those who come in contact with you.

 You’re called to bring Heaven to earth and to love God and love people. You’re called to build a legacy that will survive your time on earth. You’re called to surrender your life to Jesus and lead people to Him.  

 You have a God-given identity that you’re perfectly suited to achieve. While your identity may resemble other men’s identities, you have a unique circle of influence that no one else has.

Many men, for example, are called to be fathers and husbands, but they will impact different people by their efforts. Our missions are the same, though our jobs might be different.

We are to reveal the Father to the people around us and unify those same people.

Junto Tribe seeks to build groups of men who will encourage each other and hold one another accountable to the mission God has called them to.

We’re striving to rediscover the 7 characteristics that God created us to embody.

 1.     Disciple

2.     Servant

3.     Warrior

4.     Scholar

5.     Explorer

6.     Craftsman

7.     Leader

We’re working to become a generation of men who will do the work Jesus asked us to do: to go forth.

Will you join us on this journey?

 

 

 

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Figuring Out Your Purpose Statement

Learning to live with purpose begins with figuring out your purpose statement.

It’s an ongoing process that takes time and study. It requires us to spend time with God and Scripture, and it demands that we think, pray, soul-search, and journal about the things we discover.

Foundations

We begin with the understanding that we are sons of God. We are forgiven, favored, righteous, chosen, empowered, and loved.

We are designed to live in relationship with God and to spread kingdom influence to the people around us.

We must allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and grow us into mature followers of Jesus.

And then, we are to do the work of Jesus. We are to allow love to drive our choices and our actions. We are to bear good fruit by creating, serving, discovering, learning, protecting, and leading.

Inventory

As you’re considering your life’s purpose statement, do a personal inventory of your life and the things that are important to you.

1.  Legacy

Consider the kind of legacy you hope to leave behind. Determine how you want to impact your wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and siblings. Decide how you want to influence your friends, colleagues, community, church, nation, and world.

Aim to live your life with that vision in mind. Once you’ve identified the things you want to accomplish, you’ll have an easier time determining which priorities make sense for your life.  

2.  Resources

Begin by listing at least five of the values that are most important to you.

Identify your gifts, talents, interests, resources, and passions. Thoughtfully consider the events in your life that have transformed you into a better, stronger, more resilient person, and determine how you can share those things with the people around you.

Who are the people you feel most compelled to partner with?

Purpose

Compile all the information you’ve gathered and begin writing.

Shoot to write a couple of sentences, or even a full paragraph if it’s necessary, that accurately summarizes all the discoveries you’ve made.

Consider these prompts to start:

·      My purpose is to bring heaven to earth by…

·      I want to help transform people’s lives by…

·      Successfully fulfilling my purpose in life looks like…

·      I can best represent the Father by…

Ultimately, you’ll work to distill your purpose statement into a single sentence that guides your decisions, your priorities, and your commitments.

The men of Junto Tribe understand the importance of living with purpose, and we’re walking the same path of discovery. `We’ll use our purpose to set goals and make decisions and live lives that matter.

Are you ready to walk with us and discover your purpose?

Photo by Rahul Bhosale on Unsplash

The Corporate World, Men, & the First Steps to Finding God’s Purpose

Consider what the corporate world has found to be true about purpose:

·     People who embrace purpose are 51 percent more likely to develop strong relationships.

·     People who value purpose are 54 percent more likely to report high levels of well-being.

·     Teams that work with purpose are more effective than those without it. 

·     People who value purpose are twice as likely to become leaders.

·     More than any other variable, purpose motivates people to improve. 

 The corporate world understands the need for a common mission. It understands how unity improves culture and increases reach. 

 Now read the statistics again, in the context of your God-given purpose. Imagine how different the world might look if we understood God’s purpose and allowed it to direct our steps.  

Perhaps the corporate world understands something about mission statements and purpose that we’re somehow missing. 

Finding God’s purpose

For many of us, finding God’s purpose for our lives feels impossible. It often feels like a cosmic secret that only the most faithful ever uncover. 

But that isn’t God’s intention. 

 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

John 16:13

God created you for a purpose that the world needs you to accomplish, and He wants you to know it above all else. It’s a two-pronged assignment that combines both a common mission and a unique one.

Your common mission, like mine, is to bring heaven to earth. You are to reveal the Father and unify people, just like Jesus did during His time on earth. 

Your unique mission is one that only you can do, because though it may require you to do the same kind of work as someone else, you’ll engage a community of people that only you can impact. Because your circle of influence differs from mine, your unique mission does, too.  

Hearing from God

We must begin by understanding that God speaks to us in varied and creative ways, and when we understand those methods, we’re better able to recognize His “still small voice.”

·     God speaks to us through Scripture, when a well-timed verse addresses an exact need in our lives.

·     God speaks through other people who share encouraging or challenging words.

·     God speaks to us directly, through thoughts and dreams that appear as whispers in our minds.

Very often, the only thing standing in the way of discovering God’s purposes is time. Until we devote time to think, pray, read Scripture, and listen for God’s direction, we will likely struggle to understand His purpose.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” 

Psalm 119:105

The men of Junto Tribe are working to identify God’s purpose for our lives, and we’re doing it as small groups of men who can encourage, challenge, and support each other along the journey. 

We’re learning that when we understand God’s mission, we’ll recognize the things that matter to God, and we’ll learn to say no to the things that don’t. Our priorities will reflect His purposes, and we’ll enjoy the benefits that come from embracing our mission. 

Ask God to help you identify your mission statement. Ask Him to help you remember the various things He has shown you about your identity and purpose over your life, and to speak in a fresh way to you about them now. 

1.    Write down any Bible verses that speak to you and your calling, and words that other people offer about your purpose and potential. 

2.    Record those dreams you once had about your life and what you might accomplish and pay close attention to the ones that align with other information you’ve written down. If you’ve lost track of your dreams over time, ask God to reveal them to you. 

Understanding your purpose will be an ongoing exercise over the course of your life. As you walk with the Lord, you’ll likely discover new clarity and detail. 

 Consider the end of a man’s life, and whether he’ll wish he had waited longer to uncover God’s purposes. 

 What small step of discovery will you take today?

  

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